Rating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel

Owin is Prince of the Ocelot Shifters and confident in his importance and his position. He is not too thrilled, however, that the King of all Shifters has saddled him with a wolf bodyguard. Wolves are basically dogs, and stinky ones at that. But as a loyal subject, Owin goes along with it, even as he does everything he can to make clear his displeasure and to provoke his bodyguard, Grimmwolf.

The time has come for Owin to undertake the quest that all shifter princes and princesses must complete in order to confirm their position. Owin knows he is ready, but he doesn’t expect to be sent to retrieve a relic accompanied only by Grimm. The man makes Owin crazy, but he has no choice but to follow the King’s guidelines.

While Owin isn’t happy about spending time with Grimm, for his part, Grimm can’t help but find Owin adorable. Even as prickly and haughty and spoiled as he can be, something about Owin just delights Grimm and he finds himself dedicated to the little ocelot shifter. Grimm will do whatever it takes to protect Owin along their quest, even as Owin’s high handedness tends to make a mess of things along the way. Grimm knows there could be something good between them, that the men could have something real. Now his challenge is for Owin to realize they are meant for each other as well.

The Prince and the Bedeviled Bodyguard is the first book in Charlie Cochet’s new Paranormal Princes series and it is all kinds of adorable. Somehow, despite being arrogant and haughty and quick to remind everyone that he is a prince, Owin is still charming. Not to mention that Grimm clearly adores him and has all kinds of fun provoking Owin, and this goes a long way toward carrying the story. It also helps that while Owin can be difficult and prickly, we also see his kindness, even to those far below his princely station. His arrogance is mostly a wall he puts up, and it is clear that the man inside is much more sweet and vulnerable. All this does make for a lot of fun as Grimm and Owin bicker and banter and poke at each other, so there is a lot of humor and lightness to the story.

I found it interesting that Cochet starts the book about six months after Grimm has started as Owin’s bodyguard. At the point we meet them, they already have an established adversarial relationship. I wondered whether missing the early stages of things between them would be a hindrance, but actually I found the story works well picking up just as they start their quest together. There is a nice road trip feel to the book as the men travel near and far, encountering hellhounds and Scottish beasts and other fearsome creatures. The experience bonds the men and brings down some of Owin’s walls, letting him see the feelings he has for Grimm.

Overall, I found this one sweet and fun. You have to be able to go with Owin and his prickly demeanor, but I found Cochet really makes it work. The book has a fairly predictable ending, but it all comes together nicely for a story like this with a fantasy feel. There are some nibbles dropped for the next book in the series and I am looking forward to continuing.