Author: Aly Martinez
Series: Guardian Protection
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: 02-04-2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Page Count: 314
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
From USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez comes a hot-new series of alpha bodyguards.
She was my nightmare. Every time I closed my eyes, I watched her fall into that inferno. Over and over, I failed to save her.
I hadn’t been able to reach her, and the guilt only burned hotter over time. Four years later, I was the unreachable one.
Heroes aren’t always saints. Sometimes, we’re nothing more than jaded sinners driven by sleepless nights and hearts full of darkness.
And then I met her. She was a dreamer who managed to soothe my scars and heal my wounds.
But, as the flames closed in around us, I feared I wasn’t the right man to save her. That is until I realized she was the one woman I’d burn the world down to protect.
4.5 stars- Angsty romance, a troubled history, and some serious twists
Singe surprised me. The first book in a new series by Aly Martinez, it features two broken characters who have the ability to heal each other. The series is based on the Guardian Protection Agency, a personal security firm in Chicago. Though the bodyguard angle isn’t a new trope, the author connected popular themes by linking the bodyguard and heroine with a shadowed past to give it a unique twist.
Jude is a good hero with a strong alpha streak and a heart of gold. In many ways he’s the stereotypical bodyguard of romance novels. However, I thought he had considerable depth as the book progressed and really liked him. His presence is powerful without being overbearing and excessive. I also enjoyed Rhion. Her vulnerability and determination made her an interesting character to figure out. She kept a lot of things close to the vest and those mysteries intrigued me. Though I wasn’t convinced about her sudden sexual awakening after four years of reclusiveness, I never lingered over those details very long and it did make for some steamy scenes. Jude and Rhion establish a good connection early on. However, the chemistry sometimes felt as though it hinged on their shared history, lust, and the possibility they could save the other. I wanted more to believe this couple was meant to find their HEA. Thankfully the author addressed this in the final portions of the book, and I came away really liking the couple and envisioning their relationship better.
My favorite moments of the book and with the couple are toward the end. They gave me a significant glimpse into what tortures Jude and the complex details of the characters’ shared history. I was convinced this would be a good book that missed developing some areas up until that point, but I’m glad the author made me wait for the big reveals. By the time the information surfaces and the twists hit, I had a good grip on the characters and the moments had a more significant emotional impact.
The writing itself flowed well. It’s descriptive without being wordy and the pacing was steady throughout the novel. I liked the way humor, especially Rhion’s quirkiness, broke up the heavier aspects of the story. The alternating first person point-of-view provided insight even when the characters weren’t forthcoming with one another. The way the narration flowed from person to person was always clearly annotated, and it ensured the reader wasn’t left in the dark with the many turns- particularly at the end.
I thought I had Singe’s plot pegged and even successfully predicted a major twist, but Miss Martinez never let up with the surprises turning it into a wholly unexpected direction. The final chapters were fast-paced, exciting, and I couldn’t put the book down until I read “the end”. This was a great first book to launch a new series. There are introductions to a variety of secondary characters with big personalities with just enough insight to leave you wanting more. If the conclusions and revelations promise to be as good as those in Singe, I’ll be first in line for the other releases.