4.5⭐️. Tropes: sibling’s best friend, unofficial bodyguard, age gap, forced proximity
Wow. When I first heard that Talia Hibbert was releasing a sibling’s best friend, unofficial bodyguard, age gap, forced proximity novella I slammed my hand on a buzzer and said THAT. I WANT THAT.
Guarding Temptationimmediately sucked me in, opening after the two leads have had a naughty moment that the hero regrets. Nina’s 23 and the founder of a magazine that pushes people to think critically about politics, social matters, and human rights. Brexit has raised the stakes of the conversation and Nina starts receiving death threats from some readers who aren’t too happy with her take.
That’s the only reason she contacts James, 30, after the hook-up he regrets, despite the fact that they’ve been friends for years. She knows he’ll protect her.
This book. *stops to catch her breath. This book is so incredibly sexy. It’s a novella that packs the sexual punch of a bomb or an Idris Elba…doing anything. Do you understand?
It’s also smart and a little mad (as in angry), and I loved it because I feel some of that same anger. There’s some political commentary that will be familiar to many readers, including some frustration over the “faux woke” and white society’s stringent expectations regarding black women. How strategically they must navigate public spaces, even spaces where they’re describing being threatened.
The political emphasis in this novella is definitely secondary to the romance and fits Nina’s interests and personality, but the resolution of this aspect of the plot could have ended more smoothly. The structure of its resolution doesn’t really work for me.
Still, this novella is a thing of beauty. It’s trope catnip, it’s competence porn, it’s fantastically sensual (see above paragraph), JAMES IS AN ABSOLUTE DREAM, and I loved it.
Guarding Temptation is out today. Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions provided are my own.