Chain Reaction by Tara Wyatt

Posted in Contemporary Romance/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 29th March 2017
Chain Reaction by Tara WyattChain Reaction by Tara Wyatt
Series: Bodyguard #3
Published by Forever on February 28th 2017
Pages: 336
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three-stars

Blonde. Beautiful. Talented.
Alexa Fairfax is practically Hollywood royalty. But growing up in a family of legendary movie stars also puts her in the spotlight for danger. And after she discovers a plot more deadly than any movie script, Alexa desperately needs a bodyguard. A man like Zack De Luca. A true friend with a good heart, a protective nature-and the hard, chiseled muscles to back it up.
Zack has always been wildly attracted to Alexa. But since he's training day and night to be an MMA fighter, he's afraid his gorgeous friend will only distract him from his goal. Indescribably sweet and irresistibly sexy, Alexa needs Zack to pretend to be her boyfriend after her life is threatened. Now this fighter-in-training will have to fight his own intense feelings - to keep their little charade from turning into a major disaster . . .

It’s my first read by Tara Wyatt and I’ve going to sheepishly admit that the whole bodyguard gig thing is one of my guiltiest not-quite-secrets. ‘Chain Reaction’ is a sweeter read than I expected and from the onset, I’m going to say it isn’t a bad read. More focused on the romance than suspense, it’s got so much of the sheen of the famous Bodyguard movie, but there aren’t any complaints from me here.

My mixed feelings probably stem from the characterisation which felt at times, a bit clichéd for this genre, especially in the beginning chapters.

Alexa’s evil parents are just that: evil, manipulative and hell-bent on Hollywood domination with some kind of mafia backing, while the sweet, innocent daughter is made to follow in the family’s supposed thespian interests. I expected a more kickass heroine, but got one who puts herself down too much, is considered way ‘too sweet’, good and naive for these bad things to happen to her. That she doesn’t like sex—because of the abuse she’s suffered in the past—until Zack shows her what it really means simply made her out to be too much of a stereotype rather than a multifaceted character. Admittedly, it’s easy to empathise with her insecurities but too many shades of the fanfic Mary-sue simply loom large in Alexa Fairfax, whose ‘stronger’, sensual side needed to be coaxed out by Zack. He in turn, is protective but feels he’s way out of her league as he nurses that growing crush he has on her. The denial is mutual, but when Zack becomes Alexa’s pretend boyfriend, the chemistry explodes…well, at least after several deliberate cock-blocking scenes.

There isn’t any wavering on both sides however; Alexa/Zack remain fully committed to each other when they both finally give into their feelings and it’s a refreshing change from the usual pushing-away technique that a main character does to the other in too many books. I liked that no one had to do grand grovelling gestures or affect a huge lifestyle change in sacrifice, but that both their paths took different turns together somehow. The action and the climax are predictable (it’s pretty much how I think a Hollywood-produced romantic suspense movie would play out), but the HEA is solid and guaranteed, reinforced with tears, cheese and a proposal.

three-stars

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