By Her Side by Lizzy Chandler

By Her Side by Lizzy ChandlerBy Her Side by Lizzy Chandler
Published by Harlequin Enterpises AU on December 1st 2015
Pages: 210
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She would trust him with her life. But can either of them trust their hearts? Rory Sutton Whitfield isn’t a princess, even though her wealthy family insists on treating her like one. Fresh from her travels and finally achieving the independence she craves, the last thing she wants is to become swept up in family problems. But her half-brother has disappeared and her grandfather insists on hiring a bodyguard for her. Rory won’t be controlled by anyone, especially not a taciturn detective like Vince Maroney, a man of few words who nonetheless arouses disturbing emotions. Vince Maroney has learned his lesson about playing the hero; he stepped up once and it cost him everything. But when he saves the granddaughter of one of Sydney’s wealthiest men, he finds himself embroiled in events beyond his control. Rory is beautiful, smart, independent. But her family is all secrets and lies, money papered over injustices. Rory makes him feel things he thought long dead, but the pains of the past create distance, and she comes from a completely different world. How can one of Sydney’s pampered princesses ever find common ground with her reluctant bodyguard?

Vince Maroney’s path is set on a collision course with a wealthy woman when he saves Rory Whitfield and her grandfather from a near-accident. What appears to be an isolated incident however, is soon revealed to be a tangled web of apparent coincidences when Rory’s half-brother vanishes and a series of clues turn up that might account for his disappearance. Hired soon after as Rory’s bodyguard, Vince realises that his past is as entwined with Rory’s special set of circumstances, unleashing the demons that he hadn’t really managed to lock away.

A deftly written, well-plotted suspense story that was surprisingly engaging once I got through a quarter of it, ‘By Her Side’ threw out a good mystery and a sufficient number of red-herrings to keep me occupied enough to try putting the pieces together on my own. The story is brought to life in stunning Sydney and its surrounds and Lizzy Chandler paints a vivid yet thorny picture of the urban environment to the criminal activity that had seeped into the ranks of law enforcement. Yet her believably decent characters smooth the way out – without extremes of emotions that resemble a soap opera -, hurtling their way to a tense conclusion and an altogether satisfying ending.