Reviewed by Vicki
SERIES: Bodyguards Inc. #2
AUTHOR: R.J. Scott
PUBLISHER: Love Lane Books
When Bodyguard, Ben Collins, finds Daniel Lincoln in a room, hiding and hurt, he doesn’t immediately think Daniel is the victim of abuse. Daniel is good at pretending and being a finalist in a TV singing competition he seems like he has it made.
But something about Daniel calls to Ben’s need to protect and he hands Daniel a card to contact him if ever Daniel needed help. Abruptly, after one frightened phone call from Daniel, Ben is racing to Daniel’s aid and what he finds is a horror he can’t imagine.
Daniel is trapped in a relationship where anger and controlling hate are the only emotions he is given. When his boyfriend crosses the line and leaves Daniel vulnerable and broken there is only one man that he wants to call.
The sexy bodyguard who promised he could help him.
Daniel Lincoln is a potential star, with a wonderful voice and rocker personality, and is making his way through a singing competition that could be his big break. Unfortunately he has some baggage in the form of his abusive boyfriend, Cam. Daniel has been abused both physically and mentally for close to six years, hiding his abuse and subsequent pain pill addiction. He knows he won’t win the competition, but will be happy with third place and a record contract, but Cam is not happy and beats the hell put of him the night before the final performance. Daniel is hiding in a room back stage trying to get his shit together when he is found by Ben the bodyguard.
Ben Collins has been a bodyguard at Bodyguards Inc. (BI) for a few years after serving in the military. He is a big strong man, with a gentle heart. He’s friends with the men he works with, but seems to be a bit of a loner. He’s both annoyed and amused at the antics of the stars he guards, expecially when back stage at a singing competition. He has enjoyed watching Daniel perform though, and is surprised to find him hiding in a back room before the final performance. He suspect Daniel may be in trouble, but thinks it’s drugs not abuse. He helps Daniel back to his room, and slips him a business card and tells him to call if he needs help.
Several month later BI receives a strange message saying Daniel needs help, and off Ben goes to find him. Ben is shocked at the condition he finds Daniel in, and convinces him to go with him, offering him protection until they can sort out what is going on. His story eventually comes out and it is not a good one. Years of abuse and control have left him scared and broke, with Cam holding the purse strings and nearly breaking Daniel’s spirit. Ben can’t give up on Daniel, or the budding feelings he has for him, and sticks around to help.
This is a very good story, but it made me uncomfortable, which is a good thing! I have never been in a relationship like this and have a hard time understanding why someone would stay with an abuser for so many years. Every time I read a book like this, it makes me think, and I try to be a bit more sympathetic toward the victim. On one hand Daniel seems strong, he’s finally reached the end of his rope and is ready to get help and get out. But on the other hand, he stayed with Cam for years, clueless about what he’s done to him financially. Ben steps up to help, trying to stay objective and not get personally involved, but that doesn’t last very long. Daniel appears to need someone to look out for him, and he switches his need to Ben. I wish he had shown a little more strength and not relied so heavily on Ben so soon. Ben is caring and careful, but he hops right in and takes over. Which Daniel needs, but he also needs to rely on himself.
The writing in this book is fantastic, I’ve read RJ’s books for several years and they do really get better each time. This plot wasn’t overly complex, but it was just perfect for the scope of this book. It was a small, intimate story about the struggle of one man to get out of a bad relationship, and the man who helps him and eventually loves him. It didn’t need to be complex, it was just perfect. The bond forming between them was interesting to watch, they would start to get closer than one would pull back, only to try again. There not a lot of sex in this story, honestly more wouldn’t have been appropriate considering the subject. What there was worked very well. Daniel and Ben are good together as a couple, once they work through Daniel’s issues. I liked the addition of Daniel’s parents, he needed support and they gave it. Good plot, good characters, good sex, good ending, just what I want out of a book!