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Elaine White's Life in Books

I love reading, and as a writer I like to broaden my scope by reading outside of my comfort zone, so that I can learn more about my craft.

Currently reading

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SPOILER ALERT!

Book Review: Close Protection

Book – Close Protection

Author – Cordelia Kingsbridge

Star rating - ★★★★★

Plot – incredible, heart-warming, hard-hitting

Characters – touching, feisty, unique

Movie Potential - ★★★★★ (But it would need to be R rated ;) )

Ease of reading – very easy to read

Cover – Nice, but doesn't do the story justice

Suitable Title - Perfect

Would I read it again – Definitely. Regularly.

 

~

 

I have two words for you – powerful and speechless.

It's the morning after finishing the book and I can't quite decide where to start, what to say or what to do with myself. There will be a gaping hole, for days, where this book has been for the past few days, since it was recommended to me.

I'm going to rely on some notes I took, during reading, to get my through this review, until I can think of what I want to say.

 

First off, let's talk about the characters:

I absolutely love the way that Ryder puts Luca off balance, the second they meet. They're two such different people that, when they clash, it's fireworks. Ryder is this physically strong and mentally damaged guy, who prefers to keep his mouth shut and get on with his job. Luca couldn't be more different. Sexually indiscriminate, with a nervous disorder that makes him go seeking the nearest male for control, he's got in his fair share of trouble, for an eighteen year old.

Luca is a master manipulator and seducer, even with straight men, so when he turns on the charm with Ryder, it's more thrilling to see Ryder disapproving and rejecting that side of him. But, the moment Luca is real and genuine, often without meaning to be, that's when Ryder crumbles and melts inside. From this moment, you know it's going to be explosive between them.

Almost from page one, you get a flip-flop of POV's. This is great, because you get to see Luca's side of things, but you also get to see Ryder's. With each character having a different objective, this is really important. Luca wants nothing more than to seduce Ryder, because he's hot, strong and a massive challenge – and he keeps refusing his advances – but Ryder's internal struggles against Luca's honest are nothing against the main objective: keeping Luca safe from a crazy stalker.

At every turn, Luca and Ryder clash. When Ryder is brutally honest about how he sees Luca and how he feels, it's the first time that Luca cares about someone else's opinion of him. They get under each others skin, but they also accept and understand that their opinions of each other matter. Luca learns that, sometimes, only the people who matter the most, are capable of really hurting.

 

Ryder had accomplished something nobody else had ever managed.

He’d made Luca feel dirty.

 

I think it's really important to the plot and the progression of Ryder and Luca's relationship that about 60% of the story involves them NOT being together. Ryder dates Andy, who is a lovable and sweet pediatric nurse, because he wants a normal, adult relationship, despite being crazy about Luca. Luca, in turn, begins an “unofficial” relationship with new friend Ashton, after seducing him. While they both have emotional and physical relationships with these other people, the chemistry between them sizzles.

Ryder and Luca share a few really HOT moments together, throughout this time. Though their relationships work on paper, and a little part of you almost wishes that Luca and Ashton end up together with Ryder and Andy an item, you also know, deep down, as they do, that Ryder and Luca belong together.

No matter how hard Luca tries to seduce Ryder, he never realises that he doesn't have to. He already has, through being real and vulnerable and honest.

You know they'll find their way to each other, but you also understand how important it is for Luca to have this time with Ashton, who proves to be a real friend.

Plus, having them effectively date other people allows for moments like this:

 

““I have a date.”

Judging by Luca's reaction, Ryder might as well have slapped him in the face. He

blinked and drew back, hurt flickering in his eyes before being replaced by cold anger. “A date,” he repeated, voice flat.

Yes.”

Have fun.” It sounded more like, I hope you die.

 

Since Luca is a bit of an emotional wreck and has an anxiety disorder, it's perfectly natural when we get to see him undergoing therapy sessions. These are really special and important moments in Luca's story, because he needs this time to get his head sorted out. I often asked myself, while reading these parts though, just why his mother waited so long.

Evelyn believes that Luca has a sex addiction, but never does anything about it other than trying to either refuse him the opportunities to have sex or lets him run wild. Though we, as readers, know that it's really Ryder who opened Luca's mind and heart to the possibility of a real relationship and made him see how manipulative and cruel he'd once been, I still think this issue should have been addressed, and it wasn't.

Luca is one of those amazing characters who can be smarky and flirty one minute, but real and honest and vulnerable the next. I think that's why he and Ryder work so well. Ryder is the balance and Luca is the unpredictability in their relationship.

With no set relationship and no spoken commitment between Luca and Ryder, it's perfectly natural and acceptable that they spend 60% of the sex scenes with other people. 1 – it's part of Luca's nature and 2 – it's part of their dynamic that they take so long to get together.

The majority of the intimacy between Luca and Ryder is emotional, anyway, which makes their connection feel so much more real. And, this is why the story is absolutely HUGE. It's 50 chapters, but it's well worth it. The progression is the important part and that's why it needs so much time.

There is a light D/s theme in the story, but it really is light. It's all about Luca taking up his natural role of dominant to Ryder's naturally submissive side. This only works in the bedroom, because Ryder is the bodyguard and Luca accepts that he's a strong, necessary wall of protection around him. The fact that Luca can then turn that strong man into mush, in the bedroom, is what makes them work.

It's nice to see that the younger/physically smaller MC is the Dom, for a change. Just because Luca is small, doesn't diminish the emotional hold he has over Ryder. He's a spitfire and can wrap any man around his finger. But, what makes his relationship with Ryder work is that he doesn't have to manipulate Ryder. Ryder is all too ready to give in to any command Luca may give him. That doesn't stop him being the worry-wart, always afraid that their 10-year age difference will make their relationship wrong or inappropriate somehow. It takes all of Luca's fire and resilience to make them work, so they can get past that.

Together, they're the perfect blend of emotional instability and physical strength.

Ryder can be vulnerable with Luca and vice versa, but they both find balance and what they need in each other. It's only together they they're complete and become better man.

 

““You saved my life the day those men tried to abduct me.” Unable to help himself,

Luca brushed the snow off of Ryder’s cheek. “But the truth is, you’d already saved me

long before that.”

 

For all of Luca's anxiety, he can be strong and calm enough to do what needs done, right at the time Ryder needs him most. This is only possible because of the way that Ryder treats him. Ryder is his centre; the thing that calms and soothes him, but he's also what opens his heart and mind, so that he can find that inner strength. But, at the same time, Ryder allows him to open up and BE vulnerable, something he'd never allowed himself before.

 

““Will you come back?” he asked.

I haven’t really left,” Luca said over his shoulder as he shut the door.

 

OVERALL

 

There's an excellent balance of danger, romance and humour throughout the entire story. The characterisation, plot, romance, D/s element, storytelling and the criminal aspects of the story were all so perfectly weaved together that there's not much I could say, in a negative way.

The sex is explosive – no matter who it's with. There are regular, very hot, sex scenes, but the most touching, intimate moments are between Ryder and Luca. And, most importantly, they happen when they're not touching or being overtly sexual. That's what makes this so incredible.

I cried a few times, because I was emotionally invested in these characters and their lives, right from the story. My interest never wavered/faltered, despite the length and I'm still trying to think of how to express what this book made me feel, although I finished the book hours ago.

However, I would have liked an Epilogue of some sort, because I feel it stopped a little short. Considering the book was so long, so that it could cover the complexity of their relationship, I would have liked a little chapter at the end, maybe a year or two later. I'm not sure what I want it to say, but I feel that it's not quite finished.

Honestly, however perfect this story was, I felt a bit of a dip in the last few chapters, that told us more than it showed. There seemed to be a little rush to get to the end and it limited the impact of some of the scenes.

 

Favourite Quote:

““You saved my life the day those men tried to abduct me.” Unable to help himself,

Luca brushed the snow off of Ryder’s cheek. “But the truth is, you’d already saved me

long before that.”

 

-

 

If you're interested in reading this book, it can't be bought at a book store or downloaded from an e-book retailer. It can only be read online:

 

here at Fiction Press: https://www.fictionpress.com/s/2968339/1/Close-Protection

and here at LiveJournal: http://ckingsbridge.livejournal.com/822.html