Tyra and I had a great conversation the other day about the differences between Young Adult, Romance and Erotica as far as the quality of the story. Our basic conclusion was that Young Adult books can not rely on intimate scenes to hold the readers attention. The story must be compelling in its own right. And as you progress from romance to erotica the tendency can be for the dialogue to become less about a compelling story and more about fluff biding time until the next steamy scene.
Guarded Secrets is the story of a team Confederation agents, led by Audra McAllister, that are sent to guard a senator after his family is threatened supposedly due to his political actions. The senator’s eldest son, Brance, was a former Confederation agent and had trained with Audra earlier in their careers. It’s a simple enough story. However, buried family secrets have more do to with the family’s safety then the senators political actions. These secrets prove to be the real source of the threat to the family.
So back to my original opening, the story has a good foundation. But it just didn’t come together well for me. The “couple” just didn’t seem like a couple. They didn’t seem to fit together but yet kept finding themselves kissing and then doing more. It was like the story had lost it’s momentum so it was time to throw in a hot scene in there to get the reader interested again. Audra is meant to be a tough agent type character. She comes across as an arrogant slut. And Brance is supposed to be a former agent tough guy but comes across as a hopeful romantic looking to settle down. Audra spends most of the story trying to drag out the family secrets and determine where the threat to the family lies. Her investigation just seems to drag in places and when it does Brance would come along and the scene would get spicy but without any real logic as to why there was a sudden shift in the dynamics between them. It felt like they were attracted to each other on a basic level and then to make the story more interesting there attraction was exaggerated just to get things moving. It didn’t feel logical but like the relationship was added to the main story just to heat things up. Overall it was a nice story. And if you are more interested in the spicy scenes then it doesn’t disappoint. If you are looking for more plot then spice then it may not be the book for you.
I give this one 3 chocolate dipped strawberries.