The Bride's Bodyguard
by Elizabeth Thornton
I am glad that The Bride's Bodyguard has just been re-released as it has given me a chance to discover an author that has been writing romance for a while, but who is new to me. Tessa Lorimer and Ross Trevanan do not have an easy time of it and I was totally enthralled by their story and was sad when the book ended as I had to say goodbye to Elizabeth Thornton's captivating characters.
Tessa Lorimer has been living an indulged life since she ran away from her English guardians and made her way to her grandfather Alexandre Beaupre in France. Raised by overzealous guardians and transferred from school to school, Tessa continually acted out to hide the hurt of being ignored most of her life. She has come into her own living in France; she has a grandfather who loves her, she is being courted by the most eligible young man in France, and she is no longer smothered by religious fanatics who are trying to marry her off to one of their relatives to gain control of her fortune.
Tessa's life is perfect, except for Ross Trevanan, her grandfather's American secretary. Ross Trevenan finds fault with everything that Tessa does, and he even tricked her into kissing him at her birthday ball, when she thought she was meeting with her beau. What Tessa doesn't know is that Ross is actually the Marquess of Sayle, an English lord. He is in France to find the man who murdered his wife and believes that Tessa is the key to solving that mystery. At one of the many schools which Tessa attended, one of the older girls drowned, and ever since Tessa has had terrifying nightmares of being held under the water by some unknown force resulting in an unholy fear of the water. Tessa was not the only girl there that night, there were others, including Ross's wife, and all of them have died in what appear to be accidents.
Ross has been living in an abyss of despair and self-flagellation since the death of his beloved Cassie. He was warned that the deaths of the classmates may not have been accidents, but he was unconvinced, and now the light has gone out of his life. Hell-bent on tracking down the murderer, Ross leaves no stone unturned and his only lead is Tessa, who may, or may not, have been a witness. Posing as an American, Ross procures a position with Tessa's grandfather as his secretary, but he also helps stranded Englishmen to cross the channel back into England. Alexandre is dying and he does not want Tessa to be in France and within Napoleon's reach when that happens, so he extracts a promise from Ross that he will keep Tessa safe and see her launched into English society. Ross is not happy with the daunting task set before him, after all, how is he supposed to keep the willful brat in line? Tessa leads him a merry chase both in France and in England, and when Tessa's past catches up with her, Ross has no choice but to marry her to keep her safe.
There is so much more to this story than what I have written here, but it delves into spoiler territory. Suffice to say that this is a wonderful story filled with angst, passion, intrigue, murder, adventure, laughter and tears. Ross's guilt over the death of his wife colored everything he did and everything he felt. His first feelings for Tessa were hatred, because she had survived when Cassie did not, and when his feelings started to change and he begin to desire her, Ross felt that he was betraying his wife's memory, which made him lash out at Tessa. Ms. Thornton wrote his frustration and his feelings so well that it was almost palpable. Tessa tries to thwart him at every turn and, being a Marquess, Ross is not used this kind of behavior. It was fun to see someone get the better of him occasionally, as it turned him inside out.
Tessa and Ross were both very strong characters, and they both fell very hard for one another, fighting it the entire way, which had me laughing out loud in some parts of the book. Tessa could have come off as a spoiled brat, but instead Ms. Thornton succeeds in making her an endearing character, who was just trying to exert a little control in her own life when every decision was being made for her.
If you haven't previously read The Bride's Bodyguard don't miss it this time around. I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to reading more of Ms. Thornton's books.
“She needed a bodyguard to protect her from a killer, but who will protect her heart from her bodyguard?”
October 2006, 328 pages
With his striking good looks, Ross Trevenan was one of the most attractive men Tessa Lorimer had ever seen. But five minutes in his company convinced her he was the most arrogant, infuriating man alive. That's why it was such a shock to discover Trevenan's true purpose: hired to escort her out of Paris and back to England, he had sworn that he'd do anything to keep her safe…even if he had to marry her to do it. Now, finding herself a bride to a devastatingly attractive bodyguard seems more hazardous than any other situation she could possibly encounter. Yet Tessa doesn't know that she holds the key to a mystery that Trevenan would sell his soul to solve…and a vicious murderer will kill to keep.