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Detective Jack Williams of the Bear Claw Creek, Colorado PD has a problem...well, now he has two problems. First, he has been trying to crack a drug ring run by the Ghost Militia hiding out in a remote area called The Forgotten. The drug is called the Death Stare. (With cool names like that, you know it will be a good story.) But, then he is falsely implicated in intentionally hurting a witness and is pulled off the case because of political heat from the Mayor's Office. His second problem? To ensure he keeps a low profile until things are sorted out, his boss assigns him "babysitting" duty. Much to his annoyance, his new job is to be a bodyguard for cute tomboy Dr. Tori Bay, a plant disease epidemiologist, who is arriving to study a fungus attacking trees in the local State Park...that's right, a tree fungal outbreak in The Forgotten. No wonder he is annoyed. But when Jack and Tori meet, sparks of romance begin to glow. Will they run into the Ghost Militia in the Forgotten? Can he crack the case and keep her safe? Will their romance heat up? And what the heck is that white stuff in the trees?
==== MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD ====
Still with me? Don't worry, I won't reveal the ending. This is the eighth book in Bear Claw Creek Crime Lab series by Jessica Andersen. You don't have to read the other books in the series first. It is good stand-alone formulaic suspenseful romance. No big surprises and it doesn't stray far from the tried and true romance plot structure. As Tori looks at Jack, "...she caught herself admiring the smooth grace of his big body, and the lethal economy of his practiced movements, which made her feel simultaneously safer and more exposed." It is a nice read before bedtime...like a warm cup of hot chocolate. Well, it does have some suspenseful moments, but there is a lot of exposition on feelings and the emotions that Jack and Tori's unexpected attraction is causing. Oh, the ending may be a bit scary for some. I found it somewhat disturbing. But the book does have a happy ending.
I gave the book four stars instead of five for a couple of reasons. First, I like my romances to build slowly. In Bear Claw Bodyguard, they seem to be immediately in a relationship. Granted it is unspoken at first but they come on more strongly than I like in the beginning. For example, Tori sat beside a tall beautiful blond on the plane. She compares herself to the blond as they are de-planing. And, even though the blond spoke to Jack at the luggage drop, he essentially ignored her and only had eyes for Tori. I would rather have had Jack show a mild interest in the blond and then slowly come to respect and love Tori.
The second problem is that, in my opinion, this is NOT really a large print edition. If you look closely at the book cover you will see that it says "larger print" which, I guess, means that it is somewhat larger than a small print paperback but is not what I would consider large print. I don't fault the seller because the cover does say "larger print", but the publisher is being a little misleading in advertising this to a large print audience. Oh, I posted a similar FYI for the "larger print" editions of Treacherous Skies by Elizabeth Goddard and The Deadly Game by Virginia Smith.