Updated: Jan 24
Up Close & Personal
by Kathryn Freeman
Published by One More Chapter
Sizzling chemistry, a page-turning will they/won’t they romance and the hottest twist on one of your favorite movies…
British actor Zac Edwards is the latest heartthrob to hit the red carpets. Hot, talented and rich, he sends women wild…all except one.
Close protection officer Kat Parker hasn’t got time to play celebrity games. She has one job: to protect Zac from the stalker that seems to be dogging his every move.
Zac might get her hot under her very starched collar, but Kat’s a professional – and sleeping with Zac is no way part of her remit…
Up Close & Personal by Kathryn Freeman centers around two narrators: Kat Parker, a bodyguard who is assigned to protect Zac Edwards, the newest heartthrob on the acting scene, who has been plagued with a stalker. As their attraction to one another grows, so does the danger.
*Sigh*. This could have been good. I truly think it could have been. I love the idea of a story that involves a woman protecting a man. While the plot is not overly unique, that can be said about 99% of romances. I can get over that. What I can't get over, is a boring, predictable story line, and characters that are likable on their own, but have zero chemistry with one another. Conversations that are alluded to between them, ones that would actually help the reader connect more with the characters, and perhaps even show some genuine feelings between them, are not written.
Kat Parker is a nice character to read. I will always love a killer female heroine in any book, and Kat Parker is that. Strong, brave, smart. What's not to like. I get her trauma in the story, but it doesn't mean its not incredibly annoying to read. Zac Edwards is also nice. Polite. Totally wears his heart on his sleeve. Brave. Both are nice. Nice together. Just no sizzling chemistry that burns through the pages, which is what I expect in a romance. Even the intimate parts of the story were bland.
I read in a book once, where a character, coincidentally named Zach, told another character to "Show, not tell." And this is where the problem is in the story. We are told they have chemistry. We are told its electric. We are not shown it. Wording is key. I think with some work, this could have been a good story. Unfortunately, for me, it fell flat.
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Kat: "So because the stalker might be a female, you think you're safe? If I decided to attack you, you could, what, just swat me away?"
Zac: "Of course not. You're a professional. You'd wipe the floor with me."
Kat: "Good answer."
Zac: "If we believe the stalker is simply a fan with a screw loose, having a bodyguard, aside from the obvious intrusion, feels a little ... emasculating."
Kat: "Will your balls feel safer if I tell you just because the letters appear to have come from a woman, doesn't mean they have? But say yours have, you're assuming a mere female couldn't hurt you. Tell that to the male victims of "Monster" Aileen Wuornos, and to the husband of Katherine Knight whose body parts ended up in a stew. Or to the men who visited Belle Gunness and ended up being fed to the pigs. Do you want me to go on?"
Zac: "I'm not sure my stomach can take any more. I suppose I should be grateful that at least my balls feel safer now, even if I don't."
Kat: "I thought you were over-preparing."
Zac: "I am."
Kat: "Really? It looks like you're tidying up for me."
Zac: "No. I'm doing it for me."
Kat: "If it had been Mark grappling the jerk instead, would you still have been rattled?"
Kat: "So it's a gender issue."
He laughed, but not in an amused way. More ... baffled.
Zac: "No, Kat, it's not a gender issue. It's a you issue. I like you. I don't want you to come to any harm."
Zac: "I'll accept a protection detail, as long as it's you."
Zac: "Because if I'm bringing someone, they're coming as my date."
Kat: "Oh no."
Zac: "Oh yes. I take a bodyguard to a private charity function, people will think I'm a paranoid tosser or an arrogant prick. I take you, and people will think I'm a lucky bastard."
Zac: "Please, you want me to kiss you?"
Zac: "Are you sure, because your body is telling me something else."
Kat: "My body can't be trusted. Please don't make this hard."
His lips quirked and he glanced down
Zac: "Well, it's not hard yet, but it's getting there."
Zac: "You on the other hand, Kat Parker, are a delight. You make me want things I know I shouldn't."
Zac: "You? If I'd known how easy it was to render you speechless, I'd have done this a week ago."
Kat: "If your official age is correct, it makes you two years younger than me, so I'd have been sixteen to your fourteen. I'd have eaten you alive."
Zac: "And I'd have enjoyed every minute of it."
Zac: "Have you considered one angel might be, you don't want to let me go?"
Kat: "Why would I want to keep protecting such a pain in my backside?"
Zac: "Because you like me?"
Zac: "I'm torn between fear that you really think I'm in danger, and delight that you like me enough to worry about me. But if it takes me being a target to keep you close, then I'll happily accept it."
Kat: "Jesus, Zac. Don't say things like that."
Zac: "Don't say that I want to keep you close?"
Kat: "I meant the target bit."
Zac: "So it's okay to admit that, aside from the danger part, I'm very, very happy to hear you say you don't want me to leave?"
Kat: "Yes, it's okay to admit that."
Zac: "Is it also okay to admit that I want you, Kat Parker And that once won't be nearly enough. In fact, I'm very afraid I'll find you utterly addictive."
Zac: "For the record, I didn't just sleep with you, Kat. I fell for you."
Zac: "I'm grateful you want to protect me still, I really am. But I don't want you to see me as a job. Or as this ... weak person who needs looking after. I want you to see me as a man, Kat."
Kat: "You seriously think I see anything else when I look at you? Can I take you back to an hour ago, when we were in bed, and my hand was wrapped around you -"
He silenced her with another kiss, one that got his blood thickening and his heart pumping.
Zac: "I'm seconds away from saying forget the ruddy studio and hauling you back upstairs."
Kat: "Surely you wouldn't do that, Mr. Edwards. I know how much you hate being late."
Zac: "Don't tempt me."
Zac: "I want you. I can't imagine a time when I won't want you."
Kat: "Then take me."
Zac: "Will you let me get closer? Will you let me in?"
Kat: "I don't need to let you in. You're already there."
Kat: "Come on. I'm like, I don't know, name me one of the toys you played with as a child. Not the best toy, the most exciting, but the go-to toy when there was nothing else better to do."
Mark: "Lego? Action Man?"
Kat: "Okay, that works, I'm like Action Man. You only decide I'm your favourite thing to play with in the whole wide world when someone else comes along and decides they want to play with Action Man."
Mark: "Jesus. I'm never going to look at Action Man the same way again."
Your regret is also the happiest time of my life - Zac
Kat: "This being with me for the rest of your life. The future marriage."
Kat: "Please tell me you're not expecting to find your slippers by the fire every night?"
Zac: "Good God, Kat. Given your distaste for neatness, I'll be grateful to find my slippers at all."