This time out, I have Kept (Brava) by Jami Alden, the second in her 'Gemini Men' series. This time out, Derek Taggart is on security detail when he sees the sexy stranger heading into an off-limits area at a swanky party. Alyssa Miles just needs a break from the crowd and her unpleasant step-mother, and the big hunk is getting in her way. On the other hand, when he tracks her down again later, the sparks that fly are made even better when he doesn't recognize her or her name. The rest of the night is even hotter than either could have imagined. That bubble is quickly burst, though, when Derek does a little digging on her. Worse, he's assigned as her bodyguard, his job to keep her out of trouble more than protection, despite the murder of her father and step-mother. See, Alyssa is a wild child, her partying and substance abuses fodder for tabloids over the years. Now, her family's diamond business hinges on her very successful ad campaign, and it appears that Alyssa has fallen off the wagon, though she swears she hasn't. Derek can't help still feeling attracted to her, but he doesn't believe her claims of innocence. Not a good way to begin a real relationship. Then it turns out someone really is after Alyssa, making Derek's job a little more of a challenge. Who to trust in her small inner circle of family, friends and co-workers? If you can overlook Derek's tendency to say truly hurtful things, the kind that always hit their target and do maximum damage, there's a lot of heat here. Alyssa, for her worldly ways, seems almost too innocent and trusting at times, and if you pay even a little bit of attention, you'll know who's really behind all the trouble well before the end. Still, I liked this one better than its predecessor, though Derek's poor treatment of Alyssa at times means it's also earned three and a half of Cupid's five arrows. If he was a teeny bit nicer, I'd score it higher, but I'm maybe not as forgiving as Alyssa.
Until next time, happy reading!