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3 out of 4 stars
Review by babika1962
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Lily Pinion is a twenty-three year old beauty, who spent her entire adolescence chafing against the restrictive confines on her social life imposed by her wealthy Mexican father, a San Diego cattle rancher, which eventually led her in her twenties to a hard-partying, hard-drinking lifestyle, finally culminating in her recent brutal rape. Unfortunately, the ensuing trial brought her sordid life to the forefront, tainting her as a less-than-credible victim, which left her father furious and ashamed over her behavior. With the trial over, Lily’s rapist had walked away with a slap on the wrist and her father placing her under house arrest while he arranged for her export back to Mexico to be kept under the watchful eye of his strict parents.
A desperate Lily eventually escapes her father’s clutches before her extradition to Mexico. She heads to a condo on a resort in Maui owned by her mother but even there, she’s not safe from the long arm of her father. While drinking her sorrows away at The Reef, a favorite watering hole for tourists and locals alike, she gets into a confrontation with a knife-wielding would-be attacker until his advances are thwarted by former Army Ranger and Hollywood bodyguard, now bouncer, Bridger Jacoby. Lily’s friend, Jake, had helped her escape her father’s clutches and once she was on a plane, he’d phoned his former bodyguard, Bridger, to keep an eye on her while Lily was hiding out on the island.
While Bridger balks at the idea of playing babysitter, there’s very little he can do about it, especially when he learns that the damsel in distress he saved from her knife-wielding paramour happens to be his babysitting assignment. Lily bristles at the idea of having a bodyguard/babysitter but it doesn’t take her long to change her mind when someone tries to shoot her after her car goes off a deserted stretch of road at night. Bridger comes to her rescue and when he hears the gunshots and sees how frightened Lily is, he realizes there’s more to her story than she’s telling and that this isn’t going to be a run-of-the-mill babysitting assignment. Of course, things are also complicated by the fact that Lily doesn’t want a guy – any guy – touching her, especially someone as good looking as Bridger. Bridger, for all his discipline, is dealing with his own demons and is finding it hard to compartmentalize the churning feelings Lily is bringing out in him. As the threat to Lily’s well-being escalates, Bridger takes matters into his own hands, determined to keep her safe from anybody and everybody…
There’s plenty to like about Burning Bridger. The story sucks you in from the get-go and while it’s clear that it’s character-driven, with the walls around each character slowly being chipped away until there is nothing left but raw vulnerability, the author, McDonald, nevertheless does a fine balancing act between character development and action. There’s always plenty of heart-thumping action with just the right amount of dialogue that’s grounded in raw emotion. The setting is perfect for this type of action-packed romance; the beauty of the island’s fauna and flora juxtaposed by the wrath of Mother Nature in all her fury – much like the meteoric roller coaster of emotions from which Lily and Bridger cannot seem to escape. The author also does a fine job in creating – and maintaining – the necessary sexual tension throughout the book which keeps readers both engaged and rooting for the much anticipated happily ever after. However, despite the many positives in Burning Bridger that are sure to keep romance junkies happily engaged, the book is in serious need of a thorough edit to correct both the many typographical and grammatical errors which is why I’m giving it 3 out of 4 stars.
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