Hero Duty by Jenny Schwartz

In brief: Jessica’s in need of a hero to save her from her evil family – will Brodie protect her for a price?

The good: Loved the idea and the plot was fascinating (romance plus corporate drama).

The not-so-good: It finished!

Why I chose it: Enjoyed It’s Love, Dude so wanted to try this book – thanks to Escape Publishing for the eARC.

Year: 2014

Pages: 114 (eARC)

Publisher: Escape Publishing

Setting: Australia

My rating: 9.5 out of 10

I’ve always enjoyed the fairy tale Cinderella, so what could be better than a grown-up Cinderella story? Cinderella having billions but still needing a Prince Charming to help her defend herself against her evil step-family. Jenny Schwartz has nailed this story that really is about a poor little rich girl. Jessica is smart, pretty and rich – she’s got everything, right? Wrong. Even those who are perfect at first glance have demons.

The story starts off in a familiar place for fans of Jenny Schwartz – Jardin Bay, a gorgeous coastal community in south west Western Australia. In this story we meet the brother of Zane (hero of It’s Love, Dude) – Brodie couldn’t be more different. A former soldier who saw active duty in Afghanistan, he’s working with his grandfather when Jessica shows up. Her request is odd, but beguiling – she needs a hero to protect her. (She’ll pay handsomely too). Brodie’s much more than ‘hired muscle’ but Jessica’s story intrigues him – she’s the heiress of a multibillion dollar empire, but her stepmother and stepbrother are fighting to take it out of her hands to trying to declare her incompetent. Jessica needs someone to be her backbone while she fights for her family legacy.

Flying first class to Sydney, Brodie sees the city from a luxurious view. Unfortunately, Jessica’s family are odious and conniving – can Brodie be Jessica’s hero? Can Jessica save her company and fall in love?

This novel is as much about power and underhand corporate dealings as it is about the romance – I loved it. Everything was in perfect proportion from the dealings with the evil family to the will they/won’t they/they might/they might not relationship between Jessica and Brodie. I loved how their friendship developed as the book progressed and then moved to something more. Brodie was a great ‘protector’ – he offered sage advice to Jessica, but never overstepped the mark. He really brought out the best in Jessica. Even though Jessica thought she was spineless, she wasn’t presented that way – more like a girl who needed a confidence boost. This made her much more likeable in my book and by also presenting her other strengths (e.g. her PhD), the reader knew she had brains as well as guts!

The villains? They were truly disgusting and unlikeable – some were redeemed a little later on, but I didn’t feel sorry for them. They do get the best lines though – some of the taunts they plied Jessica with incredibly cruel.

This book flowed beautifully, to the point where I was making my lunch with one hand and reading with the other. It is literally unputdownable – a sweet romance with beautiful settings and a cracking plot.

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