One of my favourite things these days is finding an author who constantly delivers beautifully written stories of pure escapism, stories that are not only light-heartedly entertaining and often flat out hilarious, but also melt my heart every single time with such delightful romances between alpha males and fierce, outspoken heroines. Well, Belle Aurora is one of those authors.
Lily is the daughter of an Irish-American transport company magnate, who lives her life in relative social seclusion due to her father’s over-protective ways. She fills her days escaping into her books, those colourful stories compensating for everything that is lacking in her young life. Her uneventful existence takes a sudden turn when she finds herself kidnapped from her own home by masked commandos and blindfolded in the back of a van. Frightened, angry, confused, Lily soon discovers that her abduction might not have been an abduction at all and that the very people who took her from the safety of her family home might be the only people capable of protecting her.
“These guys are clearly bananas. Mentally unstable fruit loops, every single one of them.”
Nox is a man with no real identity, a ghost. An ex-Army man who went missing in action, he is now part of a covert team that specialises in the protection and elimination of human targets. When he accepted the job of protecting Lily from an unidentified threat, he never imagined he would find himself with a little firecracker on his hands, one who is not only outspoken, but also impossible to control. Their dynamic is unconventional to say the least, Lily being everything but a compliant ward. She fights him at every turn, angry for being kept in the dark about her immediate future, but ultimately her behaviour being a reflection of her pent-up frustration for the life she has not had control over for a very long time.
“What is it about this man that makes me go from zero to bitch in less than a second?”
Nox has the patience of a saint and every iota of it is exercised on this latest mission. He is committed to protecting Lily until the threat to her safety is eliminated for good and he can return her to her family safe and sound, but Lily’s every act of defiance shakes his calm demeanour, often making him respond out of character.
“Dear god, please give me strength to make sure that I don’t become the threat against the girl I’m trying to protect.”
What starts as stubborn disobedience on Lily’s part soon grows into a relationship of emotional and physical dependence as she slowly accepts Nox and his team as her protectors and eventually friends. Lily ignites every protective bone in Nox’s body, her well-being becoming so much more than just a job at hand. They inevitably start falling for one another, the seclusion of their location and considerable time spent around each other only accelerating this process. Their chemistry is palpable, intense, but their growing feelings for each other are a delight to observe. We watch Nox show such gentleness towards Lily, a man who could kill another with his bare hands becoming the epitome of a gentlemen behind closed doors, and it is a sight to behold. He becomes finely attuned to the woman he has fallen for, his arms becoming her emotional shield and his love acting as the catalyst that shows Lily everything that she has missed out on in life and that there is a difference between living and existing.
“I never realized how much I hate my life. Not until he showed me beautiful.”
While the story remains action-packed from beginning to end, this is ultimately a beautiful heart-warming romance born amidst a most trying time and capable of surviving against all odds. Through loveable characters, engaging dialogues, regular injections of light-hearted humour, a passionate but well-paced romance, we are given a truly un-puttable down and well-rounded story that made me laugh, cry, swoon and tingle all over. I loved it, loved every minute of it and even found myself craving it days after it was over.
“Doesn’t matter where you are, baby. I’ll come for you.”