After the tragic loss of her mother, Sasha has broken free of her father’s world and created a life for herself that is almost normal. She lives with a roommate, attends college, spends way too much time studying, and enjoys occasional nights out with her friends. One would never know she’s the daughter of a powerful arms dealer. But when a threat is made on her life, the world she tried so hard to leave behind returns in the form of a tatted up bodyguard she can’t shake.
The last thing Alex wants is to babysit the boss’s spoiled daughter, but it doesn’t seem as if he gets any say in the matter. In no time at all, he’s moved into the spare room in her apartment, following her to class, and tracking her down when she tries to slip away. But no matter how hard he tries to stay detached, there’s something about the girl that has him breaking all the rules.
I didn’t really know what I was getting into with this book, but … Wow. I’m kinda blown away. The whole bodyguard romance thing has been done before, certainly, but this may just be the best one I’ve read.
For one, the characters didn’t come from the normal mold for this kind of story. Alex was neither your typical criminal nor your typical security guy, and Sasha wasn’t overly ideal either. Yes, she’d obviously been raised with the advantages of money, but had her father not been introduced, I might have just assumed she was a normal, everyday college student. They’re both put out, they bicker constantly, and they take advantage of a few opportunities to get on each other’s last nerves. But while Sasha may be trying to escape her past while Alex just tries to get through his present assignment, there’s no overwhelming heaviness or the standard tortured character fare that these kinds of stories typically deliver. In fact, the entire story was a wonderful surprise.
Where most bodyguard stories I’ve read play up the cliches, turn the sexual attraction on high, and make it all into an overdone love/hate relationship, Perfect Opposite takes a more subtle approach. In doing so, the relationship seems to develop more naturally, as opposed to being some kind of whirlwind neither can escape, and I was absolutely hooked. Yes, there was an undeniable attraction, not to mention plenty of antagonizing each other as Alex and Sasha tried to deal with their lives being uprooted and tossed together, but it wasn’t the formulaic version I expected.
Pefect Opposite is a fresh take on a classic storyline, with characters that aren’t transparent and a plot that isn’t the least bit predictable. I love that things weren’t immediately explained or discovered, that I had only as much information as Sasha had, unable to even begin to guess what would happen next. Just when I was on edge waiting for danger to strike, nothing happened. And just when I was comfortable, it came out of nowhere. Instead of heavy foreshadowing that often gives away the whole surprise, Tessi’s approach is to casually lay out the scene and perhaps mention something important as if it’s nothing — exactly the way the characters see it. It makes their reactions all the more plausible and their emotions as raw and natural as anyone’s would be. And then came the plot twist I never saw coming.
If you’re expecting the same old story to be told again, with little more than the characters’ names changes, this book is not it. It’s wonderfully written with interesting characters, enough surprises to keep you guessing, and an incredibly sweet love story at the heart of it all. If this is what I can expect from Zoya Tessi, I’m getting in line now for anything else she decides to write.