Guarded by Carmen Fox

A saucy, urban thriller for adult eyes only, Guarded by Carmen Fox relies heavily on sexual plot twists, however the sharp writing makes for a heck of a ride. With a plot steeped in science fiction, the novel’s protagonist navigates a world in which her neighbors are vampires, werewolves and demons, and boy, do they look good! As Ivy Bell investigates the disappearance of her boss’ daughter, she encounters a trio of men who may not only lend their assistance to their case, but perhaps a little sexual healing as well. Given Ivy’s physical and genetic make-up, she’s literally irresistible and unable to ignore her sexual attractions towards other men. Of course, this simple fact ensures that business often mixes with pleasure in order to reach a greater good.

At first glance, one may be led to believe that Fox created a weak protagonist, as there are moments when Ivy inexplicably swoons over any type of sensual glance from the opposite sex. However, the character makeup is rather brilliant, because it allows the author to fully dive into sexually explicit scenes without apologizing for Ivy’s actions. Sure, there are a few unintentionally comedic moments, but for the most part, Fox sticks to her plot without veering off into erotic fantasies. All in all, Ivy comes across as a hilarious but deeply flawed woman, and therein lies the drama as she must embrace her own flaws to save lives. A few extra female characters might have given more depth to Fox’s lead, however the complexity of Ivy provides much to contemplate, along with her collection of supporting characters whom are coming to terms with their own haunting realities.

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