Sometimes you’re in the mood for a read that’ll make your heart race. But what to choose? A pulse-pounding thriller? A steamy romance? You can have it all, my friend, with romantic thrillers. 

There are tons of romantic thriller tropes and plot premises, but “the bodyguard” is especially intriguing — there’s something about the conflict between duty and desire in the protector, the dangers of becoming too involved. And far from being damsels in distress, the protectee is often none-to-keen on the intrusion of security measures or may end up actually turning the tables in some way on the protector.

Whether you’re already familiar with the genre, or simply someone who loved the 1992 Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner movie, The Bodyguard, here are five thriller romances with bodyguard plots (both literal and figurative) sure to add some excitement to your TBR list.

Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout (William Morrow)

Sasha Keaton nearly fell victim to a serial killer a decade ago in her own hometown, and she hasn’t been back since. When she returns to help run her family inn, she hopes to make peace with her past. But her past won’t make peace with her. When Sasha’s threatened and the violence begins anew, she teams up with old flame FBI agent Cole Landis — the same guy who failed to protect her ten years ago. This time, though, he’s as determined to get it right as Sasha is determined to put the past behind her once and for all. A departure in genre for this New York Times bestselling author, Armentrout shows off her diversity as a writer, crafting a suspenseful plot with plenty of steam that will keep you guessing until the end.

Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin (Pocket Books)

This fast-paced standalone from the author of the RITA award-winning Tracers series features a particularly strong-willed heroine. Defense attorney Brynn Holloran cuts a pretty intimidating figure in the courtroom. But when a killer goes on the hunt for the people who put him behind bars, Brynn quickly finds herself in need of protection — because she was one of the ones who put him there. Enter private security guard, Erik, the soon-to-be bane of her existence. She chafes under the restrictions he imposes on her and, defying all advice, gets involved with the case she should be running from. Soon the sparks flying between her and the former Secret Service agent turn into the flame of passion as they join forces to find the killer before he claims another victim.

The Secret Brokers by Alexandrea Weis (Vesuvian)

Former FBI agent Dallas August runs a spy-for-hire business with some pretty powerful (and even criminal) clientele. Take Carl Bordonaro, for example, a major player among organized crime in New Orleans. When Bordonaro contracts August to guard the reclusive Gwen Marsh, daughter of a friend who’s a witness for the prosecution against one of Bordonaro’s competitors, he doesn’t do so solely out of the goodness of his heart. He’s looking for information. Specifically, what Gwen knows about the case that’s going to trial. And it’s Dallas’s job to find out. Only trouble is, as Dallas soon learns, Gwen doesn’t want or think she needs his protection. Time is running out and Dallas must change tactics to gain her trust — in the way that only a lover can — only to discover that she’s the one he probably shouldn’t trust. A fresh twist on the bodyguard theme that’s full of breath-holding suspense, The Secret Brokers is not to be missed.

Life of Lies by Sharon Sala (Mira)

Sahara Travis is used to being worshipped by adoring fans, but now someone is fixated on her in a dangerous way. After multiple attempts on her life, she reluctantly agrees to hire a security specialist for her protection, though the last thing she wants is some burly bodyguard invading her personal space. Former army ranger Brendan McQueen’s job is to keep the starlet safe and track down her would-be assassin. But when Sahara receives news that her estranged mother has been murdered and her father, the top suspect, is missing, Brendan quickly realizes this is much more serious than your average celebrity stalker. Another romantic thriller set in the Big Easy.

Keep Me Safe by Maya Banks (Avon)

Ramie is a psychic who can merge her consciousness with others, which allows her to help the sexy, alpha Caleb find his missing sister. But Ramie is also in danger, being stalked by a killer because of her powers. She goes on the run, but eventually realizes that she needs help in order to survive. Thankfully, Caleb is there to, well, keep her safe. The two grow closer as they hunt down the killer and try to keep Ramie alive. Keep Me Safe has everything: an interesting plot, plenty of suspense and a main couple you can’t help but root for in a fave read. (Review by Rachael Carter)