A new action-packed adventure series for young fans of Alex Rider and Jason Bournewith the first four books publishing simultaneously. Binge read for summer!
Teenage kickboxing champion Connor Reeves is determined to do his father, a former special forces soldier, proud. Recruited into the ranks of a top-secret young bodyguard squad known as Guardian, Connor trains in surveillance, anti-ambush exercises, hostage survival and unarmed combat. Whatever it takes to prepare him for the dangerous missions ahead.
But nothing can prepare Connor for his first assignment when the US president summons him to protect the First Daughter. For not even the Secret Service knows that a terrorist sleeper cell has been activated in America. Its mission: to take the president’s daughter hostage.
Combining pulse-pounding action, diabolical enemies, and an insider's knowledge of the tricks of the trade, the BODYGUARD series is the perfect target for fans of Alex Rider, James Bond, 24, and Jason Bourne.
Praise for BODYGUARD
“Breathtaking action . . . as real as it gets.”—Eoin Colfer, author of the bestselling Artemis Fowl series
"The training sequences are detailed and realistic, and Connor is relatable and likable. Featuring intense action sequences and strong friendships, this series starter will appeal to reluctant readers and fans of the 'Alex Rider' books."—School Library Journal on Recruit
About the Author
Chris Bradford (www.chrisbradford.co.uk) is a true believer in "practicing what you preach." For his BODYGUARD series, Chris embarked on an intensive close protection course to become a qualified professional bodyguard. His bestselling books, including the Young Samurai series, are published in over 20 languages and have garnered more than 30 children's book award nominations internationally. He is a dedicated supporter of teachers and librarians in their quest to improve literacy skills and provides free Teachers' Guide to his books on his website. He lives in England with his wife and two sons. Follow Chris on Twitter @youngsamurai.
Read an Excerpt
The fist caught Connor by surprise. A rocketing right hook that jarred his jaw. Stars burst before his eyes, and he stumbled backward. Only instinct saved him from getting floored by the left cross that followed. Blocking the punch with his forearm, Connor countered with a kick to the ribs. But he was too dazed to deliver any real power.
His attacker, a boy with knotted black hair and a body that seemed to have been chiseled from stone, deflected the strike and charged at him in a thunderous rage. Connor shielded his head as a barrage of blows rained down on him.
“GO, JET! KNOCK ’IM OUT!”
The shouts of the crowd were a monstrous roar in Connor’s ears as Jet pummeled him. Connor ducked and weaved to escape the brutal onslaught. But he was boxed in.
Then the ding of the bell cut through the clamor and the referee stepped between them. Jet glared at Connor, his advantage lost.
Connor returned to his corner. He sported spiky brown hair, green-blue eyes and an athletic physique—the benefit of several years of martial arts training. Spitting out his mouth guard, he gratefully accepted the water bottle Dan held out for him. His kickboxing instructor, bald-headed with narrow eyes and a flattened nose that had been broken one too many times, didn’t look happy.
“You have to keep your guard up,” Dan warned.
“Jet’s so quick with his hands,” gasped Connor between gulps of water.
“But you’re quicker,” Dan replied, his tone firm and unquestionable. “The championship title is yours for the taking. Unless you persist in exposing your chin like that.”
Connor nodded. Summoning up his last reserves of energy, he shook his arms and breathed deeply, trying to shift the stiffness from his burning muscles. After competing in six qualifying bouts, he was tired. But he’d trained hard for the Battle of Britain tournament and wasn’t going to fall at the last hurdle.
Dan wiped the sweat off Connor’s face with a towel. “See the guy in the second row?”
Connor glanced toward a man in his late forties with silver-gray hair trimmed into a severe crew cut. He sat among the cheering spectators, a tournament program in one hand, his eyes discreetly studying Connor.
“He’s a manager scouting for talent.”
All of a sudden Connor felt an additional pressure to succeed. This could be his chance at the international circuit, to compete for world titles and even earn sponsorship deals. Besides his own ambition, he knew his family could really use the money.
The bell rang for the third and final round.
“Now go win this fight!” Dan urged, giving Connor an encouraging slap on the back.
Popping the mouth guard into his mouth, Connor stood to face Jet—determined to win more than ever.
His opponent bobbed lightly on his toes, seemingly as fresh as in the first round. The crowd whooped and hollered as the two fighters squared up beneath the white-hot glare of the ring’s spotlights. They stared at each other, neither willing to show the slightest sign of weakness. As soon as their gloves touched, Jet launched straight into his attack—a blistering combination of jab, cross, jab, hook.
Connor evaded the punches and countered with a front kick. The ball of his foot collided with Jet’s stomach, and his opponent doubled over. Keeping up the pressure, Connor trapped Jet against the ropes with a torrent of punches. But Jet refused to back down. With the ferocity of a cornered tiger, he blasted Connor with multiple body blows. Each strike weakened Connor a little more, and he was forced to retreat. As he stepped away, Jet caught him with a crippling shin kick to the thigh. Connor buckled, opening himself up to another hook punch. Jet threw all his weight behind the attack. At the last second, Connor ducked, and the fist glanced off the top of his head.
Realizing he’d been lucky to escape the hook this time, Connor now knew Jet was gunning to knock him down with that punch.
Like two gladiators, they battled back and forth across the ring. Sweat poured from Connor’s brow, his breathing hard, his blood pumping as the punches and kicks came thick and fast. Connor felt his energy ebbing. But he couldn’t give up now. There was too much at stake.
“Stay light on your feet!” bawled Dan from his ringside corner.
Jet launched a roundhouse to the head. Connor double-blocked it with his arms and countered with a side kick. Jet leaped away, then immediately drove back in, fists flying. The crowd now going wild at the epic to-and-fro of combat. Connor’s name was chanted to the rafters by his friends from the Tiger Martial Arts Dojo: “CON-NOR! CON-NOR!”
Jet’s supporters screamed back with equal ferocity. The shouts reached fever pitch as they entered the closing seconds of the bout. Connor realized that if he didn’t knock Jet down, his opponent would likely win on points. But exhaustion was getting the better of him.
“Don’t drop your guard!” Dan screamed at him in frustration from his corner.
Jet spotted the gap in Connor’s defense and went for it. Jab, cross . . . hook!
But Connor had been feigning the weakness to draw his opponent in . . . and Jet had taken the bait. With lightning speed, he sidestepped the attack and thrust in a jab, stunning his opponent. Then, whipping his rear leg around, he executed a spinning hook kick. Jet never saw what hit him as Connor’s heel connected with the side of his head. Jet’s black mouth guard shot out of his mouth, and he crashed to the deck in a heap. A second later the bell rang to end the fight.
A dazed Jet staggered to his feet, helped by the referee. Connor bowed his respect to his opponent, who gave a begrudging nod in return. The presiding judge stepped into the ring. Clasping a microphone, he announced: “The UK title for the Battle of Britain Junior Kickboxing Tournament goes to . . . CONNOR REEVES!”
The crowd roared in celebration as Connor was presented with the trophy, a silver figure of a kickboxer atop a column of white marble. Connor felt a wave of elation and raised the prize high above his head in acknowledgment of his supporters.
Dan gripped him around the shoulders. “Congratulations, champ!” he said, grinning. “Your father would be so proud of you.”
Connor looked up at the glittering trophy and at the cheering spectators. He dearly wished his dad could have been by his side to share this moment. His father was the one who’d encouraged him to start martial arts in the first place. It had been his passion—and it was Connor’s too.
“I have to admit, you had me worried there for a second,” said Dan.
“Feign and fight,” replied Connor. “You taught me that trick, remember? So you deserve to hold this as much as me.”
Passing Dan the trophy, he glanced toward the second row and was disappointed to see the silver-haired man had gone.
“Wasn’t the manager impressed, then?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about him,” Dan admitted with a playful wink as he brandished the trophy.
“I’ve no idea who that man was. I just wanted you to fight at the top of your game—and you did!”