Wednesday, November 27, 2019

ARC Book #Review: Forged in Desire (The Protectors Series by Brenda Jackson #netgalley

Book Title: Forged In Desire (The Protectors # 1)
Author:  Brenda JacksonWebsiteTwitterFacebook
Publisher:  HQN Books
Genre: Romantic Thriller/ Mystery Suspense/ African American Romance
Series/Standalone: Book 1
Format: ebook, Mass Market
Cost: $5.99
Pages: 416
How I got it: ARC from NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
Publication Date: February 01, 2017
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Strong enough to protect her. Bold enough to love her.

When good girl Margo Connelly becomes Lamar "Striker" Jennings's latest assignment, she knows she's in trouble. And not just because he's been hired to protect her from an underworld criminal. The reformed bad boy's appeal is breaching all her defenses, and as the threats against her increase, Margo isn't sure which is more dangerous: the gangster targeting her, or the far too alluring protector tempting her to let loose.

Though Striker's now living on the right side of the law, he's convinced his troubled past keeps Margo out of his league. But physical chemistry explodes into full-blown passion when they go on the run together. Surrendering to desire could be a deadly distraction—or finally prove that he's the only man qualified to keep her safe, and win her love.
This is a spin off of the Granger series which featured the family of a man accused of murdering his wife and he was incarcirated wrongly. These men are some of the men he "adopted" while incarcerated and made a difference in their lives; with his help they fought for a change to their convictions or accepted their charges and improved their circumstances while in jail.  I absolutely loved that Brenda gave these men who aided the Grangers in their hour of need their own stories. In Captivated by Love we were left on a bit of a cliffhanger and I couldn't wait to see what happened.

This is the story of Striker who as a teen had his dream life in the palm of his hand and then a decision to put his little brother in a place he should have been safe comes back to haunt him. With the need to avenge his brother riding him he makes a decision that will impact his life and ends his dreams. Left with the guilt of failing his family Striker is in jail hellbent on making everyone feel his pain until Shep steps in to help him deal with his issues, he's not here for it though and it takes a while for Shep's influence to really make a difference but once it does, life changes for Striker. Fast forward a few years and he's here as a protector working with the men he met in jail and formed a bond with. and have built a business with. He's given a case to protect the niece of his best friend, except she's unaware they are related and he has to keep that under wraps as well.  He thought this would be a pretty easy gig, until the door opens and he's faced with a woman who hits all the right buttons for him and he's wondering if he'll be able to actually do his job and keep his attraction in check.

Margo comes from tragedy but has managed to live a great life, even if her Uncle is a little too over protective. She had done her civic duty and helped put away a man who was a career criminal with seriously bad ties to all kinds of bad people. When found guilty he puts a hit out on everyone in the court room, no one takes him seriously until bodies start hitting the floor and now everyone is scrambling to get into protective custody or hire bodyguards. Margo doesn't think she's going to be that high up the list of people killed so she's not as worried as her Uncle is and isn't very happy when he goes over her head and hires someone to protect her, but the alternative of living with him and his new girlfriend gives her nightmare so she'll suck it up and deal.  When the man meant to protect her walks in she's floored by her attraction to him and how good he looks.

As the circumstances heat up and more people are being killed Striker makes her aware that they are going to have to make changes to how she does things.  As a dress designer with a new bride who needs her dress by the end of the year, Margo can't give up her life because of a mad man, she'll make on the changes she needs to keep herself alive but she's not giving up her whole life.  As people who should have been well hidden begin to turn up dead they realize this is even bigger than a mad man who is flexing his power. This means there is some deep corruption within the ranks of the FBI and the local police and to help combat that they bring in a known behavioral scientist who also happens to be psychic to aide in the capture of this killer and those aiding him.

I loved how the mystery began to unfold and how we learned just what was happening why everyone seemed to be in danger. It appeared for a while that the criminal was going to win as so many were dying and the cops couldn't seem to get a bead on who was doing the work. I loved the relationship that developed between Striker and Margo. They had so much chemistry and tried their best to keep it professional but once they fell?? Girl get you a fan because my man Striker loves nothing more than working his woman from top to bottom ok?? Margo has never had this good. She is coming from a recent break up with a man who thought he was god's gift to women and treated her as less than, now back home she's surprised by the strength of her attraction to Striker and how well he treats her and makes her want.  With everything in her life in upheaval with this murderer on the loose she's finding that Striker is one of the few steady things she can rely on.

I loved how this all played together. I loved the romance between them was so hot and wild. They were brought together because of the circumstances but found they actually like each other. There are so many different little plot points that are coming together and I loved it all.  Margo led a more exciting life than she truly knew and I loved how it all was resolved.  Striker was an amazing character and the reason he was in jail sucked so bad. It impacted his life and how he viewed relationships and yet when given a chance to make a change he embraces it. I love their friendships and how close they were to their families (found family or otherwise) Striker and the men were hilarious and their witty comebacks aided in making this a great story. And that ending??? Girl!! Loved it.

I loved the mystery here and how it pulled on strings from the previous stories and how it laid the ground work for the rest of the series. I'm looking forward to more from the Protectors and can't wait for each of the stories. I highly recommend my loves, get you some.
Series In Order
Happy Reading my loves, 

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