Series: Masters and Mercenaries #16.5, 1001 Dark Nights #84
Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated
Release Date: July 31st 2018
My Rating: 5 Cups
Source: InkSlinger PR
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Their first chance at love ended in heartbreak*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.
Wade Rycroft fell in love with Geneva Harris when she was the smartest girl in his class. The rodeo star and the shy academic made for an odd pair, but their chemistry was undeniable. They made plans to get married after high school. Those plans changed when Genny broke his heart. Joining the Army gave him a chance to leave that life behind. News that Genny married the town’s golden boy let Wade know that he could never go home again.
A chance encounter rekindles an old flame
Fifteen years later, he’s found his place in the world and tried to forget the woman who left him standing in the rain. After leaving the Army he forged a new life as a bodyguard at McKay-Taggart, but he still feels incomplete. When his brother’s wedding brings him home to Broken Bend, Texas, he walks into a storm of scandal. Genny’s marriage has dissolved, the town has turned against her, and someone is making threats. Seeing her again reawakens feelings he thought were long gone, and he worries that staying close enough to help her could be too much to bear.
Their reunion just might kill them both
After an attempt is made on Genny’s life, Wade can’t refuse to help her. Watching over her day and night, it’s clear that having her back in his life could be the thing to finally make him whole. When the danger follows them back to Dallas, their second chance at love could be over before it even begins.
**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.
This was such a powerful story wrapped in a small package. It packed a punch and I really didn't expect it.
I'm used to Blake ripping my heart out with her longer novels, but this novella really surprised me. Protected is the story of Genny and Wade as they try to make sense of the last fifteen years, all while trying to find some sense of normalcy. Genny was abandoned and betrayed by everyone around her, including Wade, and for the last fifteen years she's lived in hell. Genny is finally finding her courage to stand up for herself and heal. I really hated everyone around her, from her father and her abusive ex, to the people who could have been her actual family, including Wade. Although Wade had nothing to do with it, he still played a part in what happened, and I couldn't help but be angry at him at times. Genny is such a strong character, but she's wounded, she's in so much pain, and I understood her wanting to sacrifice herself. I was really proud of how she handled things at the end of the book.
Wade is a sweetheart. Yes, I hated him a little bit, but at the end of the day, they were both kids. They didn't know any better and there was no way he could have predicted what happened. I was more angry at the rest of his family that was involved in this. Although my initial reaction to what he told his brother was to want to stop him in some way, I realized pretty fast that he was right. His big brother really did betray him, so I understood his anger.
In the middle of this storm is Ash, Genny's son. He's such a mature boy for his age, and it's so sad that he got to grow up so fast. A kid his age should be loved and protected, not subjected to the kind of life he and his mom had. I was really sad and angry for him, but I was also immensely proud of him for how he handled things, even his mom.
We also get to see beautiful, gorgeous, amazing power couple, Ian and Charlie, but this time in a different light. We get to see old and new faces to this amazing thing for the women of their group, and everyone is welcomed with open arms. This story really did make me fall for Ian more, because while he can be insanely difficult, he can also be very smart and what he did for Genny and Wade was amazing.
The epilogue hints at a major thing that happens in the Masters and Mercenaries world and I wonder if this somehow relates to the spin off series. I am very, very, very curious to see what happens next.
There's moments of insane hilarity, courtesy of Ian - of course -, as well as moments of great sadness. I ended up shedding a tear or two, because the story really did touch me. The story is also pretty fast paced, full of a lot of tension and drama, and even the tender moments have a tiny thread of uncertainty, up until a certain moment in the book where I was able to finally feel like everything would be okay. All in all, I really loved this novella, and I am anxiously waiting for the next book in the series.
Coming to other retailers October 29, 2018
“Don’t. Don’t tell me how to feel. I know you’ve worked through this, but I don’t know how to.”
“It helps to admit that we were all children back then.”
“My mother wasn’t.” He needed to talk about this with her.
“No, but she wasn’t the same after your dad died. She was lost and I’ve forgiven her,” she replied quietly. “You can’t spend your life being angry.”
“You’re angry with me.”
For a moment he thought she would ignore him. Then she turned to him, her eyes shining in the moonlight. “Maybe. It’s hard to figure out how I feel about you. For a long time, I dreamed about you at night. You were the only man I ever loved. Brock killed that. I think he might have killed the part of me that can love someone other than my son. I didn’t feel a lot when my father passed. But then he was the one who told me to suck it up. I went to him after Brock hit me the first time. He told me to not make my husband mad.”
“Genny, he should have killed him. I would have. God, I should have.” That sorrow that had been building inside him threatened to spill over. Anger was there, but it was overshadowed by the terrible pain he felt at the thought of her being alone and afraid.
“It’s funny,” she said, studying him in the silvery light. “I went over pretty much every possible scenario I could, and this wasn’t the way I thought you would handle it. It’s why it took forever for me to talk to you. I thought you would either not care at all or that you would be so angry you went after everyone. I hesitated because I thought I might unleash a beast.”
He could give her this. Since the moment he’d learned the truth, he’d genuinely forced himself to think about how he reacted. It would be selfish to act out in anger when she needed him to be calm, to think about what was best for her. The drive from Broken Bend to Dallas with Ash had made that clear to him. They needed someone who would thoughtfully protect them, not a raging animal who fed his own needs. “You’ve had enough anger in your life. It’s there. God, it’s there, but I swear I won’t act on it because I won’t do anything that could hurt you. I’ll try to handle him in every legal way I can and if I have to take him out, I’ll do it in a way that can never come back on any of us. You don’t need my rage. You do need me though.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Because you think I’ll let you down again.” It wasn’t a question.
“Because I don’t want to love anyone again,” she admitted.