by Megan Hart
Series: The Protector #2
Also in this series: Dangerous Promise, Forbidden Stranger
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
A female bodyguard with enhanced abilities. A billionaire playboy committed to destroying people like her. A romance they didn’t expect…
Dive into the second book in this fantastic new series set in the near future from New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart!
Ewan Donahue has made a lot of mistakes, but making Nina Bronson want to leave him has been the worst. With the initial threats on his life out of the way, he doesn’t really need her protection, but hiring her to take care of him again is the only way to get her back in his life. When Nina shows up ready to work —and nothing else — Ewan’s determined to win her back. If he can break through the walls his earlier betrayal built, maybe they can have another shot at love. When it turns out that this time, it’s Nina who’s being targeted for danger and possibly death, Ewan’s the one who has to keep her safe.
“’You’re in a cage,’ the shadow man tells her without moving into the light. ‘I want to get you out of it. I want to save you.’
‘I’m the one who does the saving.’
The man’s voice fades as he speaks. ‘Not this time . . .’”
This book is the second in The Protector series, and shouldn’t be read as a standalone. It picks up a few weeks after the first book ends. I had some issues with the first book, mainly because I have a hard time with characters who lie, either directly or by omission. Given that, I was pretty pleased with the what happens in this book. As a warning, there are massive spoilers for the first book!
“’Imagine reaching for something you know you should be able to grab, and it isn’t that it keeps slipping out of your fingers. It’s simply not there. Maybe it was never there. Maybe you’ve only been fooling yourself. When they took away the memories, Ewan, they stole pieces of our self-confidence.’
‘I never wanted that for anyone.’
‘I know you didn’t,’ she said. ‘I know that’s why you erased the records to hide the tech. I know that’s why you worked so hard to make it illegal. I even understand why you didn’t tell me at first, why you kept it a secret. But how could you let me love you, knowing I didn’t know the truth? How could you do that to me?’”
Ewan never meant to hurt Nina, but he did, and, as the book starts, it’s uncertain whether they’ll ever be able to rebuild the trust between them enough to have a relationship. He’s rehired Nina as his bodyguard, even though he’s convinced that, now that his old partner is jailed, the threats to his life are minimal, because he wants her close to him, and Nina stays because she’s stubborn, and as much as she’d like to say otherwise, her no-longer-dormant emotions are still telling her she’s in love with him.
Nina is, as always, awesome. She doesn’t hold her punches with letting Ewan know exactly how much his actions hurt her, and Ewan seems to realize that his actions were unforgivable. It is a bit circular – they spend most of the book talking over how much Ewan’s actions hurt Nina, and how the relationship may never recover. Just when I thought Ewan was finally getting it, he went and did something else ridiculously stupid (trying to avoid spoilers) as a “surprise.” While nowhere near as bad as the original lie, it was more proof to Nina (and me) that he didn’t understand her. And then, of course, it seems like things finally click, and I went from wanting to smack Ewan (and not in the way he likes) to wanting to cuddle him and then tearing up because he was being so damn sweet.
“He tossed up his hands. ‘Fine. But I’m cooking. You sit and look pretty.’
‘Yes,” she cooed, ‘because that’s exactly my goal in life. To sit quietly and look pretty.'”
Besides the “can Ewan be forgiven?” main plot, there was a whole multitude of subplots, from vandalism at the lab site where Ewan’s apprentices work, to degradation of Nina’s enhancements leading to unpredictable memory loss, to Nina becoming the spokesperson for legalizing the enhancement upgrades (including an interview on kitten heels), to Nina’s sister reaching out after years of silence. Ms. Hart does a superb job of ratcheting up the tension, bit by bit, as the reader starts to figure out the connections while Nina and Ewan are preoccupied with dealing with everything being thrown at them. I literally could not put this book down, and I was itching to start the final book in the series the moment I finished it, as it ends on quite a cliffhanger.
Overall, this was quite an enjoyable and thrilling ride! Highly recommended, especially if you love alpha women and scifi romance!