In the note attached to my review copy, author Sharon Mignerey asked to be sure to include the last “e” in her name. Not only will I remember that “e”, I will clearly remember her name and look for her future books to see if they are as engaging, captivating, suspenseful and romantic as Friend, Lover, Protector.
The premise is simple: Dahlia Jensen needs protection because her sister, Lily witnessed a murder by a man connected with the mob. This man will do anything to keep Lily from testifying. He has attempted to hurt her parents, threatened her sister, Rosie, and has now honed in on Dahlia. A friend of Lily’s, Ian Sterne, is already protecting Rosie, so he asks Army Ranger buddy, Jack Trahern, to be Dahlia’s bodyguard. There is one small problem with this…no one told Dahlia.
The sparks fly when Jack meets Dahlia. There are lots of obstacles to their romance: past experiences and hurts, opposite likes and dislikes and the danger from these men out to first kidnap, and ultimately kill, Dahlia. But there is lots of fun too…working together to follow a storm, installing the new alarm system, cooking out and playing with the dog.
Jack is on leave from the Rangers, recuperating from knee surgery and the therapy to get it back into shape. He is struggling with the fact that it looks like he will never be able to pass the physical. In addition, Jack has been hurt by beautiful women and assumes beauty hides deceptions. Dahlia is a beautiful woman, and doesn’t match his perceived profile. He relies on his instincts and yet is trained in thoughtful planning and detail. He loves to cook and he is a nice looking man to boot.
Dahlia on the other hand, is a storm chaser, determined to finish groundbreaking research on lightning. Jack hates storms! Dahlia needs to see evidence to believe anything and her idea of cooking is to heat up a microwave dinner out of the box! The one thing they do share is a love of nature and animals, including Dahlia’s dog, Boo.
Dahlia is convinced that she attracts the wrong kind of man, based on her two previous experiences…an ex-husband who cheated and an ex-fiancé who was a drug addict. Now she has to convince herself that it is okay to trust her instincts with Jack. And Jack must see below the surface to find the essence of Dahlia.
Jack and Dahlia possess traits that make them strong lead characters: intelligence, courage, fear at the right time, audacity to confront those fears, level headedness, and sexual sizzle. This is not one of those stories where you find the heroine going down the stairs to check out a noise. At the first noise, she hightails it out and tries to find Jack.
Besides their feelings, they must confront Dahlia’s spiteful boss, Jack’s sense of over-protectiveness and Dahlia’s need to be in control, and those lustful thoughts of each other. I never thought making love in a van during a storm could be so hot!
It isn’t often I find myself this engrossed in a tale where the characters meet and fall in love in such a short period of time. But Mignerey’s handling of this aspect makes things seem realistic and their love is not just based on lust…they actually share stories of their past and discuss their feelings with each other. They share humor and sorrow. The development of their love seems realistic, as they both wrestle with these feelings and how the past affects their present feelings.
If you are looking for a taut, thought provoking and realistic story of two people who come together in a dangerous situation only to find the best of themselves and each other, then I heartedly recommend Friend, Lover, Protector. If you want an equally great romance, you are in for a double treat.