Conrad “Con” Mercer is a hitman living a solitary life. Despite accepting his choices, Con doesn’t find much solace amidst the violence until he sees woman that quiets his mind. As he watches her from a distance, she grounds him and gives him a few moments of respite. She is his glimmer of hope and light until his world shatters such purity.
“Tell me your darkest sin, and maybe I’ll tell you one of my hundreds”
Charlie is the proprietor of a local flower shop and mainly keeps to herself for her own reasons. However, when she begins to sense she’s being watched from afar, rather being scared, she feels safe despite not knowing the man cloaked behind the car’s tinted windows. But for Charlie, experiences occur in her life for a reason and this unknown man is about to unleash a chain of events.
“Staying closed off was the only way I knew to survive. When I’d made the mistake of letting someone in, I’d paid dearly for it.”
Conrad knows having a weakness in his line of business can be disastrous because of predatory practices by his colleagues. Unknowingly bringing danger to Charlie’s doorstep, Con has no choice but to protect what he feels is his no matter the consequence. During their time together, Charlie is hesitant to trust Conrad but with limited options, she begins to realize there’s more to him than just a Kevlar protected shell of a man.
“He brought his palm to my cheek. I flinched, but he only used the pad of his thumb to wipe my tear away. “I won’t hurt you. You’re safer with me than anywhere else.”
As truths are revealed, Conrad discovers that Charlie isn’t a shrinking violet and her resilience offers an equalizing balance to their relationship. For the first time, Con begins to be hopeful for a future rather than just being resigned until his number is called. Working together, Charlie and Con try to outrun the bounty on their heads until the only option available becomes glaringly apparent.
“I made all the wrong decisions long before I found my thorny rose, and I deserved death more than most.”
With the tension of fighting a mob boss and his minions, there isn’t much time for Charlie and Conrad to rest, but the intensity of their situation stimulates the awareness of their feelings toward each other. Knowing they must live in the moment, the sexual tension they feel is palpable and when they surrender, it’s combustible.
“Say my name when you come.” I dove back down and fastened my lips around her clit, licking it with the broad side of my tongue until she froze and fractured into a million pieces.”
From the first page, the pace is swift offering vivid play-by-action leading to some serious page turning moments. As for the characters, Conrad’s bad ass persona is sexy and very alpha but knowing there is a softer side to him, adds to his appeal. With Charlie, on the surface she seems like a softie but being able to hold her own really strengthens her character. Additionally, with both willing to sacrifice for each other, shows just how self-less they can be. In addition, Conrad’s friend, Nate, is a worthy character and deserves a mention. His humor and easy going ways made him a standout and really balanced Conrad’s intensity.
As I’ve said before, Celia Aaron is a natural born story-teller gifted with the ability to stylistically craft the written word. Each time I read one of her books, I’m amazed at her range, creativity and skill. In Dark Protector, Ms. Aaron invents a world where two characters would unlikely merge but then shows how everyone deserves a second or even third chance. For those looking for a suspenseful romance, I highly recommend Dark Protector.
*An ARC was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.*
*This was a (F)BR with Twinsie Hawkey and Lonestar Liz!
Title: Dark Protector
Author: Celia Aaron
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 27, 2017