Series: Special Forces: Operation Alpha
Also in this series: Blackburn
Published by Aces Publishing on September 10, 2019
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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There’s nothing sexier than a Navy SEAL in pursuit of his woman.
In theory, Cindy Lake is an expert in romance. In practice? She’s a failure at love. After her boyfriend dumps her, taking a break from men seems like a good idea. Then Marcus Harrelson walks back into her life. Hot. Infuriatingly patient. With a smooth Texas drawl that makes her weak in the knees.
For years, the tragedy that stole his family crippled Marcus with guilt. But he’s not that broken man anymore. The moment he sets eyes on Cindy again, she stirs in him feelings that are far from platonic. She’s always been sexy. She’s always been sassy. He sees her now and that sweet promise of a second chance. Unfortunately, someone else sees her too.
When Cindy becomes the target of a stalker, convincing her that she needs a protector is his first priority. The second? That he’s a man she could trust with her heart. There’s an undeniable spark between them. But that spark could become deadly.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Although Guarding Cindy didn’t tickle my fancy, I can in all honestly say Marcus was scrumptious. A seasoned Navy SEAL turned security expert, he had the bossy, alpha hunk qualities I love best in my ex-military heroes.
I wished I had read Reclaiming Izabel first to have going into Guarding Cindy, to get a stronger connection to Cindy and Izabel. In this novella, it refers to Cindy supporting Izabel during tough times, and what a true friend she was. Unfortunately, I had no way of witnessing this and as such, my appreciation fell to the suspense aspect of the story rather than her relationships. This means I wasn’t really hooked until the latter part of the book when the drama kicked in and later was ramped up.
Cindy is a caring person. Absorbed in helping her good friend Izabel with whatever she’d need, but taking the most pleasure in what she enjoys doing most, cooking. Foodies will have a field day with Cindy’s enthusiasm with her culinary obsessions LOL. I think we could all do with a friend like Cindy to shop and food prep for us! She was also kind to her neighbours Mrs. Jung and Danny and his mother. She also had a needy side to her, at times with reason but overall she came across as a drama queen. For a woman in her 30s, I struggled with her constantly blaming her father for her insecurities.
Marcus was a likable character and obviously a big fan of Cindy’s. His alpha ways were rarely off and he was all about protecting Cindy… Except for the time he asked if she could wait a couple of hours when she called him to come and get her. WTH? If I was Cindy I’d be looking at that as a deal breaker LOL.
The 16 year age difference is referred to on multiple occasions but it wasn’t apparent within their interactions. I didn’t pick up on any age-difference nuances, despite their significant age gap. It was as if they were both from a similar generation. They instantly connected at the same time as being awkward around each other. One minute they couldn’t keep their hands off each other then the next they were holding back.
I had to backtrack a few times to make sure I hadn’t missed something in between chapters. We are told rather than shown what was happening and intermingled within a heavily descriptive narrative. I was kept guessing with the mystery surrounding Cindy’s stalker which was crowded with suspects. I wasn’t surprised when the stalker was revealed but I was taken aback by the reason behind the stalking. That certainly made my heart rate skyrocket until the drama was over!
I liked her neighbour, Mrs. Jung, and loved what she added to the story. While she was every bit as intense as the other characters, it was her caring grandmotherly nature that impressed me. I needed her presence to counterbalance the intensity of the other characters.
For a novella, there was no scrimping on the story. My only struggles were with the initial over descriptive scenes and a few scene jumps. The epilogue wrapped up the story perfectly, gently returning to the romance which left me content and happy.
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