5 out of 5 Stars
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Talk about an edge of your seat thriller! This is the first novel I have read by author Ella Sheridan, and wow! It’s extremely explosive. I fell for Elliott. She’s a very strong, courageous woman who has myriad secrets to keep. I also fell for Deacon and Sydney. Deacon is a soldier for hire, a man who, during a long ago mission, managed to get on the wrong side of a very dangerous person. Sydney is his cuter than anything little girl. I could not put this book down. It’s a rollercoaster from page one clear to the end. I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future!
Reviewed by Deviant Diamond
Our Blog was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
Elliot Smith has trained hard to live alone and work alone, even when it comes to her job as a security specialist for JCL Security. No relationships, no ties, except the one to the man who kidnapped and murdered her mother. She’ll do anything to kill Martin Diako, the untouchable South African pirate king. When Deacon Walsh walks into her office, she finally sees a chance to do just that.
Deacon went from soldier to mercenary warrior to stay-at-home dad, and now his past is back to haunt him. Martin Diako, the father of the terrorist Deacon killed two years ago, is coming for revenge, and he has his sight set on Deacon’s daughter. An heir for an heir. Deacon will do anything to protect her, even if it means asking for help. But the security team he’s hired comes with an added complication: the only woman to interest him since his wife died.
Deacon always leads his team, and Elliot protects hers. They might have one chance at their enemy—if they can work together. Will their hunger for each other pull them together, or push them apart?
Dain glanced over his shoulder, one last assessment of his “troops” before presenting them to his commanding officer. His gaze settled on Elliot, and the warmth she recognized there eased the panic in the pit of her stomach. When he nodded, she found herself squaring her shoulders and putting on her game face.
Dain gave a peremptory knock and opened the door.
Here we go.
Her gaze shot immediately to the head honcho’s desk, but the sight of Jack was blocked by a set of wide shoulders wrapped in a tight black T-shirt. Wide, muscular shoulders. Elliot saw the same sight nearly every day—all of her team members were “built,” so to speak; they all dressed in what she called military casual, fatigues and tight tees. None of them had ever made the breath catch in her throat like this man did.
Brown hair left shaggy at the top, cut close in a semimilitary style as it tapered to a cropped V at the base of his skull. Tanned skin along his neck and heavy arms. The man’s back narrowed to a tight ass and legs that told her he was just as strong as Saint or King or Dain, so what did he need with them?
Oh, right. Kid.
Forcing herself to stop eating up his manly form with her eyes, Elliot fell into line next to Dain to one side of Jack’s desk.
Their boss made the introductions, alpha to alpha. “Dain Brannan, this is Deacon Walsh.”
Deacon? Actual name or military call sign? Their team all had call signs they went by while on mission, but clients typically didn’t. There hadn’t been time to brief them on more than the very basics of the assignment—number of clients, degree of threat. A call sign gave her a small hint as to why the guy looked like he’d be the last person asking for their help, though.
“Please, call me Dain.” The two men shook hands, and that was where Elliot focused. On their clasped hands, not on the sudden uneasy squirm in her belly. She didn’t understand what was wrong with her. She didn’t question clients, and she sure as hell didn’t have a…reaction…to them. But there was no doubt that everything feminine in her, all the parts she’d thought were good and dead, thank God, were doing weird dances in this man’s presence. And she didn’t like it. She didn’t like it one fucking bit.
“Deacon, meet my team: Elliot Smith, Saint Solorio, King Moncrief. Elliot will be assigned to your daughter’s personal protection, of course.”
“No, she won’t.”
That jerked her head up. Her gaze clashed with grim brown eyes in a grim, hard face. Deacon Walsh stared down at her like she was a puppy who’d just pissed on his boot. “Excuse me?”
“I said, no you won’t.”
Dain shifted next to her. “Elliot is the best member of our team to—”
“You’re not assigning your weakest guard to my daughter simply because she’s a woman.”
It had been Elliot’s argument too, sort of, but instead of cheering, she gritted her teeth. Was this bastard saying she was too little to kick ass if she needed to?
She didn’t even realize she’d tried to step forward until Dain’s hand came out, blocking her advance. Elliot settled back on her heels and waited. Of course, she glared daggers into the man’s stern eyes while she did it, but what were they gonna do, fire her?
The thought almost made her snort. She held back just in time.
Dain’s words were cut off with an abrupt slash of Walsh’s hand. “My daughter is top priority on this assignment. Nothing else matters but her. She needs more than one scrawny wom—”
“Did you just call me scrawny?”
Elliot felt more than saw her team members take a step back, Dain included. A warm rush of pride filled her at their acknowledgment that she could fight her own battles, but she didn’t allow it to get in the way of her focus on Walsh. His gaze swept over her, and though she thought she detected a hint—a very vague hint—of embarrassment in their depths, mostly his eyes held frustration and anger. So did his response.
“I sure as hell did.”
The final word was barely past his lips when Elliot struck. A fake palm heel to the big man’s chin had him jerking back instinctively, giving her a mere second to connect a kick with his inner thigh. She did avoid the groin, though—no need to thoroughly piss off the client, after all. Her grin was probably a tad too exultant as the strike brought Walsh’s head forward, right into her elbow.
“What the fuck!”
Chuckles from her teammates mixed with Dain’s and Jack’s shouts as she grabbed Walsh’s closest arm and turned, putting her back to his chest. When she dropped to one knee, Walsh flipped over her head. Ah, the joys of leverage. He hit the floor back first. A quick arch and push brought him to his feet—just in time for Elliot’s swift kick in the ass. Walsh stumbled forward.
Dain caught him, fighting hard to keep the grin on his face under control.
No more than fifteen seconds had passed, but Elliot was already briskly brushing her hands together like she’d finished taking out the trash. Or proving a point. Said point might get her fired, but what the hell. They were used to her lack of communication skills around here.
Jack sputtered behind his desk, his face a shade of red she’d never seen on him before. Not very flattering.
A loud laugh pulled Elliot’s focus to the client. Walsh bent, his back to her, the long furrow of his spine drawing her attention right down to the best ass she’d ever laid eyes on—and in her line of business, she’d laid eyes on a few. A warm hum that had nothing to do with a good fight sparked deep inside her.
Dain shook his head, one hand coming up to rub tiredly at his eyes. Elliot shot him a sheepish look.
Jack cleared his throat. “Mr. Walsh, I apologize—”
Walsh’s raised hand precluded any apology. “No need, Jack.” He turned, and Elliot read the amusement in his expression with relief. So maybe she wouldn’t be fired today. “I believe I’m the one who should be saying those words. Nice job, Smith.”
Not Miss Smith, which was what most clients labeled her with. Just Smith. As if she was one of the guys. The final bit of resentment fizzled out. Okay, I can work with that.
That was when she noticed the heat in her cheeks. Looking anywhere but at their client, her gaze met Saint’s. When she moved to stand next to him, he leaned in to whisper, “Don’t bother being embarrassed now, Otter. Too late.”
She punched him in the ribs.
About The Author:
Ella Sheridan never fails to take her readers to the dark edges of love and back again. Strong heroines are her signature, and her heroes span the gamut from hot rock stars to alpha bodyguards and everywhere in between. Ella never pulls her punches, and her unique combination of raw emotion, hot sex, and action leave her readers panting for the next release.
Born and raised in the Deep South, Ella writes romantic suspense, erotic romance, and hot BDSM contemporaries. Start anywhere—every book may be read as a stand alone, or begin with book one in any series and watch the ties between the characters grow.
★ Anything can happen in the shadows of a sultry Southern night. Explore the heat with the SOUTHERN NIGHTS romantic suspense series.
★ Secrets and sex abound in the SECRETS TO HIDE contemporary romance series.
★ Dark desires come to the fore in IF ONLY, a BDSM contemporary series.
“The perfect blend of suspense and romance.” – Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
“Ms. Sheridan writes suspense that grabs you and won’t let go.” – Tea and Book
“The perfect kind of naughty…with [characters] that have great chemistry.” – Alpha Book Club
“A great plot, likable characters, witty banter, and seductively wicked love scenes—the perfect recipe!” – Blogging by Liza
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