Author: Karen Erickson
Series: Book #1 in the Protect and Defend series
Release Date: April 2012
Formats available: ebook
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance, Smashwords
Grade: 3.5 stars
Goodreads appetizer: He’ll protect her at any cost…
Protect and Defend, Book 1
Protecting the vice president’s daughter is Secret Service agent Mason Russell’s top priority. With the election looming and the party’s hold shaky, Mason’s been given an important assignment – rein the controversial party girl Blake Hewitt in.
He’d like to rein Blake in all right. Keep her under his control and naked beneath him at all times. Blake is the sexiest thing he’s ever seen but she’s strictly off limits. Though she tempts him like no other.
Banished from the capital and sent far away to the family’s vacation home, Blake seizes her chance. She’ll make Mason hers no matter what it takes. But the noble Mason doesn’t make it easy, and danger lurks where they least expect it.
My Thoughts: I have discovered Karen Erickson thanks to her erotic historical romance novella Lessons in Indiscretion last year, I enjoyed it so much I knew she would be an author to follow, and when I saw her latest delicious releases (Under His Protection and Worth the Scandal) I couldn't resist.
Under His Protection is the first novel in Karen Erickson's new romantic suspense series all featuring deliciously handsome Secret Service agents as their heroes, the Protect and Defend series.
Under His Protection is Blake Hewitt's story, who is the daughter of the vice president of the United States. Though Blake is an intelligent and successful, beautiful young woman due to her parents political ambitions she grew up quite alone without the warmth and care of a loving family. She constantly feels the judgment and disapproval of her father even though she is no child anymore. My heart went out to Blake so many times, she tried so hard to help her father, to make him value her and love her only to be faced with his disappointment and emotionless response. Due to this emotional abandonment of her family and having been taken advantage of because of her position Blake is a fragile and vulnerable young woman when it comes to human relationships. But what amazed me was that despite all the deceit and disappointment she has had to face was how trusting and optimisitic she was. She always wanted to see the best in people, and her need to have friends and people close to her sometimes made her blind to reservations and natural doubt. I liked how despite having been burned several times Blake was not a vulnerable heroine, and she still retained her humour:
“I love it when you call me that. No one ever calls me anything but Blake or Ms. Hewitt or pain in the ass.”
The hero of Under His Protection is Mason Russell, one of the two Secret Service agents appointed to ensure Blake's safety. Of course as the other agent is a middle-aged happily married father there is no competition to Mason who is ruggedly handsome, and no wonder his serious dedication to his job and his quiet intensity make him irresistible to Blake.
Due to their relationship (boss' daughter, working relationship) Mason does everything he can to resist the sparks that fly between them and tamp down his attraction and lust for Blake. But his attraction is more than simple lust, being her shadow he has an understanding of Blake's true character and witnessing how her father's treatment affects her he feels sorry for her and angry on her behalf.
When finally Blake wears down Mason's resistance then Karen Erickson brings out the fireworks: at times their lovemaking is passionate, at times tender but it is always hot!
“You’re beautiful in this light. Your skin...glows,” he whispered and she forgot all about her hang-ups, her worries over gaining a few pounds.
If you haven't yet read any Karen Erickson book you don't know it yet, but you can always expect some heart-melting romantic scenes, and Mason sure did not disappoint:
“I’ll protect you with my life,” he vowed, meaning every single word.
“What are you doing here?” She pulled away, staring up at him with wonder as she cupped his cheek with cold, slender fingers.
“I came for you.”
Verdict: I found the suspense element in Under His Protection not too original as the plot twists could be guessed in advance since Karen Erickson laid down the groundwork with ample clues and details left here and there, but despite this I found it an addictive read, one I gobbled up in no time. The resolution and flow of the story bring no surprise, like a well orchestrarted romantic comedy the reader knows what they will get. What Under His Protection delivers are a swoonworthy quiet yet intense hero, steamy and sensual love scenes and a movie worth big ending scene. Under His Protection is a great mix of a dashing and fiercely protective hero, hot loving and just a pinch of thrill, served shaken.