Payne Protection's latest hire has a secret agenda…but his heart keeps getting in the way!
Digital security specialist Nikki Payne is eager to prove herself. So when former marine Lars Ecklund asks for her help in tracking down his sister, Nikki happily volunteers her services. But she doesn't anticipate falling for her role as nanny and bodyguard to a baby they're protecting…or uncovering a raging hunger for guarded Lars.
To find out what happened to his sibling, Lars must get into a fortified mansion at any cost and track down an elusive lawyer. But his fierce desire for Nikki is complicating everything. Putting the stunning spitfire in danger doesn't sit easily with him, yet he has no choice if he's to reclaim his sister—or create a future with this new family.
Oh, how I wanted to love this story and Nikki Payne's chance to working in the security instead of with them, and not to mention her chance to find her perfect mate and fall in love.
The plot was well thought out, it had twists and turns, it had a chance for the relationship development and the action, the suspense was escalating and the intensity high on both fronts.
I also liked the main characters, Nikki Payne and Lars Ecklund. Nikki had always lived in the shadow of her brothers. Her life dream had been to be included not to protected. She wanted to be as bad ass as her brothers were, and that desire seemed to have come to the point that she spent most of her time whining about her brothers and over reacting to every move possible to be considered as a protective one. She didn't want a relationship because she didn't trust a man wouldn't treat her like her dad treated her mom.
Lars, the big, tall, blond Viking was looking for revenge. During his last military deployment, his sister had disappeared, and the last known person to talk to her was the sleazy adoption lawyer, the Payne Protection's new client. To find out what happened to his sister went over his loyalty to his marine brothers, his willingness to find his sisters destiny the only thing driving him forward. I liked how Lars' vulnerability and dedication to his sister were shown in the story. He was a good man, yet a little lost at the moment with grief and worry.
There were many elements in the story that I liked and found entertaining. I kind of wish the first half of the story would have been revised since it was a merry-go-round of who can trust whom, who is professional enough to handle what, who is tough enough to do the job, who is the boss, and who could we trust again, who was brother to whom, and who was getting married to who, and it just went around and around for the first 50% of the book.
The story had several points of views, and there was no rhyme or reason of the timing of who gets to tell their point of view in the tale, or a clear mark when the storyteller changed. Stopping and going back to check what did I miss now, who is this person talking and why was there the change of point of view broke the natural flow of the story and sadly my enjoyment as well. Basically, the story needed a good dose of tough love editing, and since I read an eARC, not sure if that was fixed in the final copy.
Because there's so much potential in the story, both in the suspense and the romance side of it - with the plot, with the characters, the power struggles in the family, the visit with the previous characters in the series - but somehow it all was left under the clutter, and I found myself mostly frustrated instead of enjoying the read.
Yes, it is a good story with charming characters who come from a family with lots of love. They sincerely care for each other and want to protect each other and the world, they have a passion for what they do and it shows in their success. But unfortunately, most of the enjoyment in the story was impaired by technicalities.
~ Three Spoons
MY GRADING SCALE:
5 Spoons - Amazing, memorable story that I loved and want to read again. The best of the best and not given lightly
4 Spoons - Fantastic, entertaining story that I enjoyed and connected with and will gladly recommend to readers
3 Spoons - A good story, not much that stood out but I was engaged enough to spend the time to read it through
2 Spoons - A story with some issues, that were a problem to me
1 Spoon - Not for me