His to Protect
By: Karen Rock
Releasing October 1, 2016
Subject: Lt. Commander Mark Sampson
Mission: Keep his eyes on the skies…despite one sexy distraction!
There are things a man can never undo. For Coast Guard search and rescue pilot Mark Sampson, it was the agonizing decision that cost him a teammate—and his faith in himself. But an unbelievably sexy blonde on a secluded beach may help him forget…if only for a night.
Cassie Rowe needed a distraction—and, boy, did she get one! How was she to know the brooding stranger who rocked her world was the pilot who'd left her brother to die? And now they're on the same mission. She should hate him. But she can't fight the storm of desire threatening to pull them under…
To read this story while keeping an eye out for the real-life hurricane causing havoc and misery where ever it touched down made reading this book an unforgettable experience, the images of the tale fierce and vivid in my mind.
I admire so much those people who are willing and able to put themselves in danger to help others, no matter what the cost. The struggle Mark had with the past events that were still echoing in the present time, gave the rescue personnel a very human side, showed the price they pay, and the sacrifices they make.
Those rescue scenes in the tale had my heart pounding, the fight against the force of nature incredibly intense, every moment a matter of life or death, the extreme preciseness that needed in every move they made just left me breathless.
Cassie and Mark's chemistry was strong and passionate. They connected on many levels, yet the conflict between them was something they had a little control of themselves. The constant life and death situations they work with has no room for fear or second thoughts, yet Mark can't imagine losing another person dear to him after the hell he had been through in the past year with guilt and self-doubt.
It was interesting to see the hero to be the one with so much vulnerability, doubt, and fear while heroine soared and excelled. It worked for me in the beginning, and I wouldn't take any moment away from Cassie, with her success in her professional life and her personal development. But Mark's decisions guided by the fear got a strong reaction from me, it was something that I struggled with. I think the development of the relationship could have benefited from an epilogue, as the ending left me needing more.
Two forces of nature - love and hurricane - showing their fiery, stormy, passionate essence, touching the lives of the characters, changing them for good, and leaving them thunderstruck. A marvelously fascinating tale, that came eerily close to reality as watching Matthew make its havoc
~ Four Spoons
“Abandon ship! Abandon ship!” Dylan hollered as the boat shuddered and lifted before crashing smack down on its side.
Cassie leaped into the whirling water and kicked hard against the sucking drag, her life preserver no match for the powerful force. Coughing and spitting out salt water, she flailed, trying to keep her head above the enraged ocean intent on swallowing everything. Including her.
Dylan reached her, cradled her head in his arm and began kicking them backward, hard, keeping her mouth above water. When she looked skyward, she didn’t spot the Jayhawk and her heart seized.
Had they lost them?
Would she and Dylan drown?
“Keep kicking!” urged Dylan and she put her shaking muscles into it. The injured swimmer wasn’t giving in and neither would she.
Several seconds, minutes, hours seemed to pass— she’d lost count—as she and Dylan battled the waves before, miraculously, a rescue strop dropped directly in front of them.
In a flash, Dylan had them hooked. Air whistled around her as they swung toward the helicopter. Larry snatched them into the cabin the moment her toes grazed the side of the aircraft.
The cabin door slammed shut. She blinked at the crying, shaking and staring survivors and her thoughts tumbled. A deep shudder started in her gut and rattled her to her toes. She pressed her hand against the Jayhawk’s side, not trusting that she really was out of the water and here.
When she caught sight of her v-fib patient, she crouch-walked to his side as the helicopter wheeled then sped. What a relief to see the IV still attached to the litter.
She checked his vitals and tourniquet.
Stable. Critical, but stable. Hopefully enough to get to the airport then medevac to a major hospital.
A life saved. One for her and how many more for these extraordinary men? She looked around the cabin, deeply impressed as Dylan shrugged off any fussing over his dangling arm and began checking passengers alongside her.
“Swimmers.” Larry rolled his eyes at Dylan. “Crazy sons of bitches.”
“Or looking for some shirt candy,” put in Rob with a sheepish glance behind him.
“It’s an Air Medal for sure. You, too, Cassie, if you were in the Coast Guard.” Dylan’s cocky grin was firmly back in place.
Her gaze swerved to the cockpit and a spark, like the shock off an electric fence, went through her as she met Mark’s eyes. They stared at each other for a moment before he turned back, but the glimpse of his anguished expression tormented her. Made her want to reassure him she was fine. Not scared after all, she suddenly realized. She’d been so intent on her job, so focused on her survival, that she hadn’t been meek at all.
The change swept through her skin, whirling in the vast spaces between her atoms, reconfiguring her into someone else—or perhaps, as Jeff had pointed out, the person she was meant to be all along.
My favorite meal to make is chicken parmesan because it's my family's favorite and it reminds me of when I was a little girl, sitting at my nonna's kitchen table, listening to her teach me how to make it. I make my own marinara sauce and I'm excited to share my recipe with you:
4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
4 large cloves of garlic split in half
2 cans (28oz crushed tomatoes)
3 Tablespoons minced fresh basil or 3 tsp dried basil
1 Tsp sugar
2 Tsp salt
1 Tsp ground pepper
Heat olive oil over medium heat until haze forms, then add butter. Add onions and turn heat to low; cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not brown (about 5 min). Add garlic and continue cooking until soft but not brown (about 4 min). Stir in tomatoes, basil, sugar, salt and pepper. Increase heat to high and bring to boil stirring constantly, then turn heat down to low. Cook, partially covered, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let sauce rest an hour. Remove garlic cloves from sauce before using in a dish.
Tenderize thin breast filets then brine overnight. An hour before frying, dip chicken breasts first in flour, then beaten eggs then Italian bread crumbs mixed with parmesan cheese. Lay pieces on wax-paper covered cookie sheet and put back in fridge. An hour later, heat a mixture of oil that's two part corn oil (it fries hotter) to one part olive oil (great flavor) in a skillet. Fry each piece until golden brown on both sides and remove to paper towel-covered plates to drain.
Spread a thin coat of sauce on the bottom of a cookie sheet. Lay the fillets on top. Spread more sauce on top of each breast. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and cover in shredded mozzarella (whole milk mozzarella melts the most evenly). Put in a 375 degree F oven for about 20-25 minutes. Take out when the cheese turns a golden brown around the edges but the majority of the cheese should still be white.
Serve chicken atop your favorite pasta and mangia :)
Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet and spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of both YA and adult contemporary books writes red-hot novels for Harlequin Blaze and small-town romances for Harlequin Heartwarming. A strong believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers with a smile.
She enjoys returning to her teaching roots when speaking at regional and national writing conferences and interacting with other writers. She has a Master of Fine Arts in English and has continued to learn and grow professionally through her work with YA co-author, fellow romance author, friend and sister-in-law, Joanne Rock.
When she’s not writing, Karen is an avid reader who’s typically immersed in three different books at a time, all in different genres. She also loves cooking her grandmother’s Italian recipes, baking, Christmas (no need to specify—she loves every bit of it), and having the Adirondack Park wilderness as her backyard, where she lives with her husband, daughter, dog and cat who keep her life interesting and complete..
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