Title and Link: The Protector
Author: N.L. Gassert
Publisher URL: http://www:seventhwindow.com
Genre: Contemporary, Action Adventure, GLBT (M/M)
Length: Novel (Print 191 pages)
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Soren Buchanan no longer wishes to work for his father, crime boss James Buchanan, nor does he want to continue his relationship with the dangerous and sexy Jolina Miciano. But Jolina has connections that would make James Buchanan more powerful than he already is. Unwilling to be a pawn in his father’s game, Soren decides to stop seeing Jolina even if it means having to suffer through one of his father’s vicious beatings. Beaten and bruised for his defiance, Soren flees to the FBI for help.
Mason Ward, former US Army Ranger and security specialist, lives a quiet life on a house boat docked off the island of Guam. Despite his lack of companionship, Mason believes he is living the life he’s always wanted. Then a job comes Mason’s way, one that will turn his life upside down: hide Soren Buchanan.Hiding Soren Buchanan should be easy money, but not for Mason. Soren is young, seductive and lacking the type of discipline that doesn’t leave bruises. It doesn’t help that Soren’s physical presence brings up desires Mason would rather not feel about a mobster’s son. Now Mason has to keep his mind on his job while being chased by thugs sent to bring Soren Buchanan home…dead or alive.
The Protector has one of the most unlikely pairings as protagonists. Hero #1 is Soren Buchanan: a spoiled, rich young man who has had everything given to him, hasn’t worked a day in his life, dropped out of school, lives with his abusive father who has his fingers in most major criminal activities in Guam, and his sometime-girlfriend is a criminal. Hero #2 is Mason Ward, who is 10 years older than Soren: Mason is a more traditional protag, divorced, ex US Army Ranger, security specialist, lives on a boat and thinks that his life is heaven on earth but he has a weakness for redheads and Soren is definitely a redhead. Then everything changes in an instant when Mason is asked to take on the job of hiding Soren who has become an FBI informant and is on the run from both his father and his girlfriend.
When the two meet it’s not exactly love at first sight or even second sight because they are total opposites and the first few days living in the close quarters of the boat don’t exactly endear them to each other as Soren does his best to live up to low expectations. But something happens when the protection game goes awry and Mason’s boat, “The Sprite”, is boarded by thugs out to capture Soren and return him to his father, even at the cost of Mason’s life. Soren realizes that Mason is not so bad after all and he fights to save him rather than return to the life mapped out by his father.
Before I opened this book I thought it would be the usual escapist fare with a couple of adventures that would allow our heroes to show their mettle and then live happily ever after in the Guam sunshine. It was all that and more! I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone who reads my reviews that great characterizations really make me sit up and take notice, even when the plot of a book does not live up to the hype. In this case I got both terrific characters I could root for and a very credible plot. The supporting characters were all wonderfully drawn – from crime boss James “The Smile” Buchanan, the very dangerous Jolina Miciano who wants Soren but on her terms, Ben Marques, Mason’s very suspicious and skeptical business partner, and a host of other great characters which, for a reader like me, is manna from heaven.
The romance between Soren and Mason is as delicious as the rest of the book. You will note that I said “romance” not sex, because that’s what it was. The thrills were almost non stop and the author only gave us a break when Mason and Soren explored their attraction to each other which neither of them really wanted but they were drawn as a moth to a flame.
The Protector is N.L. Gassert’s first published book and she is a very talented writer. Not only does she understand that aficionados of this genre need a lot of conflict and edge of your seat action and adventure, but that they also want characters who are flawed and genuine who act totally irrationally but still manage to tug at their heartstrings. Is this the best action adventure book that I have ever read? Of course not! But The Protector is a darn good book which gives value for money and is a thrill ride from start to finish. The story is equal parts terrorists, action/ adventure and suspense and as a fan of the genre I was engaged from start to finish. I wish that the book was longer because in my opinion Mason’s and Soren’s romantic relationship needed more alone time, but I understand that the author is writing a sequel and I am waiting with great anticipation for The Stalker which is scheduled to be released later next year.
I really enjoyed this story and I think you will too. Buy this book!