A hero who doubts his ability to be heroic, and a heroine from one of the underworld’s murkiest families discover they would sacrifice anything for each other.
Air Force Captain Chuck Tanaka barely survived horrific torture after being captured during a secret mission. His body has mostly healed, but his confidence in himself hasn’t. He believes his instincts and nerves are shot, so he tells himself he’s satisfied spending the rest of his career riding a desk and testing the technology that will keep other missions from going FUBAR.
But his commanding officer has other plans, and he convinces Chuck that he’s the only man who can pull this one off. He needs Chuck to go undercover on a cruise ship owned by mobster. They have credible reports that the ship is being used as a cover for a terrorist cell, so Chuck poses as blackjack dealer named Charles Tomas.
The operation seems fine until the mobster’s daughter, Jolynn Taylor, joins the ship. Suddenly Chuck finds himself intensely attracted to the woman whose father he’s working to bring down, the woman who may have the information he needs to complete the most important investigation of his life.
Protector is the second Catherine Mann novel I’ve read, and I’m totally infatuated with her gutsy heroines and high-octane heroes. Especially her heroes (good grief, check out that cover! :)). She writes characters who manage to be strong and vulnerable at the same time, always a combustible combination when they’re forced into life-threatening situations together.
I loved, for example, this exchange in a safe house after Jolynn discovers the cute blackjack dealer Charles Tomas is actually a lethal military man who may have been flirting with her to get information about her father.