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Book CoverSandy M’s review of Protected (Deadly Secrets, Book 3) by Elisabeth Naughton
Romantic Suspense published by Montlake Romance 20 Mar 18

Elisabeth Naughton is one of those authors who got away from me after enjoying a number of her early books. No reason other than time and too many books. So when I wasn’t sure what to read next recently, her name popped up, and because I’ve been disappointed in favorite authors lately, it was time to go back to some roots. I’m so very glad I did.

Kelsey McClane is finally on her way to success and independence. She’s gotten rid of her jerk of a husband and her new fashion line has been touted by leaders in the industry as the next great thing. Only blight on all of this is that ex is not happy he’s been cast aside and she’s out of his control. So her overprotective brothers have tasked their good friend Hunter O’Donnell Kelsey’s bodyguard as she makes the media rounds showing off her new collection.

Hunter is a family friend; he grew up with Kelsey and her siblings, so when she’s suddenly seeing him in a new light, it takes her by surprise. But all of that is cut short when the building they are in, when Kelsey is about to go on camera, comes tumbling down, leaving them trapped under debris in the dark. The ensuing time as they keep each other’s fear at bay while awaiting rescue leaves them with a somewhat better understanding of the other, and their attraction amps up quite a bit.

All of this is the opening chapter and the book only gets better from there. You’re lulled into a sense of quietude and then suddenly right along with Hunt and Kelsey you’re thrown into more danger, fighting your way out by your fingernails. Ms. Naughton does a terrific job on the suspenseful action every time something goes wrong, even though these two try their best to pull the villain out of his comfort zone.

I enjoyed the McClane family, though we don’t meet the entire family until later in the book. We see them all from Kelsey’s POV as an adopted child, along with her brothers, and the love and admiration among them is boundless. Even Hunt is considered another son in this loving circle. We also have to go along with Kelsey as she conquers fears left over by her ex, and I love how patient and gentle Hunter is with her as she travels such a difficult journey, which is only exacerbated by current ongoing events.

This is Book 3 in the series, but it can definitely be read as a standalone. I didn’t even realize it was part of a series until I was done reading. It only makes me want to start on the first two, which I will be doing soon.

sandym-iconGrade:  B+


Up-and-coming designer Kelsey McClane is on the cusp of success. Recently divorced, she should be enjoying her newfound freedom and glamorous future. Instead, she’s living in fear of the past. When she returns home to Portland on a press tour, danger creeps closer than ever. As threatening messages from her bitter ex-husband leave her vulnerable, a new man in her life makes her feel protected.

Former Army Ranger turned security professional Hunter O’Donnell is hired to guard Kelsey. When a shattering explosion rocks her world, Kelsey’s ex is the prime suspect, but Hunter speculates there’s more to the situation than Kelsey’s letting on. Intent on keeping her safe, he delves into Kelsey’s past. As the two work together to unmask her stalker’s identity, a fire ignites between them that they both struggle to contain.

While the investigation proceeds, it draws them closer not only to each other but also to a lethal plot that’s been in the works behind their backs. And with each new secret unveiled, it’s not just temptation putting them at risk—it’s a madman who will not stop until Kelsey is dead.

Read an excerpt.

Other books in this series:

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