Monday, July 1, 2013

ARC Review: Guardian by Nancy Northcottt

Guardian (The Protectors #2)



FBI agent Camellia "Mel" Wray is no stranger to violence but when an old friend is brutally murdered, she takes it personally. The case hits even closer to her heart when the best person to help with the investigation is Dr. Stefan Harper, the only man she ever loved-and lost. One look at the gorgeous medical expert and Mel realizes he's still impossible to resist-and still harboring a secret after all these years . . .
Afraid Mel wouldn't accept him, Stefan never revealed his study of magical medicine or his abilities, instead allowing her to believe he'd been unfaithful. Now she's back in his life-and their mutual attraction burns hotter than ever. But when something dark and otherworldly threatens humans, Stefan must summon his mage powers to keep everyone safe. Will Mel be able to trust him again? Or will their love cost him even more than it did the first time?

Guardian is the second full-length novel in the new Protectors series by Nancy Northcott.   Full of all the Mages that have been grabbing me since the beginning of the series, I awaited this book on pins and needles.  Getting to see Stefan fight for his HEA with the woman of his dreams was a unique and heart-wrenching experience.  Full of amazing imagery and an interesting take on magic and evil, this new world is as intriguing as any I've wandered into in novels. The series has a great story plot for each of the couples, but a masterfully written overall story arc as well, to tie each of their battles together, which is never an easy thing.
The story revolves around Stefan, what I would classify as a healing-mage, with just a bit of battle-mage thrown in for sexiness and Mel, his one love that he lost almost a decade before, who is a mundane, but a very strong willed FBI agent too. Mel finds herself caught in the middle of a strange new world when she finds her old friend has been murdered under very strange circumstances that suspicious links to other deaths in the area.  When Stefan is also called in to consult on the case, their worlds collide and there is no hiding from the passion still burning between them or the love that still echoes in their hearts.  But can she bring herself to trust him after he broke her heart all those years ago?
The love between Stefan and Mel is evident to any fool looking on as they interact, and as I’m no fool I know these two were in deep no matter how hard they tried to keep it locked down.  The heat rolling between them was like a bright burning bonfire, flaring one second and then mellowing to bright embers the next.  As they work together to regain the trust they once shared and fight the evil after them we get the unique opportunity to see how they have grown and continue to open their minds to each other and their needs. There were definitely times I wanted to slap Mel as hard as possible for not just giving the man she loved the benefit of the doubt, but I can understand that trust comes easier for some than for others. It was heartbreaking to see Stefan put himself on the line over and over just to have Mel pull back or try to push him away because she couldn't handle the truths right before her eyes.
The overall story arc for this series took some very fascinating turns as well.  I won’t spoil the surprises, but needless to say the Ghouls are beginning to evolve in some scary ways and seeing how devastating it can be for the Mundanes they are attacking was hard to read.  The continuation from previous novels in the series was flawless and I cannot wait to see where Northcott takes these new plot lines.  But needless to say this part of the story kept up very well with the romance and relationship issues, allowing the characters and the plot to work off each other and become all the better for those twists and turns.
In the end, I have to say that Guardian is one of the new reads for the summer not to be missed.  I am a fan of all the books in the series, but have a special place in my heart now for Stefan’s story.  Stefan and Mel are both special in their ways—Stefan’s just a bit more obviously.  Seeing Stefan and Mel work together to overcome some pretty staggering odds and still find time to fall back in love, gives us more Mundane people the hope that our petty issues can still leave us time to find love.  I am anxiously awaiting where Northcott will take us next in their world.  
And just for a personal note I love that the setting for the series is familiar to me and something I can relate to, makes it even more remarkable to me to be able to feel myself right their moving through those swamps with the characters.  Great work Nancy!

Rating: 4.25 stars

Rose Rating: 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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