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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

ARC Review: Guardian by Nancy Northcott

I was drawn into this story from page one. Our heroine, FBI agent Mel Wray looking over the crime scene where the victim had been one of her close friends. I’ve always been a fan of crime scene investigation shows and Northcott’s writing clearly displayed Mel’s character as the strong, independent, and courageous woman many of us love to read about as well as infused her character with roiling emotions and insecurities that most of us can easily connect with. While feeling the pain of Mel’s loss you can instantly recognize the telltale signs of a woman who will stop at nothing to do her job and take care of herself and her own.

Faced with the guilt of allowing her job to make her late to visit her friend, only to find upon arrival that she had been brutally murdered, Mel settles into the small town of Wayfarer outside the Okefenokee swamp. The local authorities agree to allow her to work the case with them as they are grasping at straws and feel that any help is better than nothing at all. What Mel wasn’t expecting however was that their on-call consultant happened to be Stefan Harper. Her college boyfriend and once upon a time love of her life. They’d parted ways with her suspecting him of being unfaithful, hiding a sizeable portion of his life from her, and they’d never spoken again. Just upon hearing his voice for the first time in years sent both her mind and body into overdrive, digging up deeply buried wounds and insecurities.

Dr. Stefan Harper is a Mage, a renowned healer and researcher working for the Southeastern Shire of the Mage society, and a consultant to the local police department. Living a double life as the Mage community keeps strict laws enforcing the keeping of secrets about their kind. Fighting against demons and ghouls to protect not only the human populace but the world in general being a full time job tends to take it’s toll, but it’s a calling that Stefan and those of his kind must answer. Generally carrying pride for his duties only cost him once in his mind, when he had to keep from telling the woman he loved what he was from fear of her possible lack of acceptance. Leaving her and his heart crushed all those years ago. Then, after being called in on a seemingly ghoul-related murder he finds himself face to face with the woman who’d never let go of his heart.

Mel and Stefan’s story comes together in a highly enjoyable cocktail of action, emotional turmoil, self growth, romance, and a love both find themselves willing to fight for. There is just the right amount of romantic tension threaded throughout their journey and this makes the case of argument that something you truly desire is worth fighting for. The action scenes were well written and both the crime fighting realism and magical supplements blended well giving you the opportunity to see it play out clearly in your mind. The supporting characters were a wonderful addition as they helped to aid Mel and Stefan in their development and growth throughout, as well as helped to fully flesh out the entire story.

This was the second full length novel in Northcott’s Protector’s series, third general installment. Book one being Renegade, followed by the novella Protector. Both of which I plan on purchasing so that I can read more about this world of danger, myth, and magic. If you are a fan of PNR and looking for a title that gives you the entire package I suggest you check this one out.

**ARC provided by NetGalley**

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