Lone Defender

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Title: Lone Defender
Series: Heroes for Hire
Author: Shirlee McCoy
Publisher: Love Inspired
Published: September 6, 2011
Pages: 224

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Private investigator Skylar Grady goes to Cedar Creek, Arizona to find a deadbeat dad behind on child support payments. She soon finds out that this “simple” case isn’t so simple when she finds herself abandoned in the Arizona desert. Now, along with trying to find out why someone wants her dead, she also must try to get out of the hot seemingly endless desert alive. Sounds easy enough.

After six days of tracking, former patrol agent Jonas Sampson finds Skylar near death and weak. Hours after finding her he’s thrust into a life or death situation and he’s determined to get them both out alive. After making it out of the desert alive, Jonas is determined to find who’s responsible for the attempted murder and to get Skylar to go home, well maybe one of two.

Skylar refuses to go home and is just as determined to find her almost killer. They feel an attraction for each other and being thrust together doesn’t help that attraction. They need to combat murderers, complacent sheriffs, and a growing attraction that neither of them really want or need. With a determination to find out who wants them dead and come out alive, they search for clues despite the odds and the “help” from the local police.

Will Jonas and Skylar ever get together or will past fears keep them from each other? Will they find out who wants them dead before they succeed or will they end up six feet under without an idea who killed them? If they get together will Skylar and Jonas’s attraction wane after the excitement fades or will it get stronger with time?
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I usually read a book to be transported to a new place and hopefully a new climate. Much to my disappointment, this book was set in my home state and offered me no escape from the temperature or climate. Despite my disappointment, I gave this book the benefit of the doubt and tried to really enjoy it. What I found surprised me a little.

Thankfully, the author didn’t really keep the story focused on or in the desert. However, her descriptions of the hot, dry climate is really good. She describes it realistically and doesn’t hold any punches when it comes to how deadly it can be, guns and hitmen no included. In fact, the descriptions in the whole book is fantastic. Her description greatly help this book.

The suspense is typical for a novella and one that can be figured out by even the newest suspense readers. Like I said, it’s pretty easy to figure out who wants the characters dead, but surprisingly it’s not easy to figure out the motive behind it. That alone keeps you guessing and adds a little twist to an otherwise lackluster suspense.

The romance is also typical of a book this size. The characters feel a mutual attraction that the author unfortunately doesn’t really touch on very much. It also has that sudden declaration of love that leaves both the reader and the characters shocked. The romance seems stiff and kind of cookie-cutter for the genre and size of the book.

Starting any book this size, you honestly don’t expect much from them. You expect a rushed storyline with a quick romance that is easy to read in a day or two and most of the time, you get what you expect. Though I don’t love the suspense imprint of Love Inspired, I also don’t hate them. They give a quick suspense fix when I want to read one but not an entire book to get it. They have their pluses but don’t go looking for a full novel quality book in these little guys.

Overall, this book is good for a quick suspense fix but not full novel quality. I recommend this from someone who loves these kinds of books or someone who’s starting out in this genre. I give this book a three out of five.

*I received a complimentary ebook of this book from the publisher through the netgalley program. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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