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275 pages, ebook
First published February 27, 2017
Celia Aaron’s newest release is purely and simply AWESOME. I loved it! I was immersed in this story from the very first page and I couldn’t put it down for one minute. I’ve read several books by this author and this one is, in my opinion, her best work to date. 'Dark Protector' is gripping, entertaining, filled with suspense, action and steam and also some darkness and violence to keep you intrigued. If you like dark, mobster stories, with alpha anti-heroes and strong, endearing heroines, then you have to give this one a try.
“A woman like her wasn’t meant for a man like me.”
Conrad ‘Con’ Mercer is a dangerous man. He’s a man who kills without remorse. He has been a killer for more than ten years, working as a hitman for the bosses in Philly, doing his job flawlessly and making a name for himself. Conrad has been fascinated with Charlie from the moment he saw her through the window in her flower shop. He knows he’s not the man for a woman like Charlie, but he wants her. Seeing her every day or every night when he parks his car close to her shop is the only thing that calms him, the only thing that brings him peace.
“He moved with aggression, every part of him dripping calculated vengeance. Even his predatory walk screamed danger. Yet he was eerily beautiful for a man who killed without remorse. ”
Charlie is aware of the man who’s watching her. For some reason she doesn’t feel threatened. The strange thing is, even if she doesn’t know HIM, she somehow feels protected.
Conrad has never planned and never hoped to meet Charlie face to face, but when Charlie finds herself in danger because of him, he’s ready to do anything to protect her. He will do anything for her to be safe, because protecting her has become his reason to be. But the only way he can insure her safety is by being with her non-stop until the danger passes.
“Keeping her close wasn’t an option anymore. It was a necessity. (…) She made an addict out of me. It didn’t make sense, but I couldn’t change it. Maybe I didn’t want to.”
Charlie is not very thrilled her life was turned upside down and now she will have to stay close to Con. While she’s not afraid of him, she desperately wants to get her life back. As time passes, their situation gets complicated when they find out the enemy wants both of them dead.
In order to survive, they have to learn how to trust each other. What happens when the attraction between them becomes too much to ignore? Will Con be able to protect Charlie against the enemy? Will he be able to give her up when the time comes?
“She was a reward I didn’t earn, a gift I didn’t deserve. But like the selfish bastard I was, I would take everything she offered.”
'Dark Protector' is dark, raw, fast-paced and I enjoyed every minute of it. I liked the premise and I found the story-line to be very addictive. Celia Aaron perfectly blends the romance, action and suspense, delivering an entertaining gem that had me hooked from the start. The plot is well-developed with some interesting turns and twists as the story progresses.
Both Con and Charlie are well-portrayed characters and perfect for each other in a very intriguing way. Con is a hardened, calculated killer I really liked reading about. His background is well done and I loved how protective he is towards Charlie. He is sweet, sexy, thoughtful and considerate and in some way, I loved his staking ways. If Charlie seems to be just your usual sweet and innocent heroine at the beginning of the story, as it unfolds, she proves that she’s so much more. She’s strong, a fighter, a bada$$ heroine, with a snarky attitude and a past she wants to forget.
The author did a really great job regarding the chemistry between the two main characters. It is purely and simply fantastic, the sexual tension between them is off the charts at times and the sex scenes are really hot.
“Her nails were heaven on my skin, her tongue paradise on my lips. I kissed her rough, too rough, but every primal instinct that lived inside me demanded that I give her everything I had.”
There’s some insta…something between Con and Charlie but, much to my surprise, I wasn’t bothered by it at all. However, I would have preferred their romantic relationship to be more developed.
As for the supporting characters, I loved Nate and I really hope he will get his own book. He almost stole the show for me!
All in all, 'Dark Protector' is a fantastic read, filled with action, suspense, violence, romance and steam, a great plot and engaging characters!
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“The mottled flesh told the story of blood, pain, and a life lived in service to death. I couldn’t imagine anything different. These hands were violence and nothing more. Even so, I imagined how Charlie’s skin would feel under my rough touch.”
"Death before dishonor."
"When I'd made the mistake of letting someone in, I'd paid dearly for it."Charlie is a florist who has done her best to live a quiet life in her quiet corner of the earth. When her world is shaken by the sound of gunfire, Charlie is suddenly thrust into the world of mobsters, greed, death, and destruction.
"We kissed like we were ravenous for each other. What was left of my soul entwined with hers."Conrad was born to kill. He is a man who was meant to live in the dark and kill. A contract assassin, he has done well for himself by following orders. When a quiet florist catches his eye, he tries to watch her from a distance. But when Charlie is thrown into the fire only Conrad has the strength to protect her and keep her safe. Charlie is hesitant to trust Conrad at first. After she has experienced great pain, Conrad has a lot to prove in order to win her trust. When passion sparks between the two, they are drawn together and lust and love drown them in a great tsunami.
"I'm going to have to fuck you until you know just how bad I can be."Told in dual POV, Dark Protector has a well constructed plot with plenty of action and intrigue. Both Conrad and Charlie have haunted pasts and the intensity they share between them drives the action. As Conrad pushes harder to gain Charlie's trust, Charlie fights back until she realizes Conrad is her only way to finding peace. Although Conrad and Charlie's connection happened quite fast, the connection was intense and charged with passion and love. I loved the contrast between Conrad and Charlie and together they became a force to be reckoned with.
He moved with aggresion, every part of him dripping calculated vengeance. Even his predatory walk screamed danger. Yet he was eerily beautiful for a man who killed without remorse.
I won't hurt you. You're safer with me than anywhere else.
For the moment, i was safe in the arms of a killer
My life is yours. From the moment I first saw you, it was yours. I didn't realize it then, had no idea how much you got me...
You were the only thing that led me through the dark. Seeing you on the other side made it all bearable, even if I would never get to hold you.
I was afraid he'd see the full picture and know just how broken I truly was.
i wished a lot of things - that we'd met under different circumstances, that I could spend more time getting to know him, that our days weren't numbered.
You're it for me. The only one I want to kill for. The one I'd die for.
I'd die a thousand times over if it meant she got to live for even one more day.
He was a battlefield, his story told with blood and scar tissue.
I’d always thought of her as a delicate flower, but her past had given her thorns. Ones I needed to inspect, to run my hands along them until they drew blood, until I understood every ounce of pain she’d endured.
“We got a plan, Sam. It’s real heroic. Ends with one of us getting his dick wet.” Nate stuffed flash grenades into the dark green duffel. “Hopefully, it’s me.”
Dark Protector Playlist:
Obsession - Sky Ferreira
In Your Grave - Jaymes Bullett
Payback - Juicy J
Furious - Ja Rule
Transmission - Zedd, X Ambassadors
Stockholm - Atlas Genius
Let's Run Away - Matt and Kim
“Tell me your darkest sin, and maybe I’ll tell you one of my hundreds”
“Staying closed off was the only way I knew to survive. When I’d made the mistake of letting someone in, I’d paid dearly for it.”
“He brought his palm to my cheek. I flinched, but he only used the pad of his thumb to wipe my tear away. “I won’t hurt you. You’re safer with me than anywhere else.”
“I made all the wrong decisions long before I found my thorny rose, and I deserved death more than most.”
“Say my name when you come.” I dove back down and fastened my lips around her clit, licking it with the broad side of my tongue until she froze and fractured into a million pieces.”
"The moment I saw you, something inside me -something I thought it died a long time ago- clicked. I didn't realise it then, but I do now. You're it for me. The first, the last, the only person I want to touch or taste. The only one I want to kill for. The one I'd die for.
"Why would an angel cry for a sinner like me?"~Conrad
"You’re it for me. The first, the last, the only person I want to touch or taste. The only one I want to kill for. The one I’d die for.”~Conrad
“I love you more than I’ve loved anything in my whole life. You’re worth dying for.”~Conrad
"You’re mine. You’ve always been mine. I just had to find you.”~Conrad
Every life I took, every decision I made—they were all leading me to her. She was a reward I didn’t earn, a gift I didn’t deserve. But like the selfish bastard I was, I would take everything she offered. Each touch bound me to her.
“I don’t deserve you.” He kissed my hair. “But it doesn’t matter. I’ll kill to keep you in my arms where you belong.”
I sighed as sleep tugged me down. “You make murder sound more romantic than it should.”
“Killer with a heart of gold.”
“Stop.” He bit my lower lip.
“All soft and melty on the inside.”
“I’m warning you.”
“A real sweetheart.”
He smirked. “That’s it.”
“What?” I played innocent.
“I’m going to have to fuck you until you know just how bad I can be.”
...his mouth telling me that he would always find me, protect me, and most of all—live for me.