When Tara Fujimoto’s quest to avenge her sister’s death makes her a target, a sexy security specialist steps in to watch her back, but his quiet appeal threatens her carefully guarded heart. Can she resist their lightning-hot attraction, and stay alive long enough to expose her enemy?
Former military special operator Jeff Patarava has good reasons to keep his distance from his impossibly perfect coworker, but when her life is threatened, his resolve is shot to hell. Forced into close proximity, sparks fly as he learns she’s far more than her flawless appearance suggests. Now, he’ll put everything on the line to keep her alive.
Growing up, Gwen Hernandez wasn’t brave enough to share the stories in her head with other kids, but they usually involved intrigue and romance. She was raised in the Army and Navy, and married an Air Force engineer, so it’s natural that her Men of Steele series features military heroes and heroines who must overcome danger to find true love.
The former programmer and manufacturing engineer also helps authors all over the world find the joy in Scrivener through Scrivener For Dummies, online courses, in-person workshops, and private training.
In her free time, she likes to travel, read, run/bike/hike, flail on a yoga mat, and explore her current home of southern California where she writes surrounded by houseplants. To learn about new releases and giveaways, join her newsletter, or find her online at gwenhernandez.com or ScrivenerClasses.com.
Blind Justice is the fifth book in Gwen Hernandez’s Men of Steele series of romantic suspense novels centred around the men – and in this book, women – who work for the high-end private security firm owned by Kurt Steele. I’ve read some – but not all - of the previous books in the series (I reviewed book three, Blindsided) but Blind Justice works perfectly well as a standalone, so readers new to this series and author can jump in here without feeling lost.
Tara Fujimoto is Steele Security’s business manager. She’s smart, tough and determined; she’s worked hard to put her messed up past and poor choices – especially in men - behind her, and is finally in a place where she feels comfortable with herself and who she is. She’s happy in her work, thinking of the guys at Steele as brothers, men she can admire from a safe distance – and they all view her as a kind of ‘office mom’, someone who won’t let them get away with any crap and who tells it like it is. Her job doesn’t involve field work, but as the book opens she’s mounted an operation of her own to bring down the man she holds responsible for her sister’s recent suicide, a photographer named Mars, who promised modelling careers to young women and then forced them into having sex with him. Although it’s not a Steele Security operation, she’s asked one of the team – recent addition Jeff Patarava – to provide back-up, and while they’re waiting for the police to arrive, Tara examines the camera to see how many shots of her were taken. As she’s flicking through the files, she sees an image that makes her feel even sicker than she already did, a picture of a man having sex with a girl who can’t be more than fourteen. The man in the picture has a distinctive tattoo that seems oddly familiar, but before Tara can think more about it, the police arrive, and she and Jeff become involved in giving statements.
Jeff, a former Air Force combat weatherman (and yes, we do find out more about that job later in the book!) hasn’t been with Steele Security very long, but he’s slotted into the team really well and gets along with everyone – although he can never quite relax around Tara, the tension of an attraction he doesn’t want or need seeming to weigh in the air between them whenever they’re in proximity to one another. He enjoys his job, but his stint with Steele is only meant to be temporary, something to provide an income while he focuses on his one and only priority – finding his four-year-old son Evan, whom he hasn’t seen in months. Finding out he was a Dad was the reason Jeff left the military, but the boy’s mother moves them around a lot and hasn’t been in touch for ages; now she’s disappeared and Jeff is desperate to find his son.
His insistence on not getting too settled and avoiding entanglements is blown to bits, however, when Tara is attacked in the parking garage after work one day. He runs the guy off, coming to her rescue, as Tara dryly admits, for the second time that week, and then she realises something else. The attack was no mugging – the guy didn’t want money or her purse – so what could he have been after? Could it have something to do with Mars? Could he have hired someone to take revenge on her before he committed suicide? And did he really take his own life?
As if that wasn’t bad enough, things take a turn for the worse when, after seeing Tara home, the fire alarms go off in her apartment building and once outside, she and Jeff are separated in the confusion and threatened at knifepoint. Action and quick-thinking enables them to escape, and it’s even more clear now that Tara is in very real danger… but who wants her dead, and why?
Gwen Hernandez has put together an intriguing dual storyline here, placing Jeff’s search for his son within the larger framework of trying to keep Tara safe and finding out who is behind the threats against her. The reader is privy to a few scenes in the would-be killer’s PoV, but we don’t know exactly who he/she is until the reveal – although we do learn the truth of their motivations and that they’ll stop at nothing to get Tara out of the way. The author paces the story well, although I worried that things were in danger of fizzling out around three-quarters of the way through – but then realised I’d been lulled into a sense of false security – rather like Tara and Jeff – as the tension ramped up again with a twist I hadn’t quite seen coming.
As is often the case with single-title romantic suspense, the central relationship develops fairly quickly, but because the author has done some groundwork showing that Tara and Jeff have been ignoring their mutual attraction for a while, and because they end up spending time in close proximity while evading the killer, it doesn’t feel too rushed. The couple has strong chemistry and the sparks fly from the off, but both have good reasons for not wanting to get involved with anyone. Tara has a history of hooking-up with and getting attached to the wrong guys in search of personal validation, but she’s sorted herself out over the past few years and is, at last, happy with herself and the direction her life is taking. And Jeff wants to provide a good home and stability for Evan, which means a job where he’s home on time and not risking his neck on a daily basis. I liked the way Tara confounded Jeff’s expectations and how she was so ready to help him in his search for Evan in spite of having her own shit to deal with; and Jeff’s devotion to his son and his desire to be a good dad – and his fears he won’t be – make him into a human and relatable hero. The way he and Tara support each other through some pretty dark times shows clearly that there’s much more between them than simple physical attraction, and kudos to the author for making Evan seem like an actual four-year-old rather than a teen in a child’s body.
Blind Justice is an entertaining read that combines a well-constructed suspense plot with a steamy romance featuring an attractive central couple. I had a few minor issues – Tara refers to having been kidnapped before (in a previous book), which made me wonder about lightning striking twice, and I wasn’t wild about the assumptions Jeff made about her being a high-maintenance city-girl without really knowing anything about her. Ultimately however, neither of those things prevents me from recommending the book to anyone on the lookout for a solid, absorbing tale of romantic suspense.
A suspenseful dual thread story that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Tara Fujimoto is the business manager for Steele Security and also Jenna (from the first book) best friend. We have seen her throughout the previous books and now we finally get her story. She is out to bring down the man she feels responsible for her sister's death. In doing so she makes herself a target to someone who will do anything to keep something Tara saw quite.
The hero, Jake Patarava, in this one isn't as well known to the series and doesn't plan on working for Steele forever but when he sees Tara is in danger he steps up to be her bodyguard and ends up taking her with him on his quest to find his young son who has disappeared after his mother died of an overdose.
At about ¾ into the book a line from a Godfather movie - Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in – hit me. The author makes you think things are ramping down in the story line but BAM ramps them up again..
Having been following this series and trying to catch each one was happy for to dive in this one. This op gets your adrenaline going and pulls and tugs at emotions at various times just like you want from a romance such as this. Tara gets a hand from Jeff as we follow them hunting. It will also get hot at times with them also making a good team. In their quest they also come to a curve thrown at them that alters all they are hunting for so hold on to your seats as they say. Thrilling as always this author feeds our hunger for danger and romance.
Intense, raw, and frighteningly realistic suspense with romance that matched the adjectives of the mystery and action. I have made it rather vocal in the past that I do not like hero's who are man-sluts, just not my thing. And I am all about equality, so I admit that the heroine in this story with her 'fuckbuddies' (author's word) and strings of one night stands was difficult to relate to at first. It really took me a while to warm up to Tara Fujimoto, but I did grow to like her, and towards the halfway point in the book, I truly did care about her destiny and worried about her surviving to see another day. Yes, she is different, she has this polished wall surrounding her that did not match the inside of her, her temperament, her way of talking, acting, reacting, it was unique, and a bit brute at times, but she was real, and with Jeff Patarava, she didn't hide her true self. Jeff was in a tough spot, trying to help Tara while needing to find and rescue his son. Jeff and Tara were very different in their personalities and interests, yet when the true identities of these two finally come to light, there are not so many differences after all. They have chemistry, they click, the physical attraction between them is hot, palpable, and even with the rough touches and actions, still have tender moments and even innocence in an interesting way. The suspense is up close and deadly dangerous. The attacks and threats are coming from all sides, no one is safe, not for a moment, and to escape in an old RV was a genius undercover move. The story is vastly entertaining, it is sexy, it is perilous, rough, and raw in many aspects. I enjoyed it and the learned to appreciate the distinctively unique touches in the tale. A great addition to the series that is filled with tense suspense and ardent love stories with intriguing characters. ~ Four Spoons
This review is of Blind Justice by Gwen Hernandez. Note: this review contains spoilers! Tara Fujimoto Is the business manager at Steele Security. Jeff Patarava has become a member of Steele Security so he can make some money while searching for his son. While Tara’s job doesn’t take her out into the field, she does it this one time to bring down a sleaze-ball photographer who raped her sister. Emily couldn’t take the shame and committed suicide. Not only do they take down the photographer, Tara and Jeff get a good look at pictures on his camera. But somewhere along the line, Tara has seen something she wasn’t supposed to and now that something has put a price on her head. You need to know that much to understand the rest of the story, or the parts that I’m going to give you. So Tara’s life is in danger. Most of the team is in Brazil, so that leaves Jeff. Who wants to be hunting for his son. Without Tara. Who did Tara see? What happened to Jeff’s son? Will he find him? You have to read this fast paced action, love story for yourself to find out the answers! I had no clue who the bad guy was until the end and I can usually figure it out. And the love story was so sweet! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Blind Justice is another five star Men of Steele book. There is a swoon-worthy hero trying to do what’s best for those he loves and a strong heroine who is equally prepared to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Jeff is relatively new at Steele Security but he is well respected and fits right in. Tara has been part of the company for a while and runs the business side of things. Although they have definitely noticed each other neither feels ready for a relationship. Tara has just lost her sister and has now become embroiled in a mess that has made her the target of a killer. Jeff is going through his own difficulties searching for his son who was taken away by his mother. Together Tara and Jeff must sort through all the danger and uncertainty to save everyone. Voluntarily read and honestly reviewed.
Tara and Jeff have seen each other around work but neither thought it wise to act on their mutual attraction to each other or share that information with each other. Somehow Tara has found herself the target of a killer and she has no idea why. Jeff has been keeping a secret from the people he works with that he has been trying to search for his child that no one knew existed. They are thrown together when Jeff decides that she needs protection and then they start on a journey that may or may not give them the HEA they deserve. There are many twists and turns entangled with danger and surprises that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Great book!
I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest and totally voluntary review.
I was excited to read this book since I am on a military Ops romance kick recently.
I was also intrigued that the female character has a Japanese last name and I am a sucker for Japanese things. It wasn't a factor in the story as a background for the main character.
When I read a romance book, I look at plot, the hotness factor and the characters themselves.
Plot wise, I think it was good for the author to keep the readers guessing as to the real culprit. It made me definitely want to read the book until the end which the author does a good job resolving it. What could be done better is the transition of the small plots to support the big arching plot. I was kinda distracted on who we should be focusing on. In the ebook version as well, there needs to be a clear divide when the point of view changes. One scene confused me when it started out as the conversation between the two main characters then all of a sudden, it was the villain's POV. Maybe more spaces in between paragraphs or a line to separate the POV would help lessen the confusion.
As for the main characters and the hotness factor, the chemistry is good and the sex scenes were hot. What I truly enjoyed in the story was how even if both characters tried to deny their attraction, their initial care and concern for each other still shown through.
My final thoughts that this was a good introduction for this author and I would almost consider this as a normal contemporary romance since the military factor wasn't the focal point of the story. But the characters are loveable, the sweetness of the romance is there and the happy ending is present.
An amazing read that took me on ride I didn’t want to get off of. Tara is the office mom, always put togther and keeping the office running smoothly. Jeff is the new addition on the Steele team and the only one that has Tara looking at him differently, not as a brother but as a hot capable man. When Tara becomes a target and Jeff is the one to save her, he ends up becoming her protector and hides her. Then as the reason he joined Steele becomes closer to being done, the two set out on road trip that’s full of surprises for both of them. What an amazing read with suspense, danger, some action and steamy sensual scenes that could melt an iceberg. I LOVED these two and didn’t want their story to end, they both have their demons from the past, Tara’s has her abstaining from men and Jeff’s willing to do whatever it takes to bring someone home. I LOVED Tara, her strength, her kindness and her way with children and I LOVED Jeff’s determination and protectiveness of those he loves. I also loved that the story was between them, no other women, no misunderstandings, no over the top drama between them and how open and honest they were when sharing their vulnerabilities. The story flowed beautifully with some twists and turns I didn’t see coming, along with the fireworks between them and great characters, I couldn’t put the book down once I started. *I voluntarily read an advanced copy and expressed my honest opinion*
A sexy rollercoaster with significant social issues as the threads in the plot--underage porn makers, spousal kidnapping; these cliffhangers keep the pages turning as much as the fear of commitment and baby steps to "love-forever-after" between Jeff and Tara do. The tactics Jeff uses as a Steele Security man are fascinating, but for us girls especially how to get out of zip ties around one's wrists. The four-year-old boy adds a fillip to much of the action and is a delightful dip out of the romantic intensity. Great read!