GUARDIAN – Catherine Mann
A Dark Ops Novel
Berkley Sensation
ISBN: 978-0-425-25099-0
September 2012
Romantic Suspense

Las Vegas, Nevada – Present Day

As the J.A.G. (Judge Advocate General) prosecuting a case against an Air Force captain who allegedly misfired a missile that nearly killed a young boy, Major Sophie Campbell has to be cool and calm on the job. The now widowed mother is good at her job and wants to prove to her superiors that she can win her case. However, one day while questioning opposing witness, Major David Berg, Sophie suddenly has sexy visions of the man which aren't befitting the situation. The man is hot, no doubt about it, but she's required to do her job and not get involved with a man who is friends with the accused. Sophie tries to ignore her lust for David, but fate has a way of throwing them together…

As one of the witnesses to the horrific explosion that left an innocent child injured, David wants to prove his comrade is not guilty. He suggests to Sophie that they work together on the case. She resists at first, but when mysterious incidents start to happen that are apparently targeting her, she not only agrees, but moves temporarily into his sister's house as a safety precaution. David isn't looking to get involved with a woman right now, because he has one failed marriage behind him, which proves that military marriages have a hard time succeeding. Plus, he is raising his daughter, and she is his first priority. But temptation is hard to resist. As David and Sophie investigate who is targeting her, can they rule out the accused man on trial?

For Sophie and David in GUARDIAN, their mission for the truth suddenly becomes a fear of the unknown as mysterious acts against her have them baffled and battling the unknown. Clearly someone is afraid that Sophie is digging too deep—but who? David goes into protective mode even as he doesn't understand why he has these feelings for her. Sophie, however, thinks she can protect herself, and wonders about David's presence in her life. He could be the bad guy, yet she suspects that he's an honorable man. After having suffered through the suicide of her late husband and forced to appear strong for their son, she's erected a thick wall against revealing her true emotions. Slowly and surely, David breaks it down, forcing Sophie to be vulnerable to the burgeoning feelings for him that she hasn't quite yet admitted to herself.

As one of the men present during the ill-fated flight, David wonders what he could have done to prevent it, yet feels it was not caused by human error. What is it that everyone else is not seeing? Sophie is the hard as nails J.A.G. and she's cool as ice. Yet the sizzle rises between them even as David can't promise her more than a few weeks. His daughter is still rocked by the loss of her mother and half-brother moving away and needs David. But the more he's around Sophie, the harder it is to deny the attraction. Using their combined sharp skills might help a comrade escape prison if they can learn the truth of what happened that night, but clearly someone doesn't want them to find out. It doesn't take long before David and Sophie give into their mutual attraction, even as they promise it is only a brief fling. But the fling soon wants permanence. Meanwhile, how will David react when he learns that his sister, Madison, is having a secret affair with the accused man? Could this be the source of the threats against Sophie?

The suspense and military geek talk is there in GUARDIAN, but it is the heartfelt romance between Sophie and David that drives the plot. If anyone deserves happiness, it is this couple after the unhappiness they've had in the past. Catherine Mann has once again scored with this mesmerizing and exciting tale. Grab a copy of GUARDIAN to see for yourself.

Patti Fischer