Review: Guardian by Catherine Mann

Posted September 14, 2012 by B. in 3.5 stars, Military or Suspense Romance, Rating B Tags: , , ,

Author: Catherine Mann 
Release Date: Sept. 4, 2012
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Dark Ops #5
ISBN: #978-0425250990
Genre: Military/Suspense romance
Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
After a dark ops malfunction, Major David Berg finds himself dead center in a military trial. It’s a race against time to root out the truth, and Major Sophie Campbell isn’t making that any easier. The hot JAG wants to bring down David’s unit and fast. His testimony is crucial to winning a case that will make her career. All Sophie has to do is ignore this witness’s unflappable charm, his unnerving good looks, and a strong, solid presence that commands her attention.
It’s not easy for David, either. His attraction to this take-charge beauty is turning him inside out. But these adversaries have more in common than secret, mutual desire. There’s a traitor somewhere in the dark ops and now, to find him, David and Sophie must work together—relentlessly, tirelessly, and so intimately it could be damn near fatal.
What B is talking about:
As a member of the group of men responsible for creating and testing new military technology with the hope of shortening dangerous missions for all members of the armed services, Major David “Ice” Berg has plenty of burdens to shoulder. As a single father, he’s looking forward to being promoted to another assignment that will let him spend more time with his daughter. But, when one of his own men is put on trial for a horrible accident, he’s determined to discover the truth, no matter where it leads.
Determined to find justice for a young boy who was wounded during a test flight, Major Sophie Campbell is ruthless in her pursuit of those responsible. As a widow with a son of her own, she’s fighting to hold on to the life she and her son still have after the death of her husband, but is finding it increasingly difficult to resist the comforting strength of the gentle test pilot who’s vowed to protect her as the danger surrounding the case begins to escalate. Working together might be their only chance to solve the case, but winning could cost them both more than they have to give. 
As a newcomer to the Black Ops series, I was relieved that Guardian read very well as a standalone novel. While characters from previous novels make an appearance in the story, their roles are peripheral, letting the plot unfold in its entirety without my having had to do extensive digging in order to follow along. Guardian is an intriguing whodunit, and although I had an idea about the outcome by the midpoint of the story, I never felt inclined to give up on Sophie and David. The story’s resolution could easily have been achieved too tidily, but instead of doing so by sacrificing truly good storytelling, Ms. Mann does so with emotion, action, and the undeniable sexual chemistry that exists between her two main characters. 
Sex between Sophie and David is often more passionately determined than sweet, but it works well with the ghosts they both carry from their respective pasts. While Sophie does most of the taking, David seems more than happy to do the giving, and the result is a progression of erotically charged collisions that are very pleasurable to read. Though these moments become more emotionally satisfying as the story continues, it is the moments when Sophie and David open up and talk to one another that provide the necessary connection to make their relationship credible. 
Having been reintroduced to military ops stories fairly recently, I was glad to have the chance to read an exciting story with characters I can believe in, and Guardian certainly fits the bill. Part romance, part suspense, this story kept me engaged until the end, and although some moments were perhaps a little overly sweet, I enjoyed the happiness Sophie and David eventually find with each other. Even though Guardian felt complete on its own, I am looking forward to the next novel in the series, and would like to go back and read the previous stories as well. 
Bs Rating:
Liked it – recommend (B+)

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