Chloe Mason arrives on the doorstep of RBK Security with a secret: Harry Bolt, one of the company’s founders, is her brother. She had been torn from Harry after a violent episode that left her badly hurt and left their family torn apart. Harry thought his sister had died, but fortunately she had survived and been adopted. Mike Keilor, another of the company’s owners, is at the meeting when Chloe reveals her secret, and meeting the small and fragile woman does something profound to him.
Mike is an over-sexed man-whore who uses anonymous liaisons to dull the pain and guilt he suffers over the violent shooting deaths of everyone in his family when he was ten years old. But Chloe calls to him. He is immediately attracted to her, and he does his best to turn his life around after she, and his RBK brothers are exposed to one of his very sordid interludes. After six months of celibacy and shadowing Chloe, Mike seems content to just be near the woman he loves.
Everything changes, however, when Chloe is attacked and nearly raped. Mike’s protective instincts kick into high gear, and he is determined to keep Chloe safe. While together, their passion finally erupts and erupts and erupts (Mike’s stamina is impressive even by romance-novel-hero standards). Unfortunately, he does make a critical mistake, leaving Chloe along in his apartment with the bad guys still on the loose.
Those bad guys are Russian-Mafioso types muscling in on a high-end prostitution/sex-slave ring run out of a local club. When Consuelo, one of the prostitutes, starts disobeying, the Russians link her attitude change to Chloe – who volunteers at a local woman’s shelter and has been encouraging some of the girls from the club to help themselves. After being horrifically waterboarded, Consuelo finds an incriminating piece of evidence detailing the Russians’ plans to bring in pre-teen girls for high-paying customers. As usual, Rice creates some truly terrifying bad guys. I can only marvel at the imagination that makes these things up.
Fortunately, RBK and its owners vanquish the bad guys. There was no question that Mike would stop at nothing to rescue Chloe and get her to safety. After all, she is his safe haven – the woman who calms his soul. He is a fascinating character – a man who uses sex to forget, but is so worried about his capacity to physically hurt women during intimacy. He likes his sex rough, although I would argue that this is a bit of a misconception on his part. His life is filled with violence, and Mike hasn’t ever had any exposure to intimacy with someone he cares about. He has never known tenderness. He is a fabulously tortured hero who so badly needs to be loved.
This story kept me very entertained. It is an easy book to read, despite its difficult subject matter. The plot is rather fantastic, but this is definitely part of the books’ charm.
While “Nightfire” is the third book in the Protector’s series, I did not read the first two books. I did not feel as if I needed to read the first two in order to understand Mike and Chloe’s story, but I have been assured by other readers that there is some important backstory that readers might not want to miss. I do plan to read both when I get a chance.
“Nightfire” will take readers on a suspense-filled and sexy ride where a tortured, alpha hero must deal with his demons in order to protect the woman who completes him. Lisa Marie Rice is a master at telling this type of story.
Book Disclosure: An ebook was provided by the publisher through edelweiss