Many Moons ago, before I moved to Southern California, Lyn Horner and I were critique partners. Since then I’ve watched her rise to stardom in the world of e-book publishing and she has amazed me with both her story telling and her expertise in the world of e-publishing.
Lyn’s latest book, Rescusing Lara is the first book in a new series called, Romancing the Guardians. It is a departure from her award winning historical/paranormal romances, the Texas Devlins series. When she offered me a chance to read this book and give her my thoughts, I was honored and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
You could say I’m prejudiced and maybe I am, but I’m being honest when I say I was immediately engaged and even surprised by her seamless departure from a historical setting to a contemporary one. I want Lyn’s historical readers to know they won’t be disappointed. In this new series she employs her trademark flashes of psychic phenomena and Irish folklore then tosses in action packed scenes, modern-day villains, suspense and frosts that cake with a hot romance.
Lyn views this series as a hybrid between a traditional series of stand alone books and a serial. Although these books will flow together to form a larger epic, each will be a full length novel and the endings will NOT leave readers hanging by their fingernails. They all have an HEA.
Here’s a back-cover blurb from Rescuing Lara followed by an excerpt:
Lara Spenser is running for her life. She guards a treasured relic from ages past that her ruthless enemies want to get their hands on. Although she has escaped to Ireland and is hiding from them, her special sixth sense tells her the “Hellhounds” are drawing near. Injured in a car wreck that killed her beloved uncle, she is desperate for someone to act as her bodyguard.
Enter Connor O’Shea, ex-Special Forces soldier. Now foreman for a crew of oil and gas well firefighters, Conn is on an extended leave in County Kerry, Ireland, after a disaster on his last job. When he meets Lara and learns of her fear, his protective instinct compels him to take on the job of guarding her until she can find a permanent bodyguard. Romance soon blooms between the two, but while Conn may keep Lara safe, can he rescue her from the emotional wounds that hold her prisoner? Will she fulfill her destiny as High Guardian of apocalyptic secrets? Find the answers in Rescuing Lara, book one in this tantalizing new series.
In this scene, Lara Spenser meets the man she hopes to hire as her bodyguard.
“Come in,” she called, opening the door and backing away.
Una stepped into the room with a rolling pin gripped in one hand and flour dusting her apron. She partially closed the door behind her.
“Mum, he looks a bad un,” she whispered, worry lines creasing her brow. “Ye oughtn’t to be alone with him.”
Lara hesitated briefly then put the warning down to melodramatics. “I’m sure I’ll be fine. Please show him in, Una.”
“But mum, he’s –”
“Show him in,” Lara gently insisted, raising her hand to stave off further argument.
The Irishwoman issued a mournful sigh and nodded. “Aye, mum, as ye wish.”
While she went to fetch the man, Lara smoothed her long skirt and self-consciously fingered the jagged scar on her right cheek. She considered standing to create a stronger first impression but dismissed the idea with a grimace. Her injured leg wasn’t strong enough to bear her weight yet, if it ever would.
A man’s heavy tread accompanied Una’s footsteps up the hall. The door opened again and the plump Irishwoman warily ushered in a tall stranger. He halted just over the threshold to stare at Lara, obviously unprepared for her appearance. She stiffened self-consciously and gulped at the sight of him. He had to be six-foot-three or four. His coffee-brown hair was shaggy and several days’ growth of beard shaded his square jaw. Clothed in faded jeans, a dark shirt, black leather jacket and boots, with studded leather gloves protruding from one pocket, he looked like he belonged in a motorcycle gang.
“Mum, this is Mr. O’Shea,” Una said tightly, eyeing the man with a disapproving scowl.
Lara forced a stiff smile. “Thank you for coming, Mr. O’Shea. I’m Lara Spenser.” Receiving a silent nod in reply, she glanced at her housekeeper. “That will be all, Una. I’ll ring if I need you.”
Sticking out her chin, the woman appeared ready to argue but evidently thought better of it. “Aye, mum. Excuse me, sir,” she snapped at O’Shea, who finally deigned to step farther into the room.
As the door closed behind him, he cleared his throat. “Sorry for staring. I wasn’t expecting . . . .” He pointed toward her wheelchair.
“You needn’t apologize. Perhaps I should have mentioned this when we spoke.” She tapped her fingers on an arm of the chair, thinking he was probably more shocked by her scarred face. She’d deliberately not told him about her infirmities when he phoned yesterday. He was a complete stranger and in her situation it paid not to give out too much information. Besides, his Texas drawl had rattled her, causing her to stammer like a tongue-tied adolescent.
“Maybe so, ma’am, but my mama would skin me alive for my bad manners,” he said in those deep, achingly familiar tones. He added a genial smile that softened his rugged features. However, that smile didn’t reach his steel-gray eyes, eyes that watched her intently, making her stomach flutter and her hands sweat. Maybe she should have listened to Una.
Don’t be a goose, she scolded herself. You need a tough, strong man like him.
“Yes, well, please sit down,” she invited, indicating the chintz covered lounge chair where she often rested in the afternoon. Primly folding her hands in her lap, she watched him amble over to the chair, push the matching ottoman out of the way, and gingerly lower his large frame onto the seat, which creaked under his weight. Lara coughed to smother her amusement at the sight of his masculine figure against the dainty flowered fabric.
“Now then, as I stated in my ad, I’m in need of a driver who’s also physically strong.” She couldn’t say more than that in the ad, fearing it might draw her enemies to her.
“Yes, ma’am, and when I called, you promised to explain that last part once we met, but I can see the reason for myself. You’ll need the man you hire to lift you in and out of the car and push your chair when you go into Killarney, right?”
She shifted uncomfortably. “Right, but there’s more to it than that.”
He arched his brows and waited for her to explain.
Looking away, she toyed with the silver pendant dangling on a fine chain at her throat, tracing the Celtic knot pattern engraved upon it with her fingertip. “You see, I believe I’m being pursued by someone with a grudge against my family. We . . . we have something he wants. I came to Ireland to escape him and his . . . friends, but I’m afraid they will find me.”
She met O’Shea’s steely gaze. “I’m terrified of them. They’ve killed one person I loved, possibly two. If they capture me, I fear I’m as good as dead.” She paused, allowing him to absorb what she’d said before adding, “Confined to this chair, with no way to protect myself, I need someone to keep an eye out for suspicious strangers and to be here in the house at night. In short, I need a bodyguard.”
Frowning, he studied her for a moment then leaned forward, hands loosely clasped and elbows resting on his knees. “Ma’am, I agree you need protection, but I’m not the man for you.”
“What! W-why not?” She couldn’t believe he was refusing the job before she’d actually offered it to him.
He bent his head and raked a hand through his wavy dark hair. “It’s like this. I’m foreman for a crew of oil and gas well firefighters. We just finished capping a blowout in the North Sea. I’m here on a sort of extended vacation for a couple months. Then I’m due back home in Texas, where the company I work for is based.”
Lara stared at him, dumfounded. “But if you knew you weren’t going to be staying here long, why did you answer my ad?”
“I got curious, a bad habit. I figured I’d just call and find out why an Irish lady needed a strong chauffeur. Never planned on interviewing for the job. Then I phoned and realized you’re an American, but you wouldn’t explain things over the phone. That made me even more curious, so I decided to come see what the big mystery was.” He gave a lopsided grin, revealing one dimple. “And the truth is I wanted to meet the woman with that sexy voice.”
Lyn Horner resides in Fort Worth, Texas – “Where the West Begins” – with her husband and several very spoiled cats. Trained in the visual arts, Lyn worked as a fashion illustrator and art instructor before she took up writing. She loves crafting passionate love stories, both historical and contemporary. Lyn also enjoys reading, gardening, visiting with family and petting her feline children.