When Wendy O’Sullivan is charged with guarding the Key of Peace, she reunites with the Protector she’s dreamed of since the day he rescued her from a demon attack.
Betrayed by his wife, Kieran Fraser, hasn’t kissed, much less loved a woman in over three hundred years, his heart firmly encased behind thick walls. The fierce immortal is charged with protecting Wendy, but can he shield himself from the diminutive spitfire, who manages to get past all his guards?
Faced with arranged marriages to others and battling demons, that will stop at nothing to trap Wendy. Will they be forced to surrender their love, for the greater good?
In Desperate Betrayal, the first of The Protector Novels, betrayal danced with fierce attraction as two strangers find their life-mates under undesirable circumstances. Much like the man it follows, McQueen’s sequel, Desperate Surrender, bears much resemblance to its brother, but under the skin, it’s truly a different beast.
The Protectors’ rules regarding marriage and family have been tested in recent years. One man created an unsanctioned bond with a woman, resulting in a miracle pregnancy. Another improbably found his life-mate when she literally tracked him down. Together, the incidents turned their boss, Julian, cold on Atlanta, as if there was something in the water that was responsible.
Kieran couldn’t have imagined he’d be a party to the mating mess. He takes every opportunity Julian provides to vent his tension. The women are compensated very well for nights they don’t remember, so it’s win-win in his book. His 6-foot-five frame and three-hundred-plus pounds of muscle serve as armor for the most fragile heart in the history of mankind. A woman would have to be lucky at a moment he’s careless to get anywhere near the atrophied organ. Marry one? He’d laugh at the idea if he knew how to laugh, which he doesn’t.
The bitter Scot is damned good at his job, and after he leaves behind a metric ton of demon dust on the streets of Atlanta, Julian decides that the escorts aren’t working. The boss believes that the only thing that will stabilize Kieran is a woman in his bed on a permanent basis, so he insists on Kieran settling down. The ironies are not lost on the Protector when he’s forced into an arranged marriage, by a boss who frowns upon such distractions, as a consequence for doing his job too well.
Even annoyed as the situation makes him, Kieran’s too empty to bother resisting much and agrees.
Wendy O’Sullivan, the best friend of Kieran’s brand new sister-in-law Emma, knows well more about the demons and Protectors than she should. (She told Emma how to find Cynden, setting in motion the events of the first book.) After saving her from a demon two years before, Kieran erased her memory of the event and of him. At least, he thought he did, but it didn’t take. She has thought of him every day since then, but she never thought she’d see him again. Then, one week before the start of Surrender, they crossed paths in Emma’s hospital room. Kieran vaguely recognizes her, but she is careful not to let on that she knows him. She knows he’d try to erase her memory again, and this time he might succeed. She fears losing more than just her memory of demons and of him, but of everything that’s happened since meeting him as well.
After she’s attacked once again, this time by a demon looking for a mysterious key, Wendy finds herself in Kieran’s care at the home of Lord Fallon Trent in one of Atlanta’s wealthiest neighborhoods. Just like that, Kieran’s women problems go from zero to two in short order. Suddenly, there’s a woman he wants, but she’s under his protection and professionally he can’t get involved with her. Even if that didn’t matter to him, he gave his word to marry the woman Julian chose, and the boss man’s not the sort to overlook insubordination or change his mind.
Kieran is a man of principles, so he surrenders what he wants to be fair to Wendy. He keeps his distance, even at the risk of being rude, and spends a good deal of time taking cold showers. It’s good for a stretch of delicious sexual tension, and when the man’s resolve finally breaks, it’s not with a crack but a shatter.
Where as Desperate Betrayal was an examination of trust between partners, Desperate Surrender delves into deep-seeded emotional scarring and the risks one man will take to take control of his life. In addition, Surrender takes a few steps out of its romance framework and includes the POV of additional characters—master demon Gerard and Fallon—to set up the events of the third Protector novel, Desperate Possession. This allows Hildie McQueen to leave her audience hanging with a sense of foreboding opposed to hanging onto the edge of a cliff, which as a reader I appreciate since the next installment may not be available for months.
I would recommend Desperate Surrender, and the Protector Novels, to fans of paranormal romance, particularly readers partial to Lynn Rush and Jean Murray, and also to the audience of SyFy’s Lost Girl.