Loved. This. Book!
About the Book
Title: THE DEFENDER
Author: Adrienne Giordano
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Release Date: June 1, 2014
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Mass Market Paperback & Digital
A TOUGH-AS-NAILS FBI SPECIAL AGENT AND A STUNNING BLONDE ATTORNEY WITH SOMETHING TO PROVE JOIN FORCES IN THE DEFENDER.
By all accounts Penny Hennings was the sort of woman FBI special agent Russell Voight went for. Smart, sexy and with just enough sass to keep him honest. Then she went sticking her nose in undercover FBI business. He knew her legal reputation would skyrocket if she won this case. But every move she makes undoes all the work Russell’s put into taking down the city’s biggest crooks. And the criminals they’re after will do anything to avoid the witness stand—including kill. So it’s time to pool their resources and collaborate. Even if working together every day takes them late into the night…and into the line of fire.
Oh, this book. Where do I start? I loved it even more than its predecessor (here’s my review of THE PROSECUTOR), and I really, really liked that one. (I knew before I was even halfway done with that one that I needed to read Penny’s story. Can I request that Brent be next as a hero? Please? 😉 )
I adored Penny and Russ–or “Killer Cupcake” and Russell, as they snarkily referred to each other. If I’d been reading a print version and using a real highlighter instead of a virtual one, I’m pretty sure I would have run out of ink from highlighting all the parts I especially enjoyed.
There’s a few. 🙂
The story starts–literally–with a bang. Penny and her father, both defense attorneys, are giving a press conference on the federal courthouse steps. Fortunately, Russ, a special agent with the FBI, is there–because we’re not even a half a dozen paragraphs in when shots are fired. Russ reacts immediately. Penny doesn’t–so he lands on top of her, which leads to an…ahem…interesting situation.
“Russell, I think I’m hit.”
“I don’t think you’re hit.”
“Then what’s that damned poking?”
“Uh, sorry,” he said. “That’s, uh…ah, cripes…it’s…me. It happens sometimes. Adrenaline.”
What? She focused on Russ’s body, the weight of it, the location of their various body parts and— Oh, stop it. Men. “You have an erection?” she muttered, hoping her father wouldn’t hear. “Now?”
“Hey, it’s involuntary.” Some nut was shooting at them and the FBI agent, the one who had just saved her life, had an erection. Unbelievable. “Well, get. It. Off.”
Oh. My. Gosh. I almost snorted Pepsi Max out of my nose while reading that.
These two just never stop their verbal battle, and it’s awesome–the ultimate in witty foreplay, and it’s written so, so well. The two first met five months before the novel’s start, when Penny practically decimated Russ on the witness stand. That’s when Russ’s fellow agents gave her the “Killer Cupcake” moniker, and Russ found himself perversely attracted to her even then.
The gunshots that start this novel end up being a warning for Penny, and a precursor of threats to come. When she gets the first threatening phone call, she’s at a coffee shop with Russ. He pulls her into the public restroom for privacy, as she’s understandably upset. Once she hangs up, Russ grabs a hold of her arm in an attempt to keep her upright.
“If I let go, you’re not going to face-plant, are you?”
Penny scoffed. “On this floor? Not on your life.”
This is why I love this woman. Even under duress, she’s got a snappy comeback. And the wherewithal to realize that–hello–public bathroom floor = way beyond disgusting.
Russ gets her, as no other guy has before. They challenge each other and drive each other crazy, all while having (figurative) killer chemistry.
She snuggled into him, enjoying the banter and the ease between them. Russ had an ego for sure, but he didn’t take every comment as a personal affront or an implied message. He let her be snarky without feeling offended. A lot of men wouldn’t. In her experience, some men couldn’t handle her direct manner and she’d often found herself apologizing for something she’d said. For being herself.
Not a place a woman should find herself.
And somehow, with Russ, she never did.
There’s a lot of tension and danger with the psycho who’s trying to make their lives a living hell, and Adrienne Giordano brings Zac back from book one and puts him in danger. (Mean trick, Ms. Giordano. I wasn’t sure my heart could take it.) This book had me on the edge of my seat, feverishly turning pages. My roommate/coworker (we’re on day two of our chaperoning duties on the eighth grade class trip. I didn’t ride a single ride until I’d finished reading–it’s that good!) had to keep asking if I was all right. I gasped, I laughed, I snorted, I clutched at my chest in horror–sometimes I even had two or more reactions on a page. This story had me all over the place emotionally, and I loved every minute of it.
Spoiler alert–we get our HEA. (You were worried, I know.) And a truly fantastic and heartfelt speech–plus white gummy bears–play a part.
“Special Agent Voight, you’d better not break my heart. I’d have to stab you if you did.”
“Talk about romance.”
“Just warning you.”
Seriously, how can you not adore these two? I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in this series. Did I mention I’m hoping to see U.S. Marshall Brent get his own HEA? Yes? 😉
Rating: 4 1/2 white gummy bears / A
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
USA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction.
As part of the tour-wide giveaway, one lucky person will win a signed print copy of The Prosecutor, a $25.00 Amazon gift card, a bullet charm bracelet and set of bullet earrings. The giveaway will run from May 30, 2014 – June 11, 2014.