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Christmas Protection Detail

Christmas Protection Detail, December 2020
by Terri Reed

Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense
Featuring: Kaitlyn Lanz; Nick Delaney
224 pages
ISBN: 1335403221
EAN: 9781335403223
Kindle: B0886F4H3F
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
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"Danger and love bring them together"

Fresh Fiction Review

Christmas Protection Detail
Terri Reed

Reviewed by Annetta Sweetko
Posted January 7, 2021

Romance Suspense | Inspirational Mystery

Deputy Kaitlyn Lanz does her duty for the people of her little town but keeps her heart hidden from hurt. Nick Delaney is one of those townsfolk, a member of the wealthy Delaney's, but he too hides from hurt behind a boyish, flirty charm. Little could this couple realize that a CHRISTMAS PROTECTION DETAIL would bring out the past and pull them together amid danger and intrigue.

I was in the mood for a suspenseful easy read and Harlequin never lets me down. I have found their Love Inspired offerings are very uplifting when you need just that and in these trying times who doesn't. This is my first book by author Terri Reed and it will not be my last. CHRISTMAS PROTECTION DETAIL is easy to read with compelling action and extremely intriguing characters.

Even though this book has Christmas in the title it can very easily be read at any time and completely enthrall the readers. Nick pulls Kaitlyn out to investigate a car accident that turns out to be so much more than either could imagine. At the scene they find a couple of men trying to drag a woman away, but they run rather than answer questions. The victim, a woman Nick knew years ago, lives long enough to ask for him to take care of and protect her. It was only afterwards that the baby, Rosie, is discovered in the backseat. The baby, is the her the woman was begging him to protect. This child and the danger that continues to follow them as they investigate the crash, and the more desperate attacks that follow, changes them. For the better? That remains to be seen if those stubborn walls can be brought down with love.

As you begin to read you will be intrigued by the characters but have the feeling there is more to them than what they want others to see. The need to know the truth behind the crash, why do they the bad guys just keep coming back and creating more danger for Nick and Kaitlyn will have you glued to the pages. Add in the little peeks into their pasts while they begin to find and trust each other will keep give you reason to smile.

If you are looking for a mystery, action, intrigue with a sweet romance then I can suggest you get your hands on CHRISTMAS PROTECTION DETAIL and relax, if you can, and enjoy!

Learn more about Christmas Protection Detail

SUMMARY

He’ll do anything to protect a baby in jeopardy…

When a call from a friend in trouble leads Nick Delaney and Deputy Kaitlyn Lanz to a car crash that killed a single mother, they become the baby’s protectors. Now figuring out why someone is after the child is the only way to save her. But they must find answers soon…or this baby’s first Christmas might just be Nick’s and Kaitlyn’s last.

Excerpt

Deputy Kaitlyn Lanz climbed the short stepladder to reach the last few branches needing to be decorated on the Christmas tree in the Bristle Township Community Center. The combined celebration of the season and the retirement of Bristle Township’s sheriff, James Ryder, was in full swing all around her. Christmas tunes played from the speakers mounted to the ceiling. The music competed with the many conversations taking place.

It seemed the whole town had turned out for the festivities. Kaitlyn had to admit she was pleased that so many people wanted to wish her boss—uh, former boss—well.

She sent up a quick prayer that nothing would mar the festive event. For some reason, she’d been anxious lately. Nothing specific, just a vague sense of doom that hit her at odd times. She chalked it up to losing the sheriff to fishing and traveling.

It had been several months since there’d been any real trouble in town or any need for the mounted patrol to mobilize. Not that she was complaining, because she loved being a part of the Bristle County sheriff’s department’s long tradition of patrols on horseback.

Like similar units in many Western states, the mounted patrol was comprised of both armed deputies and unarmed civilian volunteers, also referred to as auxiliary members. They provided search and rescue, as well as community and forest patrols. It was one of the various aspects of her job as keeper of the peace that utilized her many skills. She took pride in her job and always strove to do well at protecting the citizens of her town.

But tonight, she wasn’t going to let anything keep her from enjoying the party.

“A little to the left.”

The deep baritone voice caused her to jerk and fumble with the ornament she was attempting to hang on the large Douglas fir tree standing in the corner of the community center. Balanced on top of the stepladder to reach a high branch, she wobbled. So much for enjoying the party. Nick Delaney, the second in line to inherit the Delaney fortune, had become the bane of her existence over the past year.

He grasped her by the waist with surprising strength, stabilizing her on the short ladder. “Steady there.”

She threw an irritated glance over her shoulder at the man. “I’ve got it.”

“Of course. But maybe hang it a little to the left,” he said, directing her placement of the glittery ornament.

Her heart thumped maddeningly. And not because she’d almost fallen from the ladder. Nick looked good tonight. As always. So maddening. Could he, just once, be unattractive?

He was dressed to impress in crisply creased black slacks and a finely tailored gray sport coat over a dark green mock turtleneck sweater. His dark hair was swept off his forehead to accentuate his chiseled cheekbones.

His dark eyes sparkled, and his grin was much too confident. From the moment she’d met the younger son of the local eccentric billionaire, Nick’s arrogance had rubbed her nerves raw.

Abruptly, she turned back to the tree, placed the ornament where she had intended and stepped down from the ladder, forcing him to release his hold and move back to give her room.

 “I like it where it is.”

He shrugged. “You know best, Deputy.”

She gritted her back teeth. He made the moniker sound pretentious. Turning her attention to the tree, she realized with a sinking sensation he’d been right. The turtledove glass bauble she’d brought from home needed to be a bit more to the left for symmetry.

Ah, well. She wasn’t perfect and neither were her ornament hanging abilities. But she certainly wouldn’t give Nick the satisfaction of knowing she regretted not listening to his advice. Had it been anyone else, she no doubt would have adjusted the ornament accordingly. What was it about Nick that put her on edge all the time?

She had a suspicion her irritation stemmed from the fact that he reminded her of her college boyfriend, Jason. A relationship that hadn’t ended well.

“Here.”

Nick thrust a red box with a white bow at her. She tucked her hands behind her back. She wasn’t accepting a gift from the man. He’d no doubt think she owed him something in return.

“You shouldn’t have bought me a present.”

Nick chuckled and his eyes danced with amusement. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s for the tree.”

He opened the box to reveal a beautiful crystal angel figurine hanging from a white satin ribbon. “Everyone was asked to contribute an ornament, correct?” Face heating from her obvious mistake, she nodded at the ornament.

“Looks expensive.”

He contemplated the figurine. “Probably. My mother liked expensive things.”

From what Kaitlyn had gathered, Mrs. Delaney had passed away when Nick and his older brother, Ian, were teenagers. “Are you sure you want to hang it here? Shouldn’t you hang it on the tree in your family home?”

“We haven’t put up a tree,” Nick said.

She couldn’t remember a time when her family hadn’t had a tree.

“Besides, Dad and Ian are in Ireland checking on our family holdings there and won’t be back until the New Year.”

A pang of sadness for him hit her unexpectedly. He’d be alone at Christmas in that big house. The Delaneys lived in a massive estate built on one of the mountaintops outside of town. She’d been to the palatial home during a case that had involved the elder Delaney and a buried treasure. Kaitlyn had never seen such luxury.

The Delaney family was a bit of an enigma to the rest of the inhabitants of Bristle Township. For the longest time they had kept to themselves, but then the treasure hunt had stirred up a great deal of dust for Kaitlyn’s friend Maya Gallo-Trevino and her younger brother, Brady, putting them in danger.

It was also during this time that Kaitlyn had met Nick.

And since then it seemed like Nick’s personal mission in life was to annoy her with his flirting and not-so-subtle hints that he’d like to date her.

She didn’t date.

 

And even if she did, it wouldn’t be with a man who had too much time and money on his hands and nothing to show for it. A man who no doubt thought he could buy his way out of anything.

“Does your father know you’re offering this ornament up?” she asked.

Nick arched an eyebrow. “I don’t need his permission. Besides, Dad and Ian expect me to represent the family at tonight’s celebration. Here I am, doing my duty.”

He stepped past her to halt Brady Gallo. “Hi, Brady. Would you be willing to hang this on the tree for me?”

Brady broke out in a wide grin. “I can do it.”

Kaitlyn’s heart clenched. She loved Brady. In fact, the whole town did and was very protective of the young man with Down syndrome. Not sure Brady should be climbing onto the stepladder, Kaitlyn sent Nick a censuring glance. “I can do it.”

Nick and Brady stared at her.

“I’ll hold the ladder for you, Brady,” Nick said with a censuring look of his own.

“There’s a space right up there next to the turtledove ornament.”

Kaitlyn narrowed her gaze and pressed her lips together. The man was adept at getting under her skin.

Once Brady had the angel figurine securely hung, Nick helped him off the ladder and gave him a hug.

“Good job, buddy.”

Blinking in surprise, Kaitlyn echoed Nick’s words.

“Good job.”

When Brady was out of earshot, Kaitlyn said, “I hadn’t realized you two had become friends.”

“He and Alex come to the house periodically to spar with me.” Nick tweaked her braid. “Speaking of Alex, I think I’ll go congratulate the new sheriff.

Flipping her braid over her shoulder, Kaitlyn stared in disbelief as he wove his way through the crowd toward her new boss. Spar with him? She had to admit the Delaneys did have a really nice dojo built on the lower floor of their home, but Kaitlyn hadn’t known that Alex Trevino and Nick had become buddies. Why had Maya never mentioned it?

She watched as Nick congratulated Alex on becoming the county’s new sheriff. Then Nick moved to Sheriff James Ryder to wish him well in his retirement.

She forced her thoughts away from the infuriating Nick Delaney, her stomach clenching with apprehension. Who would take Alex’s place as a deputy?

It had to be someone with experience. The last thing the department needed was some yahoo thinking he or she understood small-town policing but then realizing the slow-paced yet complicated life in Bristle Township was anything but easy.

Kaitlyn let out a heavy sigh. She loved this town and its community. And she didn’t have anything else in her life. Some would say she was married to the job, and she was okay with that, thank you very much.

No one needed to know about the trauma of her past or the invisible scars she carried.

Her gaze strayed to Nick where he now stood at the refreshment table talking to the mayor. Especially not some wealthy man with an ego the size of the state of Colorado.


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