CARTER is the second book in Donna Michaels's HC Heroes series and picks up not long after the first book. We previously met Mel, a tattoo artist, and Carter, one of the hot former Delta brothers working for Eagle Security Investigations, and I was eager to get to know them better. Mel is a very interesting character. I don’t think I’d ever read a book with a tattoo artist as one of the main characters. I loved that to her a tattoo isn’t just ink on your body. She believes it should have special meaning, and she likes helping her customers create their own special tattoo, or turning someone’s ugly scar into something beautiful. She also volunteers for a local animal rescue and has a bird with a bit of a potty mouth who provided quite a bit of comic relief.
Mel is fierce and independent, but Carter catches her one night at her most vulnerable worst. And that’s a problem for Carter because he has a history of falling for and taking care of vulnerable women and then getting dumped by them, so the last thing he wants is a relationship. If only he weren’t so attracted to her! That feeling is, of course, mutual, but after losing her brother and her father, Mel thinks she’s a jinx that men should stay away from. She’s become content with the life she’s built for herself and isn’t interested in a relationship either. So they crush on each other from afar, not realizing their hunger for each other shows on their faces until their friends point it out to them.
While they’re dancing around each other, Mel gets some disturbing crank calls, which she blows off. But her friend, and Carter’s sister, Abby, goes behind her back and tells Carter about the calls, and Carter and his buddies come up with a plan to stealthily watch over Mel without her knowing it. This puts Carter in closer proximity with Mel, as he takes advantage of the opportunity to fix her computer when it crashes. It soon becomes obvious to the guys that Mel has a stalker, though she still seems unaware of it.
This story had a lot more heat than the previous one. Once Mel and Carter finally give in to their desire for each other, there are lots of steamy scenes. Almost too many, as it seemed that was all they did for a good section of the book, and I started to get a little impatient, waiting for the actual storyline with the stalker to pick back up. Which it did, and quickly gained my full attention again with some action-packed scenes.
As much as I liked Mel, I really loved Carter. He ticked lots of boxes for me – Alpha male, former military, protective, and yes, hot and sexy. He felt guilty watching over Mel, basically spying on her in order to protect her from her stalker, but he knew she wouldn’t let him help her otherwise. In that scene I mentioned above, when he saw her at her most vulnerable, he was so sweet and understanding. That’s when I completely fell for him. It was a long road for these two to finally get past their baggage, but it was well worth the wait.
There’s a lot to love about CARTER, and I was a little sad to leave him and Mel, but I’m looking forward to Dex and Rylee’s story next!
Protecting her is his jobâ€¦falling for her is unexpected.
Carter Sharpâ€¦isnâ€™t always, especially when heâ€™s in the
presence of his sisterâ€™s friend, Mel. The sexy tattoo
artistâ€™s spontaneous, reckless attitude clashes with his
â€˜by-the-book, never-cut-cornersâ€™ creedâ€”the one that saved
his and his teamâ€™s lives on more than one occasion. His
D-Force days are over but working for one of his former
Delta brothers as a security expert/investigator has just
begun, and itâ€™s just his luck to land an assignment to
secretly protect the artist.
Mel Richardson doesnâ€™t want or need a man in her lifeâ€”for
his safety. She couldnâ€™t save her father or her brother, so
she refuses to let there be a third. But itâ€™s totally safe
to secretly crush on her friendâ€™s older brother, and even
harbor a fantasy or two of the hot, former military guy.
Turning a blemish into a work of art, plus rehoming animals
who survive the death of their owners are both emotionally
rewarding and the perfect distractions to her growing
attraction to Carter. Too bad his sister volunteers him to
help Mel with some recent technical difficulties.
The hot woman is strong enough to kick his butt if she
discovers heâ€™s secretly assigned to protect her, but itâ€™s
the soft, vulnerable side he discovers underneath her tough
persona that terrifies him. It makes her lethal enough to
cut through his defenses and melt his cold heart.