I received this book for free from Entangled Publishing, Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.His Lover to Protect by Katee Robert
Series: Out of Uniform #3
Published by Entangled: Brazen on September 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Source: Entangled Publishing, Netgalley
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A sexy category romance from Entangled's Brazen imprint...
He's never met a challenge he couldn't take...
Alexis Yeung did everything right....only to watch everything go horribly, horribly wrong. Broken and angry, Alexis high-tails it to Europe, determined to face the world on her own terms and without consequence. Which includes a mind-blowing night with a sexy, scarred stranger.
Except, embittered former pararescuer Luke Jackson isn't exactly a stranger. He's supposed to keep an eye on Alexis without her knowing. Ending up in bed together was definitely not the plan. Now he's chasing her (admittedly hot) ass across Europe, a game of cat and mouse that always ends with the two of them tangled up in the sheets.
Something in their scarred, damaged souls calls to each other. And God help them, the sex in unbelievably hot. But if Alexis discovers who Luke really is, he'll lose the one thing that makes him feel whole...
I was really excited to read Alexis’s story. When I first met her in Falling For his Best Friend, she broke my heart. She was so sad, but trying so hard to be happy for her sister, Avery. I wasn’t surprised when she took off toward the end of Falling. She’d been through so much, it made sense that she’d need to get away.
I would have read this book no matter what, but I wish I’d read the description a little more closely so I’d have been better prepared – it had two of my least favorite tropes. I don’t mind when couples start out by telling other people they’re engaged or in a relationship or whatever, but I really don’t like it at all when they start out by lying to each other. A misunderstanding is one thing, but an outright lie really bugs me. The other thing I can’t stand is when people treat fully-functioning adults like they’re children, incapable of making the smallest decision for themselves.
Which is where we find ourselves at the beginning of this one. Alexis is having a hard time dealing with Avery’s pregnancy because she recently lost her own ability to have children after a cancer-driven hysterectomy. She’s always wanted children and has barely had time to adjust when Avery makes her announcement. She’s genuinely happy for Avery, but she can’t help being sad for herself. Rather than stay around Avery making them both miserable for the next nine months, she takes off on a trip to Europe.
It’s not going to be nice, and it’s not going to be sweet. If you want romance, you’ve got the wrong fucking man.
There was more to her decision to take an extended vacation than just Avery’s pregnancy. Her fiance broke up with her when she lost her ability to have kids, and her grandparents are terrible people who have made it clear that since she can’t continue their bloodline she’s useless to them, and neither Alexis, Avery, or their father have really dealt with the death of her and Avery’s mother. (Avery’s baby doesn’t count as continuing the bloodline because Drew, the baby’s father, is a white American guy, and only a Chinese man would be acceptable.)
Avery, Drew, and their other friends call on Luke Jackson to fly over to Europe and find Alexis and keep an eye on her. He’s not supposed to make contact with her if he can avoid it, but they state outright that they can’t trust her to make this trip on her own, so they want him to babysit her from afar. Which pissed me off. Alexis is an adult. An adult who has been dealt a series of harsh blows but has never shown any signs that she would do anything to hurt herself. Yes, she’s sad and hurting. And, yes, this trip came out of nowhere, but it’s not hard to believe she’d need to get away. Instead of giving her that chance, though, the chance to get her head around everything, they send Luke to run after her. And when she asks him if he knows her sister or friends, he flat out lies to her about it. It did not make me feel warm and fuzzy toward him.
Luke was a pararescuer until a land mine blew up and destroyed his leg. Declared physically unfit to return to the military, he’s lost and bitter. He spent so much time in the hospital recovering from his injury and its resultant surgeries that he hasn’t had anyone in his life in a long time. The one time he tried to have sex with a woman post-injury, she freaked out at the sight of his scars and ran, so he’s understandably gun-shy about that.
She hadn’t pulled her punches, and he certainly wasn’t holding back for fear of hurting her feelings. He was the first person she’d come across in a long time who didn’t dance around her for fear of saying something that would hurt her.
I liked Luke a lot less in the beginning than I liked Alexis. I already liked her from the previous book, and I pretty much despised Luke from the start. Not only was he following her around Europe, trying not to be spotted, but when he was spotted (pretty early on), he was embarrassed and pissed off because he had failed at tailing her and she not only spotted him but managed to get the drop on him, and he took out his frustration on Alexis, being a total dick to her. So even though I knew they were going to end up together, I was really pissed off at Alexis for letting him get away with it.
Luke’s lies were even more frustrating to me because he and Alexis were so good together. The sex was every bit as hot as I’ve come to expect from Katee Robert. They were both so damaged and hurting and trying so hard to protect themselves even as they fell for each other. This story was intense and almost painful to read. Katee Robert was able to imbue this story with so much genuine heart and genuine emotion, and characters that I just wanted to see get their happy ending. And I knew how badly it was going to hurt Alexis to discover not only that Luke had been lying to her, but also how little her friends and family trusted her and believed in her.
This was a really great read. Despite the presence of the tropes I don’t like, d I really loved this book and this series. This one can be read as a standalone, but I think you’ll get more out of it if you read the first two and get to know all of these characters. Pick this one up!