Cool and driven Madeline Cochran made a successful career for herself as civilian commander of a space station orbiting Jupiter…until the day it was attacked and she was abducted by alien slavers.
Her organized existence shattered, Madeline suffered during her captivity, but since her rescue by the tough gladiators of the House of Galen, she’s struggling to assimilate to her new life. As she navigates the desert world of Carthago and the gladiator city of Kor Magna, she desperately misses her teenage son back on Earth and throws herself into finding another human, space marine Blaine, still kept captive by the slavers. She also finds herself working harder than ever to avoid a certain charming showman gladiator who is far too attractive and far too tempting.
Gladiator Lore Uma-Xilene is a protector at heart and a sucker for a damsel in distress…although he’s well aware that the hard-shelled and sad-eyed Madeline wouldn’t appreciate the title. He knows what it feels like to be ripped from the family you love and have your life destroyed, and he wants to help Madeline heal. As the two of them go undercover into the dangerous world of underground gambling, Lore knows he’ll need all his patience, passion, and a whole lot of stubbornness to not only keep Madeline safe but to melt the icy shell around her heart.
As Madeline struggles to come to terms with her new circumstances her grief over the knowledge that she will never see her son again tears her apart but Madeline prides herself on her icy control. It's just too bad the entertaining gladiator, Lore, would like nothing more than to get Madeline to show her softer side. Sure, he's gorgeous but Madeline isn't interested in men, although her spiky exterior just challenges Lore more and more. This lady is no pushover though and is dead set on tracking down one of her former officers who is a slave in the underground fighting pits. Clearly, she needs help and there's one man with very protective instincts but will Madeline let Lore in, and if she does, will what simmers between them combust and finally raise her temperature?
This story was a non-stop miasma of danger, surprises, and of course, red hot passion. I was captivated from the first page and loved seeing the charming Lore woo Madeline. It was so interesting and such a change to see a male who adored women just as they are. He's a character who has been teasing readers since the beginning, so learning of his past and just how and why he can do what he does felt very satisfying.
Madeline is a more mature heroine (hurrah), a woman who has pulled herself up by her bootstraps to gain her position but along the way unfortunately, she has missed so much. Well fear not, because Lore is about to burn his way into her heart!
I have no hesitation in recommending Protector but to be fair the series is probably best read in order. Ms Hackett has invented characters that captivate the reader’s imagination set in a world that's continuing to grow with each book. I'm beyond curious about new characters introduced here and I'm so happy this series has found its feet. Definitely my favourite so far and even a little touch of sweetness at the end that made me smile because we all need hope!
A copy of this was provided for me and I have voluntarily read it which means my comments are my own honest opinion.