Daddy Defender by Janie Crouch

daddy defenderTitle: Daddy Defender

Author: Janie Crouch

Mills & Boon imprint: Intrigue

Year of publication: 2017

The heroine: Social media specialist/press secretary Summer Worrall

The hero: Omega Sector SWAT team sharpshooter Ashton Fitzgerald

The blurb: What a serious case of mistaken identity. Ashton Fitzgerald is no unassuming handyman, but a highly trained sharpshooter intent on protecting Summer Worrall and her baby daughter. The Omega SWAT member has a debt to pay and he isn’t about to let Summer out of his sight.

For someone else has set their sights on the lovely widow. Her unexpected relationship with Ashton has put Summer and her child straight into a madman’s line of fire. Suddenly a mission to make amends becomes Ashton’s quest to defend this little family with his life.

Standalone or series: Part of the Omega Sector: Under Siege series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: I loved this book. Loved loved loved it. Two years previously, when Summer was six months pregnant with daughter Chloe, her husband Tyler was killed in a hostage situation gone wrong. The Omega Sector SWAT team on site that fateful day included Ashton Fitzgerald, affectionately known as Fitzy to his teammates. He had a chance to take out the bad guy that day, but stuck to his orders and waited for the negotiator to talk the bad guy down. Alas, bad guy had a grenade and killed several people, including Tyler Worrall.

Ashton feels incredibly guilty about not saving him that day. When Ashton is asked by a colleague to organise a handyman to fix something in Summer’s condo (which belongs to said colleague, Joe) he decides to take care of it himself. Summer then believes him to be the maintenance man for the property, and the more time that passes, the harder it becomes for Ashton to tell Summer who he really is. And what makes it worse is that he’s attracted to her, and Chloe adores him, calling him Ah-ta.

Summer starts to find reasons to call Ashton to her place and, thinking he’s shy, makes the first move, kissing him (which I loved!). She invites him into her bedroom, and while he wants nothing more than to go, he refuses until he tells her the truth about who he really is. All the while, his teammates have been teasing him about being in the friend zone, which makes for amusing scenes. I also got vibes between two of his teammates, Roman and Lillian – I wonder if they get a book of their own?

Summer does eventually find out who Ashton really is when she stumbles upon him and his team at a potential hostage situation. In the meantime, someone is targeting Ashton and his team, someone out for revenge with a partner or two. Summer is just collateral damage. Ashton will do whatever he can to protect Summer and Chloe, to whom he’s rapidly become attached to.

Summer finds out the entire truth, about Ashton being there the day her husband died and how he could have made the shot. I thought it was very nicely handled; Ashton’s biggest fear is that Summer would blame him for Tyler’s death – and she didn’t. Their relationship was handled nicely and I adored them both. My only complaint, if I could call it that, is that there was no actual sex scene between Ashton and Summer – the author chose to leave it to the reader’s imagination. Wah! You should definitely read this book.

And seriously, how freaking adorable is that cover?

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