ARC Review: Guarded Hearts by M. J. Fredrick

Format: E-bookguardedhearts
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Hero: Ethan Riggins
Heroine: McKenna Spencer
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 5, 2011
Started On: December 2, 2011
Finished On: December 3, 2011

I love books by MJ Fredrick mainly because whether it be contemporary, western historical or romantic suspense, she delivers a romance with a happy ending that clutches at your heart. Guarded Hearts is no exception to the rule and I was ecstatic to receive an ARC of this little goodie from MJ Fredrick last week. Expecting an entertaining read, I wasn’t disappointed as MJ Fredrick delivers well on the romance and the elements of suspense in this novel.

McKenna Spencer is a junior congresswoman who has her heart set on passing a children’s health care bill when her work is cut short late into one night when she receives a phone call from her father to vacate from the building. Her father who is a counterterrorist agent has reason to believe that McKenna’s life is in danger and so she is assigned with a bodyguard who is to stick to her like glue, whether it be night or day.

From the first encounter itself, though McKenna might try telling herself otherwise, she is drawn to the man behind the compellingly good looks, a man who makes her female colleagues’ heads turn just by being in the same room as them. For Ethan Riggins, the mission spells trouble from the start as his immediate attraction to McKenna is a forbidden one on so many levels. But that doesn’t stop him from slowly going out of his mind with wanting McKenna and the answering flare of desire in McKenna’s eyes makes it doubly hard for him to remember why getting tangled up with McKenna is such a bad idea.

Filled with bullet riddled moments one minute and heart thumping variety of over the charts sizzling hot encounters between McKenna and Ethan the next, MJ Fredrick delivers a novel that is hard to put down. And in between all those tense and delicious moments, MJ Fredrick manages to give her characters life, a past which tugs at the reader’s heartstrings and moments of tenderness between the two protagonists that just makes this an awesome piece of romance.

Ethan Riggins was just ultra yummy. I don’t think there is any other word that could describe as effectively what he made me feel throughout the story. He is not superman who switches over to total robot mode in seconds but he is lethal and dangerous when he puts his mind to it, a mind that strays far too much for his liking when McKenna is around. His ability to totally focus on one thing makes him a total hottie, especially so when he turns all that attention on McKenna. And MJ Fredrick certainly knows what she is doing with her tattooed heroes as Ethan too has tattoes on him that would make even a sensible woman swoon.

McKenna is a heroine who has had not the happiest childhood. As a junior congresswoman, her work is her sole focus, and it suites her well enough until Ethan comes strolling into her life. Though she thinks that Ethan is not the one for her, her heart and other vulnerable emotions sing his name, wanting him to be the one who lays claim on her heart and soul. She is stubborn, gorgeous and has a big heart that refuses to back down even when cornered, especially when she has a particular goal that she is working towards. I loved her sense of humor and the fact that she could bring a smile to Ethan’s face just made me a fan of hers all throughout.

Guarded Hearts by MJ Fredrick is a novel that attests to the author’s ability to deliver a well rounded tale of romantic suspense, with two protagonists who would stay with you even long afterwards. Recommended for fans of romantic suspense and fans of MJ Fredrick.

Favorite Quotes

He remained still for a moment, not long enough for her to wonder if she’d made a mistake. Then he took charge, wrapping his arms around her, cupping his hand over the back of her head, loosening her hair from its style so it tumbled against her sensitized skin. His lips were firm, like the rest of him, and demanding, his tongue stroking along her bottom lip and into her mouth. His breath came hot and heavy against her cheek, and his erection pressed against her hip. Raindrops fell from his skin to hers, and she marveled that she could feel the warmth of him in those drops.

Holding his gaze, she lifted her hips to bring him inside her.
He choked out a groan as he buried himself deep, his body pressed against hers, his length filling her, stretching her, more delicious than she’d imagined. He moved in long, sure strokes, deep, measured.
Controlled. Focused.

He lifted his head, lifted her thighs, and plunged into her, deeper, harder than before. He lowered his mouth to the curve of her throat, lips pulling, teeth scraping as he closed his hands over her hips and opened her wider, thrusting deeper. He sat back on his heels and pulled her over him, guiding her, his mouth slamming down on hers, the kiss verging on violent, his fingers tight on her ass and she came again, locking her legs about his hips, holding him deep inside as pleasure rippled through her.

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