From RomanceJunkies.com

Contemporary
Guarded Hearts
By Kris Jones
Feb 1, 2009 - 9:58:28 PM

Tom Burnett sits in a seedy
Las Vegas bar waiting for the sister of an old Army buddy. They aren’t meeting for drinks. Tom has accepted his friend’s request to protect the woman after she witnessed a murder and agreed to testify against the killer—a notorious drug dealer. Tom doesn’t know his friend’s sister, who, as it happens, is a real sister, a nun, Sister Sophy. Instead of a description, she sent word to look for Annie Oakley. Suddenly Tom sits up and takes notice as the sexiest Annie Oakley ever imagined by a red-blooded male walks through the door. Men throughout the bar ogle her; one lays hands on her and she promptly knees him in his private parts, setting off a domino effect of bar fights. So much for keeping a low profile.


Before she can cause more trouble, Tom grabs her hand and gets her out of the bar and, in short order, out of town. He plans to stash her at his New Mexico ranch where he knows she’ll be safe. In the wake of their escape, Tom curses fate, first for the debt of honor he owes Sophy’s brother which is forcing him into remaining close beside the troublesome, beautiful woman, and second, that she seems to have no idea that a nun should be neither troublesome nor beautiful. Which is he more upset over, he wonders, that she’s an intruder into his solitary existence or that her sexy good looks and attitude have invaded his every thought?

 

Rebecca Tamburo isn’t sure if jetlag or love for her cousin Sophy led her to agree to Sophy’s cockamamie scheme of taking her place under the protection of Tom Burnett, but she wishes now she could tell Tom the truth. After only a day, she knows this handsome, honorable man won’t appreciate being lied to. It doesn’t help that she’s as attracted to him as a magnet to iron. He fills a need in her, swallowing her loneliness—which she also senses in him—and gives her laughter and safety. When he hears not only that she’s lied about who she is, Sophy’s doctor cousin and not Sister Sophy herself, but that the real Sophy has gone back to Colombia and into the lion’s den, Rebecca knows Tom will turn her out of his home and his life.

 

An emergency not far from the ranch forces Rebecca to reveal her identity, and as she fears, Tom’s furious. He has told her things about his life, opened his feelings to her in ways he hasn’t to anyone else, and she’s given him lies in return. Add to the problem, Tom feels honor bound to protect Sophy, and now all of his plans must change to account for Rebecca’s planned meet-up with her errant cousin. With the drug lord closing in on the ranch, misguided family members inadvertently pointing the way, and Rebecca’s identity also discovered, the two have to keep their minds focused. But it’s darn hard to do while their bodies have other ideas.

 

GUARDED HEARTS starts off with a bang. I liked Tom and Rebecca from the beginning. Their sexual awareness leaps off every page, but their honor and duty keep them at arms’ length. Rebecca is a real, full character. A woman dedicated to helping others, she still contains the ghost of the unloved, unappreciated child whose only real friend was her cousin, Sophy. Tom, who grew up under different circumstances, was no less alone. That these two overcome circumstances and find love with each other is something the reader will root for throughout the book. Secondary characters, Nick and Sophy, are no less finely written. This is a book any true romance lover will enjoy.



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