True heroes will do anything to protect the women they love…
As the newest recruit at Search and Protect, Raul has a lot to prove. Luckily, he’s got the best friend and partner a man could ask for: a highly trained, fiercely loyal German Shepherd Dog named Taz. Together, Raul and Taz make an unbeatable team. But their first mission in Hawaii really puts them to the test when an international kidnapping ring sets its sights on the bravest woman Raul’s ever met . . .
Mali knows her latest job has put one hell of a target on her back. And on this small island paradise, there’s nowhere to hide. With a service dog like Taz, Mali feels safe. Sharing close quarters with a smoldering muscle-for-hire like Raul, she feels something else – an unexpected wave of desire. Raul feels it too. But when the kidnappers make their move, he’s got to turn that slow-burning passion into hard-hitting action – and save the life of the woman he loves.
The Search and Protect group is damn lucky to have Raul and his four-legged partner Taz on the roster! Raul and Taz are damn lucky to have found the Search and Protect organization and want nothing more than to fit in, be a part of a proper team, and make a real difference in the world. With less than an hour on the clock, Raul and Taz get their chance to make a difference in someone’s life.
Mali’s job often takes her to dangerous places and expects her to ask dangerous questions. Her latest assignment and research has her delving into the world of human trafficking and in beautiful Hawaii, the illegal activity is thriving. Though Mali considers herself a capable woman, she is also an intelligent woman and knows when she is in over her head. After a warning from team leader that causes the group to scatter, Mali finds herself on the run, scared, and terribly out of her depth. With no other options available to her, Mali calls her sister at Search and Protect.
What unfolds over the next few days is a sort of trial by fire for Raul and Taz. Both are well-trained and capable partners, but they’re working within a new set of rules and guidelines and with an entirely new group of people. Raul wants to prove himself, but not at the expense of Mali and her safety. He is quickly introduced to the rest of the S and P team and as a group they determine the best course of action for securing Mali and her safety. It takes a great deal of tactical coordination, an even greater level of trust, and more than a little bit of courage to deal with Mali’s situation and Raul and Taz are absolutely up to the task.
From the moment they meet, Mali is certain Raul and Taz can protect her. Raul is calm, cool, and collected, and Taz has a reassuring and calming effect on her. With the addition of the rest of the team, Mali knows she is in good hands and does her best to aid the team rather than hinder them. Though she doesn’t have their physical training, she does have valuable information and a willingness to help those willing to step into harm’s way for her. What’s more, Raul is dead sexy and if she’s going to be stuck in her current situation, she’s going to do her best to gain some small measure of pleasure. She has no intention of becoming emotionally invested and fully intends to return to her “real” life once the threat to her life has passed/been resolved.
The Bottom Line: I sure am glad Piper J. Drake found a way to continue the True Heroes series. With the addition of the Search and Protect group, there is now a whole new set of books just waiting to be written and read and Raul’s story was a decent introduction to the new group. My only real complaint about this book is Mail, a cold personality character I had a hard time liking. In addition to her coldness, Mali’s relentless questioning of everything grew quite tiresome very early on. With that being said, I quite liked everything and everyone else in this read, especially the dogs. While the humans are there as partners to the dogs, the dogs have the richest, fullest personalities in this read. The personality of each dog is perfectly paired with his/her human partner and are going to be so much fun to learn more about as the series progresses. Though Raul was the human focus in this read, his introduction to Search and Protect also served as the readers introduction. There are some quietly big characters waiting to tell their story which leaves me excited for the continuation of this series.
When eighty-five pounds of dog is suddenly in your way, you either stop or trip over him. Momentum played a part in Raul’s decision. He fell forward and spread his arms wide to catch himself on the bed rather than accidentally catch a handful of Mali’s towel.
He caught a face full of her towel-covered cleavage instead.
Raul rolled to the side.
“Sorry.” Jeezus. He tried to get out his apology, his eyes clamped shut. He was not going to remember how good she smelled, a mixture of honey and sea salt and the indefinable, delicate scent of woman. Nope. He wasn’t. Nor was he going to ever think about how nice her cleavage had been. Just enough to bury his face and let him nuzzle without being so full he’d suffocate. The palms of his hands burned with an insane desire to feel her soft skin cupped in his grip.
Mali backed away and then hissed in pain.
His head cleared, and he opened his eyes to see nothing but ceiling. “Did I hurt you? Do you need help?”
She leaned forward into his range of view, one hand clutching the front of her towel over her breasts. That was a really hot image, too. “No. I just sat back too fast and put weight on my sunburn.”
“Oh.” He had no idea what to do. He couldn’t sit up while she was leaning over him and rolling to the side seemed awkward as hell. Of course, so did lying flat on his back in front of a woman in nothing but a towel. “Is there something I can do to get out of this situation without Arin wanting to kill me?”
Mali’s eyes widened, and she froze for a moment, her lips forming a seriously naughty looking O. Then she blinked and laughed. “No. Probably not.”
It was either laugh with her or pull her down for a kiss. “I’m doomed. Dead.” He paused. “Once I get you safely to Arin, that is. No worries. We’ll get you to her before I report myself for molesting her little sister.”
Her laughter faded, and her dark brown eyes sparkled with mischief. “Well, if you’re going to get in trouble anyway…”
She bent then, leaning a hand on his chest, and pressed her lips to his.
Piper J. Drake is a bestselling author of romantic suspense and edgy contemporary romance, a frequent flyer, and day job road warrior. She is often distracted by dogs, cupcakes, and random shenanigans.