My life is a secret.
His life is dangerous.
We’re both stubborn, calculating, and controlling.
Mark Dixon doesn’t know what he’s getting into. He doesn’t know his games could cost us our lives. I have to do what is necessary to keep us alive, and that means guarding my heart. But I know I’m defenseless against him, and in the end, he’ll force me to surrender.
If you’re a fan of romantic suspense, Defenseless is definitely a book you should be checking out this year! After reading Consolation & Conviction last year, I fell in love with Corinne Michael’s writing — her stories are addictive, fast-paced, and absorbing — so naturally, I just had to read this as well!
Defenseless is a sexy contemporary romance about an undercover spy heroine and a Navy SEAL hero teaming up to work a mission together to take down a big bad guy who has caused a lot of pain to people they love… and all the while, they slowly fall in love. The fun thing about their dynamic was that they were BOTH strong, stubborn, badass, dominant, and highly trained in their respective fields. These two operatives went toe-to-toe on everything and more-often-than-not ended up butting heads along the way resulting in some pretty fun and hilarious banter heavily laced with the sexual tension and sizzling chemistry that anyone could see they shared. While she desperately tried to not get involved with him, he was equally relentless in his efforts to convince her to give them a shot. Needless to say, the combination of these two together was… explosive! It was Alpha guy meets Alpha girl. No surrender.
“Sounds like we’re going on a mission.”
“The only mission is us.”
“And what are the risks?”
“That you’ll fall in love with me.”
“Is that so?”
I laugh as his arms tighten. “Yeah, I’d say the chances are high.”
I peer at him from the side. “I’m not so sure.”
“I never fail.”
Admittedly though, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the romantic suspense genre in novels. For some reason, I sometimes find the mystery side of things harder to follow in books (which is weird considering that all my most favorite shows are the ultra-tactical badass action ones like Strike Back and 24). So it always takes me just a little longer than usually to get ‘into’ these types of books. So, I did find the beginning a little slower, but once I really got into the swing of things, I was IN. Fully invested.
This story is told in alternating first-person POVs between Charlie and Mark. It swaps back and forth every chapter and I found the transitions smooth. It’s also pretty evenly balanced between the romance and suspense sides of the story. There’s a strong romance storyline (full details, no fade-to-black, lot of steam, swoon, and all-out sexiness) at the heart of the story, but there’s also an intricate and suspenseful mystery going on as they try to figure out who these bad guys are and how to track them down.
“Sometimes the lie is safer than the truth.”
“I’ll protect you. Do you believe that?”
“Mark.” I can barely speak. I know he wants to think he can, but there are some things even he can’t stop. Instead of letting me finish, he takes me into his arms.
“I can live with your lies. As long as you don’t lie to me.”
And intersperced throughout this all is that awesome banter I was talking about earlier!
“You know you can’t resist me.”
“Is that so?”
“I rev your engine, baby. I speak your language. I’m your weapon of choice.”
“Oh, Jesus. You need a shrink.”
After the 75% (ish) mark, things definitely picked up speed in a major way and I’m pretty sure I read the whole rest of the book after that point without putting it down even for a minute. No blinking!
I’m thrown to the ground and Mark rushes to cover me.
Always protecting me, giving me his body as a shield.
This is love. He’s the guy who will take the bullet. The guy I’ve dreamt of being with.
Luckily, this book has a fully resolved ending! Unlike her previous books, this is a standalone so you do get a complete story within this one book. It’s fun, sexy, suspenseful, and romantic! A really great read!
“I’m not a man who easily throws things away. Even when this house is falling apart, I’ll find a way to fix her.”
The intensity in his eyes softens, “I’ve learned women are usually the ones that give me the most headaches. This house definitely fits the bill. So, she’s a chick. A giant pain in the ass woman who drives me bat shit crazy, yet makes me need her at the same time. Sound familiar?”
I burst out laughing. “I don’t know what the hell I see in you.”
“Humor, good looks, sex appeal, the fact that I have a big dick probably helps. I mean, really, the choices are endless.”
My eyes widen as I listen to his self-proclaimed attributes. “Perhaps the big dick helps.”
“Yeah.” He wraps his arms around my waist and pulls me flush against him. “Feel free to tell me how much you love my ginormous dick anytime…”
While this can easily be read as a standalone, it’s also interconnected with this author’s previous books. The author has structured it well so that if you read this separately, you won’t be lost. The deal is that all the heroes work together… so their characters do cross over at times along with interconnecting elements. However, if you haven’t read any of the other books, you’ll get things filled in. So it’s totally up to you how you want to read them. Personally, I’ve read Consolation/Conviction, but not Beloved/Beholden.
Bottom line is that this was a sexy and suspenseful romance that was equally hot and intense, with a strong, stubborn, badass couple falling in love in the midst of chaos!
“Shhh,” he murmurs. His lips press against mine. “You can keep fighting as much as you want, but so will I. And I fight to the end.”
“Why me?” I ask…
“Because no one else sees through your lies. No one has ever tried. You’re worth everything hiding behind those blue eyes.”
Rating: 4+ stars!! Contemporary romantic suspense standalone.