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Title: Lethal Protector
Author: Kaylea Cross
Series: Rifle Creek #3
Published by Kaylea Cross Inc. on January 26, 2021
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Format: arc, ebook
She unknowingly threatens his control.
Single mom Tala Baldwin is no stranger to sacrifice. After losing her leg while serving her country, she’s now training to become a competitive biathlete. With her daughter off to college, she’s able to shoot for her dream of making the national masters team. Even her Christmas break in Rifle Creek doesn’t slow her down. She’s asked her trusted friend Braxton to help her train—all while trying to pretend she doesn’t ache for him. Braxton was there for her during the darkest day of her life and he’s been there for her since…but only as a friend. In fact, he seems more determined than ever to hold her at arm’s length—until a deadly blizzard traps them in the mountains with a wanted killer hot on their trail. Now Tala once again finds her life in his hands as they face the lethal threats together.
Now he’s at his breaking point.
Sgt. Braxton Hillard is a master sniper, renowned for his ability to operate without emotion. Except with Tala. She’s all he’s ever wanted—but can’t have. For four long years he’s kept his distance. She’s way too good for him and she would realize that if he ever made a move. But the attraction between them is too powerful to deny, and once she makes it clear she wants him, he can’t keep his distance any longer. As they fight to survive in the mountains, all bets are off. Braxton is ready to sacrifice everything to protect the woman he loves—even his own life.
Her Lethal Protector by Kaylea Cross is the third and final book in the Rifle Creek series, and it delivered a beautiful, friends to lovers slow burn romance, with a dash of suspense making it a fitting end to the series. All three books are independent of each other, rendering it easy to read in any order one desires. The reader got her first glimpse of Braxton and Tala in the previous book and wanted to learn more about them. Therefore, the opportunity to read and review Lethal Protector was met with absolute delight.
Tala, a former soldier, and single mother lost a leg while on duty. Being a strong and determined woman, she would not allow an injury to hold her back, and so she began training to become a biathlete with her eye on becoming a member of the National Masters Team.
Braxton Hilliard is a sergeant and an elite sniper in the Canadian army. He and Tala shared a special bond that was further strengthened the day she lost her leg in an explosion four years ago. He would love to share more than friendship with her, but believes she deserves better than him, given his track record with relationships. Despite his futile attempts to distance himself from her, he could not stay away, especially when he learnt she reciprocated his feelings.
I admired Tala’s strength and determination, which was further put to the test when both she and Braxton unwittingly found themselves in the crosshairs of a killer while trapped in a snowstorm. This aspect of the story had me on the edge of my seat. Braxton’s protective nature and his alpha side revealed itself during these harrowing moments. He did not have the best of life in his younger years, which played a major role in his doubts about being emotionally available for Tala. Their team effort when facing down a cold-blooded killer while trying to survive in a raging snowstorm was admirable.
I enjoyed how their romance developed and loved how they worked through their issues, which arose due to distance, insecurities and fears. The author’s portrayal of the characters’ emotions and reactions added to the story’s authenticity. She made it easy for the reader to relate to their fears and struggles. The story wrapped up nicely, leaving me satisfied and looking forward to read more from the author.
Looking for a heartfelt, friends to lover’s romance with suspense in the mix, get yourself a copy of Lethal Protector.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: