Third in the Protectors romantic suspense series about a security company and the "brothers" who started it. The couple focus is on Crissy/Chloe and Mike Keillor.
The start of this story will break your heart and keep it hurting. Chloe is such a generous soul and so furious with her parents for their choices. For their neglect. But fortuitous events have made her a wealthy woman with less of a burden from her past and the opportunity to make things right.
She finds so much more than she had expected. A family. Familial love. The potential for an amazing romantic love until Mike shuts down.
It's around this point that the story starts to fall apart for me. Here's these three guys who are brilliant with a very successful security business. A cop who likes Mike. And none of them think of checking surveillance cameras. WTF? It takes teacher Chloe calling her PI to track down the proof. Hullo?
Do these guys consider how they would break into their own apartments? 'Cause reading of how easily Nikitin gets in is just downright ridiculous.
The story picks up again with Chloe volunteering at a women's shelter where she is seen as a threat to a particular business. And, with the change in that business' protocols and security, Chloe is a threat who needs to be humbled. And, snicker, they don't know what they're getting into...bwa-ha-ha...
We finally learn what happened to Mike's family. Why he feels such a need to drown his pain. The guilt he carries.
God, I know that variety makes the world go round, but do we really need this kind of variety within "humanity"? These men disgust me. I'll never be able to understand this need, this desire to hurt, to abuse. When Consuelo escapes with her "treasure", it breaks my heart at how little she trusts anyone.
Life was great, fabulous, until Mike realized he was an unwanted burden in his brothers' lives. It's a shock, and Mike takes refuge in his one vice. One he quickly realizes is too disgusting for words, and he runs his disgust off. Lucky for him as it saves his butt.
Chloe Mason is desperate with hope. Her parents died recently and the documents she found have set her on a new course, one she could never have expected.
And Chloe is a revelation of light for Mike. She's his salvation, and one he has promised to never touch again.
Chloe doesn't need to work, but she does need to stay occupied, especially since that stupid confession she made to Mike, and her compassion finds relief in helping women who are abused. Only her sympathy reverberates within women who have been imported to San Diego as sex slaves.
Chloe Mason spent almost her entire childhood having surgery or recovering from it. Her very-distant parents, Rebecca and George Mason, rarely visited her in hospital; shortly after her release, she went to boarding school. Sister Mary Michael became the mother of Chloe's heart. Amanda Box is a private investigator Chloe hired after she discovered her parents' secrets. She's good with street surveillance too.
Mike Keillor, an ex-Marine and ex-SWAT with the SDPD, is the third "brother" in RBK Security Inc. And he has issues---Mom, Dad, Eddie, and Jeff---he drowns in alcohol and sex.
Mike's brothers and partners in RBK Security Inc. are Harry Bolt, former Delta, who found his happily ever after with Ellen Palmer an accountant by day and the sultry singer Eve by night with their three-month-old, Grace (Hotter Than Wildfire: (Protectors, #2)), and Sam Reston, an ex-SEAL married to Nicole, who runs a translating agency, Wordsmith, (Into the Crossfire (Protectors, #1)). They've just had a baby, Meredith (Hotter Than Wildfire). Marisa is their very compassionate receptionist. Barney is another of their people.
Lieutenant Bill Kelly is SDPD and a former coworker of Mike's. He's got a hard job ahead of him when a cokehead, Mila Koravich, is found beaten to death. Special Agent Aaron Welles has helped RBK on their pet project.
Marion is the director of the shelter where Chloe volunteers. Rudy is a computer hacker friend of Nicole's.
Franklin Sands operates a very high-class brothel, oops, I mean, "men's club", the Meteor Club, in San Diego. Anatoly Nikitin is his new Russian partner with a very hardnosed approach to how the house will operate. Ivan, Lyov, and Dimitri are on Nikitin's security team; Pirat is a computer consultant. Consuelo is one of his women and getting too cocky. Elena is Consuelo's best friend and was the first to speak with Chloe. Larry Cameron runs a used car dealership and loves to hurt women, and he has lots of company. Big names.
The Lost Ones Fund is where half the profits from RBK go, helping women escape abusive situations. Harry's purpose is to make up for his baby sister, Crissy, being murdered by his addict mother's vicious boyfriend; Sam wants to prevent another child from being thrown out; and, Mike pays for his feelings of guilt over the murder of his family.
Well, from the great graphic on the cover, I'm not sure what Harry is fussed about. Looks like Crissy is able to hold her own with the grip she's got on Mike's undershirt.
The closest I can guess on the title is that Chloe is Mike's Nightfire, the light in the cave of his life.