After Morgan Drake witnesses a murder, the FBI stashes him in a safe house until the trial. However, the safe house is attacked when they are betrayed by someone within the FBI, and both Morgan and the FBI agent guarding him are shot. Critically injured, the FBI agent sends Morgan running to his ex-partner, Nik Valentinov. Nik is now an agent with Sanctuary, an independent firm that protects crime victims that the government alphabets (FBI, CIA, etc.) cannot. One phone call from his old friend and Nik is off to collect Morgan and keep him safe. It should be a simple task for both Nik and Sanctuary, however, there is nothing simple about the case or Morgan Drake.
Guarding Morgan is the first in the Sanctuary series from R.J. Scott. I like her depiction of the life of a Federal agent as it seems very credible. I can see the job of safeguarding a client being exhausting mentally and emotionally, especially as it depends upon the stability of the client. The character of Nik Valentinov is weary, and looking forward to downtime. I empathized with this character as he reaches deep into his reserves for the strength needed for this new job. I believed absolutely that Nik was a field agent; he felt authentic and that makes it so much easier for me to slide into the story.
Morgan was another interesting character. He seems bland to begin with but is surprisingly assertive with his sexuality and desires. That was a nice twist, as you might expect Nik to the be the dominant one. They fall in love during Morgan’s stay in the Sanctuary safe house. This “instant love” usually has me rolling my eyes but here at least it is acknowledged. When talking about their feelings for each other, Morgan tells Nik that his parents married after knowing each other for 4 weeks. They believed in “love at first sight” and that he “thinks” it is happening for him. That made everything snap into place for me. I started pulling for this couple even as the danger for Morgan increases and the case gets more complicated. Towards the end of the book, all the pieces are put in place for the second novel in the series, The Only Easy Day.
I wish the book had been a little longer so that the characters brought in towards the end could have been a little more fleshed out. The murder mystery started here definitely engaged my curiosity and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. Sanctuary is a wonderful
Cover Review: The dark haired model seems perfect for Morgan but I would have loved to have seen a fully clothed representation of Nik, the ex-fed. It doesn’t really pertain to the novel. There was much made of a place near a lake and Morgan’s artistic talent. Either would have made a nice graphic for the color. The font would have been easier to see in a different color.