Reese is back on the job after devastating injuries. This case was supposed to be an easier one to ease back into things, but Reese is cautious and looking to prove himself. The case turns out to be anything but easy as his target, Ben, is mugged and Ben’s young sister is kidnapped. One look at Ben though, and every protective instinct Reese has is lit up and he wants to simultaneously protect the man and devour him. But Reese has physical and emotional scars and his experience with men, and his experience with relationships, is non-existent and he has no idea what he could offer Ben.
Ben was adopted by a loving family when he was a baby, but when his adoptive parents died, he went into the foster care system. The foster family he lived with saw him as a paycheck and nothing more. When he turned 18, Ben couldn’t leave his baby sister, Georgie, behind and his life is all about taking care of her. And then Georgie is kidnapped.
Ben is wary of trusting Reese as he knows he’s holding something back, but Georgie’s life is on the line. Despite himself, Reese makes him feel protected and cared for, but no one sticks around for Ben. Especially his biological brother, Griff, who Ben thinks has a charmed life and wants nothing to do with Ben. Ben and Reese have a lot of rearranging to do, but they might just wind up with the family they always wanted.
Made Mine is a crossover between Lucy Lennox’s Made Marian series and Sloane Kennedy’s The Protectors series. The book is billed as a standalone, but I think it certainly works better to have at least some knowledge of both of these worlds, especially Reese’s backstory, which can be found in Unexpected, the 10th book of The Protectors series. I have read both series, as well as another series that the authors cowrote, and other series both authors wrote solo, and I am well versed with their writing styles and was fully on board for this book. To put it out there, however, I didn’t like it too much.
Kennedy has a darker tone to her work and her Protectors men have violent and trauma filled pasts. Lennox’s style isn’t nearly as dark, but instead of the two styles balancing each other out, they cancelled each other out. The book was simply bland and flat for me, which was shocking as well as disappointing.
Ben is mentioned in the Made Marian series as being Griffin’s younger brother who was adopted at birth. His life has been empty and lonely for so many years and Georgie, his younger sister, is his best motivation to keep going. The plot opens with intrigue as Reese is shadowing Ben on what he thought was a simple case that turns out to be anything but simple. The chemistry is on target at the start, but even that dimmed for me quickly.
The men then go to Blue and Tristan’s vineyard to lay low (this is only one of many places where it’s helpful to have knowledge of the Made Marian series). The book then becomes almost entirely about Georgie, as the men work to reassure Georgie, and play with Georgie, and protect Georgie, and on and on with Georgie. Now, Georgie was a cute kid, but she took over the story. Ben and Reese’s relationship was sidelined and the reunion with Griff was not only sidelined, but they barely spent any time together and there was a whole lot of them not interacting. And, while there were circumstances, it didn’t help the story at all for me. Reese has a lot going on with him and it was smushed in between the story that stayed at the vineyard with Georgie and her pets and her playmates. The kidnapping storyline, which opened the book, was completely put into the background until the end of the book, the reason behind it was lackluster, and then many resolutions were glossed over and done in a blink and there was then a landslide of things that weren’t working for me.
While it was fun to see cameos of past characters, including Nico and the Marian men, as well as some of The Protectors, they didn’t all fit in smoothly to the story, and while some readers may be fans of Aunt Tilly and the girls, I will never find her inappropriate style entertaining at all. I’m going with this one book in all of the books I have read by these authors as not working for me. If you’ve read both of these series, I absolutely understand the allure of wanting to open it up and perhaps you’ll have better success than me.