Nick Kane is a former Black Ops specialist who worked for years on missions led by Gray, a high level operative. Gray demanded ultimate loyalty, and Nick gave it, but he was too good to be used as an operative in a rogue mission, so Gray made him a pawn instead. Nick barely survived the horror show of that mission, and he’s determined to avenge his lost brothers sacrificed for Gray’s material gain. Now that Nick’s recovered, he’s using some of his own contacts, namely an all-female assassin unit called the Medusas, to hunt down his former boss and make him pay for his crimes. He’s staking out a huge auction, trying to pin down Gray or his goons, when he’s taken out by a stranger who is very good–nearly as good at black ops as Nick, and that’s saying something.
CIA Agent Alex Creed, known as The Judge in the black ops world, has enormous latitude to eliminate rogue threats. Alex thought Nick was still part of Gray’s personal detail and a rogue agent when he intercepted him at the auction. It’s a bit of a mess, but Alex and Nick end up taking out some of Gray’s men, a circumstance Nick believes will send Gray running for cover to any of a dozen safe houses. The thing is, Alex has an inside track on what Gray and his pals stole, the crime they tried to pin on Nick. Knowing how Gray operates on a day-to-day level makes Nick an asset to Alex, but only if he can keep Nick close enough to confide his secrets. Nick’s not holding back, though, because Alex’s reputation is legendary, and their missions are the same: to bring Gray to justice.
His Christmas Guardian is billed as a Christmas romantic suspense, and it sort of hits all of those marks. This is the 4th book in a series (the others being male/female romances), and I think I would have enjoyed it better if I’d read any of the previous books. These guys seem great, but it was a little tough getting to know them, with all the running, fighting, and scheming they had to do from page one. Their chemistry seemed a little tepid to me as a result. Meanwhile, Gray is always three steps ahead, and there are a lot of bodies piling up. Events happen so fast, without a lot of context for who’s good, bad, or ugly. I had sincere trouble keeping up. I’m generally cool with romantic suspense, but there was a lot of double/triple crossing, and all sorts of alphabet soup when it came to who was running what op with whom, so I got confused in the first half.
The second half is Alex and Nick loving up, and working together to take Gray down, using good old-fashioned sleuthing techniques, with a modern-day tech genius on hand. That part all made sense and really brought the suspense, because both Nick and Alex are determined to sacrifice themselves if needed. The creche treasure was interesting and kind of fun, given how heretically Gray treats it. The decorating of their safe house, including hanging of ammo on the tree, brought some much needed levity.
If you are really into romantic suspense, you might enjoy this one. It’s not a traditional Christmas romance, but there is a lot of Christmas in it, and these guys seem to have a good ending that will keep them connected beyond this tumultuous adventure.