Easter will soon be here, although it certainly felt far from it with the snowfall last week. Then again, snow in April is nothing unusual in Minnesota. This happened the same time last year, and by Memorial Day, the temperature had climbed to 100. This week, we’ve been receiving something of a do-over, with sunshine and enough rain to green things up around here. Just in time for our second season…construction.
Lately, when I have taken time away from my works-in-progress and columns, I have been on a Perry Mason movie marathon. Yes, the two-hour episodes shot in the ’80s and ’90s, with Denver as the locale. I still prefer the original series hands-down, yet I can appreciate the appeal these episodes have (while I endeavor to overlook those ’80s fashion statements). Friday night is still reserved for Universal horror classics and 1950s sci-fi. Weekends bring me Midsomer Murders, while I and so many others are on Royal Baby Watch (yes, I admit it). Good news–another idea for a novel in my Christopher Family Novel series has taken shape, for which I have already written the beginning and the ending. My brother and sister-in-law read the beginning, and they’re looking forward to the way it develops. I give thanks for my listening ears!
In my search for authors of color, for your reading pleasure, I bring to you the steamy, multicultural romance Under His Protection by LaQuette. Newly-minted police lieutenant Elijah Stephenson is a hot, hunky African-American man in his mid-30s, son of a police officer, a product of a close-knit family from East New York, Brooklyn. Elijah is returning to duty after a life-threatening assault, filled with internal concerns about his ability to do the job after fourteen years of service. All set to work in the cybercrimes unit, he is thrown a curveball by his captain, Heart Searlington: protective duty for a high-profile assistant district attorney until his case comes to trial. If that weren’t enough, said individual was the same person who did a hit-it-and-quit-it on him five years ago, and Elijah has never forgotten that, much less forgiven him.
Executive ADA Camden Warren is a 34-year-old, equally hot, hunky white man born into a world of entitlement and privilege. His father is chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, committed to service, but a shameless control freak when it comes to his son’s life. Judge Warren’s concept of a life path for Camden–the right career, marriage to the “right” sort of man, politically positioning himself for an eventual run at the White House–amounts to “my way or the highway.” Camden is the prosecutor against the Path to Unity, a paranoid, extremist cult who hasn’t been above eliminating witnesses against them before they can testify. After narrowly escaping a car bombing, Camden’s arrogance falls away, and he reluctantly accepts police protection. Finding out Elijah, the man he walked out on, has been assigned to spirit him away and protect him…hot mess.
And what a hot mess. With rabid cult members who will stop at nothing to find them and take them out, Elijah and Camden, using Elijah’s home as a safe house, are forced to deal with the aftermath of their one-night stand…under the eyes of Elijah’s parents, brother and sister-in-law, who unexpectedly show up at his door to visit for a few days. The very idea of renewing their intense connection of that long-ago night could also ruin their careers, particularly Elijah’s, yet the pull is too strong. And looming in the background is Judge Warren. Could things get any worse?
LaQuette spins this romantic thriller with panache. Through their psyches, she reveals to us the ways in which Elijah and Camden complicate matters of the heart that really aren’t so complicated. I especially love the scene in the kitchen between Camden and Elijah’s mother, Evelyn, which bears this out beautifully. LaQuette’s strong, positive representations of Elijah and his family inspired me. For all the divergence in their backgrounds, Elijah and Camden have a common ground, plus a commitment to justice–which ultimately leads to love.
I also love the way LaQuette treats their sexual orientation as simply another fact of life, and not part of the challenges this couple faces. The real challenges, as the story unfolds, are within themselves. Will Elijah face his insecurities about his ability to serve and protect, and embrace his love for Camden? Will Camden see what a loving family is all about, and refuse to be bullied any longer?
Yes, it’s hard-won love, and well worth the journey. For all of you M/M romance lovers who enjoy the thriller element mixed in, be on the lookout for Under His Protection, at your local Amazon/Barnes and Noble library.