Guardian: Terri Reid
A young mother will be tested in more ways than one when she and her young son witness the murder of an unknown woman. Agent Leo Gallagher would take charge of the investigation to find out who killed this woman and captured one of his fellow FBI agents, Jake. Feeling responsible for his capture and although one of the criminals during their takedown was captured and another in protective custody, someone realizes that this young mother, Alicia Duncan saw what he did and can identify him along with her son, Charlie. Leo takes to her immediately and insists on providing protection for her and her family at her ranch. Alicia is headstrong and demands to be apart of the investigation from helping to create a sketch of the killer, to finding the body of the first young woman he killed who resembles the woman in protective custody. But, who pinned the note to the victim alerting with a message signed by the witness in protective custody.
Alicia was married to an ex-cop who was killed in the line of duty and who was unfaithful to her and treated her like a trophy wife. Something about her intrigued Leo and although they just met there was sparks there from the start along with his K9 dog True. When staying at the ranch a drone was heard overhead and the end result would be more law enforcement involved. But, the killer just started and when Leo the barn with the horses was sacrificed but thankfully not the horses shot down the drone. Adding more FBI agents, more dogs and then learning there is another body, Alicia gets caught up in the investigation and guides them once again to the next victim. Agents Max and Julianne are on hand to help provide protection but Leo is set on protecting Alicia and her family on his own. Even going as far as having the sheriff get his officers to pick up her groceries and helping her organize dinners, cooking and cleaning. Even though she is afraid of a fresh start for some reason they bond and telling their own individual stories might bond them even more. Why does he feel responsible for the death of his 2-year-old sister? Why was he left to mind her at five years of age and not attend school? Why was he responsible and not his parents? What about Charlie who is responding to Leo and what happens when a second body is found?
Leo explained what happened with his parents and that they had to serve time for neglect and the death of his sister, but that did not take away the years of torment and guilt that he still feels. Alicia shared her marriage to her late husband and together they would hopefully heal. But, someone was after her and was relentless and will not stop until she is eliminated because she saw his face and created a perfect description. Several drones attacked the ranch and each time they were stopped but would that continue or will the killer finally get hold of her and silence her forever?
Leo felt that he failed her and decided to put Julianne as her protector but was this right decision? Reginald Durpee and his sister Esme are at the heart of this investigation as she is supposed to be in protective custody so what is the significance of the note that was pinned to the body of the first victim found?
Charlie seems to adjust to the situation and loved the attention he was getting from Max, Leo, Julianne and all of the K9’s. He loved playing I Spy with them and his grandfather, Howard, although older was definitely up to the task of protecting his family but what will happen when things settle down? While Leo and his team are out tracking the killer and investigating the next body found, someone enters the ranch and takes Alicia? A dangerous killer who will stop at nothing short of killing Alicia hoping to get away as he takes out the two officers protecting her from harm on the outside, Julianne gets blindsided on the inside and the victim is Alicia. When Leo realizes she is in harms way what happens next is perfectly choreographed by the author in great precision as Leo comes face to face with the killer and he has only one chance to succeed but will he? Added in Dylan the tech support guy is engaged to marry Zara who is being trained as an FBI agent and the investigation and her training might halt their wedding. The ending is exciting, tense and the final outcome of where Esme is and who is still out there that might want to take them all down is in the hands of author Terri Reed when I do hope she continues the saga and let’s us know what is in store for Leo, Alicia, Charlie and Howard. Will they survive? Will someone else come after them? Leo is a staunch and strong character and Alicia seems to fit right in with him but will she survive and will he protect her and continue to be her GUARDIAN? Characters that are strong, flawed, understanding, filled with loyalties, hope, and courage this is one series worth the read.
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/MJ magazine
Bon Appétit and a Book: A delicious recipe to enjoy alongside the book with an image.
This easy and delicious, gluten-free dessert is a new family favorite. It’s low in sugar—well, if you don’t use the caramel sauce, and full of flavor. We think of apples and pears for fall, but with the cider and citrus juices, this apple and pear compote makes a wonderful spring dish.
Apple, Pear Compote
1 Honey Crisp Apple
1 Granny Smith
1 Bartlett Pear
2 T Butter
4 oz (or just under ½ cup) of Finn River Solstice Saffron Hard Cider (the alcohol burns off during cooking)
1 t Honey
½ t Vanilla Paste
¼ t Cinnamon
1/8 t Nutmeg
1/8 t Ginger
½ t Lemon Juice
½ t Blood Orange Juice
- Wash, peel, and dice the apples and Pear. Brown two tablespoons of butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the cider, honey, vanilla paste, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, lemon juice, and blood orange juice to the sauce pan and bring to medium high heat. When the liquid reaches a boil add the diced fruit. Stir on medium high heat for two minutes, then reduce to low heat and let simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Serve compote with your favorite topping. We love caramel sauce drizzled over the top. It would be great with ice cream, whipped cream, in a crepe or as pie filling.
Song Playlist: A prepared playlist of songs that embodies the book’s characters and their love story.
I love to listen to music while writing. I have an eclectic taste in music and like songs that evoke emotion or a rhythm for my words, even if the lyrics don’t match the story I’m writing.
- Aftermath by Rascal Flatts
- I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me
- Lessons Learned by Carrie Underwood
- Grace Tells Another Story by Mercy Me
- It Happens All The Time by Megan Hilty
- Just You n’ Me by Chicago
- My Destiny by Katharine McPhee
- Daylight by Maroon 5
- Finally Home by Mercy Me
How-to Tips for Aspiring Writers: Tips for those looking to get their work published/break into the industry.
The landscape of publishing has changed so much since the time I started pursuing a career in this industry. But there are a few truths that still hold true. Join a writer’s organization where you can learn and network. Hone your craft. Be willing to put yourself out there by submitting your work to contests for feedback and then to publishers, if you’re looking to go the traditional route. Don’t be married to your work so much that you can’t change it if someone you respect tells you there’s a plot hole or your characters need more work.
Writer’s Space: Photos and a brief description of the place where they do their writing. My office is off the kitchen with a big window overlooking the backyard, allowing in plenty of natural light. Behind my monitor I have a wall of photos and motivating quotes. At my back is a bookshelf with reference books, more photos and some of my keeper books. It’s a nice space to lock myself away in when I’m working yet close enough to the heart of the house to still be available to my family.
Love Lessons Learned: Real life romance lessons learned from the book. One of the love lessons in Guardian was to take a risk on love. Both Leo and Alicia had past wounds that caused them to protect their hearts. I think most people have experienced hurt feelings which makes being vulnerable difficult. It’s so easy to guard ourselves and keep people at an emotional distance. But opening our hearts and inviting someone in is so much harder and takes bone deep courage. That is what my characters had to learn and a lesson I’ve had to learn in my own life.
Movie Star Cast: The author picks movie stars to play the characters in a movie.
For my hero FBI agent Leo Gallagher, I would cast Jason Lewis. There’s something about his chiseled jaw and bright eyes that is captivating.
My heroine, Alicia Duncan, would be Zoey Deschanel. She has such an interesting look. A mix of innocence and sensuality. She could play the fiercely protective heroine quite well.
Spring Rituals: The author describes any rituals she does in Spring.
Spring in the Pacific Northwest comes with occasional sunny days perfect for hiking in the Columbia River Gorge in the Cascade Mountains, roughly thirty miles outside of downtown Portland, Oregon. http://traveloregon.com/cities-regions/columbia-river-gorge/
The Gorge is well-known for its waterfalls, hiking trails and scenic landscape. The most famous and spectacular waterfall is Multnomah Falls with a 611-foot tall thundering, overwhelming torrent of chilly water from snow run off. Paved walking paths lead up the side of the cliff to different tiers with viewing points. Well-behaved dogs are welcome on leash. At the base of the falls is a lodge with a restaurant, gift shop and snack/coffee shop. After a hike to the top and back, a stop here for ice cream is the perfect way to end the day.
Q&A with Terri Reed author of GUARDIAN
- Was it different to write about a K-9 in the plot vs people?
Writing stories with dogs is both a challenge and a delight. I love dogs and find them fascinating creatures. Dogs have their own personality, just like people. Making them a character in the story without overshadowing the humans can be tricky. I like to show the bond between humans and canines, especially the special relationship of a K-9 dog and the police handler. They must rely on each other, trust each other and constantly train in order for the working relationship to function properly.
- How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes the names come to me easily while other times I have to search for the right name depending on the characters personality, background and temperament. I have a reference book titled Names Through the Ages that I use quite often when looking for a name. I like to know where the name originated and the meaning of the name. I try to incorporate something in the characters to reflect the meaning or origin of the name.
- Do you have any traditions you enjoy during Spring?
Here in Oregon we have The Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest during the spring months. It’s a wonderful sight to see the fields of colorful tulips swaying in the gentle breeze or sunlight reflecting off raindrops. The festival is a family affair with a children’s play area, hay wagon rides through the fields, and local food vendors providing delicious fare. Even dogs are welcome. It’s a wonderful place to create family memories. http://www.woodenshoe.com
- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. I would act out my stories for my grandparents when I was a kid. In junior high I had an English teacher who really sparked my interest in one day becoming an author. He made believe that my stories were worth telling. In college, my creative writing professor also encouraged me to pursue writing. However, fear kept me from taking the leap of faith for many years but I’m so glad I finally gathered enough courage to try.
- How long does it take you to write a book?
I like to have 3 to 4 months to complete a book. Sometimes it takes longer or shorter depending on my deadlines and what is going on in my personal life.
- What makes writing in the contemporary romance genre unique?
Writing the contemporary story requires a delicate balance of grounding the reader in the world of today yet not dating the book so that readers who find the book a few years later don’t feel like the story is outdated.
- How many books have you written?
I’ve written over forty books in the span of fourteen years. Do you have a favorite? My second book, A Sheltering Love for Love Inspired, will always hold a special place in my heart. It was a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist and the heroine in this story is closer to who I am than most of my other stories.
- What book are you reading right now?
I’m reading a Harlequin Romantic Suspense by one of my favorite authors. Operation Alpha by Justine Davis, is book eight in the Cutter’s Code series. Cutter is an uncannily brilliant dog who not only knows when someone is in trouble, but he plays matchmaker amid well-done suspense plots. I’ve enjoyed all the books in the series and have read every book Justine Davis has written.
- What are your current projects?
I’m working on a couple of stories right now. Book 1 of the 2018 K-9 continuity series for Love Inspired Suspense. This series will be set on a fictional Air Force base and feature Military Working Dogs. I also just turned in the proposal for book 1 of my own new series for Love Inspired Suspense.
- What advice do you have for writers?
Keep writing through the ups and downs of life. Be flexible, teachable and believe in your work.