I like tough guys in romances, big strong men who handle any situation or danger. I especially like it when the big guy falls for the heroine, and it undoes him; not so tough now. But I’m thinking I might like best of all a hero who literally can’t live without her. Kind of ups the tension, and as a placeholder, his need gives me a nice sense of power.
In her gutsy, intense and arousing “Running Scared,” Shannon K. Butcher gifts us with Sentinels, a plethora of hard-edged heroes who guard humanity against the Synestryn, monsters who see humans as cattle. Yet these tough guys’ lives hinge on the love of the right woman; each warrior must find a compatible woman in whom the Sentinal can channel his building energy, a force that transforms into his woman’s magic. If a Sentinel fails to find his woman soon enough, his soul dies.
Sentinel warrior Zach’s been chasing after Lexi Jordan for what seems like forever and, when he finally catches her, she feels to him like the beginning of his salvation. Now all he has to do is convince her he’s not a monster and they’re meant to be together. No easy task, considering she was reared by a mother who taught Lexi the Sentinels were the bad guys. Lexi’s been running from them since she was a little girl.
When the Sentinels kidnap her best friend, Lexi needs a plan, and thanks to the Defenders -- a group of humans out to destroy the Sentinels -- she gets one. She tricks Zach into thinking she’s in trouble, knowing he’ll find her and take her to his compound to brainwash her so she’ll stay with him. But once Lexi’s at the compound, she plans to rescue her friend and blow the place to hell with explosives the Defenders gave her.
It’s a perfect plan – except for her nearly uncontrollable desire for Zach, his unconditional kindness and his willingness to protect her against the Synestryn. Lexi sees the good in Zach, and she wonders: If she’s been wrong about him, might she be wrong about all Sentinals? Doubting everything her mother taught her,, Lexi’s on the brink of fully trusting Zach when he finds out about her plan.
In Lexi, Butcher takes a possibly unsympathetic character and gives us a glimpse of how a person might be good while thinking wrong-minded thoughts. And Butcher’s secondary, ongoing story arcs add intrigue; Butcher hints at coming storylines just enough to make us do happy dances while waiting for – and hoping – the next book in the series is about our new favorite couple. Do your own happy dance after you –
Buy the book.
It’s not always easy liking the “before” Lexi, but we know she’ll come around to the side of Zach and the Sentinels. Who’s the character you loved to hate, and then loved for real?
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