Title: Love or Justice
Author: Rachel Mannino
Series: Protect and Serve (Book #1)
Publication Date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: Limitless Press
Purchase: Amazon | Indigo | Barnes & Noble
Summary: After stumbling into a deadly kidnapping, Laurie’s life is in grave danger, and it falls to US Marshal Dante Stark to keep her safe until she testifies against Kaimi Quamboa—assuming he can be captured.
Dante knows he’ll lose his job if he becomes romantically involved with a witness…
But when he has to comfort her through constant nightmares, he finds it nearly impossible to fight his attraction to the beautiful, strong young woman he is sworn to protect. Laurie feels it too, but aware she’s in a high-stress situation and that when the danger is past she’ll never see Dante again, she tries to ignore his easygoing smile and the security he offers.
Laurie and Dante are forced to flee again…
When Kaimi’s men descend on their hideaway, they escape to a second safe house, only to be tracked down there as well. Dante now knows there’s a mole inside the US Marshal Service, and the only thing left to do is disappear.
Kaimi will never stop looking for Laurie, and if he’s caught, showing up to testify could be the last thing she ever does.
With each choice as dangerous as the next, Dante and Laurie must confront the boundaries of what they’re willing to sacrifice, and which is more important…
Love or Justice.
A huge thank you to Enchanted Book Promotions for providing me with a copy for reviewing.
Whenever I manage to finish a book in a day, it’s usually a good thing. I couldn’t put this book down. The story jumps off right at the very beginning and sets everything up so I perfectly understood the tone of what I was getting into.
In short, the story is about a young woman named Laurie, a law student who puts herself through school by working at a hotel. She witnesses a crime in one of the rooms one day and is immediately put into witness protection due to the notoriety of the people associated with what she saw. In charge of her case is US Marshal, Dante. Along with Dante’s team, they protect Laurie by moving into a safe house. Throughout their time spent together in such close quarters, something blossoms between Laurie and Dante, even though it really shouldn’t be happening. The consequences for getting involved with his charge are huge, and Dante is one of the best Marshals and has worked hard to get to where he is. But the heart wants what it wants, and throughout the story, the connection becomes undeniable. The story pushes forward as they realize they’re in more danger than they thought. This causes Dante to take extra measures to protect Laurie, no matter what it takes.
Laurie and Dante are both extremely likeable, and their individual personalities complimented each other so nicely. As expected of a US Marshal, Dante is tough, oozes masculinity, and is a leader. But at the same time, he has a soft side. Meanwhile Laurie never plays the role of damsel. She herself is strong and unafraid despite circumstances that keep her life in jeopardy. Their romance is inevitable, but I loved how the author didn’t jump into it right away. The two got to know each other and went through some hard times in order for them to solidify their relationship. And when the calm before the storm came along in the middle of the book, we’re treated to a refreshing approach to their growing emotional connection.
My only real issues were regarding the way some scenes were set up; there were a couple of moments that were just plain unrealistic and had me scratching my head, but I guess they were needed in order to propel the story forward. After that, those little details became unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
To sum it up, the story is ultimately a love story, backed up by some really great action and suspense sequences. It’s definitely a strong debut from Mannino, and I’m looking forward to reading more in this series and any other works she has in the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel Mannino is a passionate writer who creates characters and settings that allow readers to explore power dynamics in relationships, the empowerment of women, and the ethical and moral dilemmas love can create in our lives. Rachel also uses her writing skills to raise thousands of dollars for entities that enrich our lives and create community change around the world. She has worked for the Peace Corps; the Humanities Council of Washington, DC; Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; and the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events in Boston, MA. Her first novel, Love or Justice, will be published by Limitless Press in 2016. Rachel has a BA in theatre studies and writing, literature, and publishing from Emerson College, and she has used it every day since graduation. She lives with her husband, author Christopher Mannino, and their adorable dog and cat in College Park, Maryland. (via Limitless Publishing)