Canadian Muscle, 1
Being the hired muscle just got a whole lot harder...
No one knows sacrifice better than former Army Sergeant Gavin Bennett. He’s witnessed firsthand the emotional, physical, and mental toll of being caught in the crossfire. Being a bouncer-slash-bodyguard may not be Gavin’s dream job, but he’s willing to do just about anything to help out family. When Gavin reports for his first day of work, he quickly discovers a woman who threatens to crack his legendary cool.
Shree Walker is on the run from a dark past she tried to shut away. Battered and broken, happily ever after doesn’t exist for her. Ready to start fresh with a new life in a new city, she is happy dancing at the Vixen Club. She’d be even happier without the presence of the prickly new bouncer who won’t let anyone or anything get past his carefully guarded defenses. He’s a distraction she doesn’t need. And a temptation she can’t resist.
When Shree is kidnapped by the criminal mastermind hell-bent on taking the club at any cost, Gavin has to make a decision. Hold tight and continue to keep Shree at arm’s length. Or break down his walls and take a chance on something more powerful than them both: Love.
Lush, steely vibrations circled the Vixen Club, resonating sweet to Gavin’s ears. He loved heavy bass music with electric guitars and endless riffs, the louder the better. Especially these days. Knowing his new job came with great ambiance made the decision to come here a little easier.
But not by much.
He blamed his blown-out knee and subsequent limp for his indecisiveness.
Retired Army. Two words he never considered alongside his name. At least not until he was in his sixties. Thirty-seven years old and forced to take early retirement after invading a terrorist cell in Afghanistan, uncertain if it was a trap. But seeing three young boys inside that building…he had no choice. Bomb or no bomb, he rushed into the falling down structure and had the last boy in his arms when the bomb went off.
Two months later, he awoke from his coma. He’d learned that all three boys had survived, though with some cuts and bruises, and had found peace with the fact that he’d done his job right. But he’d lost ten percent hearing in both ears, a crushed knee, and shrapnel still in parts of his right leg that were too embedded in bone and tissue to remove. The doctors had done everything they could without amputating.
Gavin had Sean to thank for that.
Friends since college, through combat training, and on every mission of their careers, he and Sean had endured a lot together. When doctors said it would be best to amputate his leg, Sean had opposed the decision and convinced the surgeon that Gavin would rather die than be without a limb.
How true that statement was. He owed Sean a lot. Which was why he stood within the shadows of the Vixen Club. To repay a debt he owed.
Enjoying the music, his fingers beat against his thigh. He scanned the room.
The place was bigger than expected. A stage took up a full wall at the front. Red, heavy curtains hung in the middle of the room, and from what he could see through an open spot between the drapes, there were mirrors behind them. A dark crack between the glass surprised him.
Huh, a doorway behind the glass? Must be how the dancers come and go.
Tables and chairs spread out from wall to wall. Jesus, there had to be eighty-some tables. How many people came to see women dance on stage, lip-sync, tease, and pout their way into tips?
Gavin strode to the bar at the top end of the room. Favoring his leg, he eased onto a stool and faced the stage. Two fairly tall, slender women stretched out their calves and backs. Leotards barely covered their ass-cheeks.
A man could get used to seeing such fine flesh every day.
Lucky for him, he’d been roped into being here. He’d make the most of the rash decision by appreciating the view.
The music picked up tempo, filling the area with rapid rhythms and a lot of bass.
Rock beats from a single on the last Nickelback album shook the floor. He couldn’t keep from tapping against the bar. His Army regimen played the band’s albums continuously. Hell, they were all Canadian and had to support home-country talent.
A blur of red and black rushing out on stage caught his attention. A woman skulked along at the front of the stage, bending, twirling, and angling her hot, sexy bod. She would no doubt capture every man’s attention when she performed.
Gavin swallowed hard, his eyes peeled to the sexy display in front of him.
Red sports bra and tight spandex shorts barely contained her curvy, tanned body dancing at lightning speed around the stage. Long, toned legs stretched, and her body twirled the pole as if it was made for her. Though she wore barely-there spandex, she didn’t give off a stripper vibe. Her thighs clung to the metal, showing off strong muscles. Without moving her legs from the pole, she let go with her hands and planted them firmly on the floor. She moved like a worm as she stayed suspended, the pole between her legs as her arms held her up. Her tight, large breasts were so tempting. His mouth watered.
The woman was skilled and in-tune with her body and with what she had to offer.
And boy, if she didn’t have a lot to offer.
Her breasts were definitely more than a handful, which was just how he liked them. Small, medium, large, and bountiful…as long as he could stick his dick in between the mounds and fuck them till his load burst all over a woman’s chin, lips, chest, neck, and in her hair. He loved to see his pleasure all over a woman.
His mouth watered because of the seductive goddess on stage.
Her long, dark, wavy hair clung to her face and shoulders, spinning around as much as she did. Bends, kicks, gymnast moves…he was impressed.
With a flick of her hair, she turned and glanced back over her shoulder, her hips swaying to the distinct bass. Facing the empty seats, she covered the stage, her movements skilled and quick. He watched, transfixed at the many steps, and could only guess at the training this woman needed to have in order to make it look so easy.
As the song ended, she bent at the waist, breathing deep. Her gaze caught on his.
He drew in a deep breath.
Damn, those dark depths laser-focused on his, holding him in place. Desire coursed through him, pulling at him to forget his reason for being here and find out more about her.
Beautiful. He loved everything about her gorgeous face. From her high cheek bones to the perfectly shaped lips that looked luscious and tasty from where he sat. And what he wouldn’t give to claim the first taste. Of those lips and anywhere else from head to toe.
Heavy pulses drew him from his thoughts and the beauty walked off the stage.
He squelched the desire to follow her. Sighing, he cursed himself. Getting a hard-on for some strange chick wasn’t what he’d signed up for by coming here. He had to keep his head in the game. But the image of her bent over while he drove into her over and over again burned in his mind. He adjusted himself behind the zipper of his jeans.
Posted by Bookshifter on 30th May 2015
Suspense, raw energy, determination sweetened with racy romance describe what’s found between the pages of Guarding Midnight. Vibrations and excitement hit the reader’s senses as they explore the story. Get ready for danger and the true meaning of devotion. The title alone is an attention grabber.
Gifted author Kacey Hammell masterfully creates a narrative that has all of the elements of a well thought out storyline packed with realism.
The setting, characters, plot and resolution are well defined and in my opinion readers will have no problem identifying with the characters and their personas. The excitement builds at a steady clip and holds a reader breathless and waiting to exhale throughout several segments of Guarding Midnight.
The twists and turns embedded in the story are heartwarming and sexy. Ms. Hammell’s key characters possess all the qualities that captivates my spirit: strong, determined, no nonsense men and women with pasts that entwine into dynamic chemistry.
Gavin is the Canadian hunk of steel, former military hero whom I would love to embrace and have him protecting me in my private world. Hmm, to describe more of this awesome man would be a disservice to you. I want you to have the joy and pleasure of coming up close and personal with this fine upstanding, hunk of a man.
Shree aka Midnight, is a woman who inspires and delights everyone in her presence. Her unyielding spirit makes her a champion. Shree’s lifestyle is one of a woman with a clear, unwavering, and meaningful purpose. She shows off her tenacity.
Ms. Hammell’s development of the supporting characters is as substantial to the storyline as the main characters.
Guarding Midnight, in my opinion, is a book that will touch your soul with the conception of deep abiding friendship, love and sparks of raw, carnal energy. This makes Guarding Midnight a keeper. I anticipate the hot, spicy, and thrilling ride will continue as Ms. Hammell spins her magical writing skills to keep me hooked and up all night.
Posted by LBAS Book Blog on 26th Apr 2015
Kacey has written a fabulous story filled with fast-paced action and suspense as well as sizzling romance. If you've never fallen in love with a soldier, you will fall in love with Gavin.
Gavin is a soldier who has been retired from active duty following his rescue of three children in Afghanistan and being impacted by an explosive device. Now, his recovering from the permanent physical injury as well as emotional scars. When his best friend asks him to watch over his sister who is being threatened by a local crime boss, Gavin is happy to do something utilising his military skills. He just wants to take care of business and move on. He certainly doesn't expect to fall in love. Until he meet Shree.
Shree is a woman running from her past. She's in a new city and ready to build a new life for herself, by going back to college and getting the qualifications she'd always wanted. Dancing is a way of earning a living and paying her fees until she finishes her studies. She can take care of herself and she certainly doesn't need a a sexy bodyguard watching over her.
These two are thrust together by circumstances beyond their control. They both are not looking for romance but neither can deny the sizzling sexual tension between them. Will it take the actions of a egomaniac to make them see sense?
This book offers passion and suspense. It is also a heartfelt romance about letting go and falling in love. I seriously want some more Canadian Muscles. Fans of romantic suspense will love this one. I do.
Posted by J. Faltys "Joder" on 24th Apr 2015
Ms. Hammell's Canadian Muscle series gets off to a rousing start with this exhilarating blend of suspense and eroticism. Add in a drool-worthy hero who is a born savior and an independant woman with a damaged past whose combustible connection scorches the pages and you have an exciting and fast-paced read.
As a reader who loves scarred heroes I was instantly drawn to Gavin with his limp and damaged hearing due to his wartime duty. In promise to a friend he starts working as a bouncer/bodyguard in a burlesque club that's been targeted by underworld criminals. Though Gavin doesn't like to stay in any one place for long he's determined to bring this vile villain to justice as he hates bullies and those who hurt those who are weaker. Distracting him during this new mission is the sexy and conflicted Shree who he feels an instant attraction to. Though the attraction is superficial at first he slowly grows closer to her as her past is revealed. When the enemy hits close to home Gavin will have to call on all his military training to save the one woman to finally give him a reason to stay in one place. I adored Gavin as he never let his disabilities define him, he remained the badass hero with the brawn to get the job done. He has a softer side too that was seen through his strong protective instincts that were a bit smothering at times but always came from the heart and it further endeared him to me.
Shree's an intriguing heroine that was a good match for Gavin as her strong side was an aphrodisiac to him with her damaged past calling to his protective nature. On every level he wanted her and their insta-love relationship crackled with sexual tension. Shree knows that Gavin doesn't believe in commitment which is fine by her as she'll be leaving the club as soon as she graduates. She'll enjoy what he's offering for now but not count on the future. Her past further tarnishes their future as her fears over dominant and strong-willed men leave her a bit leery of Gavin. This uncertainty put her in danger, held captive by a madman, and had me on the edge of my seat waiting for Gavin to rescue her. For the most part I liked Shree and admired her surviving her tragic past to make something of her future by juggling work and school. I was frustrated though by the doubts she had of Gavin as he never gave her a reason to fear him or doubt his ability to protect her.
From start to finish this was an engaging story that nicely balanced the suspense with the burgeoning and erotic relationship between Gavin and Shree. Their sexual interludes were scorching and left me parched with their intensity but we're nicely spaced throughout the story to keep them meaningful. Gavin is a wonderful hero with a good heart who always put others first. He's a loyal man who inspires loyalty in others as seen by the secondary characters who aid him in bringing down the bad guy. Shree's a strong-willed heroine whose pigheadedness put her in danger but who still left me rooting for her as her strength continued to shine through even in the face of danger. I enjoyed Charlie and her sweet and endearing connection to Gavin as his honorary sister. She's another strong-willed heroine who I hope to see more of as she never gave in to fear or intimidation. Readers who love erotic tales with combustible interactions and a pulsepounding pace will be drawn to this series starter and clamoring in anticipation for the next installment.
Posted by Layna Pimentel on 24th Apr 2015
This sexy read is not only faced paced, but full of suspenseful action. Ms. Hammell quickly draws you in with complex characters, and a plot that sneaks up on you. I read this novella on my flight home from Ottawa which is one sitting. If you're on the hunt for a series that's hot, edgy, and a dose of suspense, you'll want to read this book!
Posted by MISS JULIE ANNE BARRETT on 24th Apr 2015
Guarding Midnight is a exciting read that draws the reader in and keeps you gripped right until the end. The plot is exciting with lots of suspense and danger as well as a wonderful romantic storyline that is full of love and lust. I really enjoyed this book, the story flowed really well and the main characters were likable and realistic. This is the first book in the Canadian Muscle series, and I look forward to reading more books in this exciting series.
Shree is running from a dark past and is working as a dancer while she is studying to be a nurse. She is the star attraction at the Vixen Club so she comes to the attention of the criminal mastermind who wants to take over the club. Ex soldier Gavin is brought in to guard Shree and the other dancers and he's instantly attracted to the beautiful, talented star dancer. Can Gavin crack the walls that Shree has built around her heart? And can he keep her safe?
I loved both Gavin and Shree, as well as the supporting characters. Gavin is a tough alpha male who's still recovering from an injury he received in Afghanistan. He is super sexy and ultra protective, he's a character you can't help but fall in love with. Shree has a traumatic past, and she us working hard to overcome that. She is hardworking, talented and is someone I can imagine being friends with. The characters are believable and I instantly connected with them and wanted to keep reading to find out more about them.
The suspense part of the storyline is fantastic. Fast paced, exciting and dangerous it keeps you turning the pages of this wonderful book. This is the first book I've read by this talented author, and it won't be the last. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and give it five out of five stars.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a honest review.
Posted by Kali Willows on 9th Apr 2015
When does a hero stop being a hero? Kacey Hammell pens a gripping tale of a retired soldier, wounded and struggling to find his path once again. When a buddy calls in a favor, he sets out on a new mission that brings him face to face with exquisite beauty, riveting danger and nail biting suspense. The heroine is a survivor of her own accord, has a plan, incredible talent and unwavering determination.
Gavin is a fierce protector whose arms I want to be wrapped in to shelter me from evil. Shree is a strong, glamorous beauty I admire with an honorable career goal. I became instantly invested in them finding a HEA. The additional characters were just as well developed and drew me into Guarding Midnight’s world. Ms. Hammell’s colorful descriptions define the setting and interactions. Her style of writing envelops the reader with non-stop action and steamy sex.
This story had me completely enthralled and desperate to get to the end of how this smoldering tale could possibly end. The hurdles and hindrances are relentless, the danger eminent, and yet, the blossoming attraction is sweet, touching, but also powerful and intoxicating. Well done Ms. Hammell! I will be reading more of your work, without a doubt.
Posted by JoAnne on 5th Apr 2015
Hammell's sexy as all hell novella is best described as a Canadian version of the movie Roadhouse, but with more heat and danger abound. A must read for erotic romance fans who like their book boyfriends slightly damaged with a dark history, and brooding, protective, and all kinds of Grrr.
Posted by Canadian Book Addict on 5th Apr 2015
I had never read anything by Kacey Hammell before but this book sounded great so I just couldn't wait to read it.
This is a sexy and quick read (at about 132 pages) that sure kept me reading and I didn't want to put it down. Good thing this book isn't a long one because I ended up starting it at around 10pm and I just couldn't stop reading.
Guarding Midnight is very well written with amazing plot and story line.
I highly recommend this.
Posted by Beckey on 3rd Apr 2015
A Review by Beckey
Received for an honest review
Kacey’s newest release doesn’t disappoint. The story will pull the reader into a wanting to find what is next even though I kind of figured out a possible how earlier on but the when… Oh goodness… That was unexpected as well as few other parts…
The characters, plot and storyline was amazing, overall this was an easy contemporary romance that will have some enjoying on how the story unfolds.
Watch the book trailer... https://youtu.be/MZWtSSU9lIM
Posted by S.J. Maylee on 3rd Apr 2015
This is a book that will consume you. So good! The characters grabbed my interest immediately and I couldn't put the book down. I had to know what happens. From that sensual first kiss through terrifying suspense filled moments, Kacey Hammell's writing will pull you in. This is a must read. I'm definitely looking forward to more Canadian Muscle.