Publisher: Forever Yours
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Three years ago, helicopter pilot Josh Campbell and firefighter paramedic Edie Lang turned to one another in their grief over three comrades lost in a burnover in Wyoming. When Josh’s pager interrupted their time together, he was forced to leave, promising to return. Not even the mage magic they share was enough to overcome Josh’s reservations about a woman who regularly risked her life. He did not return. But three years was not long enough to make either of them forget the passion that flared between them. Now Edie’s crew from Colorado has been rotated in to help fight a fire devastating Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp, and Josh, who flies for the Southeastern Shire Collegium (cover name: the Georgia Institute of Paranormal Research), is the pilot of the medevac helicopter taking Edie to an injured firefighter in need of rescue.
Their chance meeting might have been only an awkward experience that stirred memories neither of them was comfortable recalling, but they both fall victim to a strange illness that depletes their mage powers. They end up in the Collegium infirmary under the care of mage healer Dr. Stefan Harper, a character readers familiar with Northcott’s debut novel, Renegade, will remember. When it turns out that their illness is due to contact with an orb that drains mages’ magical powers, a weapon of ghouls and traitor mages. Edie and Josh will have to work together to battle the forces that threaten them and worlds of Mage and Mundane alike, and they also will have to battle their feelings for one another.
Neither can deny the powerful feelings they have for one another. But Edie’s plans include becoming a smokejumper, an even more dangerous job than the one she now holds, and Josh’s conviction that women should be kept safe for the good of the family unit is deeply rooted in his childhood experience. Can their love overcome the impasse?
Protector falls between Renegade and Guardian, scheduled for release on July 2, 2013. Northcott returns the reader to the fascinating world of the benevolent mages in the Southeastern Collegium headquartered in Wayfarer, Georgia, on the edges of the mysterious Okefenokee Swamp. Northcott’s worldbuilding is sufficiently detailed even in this short form to create multi-dimensional place that is fantastical enough to appeal to the imagination and sufficiently grounded in the real to make suspension of disbelief easy. Her characters are strong and richly developed, and the stakes are high enough to keep the story compelling.
While the focus on the novella is on Edie and Josh’s story, Stefan is not the only familiar character who appears in the story. Readers who liked Renegade will enjoy seeing Griffin and Val again, and Stefan, a character I found fascinating in the first book, becomes even more so in Protector. I eagerly anticipate his story in Guardian. It’s a reunion tale too, my favorite trope. If you like a mix of fantasy and romance, or even if you’re a fan of character-driven romance willing to broaden your reading experience, I recommend this series.
Are you a reader of romantic fantasy? What do you require for willing suspension of disbelief?