This Navy SEAL is putting his life - and heart - on the line to protect a woman on the run, but her dangerous secret threatens to destroy them both in this high-octane novel that proves "no one does romantic suspense like Diana Gardin" (Susan Stoker, New York Times bestselling author).
I'm a Navy SEAL and a member of the elite Night Eagle Security team, so you better believe I take every one of my missions seriously. But this one is different. I'm protecting Frannie - she's beautiful, fiercely independent, and on the run from her criminal ex-husband. I know he's dangerous, that he'll do anything to get Frannie back. But there's no way I'll ever let that happen...
Trouble is, I can tell Frannie is hiding something from me. Something big. Since she barely got away from her ex alive, I understand that she's wary, but I can't help her if she doesn't let me in. And no matter how badly I want a future with her, I swore I'd never allow myself to be with someone who doesn't trust me. But when Frannie's secret comes out, I have to decide whether her betrayal is enough to make me walk away...or if I'll protect the woman I love no matter the cost.
Scintillating suspenseful romance
Disclaimer: ARC received in exchange for an honest review
Diana Gardin is back with Ryder, her newest novel and the second installment in the Delta Squad series. Ryder is a fast-paced, action-packed tale that brings closure to storylines introduced in Ryder’s predecessor, Lawson. In this book, Gardin crafts an exciting conclusion to the Night Eagle Security team’s efforts to bring down Eli Ward, while delving deeper into characters Thorne Ryder and Frannie Phillips.
The couple is thrown together by circumstance when Thorne is assigned to protect Frannie during the manhunt for her evil almost-ex, Eli. Much like so many of Gardin’s previous military-man protagonists, Thorne Ryder is another brooding, broken tough guy who uses his private securities position as a distraction from his emotional damage. But where Thorne Ryder sets himself apart from his brothers-in-arms is in his accessibility; he wasn’t as closed off as some of the NES guys, and his grief and emotional baggage were more accessible to readers, especially given the broad reach of the drug epidemic in today’s society.
While many aspects of Frannie’s character were teased when she was introduced in Lawson, Gardin was really able to make her shine as a female protagonist in this book. Frannie tended to be infuriating in this novel. She was stubborn and strong-willed, occasionally to the point of stupidity, keeping secrets and withholding crucial information from Thorne. She had a habit of frustrating the reader, but she was still exciting and endearing because, in many ways, Frannie differed from most of Gardin’s civilian heroines; she was proactive, fiercely independent, and unrepentantly self-reliant. Early on in the story, it was established that she wasn’t going to wait for some man to save her. And although this stance made Frannie a unique female lead, she ultimately still succumbed to being rescued by her protective detail-turned-lover.
While the story itself took some unexpected twists, it still had a formulaic cadence to it, sticking to the blueprint Gardin has laid out in many of her previous novels. There was situational coupling, an endangered female protagonist, and an emotionally distant ex-military hero who has to come to the rescue. But even despite the conventional approach, Ryder was definitely a satisfying read. Still, I wouldn’t have minded something that deviates from the script a little bit more.
Also similar to some of Gardin’s previous works, the coupling of Frannie and Thorne had a slightly instalove-y quality to it, accompanied by some not-so-convincing protestations from the soon-to-be happy couple. Though the overall timeline of the relationship was lengthier than the coupling in some of the other novels, I still would have preferred a slower burn, a bit more build-up to the onset of the relationship.
The epilogue was the best part of the novel and really serves as the best example of Gardin’s skillful ability to write beautifully executed romance; it was the defining moment that really sets Ryder apart from previous books. It was original and captivating, perfectly wrapping up Frannie and Thorne’s journey to happily-ever-after.
If you’re a fan of the suspenseful romance genre, you won’t be disappointed. This book, and many of Gardin’s tales, are the perfect escape from reality. Ryder will have you on the edge of your seat, frantically flipping pages, and swooning from cover to closing.
My new favorite by Diana Gardin
This is my new favorite by Diana Gardin.
Thorn Ryder’s Job is to protect Frannie. Which at first he didn’t want to do.
Frannie is hiding from her husband, Eli Ward and Ryder has to protect her and he will do everything he can to keep her safe.
Loved this book so much. Protective Alpha males and suspense and brotherhood are my favorite things in a book and this one had it all.