Protection - S.A. Reid,  T. Baggins I wanted to like this book more than I did. Weird right? Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike it, in fact I enjoyed it. But it needed … more.

Here is the thing about starting a romance with a rape: you have got to sell the hell out of the believability angle. There has been only two authors that have been successful with this sale. Voinov and Marquesate. And they had to collaborate to do it; in a 409 page book. Protection was 122 pages, it could have used a few more to expand the progression of Joey and Gabe’s relationship. Baggins had a great concept for a book, set in an intriguing time period, with flawed, yet likeable characters and a romance bred of circumstance, but it was rushed. Not overly rushed, but enough that I didn’t easily accept Joey’s softening to Gabe after being so violently attacked by him. Furthermore, once these two accepted their relationship it felt too sweet. Believability was out the door for me.

However, as soon as the believability factor was tossed aside and I accepted Protection for what it offered, I enjoyed it. Being rushed, the brutal beginning felt disjointed from Joey and Gabe’s sweet journey of understanding, acceptance, forgiveness and eventually selflessness. It was smart of Baggins to make Joey innocent, but not naïve and Gabe redeemable, despite being criminal. I prefer a lot of gray over black and white in my characters and this book was adequately gloomy with a chance of sunshine.

The time period and prison atmosphere appeared to be well researched and were conveyed without flaws to transport the reader into the characters’ environment and mood of society at the time. The ending came abruptly, but that suited it, and it was an acceptable ending that added to this book.

The epilogue or CODA, as the author labeled it - a term I have only heard referencing a passage that brings a musical piece to an end, is quirkily esoteric. I never read anything like it and at first didn’t know what to make of it. But the sap in me loved it. It fitted Joey and Gabe’s story and cleared the skies for some sunny relief.

Don’t miss the author’s bio after the CODA. It will put a smile on your face and give you a sense of the author’s good humor.

Protection is thoughtful for a quick read.

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