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Member Reviews

Elisabeth Naughton did an amazing job in this continuation in the Deadly Secrets series. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time reading about Kelsey and Hunter and the danger surrounding them. The chemistry between the two was of the charts and the story kept me engaged and turning the page! I read it one sitting because I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!!! I can't wait for the next one!
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The third book in Elisabeth Naughton’s Deadly Secrets series was a great read, a mix of action and romance. The story quickly sucked me in after the first chapter, and before I knew it, I was more than halfway through!

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the series, but it follows adopted siblings who have to overcome obstacles both from their past and their present, all the while trying to maneuver their feelings for their partners. And this one was about Kelsey, the adopted daughter of the McClane clan, the new designer in town and the owner of certain personal and psychological problems, the biggest of which is her abusive ex husband. Enter Hunter O’Donnell, who’s a friend of family and currently her hired personal bodyguard. After a tragedy that shakes their conception of danger, the two are thrown in a cat and mouse game with a deranged killer.

So, to sum up, have a wake up call about how much danger you’re in, go hunting for clues as to what’s going on, try to stay alive, overcome personal baggage and fall in love. That’s the plan. Easy peasy, right? Think again, folks.

I liked this book more than I thought I would when I first started reading it. While romance clearly takes the front seat compared to mystery, I enjoyed both aspects of the story. As a lover of romance, I don’t need to explain that part, but as predictable as the mystery might’ve seemed to me, it still was quite fun to read. There was a good portion of action as well which was also a pleasure to read. I think this was a great example of a romantic suspense story.

As for the characters, I could easily relate to them. They were open books to me all throughout the book. The author made sure I knew where either Kelsey or Hunter was coming from when they acted the ways they did. I especially liked Kelsey’s character, she was an emotionally-and possibly physically- abused woman who had to deal with a heavy psychological set of baggage. I didn’t think I could connect with her as much as I did, but the author did such a good job of letting me see and understand Kelsey. In the end, both she and Hunter were crystal clear to me in their motivations and it was a pleasure to get to know them.

As the third book of the series, I didn’t feel at all like a stranger to the rest of the characters. They do appear in the book, but their stories are briefly told to me and that was enough to make it an easy read.

There was more emotion than I expected also. Adoption is the theme of the book, and the psychological trauma that comes with it, but all is handled well. I was moved by Kelsey and her adoptive family’s story, and can’t wait to go back to read the first two books.
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The third McClane sibling has found love, in the most unlikely of places and definitely the most unfortunate of times. I am a huge fan of Elisabeth Naughton, and as I read more of her romantic suspense novels I become even more enamored of her writing. I am really enjoying this series and learning more about this amazing family of siblings-by-circumstance. Naughton has a way of making readers understand even the most outlandish things that can happen in this day and age.  These novels may have had the basic thread of being about a single family, but otherwise the stories are so original and unique to each sibling that the series continues to be an amazing experience to enjoy.  Kelsey and Hunter have had a chemistry from the very beginning of their adult acquaintance, once they understood neither of them were children any longer.  While she has gone through a lot in her relationship past, with a bastard of an ex-husband still stalking her and Hunter has pushed every woman away, thinking love isn’t real. Kelsey has finally taken control of her life, getting her fledgling clothing design firm off the ground, finalizing her divorce, and truly moving on, when suddenly her life is in danger and the world around her no longer makes sense. When Hunt steps in at her brothers’ request to provide her with protection, he is determined to make sure that nothing stands in the way of his mission.  As they are faced with continuous danger, they get closer to one another and each comes to understand that the feelings they both pushed deep down years ago never really died.  But when danger gets too close, Kelsey and Hunt have to come together to keep themselves and their family safe or lose it all.  I loved seeing Hunt and Kelsey find a way to get past each of their issues and find a way to truly come together.  Kelsey has had a rocky past since the beginning of her life, more even than she knew until this story unfolded, and has let it color a lot of the way she looks at men and the world.  Hunt too has let his past mistakes with women and his father’s mistakes as well keep him from embracing life. Once they each learned from those mistakes and let go of their fears, Kelsey and Hunt found a truly lasting and deep love that will allow them build a life together.  I enjoyed the emotions that were exposed and worked through in the most interesting of ways in this novel, even if there were a few times I wanted to slap either or both of them for the way they reacted or even overreacted to the problems they faced. I am looking forward to the last siblings' story and imagine it will be a real doozy considering all that happened to the others.  Kelsey and Hunt were magic together and this family just gets better and better.  Keep the magic coming, Elisabeth.
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Hunter and Kelsey are brought together when her brothers hire him to protect her from her abusive and controlling ex husband. I like how their relationship evolves, they are good for each other, you see them grow as people due to having each other. I love it when she decides she is not going to let a man control her again. you go girl. There is an underlying message about accepting your partner for who they are, and not trying to change them, which I like.
I totally want brothers like Kelsey has, they really have her back, and I enjoyed their characters. 
The plot keeps you hooked in, I had to go to work at a crucial point towards the end (won't give any spoilers) and spent the day wanting to get back and find out what happened next. 
A good read, recommended. 
ARC review.
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Always loved Elisabeth Naughton and her books are amazing stories of suspense, courage and finding love in unexpected places.

Book three of her Deadly Secrets Series, "Protected" brings Kelsey McClane into the protection of former Army Ranger, Hunter O'Donnell as Kelsey's world is rocked by her ex-husband. With danger and death shadowing them, both Hunter and Kelsey also get pulled into the matters of the heart. 

Elisabeth Naughton is one of the ace writers of suspense, and "Protected is worth every word, with Kelsey and Hunter partnering to face danger for a future together.

Received an ARC from Montlake Publishing via NetGalley
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3.5 Stars
PROTECTED by Elisabeth Naughton.  This is a tale that has danger, stalking, mystery and love. Our couple, Kelsey and Hunter, have known each other basically their whole lives. Honestly, I can't say that I loved either character - they were just ok for me.  But the story was filled with angst and fear and that made it a worthwhile read.  Ms. Naughton is a fave of mine and I look forward to future works by her.  (received ARC for honest review)
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Kelsey McClane's mysterious past comes back to haunt her just as her career is taking off. With Hunter O'Donnell by her side, protecting her while trying to get to the truth of who is stalking her and why, Kelsey may be able to put her fears behind her once and for all.

In previous books Kelsey was married to Julian, who was the bane of the McClane clan. Protected opens with her divorce from Julian and a death threat she believes is from him. Hunter and Kelsey getting together makes perfect sense. His business is protection and Kelsey suddenly finds herself in a tangled web of deceit that gets more and more dangerous as they look for the source of the threats. This story takes romantic suspense to the next level. It's the perfect balance of romance, action, and emotional interest. 
*ARC provided in consideration for review*
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The story is fast-paced and full of action from the first page. Her ex is out to make her life hell and Hunter is charged by her family to do everything to keep her safe. Shared secrets in the dark ignite feelings neither can deny. He needs to keep her protected, secure and deter the wraith of her brothers when they find out. Especially since he is the trusted family friend. So many twists and turns throughout making this an engaging story.
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A great ride!  Well written, edge-of-your-seat suspense with just the perfect amount of romance to make it yummy.  A few aspects might be a bit hard to believe but who cares when it’s this much fun!
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Title: Protected

Author: Elisabeth Naughton

Series: Deadly Secrets #3

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Pub Date: March 20, 2018

Pages: 301

My Copy: Courtesy of Montlake Romance and NetGalley

Book Summary:

Up-and-coming designer Kelsey McClane is on the cusp of success. Recently divorced, she should be enjoying her newfound freedom and glamorous future. Instead, she’s living in fear of the past. When she returns home to Portland on a press tour, danger creeps closer than ever. As threatening messages from her bitter ex-husband leave her vulnerable, a new man in her life makes her feel protected.

Former Army Ranger turned security professional Hunter O’Donnell is hired to guard Kelsey. When a shattering explosion rocks her world, Kelsey’s ex is the prime suspect, but Hunter speculates there’s more to the situation than Kelsey’s letting on. Intent on keeping her safe, he delves into Kelsey’s past. As the two work together to unmask her stalker’s identity, a fire ignites between them that they both struggle to contain.

While the investigation proceeds, it draws them closer not only to each other but also to a lethal plot that’s been in the works behind their backs. And with each new secret unveiled, it’s not just temptation putting them at risk—it’s a madman who will not stop until Kelsey is dead.

Book Review:

I utterly love how this book really took me on a journey. The chemistry between Kelsey and Hunter was terrific. Plus there is a mystery to solve which added a certain dimension to this book.  This causes Kelsey and Hunter getting a lot closer in a way that they never expected.

Kelsey is at a point in her life when things are going well or so she thinks. She has just gotten her divorce. Her  fashion line is going to be featured on TV and this is big for Kelsey. I really like how she is so happy and then gets a text that sends her reeling. She thinks that the text is from her ex husband who she just finalized her divorce and that he was very abusive. Hunter is there to help protect her. As the interview is going live on TV, something terrible happens. The building literally collapses due to a bomb going off. So things happen.

Hunt keeps Kelsey rather calm. There are things that they discuss with one another while they are trapped in the rubble. Hunt gets buried under some debris. Kelsey thinks her ex-husband did this. Of course it’s a possibility that he might not have done this. We learn that Kelsey is a survivor and had some issues from being in an abusive marriage and things get heated between both Hunt and Kelsey. So when they survive and get out of the building, they share a very passionate kiss. Of course things happen with Kelseys ex-husband when he sees the kiss. He goes ballistic and Hunt’s ex wants to reconnect and he dumps her.

Things get a little bit more weird after Kelsey’s ex-husband is in jail and yet the threatening messages still continue. As the story progresses we learn that this is related to a dead actress named Vivian Armstrong. There are a lot of things that Kelsey never knew about. Everyone mentions how Kelsey looks a lot like her. So then they find out that there are certain people who think that Kelsey might be Vivian Armstrongs daughter. There is a tremendous amount of history. 

I like how this sub plot played out. We learn so much about Kelsey’s backstory and also Vivian’s life. Vivian had a child that she had to give up due to circumstances beyond her control. Vivian also has a huge estate and this child would stand to inherit a fortune. We learn that Vivian also had a very bad relationship with her ex-husband and things were not good. Her ex-husband might be the one going after Kelsey because he feels that she would be a threat. Also Vivian’s ex husband has a son. The son has always said that his father was a little off balance. Vivian’s lawyers or the lawyers for the estate make Kelsey take a DNA Test. This DNA Test is important because over the years there a lot of people who have claimed this. DNA testing ensures she might be the daughter or not.

The romance was very solid between Hunt and Kelsey. Love how much Kelsey comes to trust him even though his temper sometimes makes Kelsey frightened. Its just that he doesn’t like anyone hurting her. So of course this makes Kelsey and Hunter grow closer. Also love how she opens up to him a lot more than she ever has to anybody else in her life. I also like how the role of people in her life has not been that good until she had her adoptive family. Family is important to both Kelsey and Hunt. 

Kelsey and Hunt eventually find out who and why she has the been the target and it’s a real doozy. Vivian had a son with her ex-husband and he feels like she has stolen from him. Everything should have been his and yet everything was left to daughter who didn’t deserve anything. This is a scary moment as she realizes that her potential half-brother is crazy….and not in a good place emotionally and that he could kill her. Somehow this scene in the book is chaotic and you really could  feel all those emotions in Kelsey come to life. The author did a good job playing that help. She manages to get out of it and Hunt comforts her.

I totally enjoyed the ending of this book. Also not to mention we find out that she is indeed Vivian Armstrong’s daughter. So that paid off big time for us readers. Love that she is now feeling better and her and Hunter decide to pursue a relationship. Plus its working out so much better than both of them could have ever imagined.

The thing that I love about this series is that all the stories are wonderful and different. You can also read them as stand alone stories and they work. Also love how they all have happy endings. Happy endings made me feel good. After reading the latest installment, I felt great and empowered.


4.5 Hearts
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I love the Deadly series and Protected (book 3) is a great addition. 

Both characters have major emotional roadblocks that cause quite a bit of angst throughout this story. Hunter, due to the loss of his mother and Kelsey, due to her being abandoned by her birth mother and mental abuse by her ex-husband. 

There is already a connection between the characters, as they've known each for years. The connection deepens after a tramatic event that happens in the beginning of the book. 

This book is non-stop action, even in the quiet moments between the main characters. This makes for a great read, and before you know it a couple of hours have flown by. The story is engaging and the suspense is gripping. Overall great read.

ARC provide in exchange for an honest review.
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This was a really suspenseful read and I enjoyed it: lots of twist and turns that kept the pages turning.  I have read many of Elisabeth Naughton's books and they never disappoint.  A steamy romance and intense storyline completely drew me in.  I'm ready for her next book!
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PROTECTED is Elisabeth Naughton at her best.  An explosion rocks the television station when Kelsey 
McClane is being interviewed.  Her bodyguard, former Army Ranger, Hunter O.Donnell is there to protect Kelsey; however, once Hunter realizes she is being stalked he must use everything he knows to keep them alive.  The action is fast paced, the characters are strong and the passion is steamy HOT!  Ms. Naughton is an amazing Author, I enjoy reading!
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Kelsey McClane is an up and coming designer, on the brink of success. Unfortunately, she’s also dealing with a stalking ex-husband who seems set on destroying her. Hunter O’Donnell, an old family friend, has been hired to protect her. 
This was a great story that pulled you right in. I loved every minute of it as Kelsey and Hunter have to unravel what’s happening and deal with their attraction at the same time. The interactions between Hunter and her brothers in the end definitely earned some chuckling. I highly recommend.
**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
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Phew! What a cracking book to start off with for a new to me author.

Let me ask you – what do you look for in a romantic suspense story? Leaving aside romance and suspense (if written in this genre, you have to assume that the author is going to cover these basics, right?), you want a connection between the characters, a decent plot and a strong supporting cast. Pull that all together with some impressive word craft, and a smattering of sexy times, and you have …. this book.

The author delivers from the very first page. Tension, action and chemistry woven skillfully together, with protagonists who aren’t perfect, but just felt very grounded.

Am I fangirling? I’ll stop now…

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.
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This book covers a huge array of topics, from domestic abuse to childhood development issues, from adoption to divorce and many others to name a few. In the previous book in the Deadly Secrets series, we've met Alec and Ethan McClane. Protected cover Kelsey McClane and Hunter's story. We've met Hunter in the other books for we get a more in-depth look at the kind of man he is. 

The book starts off with HUGE BANG in the literal sense. Hunter is on the scene as Kelsey's bodyguard as she's just gone through a divorce and her douchebag of an ex, has been sending her threats via every medium possible. But when their world literally crumbles down around them, they realize that there is something more ominous behind those threats and it might not be who they really suspect.

What begins is a wild run across the state in an attempt to discover the real culprit, leading to a romance blossoming between Kelsey and Hunter as both of them learn more about each other and their carefully constructed wall are torn down. This is a great thriller romance and highly recommended for fans of the genre and must-read for Elisabeth Naughton fans.
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Kelsey's past experiences have warped her view of herself and led her into an emotionally abusive relationship that took her years to escape. She fails to see her worth, but Hunt sees her value and has wanted her for years. Despite being best friends with one of her brothers, he was going to make a move just before she ended up with her ex but didn't get the opportunity. Now is not the right time to want her because her brothers have hired him to protect Kelsey from her ex as the divorce finalizes. He risks her brothers' wrath and the possibility of being distracted and letting her get hurt. A catastrophic event brings his feelings to light and stirs up desire in Kelsey, but between her self doubt and Hunt's fear of failing, their road to each other is difficult. Thankfully, there is plenty of action and suspense mixed in with the emotional drama. The action kicks off right at the beginning and keeps the tension high. Since I've enjoyed this author in the past, I requested and received an ARC from Net Galley.
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I read this book in one sitting! I couldn't put it down. I loved the chemistry between Kelsey and Hunter right from the beginning. Elisabeth Naughton also really knows how to build the suspense to keep you turning the pages.

This book started out fast paced and didn't slow down a bit till the end. Kelsey's insecurities due to her adoption and abusive marriage create an interesting dynamic when paired with Hunter's fear of commitment.  The push/pull with Hunter battling his protective instincts versus his urge to distance himself was honest and made him relatable. The romance was off the charts hot between the two and you really felt that they wanted to be different and take a chance on each other. The danger and mystery keeps you guessing while getting you emotionally invested in the characters at the same time. It's easy to root for them.  This also fit really well into the series as a whole. I loved the cameos from the characters that we know and love from the other books. I'm also really hoping there's a Rusty book coming my way soon!  This is definitely a series and book that you don't want to miss!
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4.5 stars

Hunt and Kelsey’s story was an amazing ride! I was sucked into this book from page 1 as Ms. Naughton hit the gas pedal and didn’t look back! Kelsey has a heartbreaking vulnerability as she is just finally escaping a horrible, abusive marriage, but watching her regain her strength with Hunt as she faced the unknown threat stalking her was a wonderful journey.

Kelsey has always been a little shy, but when the McClanes adopted her she found a loving environment with several big brothers who made her a little bit crazy but who also drew her out of her shell a bit. When she met Julian in college and he treated her like the center of the universe, she was happy at first but by the time she realized that his attention was turning too far to the side of controlling, it was too late. It took her a very long time to work up the courage to leave with a lot of support from her family but she has finally broken free. Now with her divorce finalized and Julian in the rearview mirror, she is focusing on building her business with a very successful up and coming fashion line. It doesn’t take long before it becomes clear Julian is not going to let go despite the divorce, and both Kelsey and Hunt are placed in serious danger along with a lot of other people.

Hunter fell a little bit for Kelsey years ago, but a few things got in his way. First the six year age difference was a problem until she got out of school, but he is also best friends with her brother Alec so bro code dictated that he stayed away from said best friend’s little sister. By the time he finished a six year stint as an Army Ranger and he returned home to find her all grown up, she was already with Julian and any chance he may have been willing to take on angering his best friend disappeared when she got married. Now Hunt finds himself taking on bodyguard duty thanks to her brothers’ concerns about her ex and he couldn’t be more thankful that their concerns led to him being with Kelsey when disaster strikes.

When it becomes clear the threat isn’t going away and it may not actually be Kelsey’s ex who is behind it, Hunt moves her into his place to keep her safe. Of course close proximity just increases the UST between them as they search for the source of the threats. Kelsey has been over her husband for a very long time, and she can’t deny that Hunt has intrigued her for much longer than that. She always took note of his strength and quiet steadiness, but when he came back from the Army he had a whole new layer of sex appeal added on top of it that caught her attention. Now she is in a position to finally explore it, and she is stuck between a desire to give in to temptation and memories of the soul-sucking verbal abuse she endured for years that wreaked havoc on her self-esteem.

Protected is a wonderful mix of suspense and thrills intermingled with heat, humor, frustration and moments of personal strength. Kelsey has to work hard to find herself again, and she has a lot of two-steps-forward-one-step back moments but she powers through. Hunt is supportive but intense, and that intensity along with his determination to keep her safe gives them a few fits and starts along the way as they slowly become closer. He is struggling against his own fears of letting someone get close enough to hurt him again after losing everyone he loved in one way or another since he was a child. Oh, and those overprotective brothers I mentioned? Yeah, they will cause some friction along the way too! All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride throughout this story and definitely recommend it if you are a fan of romantic suspense!
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Protected is the third book in Deadly Secrets series and an exciting thriller. I plan to go back and read the first two because this book is awesome. I’m so glad I accepted the kind invitation from the publisher to read and review.

This is an action-packed romantic suspense with amazing characters, an outstanding plot, nail-biting suspenseful scenes. I became engaged from the first page and remained so until the end. Ms. Naughton certainly knows how to write thrillers!

Kelsey McClane’s character is sassy, smart and determined. Although she has protective brothers, she does not let them hold her down. Even when they hire Hunter O’Donnell as her personal bodyguard. While she has every reason to cower in fear, she doesn’t do that. She faces it head-on. What I particularly liked about her character is a girly-girl and still manages to kick-ass!

Hunter O’Donnell is a great hero. Of course, he’s strong and good-looking, but he’s also a nice guy. He is determined to protect Kelsey from harm no matter the cost. I thoroughly enjoyed the romantic element of this novel a great deal. The chemistry between Hunter and
Kelsey is combustible!
I highly recommend Protected to all readers who love romantic suspense with plenty of action with a good sprinkle of romance. I can’t wait to read the other books in this series. Happy reading!
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