Protect Me, Damaged Goods #2 by Scarlet Blackwell

Scarlet takes us into witness protection and fall in love with a drug addict in Protect Me.

From the blurb:

He was supposed to be a man from a tough world of crime and danger. But he’d never fitted that image he was supposed to portray. He’d always felt lost and out of his depth, like he was forever treading water.

Kayden Cole – ex-junkie, one-time gangster’s toy and…birdwatcher
Mason Pearce – the Miami narcotics detective assigned to protect Kayden while he turns state’s

Never had he wanted to protect and cherish someone the way he did Kayden.

Mason likes his men big, brawny and brainless. Kayden’s ten years younger, short and slight. He’s also cerebral, introverted, and haunted by his past. Mason can’t understand his instant attraction but it’s like being struck by a thunderbolt. Closeted alone in a hotel room with Kayden for twelve hours every night, Mason is driven beyond the edge of his control, but he’ll lose his job and compromise Kayden’s safety if he tangles with him.

He was back to the lowest place he had ever been—alone with nothing and nobody—and if someone wanted to put him out of his misery, that was just fine .

Kayden’s damaged and scarred and in fear of his life. He lost the only man who ever meant anything to him and he’s suspicious of the cop’s motives. But Mason burrows beneath his skin, opens Kayden up and even though he’s scared, he wants to hope that finally, life will give him a break.

Possible Spoilers:
Themes: hurt/comfort, age gap, forced proximity, crime
Genre: Dark, gritty contemporary romance
Warnings: Violence and strong language. Sexual scenes. Drug abuse. See front of book or author’s social media for more.

Tatted_book_freak's Review:

Protect Me is a complete 180 from Scarlett’s norm and the first book of this series, but delivered just as well, if not better! In true Scarlett fashion, though, the uncertainty, along with the character's history, kept me on edge, unsure of either fate. 

𝓝𝓮𝓿𝓮𝓻 𝓱𝓪𝓭 𝓱𝓮 𝓫𝓮𝓮𝓷 𝓼𝓸 𝓽𝓱𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓱𝓽𝓯𝓾𝓵, 𝓼𝓸 𝓬𝓸𝓷𝓼𝓲𝓭𝓮𝓻𝓪𝓽𝓮 𝓲𝓷 𝓱𝓲𝓼 𝓵𝓲𝓯𝓮. 𝓝𝓮𝓿𝓮𝓻 𝓱𝓪𝓭 𝓱𝓮 𝔀𝓪𝓷𝓽𝓮𝓭 𝓽𝓸 𝓹𝓻𝓸𝓽𝓮𝓬𝓽 𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓬𝓱𝓮𝓻𝓲𝓼𝓱 𝓼𝓸𝓶𝓮𝓸𝓷𝓮 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝔀𝓪𝔂 𝓱𝓮 𝓭𝓲𝓭 𝓚𝓪𝔂𝓭𝓮𝓷.

The growth and development of both characters were mesmerizing, without including their instantaneous connection and mind-altering chemistry. The constant back and forth between them was needed to build their loyalty while allowing trust and confidence to grow. 

There were many emotional moments, from Kayden’s history and Mason’s employment to witnessing their personalities glow and encountering their peculiarities while we swooned over their story.  I cannot wait to see where Scarlett takes us next; it's always an adventure 

Rating: 5 Stars

Sheena's Review:

This is the second in a series but is only loosely connected to the first, and can easily be read as a standalone. Kayden is a witness in a federal prosecution case, and Mason is one of the cops assigned to protect him. They have this irresistible pull to each other, which Mason tries to deny at first.

I wasn't sure I liked Mason for most of the book, if I'm honest. I love the way Scarlet writes bad guys, but Mason wasn't that. He had his moments of being horrible, but nowhere near the level of some of her other bad guys. He wasn't a good cop either, thinking nothing of leaving his witness, and then breaking several laws (and moral codes) to find Kayden later. I did like Kayden though, he's been through so much in his relatively short life, yet he had this fire and desire to do the right thing, even though it was an almost impossible task.  

The story focuses on the relationship between the two, and the court case Kayden is witness is a minor side plot, but the details of Kayden's life are horrific enough anyway. There's a ton of heat here between the two, while still developing the relationship between them to make it almost believable enough that Mason would throw away his career to be with Kayden in the end. I'm happy Kayden got his new life and happy ending, however.

Rating: 4 Stars

Protect Me is available to buy as an ebook, paperback, or to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.