Her Secret Guardian
There’s something about the Douglass family. Until now, my favorite of Sally Tyler Hayes’ Division One novels was Dangerous to Love starring Jamie Douglass and Dan Reese. Now, along comes Her Secret Guardian starring Sean Douglass, and I have a new favorite.
Sean Douglass watched out for Dr. Grace Evans as she traveled to dangerous spots around the world treating people. Whenever things got too dangerous, he always let Grace know when it was time to leave. She never knew his name, and he never stayed long enough to talk or let her see his face. An odd relationship to most people, but for Grace and Sean, it means everything. When Sean has to rescue Grace and they are stuck together for several days, she learns his name, sees his face and their relationship turns into something more.
Grace is totally dedicated to her work. She likes going to different hot spots and helping those who live there. Grace is a strong woman on the surface, but has some personal traumas from her past that haunt her. Because Sean has shown up at the most necessary times in her life, she trusts him to take care of her. In fact, he is the only person in her life that she trusts.
Hayes’ fans have been waiting for Sean’s story since he first appeared to help his sister in Dangerous to Love and reappeared in the two subsequent Division One books. He’s a total badass, for lack of a better word. Navy SEAL fans will adore him. He’s gorgeous, dangerous and mysterious (he’s able to call up various types of military teams at a moment’s notice, but he can’t tell anyone where he works). What more could a woman want? Well, Sean is sensitive too, and his devotion to Grace reveals a totally different side of him.
These are two of the most intense people ever to star in a novel. Each one has a deep-seated pain that they are hiding. Grace even hides her pain from herself, while Sean’s gets in the way of his happiness with Grace. Hayes takes her time revealing just what it is that tortures these two.
Hayes is a master at sexual tension. In each of her novels, she has ratcheted up the sensuality just a little bit more and this one is probably her personal best. How these two stayed apart as long as they did was a mystery, particularly since they were trapped in a cave for several days. The close quarters increased their intimacy and already intense reactions to each other. When they finally do get together, watch out. Then, when a secret tears them apart, it is even more wrenching because of the intense intimacy between them.
Grace’s reaction to Sean’s secret is a bit overwrought, but her mental state when she hears it and the fact that she hasn’t yet dealt with her own past earned her some slack from me. Sean’s secret may be quite obvious to some readers (it was to me), but when Hayes reveals it, the timing is right.
This is one of those novels that requires suspension of belief from readers, particularly when it comes to believing in Grace’s instinctive trust in Sean. Intellectually, I know that this story is slightly farfetched, but while I was reading it, I didn’t want to put it down. I felt what the characters were feeling – the deep emotions, the close ties and the sexual tension. This is why I recommend Her Secret Guardian. Sit down and let Sally Tyler Hayes draw you into Sean Douglass’ world. I was absorbed for hours, and I found a hero to die for. He can watch over me anytime.