Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Romance
Series: Defenseless is the fifth book in the Salvation Series. Although it can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend that you read the Belonging and Consolation Duets first.
My life is a secret.
His life is dangerous.
We're both stubborn, calculating, and controlling.
Mark Dixon doesn't know what he's getting into. He doesn't know his games could cost us our lives. I have to do what is necessary to keep us alive, and that means guarding my heart.
I had my first experience with Corinne Michaels' writing last year. To be honest, I wasn't even sure I would like her books. I'd never read a military romance before and had only really started reading New Adult/Adult novels a few months prior. There was a small pool of authors I loved and I didn't want to veer away from those. Then one day a friend sent me a picture of the cover for Consolation and said "have you heard of this book?" I hadn't but I loved the cover. It was gorgeous. So I started to research Corinne and her books. I found out she would be at an upcoming event and I thought, sure, I'll give it a shot. Boy am I glad I gave her a chance! I have since devoured everything she's published.
First she brought us Jackson Cole
#TeamMuffin (the Belonging Duet)
Then she brought us Liam Dempsey
#TeamDreamboat (the Consolation Duet)
Now she's brought us Mark Dixon
(Photo Credit: Brie Wood Instagram)
I loved Jackson. I adored Liam. But Mark stole my heart!
Mark is witty and sarcastic, but as loyal as they come. His scenes in the first 4 books were some of my favorites. There were tender moments that made me tear up and others that had me laughing out loud while I read. I feel like Mark is the glue that keeps everyone together throughout this series. Even Charlie noticed this about him:
"It's funny how Mark is so integral to so many people. He fulfills a different role for each of them."
Speaking of Charlie, Mark has definitely met his match! We meet Charlie Erickson briefly in the Consolation Duet but it's mostly just a mention of who she is and what she does. Charlie can hang with the boys. She takes everything Mark throws at her and gives it right back to him two-fold. With a father in the CIA Charlie was groomed for her job at a young age. Because of her career and take no prisoners attitude she's often treated like "one of the guys." She loves that Mark sees more in her than meets the eye. Charlie is who I want to be when I grow up. She is badass!
Both Mark and Charlie have put their heart and souls into their careers and always put that before anything else. They know that what they do for a living could make or break am relationship, so they don't commit. The attraction between them is intense. For Mark it's immediate and Charlie spends a long time denying hers. I loved the banter between these two throughout the entire book. Defenseless definitely had a lot more humor than the other books in this series, but it wouldn't have been Mark's story without it!
Defenseless can be read as a stand alone novel, but I HIGHLY recommend that you read the first two duets before starting it. There is a sub plot that runs throughout the entire Salvation series and I think knowing that background before starting this book will make it even better than it would be otherwise. I'm not saying you can't enjoy it on its own; you definitely can. But for me, knowing what had happened with the characters in the Belonging and Consolation Duets made this book even more amazing.
If you read my review of Corinne’s Consolation Duet (here), you already know that I love her side characters. Mark was a favorite of mine from the very beginning and when I found out that he would be getting his own novel I was ecstatic. Defenseless was one of my most anticipated New Adult releases of 2016 and this book did not disappoint. I wouldn't be surprised if it makes my top 10 of the year and it's only January. Corinne's best work yet!
“I made you a promise, Charlie.” Mark’s already deep voice is layered with desire.
Once again, my control begins to slip. “What’s that?”
His hands drop a little lower beside my head. His lower body shifts so his knee is between my legs. I feel his arousal against my thigh.
My traitorous body shows its own awakening. My nipples hardening through the silk material don’t go unnoticed. Heat pools in my core and my breath hitches. I want him. There’s no use denying it.
“I told you I’d kiss you again. If you don’t stop me now, there’s no getting away.”
I should stop him. I need to stop him. There’s no way in hell it’s going to happen, though. I’m craving his lips again.
He gives me one second before he crushes his mouth against mine. His entire body shifts forward, and now I’m trapped. There’s nowhere to go. Nowhere to move that’s not Mark. He takes every part of my mind and body. Our hands roam each other as his tongue slides against mine. Passion ignites between us; it sets the room on fire. His fingers cup my neck and then glide down the front of my dress. His hand brands my skin as he takes his time exploring the open skin between us.
My fingers grip the lapels of his tux, holding him, molding him to me. I can’t get close enough. Our mouths stay fused as we both lose control.
Then my mind snaps.
I push back and my hands fly to my lips. They’re swollen, bruised from the force of the kiss. His hands brace against the wall. I keep my eyes downcast. I can’t believe I just did that, against the damn wall, at a ball commemorating my father.
I shift my dress, rake my fingers through my hair, and pull myself together.
“Charlie . . .” Mark finally speaks. It sounds like shouting even though it’s only loud enough for us to hear.
“That was the last time that will ever happen,” I say with no tremor to my voice. “Tonight we become partners. It’s not about whatever this is.” I shift my hands between us. “It’s about finding the information we’re both searching for.”
“And what if we find something else?”
“We shut it down. There’s no room for feelings in this world.”
Mark pushes back, giving me space. I instantly feel cold. “Okay, then. Have it your way.”
This is what I wanted, what we both need, but suddenly I wish it wasn’t. I wish I could pull him close, kiss him, fuck him, and just feel.
But wishes are for little girls.
Copyright © 2016 Corinne Michaels
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior written consent of the author.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author or publisher.
For more books in the Salvation Series click the links below.Corinne Micaels is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of The Salvation Series. She's an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife. After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the lonliness. Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were librarians, which only intensified her love of reading. After years of writing short stories, she couldn't ignore the call to finish her debut novel, Beloved. Her alpha Navy SEALs are broke, beautiful, and will steal your heart.