GRACE UNDER FIRE by Julie Garwood

Buchanan/FBI, Book 14

From the publisher:

Michael Buchanan will need every bit of his extensive skill set when he appoints himself as bodyguard to a woman determined not to need one in this thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood.

Grace Isabel MacKenna has a hundred things to do today. Killing someone isn’t one of them. It is supposed to be a quick visit to Boston for the Buchanan anniversary party, then on to Scotland to collect an inheritance. She checks into her hotel and then decides to go for a brisk walk. But after getting lost, she ends up with a wounded man stumbling into her arms—and his shooter coming after them both. When she fires back in self-defense, she doesn’t expect him to drop dead. After Isabel endures an interrogation by police, she is free to go, thanks to the Buchanans dispatching former Navy SEAL and now lawyer Michael Buchanan to assist her.

Isabel knows she should be grateful for Michael’s help, but since she’s harbored an extreme dislike for him for years, gratitude is difficult to muster. Michael has appointed himself her de facto guardian, and she’s stuck with him despite their constant bickering and sizzling attraction. Even when Isabel goes to Scotland to claim her inheritance, Michael follows her—but he isn’t the only thing she can’t shake. Mysterious threats against Isabel surface, and before they can deal with their growing feelings for each other, Michael and Isabel must first survive.

“Garwood delivers plenty of twists to keep the suspense brewing and a subplot about Grace’s potential music career adds color. Readers will be hooked.”—Publishers Weekly

“Fans of the series will clamor for this book, which can also be read as a standalone.”—Library Journal

This is only the third Garwood book I’ve read, and I’m not sure why because I really like her books. I will have to be more diligent, and I will go back and read some more of this series, which I think is actually called Buchanan-Renard, but Amazon turned into Buchanan-FBI for whatever reason – maybe her publisher? Either way, this is the 14th book of the series, and the only other one in the series that I’ve read was The Ideal Man, the 9th book, so lots more to discover.

Michael is your typical romantic hero; tall, dark, and handsome, sure, but also a former Navy SEAL and a lawyer. His career goal is the FBI, like two of his brothers. Isabel is a dreamer and a song writer, and on her last night out with her friends before graduation, she sings one of her songs at a karaoke bar and it goes viral, attracting the attention of Xavier, or XO as his friends call him. So her career is about to take off, even if she doesn’t realize it.

Isabel is attending a family party in a secluded island near Boston before she heads over to Scotland. She has inherited a large, valuable property from an estranged relative, but the will stipulates she needs to be there in person on or after her next birthday, a week away. She is being harassed by a developer who wants to purchase the property.

Things take a turn for the worse when she arrives at her hotel and goes for a walk. She gets lost in her head, writing a song, while wandering the streets of Boston and before she knows it, she is lost. She is about to turn around when she hears gun shots and sees a man fall. She rushes to help him and when the shooter approaches, she manages to grab a loose gun and kills the shooter.

Turns out that it isn’t as random as it appears, and therein lies the suspense. Michael is entrusted to keep her safe, but he has a bad habit of not listening when people talk to him; he tends to cut them off and assume the rest of the conversation. So when his brother says Isabel loves to drive, that’s all he hears and he lets her drive. Some of the comic relief is in her driving – she is a super crazy driver and scares her passengers to death, if the are brave/stupid enough to let her drive.

With her new found fame, Isabel realizes she hates being in the spotlight but that doesn’t make it go away. Michael protects her as they try to resolve the shooting and the upcoming trip to Scotland, and soon they can’t stop their attraction and they end up in bed. Repeatedly. But Michael has plans and they don’t coincide with Isabel’s lifestyle, and she braces herself for the end. It wouldn’t be a romance without the happily ever after, so after quite a bit of suspense, they finally get there.

This was a real page turner for me. The romance was still front and center though, despite all the suspense, and the combination is terrific. If you like suspense with your romance, then this is the book for you. It definitely can be read as a standalone – I quickly realized that there were probably books that came before but it didn’t impede on this story at all. Garwood’s years of experience really show here, and she never phones it in. Very well done and a terrific read – don’t miss it.

7/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

GRACE UNDER FIRE by Julie Garwood. Berkley (July 19, 2022). ISBN:‎ 978-0593546291. 448p.





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