Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Last O’Keefe: A Cassandra’s Cop Collectanea ~ Crystal Brewton (Part 2) ~ To Protect, Serve and Love

You can find the author here.  The anthology isn’t out yet, but check back as I’ll be sure to let you know when it is.

The Last OKeeffee Collectanea
To Protect, Serve and Love ~ Cassandra’s Cop was the first of Crystal Brewton’s books I ever read.  I’m still not entirely sure how I even stumbled across her (although back in those days, it was more than likely The Romance Studio’s Book-a-Day Giveaway, which is how I ‘met’ and fell in love with many authors).  Addled mind or not, I’m thankful that I did. 

Chicago is a city where murder, rape, assault and other heinous crimes are an every day occurrence. It is a place where most people can hear a scream and ignore it completely. Apathy reigns and all hope seems lost. Despite the appearance of a city entering the bowels of Hell itself, some of Chicago's citizens still care. Some people will still call the police when they hear a woman scream!

Chicago police officer John O'Keeffe and his partner get called to investigate a woman screaming. The call turns out to be a 14-Nora, a false alarm, but the alleged victim was John's favorite erotic fiction author, whom he'd been corresponding with through email for a year but had never expected to meet in person. He is glad to see she is not being attacked, disappointed that she is with another man, and excited by her nudity during the short false alarm call.

When his shift ends, John meets the strange woman as she is coming from his District station. She invites him for coffee and before the day is out, they fall in love. This story is about their first year together after their unique introduction.

And so begins John and Cass’ story.  From the very beginning, To Protect, Serve, and Love was different from any other erotic romance I’d read (which, at that point, hadn’t been many, but it still holds true today).  From the way they meet to the experiences they endure, it was all so very new to me.  Added bonus: it takes place in Chicago, a city very near and dear to my heart.  Double bonus: John’s a redhead and so is my husband. 

John starts out as a bit of a stereotype – redheaded Irishman from a large family who becomes a cop.  That’s also about where the stereotype ends, as well.  John O’Keefe is a kind-hearted, loving man with a passion for justice and his woman.  That he can be both strong and caring is something that a lot of romance authors forget.  The hero doesn’t have to be a raging alpha male to be effective and protective.  He can have ‘feeeelings’ (to quote the King of Hell) and still be macho, manly, and desirable.  John is all of that and more.

Cassandra, on the other hand, wasn’t anything close to your usual heroine.  A self-employed erotic romance author, she took care of what needed to be done on her own – and did it with style.  However, even though she was as independent as it got, you didn’t have to wade through all of this ‘I don’t need no man’ baloney that too many heroines spew before fainting delicately into the hero’s embrace.  I know, that’s a bit harsh, but back in 2005-ish when I first started reading romance, that’s about all I seemed to find.  (Admittedly, I might have simply been picking the wrong books.)  Today, it’s different, but again, Cassandra Houston still holds up on her own as a unique heroine worthy of recognition.  A woman who can stand on her own but also knows when to lean on her man is a rare thing. 

To Protect, Serve, and Love sets the stage for the next three major Cassandra’s Cops novels, introducing you to John and Cass, as well as their friends, family, and the world they live in.  The story only gets better – and more passionate – from here on out. 

And, because I’m an über dork (and just watched the Supernatural finale last night), I can’t resist.  This is for John:

feelings - crowley

Note: I received this book free of charge from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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