Mass Market Paperback, 375 pages
Published February 28th 2005 by Pocket Books
The Emerald flew across the seas, carrying the pirate Pagan -- despised by the ton, whose riches he plundered, and beloved by the poor, whose plight was eased by his gifts.
The Marquess of Cainewood vows to hunt down the pirate wretch in revenge for his brother's death. But when Jade, an enchanting vision of rippling red hair and eyes of jewel-green, appears at his door to beg desperately for his protection, the Marquess agrees to keep her safe from the villains who want her dead. Jade is infuriating, exasperating, and gorgeous; Caine is noble, strong-willed, and powerful. No woman has ever befuddled him so, nor so deeply aroused his desire. But as Jade answers his knowing caresses with an innocent, wild abandon, they are drawn into a web of treachery that will test the very heart of their love!
I've loved Julie Garwood since I first read this author. Her stories are always romantic, funny and well told. Plus, her characters are all great. I've had Guardian Angel on my TBR list for a while, and I'm glad I finally got around to it. Garwood starts off the novel with the hero, Caine, laying in wait for the pirate Pagan. Of course, Caine is thrown into a bit of a ridiculous circumstance when a young woman comes in and asks him to kill her. From the opening pages, this novel is rife with hilarity and adventure.
Caine: I met him in The Lyon's Lady, the first in Garwood's Crown Spies series. I never thought anything could be more funny than Lyon's romance with Christina, but apparently I was wrong. Caine and Jade have the most ridiculous romance ever. Caine finds Jade outrageous and impossible, her illogical logic amazes him and makes him furious too. He's able to figure out her game eventually (although I had it figured out first, but alas, due to spoilers, cannot say what I was on to before he was) and he comes to know Jade's mind almost better than she does herself. I like that he's a cynical, logical sort of man--a spy after all, a man who's seen some horrible things too, but that he's vulnerable and protective of those he loves. Caine gets crazy if anyone hurts someone he loves, which is partly why I think he and Jade meet. His brother Colin knew that Caine would get himself into serious trouble, and that's why he sent Jade in to distract Caine. However, even though Caine is a likable character, and I like him, I'm not sure I really like him. He was a bit over the top sometimes, with all the yelling and demands, but then, so was Jade.
Jade: I love her. I'm sure if I don't like Caine, that it's her fault because she brings out the best and worst of him. Also, because she made him doubt her so much that Caine is driven to be demanding at times. However, I love how smart Jade is, I love her bravery, I love that she stands up to Caine, I love that she's cunning. She's a really fantastic heroine. Impossible of course, because she does seem to get side tracked all of the time, but I think that's just because she's used to playing parts. Also, she truly does find Caine frightening when he's yelling, and since he's yelling a lot, she can't help but be illogical. Even if she's trying to stay on track, she can't because he yells and she gets mad and gets off track arguing with him. Ah well. They're great together. They challenge each other and love each other and make one another feel safe.
That's great romance, in my books. I thought the spy story, along with the pirate story, somewhat drawn out and difficult to follow. Probably because it's spun out in the midst of so many debates and in pieces here and there as the novel progresses. However, we do get our fair share of mystery and adventure in the novel, and some great supporting characters like Uncle Harry and Sterns, so I cannot complain.
4 glittering stars