REVIEWED by Caroline
TITLE: Parker’s Sanctuary
SERIES: Guardsmen Book 2
AUTHOR: Cooper West
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 389 Pages
RELEASE DATE: April 13, 2017
Stalked by danger, will Parker ever find a place to call home?
Greg Lademar is an ordinary and average Army veteran who has settled down with his job as an accountant and his lingering PTSD. He lives a quiet life as a single man, alone on the former blueberry farm he bought from his parents after they retired to Orlando. When a friend who works with animal control asks him to foster Parker, a severely injured dog who has just been rescued from an abusive home, the last thing Greg expects is to be dragged into the mysterious world of the Guardsmen — the bonded pairs of humans and their weredogs, known as Protectors, who are literally the stuff of myths and legends.
Greg’s life is turned upside down by unexpected events involving Parker and the strange Guardsmen pair Marcus and Alex Stephanek, but far more dangerous to him is the man who used to own Parker and holds a grudge for having “his” dog taken from him. A game of cat and mouse ensues, with more on the line than even Greg ever thought possible: his life, and the life of Parker, who has become more important to him than Greg ever imagined a rescue dog could be.
Welcome to the world of Guardsmen, bonded pairs of weredogs and their partners who live on the edges of society — worshipped and feared in turn, sheltered as much as they are shunned, Guardsmen mates live, love, and die together.
Back in 2014 I read a book by an unknown to me author called The Protector and fell in love so hard. The Protector has become a huge comfort read for me and I listen to the audio version every few months. Imagine my excitement when I found out there was a sequel coming out and we would once again be taken into the Guardsmen universe. There is the same hurt and comfort and the same angst as there was on book one but the stories are very different.
Greg Lademar is an accountant, an army veteran and a lover and of all things canine. He suffers from PTSD which prevents him from keeping a dog and lives a simple and lonely life on the old family farm that used to be a sanctuary of sorts for rescue dogs that his family helped nurse back to life. As a boy Greg always dreamed of becoming a handler and being part of a Guardsman pair – but that was all it was…a dream. When a friend calls to ask for Greg’s help with a rescue dog that has spent two years in a cage being abused he finds himself unable to say no and for the first time since coming back from war Greg has a dog living in his house and under his feet again.
That dog is Parker and under the damage and dirt Parker appears to be one smart cookie that understands everything Greg says. As Parker recovers and his personality starts to shine through there are some very funny moments between man and dog that had me laughing out loud. The story is told from Greg’s POV but you easily get a clear understanding of how Parker is feeling just from his actions and doggy eye rolls.
Parker’s kidnapping and subsequent abuse is tied to a storyline from the first book and when a late developing Protector is reported to the Institute it’s not long before Alex and Marcus turn up to investigate. The four men quickly become friends of a sort and have to group together and use their smarts when Parker’s kidnapper makes it clear that he believes Parker should still be with him.
This Guardsman pair isn’t as clear cut as usual. Not only is Parker a late developer, amongst other things, but Greg also isn’t a handler per se. The problem is they have developed a very deep and intimate bond and as with everything else in their relationship it doesn’t make sense but it works for them. Persuading the Institute proves to be difficult but when Parker’s health starts to suffer the solution seems simple.
This is a fantastic addition and I have my fingers crossed it will join the first book on audio sometime in the future. It could just be read as a standalone but will feel like a much more complete story if you read The Protector first.