Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Lexi Blake’s Treasured is more of her fantastic Masters and Mercenaries series. This novella is a quick read filled with her brand of romantic suspense mixed with a little D/s steam. This is David Hawthorne and Tessa’s story. As we’ve found in other stories in the series, Tessa was slated to marry Michael Malone of Malone Oil. However, their engagement fell apart when Tessa and Michael realized they were better as friends than lovers. As Tessa enters Treasured, she’s carrying the weight of guilt associated with calling off the relationship with Michael. As such, she has a huge wall built up emotionally.
David Hawthorne, the stepson of Sean Taggart, is a prolific professor who is studying an Argentinian mogul. Friends with his son, he’s heading out on his Spring Break to visit the island of this man as a way to write a biography about him. Unfortunately, he is related to a Taggart, so his family wants him protected. David and Tessa meet earlier in the story and feel deeply attracted to each other; however, Tessa realizes David’s background and believes it will be the same type of relationship as the one with Michael. She ends up ghosting him until she becomes assigned to be his bodyguard for his trip. Reticent yet required, Tessa and David journey to the island of his friend’s father only to be met eventually with danger. Will Tessa drop her walls? Will David make it out of the danger on the island?
I think it’s a requirement of a Lexi Blake book to make you work for her couples’ happy endings. Everything you love about this series is here: a keen attraction between her hero and heroine, a hero who falls fairly quickly for the heroine, a heroine who is reticent to develop a relationship with the hero but she can’t deny her attraction to him, a suspenseful story that keeps you turning the pages, and a D/s relationship between the hero and heroine that spices up the suspense of this story? There is a reason that Big Tag reminds his operatives about protection because, over and over again, Lexi Blake’s Masters and Mercenaries characters’ attractions cannot be denied. Tessa and David are more of this.
I love the complex characterization of David in this book. He struggles with his position in his family. He’s a true academic who gets lost in his work, and he’s the opposite of his persona in the bedroom. If there is one thing I love the most about Blake’s development of him is his willingness to accept Tessa as she is. This man is tenacious, and it’s wrapped in a professorial package. He sees Tessa in a way that Michael would have never been able to see her, and therefore, they are fated for each other.
The frustration of Treasured is the complications that Tessa makes for the two of them. I think Blake let Tessa sit too long in her reticence. That being said, she is a strong, independent, willful woman which is important in any story.
Overall, Treasured is the type of story you expect of Lexi Blake. It’s a quick read that has a fulfilling happily ever after for her David and Tessa.
In love and romance,