Romantic Suspense author Lynn H. Blackburn is the award-winning author of Unknown Threat and Malicious Intent, as well as the Dive Team Investigations Series. She believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She is passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose), and enjoys experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul.
Lynn draws her Defend and Protect Series to a close with the release of Under Fire. This final book in the series is an explosive tale of secrets kept, lies exposed, and relationships restored. Beloved characters from the series come together to shine in their most dangerous assignment yet. Let’s see what Lynn has to say about Under Fire.
FF: Can you please provide a brief summary of your new novel, Under Fire?
US Secret Service Special Agent Zane Fletcher has landed the assignment he’s dreamed about since he was a kid—protecting the president of the United States. When the president plans a fundraiser in Raleigh, Zane is thrilled to be working again with agents he has long considered to be friends, including the one agent he secretly wishes could be more, Special Agent Tessa Reed.
Tessa almost lost everything, but she battled her demons and came out the other side healthy and healed. But when her role as the liaison between the Raleigh office and the president’s protective detail pulls her past into the present, her greatest failure will have to come into the light before the shadows destroy everything she has worked so hard to build. Zane refuses to let her go through this alone, but can he stand by her side and protect the president at the same time?
FF: Under Fire is the final book in the Defend and Protect series. What elements and themes connect the books in this series?
All three books in the series explore themes of forgiveness, redemption, and friendship as the US Secret Service agents based in the Raleigh resident office work together to solve financial crimes and protect the president of the United States.
FF: Each book in the Defend and Protect Series focuses on a different special agent. How much do characters from your previous books make an appearance in Under Fire?
While each book does focus on a different agent (or agents), I treat the characters as an ensemble cast. The protagonists from the previous books are integral to the story, just as the protagonists from Under Fire were integral to the previous books in the series.
FF: Your female protagonist, Tessa Reed, is grappling with some secrets from her past that could affect her future. Without giving away any spoilers, can you please tell us more about Tessa and her background?
Tessa is driven to be successful, but that drive came at a high personal cost. She made some destructive choices that could have ruined her career, but she got the help she needed and has turned her life around. She’s one of the toughest female protagonists I’ve ever written.
FF: Special Agent Zane Fletcher has just landed his dream job. Please tell readers about his new role and how this comes into play in your novel.
In Under Fire, Zane has been transferred from the Raleigh office and is now based out of Washington, DC. He’s on the presidential protective detail, and it is in that role that he returns to Raleigh in order to prepare for a presidential visit.
FF: What type of research was required to write Under Fire?
I’m indebted to a friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, who served in the Secret Service for many years, including several years on the presidential protective detail. I spent hours on the phone with this individual, and they answered numerous texts and email questions. I’m also blessed to have a friend who battled addiction and graciously sat with me to discuss her journey and answered all my questions, even when they were quite personal. Then there were the less personal research areas. I researched everything from drones to doughnuts!
FF: What did you most enjoy about writing this series?
I’ve always been intrigued by the Secret Service, and I had a blast learning more about the agency and how they operate. But my favorite part of any series is the characters who start out as strangers and wind up as friends. I’ll miss them. This is probably why the characters from previous series tend to show up in whatever I’m currently writing. I can’t completely say goodbye!
FF: What is next for you now that this series has finished?
I’m working on a brand-new series that will be set in the mountains of North Carolina. I’m excited to introduce my readers to these new friends in a few months.
Defend and Protect Series #3
Lynn H. Blackburn
Genres: Mystery/Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: March 7, 2023
US Secret Service Special Agent Zane Thacker’s career has just skyrocketed and landed him his dream assignment—security detail for the president of the United States. When a fundraiser event planned by the president brings Zane back into a working relationship with his best friend, Special Agent Tessa Reed, he’s thrilled to be back by her side. Especially as he tries to figure out how to reveal the feelings he has for her.
But Tessa has a complicated past to deal with. Despite thinking that she has put everything behind her, she finds that past is catching up with her fast, and it could expose mistakes that she’s desperate to keep hidden.
Zane is adamant that he’ll support Tessa through everything, no matter the cost. But as threats begin to build and the president comes under attack as well, that promise becomes more critical.
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