Please welcome back the amazing romantic suspense author Marliss Melton! She's here to tell us about her latest scorcher, The Guardian.
Blurb: FBI Special Agent Jackson Maddox is posing as a parolee in a reintegration program believed to have ties to terrorism. Out of the blue, a journalist snaps his picture, putting his cover at risk. Lena Alexandra won’t admit that she works for a tabloid. The truth is, one of the ex-cons in the program murdered her younger sister and Lena plans to befriend and incriminate the killer. As peril looms for both Lena and Jackson, they must learn to trust each other with their secrets . . . and their hearts.
THE GUARDIAN is Book #2 in my Taskforce series following THE PROTECTOR (now discounted 20% for a limited time). The Taskforce Series is about an Inter-Agency Counterterrorist Taskforce headed up by a Navy SEAL to investigate potential acts of terror within the United States.
People always ask me where my ideas come from. In the case of THE GUARDIAN, I was skimming through my local newspaper, when an article caught my eye: “Unidentified Man Burned Alive.” That sounded interesting, so I read on. The body had been found on the side of the road, not far from where I lived. The victim was quite dead by the time rescue workers put out the fire burning him. Unable to identify the victim, the police described him as an African American male with a tattoo on his arm of a crescent moon, a star, and the number seven, all circumscribed by a sun. The tattoo suggested ties to a gang called the Five Percent Nation. Many Five Percenters converted to Islam in jail. The police believed this man had tried to leave the gang. For that, he was beaten, drugged, dumped on the side of the road, and set on fire. His fate prompted this idea for my book, an idea that is a real concern to peacekeepers in America. In the past decade, there has been a sharp increase prison conversions, and while I am all about prisoners finding God in jail, this isn’t “good” conversion. Converts are taught rigid and racist philosophies that actually violate the tenants of true Islam. Their fanatical outlook resembles those of terrorists abroad. Indeed, there are often affiliations between terrorists in the Middle East and radical Islamic converts.
My hero is FBI Special Agent Jackson Maddox. I’ve had Hispanic and Italian heroes before, but Jackson is my first “mix-raced” hero. Because of his dusky skin color, he’s the ideal Taskforce agent to go undercover as a parolee in a well-respected reintegration program. This particular reintegration program is only for converts to Islam, and despite its success rate, the Taskforce has reason to believe it is a breeding-ground for terrorism. No one in the program can know that Jackson is really an FBI agent. Thus, when he catches sight of a woman secretly photographing him, he fears his cover is in jeopardy, especially when the woman turns out to be a journalist.
Book #3 of the Taskforce Series, THE ENFORCER, will deal with the investigation of a militia headed up by a woman in West Virginia. The hero is Tobias Burke, a secondary character in THE GUARDIAN. I love Toby because he has a great sense of humor and a laid-back attitude that disguises his skills as a Spec Ops agent-turned-ATF special agent. You always know what mood he is in by the T-shirt he has on that day and the pithy remark written on it!
Sounds great, Marliss! I love your heroes. Where can we find you?
Thanks so much for coming by! Happy reading, everyone.