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He's everything she fears?and everything she wants

Mercenary by name and by nature, Carson is a Lakota Sioux who stays to himself and never keeps women around long enough for anything emotional to develop. But working with his friend Cash Grier on a complex murder investigation provides Carson with another kind of fun?shocking Cash's sweet but traditional secretary, Carlie Blair, with tales of his latest conquests.

Then Carlie lands in deep ...

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He's everything she fears…and everything she wants

Mercenary by name and by nature, Carson is a Lakota Sioux who stays to himself and never keeps women around long enough for anything emotional to develop. But working with his friend Cash Grier on a complex murder investigation provides Carson with another kind of fun—shocking Cash's sweet but traditional secretary, Carlie Blair, with tales of his latest conquests.

Then Carlie lands in deep trouble. She saw something she shouldn't have, and now the face of a criminal is stored permanently in her photographic memory…and Carlie is the key piece of evidence that could implicate a popular politician in the murder case.

Her only protection is Carson—the man she once despised. But when she learns that Carson is more than just a tough guy, Carlie realizes she's endangered herself further. Because now her only chance to live means losing her heart to the most dangerous kind of man….

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" the queen of desperado quests for justice and true love." -Publishers Weekly

"The popular Palmer has penned another winning novel, a perfect blend of romance and suspense."--Booklist on Lawman

"Diana Palmer is a mesmerizing storyteller who captures the essence of what a romance should be."--Affaire de Coeur

"Diana Palmer is one of those authors whose books are always enjoyable. She throws in romance, suspense and a good storyline." -The Romance Reader on Before Sunrise

"...this is a fascinating story...It's nice to have a hero wise enough to know when he can't do things alone and willing to accept help when he needs it. There is pleasure to be found in the nice sense of family this tale imparts."
-RT Book Reviews on Wyoming Bold

"...lots of passion, thrills, and plenty of suspense... Protector is a top notch read!"
-Romance Reviews Today on Protector

"The dialogue is charming, the characters likable and the sex sizzling..." --Publishers Weekly on Once in Paris

"A delightful romance with interesting new characters and many familiar faces. It's nice to have a hero who is not picture perfect in looks or instincts, and a heroine who accepts her privileged life yet is willing to work for the future she wants." --RT Book Reviews on Wyoming Tough

"Palmer, a romance veteran, knows how to concoct a savory chicken-fried love plot..."-Publishers Weekly on Heartless

"Palmer's latest entry in her Long, Tall Texans series is an intriguing story that blurs the line between good and evil...the romance between the main characters builds nicely with some gentle humor, and the moral dilemmas they face are believable and engrossing." -RT Book Reviews on Protector

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373778805
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 7/29/2014
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 36,016
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

The prolific author of more than one hundred books, Diana Palmer got her start as a newspaper reporter. A New York Times bestselling author and voted one of the top ten romance writers in America, she has a gift for telling the most sensual tales with charm and humor. Diana lives with her family in Cornelia, Georgia.
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Read an Excerpt

It was a rainy Friday morning.

Carlie Blair, who was running late for her job as secretary to Jacobsville, Texas police chief Cash Grier, only had time for a piece of toast and a sip of coffee before she rushed out the door to persuade her ten-year-old red pickup truck to start. It had gone on grinding seemingly forever before it finally caught up and started.

Her father, a Methodist minister, was out of town on business for the day. So there was nobody to help her get it running. Luck was with her. It did, at least, start.

She envied her friend Michelle Godfrey, whose guardian and his sister had given her a Jaguar for Christmas. Michelle was away at college now, and she and Carlie still spoke on the phone, but they no longer shared rides to town and the cost of gas on a daily basis.

The old clunker ate gas like candy and Carlie's salary only stretched so far. She wished she had more than a couple pairs ofjeans, a few T-shirts, a coat and one good pair of shoes. It must be nice, she thought, not to have to count pennies. But her father was always optimistic about their status. God loved the poor, because they gave away so much, he was fond of saying. He was probably right.

Right now, though, her rain-wet jeans were uncomfortable, and she'd stepped in a mud puddle with her only pair of good shoes while she was knocking corrosion off the battery terminals with the hammer she kept under the front seat for that purpose. All this in January weather, which was wet and cold and miserable, even in South Texas.

Consequently, when she parked her car in the small lot next to the chief's office, she looked like a bedraggled rat. Her dark, short, wavy hair was curling like crazy, as it always did in a rainstorm. Her coat was soaked. Her green eyes, full of silent resignation, didn't smile as she opened the office door.

Her worst nightmare was standing just inside.


He glared at her. He was so much taller than she that she had to look up at him. There was a lot to look at, although she tried not to show her interest.

He was all muscle, but it wasn't overly obvious. He had a rodeo rider's physique, lean and powerful. Like her, he wore jeans, but his were obviously designer ones, like those hand-tooled leather boots on his big feet and the elaborately scrolled leather holster in which he kept his .45 automatic. He was wearing a jacket that partially concealed the gun, but he was intimidating enough without it.

He was Lakota Sioux. He had jet-black hair that fell to his waist in back, although he wore it in a pony-tail usually. He had large black eyes that seemed to see everything with one sweep of his head. He had high cheekbones and a light olive complexion. There were faint scars on the knuckles of his big hands. She noticed because he was holding a file in one of them. Her file.

Well, really, the chief's file, that had been lying on her desk, waiting to be typed up. It referenced an attack on her father a few weeks earlier that had resulted in Carlie being stabbed. Involuntarily, her hand went to the scar that ran from her shoulder down to the beginning of her small breasts. She flushed when she saw where he was looking.

"Those are confidential files," she said shortly.

He looked around. "There was nobody here to tell me that," he said, his deep voice clear as a bell in the silent room.

She flushed at the implied criticism. "Damned truck wouldn't start and I got soaked trying to start it," she muttered. She slid her weather-beaten old purse under her desk, ran a hand through her wet hair, took off her ratty coat and hung it up before she sat down at her desk. "Did you need something?" she asked with crushing politeness. She even managed a smile. Sort of.

"I need to see the chief," he replied.

She frowned. "There's this thing called a door. He's got one," she said patiently. "You knock on it, and he comes out."

He gave her a look that could have stopped traffic. "There's somebody in there with him," he said with equal patience. "I didn't want to interrupt."

"I see." She moved things around on her desk, muttering to herself.

"Bad sign."

She looked up. "Huh?"

"Talking to yourself."

She glared at him. It had been a bad morning altogether and he wasn't helping. "Don't listen, if it bothers you."

He gave her a long look and laughed hollowly. "Listen, kid, nothing about you bothers me. Or ever will."

There were the sounds of chairs scraping wood, as if the men in Cash's office had stood up and pushed back their seats. She figured it was safe to interrupt him.

Well, safer than listening to Mr. Original American here run her down.

She pushed the intercom button. "You have a visitor, sir," she announced.

There was a murmur. "Who is it?"

She looked at Carson. "The gentleman who starts fires with hand grenades," she said sweetly.

Carson stared at her with icy black eyes.

Cash's door opened, and there was Carlie's father, a man in a very expensive suit and Cash.

That explained why her father had left home so early. He was out of town, as he'd said he would be; out of Comanche Wells, where they lived, anyway. Not that Jacobsville was more than a five-minute drive from home.

"Carson," Cash said, nodding. "I think you know Reverend Blair and my brother, Garon?"

"Yes." Carson shook hands with them.

Carlie was doing mental shorthand. Garon Grier was senior special agent in charge of the Jacobsville branch of the FBI. He'd moved to Jacobsville some time ago, but the FBI branch office hadn't been here quite as long. Garon had been with the bureau for a number of years.

Carlie wondered what was going on that involved both the FBI and her father. But she knew that question would go unanswered. Her father was remarkably silent on issues that concerned law enforcement, although he knew quite a few people in that profession.

She recalled with a chill the telephone conversation she'd had recently with someone who called and said, "Tell your father he's next." She couldn't get anybody to tell her what they thought it meant. It was disturbing, like the news she'd overheard that the man who'd put a knife in her, trying to kill her father, had been poisoned and died.

Something big was going on, linked to that Wyoming murder and involving some politician who had ties to a drug cartel. But nobody told Carlie anything.

"Well, I'll be off. I have a meeting in San Antonio," Reverend Blair said, taking his leave. He paused at Carlie's desk. "Don't do anything fancy for supper, okay?" he asked, smiling. "I may be very late."

"Okay, Dad." She grinned up at him.

He ruffled her hair and walked out.

Carson was watching the interplay with cynical eyes.

"Doesn't your dad ruffle your hair?" she asked sarcastically.

"No. He did lay a chair across it once." He averted his eyes at once, as if the comment had slipped out against his will and embarrassed him.

Carlie tried not to stare. What in the world sort of background did he come from? The violence struck a chord in her. She had secrets of her own from years past.

"Carson," Garon Grier said, pausing at the door. "We may need you at some point." Carson nodded. "I'll be around."


Garon waved at his brother, smiled at Carlie and let himself out the door.

"Something perking?" Carson asked Cash.

"Quite a lot, in fact. Carlie, hold my calls until I tell you," he instructed.

"Sure thing, Boss."

"Come on in." Cash went ahead into his office.

Carson paused by Carlie's desk and glared at her.

She glared back. "If you don't stop scowling at me, I'm going to ask the chief to frisk you for hand grenades," she muttered.

"Frisk me yourself," he dared softly.

The flush deepened, darkened.

His black eyes narrowed, because he knew innocence when he saw it; it was that rare in his world. "Clueless, aren't you?" he chided.

She lifted her chin and glared back. "My father is a minister," she said with quiet pride.


She frowned, cocking her head. "Excuse me?"

"Are you coming in or not?" Cash asked suddenly, and there was a bite in his voice.

Carson seemed faintly surprised. He followed Cash into the office. The door closed. There were words spoken in a harsh tone, followed by a pause and a suddenly apologetic voice.

Carlie paid little attention. Carson had upset her nerves. She wished her boss would find someone else to talk to. Her job had been wonderful and satisfying until Carson started hanging around the office all the time. Something was going on, something big. It involved local and federal law enforcement—she was fairly certain that the chief's brother didn't just happen by to visit—and somehow, it also involved her father.

She wondered if she could dig any information out of her parent if she went about it in the right way. She'd have to work on that.

Then she recalled that phone call that she'd told her father about, just recently. A male voice had said, simply, "Tell your father, he's next." It had been a chilling experience, one she'd forced to the back of her mind. Now she wondered if all the traffic through her boss's office involved her in some way, as well as her father. The man who'd tried to kill him had died, mysteriously poisoned.

She still wondered why anybody would attack a minister. That remark of Carson's made her curious. She'd said her father was a minister and he'd said, "Really?" in that sarcastic, cold tone of voice. Why?

"I'm a mushroom," she said to herself. "They keep me in the dark and feed me manure." She sighed and went back to work.

She was on the phone with the sheriff's office when Carson left. He went by her desk with only a cursory glance at her, and it was, of all things, placid. Almost apologetic. She lowered her eyes and refused to even look at him.

Even if she'd found him irresistible—and she was trying not to—his reputation with women made her wary of him.

Sure, it was a new century, but Carlie was a smalltown girl and raised religiously. She didn't share the casual attitude of many of her former classmates about physical passion.

She grimaced. It was hard to be a nice girl when people treated her like a disease on legs. In school, they'd made fun of her, whispered about her. One pretty, popular girl said that she didn't know what she was missing and that she should live it up.

Carlie just stared at her and smiled. She didn't say anything. Apparently the smile wore the other girl down because she shrugged, turned her back and walked off to whisper to the girls in her circle. They all looked at Carlie and laughed.

She was used to it. Her father said that adversity was like grit, it honed metal to a fine edge. She'd have liked to be honed a little less.

They were right about one thing; she really didn't know what she was missing. It seemed appropriate, because she'd read about sensations she was supposed to feel with men around, and she didn't feel any of them.

She chided herself silently. That was a lie. She felt them when she was close to Carson. She knew that he was aware of it, which made it worse. He laughed at her, just the way her classmates had laughed at her in school. She was the odd one out, the misfit. She had a reason for her ironclad morals. Many local people knew them, too. Episodes in her childhood had hardened her.

Well, people tended to be products of their upbringing. That was life. Unless she wanted to throw away her ideals and give up religion, she was pretty much settled in her beliefs. Maybe it wasn't so bad being a misfit. Her late grandfather had said that civilizations rested on the bedrock of faith and law and the arts. Some people had to be conventional to keep the mechanism going.

"What was that?" Sheriff Hayes's receptionist asked.

"Sorry." Carlie cleared her throat. She'd been on hold. "I was just mumbling to myself. What were you saying?"

The woman laughed and gave her the information the chief had asked for, about an upcoming criminal case.

She cooked a light supper, just creamed chicken and rice, with green peas, and made a nice apple pie for dessert.

Her father came in, looking harassed. Then he saw the spread and grinned from ear to ear. "What a nice surprise!"

"I know, something light. But I was hungry," she added.

He made a face. "Shame. Telling lies."

She shrugged. "I went to church Sunday. God won't mind a little lie, in a good cause."

He smiled. "You know, some people have actually asked me how to talk to God."

"I just do it while I'm cooking, or working in the yard," Carlie said. "Just like I'm talking to you."

He laughed. "Me, too. But there are people who make hard work of it."

"Why were you in the chief's office today?" she asked suddenly.

He paused in the act of putting a napkin in his lap. His expression went blank for an instant, then it came back to life. "He wanted me to talk to a prisoner for him," he said finally.

She raised both eyebrows.

"Sorry," he said, smoothing out the napkin. "Some things are confidential."


"Let's say grace," he added.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 29, 2014

    4 STARS This is a familiar setting Jacobs County, Texas, with

    4 STARS

    This is a familiar setting Jacobs County, Texas, with a lot of old familiar characters in the background. I probably did not even recognize some familiar names, but a lot I did. It had some surprises a long the way too.

    The heroine Carlie Blair is a woman of faith and a virgin. She is a secretary to Cash Grier. Her father is a preacher who has a secret past. Carlie drives a old truck, and is always forgetting her cell phone. She never dates. She loves military history and gaming.

    Carson is a Lakota Sioux. A medic. He dates beautiful fast women. He is helping to watch over Carlie and her father. Carson wants Carlie but he does not do commitments. Everyone keeps telling Carson to not hurt Carlie.

    Someone is either after Carlie or her father. They know a contract has been taken out but not why or for who.

    There are some characters that I really liked in the end that surprised me. It pays to be nice and friendly to everyone. I don't want to ruin the plot by saying too much.

    If you are one of the millions of readers who like Diana Palmer you will enjoy seeing old friends and make new ones along the way. Come and read Invincible and see what friends you recognize.

    I was given this ebook to read and in return agreed to give honest review of it by Net Galley and Harlequin.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Carlie was a woman of faith who held to old-fashioned values reg

    Carlie was a woman of faith who held to old-fashioned values regarding intimacy; Carson was known for the constant parade of beautiful women who came and went in his life. She had faith; he had long since lost his. She had difficulties in her past that could have broken her, but she healed. He had difficulties in his past that he hadn't yet come to terms with. One thing that I particularly notice about Palmer romances is how friendless the female lead is. While everyone in town seems to respect and look out for her, she doesn't have any close female friends. On the other hand, the hero has a whole network of men who are close to him. This one tries to mix it up a bit, however. The Cartel of Evil Drug Lords (CEDL) is not the primary antagonist, but rather a corrupt politician in bed with the CEDL is the villain of the piece. Of course, everyone and their brother (literally!) from previous related books makes a cameo, guest or starring role appearance, whether it makes sense or not in the context of the plot. We do get a father who is not an abusive jerk (he's reformed and a minister), but he was a neglectful husband and contract assassin! I would read a story about Carlie's father any day, rather than the rehashed junk we've been getting from DP recently.  Overall, even though this book was filled with a typical Diana Palmer formula (aka shy, virginal, religious heroine and an overtly alpha male hero), it was an okay read. When I first heard that Diana Palmer would be writing and releasing Invincible, I was excited, as the plot sounded great. I can't put my finger on it, but I was left feeling like something was missing from this book. 

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2014


    Diana is a great story teller loved it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2014

    It's a breath of fresh air to be able to read a series and not h

    It's a breath of fresh air to be able to read a series and not have the characters drop off into oblivion. You get the added bonus of seeing past stories develop and find out what is going on in their lives too. 

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  • Posted August 30, 2014

    I recognized her name, but I¿ve never read a Diana Palmer. And n

    I recognized her name, but I’ve never read a Diana Palmer. And now I’ll never read another. A few pages in and my first impression was that Invincible was going to be one of those poorly written, poorly plotted, surface romances for which Harlequin – and the romance genre in general – has earned such a crappy reputation. Unfortunately, that first impression was also my final impression.

    I couldn’t stand the heroine – she seriously made me want to puke. Too much the good girl, too preachy in her morality, too focused on getting married and having babies. Also, too naive, too sheltered, and, even if she can spout strange, little-known factoids about war generals and Native American history, too freakin’ stupid to be alive. She thinks and acts like a 12-year-old, and allows people to treat her like a 12-year-old. Scratch that, every 12-year-old I know has YEARS of maturity on this chick and would never take the kind of condescension heaped on Carly from her father, her boss, her love interest, or hell, even her kidnapper!

    And all the secondary characters? Who are all these people and why do I care about them? They added nothing whatsoever to the plot. Wait, what plot? IMHO, the entire plot was nothing but an excuse to throw all these secondary characters – none of whom go any deeper than having a name – into a story just so they could appear in a story.

    Books this preachy are NOT my cup of tea. Even so, I feel almost offended by this book, as if it were written for morons. And since I read it, that makes me a moron. The writing – all short, choppy sentences – was maybe at a second-grade level. The characters are completely one-dimensional. The plot is a string of these random one-dimensional characters telling each other stupid, preachy things, over and over again.

    Verdict: I tried, but I couldn’t find a single redeeming quality about this book, except that I’m sure Palmer put at least a day or two of effort into typing it out. And that is the only reason it even gets a 1/5.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2014


    It's not worth it. Don't waste your money. Hard to keep track of both the people and the plot. Very amatuerish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2014

    Really enjoyed it!

    Really enjoyed this book. If you like the rest of long tall Texans, you'll love this one

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2014

    The best yet!

    Invincible is the best of the Jacobsville books. Several characters from previous books are major players in this book including Cash and Garon Grier. Carlie is Cash's secretary and has a memory of a face she isn't aware of. That puts her in danger of being the next victim in a drug war. Her father, the Methodist minister, is more than what you see. Carson Farwalker is also more than what you see. Carson helps protect Carlie, and she saves his life, but she is afraid she will not be a part of that life. Carson has to put his past to rest before he can come home to Carlie. Worth reading again and again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2014

    Love Palmer's heroes!

    Always read her stuff, some are better than others. Invincible had all the characters you love. I recommend it.

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  • Posted August 9, 2014

    When you read a D.P. book, you get a love story with enough dram

    When you read a D.P. book, you get a love story with enough drama and violence to keep the story interesting without a lot of explicit sex scenes. You get the added bonus of visiting some old friends from past books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2014

    I laughed and cried

    The complex character of Carson makes this a great read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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