Tessa Lancaster’s skills first earned her a position as an enforcer in her Uncle Teruo’s Japanese Mafia gang. Then they landed her in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Now, three months after her release, Tessa’s abilities have gained her a job as bodyguard for wealthy socialite Elizabeth St. Amant and her three-year-old son. But there’s a problem or two … or three …. There’s Elizabeth’s abusive husband whose relentless pursuit goes deeper than mere vengeance. There’s Uncle Teruo, who doesn’t understand why Tessa’s new faith as a Christian prevents her from returning to the yakuza. And then there’s Elizabeth’s lawyer, Charles Britton, who Tessa doesn’t know is the one who ensured that she did maximum time behind bars. Now Tessa and Charles must work together in order to protect their client, while new truths emerge and circumstances spiral to a deadly fever pitch. Factor in both Tessa’s and Charles’s families and you’ve got some wild dynamics—and an action-packed, romantic read as Tessa and Charles discover the reality of being made new in Christ.
About the Author
Camy Tang grew up in Hawaii and now lives in San Jose, California with her engineer husband and rambunctious dog. She was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. She won the Carol Book of the Year award with her novel Sushi for One? Follow Camy online at www.camytang.com
Read an Excerpt
Protection for HireA Novel
By Camy Tang
ZondervanCopyright © 2011 Camy Tang
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe young woman was as out of place here as a Ferrari in a used car lot.
The first thing Tessa Lancaster noticed about the mother watching the kids in the game of Simon Says were her expensive shoes, gold and pearl colored heels with a dark gold rose over the peek-a-boo toe, which sank into the grass of the tiny backyard.
The second thing Tessa noticed about her was the gigantic black eye swelling the entire left side of her face.
She must be new at the San Francisco domestic violence shelter, because when she noticed Tessa looking at her, she smiled instead of turning away with a nervous glance.
With shoes like that, she didn't quite look like she belonged. Then again, the shelter was for any abused woman needing a place to stay, and who said rich women didn't get knocked around the same as prostitutes or waitresses?
Tessa raised her voice above the boisterous throng of children. "Simon Says ... jump on one foot while patting your head and rubbing your tummy and turning in a circle!" Tessa bounced around in front of them, her hair flying out of its ponytail and hitting her in the face, while the kids giggled and screamed and twirled in circles. They loved her. They didn't care who she'd been or what she'd done. They only cared that she would play with them for her entire volunteer shift at the shelter.
"Snack time!" Evangeline, one of the shelter volunteers and one of Tessa's only friends, called to the children from the doorway behind Tessa which led back into the main building. Like a gigantic blob, the kids raced into the shelter from the building's tiny backyard, still screaming, and some still whirling around from the Simon Says game.
One tow-headed boy ran toward the woman with the expensive shoes, clasping her around her knees and laughing up at her. She smiled as she reached down to pick him up, but he squirmed to be let go. He scurried after the other kids.
"He hasn't laughed in so long," she said wistfully as Tessa walked up to her. Her accent was like maple syrup. Southern. She could have been Scarlett O'Hara in the flesh — flashing eyes, graceful hands, svelte figure.
Tessa squelched a sigh of envy. "What's his name?"
The sight of the woman's black, yellow, and purple mark in the distinct shape of a fist made a dark, growling blaze burn in Tessa's gut. She tried to keep her voice light. "He's made friends quickly. One of the little girls was already flirting with him."
"He's just like his fa ..." Her smile faded as her voice caught on the word.
The boy's father? "Is he the one who gave you that shiner?" The words burst out of Tessa's mouth before she could think to temper them.
Oh, no. She looked away from the woman's shocked face and breathed in deep through her nose, trying to calm her temper. The one thing she'd battled the most since giving her life to Jesus three years ago, and it still rose like a gladiator in her soul. "I'm sorry, that wasn't very sensitive of me."
A beat of silence. Then Tessa asked, "So, where are you from?"
"I grew up in Louisiana, but I've been in San Francisco for five years. Daniel was born here."
"Oh. What do you, uh, do?"
The woman gave Tessa a small smile. "I can shop like nobody's business."
Tessa laughed. It seemed like that's what she wanted her to do. But someone affluent like this ... "How'd you find the shelter?" Wings Shelter wasn't exactly in the Presidio area of San Francisco.
Tears gathered like jewels on her long, dark lashes. "I was at the San Carlos Motel, but we had to leave."
She didn't have to say it, but Tessa knew her story, the same story as many other women here. She'd probably left her home and checked into a hotel under a false name, but the man who abused her found them there.
"A man on the street saw us. He led us to the shelter."
Wow, how likely was that? God really had led this woman here. An otherworldly stirring in Tessa's heart made her suddenly feel both small and huge at the same time.
"Tessa!" Evangeline called to her from the shelter doorway. "I know your shift is over, but Mina wants to see you."
Ooh, good news? She couldn't think of any other reason the shelter's employment coordinator would want to talk to her. "It was nice chatting with you."
"I better make sure Daniel doesn't get into trouble." The woman smiled at Tessa and then headed into the shelter.
She didn't even know the woman's name. But it didn't matter — the other women here would eventually tell her who Tessa was — or specifically, who her uncle was — and then the woman would delicately avoid Tessa the next time she saw her.
The thought made her feel like a thin glass ornament. She should be used to it — now that she'd been out of prison for three months, women still feared her just as they had seven years ago when she'd been an enforcer for her mob boss uncle and her dangerous reputation on the streets had been slightly exaggerated.
Now they feared her because they weren't quite sure what she was doing here at Wings.
Tessa took the stairs of the old Victorian house two at a time, each step punctuated by a creak. The second floor landing opened up into a long narrow hallway, and she remembered to skid to a stop and knock on the office door before entering.
Tessa had to wiggle between two of the three desks crammed in the small office — once a bedroom — to plop herself in front of Mina's desk. "You wanted to see me?"
Mina's light brown eyes clued her in — not the joyful, we-found-you-a-job look, but a sad, these-employers-are-idiots look.
"Oh." Tessa sagged a bit in the narrow folding chair. "What happened?"
"Well, I've been the one taking calls from employers because you put the shelter down as a reference."
Tessa wasn't supposed to know that. She straightened at the information. Why would Mina break the rules by telling her?
"There's a, um ... theme to the questions they ask."
"They almost all want to know if you're the Tessa Lancaster. The niece of Teruo Ota. The head of the San Francisco yakuza."
"Seriously?" Tessa closed her eyes, leaned forward, and bonked her forehead on Mina's desk a few times. She just couldn't get away from her past with the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. Would she ever be able to?
She suddenly sat up again. "They're not journalists, are they?"
"No, although I had a few of those. I always check the caller name and company with the list you give us each week of where you've applied for jobs. If the person isn't on the list, I tell them to go away."
Whew. The last thing she needed was some rabid dog reporter with grandiose dreams of using Tessa to somehow take down the entire San Francisco Japanese mafia. Or worse, some gossip mag wanting the scoop on why one of the yakuza's unofficial strong-arms was now volunteering at a battered women's shelter and applying for a janitor position at Target.
Tessa bit her lip. "You, uh ... tell them the truth?"
Mina's eyebrows raised. "Of course I do. Well ..." Her eyes slipped away from Tessa's gaze. "I'll admit after the third one of the day, I'm always tempted to tell them you're Amish."
Tessa giggled, then sighed. "I wouldn't want you to lie. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I have to take the consequences."
"It's just unfair, because you really have changed, but they don't believe it."
"No, it's more like they don't want to get involved." Tessa had known it for a few weeks now, but hadn't wanted to admit it to herself. She seemed to have acquired a highly developed ostrich mentality lately. "They don't know why I'm applying for these minimum wage jobs, if I have an ulterior motive or if I've had a falling out with my uncle. They're not stupid — they're not going to hire someone who might cause problems for them, and they're not going to hire me if it's going to make my uncle mad."
Mina pitched her voice low and leaned in to ask, "What exactly did you do for your uncle? You didn't ... kill anyone, did you?"
"No, never. Aunty Kayoko saw to that."
"My Aunt Kayoko. Uncle Teruo's wife." More of a mother to her than her own mother. An ache blossomed under her breastbone, and she rubbed at it. "She protected me. She dissuaded Uncle from giving me any job that crossed some invisible line she had in her head. She was closer to me than my own mother, in some ways."
"She died last year." And Tessa had cried in her cell all day the day of her funeral, wanting to go but not allowed to. If Tessa had been released a year early, she'd have been able to say goodbye.
Mina cleared her throat. "So, you roughed people up?"
"I did whatever my uncle asked me to do." Tessa looked down at her hands. "It's probably best I not talk about it."
"Oh, of course. I was just thinking ..." Mina flipped through a stack of file folders on her desk, then grabbed one and skimmed through the pages. "You can ... basically take care of yourself, right?"
"Uh ... yeah. I studied Muay Thai from when I was in grade school, and I also studied Brazilian jiu-jitsu, tae kwan do, and a little Capoeira." And basic no-holds-barred street fighting too, with a reputation among her cousins and her uncle's kobuns for having a streak of creative ruthlessness.
Mina's eyes widened at the list, but they also shone with excitement. "So how about a bouncer?"
Tessa wasn't sure what to think about that. "You really think someone would hire me as a bouncer?"
Mina made a face at Tessa's job applications folder. "They obviously won't hire you as a janitor, a burger flipper, a cashier, or a stock boy. Why not a bouncer?"
Why not? "I guess ... although I don't know if I'd be comfortable working for a particularly shady nightclub. I've known the girls who work there, and sometimes it's only a step above slavery."
"It might be a step toward doing bodyguard work." Mina was on a roll. "You'd be perfect for that. Your own private company, you can pick and choose what clients you'll take, and you can more than take care of yourself."
Wow. That would be really cool. "Yeah. Okay, got any leads on bouncer jobs?"
"Uh ... no."
"Oh, right. Battered woman not at the top of the bouncer qualifications list. I'll look online." Tessa rose and held out her hand to Mina. "Thanks for the idea."
"I'm sorry about those other jobs. I thought for sure that Fat Burger would hire you, but ..."
Yeah, but was she really surprised? Aside from the fact she was an ex-convict, being an ex-yakuza didn't place her high on anybody's hiring priorities.
She walked down the stairs much slower than she'd gone up, and she headed to the quaint living room on the first floor, situated near the back of the house. A fire might be lit in the antique fireplace, and she loved the crackling sound and the smell. As she entered the room, she spotted the Southern woman's glossy dark head next to a couple other women at the shelter. They all glanced at her with identical Oh-my-gosh-there-she-is-stop-talking-about-her expressions.
Tessa looked away, just in case they could see the sting in her heart reflected in her eyes. She didn't want to be feared anymore. She wanted to have friends who didn't know how to shoot an automatic weapon or boost a car. She wanted somewhere she belonged ... but where would that be? She was drifting in between the world of the yakuza and the world of normal, and she wasn't in either one. She didn't want to belong to the yakuza world, but she was starting to think she'd never belong to the normal world either.
A stampede of footsteps. Tessa expected to see a rampaging gang of suspiciously quiet kindergartners come to attack their favorite playmate. Instead, the woman's perky head popped up in front of her.
"Tessa? Hi, I didn't introduce myself earlier, I'm Elizabeth St. Amant."
Tessa took the smooth, manicured hand. "Uh, hi." She glanced at the women Elizabeth had been talking to, and they had alarmed looks in their eyes.
"Oh, don't mind those cats," Elizabeth said. "They thought they were warning me off of you, but as soon as they talked about your unsavory past, I just knew you were perfect."
"Even though they don't believe you've changed, why, as soon as I saw you with those children, I knew that you'd done a 180 like a flapjack on a griddle."
Flapjacks? Elizabeth had a way of talking really fast and draaaawlingatthesaaaametiiiiime that made it hard for Tessa to follow her. "What exactly did they tell you?" Tessa asked carefully.
Elizabeth actually started ticking them off on her fingers. "Let's see. First, you used to do some nasty things for your uncle, who's some sort of head for the yuck ... yak ..."
"Yakuza. Japanese mafia."
"Second, you've been in prison for murder."
"Manslaughter," Tessa automatically corrected. Not that it made that much difference, since she hadn't done it in the first place.
"Third, the only reason you're volunteering at this shelter is because Evangeline, who used to be your cellmate, stayed here a few months ago because of an abusive boyfriend, but then she started volunteering here, and she vouched for you when you wanted to volunteer here too."
The problem was that some of the women here didn't trust Tessa because she wasn't really one of them. Tessa had never been abused, had never been a mother. In fact, because of her background, she had never been afraid for her own life.
"Fourth, you've been going to the church here at Wings. And after hearing that, and seeing you with my Daniel, I knew you must be trying to turn your life around. You're exactly the kind of person I need."
"What do you need?" The woman didn't seem too loco, so Tessa wouldn't mind helping her. She guessed.
"My husband is trying to kill me," Elizabeth announced, "so I want to hire you as my bodyguard."
Chapter TwoHeaven must smell like homemade ramen noodle soup.
Tessa stood in the doorway of the Japanese restaurant and breathed deep, closing her eyes and picking out Jerry's signature spices in his ramen broth. She was drooling and she didn't care.
Well, it had been seven loooooooooooong years. Considering she'd eaten Jerry's ramen once a week up until then, she ought to be excused an excessive Pavlovian reaction. Since she'd gotten out of prison, she'd moved into Mom's house and began looking for a job, so she hadn't had time to come here to get her fix.
"Can I help you?"
The young, perky voice interrupted her olfactory cloud of ecstasy and made Tessa open her eyes.
The restaurant hostess, a young woman with long, glossy black hair, stood in front of the wooden hostess podium just inside the restaurant's glass doors. She had a plastic smile and her eyes were just a little wary of the crazy lady smelling the restaurant. Tessa realized she knew her — Karissa Hoshiwara, one of Jerry's granddaughters. Of course she wouldn't remember Tessa, she'd only been a high school freshman when it all happened.
"I'm a friend of Jerry's. Is it okay if I go in back to see him?" The politeness sounded stiff on Tessa's tongue, but after so many years, she didn't really have the right to barge into Jerry's overheated kingdom unannounced.
"Oh." Karissa's smile lost its edge, as if being her grandfather's friend explained all sorts of you-ought-to-be-in-therapy behavior. "Sure, go ahead."
As Tessa turned to head back to the kitchen, Karissa suddenly asked, "Do I know you?"
Tessa turned to meet curious eyes. Innocent. My eyes were never that innocent.
No, she had to remember that she was a new creation in Christ! With copious exclamation points! She had to act like it! "Yeah, actually, your mom is friends with my mom."
"Oh." Karissa's brow wrinkled faintly, marring the perfect skin of a young twenty-something. "What's your name?"
"Tessa Lancaster." She couldn't help the tension in the back of her neck, waiting for the reaction.
Karissa's dark eyes blinked. Then widened. And then she smiled. "Oh! You're that Tessa."
She'd provoked a lot of reactions in her life, but never one like this. "Excuse me?"
"I saw your picture from that old newspaper clipping."
So did everyone. Still didn't explain the one-step-below-rock-star glow in the girl's eyes. Tessa wasn't sure what to say, so she smiled weakly. She probably looked like a sick pig.
"Evangeline showed me the clipping," Karissa added.
"Evangeline?" The name made Tessa's smile widen. "How do you know her?"
"I, uh ... I met her at Wings." Karissa's cheeks were faintly pink.
"You went to Wings?" Karissa didn't look old enough to be married, let alone at a domestic violence shelter.
Excerpted from Protection for Hire by Camy Tang Copyright © 2011 by Camy Tang. Excerpted by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Although this book was an enjoyable read, there were some spots that left me a bit confused. All the characters in this novel were very thoughout but there were times when I didn't know what a certain character was. Not because their names were asian (I am asian so I had no problems with the names) but because there were so many introduced and some of them were just referenced for a couple of pages. Also there were some paragraphs that were a bit confusing to read. All in all I liked the heroine of the story but I don't know if I 'm going to read the sequel.
Having read and enjoyed Camy Tang's ¿Sushi Series¿, I was ecstatic to see her first full length novel in two years (she's published two Love Inspired novellas during that time). Camy Tang doesn't disappoint in the first entry to the Tessa Lancaster series ¿with humor, action, unique characters and of course, Ms. Tang's signature ¿romance with a kick of wasabi¿. From ¿Walker, Texas Ranger's¿ Sydney Cooke to ¿NCIS's¿ Ziva David and many more in between, I've grown up watching many ¿kick-butt¿, independent heroines on television, but I had never encountered them in Christian fiction until I met Tessa Lancaster in ¿Protection for Hire¿ (okay, I admit it, I usually read historicals). I appreciated that despite her strong personality and abilities, Tessa also had vulnerabilities and struggles that made her easy for me to relate to. I think every Christian who has relatives who don't share their faith can understand and emphasize with Tessa's struggle to relate to her family (especially with her mom and sister). I eagerly await the continuation of Tessa's story in the next ¿Protection for Hire¿ novel and will probably peruse more contemporary inspirational suspense in the future.
Protection for Hire: A Novel I have read a lot of Christian fiction and I can't remember one that reads like Camy Tang's Protection for Hire. It is a cross between Alias and Covert Affairs with an overlay of faith! It takes a gifted author to mix that into a winning combo and Camy has! I can really get caught up into an edgy suspenseful drama like this one. It incorporated an arsenal of human emotions which made the characters seem real and transparent; certainly relatable. Although the prologue was hardhitting, it set the tone for Tessa's transforming faith. I like that Camy didn't "perfect" her faith but allowed us to see the reasoning behind her choices and her realization that she could easily slip into old habits. (Can't we all?) I appreciated learning about Asian culture including new words, foods and martial arts moves! Everyone has a story and it isn't until we take a closer look into the depth of the character that we can truly appreciate who they are. Life can have an ugly side and we see that in the Mafia underground. It was interesting to me to see the loyalty Tessa displayed - even unto a jail sentence for a crime she didn't commit. Don't know too many who would make that choice willingly! Her character although has a hard edge has a vulnerable side that surfaced frequently. I could personally relate to the family dynamics between Tessa her sister and mother. There was a wonderful balance of suspense, human emotions and comic relief. I look forward to Book 2 in the series and watching Tessa grow in faith; and kick butt in the process! I would hire her for a bodyguard! PS - Camy, she needs a new car!
Camy Tang has created a great new character for book one of her new series. Tessa is downright scary in the prologue, and though I committed to reading the book, I didn't identify with her at all. That is, until I reached the first page of Chapter One, where she led a game of Simon Says for a group of children at a battered wives' safe house. You can bet I liked her from then¿on. Tough and smart, she is also compassionate, but troubled. Protection for Hire has a twisted plot set in the shadowy underworld of the San Francisco mafia. As I read, I felt over and over again the helplessness of the case. There was no safety. No way out. The tension with the entire situation never gave release. Just as answers showed up on the radar, new problems cancelled them out. The energy stayed amped, but avoided frustration. Ms. Tang also avoided bookmark spots; I couldn't put the story down! While Tessa's journey provided the impetus of the story, other characters brought charm to a new level. I really liked Charles, but his mother and her friend were downright delightful and not just because they were from the South. Or maybe it was! Either way, I could totally identify with them! Protection for Hire is full of humor and shares a powerful message of grace and trust. The story moves the reader as well as entertains. I give it 4 1/2 kisses.
I was lucky enough to be able to read a copy of this via NetGalley. I have read Camy Tang books before so thought it would be a good read but I have to say I was a little uncertain at the start that I would enjoy the setting of a tough girl with the Japanese Mafia. However, once I got to know the characters I was really rooting for them. Tessa is a great character, on the outside she is strong and feared by those around her but inside she has many insecurities and when you find out more about her family you realise why she is as she is. On one level this is a suspense story about Tessa trying to protect a woman and her son from an abusive husband, but it is also about second chances and whether someone can really change. Tessa has become a Christian in prison and is trying to lead a better life and not go back to her old lifestyle. This is hard for her; I like the fact that, unlike in some books, she has not changed into a "perfect" Christian overnight, but still struggles with her temper and with relationships with her family. She also struggles to change other people's opinion of her, no one wants to give her a job, can they believe that she is truly reformed? Charles, a lawyer hoping for a partnership, finds it hard to accept that the woman he helped put in prison is not the monster he thought she was and to come to terms with his attraction to her. Overall this is a good book, a gripping story with some extra depth because of the issues it raises. I look forward to reading the sequel.
I¿ve read several books by this author and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I enjoy Camy Tang¿s style of writing, it is easy to follow and her stories flow with characters that are believable and you can relate to their struggles. However, Protection for Hire Camy Tang takes her writing to a whole new level. If you¿ve enjoyed her books Deadly Intent or Formula for Danger this story is even better. Although I can¿t relate with Tessa Lancaster as a former member of the Japanese mob and ex-convict, I can relate with the struggle of trying to live as a new creature in Christ when no one around you believes you can change. I can also relate with Charles Britton who assumes that Tessa has returned to her old like in her Uncle¿s business. But he has to reconsider everything he believes as his client, the quirky Elizabeth St. Amant, hires Tessa to be her body guard. This story has an edge to it that I really enjoyed. Tessa is tough as nails, but she is also extremely vulnerable. She represents what a lot of ex-convicts face, rejection because of her past. Finding a job is difficult and she has to face the pull to go back to work for her uncle and the mafia. She also has to deal with family and friends not taking her conversion seriously. The action is fast paced with tension building in many scenes. However, there is a litter side to the story as well, Elizabeth St. Amant, is a southern belle with a quirkiness that is both refreshing and entertaining. Lastly, don¿t think this is a sweet everything works out in a big happy ending. The author treats this book much like life ending the story with unresolved issues and struggles still to be faced by Tessa. Which works out nicely since since this is book one, I can¿t wait to read the next one! I did receive this book from the author, but was under no obligation to give anything but my honest opinion.
"The unexpected enchants and enthralls in this insightful story of tradition, challenges, redemption and temptation. Camy Tang has penned a winner!" MORE... I loved this book and eagerly await the next with these characters. I won't go into detail because I won't spoil the fun for readers, but it was not your typical redemption story. It's not your usual heroine, hero or storyline. Camy Tang brings an exotic touch that is appealing and truly enthralling. I enjoyed the book so much, I formally endorsed it. Those who know me know that means I had to find something very special about the book. I found many special things in this one, not the least of which was that it gave me the immense pleasure of reading as a reader and forgetting I'm a writer. That's rare. It means I tumbled into the story and forgot to notice structure and plot and characterization and all the other things writers usually notice. What a treat!
Recommended reading for Inspirational Romantic Suspense.
Camy Tang is one of my favorite authors and her latest book "Protection for Hire" did not disappoint! It is Book one in her Protection for Hire series and it's a great, fast-paced mystery. The main character is Tessa Lancaster, a one-time member of her Uncle's Japanese mafia in San Francisco. After serving time for a crime she didn't commit she is now hiring out as a bodyguard. Along with lawyer Charles Britton they try to keep her first client alive. Both Tessa and Charles have family members who unwittingly get caught up in the excitement and as the story progresses, so does the relationship between Charles and Tessa. Along the way Uncle Taruo continues to pressure Tessa into coming back to work for him and she is torn between her committment to her family and her new found committment to Christ. A little bit of humor, some romance, and lots of twists and turns make this a fun read. I highly recommend it! I was given a copy of "Protection for Hire" by the Author in exchange for an honest review.
I loved this book! Finished it in two days, which is saying something these days. Not because I don¿t love reading still or whatever, but I have so much going on that I rarely have enough time in any given day to read a whole book. Tessa is wonderful! She¿s human and flawed and made new through salvation. Charles has the potential to be a real stick in the mud [he's a lawyer, after all], but he¿s not in the slightest. Well, maybe a bit. But not too much. The twists and turns were hard to predict. One of the biggest ones niggled at me off and on during the book, but I couldn¿t put my finger on it. Camy did a wonderful job of keeping the suspense high and realistic. I did know this was a series, but didn¿t realize it was one of those series with the same main character all the way through. So the romance side of the book was a bit disappointing for me, but I¿ll reserve overall judgment until the series is over. For a series of this kind, the romance was exactly where it should be but that doesn¿t mean I wasn¿t a bit disappointed still . Overall rating: 8.5 out of 10 Thanks to Camy and Zondervan for a free influencer copy of this book.
When Christian author Camy Tang asked her Street Team to review her latest book, Protection for Hire, I jumped at the chance. She's been my favorite authoress since I found her first book, Sushi for One?, on the clearance rack at my local (now out of business) Christian book store! Protection for Hire is the first in her latest series. Camy's trademark "kick of wasabi" flavours the pages as the Asian-American heroine, Tessa, a mafia enforcer sent to prison for a crime she didn't commit, struggles to reconcile her new faith with her old life while saving the life of her client, a wealthy mother on the run from her abusive husband. Tessa is a brand new Christian, and as such, still has significant struggles. She won't accept her mob-boss uncle's employment, but "borrows" money from her mother without permission. She struggles with her temper, knowing that with her martial arts training, a fight could turn deadly. Most action heroines do not feel real to me. But when I read this book, I felt like I could run into Tessa on my campus or at church. Tang does an excellent job of writing characters realistically, with flaws her readers can identify with. Fans of procedurals (such as Bones or Law & Order) will enjoy this book! (I received a copy of the book for my review, however, my opinions are my own.)
If you like inspirational suspense books, you'll love Protection for Hire. The action starts on the very first page. I really enjoy the characters! They are so interesting. The story is different and that was refreshing. That was my favorite thing that I could not predict what was going to happen next. Also, I think Camy was wise not to fully develop the romance in this book. It gives you a reason to want to know what the next book holds for the characters.
The latest book from Camy Tang, Protection for Hire, made my heart beat faster, my body giggle, and my stomach growl. Her writing is so much fun. I love her inner dialogue and the way she can make even the most serious scenes amusing. This new series promises to be exciting! It reminded me of a Bones episode, but Christian. The main character is 1/2 Japanese and 1/2 Irish, so you know she has a temper. Born into a Japanese mafia family, she becomes a Christian while in prison. When she gets out, she wants to stay away from her old life (and habits), but you know what they say about habits, don't you? She gets into lots of awkward spots, but with the help of a very cute lawyer, she is able to wiggle free. As always, Camy has lots of tantalizing food in her books. I inevitably end up eating some Asian food while reading. I give this book 5 stars...go out and buy it today! You'll have a lot of fun reading.
Protection For Hire follows the story of Tessa Lancaster, former enforcer and niece to the Japanese mafia's big boss who, after going to prison for a crime she didn't commit,has come out with a new found faith and set of morals, hoping for a second chance. Like the cartoon characters with a devil and an angel on opposite shoulders, Tessa can either take the easy option and go back to the fold, accepting her uncle's job offer in the Mafia, or listen to her heart and try to find a respectable job and lifestyle. It's a fast-paced thriller with a hint of romance and a generous dose of girl-power ! The supporting cast of characters are interesting and I'm hoping they will be further developed in the following books in the series. The opening excerpts of book 2, included at the end of the first tome, promise another soul-searching and adrenalin-fuelled novel. Reading this back to back with Camy Tang's Sushi For One?, I couldn't help but draw a lot of parallels between them. They both have sporty, tomboyish, tough as nails on the outside but vulnerable underneath, female lead characters and both offer a fascinating glimpse into the world of Japanese and Chinese culture. While being categorised as Christian literature, both novels offer stories that, while certainly having a strong message of faith, deliver it in such a way that it will not be offputting to non-believers. Camy gives you food for thought, she doesn't ram it down your throat !
Protection for Hire by Camy Tang was really different from the books I am used to reading by her. It is categorized as "general, Christian, fiction" and most of what I have read by her has been "chic-lit." While it was different, Protection for Hire was just as good as her Sushi Series. Tessa Lancaster, niece of the head of a Japanese mafia gang, is an enforcer with skills that earned her a position in the otherwise "all-guy" mafia. Her position earns her respect (or fear as the case may be), but also a prison sentence that she doesn't deserve when she takes the blame for a murder she didn't commit. While in prison, Tessa turns her life over to Christ and decides to change her ways. Three months after her release, she meets socialite Elizabeth St. Amant while volunteering at a domestic abuse shelter. Elizabeth is running from an abusive husband and hires Tessa to be her bodyguard. Tessa has several problems to overcome: her Uncle Teruo, who doesn't understand why she can't return to the mafia, Elizabeth's husband, who is relentless in coming after her, even trying to kill her, Alicia her own sister who drives her crazy and is constantly snipping at her and Charles Britton, Elizabeth's lawyer, who is the one who made sure that Tessa served the maximum time behind bars, unbeknownst to Tessa. Tessa and Charles have to work together to protect Elizabeth and her son and try to get her inheritance back from Elizabeth's husband in the midst of deadly circumstances and hidden truths coming to light. There is definitely some suspense and a little darkness in this book. It's still a "good read" filled with hope, growth and a budding romance! I can't wait until the second book in the series comes out, especially after the teaser excerpt at the end of this book.(less)
Trademark Camy Tang - skillfully crafted characters and a compelling plot...but with a martial arts twist! Tessa used to be an enforcer for her Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) family and one night makes the choice to sacrifice herself and go to jail for one of them. Seven years later, she's out on parole and looking to change her life since she became a Christian in jail. Protecting an abused woman and her son, trying to deal with her family, negotiating a possible new romance, and trying to convince her Family she won't go back to her old life all leave Tessa reeling--the way a good character should be! It takes a few pages to get into it, since the opening scenes could have been more suspenseful. However, the way they are now are true to Tang's style. If they had been more suspenseful, truer to mafia life, it would have changed the whole tone of the book. Good practical elements of Christian life, though not the digging into the Word of God I've found in her other books. Don't expect a happily ever after - Tessa's life is WAY to complicated for that! The end will leave you eagerly anticipating the next book. Provided by netgalley for review.
Filled with suspense, intrigue, romance, and a Christian theme, Camy Tang's Protection for Hire hits all the right notes. Tang's protagonist Tessa is a strong, independent young woman. She has a sordid past but is working toward being a better person, a faithful Christian. As a bodyguard, Tessa becomes immersed in the life and mystery of her client Elizabeth. These elements create a certain depth to the storyline multiplied by many surprise turns. Filled with interesting, yet humanly flawed characters, Protection for Hire provides the reader with a worthy read. Readers will delight to know this book is the first in a new series by Tang. Tessa will be back! Note: Tang's use of limited violence is appropriately handled and is a valuable part of creating realism in the characters and storyline.
I enjoyed the book tremendously. It took me a few pages to get into the feel of the characters, but when I did, I found myself holding my breath, wondering what danger lay around the next corner for Tessa Lancaster, ex-con, new Christian, protector of the innocent. Tessa, dodges her uncle's mafia buddies and enemies while shielding Elizabeth from an abusive husband, but she will have to untangle more foreboding truths before her family and friends are safe from the spiraling threat of unknown enemies. On top of this, she thinks she may be falling in love with Charles, who has secrets of his own. I found a flaw in Tessa's character near the beginning of the book, that brought my rating to a four instead of a five. She steals money fom her mother, but claims to be a Christian to the rest of the world. If she had only, repented of this, I would like her better.
I have read Mrs. Tang's blog and other postings, but not a book. I knew that she was a writer for Love Inspired, and even though PFH was not a LI novel I still thought it would fit in the LI box (silly me!). It doesn't at all! Still a lot of fun to read though - I love how she is able to describe people without making fun of them (like the southern lady with a heavy accent). I am a foodie, and the recipe/meal topics were easy to get into. I even looked up some of the recipes after reading the character's reactions. There was a lot of action, simple to follow but with enough details to feel included. I am not a big-city girl though, and the story took me on quite an adventure, one that I was happy to take from my safe country-home couch. It was also a safe peak into the Japanese Mafia, the "Yakuza", which I'd seen on TV's "Deadliest Warrior". By no means was it a "Mulan" type of story, but the sanctity of honor and family commitment was a driving force throughout the book. Being faith-based, it does talk about the character's struggles with how she was before jail/being saved, and after she was released. Her family relationship struggles were excellently written, and gave me FFT on my own actions. I was surprised at the ending, again only because it was not in LI's box style. I likely would not have picked it up, had it not been for Camy Tang's name. I am glad that I did, and I would recommend this book to others, if they are up to the adventure. I kept thinking that I was reading a Lucy Liu story, at least that's the image in my head! After reading "Protection for Hire" I read Mrs. Tang's upcoming "Stalker in the Shadows", which IS a LI book. This book was a refreshing break from the demure LI books that I had read. There was actually a lot less "faith" in SITS, but what was there was quality. There was still adventure, but it seemed toned-down. So I guess that it just depends on how much adventure the reader wants! Both are good reads, both made me laugh out loud, both will be shared with others.
Protection for Hire is the second book I've read by Camy Tang and while I enjoyed Formula for Danger, I loved Protection for Hire! I liked reading about Tessa Lancaster (both who she was before she became a Christian and who she is now). I found her character to be realistic - even though she is a new believer in Christ, she still deals with controlling her temper. I found most of the characters to be likeable (except for the 'bad guys') especially Tessa, Charles, Josh, and Vivian. I would say Protection for Hire is best suited for mature audiences as some things in this book may not be appropriate for young readers. The way Protection for Hire ended leaves me wanting to read the next book in the series, especially after reading an excerpt of the next book. I definitely recommend Protection for Hire! I loved it and if you enjoy suspense/romance books, I think you will too. *I received a complimentary ARC copy of Protection for Hire from the author for my review. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion, which I have done.*
Camy Tang has done it again! This book has a different set of characters than one usually sees in Christian fiction. They feel and act like "real" people and have backgrounds one doesn't normally read about. The plot is exciting and suspenseful, it's a real page turner! You get involved in the characters' lives. This book is one I would recommend to anyone, even those who aren't regular Christian fiction readers. Great book.
This is a great book. I like some of Camy Tang's other books, and this is a great book. My mom, who is 55, liked it, as did my teenage cousin. This is a good book for anyone, and it would be a good book for a book club.