Book Reviews

Parker's Sanctuary (Guardsmen 2) by Cooper West

Genre Gay / Paranormal / Shifters / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 13-October-2020

Book Blurb

Stalked by danger, will Parker ever find a place to call home?


Greg Lademar is an ordinary and average Army veteran who has settled down with his job as an accountant and his lingering PTSD. He lives a quiet life as a single man, alone on the former blueberry farm he bought from his parents after they retired to Orlando. When a friend who works with animal control asks him to foster Parker, a severely injured dog who has just been rescued from an abusive home, the last thing Greg expects is to be dragged into the mysterious world of the Guardsmen — the bonded pairs of humans and their weredogs, known as Protectors, who are literally the stuff of myths and legends.

Greg’s life is turned upside down by unexpected events involving Parker and the strange Guardsmen pair Marcus and Alex Stephanek, but far more dangerous to him is the man who used to own Parker and holds a grudge for having “his” dog taken from him. A game of cat and mouse ensues, with more on the line than even Greg ever thought possible: his life, and the life of Parker, who has become more important to him than Greg ever imagined a rescue dog could be.



Welcome to the world of Guardsmen, bonded pairs of weredogs and their partners who live on the edges of society -- worshipped and feared in turn, sheltered as much as they are shunned, Guardsmen mates live, love, and die together.

Book Review

I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across this second book in the 'Guardsmen' series, purely by accident. The author self-published this book and it was pure luck that I discovered it considering how much I absolutely loved book one, 'The Protector'. The concept of Guardsmen, a mystical bonded pair who handle search and rescue, criminal forensics, law enforcement, and a number of other specialized jobs, was interesting all on its own. Add to it that Guardsmen are a pair made up of a Handler, the human part, and a Protector, the weredog part, and I was pretty much hooked from the first installment.

I liked Greg immediately. He has seen the rougher side of life, and he certainly still struggles with his own PTSD, but he had a loving childhood, a wonderful family, and he has the right outlook on life. His family, for decades, was known to be very actively involved with fostering dogs, particularly the severely abused ones, but Greg has stayed away from that ever since leaving the military, as he knows he isn't in the right mindset to be what an abused dog needs. But when he gets the call from an old friend, he can't say no to this Husky. Apparently, its owner/abuser is demented and believes the dog is his Protector, but everything indicates he's just a dog, not a member of a Handler/Protector bonded set within the Guardsmen. Something that Greg often fantasized about finding when he was a young boy.

"Parker was incredibly well behaved in the pet store, although he kept pulling the dog bed out of the cart until Greg followed him to a display of high-end memory-foam padded beds. “Are you kidding me? It’s twice as expensive!” Greg shook the cheap, flannel covered one at him but Parker barked and that was that."

Considering I am a huge animal lover, it was no surprise, to me, that I fell in love with Parker, immediately. Long before he revealed himself to be a Protector. A beautiful, intelligent Husky who has been abused, and is making his way back to the land of the living? Yeah, he had me at *whine* (and, then I had some wine). When Parker is revealed to be Elijah Parker, Protector, and former parole officer for the Tallahassee police department, Greg is more than a little shocked. Of course, the Guardsmen Institute of the Americas has to be notified, and since an unregistered and unbonded Protector has been found, they immediately send out a team to investigate. It was lovely to see Alex and Marcus, from book one, again.

I thought that everything would be easy-peasy at this point, but it's definitely not. The fact that a Protector manifested, for the very first time, at the age of thirty-one, when this normally occurs during teenage years, is a massive issue that the Institute is trying to understand. Pair that with society's overall wariness of Guardsmen, and Protectors in particular, and the news crews are rampant with everyone trying to get their hands on the story. Plus Protectors, especially unbonded ones (very rare, all on its own, since they normally bond in their early twenties), have limited to no rights, so Parker can't go back to his life and pick up. Oh, and then there's his behavior towards Greg, as if they're bonded, except Greg is a civilian, not a Handler.

Cooper West has a wonderful way of making me think I know exactly where the story is going, and then turning everything upside down, so that I had an even more fascinating, suspenseful read. The ending was chock-full of thrills and I was practically squealing. A lot of what happened to Parker, and Greg in a roundabout way, links back to revelations discovered at the end of book one, so I would recommend that book be read first. I adored learning more about the secretive world of the Guardsmen, and even more, watching Greg and Parker shake that world up.

An excellent sequel to 'The Protector' and I'm looking forward to more books in this world.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 401 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 13-April-2017
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link