SPOTLIGHT & REVIEW: Protect Me by Jennifer Culbreth (ARC)

Protect Me (The Protected Love Series) Book 1
  • Publisher: Jennifer Culbreth (July 30, 2013)

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*Tell us about yourself:  

My name is Jennifer, I am a 26 year old wife to a panty dropping US Navy Sailor. I am an active advocate of a sarcasm font and snarky remarks. I was born and raised in North Florida where we are lucky enough to get the best of both worlds. We have island life where our beach is at and the great outdoors covered with towering hard pines. I like to consider myself a small town girl with big world dreams, and have used that motto throughout my writing.
Never being one for change (yes it is true that I picketed changing our yearly Christmas dinner from turkey and ham to steaks and lobster… I can admit that) after graduating college and being in the banking industry for several years, change seemed to become the only thing I could think of. I had graduated college with a very expensive piece of paper that I proudly hung in my $3.00 Wal-Mart frame, however crunching numbers just never seemed enough, I had to find something to satisfy the creative beast knocking around in my head. So I embraced reading more than I ever had before in an effort to escape the norm.
Little did I know that reading is a gateway drug to writing! Not only did I find that reading got my mind off of the 9-5, the endless deployments of my husband overseas, and the drama of my friend’s dating lives, writing took it to a whole new level. I began embracing my passion for journaling and even ventured into the world of creative writing. As I am sure many other authors can agree, there comes a time when the characters and story just starts coming together and before I knew it my 1000 word story began flowing uncontrollably into a 380+ page novel.
My love for my book goes deeper than an accomplishment, it is also a piece of myself. I used the experiences and encounters over the years to bring together a story that I wanted people to be able to relate to. A character who’s overly trusting, who feels trapped, and needs to find her way in the world. Once you let your imagination take hold you can truly find your inspiration, and by using your imagination you get to bring life to something that was once only words on a paper.
Within two months my story had been written and the real fun began. Bringing together models, photographers, and creative ideas across the board has been an amazing experience. It took a lot of brainstorming… and pinteresting… to come up with ideas behind the cover and I can only hope that what we brought to the table will help to inspire my readers and spark their imaginations. As the visual representation of the cover is truly your means of accessing my thoughts when writing Protect Me, I can only hope that you can see and feel the same things that I did along the journey.
*Where did the idea for the storyline come from?
It started out as two characters in my head, at first I was concerned with the voices but then I began to embrace and love them as if they were a part of me .  I didn’t have a story or plot line in the beginning, remember this is the first full length novel I have ever written and my first written on a professional level, I just knew that I wanted to take them somewhere. A large part of the book is based around experiences that I have encountered along my path and living life in general, luckily I have some amazing friends and was able to base some of the story around the crazy things we have done over the years. The banter back and forth between the characters really is how my friends and I talk to one another. The fierceness that they have over protecting each other is the same feelings that I have experienced with my own friends. Once the first ideas began to blossom I found a template online to help plot out my story and after two months of writing, Protect Me was finished. Though I will share a secret… some writers will say that it is common, but I wrote the entire story before I even knew what to name it. That was one of my biggest blocks along the way!

*Please tell us about your characters:
There are a lot of fun characters throughout the story, however my two main characters are Abbi Hastings and Ryan Dixon. Abbi is a small town girl at heart, living and growing up in the same little town. Like most residents she felt stuck, unable to find a way out, and every time she tried she would always get sucked back in. I wanted to incorporate a few different characteristic in her personality. She’s sarcastic, stubborn, and ferociously motivated to make something of herself. I wanted you to be able to see her going from the self-conscious small town girl and turning into the self-confident woman that she really is.
Ryan Dixon is our knight in shining armor, he is the tall, dark, and panty melting hot CEO of VIP Bodyguard Services. Being a former veteran having served as an Army Ranger for many years, he emits alpha male traits. He has some dark demons that he fights along the way, causing him to push Abbi into the arms of the worst kind of man. Not realizing until after the damage had been done, he knows that he was put on this earth to protect Abbi in every way possible.
Along the way you meet Judy and Ashley, two fun loving bar backs that have mouths like sailors and can party with the best of them. They become Abbi’s closest friends and show her the ropes of LA life. Jace is Ryan’s best friend and co-owner of the company. He has a work hard and play harder attitude and soon becomes entranced by Judy’s 5’ everything package. Gabe is an employee of the bodyguard company and serves as Abbi’s main bodyguard after trouble arises in the beginning of the story. He also has an eye for Ashley but she pushes him away after she gets caught up into some pretty dark activities.

*What scene did you have the most fun writing? Why?

One of my favorite things about reading is being able to put myself into conversations between the characters. I love feeling like the bond they have is the same bond that I have with my friends. One of my favorite scenes is in the beginning of the book when Abbi, Judy, and Ashley are bantering back and forth about setting Abbi up on a date. The sarcastic snarky remarks that flow between them all was, for me, the most fun. The characters in the story are all loosely based around some of my best friend’s personalities and being able to bring that to life in the book was a lot of fun. Of course writing the steamy parts was good too, but having a husband who deploys overseas a lot… I have plenty of experience in that 😉 

*Is this going to be a series; if so can you tell us a little about
the main characters in the next couple of books?  Or are you going to
write something that is totally different from Protect Me?
Yes, Protect Me is Book one of The Protected Love series. The books will flow from one to the next. I hope to have three total, and the next book, Cherish Me, will be a continuance of the story but will be in Judy and Jace’s POV. I have already started planning out Cherish Me, and it is definitely going to be a fun and interesting book to write out. With Abbi and Ryan, I portrayed a bit more serious attitude between them, Abbi trying to succeed and Ryan being a business type. However in book two you will see that Judy and Jace are already comfortable in their skin, and the sparks between the two causes more of a wildfire for my audience. Book three, which isn’t titled yet, will bring the ending of the series through Ashley and Gabe’s eyes. I am hoping to have the series completed by the end of 2013.
*How can readers discover more about you and you work? (just fill in
the links to what ever ones you have)

I am on just about every type of social media platform. My most common being my Facebook author page, I am easily accessible if at any time my readers want to reach out and connect. However you can find me at any of the listed links below. Always feel free to send requests to connect.

Twitter: @jculbrethauthor
Pinterest: Jennifer Conner Culbreth
Amazon Author Page:


Abbi Hastings had never been fearless. She’d been firmly entangled in her small town roots her entire life until an unexpected inheritance provided her a chance to escape. As she took the only opportunity she’d have to get out, Abbi left her world behind and boarded the plane with her one way ticket to Los Angeles. 
Relentless and fighting for her own independence, it all goes to hell when fate throws a twist into her plans. Everything changes the day she accidentally falls into the arms of Ryan. Tall, dark eyed, and handsome CEO of LA’s hottest bodyguard service who is fighting some dark demons of his own.
Can Abbi take a leap of faith and dare to experience all that the world has to offer, accepting that fate has brought her here into the arms of the man who will protect her? Protect her mind, body, and soul.


Abbi Hastings packs up her life and moves to Los Angeles after receiving inheritance from her estranged father’s death.  Once there she gets a job as a bartender at a new up and coming club!  She “runs” into Ryan Dixon during one of her shifts and its instant attraction!  But Ryan has demons from his military past that makes him send Abbi mixed signals…will Ryan and Abbi ever get there act together and realize they are perfect for each other?  
I LOVED this book…it has drama, friendship, danger and love.  There are some twist in the story that I didn’t expect which kept me interested!  One of the other things about this book that I loved is that I was able to pick up on something looooong before the characters did…which doesn’t usually happen…one or both characters usually figure out what’s going on fairly quickly but not these two!  Can’t wait for the next two in the series!! I would totally recommend that you all read this book!  

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