“Kindness trumps greed: it asks for sharing. Kindness trumps fear: it calls forth gratefulness and love. Kindness trumps even stupidity, for with sharing and love, one learns.” ~ Marc Estrin
Stefan Mortimer, of ‘Love's Design’ by RJ Scott, would like to get back to his job in the US, but due to mitigating circumstances he is lying low until the situation settles down. He's ready for some leisure time, but when you are a trained law enforcement officer, there's no such thing. Sensing trouble, he reacts almost out of instinct, detecting and putting a stop to the problem of a young man being mercilessly beaten. Even though Stefan doesn't have all the facts, the young man is in serious danger and defeats his attackers. What he doesn't know at the time is that they will eventually save each other.
From the beginning, Kirby is grateful to Stefan, who saved him from more of a beating, but whose skill was so swift and deadly in doing so that it gave him pause. Understandably distrustful, Kirby wonders who this man is and why he helped him in the first place. Having little choice, Kirby takes him to his niece and nephew whose life he is protecting. The three men who beat him want the children and the only way they would have done it was, literally, over Kirby's dead body. The children are understandably frightened but grateful that Kirby is able to come back for them. They are also fearful of the stranger their Uncle Kirby brings back with him. Explaining who Stefan is is difficult at best. Kirby hasn't known Stefan long enough to reassure them about Stefan's motives or even where he stands in relationship to Stefan. He only knows that his instinct tells him to trust Stefan at least enough to let him help them. Honestly, Kirby has very little choice but to do so.
When Stefan has more information about Kirby's situation, he calls in the big guns, his associates and friends at Bodyguards, Inc. Stefan wants to find the men he took out of commission and their boss. There's also the matter of Kirby’s brother, the children's father, who is either dead or in the hospital. Kirby has no way of finding out since he is on the run and Stefan’s boss and the owner of Bodyguards, Inc., Kyle, is more than happy to help, putting his associates to work covering all the bases. Kyle offers a safe haven at his mansion and Kirby and his niece and nephew decide to take his advice, having nowhere else to go. Kirby and the children come to see the mansion as a magical place where, for the first time in a long time, they can be children again. As Stefan learns more about Kirby, he comes to admire him for how much he's done with what little he had to do it with and his admiration begins to turn into something more. Stefan's first concern is what Kirby is thinking and feeling and right now he is in no position to make a decision as important as becoming involved with someone.
There's a lot more drama and suspense to this story that I can mention here, but, hopefully, I've given you a good idea of what it's about. I loved Stefan—handsome, strong, considerate, and lethal when necessary. Kirby was also admirable for his family loyalty and love for his niece and nephew. All he needed was for someone to give him a new start in life in order to be more. Fans of the series will love Stefan's story. For those new to the series, it could be read alone, but the stories and characters are interconnected so you wouldn't be getting a complete picture unless you read them all, which, of course, I strongly encourage you to do. Thanks, RJ, for the great Christmas story of hope, forgiveness, and love.