Tessa is half-Japanese, half-English/Scottish/Italian, aged 30 and unemployed. She is looking for a job while she volunteers at a San Francisco women's shelter, but her prison record (seven years for manslaughter) and her family (niece of a notorious Japanese crime lord, for whom she used to work as an enforcer) are making it difficult for her to find an honest job. Her uncle has offered for her to return to working for him, but she became a Christian in prison, and wants to live a life that reflects her new faith.While working in the shelter she meets Elizabeth St. Armant and her son, Daniel. Elizabeth is a wealthy heiress whose husband is trying to kill her, so when she finds out about Tessa’s unique skills, she hires Tessa as her own personal bodyguard. Her attorney (and old family friend) does not approve of this move. Charles thinks Elizabeth is over-reacting, he knows Tessa from his days as a law clerk involved in her trial and sentencing, and he has a hard time believing that she has changed. However, it soon becomes apparent that someone really is trying to harm Elizabeth, so Charles and Tessa are soon investigating to find out who and why. While Charles might know the law, it soon becomes apparent that Tessa’s knowledge of the criminal underworld is invaluable.Protection for Hire is a fast-paced and enjoyable thriller with lots of crossing and double-crossing, and although it was a little lacking in the romance department, there is a sequel in the works that will hopefully deliver more on this front. While the novel overall was serious, there were also a handful of comic moments that I enjoyed, such as when Charles does some undercover investigating, and is introduced as Charles Carmichael - the name of Chuck Bartowski’s suave spy alter ego from the TV show ‘Chuck’. Or when we find out Charles’s mother is from Shreveport, the home of all those vampires in the Sookie Stackhouse novels and the TV show ‘True Blood’.Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.This review also appears on my blog, www.christianreads.blogspot.com.