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Full Name: Ben Keegan
Series Name: Dark Horse Guardians
Nationality: American
Organization: Dark Horse Guardians
Occupation Agent

Creator: Ava Armstrong
Time Span: 2015 - 2021


Ben Keegan is an agent with Dark Horse Guardians.

Lara O'Connell is the owner of an architectural firm.

Keegan is given the starring role here but O'Connell is just as important to the events in the recorded adventures. In fact, we meet her first and learn how she knows the kinds of evil that exists in the world. And how to deal with it.

We are told in the prologue of the first adventure how she was sexually assaulted and nearly beaten to death as a young teenager by the son of a rich member of the town she lived in. We learn about the years after the rape and how she had to learn to deal with it, especially after the rapist got a slap on the wrist since he was 17 at the time. But mostly we find how she, when she was celebrating her 21st birthday, tracked down the now drug-addicted assailant. We read how she shot out the streetlight before he arrived and then watched him approach. He is found later by the police, the newspaper reporting he was dead from two gunshots, one to the head and one to the heart. After she read about the incident, "Lara folded the newspaper with no emotion".

Back to Keegan, we learn that he attended the U.S. Naval Academy, entering in 2001. Following graduation, he received "special training", as he modestly describes it to O'Connell shortly after they meet. That training came as he earned his way into the elite SEALs, serving with them for six years in Iraq and Afghanistan. Still low-playing it, he tells her he retired from the Navy and "In 2012, I started a small consulting group and now work as a contractor for the government".

That company is Dark Horse Guardians. While it is said above he is an operative with it, which he is, he is also the owner. We are reminded of the meaning for the first part of the company's name in the intro to each of the adventures. "A dark horse is a little-known person or thing that emerges to prominence, especially in a competition of some sort or a contest that seems unlikely to succeed". The name is an interesting and telling look into the company in that it is one of several private firms used by the CIA to handle situations that are deemed vital to the security of the country but which the Agency would prefer to not be publicly associated with.

When the adventures begin, Keegan is the operative in the field and O'Connell is the reason he wants to survive to go home to. As time passes, life will push O'Connell to become as much a part of Keegan's professional life as she is his personal one.


Number of Books:5
First Appearance:2015
Last Appearance:2021

1 A Sense Of Duty A Sense Of Duty
Written by Ava Armstrong
Copyright: 2015

Ben Keegan is a visiting professor at a university in Maine, taking some time from his consulting company, Lara O'Connell is a 24-year-old graduate working on her Masters. They are drawn to each other but she will not enter a relationship while he is still married. Their romance is also hampered by the duties he has with his company, Dark Horse Guardians.
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2 Encountering Evil Encountering Evil
Written by Ava Armstrong
Copyright: 2017

Terrorists are active on American soil and the US government uses security consultants like Dark Horse Guardians to make them disappear. Ben Keegan finds he and his Team are growing busier with the missions they have been given. He also finds his relationship with Lara O'Connell heating up. She is learning what it means to be married to someone whose job constantly puts his life in danger.
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3 Flawlessly Executed Flawlessly Executed
Written by Ava Armstrong
Copyright: 2017

The marriage between Ben Keegan and Lara O'Connell is strong but it will be tested. An old flame from his past shows up again needing Ben's help. Lara's architectural business is expanding but she is dealing with the loss of her mentor and leaning on her friend Hawk for support.
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4 Hard Man To Kill Hard Man To Kill
Written by Ava Armstrong
Copyright: 2017

Ben Keegan's Dark Horse Guardians is busier than ever as a group of terrorists from Gitmo are released around the world. His team is given the job of re-acquiring and eliminating many of them. Unfortunately, word of these missions gets out and Keegan must also find a way to protect his wife, Lara. She has to learn what it means to live in his world as an operative.
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5 Lone Gunman Lone Gunman
Written by Ava Armstrong
Copyright: 2021

Ben Keegan's business is extremely busy and he needs Lara as part of the team. She has had a harrowing introduction to his professional life but now will be tested far more than ever. Will their relationship survive the challenges, assuming they can stay alive long enough as terrorists hunt Ben and Lara even as Dark Horse Guardians hunt the terrorists?
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The saying goes that 'misery loves company'. It's been proven too many times to be in doubt. In the case of both Ben Keegan and Lara O'Connell, there is a corollary to that rule: "Two can carry a load easier than one". 

For Keegan and O'Connell, both 'laws' go hand-in-hand. How either would survive the rotten things that happen to them if they were not together, well, better not to think about it.

There is a ton of action and just as much humanity in these adventures. Not to mention a lot of cool intrigue and subterfuge and suspense.


My Grade: A-


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