For Logan Anderson, moving on from a traumatic past means moving back to his hometown of Castle Rock, Colorado, to start a personal-security business with his brothers. But it’s not long before Logan runs into Grace Mason, his best friend from high school…and the woman who never answered his letters during his Army years.
Grace was pleasantly surprised to see Logan return to Castle Rock, despite their falling-out ten years ago. Everyone always assumed they would end up together, including Grace, who had eyes only for him. But as Logan eventually escaped their town, Grace got pulled further into her family’s controlling grasp—and farther away from the man she loved.
Now, united by scars both visible and not, the two must fight to free Grace from the suffocating hold of her family. But the Masons won’t let go easily—and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart.
When it comes to really tough subjects Susan Stoker has a knack of bringing out the truth of things while wrapping you into the story she weaves. Although this book contains incidents and stories of abuse that may be triggers or be disturbing to some individuals, it is informative and a reminder that abuse can happen no matter what your means.
Logan and his brothers have returned to Castle Rock to bury their father. Their mother had always been abusive and they lived with it until they were old enough to leave. Their father paid the ultimate price, his life and their mother killed herself after doing the deed.
Because of this and their childhood Logan and his brothers are starting a security company to aid those men who might otherwise never come forward.
Now Grace on the other hand, knows what her parents inflict on her is abuse but she can’t figure a way out. Her parents are manipulative and emotional abusers. The last straw is when the set their sights on someone they want her to marry.
Grace and Logan had a relationship in school, when he left to join the Army they vowed to write and she would wait for him. But he didn’t write and Grace finally stopped waiting.
Now she sneaks out of her parents home to be with her friend Felicity. She has her own apartment but her parents always need something and she spends more time at their home than her own.
This is a favorite scene from the party Felicity and Cole have at the gym.
“You were my safe harbor, Grace,” Logan told her honestly. “When I was with you, I felt like the man my mother never let me be. I felt as though you liked me for who I was. That night at the football game, when you wore my shirt, it felt good. I realized that I liked being around you. I liked looking after you. I liked protecting you.”
“I liked it too.” Her words were soft and Logan breathed out a sigh of relief. He knew he was bungling this, and he probably sounded like a pussy, but he shouldn’t have worried. The Grace he knew wouldn’t make fun of him or make him feel bad about his feelings. He went on.
“So, when I left that morning, I was being completely serious about wanting you to move in with me once I got settled. I thought you felt the same way, but when you didn’t answer my letters, I figured you’d changed your mind. Or found someone else to be with.” Logan shrugged, trying to be nonchalant about the explanation. The words seemed too inadequate to explain the hell he’d gone through at the time.
“It’s okay,” Logan hurried to reassure her. “Again, we were young. I never really told you how I felt, other than that morning at the bus station. That’s on me. After a while, when I didn’t hear from you, other than getting my letters sent back, I figured it was selfish of me to ask you to be an Army girlfriend. I moved every two years. You would have had to quit your job if you came with me with every change of station. Not to mention the deployments and long hours. I also figured you’d moved on from this town to follow your dreams and probably found the man of your dreams to share it with.”
Logan stopped talking when Grace put her hand on his arm and dug her fingernails into it. He had no idea if she knew what she was doing or not, but her words caught him by surprise.
“You didn’t write.”
He looked at her in confusion. “I did,” he insisted. “Every week when I was in Basic, and then every so often after that. For almost an entire year.”
“No, you didn’t,” she insisted.
Logan was getting angry now. “Grace. I did. I should know, I was the one who wrote the letters. Handwrote them, by the way, not typed. I was the one who waited every day for you to write me back, to acknowledge me. But you sent them all back, except for the last one. Unopened. The last few you even wrote, ‘I’m dating someone. Leave me alone,’ on the back.”
Grace didn’t respond, but leaned over her knees and started to hyperventilate.
“Grace! Shit. What’s wrong? Are you okay? You need to slow your breathing down or you’ll pass out. Come on, Smarty, breathe.” The nickname he’d given her when they were kids popped out without thought. “You’re scaring me, Grace. Take a deep breath. Good. Another. Keep doing that. Yeah, that’s it.”
Finally, when her breathing had slowed down and gotten close to normal, Grace turned her head to look at him. She hadn’t bothered to sit up, just stayed huddled over her knees.
“I didn’t get any letters.”
He barely heard the whispered words. Logan didn’t believe her. “It’s fine, Grace. I’m over it. It was a long time ago.”
“I. Didn’t. Get. Any. Letters,” she enunciated slowly, then closed her eyes and put her forehead back on her knees. Her voice was muffled, but Logan heard every word as if they were knives plunging into his heart.
“I waited. Every day after my college classes I rushed home to check the mail. And every day, there wasn’t anything from you. At first I told myself you were just busy. I can imagine how Basic Training is. You were probably really tired, and didn’t have time to write me. It was fine. After eight weeks went by, I thought for sure you’d start writing.
But every day I was told there was nothing. I was writing you, though. I must’ve written at least fifty letters. I figured I’d save them and send them all at the same time, as soon as I got your address. But you never wrote. So I figured you were just being nice that morning at the bus station.” Grace’s voice trailed off, and she didn’t look up.
Logan was frozen in disbelief. Suddenly he sprang up and paced in front of her. Neither of them said anything for a few moments. Finally, Logan stopped in front of Grace and put both hands in his hair, holding onto his temper by a thread. “Grace, I swear to you, I wrote. I poured my heart into those letters. I made it through the eight weeks of hell that was Basic because I thought you were waiting for me. I couldn’t wait to see you again.”
Stoker, Susan. Claiming Grace (Ace Security Book 1) (pp. 58-61). Montlake Romance. Kindle Edition.
Things heat up from here in more ways than one. Bradford and his parents aren’t thrilled with Grace’s parents ideas. However, Grace and Bradford had long decided to be just friends even though his sister Alexis doesn’t quite understand that.
Logan finds there are many more types of abuse than the physical and vows to be with Grace.
An emotional and heart wrenching story as the journey to happiness meets extreme circumstances for all involved. Keep those tissues handy, you will definitely need them.
5 Contented Purrs for Susan!
Coming July 11, 2017
Click the Cover To Pre-Order
New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Texas where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.
She debuted her first series in 2014 and quickly followed that up with the SEAL of Protection Series, which solidified her love of writing and creating stories readers can get lost in.