Part-time bartender Erin Gardner is friendly to everyone who bellies up to her bar, including the local law enforcement and firefighters who keep her city safe. That’s where she meets game warden Conor Paxton, a regular who she asks to join a canoeing trip she’s leading for her university day job. When the trip leads to something more, Erin couldn’t be happier.
Conor adores Erin, more than enough to help her continue to get over lingering self-esteem issues from her childhood. He’s thrilled he’s found someone who enjoys spending time in nature as much as he does.
Just when the couple thinks they’re on their way to a happily ever after, Erin finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. But there’s no way she’ll just lay down and die. She’s woman enough to save herself—and lead her man to her when she’s done.
** Justice for Erin is the 9th book in the Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.
Once again Susan takes on a tough issue, that of obesity. Erin has worked to overcome the issues that caused her weight and sought out solutions.
I really love the dynamic between Erin and Conor. He thinks she’s gorgeous but also notices that she watches what she eats and appears to have a sort of routine when it comes to eating.
As their love for the outdoors draws them together, Erin begins to fear her secret coming out. How can she refuse his invitation to his family holiday without hurting him. In the end she goes, but as he promised, when she became too uncomfortable they left.
This is a favorite scene when Erin reaches out to him after he leaves her at home.
“I was trying to hang in there, but at the end, when your mom gave me those cookies?” She motioned toward them with her head. “It hit me. Hard. No one ever gave me food in my life. My mom constantly hid it or took it away. Then I bought it myself. Since I was fat, no one dared give me something that might make me fatter. Then when I started trying to lose weight, there was no way I would eat something like that. After the surgery, I couldn’t eat solid food for the longest time, and when I did, it wasn’t cookies. I can’t tell you the last time I even ate a cookie.”
“I can take them with me when I leave,” Conor reassured her.
“No!” Erin cried, shaking her head. “I…your mom gave them to me. Food is love for her. You said they were special. That she doesn’t make them all the time. Why’d she make them for me, Conor?”
“Because you’re special, bright eyes. My mom knows how much you mean to me. And she wanted to show you in one of the only ways she knows how. Cooking for you. And you’re right. She and my sisters are overweight, but their men see them for who they are inside. If you asked my dad, he’d tell you that there’s just more of my mom to love.”
“Why the picture?” Erin asked quietly.
Conor knew she was talking about the gift his parents had given her. He leaned forward and picked it up. It was a picture of him when he was about ten. He’d been fishing with his dad and was so proud of the first fish he’d caught that day. It was big, and he’d barely been able to hold it up.
“Mom wanted to know what she could get you for Christmas. She has thousands of pictures of me and my sisters around the house. I thought you’d get a kick out of seeing what a dorky kid I was.”
“I love it,” Erin told him. Then she sat up and shifted on his lap. She used her fingers to wipe her cheeks and took a deep breath. “I’m sorry about tonight. Your parents have to think I’m a head case.”
“Actually, they’re really worried about you. I talked to my mom about an hour ago, and she told me I should get my butt over here and take care of whatever was hurting you. Oh, and be warned, I think she and my sisters are planning on coming to The Sloppy Cow in the near future.”
Erin gaped at him. “What?”
“Yup. Erin, they loved you. Nothing you did tonight was a turnoff for them. You were nervous, they could see it. But more than that, they could sense that you’re a good person.”
“But I’m not.”
Conor barked out a laugh. “Erin, you’re way too good for me, and they know it. If it was up to them, they’d kick me out of the family and adopt you instead.” He was happy to see her lips quirk as if she wanted to smile. He took her face in his hands, much as he had earlier that night. “I love you, Erin Gardner. You. Whether you weigh a hundred pounds or four hundred and fifty. That isn’t going to change.”
She bit her lip and whispered, “Even if I gained back all the weight, you’d still love me?”
“Damn straight. I love what’s in here,” Conor said, moving one of his hands to her chest over her heart.
Stoker, Susan. Justice for Erin (Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Book 9) (Kindle Locations 1810-1836). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.
Now you know things aren’t going to continue to go smoothly. The tension and fear when Erin goes missing will have you holding your breath and turning the pages faster.
The courage, ingenuity, acceptance and love in this book are absolutely inspiring.
5 Contented Purrs for Susan!
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Coming March 13, 2018
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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.