Blythe Coopman never imagined she’d be homeless, but a series of events has landed her on San Antonio’s streets…hungry, tired, and scared. She clings to her most precious possession, a phone accidentally swiped from a local firefighter, who, instead of canceling the number, starts texting her. Soon, the man’s calls and texts are the highlight of her days, but she declines his frequent offers of help. Blythe refuses to be his burden—until a vicious attack takes the decision out of her hands.
When the woman he’s already begun to care for ends up in the ER, Sawyer “Squirrel” McClay is livid—and ashamed. He should have insisted she accept his help long ago. Now, he’s not taking no for an answer. While his friends rally round Blythe, Squirrel’s bond with her grows stronger by the day, until he realizes he’ll do anything to keep her safe, healthy, and happy…even as his own lifelong insecurities work against him.
But despite leaving the streets behind, Blythe and Sawyer discover old dangers still linger, threatening to end the couple’s new bliss before it’s barely begun.
** Shelter for Blythe is the 11th book in the Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.
We got our first glimpse of Blythe in Shelter for Sophie. Elusive and mysterious, she hides away from any kind of help. Her one valuable possession, a phone. She found it in the sweatshirt Squirrel ‘Sawyer’ gave her to wear the night of the fire. The one that demolished the building she was staying in with Louise and Todd. However, before they could get her to go with that couple, she vanished and Squirrel did the most unpredictable thing in her mind, he didn’t cancel the phone, he started texting her.
It’s because of that phone that Squirrel was finally able to put his sort of plan in place. He was able to convince her to stay at Sophie’s house, like Todd and Louise had, after she was injured helping others.
This is a favorite scene as they arrive at the house.
He eased his door open and grabbed the bag of meds he’d stopped to pick up on the way home and her backpack. Shrugging it onto his back, he walked around his Jeep and opened her door. Blythe’s head was bent at an awkward angle and she seemed to be fast asleep. He unbuckled her seat belt and scooped her up into his arms.
She woke up enough to mumble, “My bag?”
“I’ve got it, baby. Relax.”
Squirrel shut the door with a foot and headed for the house. Sophie had told him earlier that she’d left the front door unlocked when she’d left for the hospital, making their entrance easy. He strode toward the back hallway once they were inside.
He went straight into the master bedroom and to the attached bath. He settled Blythe on the counter and held her upright as he woke her.
“Blythe? Wake up, baby. We’re home.” It took her a moment, but finally her eyes opened all the way and she stared at him.
“I didn’t mean to fall asleep.”
“It’s okay. I bet you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a long time.”
“You’d win that bet,” she told him.
“I would’ve let you sleep, but I’m guessing you want to shower.”
“Oh, God, yes.”
“I need to get a plastic bag for your hand and also cover those other wounds before you get in though.”
“I can do it,” she told him.
“I know. But today you don’t have to. Let me help you.” Squirrel saw her hesitation. “I already saw them when the doctor stitched you up, remember? Besides, I’m a paramedic. I’ve seen more naked torsos than the most successful porn star.”
She smiled at that.
Pressing his advantage and not giving her a chance to come up with an excuse for him not to help, Squirrel ordered, “Stay there. I’ll be right back.” He removed her backpack and placed it on the floor next to the counter she was sitting on, then hurried out of the room.
It took him longer than he would’ve liked to find the plastic wrap and tape, but when he got back to the bathroom, Blythe was still sitting right where he’d left her. She’d kicked off her shoes, and seeing her sitting there, vulnerable and uneasy in her socks, hit him hard.
He helped her stand, making sure she was steady before he let go. Then, trying to ignore anything but the task at hand, he got to work taping the plastic wrap over her stitches. When he was done, he made the mistake of looking at Blythe’s face.
Her eyes were closed, and she was clinging to the counter behind her as if her life depended on it.
He didn’t see pain in her expression but had to ask. “Did I hurt you?”
“No,” she answered immediately.
Squirrel took hold of her uninjured hand clutching the edge of the counter. “Are you sure? It’s okay to be in pain. I’m not going to think less of you.”
“It’s been so long since anyone’s touched me,” she whispered, her voice breaking. “I can’t remember how long. Your fingers on me…” Her eyes opened and she pinned him with her gaze. “They make me feel human for the first time in a really long time.”
“Oh, baby…” And with that, Squirrel folded her carefully into his embrace.
What she didn’t know was that she made him feel like a man, a true man, for the first time in a really long time too.
Susan Stoker. Shelter for Blythe: Badge of Honor, Book 11 (Kindle Locations 815-846). Stoker Aces Production, LLC.
Oh the sniffles! This was only the first of many times I found myself tearing up.
This is a very emotional story, and Blythe has gone through so much. Sawyer has some issues as well, and they both learn from each other.
I love the women in these books, they have endured and come back even stronger. Banding together to be with Blythe.
Oh and the donkey!!! So dang cute and had me giggling.
So much happens in this book, a heartrending, inspiring, hold your breath, page turner.
5 Contented Purrs for Susan!
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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.