NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Medically discharged from the army, Tate “Bear” Parker, former Delta-Force soldier, now works for Brotherhood Protectors as a bodyguard. Gruff but outgoing, his in-your-face cheerful exterior hides wounds invisible from the outside. He hopes to keep those scars undercover and get on with his life and his job, with no one the wiser.
Mia Chastain grew up in Eagle Rock, Montana. Now a successful screenwriter, she’s hit a brick wall writing a movie script about a young woman struggling to come to grips with her life in the aftermath of a brutal attack. Mia returns to her hometown to face her own demons and write the script she knows she must. A secret she’s kept buried for a very long time makes her fearful of facing her homecoming alone. When her old school friend suggests she hire a bodyguard, she jumps on the idea, determined to stay the course, with the help of a strong, ruggedly handsome guardian.
In the performance of his protective service, the damaged soldier falls under the spell of the shy screenwriter. They forge an unlikely bond in an effort to keep her safe as the secrets of her past come back to haunt her and threaten to destroy the life she’s built.
It would take a lot of courage for Mia to do what she came to Eagle Rock to do. She’s going to write the screenplay based on the events that happened to her thirteen years ago. Unfortunately someone is already trying to scare her away.
This is a favorite scene where she meets Bear for the first time and Sadie and Hank find out the truth of why she came here to write.
With no one knocking on his door or offering him a job, Bear had begun to slip into a dark place he’d never gone before. The temptation to self-medicate with alcohol had been so real, he’d nearly succumbed.
Then he’d gotten the call. One rainy day in D.C., his phone rang. He hadn’t recognized the number, but he’d crossed his fingers and prayed it wasn’t a salesman.
The caller had been Hank Patterson, founder of the Brotherhood Protectors personal security agency. Based on Swede’s recommendation, he’d offered him a job to come to work in Montana providing personal security to clients.
Bear hadn’t hesitated. He’d packed his duffel bag and boarded a plane the next day.
Fortunately, he’d hit the ground running when Swede’s first assignment went code red and every member of the Brotherhood Protector had gone into combat mode to protect Swede’s client.
That had been a couple weeks ago. Since then, they hadn’t had a client contact them. Hank had warned Bear that they were a new startup company and they wouldn’t be advertising. All of their clients would come to them by word of mouth.
Well, word of mouth wasn’t bringing in droves of clients. If something didn’t come up soon, Bear would have to find alternate work.
Though Hank promised he could stay at White Oak Ranch until work picked up, Bear didn’t like living off the good will of others.
The pain in his leg had dissipated enough Bear was considering going back to bed when lights flashed between the trees, indicating a vehicle coming up the long drive to the ranch house.
His pulse quickened, and he debated waking Hank, but didn’t have time. At the speed the vehicle flew up the road, it would be at the house before Bear could climb the stairs to the second floor and wake the boss.
The car skidded to a stop in the gravel, but the driver didn’t get out right away.
With his heart racing, adrenaline pumping and, curiosity aroused, Bear waited for the driver to make the first move.
Finally, the driver’s door opened, and a woman leaped out. Petite, with dark hair hanging down past her shoulders and wearing a baggy T-shirt and cowboy boots, she ran toward the house.
When she jogged up the steps to the porch, Bear stepped in front of her, blocking her path.
The woman screamed, and would have fallen backward, if Bear hadn’t wrapped his arms around her waist and crushed her to his chest.
She struggled, kicked and cried out.
Bear held on, afraid she would trip and fall if he let go. “Hey, it’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you.”
Either she couldn’t hear him or was too frightened to listen. She didn’t stop fighting until the porch light blinked on.
Hank slammed through the door, his wife, Sadie, on his heels. “What’s going on?”
The woman in Bear’s arms slowed her fight and glanced up.
“I don’t know,” Bear said, his arms clamping the wildcat’s arms to her sides. “This woman showed up like her world was on fire and ran toward the house. I blocked her path, and she tried to tear me apart.”
Sadie stepped out from behind Hank. Her eyes widened. “Mia?”
Bear’s captive sagged against him, and her entire body trembled.
“Oh, my God, Mia.” Sadie rushed forward.
Bear loosened his hold, but not all the way. As limp as the woman Sadie had called Mia had gone, he wasn’t certain she could stand.
Sadie pulled her from his arms and hugged her.
Mia buried her face against her friend’s chest, shook her head and continued to tremble.
“Bring her inside, Sadie,” Hank said, holding the door open.
Bear stepped away from the two women, feeling as if he’d kicked a puppy. “I’m sorry if I scared you.” He reached out to touch her shoulder.
Mia flinched and stepped sideways to avoid his touch.
“It’s okay,” Sadie soothed. “Let’s get you inside, and then you can tell us what happened.”
Bear was the last through the door. This Mia woman seemed pretty shaken by something, and he felt like he was part of the cause. The sooner he figured out what was going on, the better.
Sadie led Mia into the living room where she sat with her on the couch.
Bear stood at the entrance, not wanting to cause the lady any more distress. For some reason, she was afraid of him.
Sadie stroked Mia’s back and spoke soothingly to her, until Mia finally stopped shaking and straightened.
“I’m sorry,” she said, wiping the tears from her cheeks. “I didn’t come back to Eagle Rock to fall apart on your doorstep.”
“You know you’re welcome here, no matter what. And for the record, I wasn’t keen on you staying in your old house until you had it where you wanted it.” Sadie gave her a gentle smile. “Tell me what happened that scared you so badly.”
Mia glanced toward the darkened window and a tremor shook her body. “I was having a bad dream when something woke me.” She drew in a shaky breath and let it out. “I got up to check it out and went down the stairs. I found the back door to the kitchen wide open.”
Sadie’s brows dipped. “Could the wind have blown it open?”
Mia shook her head and looked at Sadie. “I locked all the doors and windows before I went to bed. Not only was the door open, the doorframe was splintered. Someone broke it open. And no, I’m not buying the ghost theory. Ghosts don’t break doorframes.”
Sadie’s frown deepened. “No. They don’t.” She pulled Mia into her arms. “I’m glad you came here. You can’t go back until you have the deadbolt fixed and a decent security system installed.”
Mia shook her head, her lips thinning into a straight line. “I have to go back. Whoever did this can’t get away with it. I refuse to let anyone scare me away from my family home. I’m tired of being the victim.”
Bear’s fists clenched into fists. The bullish frown on Mia’s face made him want to go after her demons as much as she wanted to.
Sadie gripped her friend’s arms. “What are you talking about?”
Mia’s chin lifted, even as tears filled her eyes again. She swiped at them with the back of her knuckles. “Did I tell you about the script I came to write?”
Sadie shook her head. “No.”
Drawing in a deep breath, Mia glanced around at the men in the room, as if in challenge. Then she turned to Sadie. “It’s about a woman who returns to her hometown thirteen years after she was brutally raped to find the man who did it to her.”
Sadie tilted her head to the side. A frown dug a line between her brows. “That’s a tough one to write.”
“Even tougher when it’s based on a true story.”
Sadie gasped. “Mia?”
The smaller woman nodded. “On my way home from school, thirteen years ago.”
Bear’s chest tightened. Mia couldn’t have been more than fifteen or sixteen at the time. What kind of animal would have done such a thing?
Sadie’s hand dropped to the swell of her belly. “Who?”
Mia shook her head. “I don’t know. He wore a ski mask. I never knew who did it.”
James, Elle. Montana D-Force (Brotherhood Protectors Book 3) (pp. 17-22). Twisted Page Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Hank is determined to figure out who the rapist was all those years ago and Mia has the revelation of what if she wasn’t the only victim back then or since.
Bear becomes her protection and a bond forms between them as they battle their respective demons.
A heartrending story, with love and support of friends, a new relationship and so many twists you won’t be able to put this books down.
I have rest of the books in this series and now I can’t stop reading it. On to book 4.
5 Contented Purrs for Elle!
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Award-winning author Elle James grew up as an air force military brat. She received her work ethic from her rock-solid father, her creative streak from her artistic mother and inspiration from her writing partner and sister, Delilah Devlin.
As a former member of the army reserves and a current member of the air force reserves, she’s traveled across the United States and to Germany, managed a full-time job, and raised three wonderful children. She and her husband have even tried their hands at ranching exotic birds (ostriches, emus and rheas) in the Texas hill country. Ask her, and she’ll tell you what it’s like to go toe-to-toe with an angry three-hundred-and-fifty-pound bird and live to tell about it!
Her adventures in the army and air force reserves, and the wild antics of her life on a small ranch in Texas give her fodder for mystery, suspense and humor in her writing. Elle writes gothic, paranormal mystery for the Harlequin Intrigue line and paranormal romantic comedy for Dorchester Publishing. A former manager of computer programming and project management professionals, Elle is happy she now has the opportunity to pursue her writing full time.