NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Grieving Navy SEAL widower, John Decker, commemorating the two-year anniversary of the day he lived and his wife died, is dragged back into life by a riptide and a blonde he can’t get out of his thoughts. Plagued with survivor’s guilt, he’s reluctant to enter a new relationship, until he meets a feisty bartender with attitude and curves to go with it.
Roxi Lanier was the typical young teen in the city, happy, full of life and bulletproof, until she became the victim of a violent crime. Her mother moved her to Wellfleet on Cape Cod, away from the scene of her misfortune to start over. Fourteen years later, she’s still afraid to date and be intimate with a man, the scars of her past overriding the happiness she craves. Though she’s an independent owner of a thriving beach bar, she has yet to find success in love. Tides change when she witnesses a suicidal widower diving headfirst into a riptide.
Decker and Roxi struggle to stay afloat through the wreckage of their pasts and the storms of the present to sail into a future together.
Note: This book was previously published as Love On The Rocks, but has since been edited and contains new content.
This book starts off tugging at my heartstrings. Decker is a widower, the accident that took his wife’s life also led to his medical discharge from the Navy. Hank Patterson tries once again to entice him to come to Montana and join the Brotherhood Protectors, but he declines claiming to be content and satisfied living on the beach in Cape Cod.
Roxi owns the Gone Fishin’ Bar and Grill it’s a cozy place loved by locals and tourists alike. Decker frequently has dinner there and finds himself more than a little attracted to her. She frequently sees him on her runs with her dog Otis, sitting on his porch watching the ocean.
This particular night, filled with guilt, finds Decker heading into the ocean for a punishing swim to assuage the pain. Seeing him dive into the waters has Roxi scared he would be caught in the riptides caused by the approaching storm.
This is a favorite scene.
A figure detached itself from the stilts of a beach house ahead and walked across the sand to the edge of the water.
By size and the breadth of his shoulders, Roxi guessed the figure to be a man, and not just any man, but the one who’d been on her mind more and more with each passing day—John Decker.
Her heartbeat skittered against her ribs and she slowed to a stop, her bare toes curling in the wet sand.
Decker’s face remained turned toward the sea and he wore nothing but a pair of shorts or swim trunks. Moonlight glimmered off his naked chest, turning it a silvery blue. As he walked toward the water his pace increased until he ran into the surf lapping against the shore.
What was he doing? The tide report indicated the water wasn’t safe with the coming storm churning the sea.
Decker struck out, swimming hard out to sea. His arms sliced through the water, powering him farther away from shore, closer and closer to the area known for its wicked riptide.
“Decker!” Roxi ran toward the point at which he’d entered the water and waved. “Decker! Come back!”
Either he was ignoring her shouts or he couldn’t hear them with his head in the water, because he continued on his race toward a potentially deadly situation.
“Decker!” Roxi glanced to the right and left. The lifeguard towers were on the other side of the pier, too far to go for a life preserver.
Decker was too far out to hear her voice. If she could get close enough to warn him he might have a chance to turn around before he got sucked out even further by a riptide. Roxi waded into the water, her pulse pounding her stomach knotted. She was a good swimmer, having lived the last fourteen years on the Cape. She knew how to ride the tide into shore, but even she wasn’t naive enough to swim in riptide situations.
Cupping her hands around her mouth, Roxi shouted again.
Decker’s arms slowed and he glided to a stop.
Roxi gathered another breath. The dark head, now only a speck on the ocean, disappeared.
“Decker?” she whispered, her heart lodged in her throat. Then she dove into the water and swam as hard as she’d ever swum toward the spot she’d last seen him. She pushed back all of the warnings Frank and her mother had drilled into her head as she rose on the swell of a small wave and scanned ahead.
There. A hundred yards ahead, she spied Decker’s dark head, drifting south, carried by the current.
Otis barked from the shoreline, the sound carrying out to where Roxi paused to breathe, her lungs burning with the need for oxygen. She drew in a deep breath and yelled, “Decker!” A wave slapped her in the face, and she sucked salt water into her lungs. For a moment she sputtered, coughing and fighting to keep her head above the water as she cleared her lungs. When she could breathe again, she searched for Decker’s dark head on the water’s surface.
The swells had increased, and she couldn’t see him. Treading water, she turned toward the shore where Otis danced along the water’s edge, barking furiously. Once again, she turned toward the open sea, but couldn’t find Decker. The tide was pulling her south, past the pier. If she didn’t start angling toward the shore, she might not make it back. Now the fight to find Decker became a struggle to save herself. If she could get to shore, she would send out a rescue boat to find Decker, which she should have done in the first place.
Forcing herself to remain calm she struck out toward shore, swimming with the current while cutting at a diagonal toward the shore. The tide pulled at her like hands gripping her legs, dragging her toward the open sea. She fought against its clutches, kicking as hard as she could to break away. It seemed that for every inch forward, she lost two, hauling her backward. Her arms ached and the muscles in her legs burned. Roxi slowed and treaded water long enough to rest and catch her breath.
A figure surfaced beside her, startling her, but she was too tired to scream.
When she realized it was Decker, she almost cried in relief. Moonlight glistened off his wet hair, making it appear blue-black. His powerful shoulders rose above the surface as they bobbed with each swell.
“Don’t give up.” Decker grabbed her hand and pulled her against him with one arm, his free one stroking the water to keep them both afloat.
“I’m okay,” she insisted, not feeling okay, but unwilling to let him take on the burden of her, when she shouldn’t have swum after him in the first place. What had she been thinking? “I’m just resting before I swim again.”
“Let me know when you’re ready.” A wave splashed over them before he could continue. “We’ll make it to shore together.”
She nodded, the salty tang of water on her lips, a surge of hope fueling her tired muscles. Roxi kicked hard headed toward the sandy beach.
Decker paced her, silently swimming at her side, occasionally reaching out to pull her along.
Slowly, they edged toward land, and finally, Roxi’s toes encountered sand. She laughed as she staggered to her feet and slogged through knee-deep water toward a frantic Otis.
A strong arm slipped around her waist adding strength to her flagging reserves.
When they reached dry land, Roxi dropped to her knees on the gritty sand and rolled onto her back, completely drained of energy.
Otis licked her face, whining and shaking all over.
“Are you okay?” Decker knelt and leaned over her, peering into her face.
She forced her lips to curve upward. “I will be.”
“Good.” His brows dipped into a V and moonlight reflected off his eyes. “Then why the hell were you swimming alone this late at night?”
James, Elle. Cape Cod SEAL Rescue (Brotherhood Protectors Book 10) (pp. 19-24). Twisted Page Inc. Kindle Edition.
Roxi finds that her attraction could possibly lead to more, but is Decker ready to move on.
I love Otis, he’s such a loyal dog even if he’s scared of thunder and lightening. It’s Otis that causes them to have to ride out the storm in Decker’s cottage on the beach. A scary situation that is overridden by the heat between these two.
I can’t wait to see what Elle comes up with for the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Elle!
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Brotherhood Protectors BDRR Unit Book 1
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.