NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Teresa J. Reasor
Ex-Navy SEAL Derrick Armstrong walks out of the Miramar military brig with a dishonorable discharge, a criminal record, and no prospects. The odds are against him being able to build a normal life after prison, but his training as a SEAL keeps him going.
Ella Bailey is struggling financially to raise her seven-year-old son alone. Life has dealt her some hard blows and when Derrick steps between her and another one, she’s both grateful and wary. She views men as obstacles to avoid, but she’s drawn to Derrick, and sees something special in him.
Derrick’s kept his past a secret. When Ella’s ex-boss is found dead and the cops question them both, he realizes, whether he’s done anything or not, he’s living on borrowed time. When they train their sights on Ella instead, he moves to protect her, and in the process exposes his past.
Will she kick him to the curb or will she allow him to build a life with her and her son?
Circumstances in Derek’s career have left him dishonorably discharged from the Navy. A sad and possibly preventable occurrence had steps been taken early enough.
Ella struggles daily to make ends meet, her boss is a jerk and is constantly hitting on her. Then there’s the day he goes too far. Fortunately for Ella, Derek is the one that comes to her aid, and he does it in a way that can change things. Not only for her but also for the others working there. That is if Ella can convince them to do something.
This is a favorite scene.
Half a block down from the club he said, “You can get up off the floor now.”
She pushed free of the dash and settled into the seat. For several blocks she remained silent. “He hit my car with the bat.”
“Yeah. I can knock out the dent while I’m changing the tires and balancing them for you. He gave me cash for the repairs.”
“How did you manage that?”
“He set the whole thing up. I called him on it.” He pulled to a stop at the red light and ran searching eyes over her. “He didn’t hurt you, did he?”
“No.” Though she denied it, she touched her arm as though she had some pain there. “He meant to. If he’d been able to get me down, he’d have done worse.” Her voice shook, and she cleared her throat.
“The hair spray was a good weapon of opportunity. You did good.”
“Thanks.” She clamped her hands between her knees, but her knees bobbed like her feet rested on springs.
The light changed and he stepped on the gas. “How long you been working at the club?”
“About three weeks.”
Shit, this was not his business. “If you want to call the cops, I’ll testify to what I saw and the bribe he gave me to keep my mouth shut.”
“Yeah. He gave me five hundred to pay for the tow, tires, and the alignment. And a thousand to keep my mouth shut about seeing you running out of the bar like it was about to blow up.”
She gaped at him.
He shrugged. “It didn’t take a mental giant to figure things out. He was al over you at the bar while you were working. And you were doing everything you could to avoid being touched. I can even guess how he set it up. He slips out while you’re busy, punctures your tires, then waits for the girls to clear out. If you’d cal ed someone to pick you up, he’d have tried something else another night.”
“One of the girls warned me. And he followed me into the dancers’ dressing room when I went back in to see if anyone was stil there. I was going to ask for a ride home.”
“He probably did the same thing to the woman who warned you.”
She brushed a hand over her cap of short black hair, her throat working as she swallowed. “God.”
“Do you want to go to the police with this?”
“I need to think about it.” She fel silent, her face turned away to the passing street. She hugged herself.
He turned into the garage parking lot, hit the electronic door opener, and turned the wrecker to off-load her car, then exited the cab and moved to tilt the bed and turn on the winch to lower the car to the concrete floor over the rack.
He looked up as the woman swung down out of the cab and walked toward him into the light. Dressed in straight-legged jeans and a black turtleneck, she was slender and long-limbed. The slow, graceful way she walked reminded him of a dancer he once dated several years ago. He’d seen women with dark hair, but none so dark it held a bluish sheen. Her large eyes, surrounded by lashes the same deep tone, had a golden, whiskey tint to them. Beneath a slender nose, the heavy pout of her lips drew his attention, and his rushing heartbeat picked up a notch.
Damn, she was beautiful.
Pale pink traveled along her cheekbones and she looked away without making eye contact.
The very last thing she needed was him staring at her. “If you’ll come into the office, I’l get the paperwork set up to do the repairs.”
Beneath the lights in the smal office he got a good look at her injuries. “Your neck is red. You’re going to have some bruises.”
She touched the tender skin and flinched.
“You have a phone, I can take pictures of it for you.”
She eyed him. “I’ll get my neighbor to do it for me.”
She didn’t trust him enough to turn her back on him. He could understand that.
Once she’d signed the paperwork, he said, “If you have someone to pick you up, I’l get the repairs done and deliver the car to your house in the morning.”
“I’ll wait. I’l need it to take my son to school in the morning.”
“Okay, but if I get called out to another tow, I’ll have to go. That’s what I get paid for around here. I’ll hurry to get the flats switched out as fast as I can, and while I’m working you can take a seat in here and I’ll close the door.” He pointed to the leather bench seat against one wall opposite a long row of filing cabinets. And a desk. “The hydraulic wrench is loud as hell.”
He closed the door behind him, slipped on noise-muffling headphones, and went to work. The whole time he was positioning the car onto the rack, removing the lug nuts and changing out the tires, his thoughts dwelled on her.
How did someone as beautiful as she was end up at a strip club?
And was her suspicious, hard edge a new thing, or one she’d developed over several years? He’d bet it followed the birth of her kid. And why was he thinking about her like this, when he wouldn’t have a chance in a million with her? It wasn’t like he’d even want one. He was carrying too much baggage already, and she’d just be one more complication.
Teresa J. Reasor. Breaking Chains (Kindle Locations 493-535). Kindle Edition.
Nothing is really easy for either of them. As this book progresses Derek is approached to aid in an investigation, and Ella falls into a job she’s not sure she wants.
Ella is a great mother and has been through so much. Derek also wants to gain forgiveness from his former SEAL team something that seems impossible. Their journeys are compelling and their romance even more so.
Once again Teresa Reasor has given us a story filled with action, compassion, sizzling heat and more!
I now have to go back and catch up on this series, I’ve missed a couple.
5 Contented Purrs for Teresa!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Teresa Reasor was born in Southeastern Kentucky, but grew up a Marine Corps brat. The love of reading instilled in her in Kindergarten at Parris Island, South Carolina made books her friends during the many transfers her father’s military career entailed. The transition from reader to writer came easily and she was a closet novelist for many years until 2007 when her first book was published.
After twenty-one years as an Art Teacher and ten years as a part time College Instructor, she’s now retired and living her dream as a full time Writer.
Her body of work includes both full-length novels and shorter pieces in many different genres, Military Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, and Children’s Books.