USA Today Bestselling Author
Sophie Bayles was devastated by grief when her beloved brother, a soldier, had been killed in action when she was a teenager. Guarding her heart, she left Baytown and the boy she had loved…her brother’s best friend.
Callan Ward lucked out when he was assigned to the Coast Guard station in his hometown of Baytown. Back with the Baytown Boys and his family, the desire to leave again was no longer what he wanted. There was only one thing missing…Sophie. The girl who left, finding the memories in Baytown too painful.
Ten years after she left, Sophie is older, wiser, missing home, and jumps at the chance to return to Baytown for a temporary job. Reconnecting with the man she rejected after her brother’s funeral was not on her agenda, but she discovered that in trying to guard her heart, she had only cut herself off from true love.
As she and Callan grow closer, discovering their feelings had not changed, she stumbles into suspicious activity near her work.
Having promised to guard her heart, Callan and his friends work to make sure Sophie is safe before someone decides to quiet her permanently.
Language and scenes are similar to what you would find in an R-rated movie. 18+ readers only.
In this book we delve into the past. We heard about Phillip, he’s the only Baytown Boy that didn’t come home from the war. Right there has me tearing up. Sophie is his sister and Callen his best-friend and their neighbor.
We get to see the relationship between the three of them, but most important the one between Callen and Sophie. She fell in love with him as a child, when a simple act of kindness set their bond.
Phillip’s death impacted everyone, but it totally broke Sophie and she in turn broke the relationship between her and Callen. Her reasoning was only to guard her heart from more pain.
This is a favorite scene, oh the tears.
Their houses were only a few blocks from the town pier, and they walked silently out to the end. Leaning her elbows on the rail, she sucked in a deep breath of salty air and closed her eyes to the setting sun.
“I can’t imagine this place without him,” she said, her words barely heard over the breeze. “Not just my house, but every part of this town has Philip imprinted on it.”
“I know,” Callan agreed, his arms on the railing, touching hers.
They fell into another silence, both seemingly lost in their thoughts. The warmth of his arm began to seep into her, and just as she opened her mouth to tell him how glad she was that he was here, he spoke suddenly.
“I leave tomorrow.”
Her head jerked around, and she asked, “Back to base?” His silence stretched, and renewed fear begin to claw at her heart. “What? What aren’t you telling me?”
“I’m being deployed,” he said, turning to face her, his hands on her shoulders. “I didn’t want to tell you because I didn’t want you to worry. But we’re being called up under the Department of Navy.”
Her mouth opened, but the words halted in her throat.
“There are a lot of oil rigs in the water of the Middle East,” he began. “I can’t tell you much, but we’re needed to help protect that.”
The fear in her heart began pounding, but she could barely feel it over the roar in her ears. “You’re going over there? You’re going to be in danger?”
“It was always a risk, Sophie,” he said, anguish in his voice. “I don’t want to hurt you, but I wanted you to know. I wanted us to—”
She stepped backward, out of his reach, her head moving slowly back and forth as she whispered, “No. I can’t do this… not again. I can’t risk this… not again. I’m sorry… I’ve got to guard my heart.”
Callan followed Sophie, keeping his eyes on her until he was sure she made it home safely. Oh, Sophie… I would have guarded your heart. He walked into his house, hugged both of his parents and went upstairs to his room. His heart was splintered with grief for his best friend and agony for his best friend’s sister, the girl he knew he loved… and now, would never have.
Maryann Jordan. ARC for Guarding Your Heart: Not for sale, sharing, or distribution (Kindle Locations 406-427).
Sophie left Baytown too, for college and then stayed away for work. An opportunity that becomes spoiled by a co-worker and her bosses reactions.
Striking out on her own an opportunity arises that she can’t turn down and also has her returning to Baytown.
Callen has been stationed in Baytown for quite a while and enjoys being close to home, with his friends settling down he finds himself in a dilemma as his enlistment is nearing the end. Re-up or retire.
I did a lot of tearing up in this book, this story tugs the heart-strings with memories and reunions. Of course there’s plenty of intrigue that Sophie manages to stumble onto.
Intrigue, action, romance, tears and simmer to sizzle heat, make this a must read.
5 Contented Purrs for Maryann!
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I have always been an avid reader. My early memories were of my mother taking me to the library and allowing me to check out as many books as I could carry. My favorite books were checked out numerous times and read over and over. I would use my Barbie dolls to play out the scenes in books (such as Nancy Drew!).
I have written as a hobby for many years (probably since childhood). I have written devotionals, autobiographical writings about having a severely handicapped, medically fragile child, about my mother’s Alzheimer’s, and other subjects that interest me.
I joke that I “cut my romance teeth” on the old historical romance books. In 2013, I started a blog to showcase wonderful writers. In 2014, I finally gave in to the characters in my head pleading for their story to be told. Thus, Emma’s Home was created.
I worked as a counselor in a high school and was involved in education for the past 30 years, until retiring in 2015. I have been married to a wonderfully patient man for 35 years and have 2 adult, very supportive daughters. When writing, my dog or one of my cats will usually be found in my lap!