NY Times, USA Today & Wall Street Journal
As an event planner, Gillian Romano’s an expert at rolling with the punches and solving unexpected problems. But her flight getting hijacked while returning from a job is definitely out of her skill set. Passengers are being murdered, and when she’s chosen by the terrorists to be their mouthpiece, even more innocent lives rest on Gillian’s shoulders. Only the calm, reassuring voice on the other end of the line keeps her sane, forging a bond with a stranger she’s never seen but trusts with her life.
Walker “Trigger” Nelson and his Delta Force team have spent years training for close-quarter hostage rescue. When they get called to South America to attempt to save an airplane full of hostages, he doesn’t expect to meet a woman who rocks his world in the middle of the op. Gillian’s cool head and bravery in the face of certain terror—and possible death—blows him away. Any outcome that doesn’t include Gillian leaving that plane alive and well is not an option.
After their safe return to Texas, both Trigger and Gillian are excited to find out if their instant chemistry can survive the real world. Neither realizing that someone isn’t happy with the outcome of the hijacking, and is watching, waiting, for a second chance to strike.
As Ghost and his team start stepping back, it’s time for another team to take the limelight, this book introduces us to the men of Delta Team 2.
We jump right in with a hijacked plane and a passenger told to be their spokesperson or die.
Gillian is really wishing she hadn’t taken that extra day to relax after the event she planned was over. Now she’s on a hijacked plane and scared out of her mind, but knows she has to get through to the authorities the seriousness of the demands.
She’s relieved when the original person is replaced with someone else, and American, military. She just has to hold on and give these men what they need to succeed at this rescue.
Trigger Walker and his team get valuable information from Gillian, but things go sideways but they succeed.
This is a favorite scene.
“I don’t know, and right now I don’t care. All I care about is that they’re dead and you’re not,” Walker said.
“I think they were going to take me with them,” she whispered. “Thank you for making sure that didn’t happen.”
“No way in hell was I going to let them do that,” Walker told her. Then he slowly pulled her into him once again.
Gillian rested her cheek on his chest. He was taller than she was, but they still fit together perfectly. She knew she needed a shower, and she had Alberto’s blood in her hair and on her clothes, but she couldn’t bring herself to care. All she could focus on was the man holding her.
She’d never felt for anyone the way she felt about Walker at this moment.
She was well aware it was because she’d almost died. She was shaking with the adrenaline still coursing through her veins. But some distant, stubborn part of her whispered that this was real. That Walker felt something for her, and not just because he was doing his job.
“We need to get gone,” one of his friends said gently from next to them. For a second, Gillian gripped Walker tighter, then she took a deep breath and picked her head up off his chest. He didn’t immediately loosen his hold. They stared at each other for a long moment before he reluctantly—at least, she thought it was reluctantly—dropped his arms.
Gillian swayed, and Walker immediately reached out and steadied her with a hand on her biceps. She flinched, and he frowned.
“What’s wrong? Are you hurt after all? Let me see.”
“I’m okay,” Gillian reassured him. “That’s just the same place those assholes assholes liked to grab me and haul me around. It’s just bruises. They’ll heal.”
She thought he mumbled something about how he should’ve killed them slowly, but then he brought his hand up to her face. His thumb rubbed her cheek, and she watched him taking her in slowly. His gaze flicked from the top of her head to her eyes, then her cheeks, and finally her mouth.
She couldn’t help but wipe her tongue over her suddenly dry lips, and she loved that his pupils seemed to dilate at seeing the movement.
“What happens now?” she asked quietly.
“The US government has chartered a flight to get you and the other Americans back home as quickly as possible. Venezuela is not a country you want to spend any more time in than necessary right now. Much of the government is corrupt and it’s dangerous as hell.”
“Yeah, I think I found that out the hard way,” Gillian quipped.
His lips quirked up into a smile, but he quickly got serious again. “I’m sure you’ll be interviewed about what happened. You should see a doctor to make sure you’re all right physically, as well.”
“I will,” she told him. “What should I say about you and your friends?”
“What do you mean?” he asked with a frown.
“I just…I guess I assumed you’d want your role in what happened here to be downplayed.”
“Why would you think that?” Walker asked.
Feeling awkward, like maybe she’d misread the entire situation, Gillian said, “You said you were stationed in Texas, which means you’re in the military. And since it’s just you guys, and not a whole platoon of men, I’m also guessing you’re special forces of some kind? And because of the relationship between the US and Venezuela, I’m further assuming what you did today should be downplayed.”
When no one said anything, Gillian looked down at her feet. “Or I’m just a girl who reads too much. Never mind, forget I said anything.”
She felt a finger under her chin and looked up into Walker’s eyes. “I knew you were a smart cookie. I’m sure the people who interview you will know who we are and what our role was, so you can be honest with them. But once you’re home…yeah, it would be good if you didn’t talk about us with the media or anyone else.”
“What about my best friends? Ann, Wendy, Clarissa, and I tell each other everything. We’re more like sisters than friends. I can keep most of the details secret, but they’ll know I’m lying if I don’t tell them something.”
“Use your best judgement,” Walker said.
“I like her,” one of his friends said from behind them.
“Me too,” someone else chimed in.
She saw Walker shake his head in bemusement at his friends, but he didn’t take his eyes from hers. He leaned forward and said softly, “You’re amazing, Gillian Romano. I’m in awe of your strength.”
Then he straightened and took a step away from her.
Gillian shivered, even though it wasn’t close to being cold.
She heard yelling, and turned her head to see at least a dozen men headed toward them wearing camouflage uniforms. She looked back at Walker and saw a mask had fallen across his features. He was back in business mode.
“Will I see you again?” she blurted. When he didn’t immediately respond, she awkwardly said, “I mean, I live in Austin, and I’m assuming you’re stationed at Fort Hood because, you know…it’s Army, and really big.”
She couldn’t interpret the look on his face, but she was relieved to see his expression change. Get softer.
“Go with the Venezuelan officials,” he urged. “Be safe, Di. You never know who might just show up on your doorstep someday.”
Stoker, Susan. Shielding Gillian (Delta Team Two Book 1) . Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Locations (862-902). Kindle Edition.
Now back home, Trigger is confronted first by Lucky but Grover, Doc, Brain, Oz and Lefty also put their two cents in about his attitude. He’s constantly thinking about Gillian and it shows.
It’s Brain who gives him the perfect excuse to go see her, but he almost totally screws that up too.
Now you know Susan isn’t going to let Gillian off that easy and everything starts ramping up from here, and I do mean everything.
Plenty of suspense, lots of romance and some sizzle and this one kept me guessing until the end.
I can’t wait for the next book in this new series!
5 Contented Purrs for Susan!
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Susan Stoker is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her series include Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, Delta Force Heroes, and Mountain Mercenaries. Married to a retired Army non-commissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri and California to Colorado and Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website, or find her on Facebook. Links below.