Military duty called them away to war zones, but after tours overseas, the group of friends found their way back home as men, seeking the peaceful little seaside town. Now, the band of brothers, together once more, work to provide a place for less fortunate veterans to call home.
USA Today Bestselling Author
As one of the few female law enforcers on the Eastern Shore, Hannah Freeman has to be smart, tough, competent, and dedicated.
That’s the easy part.
Hiding her feeling for Dylan Hunt, a neighboring Police Chief has been challenging, but she has no time for unrequited love.
When a hostage situation at the jail threatens Hannah, Dylan lets his true feelings known, but will it be too late?
This book opens with a look back to four years prior, when just about every one was new to the area. New Police Chiefs for Baytown, Easton and Seaside are settling in. Hannah Freeman is the new Police Chief of Easton and we get a look at her first LEL (Law Enforcement Leadership) meeting this one held in Baytown. First are some introductions, Mitch Evans, Baytown’s Chief; Colt Hudson, Sheriff of North Heron County; Liam Sullivan, Sheriff of Acawmacke County; Wyatt Newman, Chief of Manteague. They were just waiting on Dylan Hunt the Chief of Seaside to join them, apparently he’s running a bit late. Dylan is a relatively new hire as well but has been on the job for six months. Dylan literally runs into her as he enters the meeting and is truly surprised by the beauty in front of him.
This is a favorite scene.
The scraping of a chair jolted him out of his trance, and she jerked her hand back, a blush rising over her delicate cheeks. Offering a quick nod, she turned and moved to the table. He had just enough time to pull out the chair and settle into the seat beside her.
“I know introductions have been made, but with some new folks here, Dylan, why don’t you tell us about yourself?” Colt suggested.
“Not much to tell. Born and raised just outside of Seaside. I was a few years behind Mitch and also went to Baytown High School. My gramps was a fisherman, so was my dad. My older brother joined the family business, but I’m afraid I was the black sheep of the family.”
Not shy, he never minded talking about himself, but as Hannah’s eyes stayed riveted on him, he was suddenly self-conscious. With a self-deprecating chuckle erupting, he continued, “I joined the Navy right out of high school, knowing that I loved the sea but didn’t want to be a fisherman. While in, I earned an Associates in Criminal Justice and worked with the police. When I got out, I came back to Seaside hoping to work for the Sheriff’s department, but the Police Chief position became available and no one else put in for the job.” He shook his head. “I threw my application out to the town council and was shocked as shit when they accepted me.”
“But black sheep?” she asked, her head tilted to the side as she held his gaze.
The pose was adorable, and her voice was soft. He blinked, attempting to focus on his story again. “Oh, yeah. Well, my gramps has been pissed at me since I joined the Navy. He thinks I betrayed the family business. ‘Fraid that hasn’t changed since I came back to be in law enforcement.” He shrugged, adding, “He says I’m being uppity.” Almost afraid to look to the side, he accepted the acknowledging laughter from the others.
Hannah’s soft voice cut through the noise. “Don’t worry about what anyone else says… stay true to you.”
His gaze swung to the side, seeing the smile on her face directed toward him. He blinked again, and the idea of spending time alone with her just to hear her soothing voice slammed into him.
“Mitch? What about you?” Liam said, interrupting Dylan’s musing.
“I’m not sure there’s much of a surprise about me. I was born and raised here in Baytown. My grandfather used to be the Police Chief and my father was an officer. When my grandfather retired, my father took over as Police Chief. During that time, I did a stint in the Army with Military Police and then worked as an investigator for the FBI. My dad had a heart attack several months ago, and the Mayor contacted me to see if I wanted to take over the position. Honestly? I was tired of the bureaucracy and ready for a change. I almost considered working for a security company, Saints Protection, having befriended the owner.” Shrugging, he said, “But the call of the Bay was hard to ignore.”
The others looked toward Hannah, and she smiled. “I suppose my story is much like Mitch’s. Army MP after I earned a degree in criminal justice. My father worked for the FBI and my brother is a detective for the Hope City Police Department. Everyone in my family assumed that I would go for a position with the FBI, and one was offered to me. It’s just not what I wanted.”
“You turned down the FBI to work at Easton?” Dylan asked, surprise running through him.
She laughed, and the sound was so pure it was hard for him to focus on her explanation.
“I’m not sure my family has forgiven me. That makes me the black sheep of my family. But yes, the Bureau was not what I wanted. I was thrilled with the idea of working in a place where I could get to know everyone. To truly feel like I’m making a difference.”
He knew she’d just put them in the same category with disappointing their families, but her pedigree was law enforcement elite, and he was just… good ol’ boy Dylan. He was happy with who he was and what he was doing but couldn’t imagine turning down a job with the FBI.
After the rest of the introductions, the meeting began. Focusing his attention on the agenda, Dylan loved the shared information and the camaraderie built during the hour. He had experienced that type of professional relationship when serving in the military but wasn’t sure if he would find it in his new job.
Even though he took his responsibilities seriously, the delicate scent of Hannah’s shampoo wafted by, continually pulling his thoughts away from the subjects at hand.
When they finally broke for lunch, Mitch suggested Finn’s Pub, a short walk down Main Street. The sidewalk forced them to naturally walk in pairs. Mitch and Colt took the lead, falling into a discussion about the possibility of bringing an American Legion chapter to the area. Wyatt and Liam walked behind them, discussing some of the concerns in their county. Dylan made certain to align himself with Hannah, pleased that they were walking together. “So, how are you settling in?”
“Very well, I think. I’m staying at an inn that gave me a good rate. I really don’t want to move until I find a place to buy, but so far, I haven’t even had time to look.” Smiling up at him, she asked, “And you? But then, you said you were from this area.”
“Yeah, I know this county very well. Of course, being the police chief makes it all so different.”
“I’m sure you’ll do fine.” She slowed her steps as they approached the pub, allowing a group to come out of the old brick building.
He wished he could reach down and touch her hand again just to see if the electricity that had passed between them earlier was real or imagined. He had been with more than his fair share of women, but that reaction had never occurred.
Once inside the pub, he maneuvered to slide in next to her as they were shown to a large booth. Not wanting to crowd her, their hands nonetheless met when they both reached for the menus lying in the middle of the table. And sure enough, he felt the jolt once again. A quick look to the side at her wide-eyed expression let him know that she felt it, too.
He settled back against the wooden booth, a grin on his face. Good food, new friends, and a professional camaraderie that would benefit them all. On top of that, the chance to get to know the beautiful Hannah.
When the meal was over, he said his goodbyes to the men first before turning to her. “Let me give you my personal phone number. Our towns are close together, but in case you need anything, you can get hold of me quickly.”
She held his gaze for just a moment, then her lips curved upward slightly. “Sounds good. I’ll share mine, too.”
That evening, his fingers hovered over the keypad on his phone, desperate to call her. But he decided to wait, just for a few days, to see if the desire waned. It didn’t. And lucky for him, when he did call to ask her out, she accepted.
Maryann Jordan. Shielding You – ARC copy: Baytown Boys (Kindle Locations 148-201).
A dinner date becomes awkward when Dylan is confronted by one of his one night stands. Hannah makes the decision to back away from any relationship other than friendship with Dylan.
Back to the present, we see Colt and Carrie get married. If you have read this series so far all the names will be familiar and this is where Dylan lets Hannah know the reason he doesn’t have a date is because she’s the one he wants to be with. However it doesn’t go further than that, at least not yet.
We get to see many different sides of small town law enforcement, from the minor to the more serious. It’s when they compete in a ball game for the American Legion that Dylan makes a move. Now they don’t rush into anything and there’s quite a bit that happens that is very humorous and touching at the same time.
With the evidence of some drug traffic coming through the area, vigilance is amped up in Baytown and Seaside. They want to figure out where they are coming in. Hannah and Dylan actually purchase some cameras to put up to cover more of the harbor area than the two Dylan already had permission to use. I loved the teasing between them as they installed them in the middle of the night.
Things definitely heat up between these two and so does the drug trafficking. There is plenty of laughter, some tears, the gradual tension of waiting for a break, and the unusual relationship of two police chiefs.
I couldn’t put this book down, and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
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!