USA Today Bestselling Author
Her worst nightmare had come true—somehow she had been kidnapped and forced to kill her captor to get away.
Finally home in Arizona, Lisa Garcia was scared all the time. She jumped at every sound and shadow, too scared to even leave her home. How could someone who used to ride the rapids and trek the wilds of Alaska be reduced to this?
Navy SEAL Raiden Sato had forgotten more missions than he could remember. But this last one would stick in his mind forever. Lisa Garcia. How could he ever forget her? Tough, strong, compassionate, beautiful, the woman was a force of nature. But Raiden couldn’t help remembering how she’d been when they’d parted. She’d seemed broken. He needed to know how she was now.
When Raiden took leave to check on Lisa in Arizona, he was shocked at the woman he found. The kick-ass wilderness guide was gone, replaced by a woman still mired in trauma. She was positive that someone was out to get her. Determined to help her, Raiden was positive that he could heal her with time, patience, and perhaps even love.
But what happens when Lisa is right, and somebody really is out to get her?
We met Lisa in ‘Her Faithful Protector’, she was the tour guide who along with Cami did their best to protect the students when they were kidnapped. At the end of that book, we saw Raiden stay with her until Paula, her boss and only friend come to get her.
Now she’s home in Arizona, alone and drowning in depression and nightmares. Paula’s daughter left her with her grandchildren and she couldn’t stay with Lisa.
In this book we see Raiden and his Lieutenant, Max enjoying a family meal with Raiden’s family. One that gets a bit crazy when his nephew Leif is discovered selling test answers. The aftermath of that is a call from Nic, apparently Cami has been trying to reach Lisa and can’t get through. Raiden knew he should have checked on her sooner, but he was sure she was okay with Paula. A call to Paula has Raiden asking for and getting leave to go to Lisa. Five weeks was too long without contact with anyone. What he finds when he gets there is heartbreaking to him. Her home is locked up tight, blinds drawn all windows closed, the AC was running, her vehicle in the garage, just no sign of Lisa.
Raiden comes up with a plan and sets up camp on her patio. This is a favorite scene as he gets her talking a bit.
It wasn’t her house. Her house was clean and it smelled good. Her house had the blinds open and… and… she liked it. She didn’t like it here. It was scary here, even though it was the only place that felt safe.
Her lip trembled at that thought; how could her home be scary and safe?
It’s not your house, it’s your head. Your head is scary.
More tears followed that thought.
She tried to remember a time when she wasn’t scared. When had she felt her absolute best? Tugging the blanket tighter around her, she looked at the painting on her wall. It was of the Hubbard Glacier in Alaska. She’d been there. She’d hiked there. Wild and gorgeous, it had always spoken to her soul. Could she really live a life without seeing it again?
She kept staring at the picture, then thought of her job in Mexico, sure she would find some of her father’s family. She’d been wrecked when she found that all of her father’s relatives were dead and buried. It was like she had nothing. No real past, no future, nothing.
She jerked her head up when she realized she’d closed her eyes again. No sleeping. She couldn’t let herself dream. Dreams were bad. She touched her hair and felt that it was drying, so that was good, and she wasn’t shivering anymore. Bending down, she grabbed the Sprite and crackers so she could have some more.
“You’ve been quiet a long time in there. Do you feel like talking?”
Lisa jerked and Sprite spilled on her blanket. Raiden’s voice was still that smooth and gentle rumble, but this time it was laced with worry. And, he was right outside her sliding glass door. Maybe three feet away from her. She saw a small empty spot on her cluttered coffee table and put the soda bottle on it. She leaned over and pushed back one of the blinds, then yanked her hand back.
She’d seen his arm. He was standing right there! Her heart hammered in her chest. A million miles a minute. A man was right outside her house and she’d told him to leave and he hadn’t gone.
“Go away!” She heard herself. It was a cross between a shriek and a plea.
“Ah, Lisa, please don’t be scared. Paula sent me, remember?”
A picture of Paula flashed through her brain. Red hair, generous smile, eyes that saw into your soul. Paula was safe.
“Paula wouldn’t send you. She’d come herself.”
“She couldn’t, honey. Her daughter dumped off her three grandbabies. She’s got to take care of them. She wanted to be here so bad, but she couldn’t.”
Lisa pictured Paula’s daughter, a strung-out loser who had been going downhill since she turned twenty and popped out her first kid while addicted to meth. No matter how many times Paula got her into rehab, it never stuck. Maybe this time she’d get custody of her grandchildren for good.
“You can’t be here. I don’t want you here. I’m fine by myself.” Lisa began to shiver again, even though it was now warm in her house.
“Honey, you’re not fine.”
Lisa didn’t know how to respond to that. She looked around her house and knew he was right, but nobody could help her, so he needed to go away. Now.
“Please, Raiden, please go away. You’re scaring me.” That was the God’s honest truth.
It was as if she could feel his wounded energy coming through the patio door. “Do you really think I would hurt you? Really?”
Lisa nodded her head into her knees. She thought back to the big man she had met in Miami. Then her mind flashed back further to the man in Mexico. The man who had touched her so gently. The man who had talked to her in a soothing voice and told her it would be all right, that she was safe, and he would take care of her. That she was safe. That’s why she’d never screamed when she heard his voice outside her window, because she recognized Raiden from before, and he had kept his promises.
“No, Raiden, I don’t think you would hurt me. You helped me.”
“Thank God for that.”
“But having you here, having you talk to me. It’s too much. I can’t handle it.”
“Honey, I’ve never been in your shoes. All I can say is, if I could take your pain away, if I could’ve had it happen to me instead of you, I would change places in a fucking heartbeat, but I can’t.”
Lisa gasped in a deep breath of air. It sounded like he meant it. Like he really meant it.
“Lisa, I’ve been around a lot of people, both men, and women, who have gone through some devastating shit in their time. Some have come through to the other side, and some haven’t. Do you want to know what made the difference for every single person who made it through to the other side? They had people they could rely on, and they reached out.”
“But I still don’t understand why you’re here, Raiden. Why you? Why do you care about me?”
“I care because I care. I saw you in Mexico, I know how hard you fought to keep those kids safe. I know you were the one who kept her head and called in when the bus was first captured. Your bravery astounded me. Then I saw you in that hospital in Miami, I saw you hurting. No woman deserves to be hurt like you’ve been. It broke my heart, Lisa. I wanted to be there for you. You touched my heart. I’m here because I think you need me, and I don’t want you to be one of those people who doesn’t make it to the other side.”
She didn’t know how to respond. It was too much. Her eyes drifted back to the picture of the glacier.
“Did you hear me?” Raiden finally asked.
“I heard you. I need to go to sleep now,” she said quietly.
Caitlyn O’Leary. Her Noble Protector: Night Storm, Book Seven (Kindle Locations 488-533).
It’s a slow process but little by little Raiden encourages Lisa to accept his help, food and conversation are the first steps. Although she won’t let him into the house.
He enlists the help of Cami and a friend in intelligence, Harry Chapman to escort her back and forth from the hotel. The fact that someone may have tried to break in that has Raiden on edge. His gut tells him there is a lot more to that.
I have to say I teared up a lot reading this book, Raiden’s kind persistence makes all the difference as does Cami’s understanding and friendship. Of course things are going to go a bit FUBAR.
A gripping story with love, compassion, friendship and a slow simmer to sizzle romance.
5 Contented Purrs for Caitlyn!
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Caitlyn O’Leary is an avid reader, and considers herself a fan first and an author second. She reads a wide variety of genres, but finds herself going back to happily-ever-afters. Getting a chance to write, after years in corporate America is a dream come true. She hopes that her stories provide the kind of entertainment and escape that she has found from some of her favorite authors.
Her Series Include:
It’s a bit Paranormal, a bit Sci-Fi and 100% Action/Adventure. The characters have special abilities, that make them targets.
This is focused on a group of Navy Seals. What makes them special is their bond to one another, and the women they come to love.
This is the series that started her career, it is a Menage Series that takes place in Fate Harbor Washington. It focuses on a tight knit community who live and love and care for one another.
She loves to hear from her readers. email@example.com