NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Former Green Beret Max Thornton’s career ended when he fell two hundred and fifty feet during a training exercise and broke nearly every bone in his body. Left with a permanent limp and in need of a job, he is recruited by Brotherhood Protectors where he can use his combat training and skills to protect, guard and rescue others. He didn’t expect his first assignment to be the resident mechanic. Nor did he expect the mechanic to be a spitfire of a female with a whole lot of anger.
Josephina Angelica Barrera-Ramirez or JoJo, as her friends call her, prefers to be left alone with the work she does on the machinery and vehicles of the Lost Valley Ranch. Suffering from situational amnesia brought on by an attack she sustained during a deployment to Afghanistan, she’s touchy about being touched and doesn’t take any flack from ranch guests or the Brotherhood Protectors operating out of the lodge. When she becomes the target of a shadowy figure in the night, a former Green Beret is assigned as her bodyguard until the attacker can be found and neutralized. Forced to have the Green Beret around, her distrust of men is challenged and the wall around her heart crumbles.
When danger threatens all they come to mean to each other, Max and JoJo must fight their own fears to defeat evil while losing the battle of their hearts to win a future together.
In the prologue of this book we get to see the rescue part of the traumatic event that sends JoJo home to Colorado. She had a choice there but when you don’t know who you can trust to have your back, it really isn’t much of one. She doesn’t remember her attack or her attacker and that’s dangerous in many ways. She helps out on the Ranch with any and all things mechanical and also lends a hand at the Watering Hole.
Max Thornton is the latest member of the Brotherhood Protectors, a former Green Beret he has fought to find a new normal following multiple injuries. This job is the next step in that recovery. Until they have more men and assignments Jake and Max are also helping out on the Ranch and the bar. Max gets a bit of a surprise when he startles JoJo. Although she doesn’t explain her reaction, it makes him aware she has an issue as they go to help Gunny at the bar.
This is a favorite scene, as Max comes to her rescue.
Max scooped up the plates of sandwiches and carried them out to the dining room, almost bumping into JoJo who was heading into the kitchen.
“Oh good,” she said. “I was looking for those.” When she took the sandwiches from his hands, their fingers touched.
A jolt of electricity shot up his arms and spread warmth throughout his chest.
JoJo’s eyes widened, and her pupils flared. If Max hadn’t still been holding onto the plates, she would’ve dropped them. Her hands fell to her sides.
“Are you okay?” Max asked.
She looked down at her hands, and then back up at him. “I—I’m fine.” Then she carefully took the plates from his hands without touching his fingers, turned and hurried away without another word.
“Max,” RJ called out, “can you carry this tray of drinks over to table five?”
“Are you sure you want me to?” he asked.
RJ grinned. “It takes practice.”
He shook his head. “It’ll be your loss if it all ends up on the floor.”
“I’ll take my chances,” she said. “You’ve got this.”
He lifted the heavy tray off the counter and limped across the room to table five, proud of himself when he delivered the drinks without spilling the contents, dropping the tray or making an idiot of himself.
JoJo collected empties off a table with five rowdy men seated around it. Just when she laid the last bottle on the tray and was about to pick it up, a big, booted foot swept out and clipped her ankle. JoJo toppled onto one of the men’s laps.
“Hey, JoJo, didn’t know you cared,” the man with the big foot said. “Come give ol’ Roy some sugar.”
Max stiffened as JoJo’s eyes widened, and her face blanched white. “Let me up,” she said. “Let me up.” She struggled against the meaty hands holding her down.
Roy wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly. “Hey, sweetheart, all I want’s a little sugar.”
Max flew across the room, yanked the man’s hands away from JoJo and pulled her off his lap. He let go of her immediately, and she ran past the bar through the swinging door and into the kitchen. And from the way a door slammed in the kitchen, she was headed out the back exit.
Max pointed to the man seated in the chair. “Out.”
Roy’s eyebrows rose. “What? I didn’t do nothin’. She fell into my lap.”
“The hell she did.” Max glared at the man. “You tripped her and made her fall into your lap. Get out.”
The man pushed to his feet. He must have been at least six-feet-seven. He towered over Max’s six-feet-three inches and weighed at least twice as much as Max.
Max didn’t give a rat’s ass how big the guy was. The man had been an asshole to JoJo. Max pushed his shoulders back and squared off with Roy. He wasn’t backing down.
Roy’s lip curled up on one corner. “You gonna make me leave?”
Max’s eyes narrowed. “If I have to.”
“You and what army?” he sneered.
“I don’t need anybody else. I am the Army.”
“And if he needs any more help, he has the Marines with him,” Gunny said beside him. “Get out, Roy.”
“And I’m the Marines’ back-up.” RJ appeared beside Gunny, carrying a shotgun.
Roy eyed the shotgun. “I’ll bet you don’t even know how to shoot that.”
Gunny’s bark of laughter made all the heads turn in the dining room. “Then you don’t know my daughter. She’s a better shot than I ever dreamed of being. And I was a sniper. A damn good one. You telling me you want to test her skills?”
Roy stood for another second or two, and then shook his head. “I don’t have to take this crap from anybody, and the food wasn’t that great either. I ain’t payin’ for it.” He turned and pushed past Gunny and stalked out the front door of the bar. The men sitting at the table all looked away, their cheeks red.
“Sorry about that, Gunny. Didn’t know he was going to be such a jerk,” one of them said. He threw a couple of twenties on the table. “That should cover his and ours. Don’t worry. We won’t bring him back again.”
“Good, because he’s not welcome here. Thank you for understanding.” Gunny smiled. “Stay for a while. Have a drink on the house.”
The man grinned. “Thanks, Gunny.”
Gunny turned to RJ, meeting her gaze.
RJ nodded. “I’ll go check on her.”
Max wanted to go with RJ to find JoJo. He was worried about her. He suspected whatever had happened to her had to do with men, and that would explain why she’d flipped him in the barn and lost it when Roy grabbed her.
“Think you could handle making sandwiches?” Gunny asked.
Max nodded. “I think I can figure that out.”
James, Elle. Rocky Mountain Rescue (Brotherhood Protectors Colorado Book 2). Kindle Locations (369-404). Twisted Page Inc. Kindle Edition.
Now Gunny has stet up a campaign start with an aspiring politician and he doesn’t give the gang much time to prepare. With a bit of a briefing and quick decisions on activities they’re ready.
After a late night, Max follows JoJo to her apartment to be sure she’s safe, especially after the altercation at the Watering Hole. He notices a car with someone in it that raises his hackles, so he hangs around for a bit until the car leaves.
In the morning JoJo notices someone had tried to get past the deadbolt. At the ranch, no one is happy about that and JoJo decides to stay at the ranch but she needs to get some clothes from her apartment. Max goes with her and it’s a good thing, the smell of gas has them both running, narrowly escaping the brunt of the explosion.
Now Max has his first case, protecting JoJo while they entertain the rather smarmy politician, his aide and campaign people.
There’s lots of suspense and intrigue as Max and the team work through the limited clues.
I’m in catch-up mode with this series, reading the next one now.
5 Contented Purrs for Elle!
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Award-winning author Elle James grew up as an air force military brat. She received her work ethic from her rock-solid father, her creative streak from her artistic mother and inspiration from her writing partner and sister, Delilah Devlin.
As a former member of the army reserves and a current member of the air force reserves, she’s traveled across the United States and to Germany, managed a full-time job, and raised three wonderful children. She and her husband have even tried their hands at ranching exotic birds (ostriches, emus and rheas) in the Texas hill country. Ask her, and she’ll tell you what it’s like to go toe-to-toe with an angry three-hundred-and-fifty-pound bird and live to tell about it!
Her adventures in the army and air force reserves, and the wild antics of her life on a small ranch in Texas give her fodder for mystery, suspense and humor in her writing. Elle writes gothic, paranormal mystery for the Harlequin Intrigue line and paranormal romantic comedy for Dorchester Publishing. A former manager of computer programming and project management professionals, Elle is happy she now has the opportunity to pursue her writing full time.