NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Former Army Ranger, Cage Weaver, left the military to fulfill a promise to a dying buddy. Invited to join the Brotherhood Protectors, he’s grateful to have a job where he can he use the skills normally associated with battle.
Emily Strayhorn, a therapist working with military PTSD patients, is being stalked. When she seeks help from the Brotherhood Protectors, Cage is assigned to be her bodyguard until they can determine who is threatening her.
As danger escalates Cage takes his duties 24/7. Together they overcome barriers to their hearts and find the enemy threatening their lives and love.
This book opens as Cage Weaver reaches the summit of Pike’s Peak, a marathon run he was going to do with his best friend Ryan Meyers. On this day he was running it alone with Ryan’s ashes in his backpack. He was going to release them there but there were too many people around to do so. He would complete the marathon with his buddy today and at a later date would say that final goodbye. He would begin his new job with the Brotherhood Protectors tomorrow a new start using the skills the Army honed in him.
Emily Strayhorn is a therapist at the VA, her patients mostly have PTSD and she has both group and private sessions. We learn how her relationship with Gunny and RJ came to be as she’s preparing to leave for the day. Her plan is to have dinner with them, she gets a surprise at her car though. Inside her locked car is a red rose, while that is creepy in itself, it gets worse later with a phone call with just a phrase.
Cage is moving in at the lodge and is helping get dinner on the table when he meets Emily. Unfortunately he scares her since he was chasing a roll under the table when she entered the room. She does relax when she realizes he’s the new guy though. I really love the dinner scenes, everyone is family and it really shows.
A favorite scene is part of that dinner conversation.
“You really do need to hire more help.”
“And I will when I find the right person. So, tell us what’s going on in your world?”
She glanced down. “Not much.”
Cage could feel the tension in her.
Apparently, Gunny could detect it too. “I know that look,” he said.
She glanced up. “What look?”
“That look that says you don’t want to bother me with your problems. Cough it up, Emily. What good is a friend if they can’t help you when you need it?”
She shook her head. “You have so much on your plate now. You don’t need my problems.”
Gunny reached across the table and took her hand. “Emily, we’re not just friends, we’re family. What’s bothering you?”
She chewed on her lip before answering. “I might have a stalker.”
“No kidding?” RJ asked.
“How long has it been going on?” Gunny asked.
“Actually, I think just today.”
“Then what makes you think it’s a stalker?”
“Well, it started with a rose on the seat of my car.”
RJ grinned. “You have a secret admirer.”
Emily shook her head frowning. “A secret admirer doesn’t break into your car to put a rose on your seat.”
RJ’s smile wiped clean. “Somebody broke into your car?”
“That’s all I can figure,” Emily said. “I lock it every morning. There’s no way I left it unlocked, but when I came out this afternoon there was a rose on my seat. And there was no sign that anybody had broken a window window or forced entry. How does someone get into a car that’s locked?”
“The sheriff’s department and the police force in Colorado Springs have tools that can get you into a locked car. Lots of people lock their keys inside. Somebody could have one of those tools and get into your car that way.”
Emily shivered. “That’s pretty creepy that somebody would go so far as to break into my car to leave a rose on the seat.”
RJ nodded. “Yeeeah, that’s kinda creepy, but it could just be somebody who likes you and wants to show you that he cares.”
“I was going to give him the benefit of the doubt, until I got home, and my cellphone rang with an unknown caller ID.”
“I never answer those, it’s usually telemarketers,” RJ said.
Emily nodded. “That’s what I thought, but this one left a message.” She pulled out her cellphone and played the message on the speaker. The computer-generated voice repeated what she’d listened to earlier.
“Roses are red.”
RJ grimaced. “Again, it could just be a secret admirer.”
“Maybe so,” Emily said, “but it kind of creeps me out.”
Gunny nodded. “That settles it, you’re not going back to your apartment tonight.”
Emily frowned. “But that’s where I live.”
Gunny shook his head. “And you always have a home here. You’re staying the night.”
“But I didn’t bring anything with me.”
RJ shook her head. “No excuses. You and I are the same height, and though you’re a little thinner than I am, we can wear the same clothes. You don’t have an animal to take care of back at your apartment, so you’re staying.”
“I’ll think about it,” Emily said.
“There’s nothing to think about,” Gunny said. “If you don’t stay for any other reason, stay because it will give us peace of mind. If you go home tonight, we’ll just worry about you.”
Emily’s brow twisted. “I don’t want you worrying about me. You’ve got enough on your plate.”
“Then don’t make us worry,” RJ said. “You’re staying.”
Emily sighed. “Okay, I’ll stay. But just tonight.”
“Yeah, we’ll talk about that in the morning,” Gunny said. “It’s a weekend, so you don’t have to go home except to get some clothes so you can come back and stay here. One of us will go with you though. You’re not going alone. I never did like the idea of you living downtown all by yourself.”
“I have a nice apartment, it’s got a beautiful view and it’s close to all of the restaurants.”
“Yeah, yeah,” RJ said. “And it’s too far away from us.”
“But it’s close to my work at the VA hospital.”
“True, and I understand why you want to live there. It is a bit of a drive to go through the pass every day to get to work, but you might be safer out here where you’re surrounded by family and friends.”
Emily smiled. “I do miss you all.”
“Yes, and you’re missing all the fun,” RJ said. “What with the Brotherhood Protectors moving into the basement, things are about to get seriously busy around here.” RJ tipped her head toward Cage. “And they just hired their third team member. You’ve met Cage, haven’t you?”
Cage nodded. “Yes, we have. We ran into each other in the kitchen.”
RJ laughed. “I hope you don’t mean that literally.”
Cage gave a twisted grin. “Actually, I do.”
Emily laughed. “I found him crawling around on the floor after a dinner roll that escaped.”
Cage raised a hand. “Guilty. I don’t mind helping, but I’m a disaster in the kitchen.”
“One lost dinner roll doesn’t make you a disaster,” Emily pointed out.
He nodded. “But at least now I know why you were so spooked.”
She shrugged. “I didn’t plan on mentioning it, but Gunny and RJ never let me get by without spilling my guts. They’re the therapist’s therapist.”
Cage tilted his head. “So, is that what you do at the VA hospital? You’re a therapist?”
She nodded. “I am. I work with veterans, trying to get them back on track so that they can live full, rewarding lives.”
“Do you think that one of your patients might be your stalker?” JoJo asked.
“I haven’t really had time to think about it, but yes, it could be that one of my patients left the rose and the message, but I have so many it would be hard to narrow it down. I’m just not going to worry about it unless it happens again.”
“I still think you need someone to go with you back to town to get your clothes,” Gunny said.
“I’ll be fine on my own, but yes, I’ll stay the night tonight, and tomorrow I’ll go back to my place.”
“I’ll go with you,” Cage said. “If they don’t need me here.”
“That’s a great idea,” Gunny said. “We’d all feel better if Emily had somebody go with her.”
Emily raised her eyebrows. “Yeah, but if I decide to stay, how are you going to get back?”
“I’ll drive my own vehicle and follow you.”
Emily nodded. “Okay, but only this once. I’m supposed to be an independent woman. I shouldn’t have to have my hand held going home every night.”
“Yeah, and you shouldn’t be getting roses and strange messages from stalkers,” RJ said.“Just accept a little help graciously.”
Emily laughed. “Okay.” She turned to Cage. “And thank you.”
Jake chuckled. “Looks like you might have your very first assignment as a Brotherhood Protector.”
“He’s just gonna follow me into town. He’s not being assigned to me,” Emily said.
Jake raised a hand. “Wait, I think I’m going to hear an echo.”
Emily continued. “I don’t need a protector. I can take care of myself.”
“There it is,” Jake said. “Isn’t that what RJ and JoJo said when we assigned protectors to them?”
RJ met JoJo’s gaze and nodded. “Yeah, and you were right. We needed the protection. Although we thought we could take care of ourselves. Neither one of us would be alive today if it hadn’t been for Jake and Max. So, even if you think it’s nothing, let Cage help you.”
“Better that it be nothing and have help,” JoJo said, “than it to be something and not have it.”
“Okay,” Emily said, “I’m convinced. Cage can be my protector tomorrow.”
And just like that, Cage got his first assignment.
James, Elle. Ranger Redemption (Brotherhood Protectors Colorado Book 3). Kindle Locations (348-409). Twisted Page Inc. Kindle Edition.
The next morning things have already escalated with graffiti painted on the outside of the Watering Hole. Emily is more than a little upset, and doesn’t want to bring trouble to Gunny and RJ. The thing is she’s safest on the ranch. That’s not all though and they do involve the police.
Cage is going to stick with her 24/7 even with her patients, one of whom just might be the stalker. Where they stay on the ranch is very interesting, intimate and not very accessible.
There’s lots of hold your breath action in this one, and I love the way the relationship between Emily and Cage grows from simmer to sizzle.
I’ve already started the next book, I am loving this new branch of Brotherhood Protectors.
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.