NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Former Navy SEAL, Sawyer Johnson’s career as a SEAL is over. He’s the survivor of an attack that killed two of his buddies and cost him the use of his left hand. Out of the military and aimless, he receives a job offer and a ticket to fly to Colorado Springs. On the flight, he meets a woman who is moving to Colorado to free her brother from a militant group. Intrigued, he realizes her problem is a perfect challenge for the Brotherhood Protectors, his new place of employment.
Kinsley Brothers is a take charge, Physician Assistant and devoted big sister. When her brother gets caught up in a radical survivalist group, she pulls up stakes and moves to Colorado to rescue her sibling from the dangerous and charismatic leader of the cult. In over her head, she gladly accepts an offer of assistance from the Brotherhood Protectors.
Assigned to aid and protect Kinsley, Sawyer has his job cut out for him with the headstrong woman who is used to doing things her way. To get her brother out, they must infiltrate the cult’s mountain hideout. The ticking timebomb they discover will take the entire team to diffuse.
Sawyer is heading to Colorado Springs to join the Brotherhood Protectors, flights have been all kinds of messed up so he’s running late. He’s thinking the seat next to him will be empty so he stretch out a bit for the flight, until a woman rushes onboard. Fortunately for him she’s generous and offers him the aisle, preferring the window.
Kinsley is moving to Denver to find her brother, she’s afraid he’s gotten himself in trouble and she hasn’t heard from him since he joined a group during the off-season. She also prefers the mountains and is looking forward to living there.
They’re thoughts are in sync as far as finally getting to their destination, they’ve both had delays and just want to arrive. Unfortunately the weather in Colorado Springs takes a turn for the worse and they have to return to Denver.
Kinsley rents an SUV and they travel together through the storm, the pass to Fool’s Gold gets a bit hairy, but otherwise the trip to Long Valley Ranch was uneventful. A nice surprise is they have the room so Kinsley can stay there.
This is a favorite scene when they arrive.
Everyone turned to the barrel-chested man with a gray crew cut and a chiseled face, standing at the top of the stairs.
RJ shook her head. “Don’t be so bristly, Gunny. These two have been through hell, tonight.”
Gunny’s eyes narrowed. “The pass was pretty bad, huh?”
Kinsley nodded, not sure yet how to take the man with the booming voice.
“Kinsley and Sawyer, this is my father, Dan Tate. In case you wondered, he’s a former Marine Gunnery Sergeant. Thus, the loud voice that carries across the mountains and scares small children.”
“Don’t mind my daughter and her sassy mouth. She came by it honestly. Call me Gunny. I don’t answer to anything else.” He lifted his chin. “Well, don’t just stand there, come in.”
Kinsley hesitated. “I really should be headed back to Fool’s Gold. I still have to find a place to stay for the night.”
“You’ve come to the right place,” Gunny said. “We have rooms here at the lodge. You can stay here as long as you like.”
Kinsley blinked. “Are you sure? I don’t have reservations.”
RJ gave her a reassuring smile. “You don’t need them. This is the offseason. Between the time when kids go back to school and ski season begins, we usually have openings. We’d be happy to have you stay. Unless you had prior plans to meet up with someone in Fool’s Gold…” RJ cocked an eyebrow, waiting for her response.
“No. I really didn’t have much of a plan at all.” Kinsley glanced up at the lodge. “If you’re sure…” Relief flooded through her.
As if to move things along, fat raindrops pelted the four standing in front of the house.
RJ and Jake ran for the porch.
Sawyer grabbed Kinsley’s hand and ran with her up the steps, coming to a stop beneath the porch awning.
Gunny held the door for the four entering the lodge.
As Kinsley entered, she drank in the tall ceilings, the sweeping staircase and the massive fireplace in a great room filled with overstuffed leather sofas and chairs. The lighting was low, but enough to make a person feel welcome to sit and visit with anyone who happened to be sitting there.
At once, Kinsley was filled with a sense of warmth and homecoming. “It’s beautiful.”
RJ smiled. “It wasn’t so beautiful when Gunny bought it. Back then, I thought he was out of his mind.”
“Nothing a little elbow grease and determination couldn’t fix,” Gunny said.
The gunnery sergeant’s daughter snorted. “Make that a lot of elbow grease and determination.” She hooked her arm through her father’s elbow. “But it’s ours, and it looks amazing compared to when we first walked in. We worked one room at a time, bringing it back to its original glory.”
“Was it always a lodge?” Kinsley asked.
Gunny nodded. “Yes, ma’am. It was built back in the late 1800s as an escape for the rich people in Denver. They would plan vacations in the mountains and come all the way out here to get away during the summer months. The last owner didn’t use it to its full potential. He let it fall into disrepair. Business died off, and people quit coming. After the old man died, his heirs sold the place, as is.”
“That’s when Gunny made his shrewd investment, and we’ve nearly gone bankrupt several times over the past ten years.” RJ chuckled. “Then Hank Patterson decided it would make a great base location for his venture.”
“So, the Brotherhood Protectors is based out of the ranch?” Sawyer asked.
Jake nodded. “We have the basement and several of the rooms in the lodge for new hires until they find digs of their own. You’ll be staying here until you decide where you want to live. You might like it in Fool’s Gold or Colorado Springs. It’s only a thirty-minute drive to the Springs from here.”
“What exactly will I be doing?” Sawyer asked. “That might have a bearing on where I live.”
“We do whatever needs to be done. You might act as a bodyguard to someone in danger, rescue damsels in distress or extract someone who has been taken against his or her will. We do whatever needs to be done in situations the local law enforcement and government authorities might not have the authority or staffing to get involved in. Sometimes, we assist those agencies when additional, highly trained bodies are needed. We might also perform missions outside the US. Missions, similar to those we performed in Special Forces operations.”
Sawyer’s eyes widened. “Seriously?”
Jake nodded. “That’s why we want the best of the best.”
Sawyer’s brow furrowed. “Then why did you contact me? You need able-bodied men.” His hand once again clasped his limp arm.
Kinsley’s heart tugged at the gesture that was becoming familiar the more she was with the former Navy SEAL.
Jake reached down and lifted his pant leg, displaying a prosthetic leg. “We might not be as fit as we were when we graduated from BUD/S, but we’re mentally fit and find ways to compensate for whatever life has thrown our way.” The former SEAL lifted his chin. “Believe me, I was where you are now—no, I was drinking myself into a bottomless pit of self-pity when Hank sent his guy Kujo out here to Colorado to recruit me into the Brotherhood Protectors. I didn’t think I had what it took to do the job.” He glanced down at RJ. “I proved myself wrong.”
She wrapped her arm around his waist and leaned into him. “Yes, you did.” She turned to Sawyer. “And so will you.”
“If you’re willing to take the challenge,” Jake added. “Do you want the job?”
Kinsley held her breath.
Sawyer stared at Jake, meeting his gaze and holding it. “Yes. I do. At this point in my life, I have nothing left to lose.”
“Except a shitty attitude about yourself.” Jake stuck out his hand. “Welcome to the Brotherhood Protectors.”
She wasn’t sure why, but Kinsley felt proud of this man who’d somehow become important to her over the course of the two-hour drive from Denver.
“I’ll take the job on one condition,” Sawyer interjected, his hand still in Jake’s firm grip.
Jake’s lips quirked upward. “And what’s that?”
“That my first assignment is to help this damsel in distress.” He tipped his head toward Kinsley.
Kinsley gasped. “I’m not a damsel in distress,” she insisted.
“No, but your brother could be in trouble, and you need help finding him.” Sawyer released Jake’s hand.
“Kinsley’s brother might be involved with a survivalist or anarchists’ group somewhere up in these mountains. She needs help finding and extracting him from whatever group he’s gotten tangled up with.”
Jake nodded. “Sounds like something right up our alley.”
Kinsley held up her hands. “I don’t have the kind of money it takes to hire an organization like yours.”
Jake grinned. “That’s the beauty of the Brotherhood Protectors. Hank and his wife fund it. They want to help anyone who needs the help, regardless of whether they can afford to pay or not. Granted, some of their customers can afford to pay a lot. Others, might not be able to.”
RJ raised a hand. “Like me. I was Jake’s first assignment. Hank wouldn’t let me pay him, even if I’d had the money to do so.” She smiled up at Jake. “Jake kept me alive when I thought all was lost.”
“We kept each other alive,” Jake corrected. “The point is, we still have fight left in us. It’s not time for us to be put out to pasture. We’re needed.”
“Thanks,” Sawyer said. “I’ll work hard to prove you right.”
“Work hard to prove yourself right,” Jake said. He turned to Kinsley. “Let’s get some hot cocoa and show you two to your rooms. We’ll get started on your case first thing in the morning.”
Tears filled Kinsley’s eyes. “Thank you. I’ll find a way to repay the Brotherhood. I just need to find my brother. I’m afraid for him.”
“We’ll find him,” Jake said.
James, Elle. Tactical Takeover (Brotherhood Protectors Colorado Book 4). Kindle Locations (365-424). Twisted Page Inc. Kindle Edition.
Things start heating up almost immediately as Kinsley and Sawyer follow the GPS to the last reported location of her brother’s phone.
Plenty of tension and suspense as this story unfolds, I love the way the relationship between Kinsley and Sawyer simmers then sizzles.
I can’t wait for the next book in this series.
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.