USA Today Bestselling Author
Sparrow Oakley has spent her adult life serving the good people of Fool’s Gold, Colorado and trying to forget she’s the daughter of the leader of one of the biggest crime organizations in the state. So, when she has to arrest a fellow officer and her mentor for doing business with the Renegades, Sparrow wonders if her mother is lurking in the shadows and when she’s going to make good a promise she made long ago.
Stone Bishop’s career in the military as a Green Beret had come to an abrupt end. However, Stone is used to adversity and quickly took a job with new branch of the Brotherhood Protectors with his buddies from Team Trojan. Stone figures if he can handle civilian life, he can handle anything. That is until Sparrow Oakley walks into his life. He’s prepared to protect her, but he has no idea how to protect his heart.
At the end of Tactical Takeover: Brotherhood Protector’s Colorado Book 4 we learn a new team is arriving. These are their stories as the settle in with this group. There are five books in this multi-author mini-series. I will be reading them all. Of course I’m not starting with the first one either…sigh.
We meet Sparrow Oakley as she’s meets up with her friend Casey Jones and her boyfriend Hondo at Gunny’s Watering Hole. She’s just picking up her meal as she’s on duty. As a Deputy Sheriff in Fool’s Gold she works as many shifts as she can. Always on the look out for evidence that the Renegades are setting up.
Stone Bishop is another of Team Trojan, he’s good friends with Hondo and would love for Sparrow to go out on a date with him. She just won’t give him the chance. While she has her reasons, the attraction is definitely mutual.
Now Sparrow has a unique connection to the Renegades, her father was once the number two guy and he turned evidence putting the leader in jail. Her mother on the other hand is now in charge and she wants her daughter. There’s rumors that the old Bittner place was sold to Frank Bingo, who may have connections to the Renegades. They aren’t supposed be anywhere near her father or this town, per an agreement made long ago.
Her boss Jesse doesn’t want her investigating anything alone when it comes to them. Not that she’s going to listen. She’s just observing after all. She’s set up close and about to eat when Stone pulls up.
This is just a part of that conversation.
“That’s got to be kind of cool having a bestselling author for a mom.”
“She’s the best,” Stone said.
“Where did she come up with that name for a pen name? And I have to ask, what’s her real name?”
“Elizabeth Bishop. TL Stone incorporates all of her kids.”
Sparrow blinked. She loved TL Stone’s work but feared she’d want to write a story about the Renegade Organization someday and include Sparrow’s father in it— which would not be a good idea.
“I get the stone reference, but I thought maybe that was a nickname.”
“Nope. It’s my mom’s maiden name. Thomas is my brother’s name, and Lisa is my sister.” Stone shrugged. “Considering both my brother and sister work for the FBI, and my dad is the DA in Albany, New York, she figured writing under a pen name might be a good idea.”
“Not to mention, you’re special forces.”
“Nothing special about me anymore,” he said with a bit of bitterness.
“You have an interesting and talented family. I imagine holiday dinners are filled with a lot of I can’t talk about that while your mother tries to read between the lines for her next bestseller.”
Stone smiled. “My sister just finished a huge case, and some of the victims are going to work with my mom to write their stories. All with the feds’ permission, though there will be a lot of legal stuff to deal with. It’s pretty cool, and my sister and mom are excited to be working together.” Stone ran a hand through his dark hair. “It’s weird being the only one in the family without a law degree.”
“I can imagine. My father used to tell me that when I first became a deputy, he slept with one eye open.” She relaxed her stance and leaned against the hood of her car.
“He was worried that I would arrest him.”
“That’s funny,” Stone said.
It might make for a silly anecdote during light conversation, but it had been a legit concern, especially since her dad had to keep his fingers in the thick of things for a period of time as the cops gathered all the evidence they needed and made sure her father could keep his get-out-of-jail-free card.
Every once in a while, his old crew showed up, asking for favors. He never did them, but he walked a fine line between staying alive and keeping himself out of jail, and that was a difficult feat when everyone knew that he was the one who’d turned on Titus.
But for whatever reason, Titus had put a no-touch order on Alfred Oakley. Not that Sparrow trusted anything Titus said or did— even from behind bars. And she still wished her father had taken the witness-protection deal. She didn’t care if that meant she’d never see him again; she would at least know he was safe, and she wouldn’t constantly be looking over her shoulder.
She tilted her head, putting her hand over her eyes. It was time to be blunt, especially if Stone had come all the way out here to discuss her dad and Titus. She could handle the occasional joke and local small talk because it wasn’t like everyone didn’t know what’d happened, but no fucking way would it make its way into an TL Stone bestseller.
“Not to be rude, but I never want my father’s story to be fodder for your mother‘s books. So, if that’s why you stopped, or if you’re looking to set up a meeting or something, please tell your mom to forget it. My father’s life is still in jeopardy. He has no federal protection and—”
“I understand that, and while I’m sure the Renegade Organization is on my mother’s interest list, she doesn’t include people who either don’t want to be involved in a book or who would be harmed by the publication. She also has my father’s career to consider, as well as her kids.” He reached out and squeezed Sparrow’s biceps. “Besides, your father made it perfectly clear that he wasn’t interested when he threatened my life if it ever happened. So, it’s certainly not why I stopped when I saw your vehicle.”
Her gaze immediately went to the fingers curled around her upper arm.
“Sorry, officer.” He let go and raised his hands.
“Why did you stop? Because last I heard, you’d found a place to rent just outside of town, which isn’t anywhere near here, so you’re not on your way there.” She trusted Hondo with her life, and Stone had been on Hondo’s special forces team.
Which meant that Hondo trusted Stone with his life.
That should have a ripple-down effect. S
he knew what had happened to Team Trojan. They had gotten a raw deal. She also knew how bitter all the men had been about their sudden exit from the military. Their lives had been turned upside down, all because they had moral compasses that put them in direct conflict with their new commanding officer, forcing them out of the only job they’d known.
For some, it had been their identity.
Something she could relate to.
However, that twist of fate could alter a person in ways no one could see coming. Just because Stone had gone into the army as the kind of man Sparrow wanted as a partner if she ever went into battle, didn’t mean he’d come out that kind of person.
“No. It’s not,” he admitted. “I’m headed into Colorado Springs to do some furniture shopping for my new digs, which I haven’t moved into yet because I need a bedroom set, a couch… shit like that.”
“Sounds like fun.”
“I’m hoping to be one and done. I hate shopping.”
“You should go to Rooms Staged. They have groupings. Just pick what you like, make sure it’s in stock, sign on the dotted line, and they will bring it to your doorstep in a week. Easy-peasy.”
“I like easy-peasy,” he said, lifting his finger.
“But that’s also not why I stopped.”
“Dare I ask?”
“I’ve never been to a ghost town, and I thought maybe you’d go with me.”
She cocked her head. “Are you asking me on a date?” It wasn’t often that anyone asked her out. Having grown up in Fool’s Gold, her prospects for male companionship were few. She generally had to go outside of town to find a date, but there was always her connection to the Renegade Organization that left some men either scared or full-on running away.
Or wondering if she was a dirty cop.
“If that’s what it sounds like, then yes, I am.”
“I’m shocked you haven’t been to Stephensville. It’s the first place everyone goes. Well, outside of Gunny’s Watering Hole or the Lucky Strike Casino.”
Once again, Stone smiled. That killer grin would be her demise. “I love Gunny’s.” He pointed to the passenger seat. “I know you do, too.”
“Speaking of, my lunch is getting cold.”
“Sorry about that,” he said. “As far as the casino goes, well, you know I play a little with your dad, but not that much. Not really my thing. But ghosts? They kind of fascinate me. And scare me at the same time.”
She laughed. Little did he know that ghost towns weren’t what he thought. “Aw. Are you looking for someone to hold your hand while you visit the ghost town?”
“Something like that.”
“Sure. Why the hell not? Do you have plans tomorrow evening?” She’d lost her fucking marbles.
“I do not.” He reached out and squeezed her shoulder. “I’ll pick you up around five. We can have dinner at Gunny’s before we head over.”
“I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but it sounds like you’ve got yourself a date.”
“See you tomorrow.” He turned and waved, glancing over his shoulder. “By the way, someone is coming out of the barn.”
Jen Talty. Defending Sparrow: Brotherhood Protectors World (Kindle Locations 225-288). Twisted Page Press, LLC.
From this point on things get a bit crazy, from Jesse getting into a whole lotta trouble, to Sparrow’s mother showing up.
I couldn’t put this book down, I had to get all the answers.
5 Contented Purrs for Jen
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Welcome to my World! I’m a USA Today Bestseller of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance.
I first started writing while carting my kids to one hockey rink after the other, averaging 170 games per year between 3 kids in 2 countries and 5 states. My first book, IN TWO WEEKS was originally published in 2007. In 2010 I helped form a publishing company (Cool Gus Publishing) with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer where I ran the technical side of the business through 2016.
I’m currently enjoying the next phase of my life…the empty NESTER! My husband and I spend our winters in Jupiter, Florida and our summers in Rochester, NY. We have three amazing children who have all gone off to carve out their places in the world, while I continue to craft stories that I hope will make you readers feel good and put a smile on your face.