USA Today Bestselling Author
Kindergarten teacher Ellen Young has a stalker with a love obsession who has followed her since college. When he attacks her in the school parking lot, she struggles to get away. He is winning when a man sees them and yells, the distraction just enough for her to break free. Now she is at the Three C’s Ranch in Eagle Rock Montana learning self-defense.
Travis “Ballistic” Bannerman, SEAL vet, widower, and father of a five-year-old son, leaves the teams to come home to take care of his son when Hank Patterson offers him a job with the Brotherhood Protectors. He’s more than happy to teach Ellen to get over her fear of guns and would like to date her. But there’s a no fraternizing rule and he’s focused on taking care of his son.
When Ellen graduates from the program and takes a job teaching Kindergarten in Eagle Rock, his son is one of her students. She’d love to date the handsome SEAL, but that would be conflict of interest and she doesn’t want to lose her job.
He makes her want to break all the rules to be with him. They’re dating when her stalker finds her and succeeds in kidnapping her. He doesn’t realize he’s become the enemy of a Navy SEAL determined to hunt him down, retrieve his woman, and exact vengeance.
Ellen Young has come to the Triple C Ranch to learn self-defense. She would also get a new identity and life to keep her hidden from her stalker who got away. She really didn’t want to start over but hopefully things will work out.
Travis “Ballistic” Bannerman has joined the Brotherhood Protectors after leaving the SEALs. His ex-wife died and his son, Scotty, needs his attention now more than ever. He’s only doing day assignments so he can spend quality time with Scotty. One of these assignments is the gun training at the Triple C Ranch.
When Ellen sees Travis at that first session, she’s immediately attracted to him. Of course, she knows the rules don’t allow for any fraternizing, but she could look. Travis notices her as well and the fact she really is afraid of the guns. He wants to help her get over that, so he arranges a private lesson.
This is just one of many favorite scenes.
She watched him take the bullets out. He laid them on a plastic tray on the table. The range had a white plastic bucket on the ground for “used rounds” as Hank had explained. She supposed that made less work for George, the maintenance man.
And people should pick up after themselves. Even in kindergarten she tried to teach the children to put their things away.
Some children would just drop things when they were done playing with them, or anything they were done using. She would tell them, “We don’t have any school elves or house elves from your home to clean up after us, so we must each put our own things away.”
Travis was taking the gun apart now, naming each part and explaining what it did and how they worked together to fire the gun. Then he stopped. “Pick them up, handle them,” he said. “they’re just parts.”
She reached for one and lifted it, feeling the weight of it in her hand. Then she did this with each part.
This isn’t so bad. I like to know how things work and their history.
“The 1911 has been around a long time,” he said. “Though modern guns have improved upon it, a lot of guys still carry one. It’s still one of the favored guns to carry. Some of us carry more than one gun.”
Ellen’s eyes widened in surprise. “More than one?”
Why would anyone ever need more than one gun on their person at a time?
“Guns are machines,” Travis explained, “made by man, and anything on Earth made by man is flawed, somehow. There’s no such thing as mechanical perfection. Someday, somewhere, no matter how much attention to detail, cleaning, or sweet nothings I whisper to it at night, some part of this gun is going to break.”
Travis shrugged as Ellen wrestled with the distraction of the thought of Travis whispering sweet nothings in her ear late at night.
The idea of listening to his voice all night, as he whispered into her ears, was whispering into her mind in a deliciously enticing way which made it hard to pay attention.
Focus. On. The gun.
She forced her gaze to the gun, away from his eyes. As if that would help.
“Of course, when it does happen, it’ll probably be on the practice range,” he said. “At least, I hope that’s where it’ll be, but if it isn’t, I might like to have another weapon on me. Or heck, there have been times when I’m out with a buddy who isn’t carrying, and I like to offer him his own weapon for the night or something.”
“Do guns break often?” Ellen asked, forcing herself to focus on the lesson.
Travis waved a hand. “Nah, not the good ones. Most quality guns will outlast our grandchildren, especially when properly cared for.”
Ellen’s breath caught at the mention of grandchildren, particularly his use of “our.”
Had he meant it intentionally?
The thought of having grandchildren with him dove deep as his voice and his words went swirling into her ears, and then her thoughts, before reaching down to her deepest longing for a family of her own complete with children and grandchildren.
Travis picked up the re-assembled 1911 bringing her back to reality with a crash.
“Now, one of the hallmarks of a 1911 is its weight,” he said. “This gun is much heavier than these other two here.”
“Is that a good thing?” She tilted her head, watching him and the gun. There were so many kinds of guns, and she had no idea what was good.
Travis nodded. “It can be. I like a heavy gun. The heavier a gun is, the more recoil it absorbs. Let me see you shoot it. See how you like it.”
Ellen put on her eye and ear protection, and then followed Travis’s instructions on how to load the gun before getting both hands on it so that she could shoot it.
It felt so heavy in her hand, but he’d warned her it would be heavy, so that was less shocking than the first time she’d shot guns yesterday.
Travis smiled at her. “I tell you what, ain’t nothin’ like a girl with a gun in her hands! But let me make a suggestion.”
Ellen was in the act of grinning herself, at his sudden southern like speech, when Travis stepped up behind her, his chest against her back.
She hadn’t expected this, and he’d moved fast.
His chest was strong and warm. His hands went out to hers on the gun, gently guiding them into different spots so that she could have better control of the gun.
As she let him guide her hands, she relished the way his fingers felt upon her hands, and the way his arms around her made her feel protected and warm.
“There now. Feel better?” his voice came, very near to her ear.
Goosebumps raced down the back of her neck even though his body was warm around hers, and she almost shivered. But she didn’t, couldn’t let him know the reaction being this near to him did to her.
“Mm-hmm!” She nodded quickly, not trusting herself to say more. His scent also came to her with him being so close. She could have closed her eyes just to breathe his scent in, but she didn’t close them, wouldn’t let herself. She couldn’t let him know how she was reacting to him.
“Good! Take a shot or two,” he said.
Ellen laughed. “At what? There’s no target!”
“Don’t worry about that just yet,” he replied. “Just concentrate on how the gun feels when you shoot it. We’ll get to accuracy later.”
Now this was different. Without a paper target in front of her, Ellen had no choice but to put her thought into what she and the gun were doing, instead of where bullets were going.
It also forced her mind away from the direction all her senses were currently racing while he was so near. A good thing because she was struggling to do that on her own. Never in her life had she been so distracted during a lesson. She was a good student, loved learning, and always focused on her lessons.
Now her mind was directed exactly where he’d pointed it.
On the one hand, it was frustrating not to know whether she was doing things correctly, but then, she supposed that if she wasn’t, Travis would’ve said something. On the other hand, if she hadn’t been shooting well on paper, her competitive drive would have taken over, and the whole lesson could have been compromised.
She didn’t know whether to feel frustrated or thankful, though with Travis standing so close behind her, his hands now resting gently on her hips, it was slightly easier to concentrate on the good things, rather than the bad. And his hands felt good upon her hips, grounding her, and reminding her to keep her hips still.
After the 1911, they shot the Smith and Wesson Shield. Oddly, though this gun shot a smaller bullet, the recoil on it felt a lot like the 1911, since it was so much lighter.
Ellen pouted. “This one felt so much better than the 1911 before I shot it! It seems so much easier to carry.”
“Honestly, carry comfort depends much more on the holster and belt combination than anything else,” Travis said, always upbeat. “You’d be really surprised to learn how big a gun you can carry and conceal.”
Travis picked up the last gun on the table, the Glock, and smiled. “I think you’ll find that this one combines the best of both worlds. Same small caliber as the Shield, but heavier, like the 1911.”
After she gave it a try, she agreed with him. Shooting the Glock was much more comfortable than the other two had been.
Their thirty minutes together went so fast, her private lesson was over before she realized it. The others had started coming onto the range for their class.
Debra Parmley. Montana SEAL Protector: Brotherhood Protectors World (Kindle Locations 677-741). Twisted Page Press, LLC. Kindle Edition.
Now the lesson went well and Ellen learns to be proficient through the rest of the course. With only a few days left Ellen needs to decide on a career, but she loves teaching Kindergarten and doesn’t want to do anything else. That’s when the opportunity of a lifetime comes up. Eagle Falls needs a Kindergarten teacher and moving quickly Ellen gets the position.
This is where things will get interesting, as Travis’ son Scotty will be in her class.
This story is so much fun and mostly lighthearted. Of course, there is still the issue of the stalker who’s on the loose to be dealt with.
I loved the slow and steady growth of this relationship and the circumstances that brought them together.
5 Contented Purrs for Debra!
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Debra Parmley writes military romantic suspense, contemporary romance, western historical romance, holiday romance, fairy tale romance, and 1920’s romance. She has 28 romance books out. She also writes fantasy, young adult, and children’s books as Debra Bishop. A Gemini, she thrives on writing more than one genre.
She lives in a motorhome full-time with her husband as they travel the U.S. and shares her adventures on her Beautiful Day Traveler blog. Debra has sold travel, walked the plank of a pirate ship off the coast of Grand Cayman, swum with dolphins in Moorea, and set foot in 13 countries. Debra is the founder of Shimmy Mob Memphis which raises funds for the local domestic abuse shelter. She was the host of Book Lights on Blog Talk Radio and interviews cover models on Cover Model Corner. Debra believes that “Every day we are alive is a beautiful day. “