Brotherhood Protectors World Book 2
Nestled in the Mountains of Montana, in Eagle Rock, is the western branch of the Courage and Confidence Center for Women, aka the Three C’s Ranch, where women who’ve been attacked go to learn skills to survive and thrive. Barrett Williams, former Green Beret and Brotherhood Protector, is lead self-defense instructor at the center. He doesn’t intend to fall for the delicate beauty in his class who fights hard to be as strong in body as she is in spirit.
Chyna Taylor rides the bus line from Cincinnati to Eagle Rock, changing her appearance to avoid being recognized. She wishes she wasn’t small boned and easily overpowered. Before her ex lost it and put her in the hospital, she’d never fought. She swore never to be a victim again. Determined to learn to thrive at the center, she doesn’t plan to fall for the big, strong man who is her instructor. Neither realizes they have little time to get her ready for the fight of her life.
Chyna Lacey was very lucky to get accepted into the program at Triple C Ranch. In spite of everything she’s done to cover her tracks, she’s convinced her ex is going to find her. When that day comes, she wants to be ready to escape him.
Barrett Williams volunteered right away to be the defensive instructor for Triple C Ranch. He wants nothing more than to help these women learn to protect themselves. What he didn’t expect is the attraction he feels for one of the women. Chyna is a very attractive, petite blonde and his instincts are to protect her, but that’s not why they’re here.
As we learn more about Chyna and the other women here at the Triple C, we also get to see how Barrett will lead the training. As Chyna learns, she also finds herself attracted to Barrett, something she never expected to feel again. She knows it’s not the time or place and she struggles not to show it.
The training is targeted to meet the needs of the women without triggering them.
This is a favorite scene.
The second week, the guys brought in training bags and set them up along with boxing gloves. Today, the women were going to learn kickboxing moves, for conditioning and so they could add another skill in their self-defense skill bag.
Chyna eyed the equipment and winced. Oh, I don’t think I’ll do so well with this, she thought. My wrists. She glanced down at her small wrists, which had never been strong. In fact, if anyone grabbed her wrist, she’d freeze.
Barrett, noticing her expression said, “Questions? Chyna, what do you think?”
“I think I’m not strong enough to box,” she said. “That’s for strong men or women who have muscles. I’m not strong like that. I’m small boned.”
“You’re stronger than you think. Don’t give up on it. Give it a try, and let’s see how you do.”
“I can’t give up.” She shook her head. “When I leave here, I have to be ready to defend myself when Phineas or his cousins or anyone from his family comes looking for me.”
“Phineas is your ex?”
She nodded. “Yes, but he goes by the name of Finn usually.”
“You said when, not if,” Barrett said. “What makes you so sure they’ll come looking?”
“It’s not something I can explain. I just know him, and I know his family. None of them is happy about me walking around, able to share family secrets. They’re real big on keeping those family secrets locked up.”
“I’ll prepare you the best I can for any kind of attacker, ones who know you and ones who don’t.”
“I know things I can’t tell anyone, ever. Two of his cousins have been in prison, and his brother boasted he knew how to dispose of a body. I know they do some pretty bad things when they’re off supposedly hunting, but I have no real proof and didn’t see them do anything.”
She was sharing again, and he wasn’t supposed to get close to her or any of the other students. He could only be a concerned instructor.
Don’t get drawn in, he told himself. Keep your focus.
After they did PT to warm up, Barrett started the class. First he had them put on the boxing gloves, and then he demonstrated the moves they’d be doing.
Right jab. Left jab. Right hook. Left hook.
That was the pattern he was teaching them first. They’d add kicks later. He wanted them to get the upper body movements down, and he’d learn which of the women had a hard time hitting someone. These were just boxing bags, not people, so it should get them used to hitting.
He was pleased to see none of them had problems hitting the bags. In fact, some of them were really getting into it. Working out their frustrations.
“Yeah,” Red said. “Now we’re talking. He comes at me again, I’m gonna bam the side of his head. Knock his ass out.”
“I know that’s right,” Neecy said.
They gave each other a high-five. Even Chyna seemed pleased to learn she could hit something. Though she didn’t hit hard or know how to drive through yet, it was a starting point, and he was glad to see it.
Now they could move on to punching each other. Taking the pads the ones playing bad guys would wear; he had them line up in pairs and showed them what to do next. The same one, two, right hook they’d done before, now without gloves, became the base of the palm to the chest in a one, two, then elbow to the left side of the bad guy’s head, then a knee up into the groin.
“Begin,” he said, then moved about the room, watching and making corrections if they showed bad form. He watched the other women in turn before coming back to where Red and Chyna were practicing the moves.
“Come on, Chyna. You ain’t gonna break,” Red said. “I’m gonna start calling you broken Chyna. Get mad, girl. Hey, broken Chyna,” she jeered. “Let me have it.”
Chyna punched with her right fist and barely moved Red.
Red countered with a punch.
Flinching and ducking, China backed away a step instead of moving forward.
“You’re the slow mo backwards girl, and he’s gonna Speedy Gonzalez pound on your ass,” Red said.
“Again,” Barrett said loud enough behind them to cut Red off. “Go again, and Chyna, try to move forward this time, not back. And you need your head to be like a turtle, down with shoulders up to protect, instead of ducking. Notice how when you’re ducking, you’re off balance, and how when you’re down, your opponent is up over you. These aren’t good defensive positions to be in.”
She nodded, trying to take it all in while her body was wired for flight. Freeze, hide or flight, that’s what her body wanted her to do. She had to retrain it. She had to work hard to absorb Barrett’s words when her body was still on the edge of running.
Listen, she told herself. Listen.
He was watching her closely. “You okay?”
“Okay.” He turned back to Red and then said, “Again.” They tried again and again until Chyna was frustrated with herself and tired of the exercise, and just when she’d thought she’d never, ever move through it, she took a tiny step forward.
“That’s it,” Barrett called. “Do that again.”
It felt totally different. Off, but nothing bad happened from that tiny step.
“Again,” he said.
The second time, she didn’t hesitate to take a step forward, and the step was bigger.
“Yes,” Barrett said. “That’s it.”
Elation filled her. “I did it!”
“You did,” he said.
“Kick my ass next time,” Red said with a grin.
“I just might.” Chyna grinned.
That grin felt larger than her face.
“Again,” Barrett said.
The women went through the moves again, and this time it was Red’s turn to defend against an attacker. Red, unlike Chyna, had no trouble moving in and hitting with force and speed. He watched as Chyna had trouble holding the pad, the way Red pounded on it, driving Chyna backwards.
“Ha. Broke ya,” Red said. “He would’ve smashed ya by -”
Barrett had been watching them closely, seeing Chyna’s reaction to Red’s aggression. Her body posture had gotten smaller the more she moved back. Time to stop that.
“Again,” Barrett said, quickly interrupting Red before she could say more. “Chyna’s turn.”
Chyna looked at him in surprise. “Again,” he told her.
She looked back at Red. Putting her right foot back, her hands up and ducking her head, Chyna moved. Making all the hits just right, and though not strong and through like they needed to be, her form was right.
“That’s it,” he said. “Perfect. You’ve got this.”
“Yes!” She turned and pumped her fist in the air. “I did it!” Her grin was from ear to ear.
Barrett knew this was a turning point for Chyna. Though he, himself, didn’t flinch or duck and had only learned to duck while boxing, he understood enough about training the brain to move from one mode of reaction to another, to know what a big step forward this was for her. These auto reflexes were instinctual, and they were working with more than thought processes here; they were working with gut reactions and the flood of adrenalin that took over the body when faced with a threat. It was a matter of redirection and retraining.
What most people didn’t realize was that freezing, ducking and hiding were responses the brain and body did to stay alive in a threatening situation. When it worked, once or more than once, what was learned was, those reactions had kept the person alive. Leah had explained that moving from that instinctive pattern, which was now automatic and proven to work, to move to another untried reaction was asking the person to risk that it might not work when there was already a pattern that had. This made it a big hurdle to get over.
Chyna’s small step had been a reach to bring her up and over that hurdle, and it was the complete opposite of what her body had told her to do. Enough reaches, and that would become the new proven pattern.
Once a student learned instinctively to fight instead of freeze, hide or run, everything would change. Confidence, combined with different escape or fight moves, and the opponent would no longer have the advantage of time on their side while the victim tried to move over that hurdle to come back at him.
This was monumental, and he could see it in her grin.
That beautiful, glorious grin. I’m proud of you. He wanted to shout those words. He wanted to raise her up in the air and kiss her. This was huge.
He’d like to see more of that grin. It was time to end on a high note so she could hold on to that feeling and what she’d accomplished this morning.
“That’s it for today,” Barrett told the class. “Good job, everyone. Now that you have the form down, next time we’ll work on driving through and flanking your opponent.”
Chyna turned her grin to him again, and he grinned back.
Debra Parmley. Defensive Instructor_ Brotherhood – Debra Parmley (Kindle Locations 997-1070). Kindle Edition.
While Chyna has always been sure her ex would find her, she didn’t expect it to be here in Montana.
The thing is the center didn’t expect any issues either, since they are so remote. and certain security updates were put off or denied.
I love the whole concept of the Triple C Ranch and how these women put their all into learning to be safe.
The romance while forbidden by the rules, is stronger than those involved and made me laugh out loud when they give in.
Plenty of suspense, some action and the perfect amount of sizzle.
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. “