Fighting for Esme – Team Falco Book 1: Brotherhood Protectors World by Jen Talty

Fighting For Esme
Team Falco Book 1
Brotherhood Protectors Colorado
USA Today Bestselling Author
Jen Talty


Family isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be—but when you find a family that you choose—they are worth fighting for. Troy Falco fought for his country, and he fought to bring his family—his brothers—together at Paradise Ranch. Now he has a new fight as acting Fire Chief for the Fool’s Gold Fire Department and an Agent of the Colorado Brotherhood Protectors. His first assignment is to help Esme Jade investigate the fire that took the life of his predecessor and her father. There is nothing simple about the case, and the more they dig, the more it becomes apparent Esme could be next. Troy will do whatever it takes—because his job requires it—but his heart demands it.

Troy Falco and his brothers have just buried their father. Emotion isn’t really a factor here as they really never got along with him. As they are leaving the gravesite, Hank and Jake are waiting by their car. They need them in Fool’s Gold as soon as they can get there. A three-alarm fire has injured eight firefighters and their Chief died in the fire.

They purchased Paradise Ranch in Fool’s Gold where they can all live at the same place for the first time. Their job with the Brotherhood Protectors, are flexible enough they can all take shifts at the firehouse.

Esme Henri is one of the best fire and arson investigators in Colorado. In spite of the personal aspect she has been assigned to this fire scene. Her co-worker Colby would be kept up to date in case they find she needs to be pulled from the case.

Troy was being announced as interim Chief and he would name his brother Seth Captain, with Heath, Trent (his Twin) and Marcus taking spots on the roster.

As we learn more about the brothers Falco, the investigation gets underway. Not much is done that first day and Troy also has to start reviewing Billy Rocha’s file. He was on the scene but he’s under suspension for insubordination. Esme also drops off some of her father’s files to him on her way home.

Troy had no idea he’d be called to her father’s home later that night because of a break-in.

This is a favorite scene.

“I don’t know enough about what’s going on to make that call and that’s troublesome for so many reasons,” Troy admitted. “Keeping things hush-hush for the time being works for me, but I need to get a good look at everything. Hell, I’ve barely been in Henri’s office I’ve been so busy with other things.”

“I’ve got your back,” Stone said. “So does Sparrow. Anything you need, just let us know.”

“Thanks,” Troy said. “Does Esme know how long the interloper was here?”

“About twenty minutes,” Stone said. “She glanced at her watch before she got up to check on a noise. She was unconscious for approximately eighteen minutes.”

“A doctor should see her.”

“I’m fine,” Esme’s voice rang out loud and clear. She stepped into the family room wearing jeans and a white T-shirt. Her long blond hair flowed softly over her shoulders.

“You have a concussion. The question is, how bad?” Troy swallowed as he stared into her beautiful blue eyes. He leaned against the wall near the front door.

“That’s what I told her, but she’s about as stubborn as I am.” Sparrow entered the room and joined her husband, wrapping her arm around his waist. “We couldn’t find anything missing, but we don’t know what he had in his office either. Whoever was here went through all the files, dumped them out, and left.”

“What about the rest of the house?” Troy inched closer to Esme, trying to get a look at the back of her head. A trickle of blood clung to her hair.

“I did a walk-through and it doesn’t appear they went anywhere other than his office,” Stone said.

“Whatever they wanted, they thought it would be there.” Esme glanced up at him and crinkled her nose. “The question is, what?”

“And is it related to that house fire,” Troy added. “You need ice on that.” He peered over the top of her head, examining it to ensure she didn’t need stitches, but the wound wasn’t that bad. However, she did have a nice-sized nice-sized bump.

“I’m fine. Really. You can stop being an old maid.” Esme narrowed her stare.

He ignored the jab. “What about a police presence during the night?”

“I’ve already called the deputy on tonight and they will be driving by often, but I don’t have the manpower to put someone on the house twenty-four seven,” Sparrow said.

“That should be fine.” Esme winced when she touched the back of her head.

“I’ll spend the night.” Troy almost regretted the words the second they left his tongue.

“The hell you will.” Esme glared.

“Sweetheart, I think this is our cue to leave.” Stone took Sparrow’s hand and guided her to the front door. “Call us if you need anything. Day or night.”

“Take your buddy with you,” Esme said.

“Nope. He belongs to you right now.” Stone laughed. “And that’s an order.”

Troy did the honor of walking Stone and Sparrow to the door, locking it after they left. He turned and took one step before pausing.

“You’re not staying here tonight.” Esme folded her arms and cocked her head. “I don’t need a babysitter.”

“I’m your bodyguard and while my team was first brought in for this case, I wasn’t supposed to be with you twenty-four seven, and it still won’t be possible with me as acting fire chief, but this changes things.”

“I don’t need you staying over.”

“Jake Cogburn feels differently.” He pulled out his cell and handed it to her with the text message he’d received when he’d arrived. “I’m under direct orders to stay put for the evening. Now, you don’t want to get me in trouble with my new boss, do you?”

She stared at the phone for a long moment and sighed. “Fine. But only because everyone at your organization has always been a friend to my dad— and to me— and I could use a hand cleaning up the mess in my dad’s office, but not tonight. I’m too tired.”

“I wouldn’t mind going through his office, if you don’t mind.”

“Knock yourself out.”

He followed her down the hallway, which was lined with pictures of her when she’d been younger. Images of her playing soccer. A few of her during her days as a young firefighter. A police officer.

It appeared she was the pride and joy of her dad.

His heart squeezed.

His old man didn’t have pictures of his kids. Hell, he could barely tell them apart, especially him and Trent, which was hysterical given the fact they weren’t identical.

Esme grieved a great man who loved her dearly.

Troy grieved the idea of a father who didn’t care enough to even come to his wedding— that never happened. He paused at the end of the hallway and ran his fingers over the last picture of Esme and her dad.

“That was taken three months ago,” Esme whispered. She stood so close he could feel her breath tickle his skin. “We’d gone out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. I was hoping to talk him into letting me fix him up on a date. He lost his wife a while back and he seemed so lonely, but he said he wasn’t ready yet.”

“You had a special relationship with your dad.”

“He was my world,” she said. “Three weeks ago, I noticed he started pulling away from me, but I didn’t have a good handle on it and now I’m wondering if maybe it could be related to his death.”

“What do you mean?” Troy turned, resting his hands on her shoulders, rolling his thumbs gingerly, doing his best to soak in whatever pain of hers that he could.

“It started when he wouldn’t call me back right away. Or answer my texts as quickly. We both got busy with work and after his wife died, he often got withdrawn, so I gave him space. However, as I go back and examine his last weeks, something was off. I should have known.” Tears filled her sweet, sensitive eyes.

Troy considered himself a good judge of character and while he believed every word that came from Esme’s mouth, he also knew that she was withholding something important.

“Oh no. Don’t do this to yourself.” He ran his hands up and down her arms. “Hindsight, while in some cases can be a good thing, other times it’s dangerous and only fucks with our minds.”

“You sound like Sparrow.”

“She’s a smart woman,” Troy said, wiping away a tear that dribbled down her cheek. “I’m going to help you figure all this out, but you have to promise me you’re not going to keep second-guessing your actions leading up to your father’s death. You did nothing wrong and while I didn’t know your dad, I bet he was the kind of man who would hate you blaming yourself.”

“You’re right about that.” She inhaled sharply.

He leaned in and gently brushed his lips across hers in a warm kiss. He didn’t let them linger too long. He didn’t want to give her the wrong impression, even though that’s exactly what he wanted. He had to keep things professional, but he also wanted to be compassionate.

“Thank you for understanding.” She took a step back.

“One thing I’d like for you to do by morning is to get me a list of people who might have a vendetta against your dad.”

“I already started working on it.”

“Good,” he said.

“I’m going to turn in. Your room is up the stairs, second door on the left,” she said. “I’m right across the hall.”

“Good night, Esme.” He watched as she made her way toward the staircase. She turned and smiled before disappearing.


He had to get his head on straight. He headed for her father’s office. He needed a distraction from his inappropriate thoughts. Hopefully, he’d be able to find some direction in a case that had not one single lead. Worse, technically, her father’s death wasn’t currently considered anything other than a tragic accident.

Something his gut knew wasn’t true.

Now all he had to do was find the facts to back it up.
Jen Talty. Fighting for Esme – Jen Talty (Kindle Locations 843-908). Kindle Edition.

Esme and Troy are determined to leave no stone unturned and that includes interviewing her arsonist mother.

There’s also more going on in the background of this book as Billy keeps hounding Troy to reinstate him.

So many twists and a direction I didn’t see coming at all. Troy has to come to terms with his feelings toward Esme as she does with him. These two do seem to sizzle off the pages.

I am already reading the next Team Falco book. There is a total of Five Team Falco books each by a different and new to me author.

5 Contented Purrs for Jenn!

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Jen Talty

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.

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