Fighting for Tessa – Team Falco Book 3: Brotherhood Protectors World by Stacy Wilk

Fighting for Tessa
Team Falco Book 3
Brotherhood Protectors World
Stacey Wilk


Tessa Callahan, a professional violinist, ran away to avoid the consequences of her bad decision. Except even the beautiful Colorado Rockies can’t mend the pieces of her broken heart. It’s going to take so much more…

Heath Falco, a wildland firefighter and new bodyguard, has loved only one woman. He destroyed any chance of a life with her. When he’s asked to save Tessa from a wildfire, of course he goes and with no illusions that things between them will change.

Tessa and Heath are forced to escape the deadly blaze on foot with the fire in fast pursuit, promising to devour everything in its path. But the fire isn’t their only enemy. The mountain and its inhabitants don’t play fair with anyone, including Heath—the extreme outdoorsman. They are alone against the elements and in desperate need of assistance. Only, no one is coming to help.

Tessa and Heath must put their tattered past behind them and work together to survive. Or lose it all to the fire.

For six months Tessa has been living in a cabin at the top of Gray Peak trying to forget or at least come to terms with losing Heath Falco, the love of her life. The thing is she didn’t know at the time that’s what he was. She’s been giving violin lessons and when we meet her a woman has come with her daughter to see if Tessa would teach her. Tessa is leery because she appears to be from a group called Revision Public an anti-government group, and not all of them are good people. She does agree to teach Jayne after a conversation with Colleen, she just wished Jayne’s father Dirk approved.

Heath Falco is about to celebrate twelve years of sobriety by going on a camping trip alone. It was going to be a hiking off trail trip and he’s really looking forward to it. His brother Troy stops by as he’s leaving and asks to stay in bunkhouse while he’s gone. Staying in the main house with Seth and his other brother’s while renovations are being done to his has him craving some privacy with Esme. Before they both go their separate ways two things happen, first Troy asks if he’s spoken to Tessa, and second he gets an urgent text from his boss Jake to stop by the office.

Heath gets the surprise of his life when he sees Oz Callahan with Jake. Tessa’s father is not someone he wants to see, and the feeling is mutual. However, Tessa is unreachable in the cabin and a massive wildfire is heading her way. Heath is the only one Oz knows who can get Tessa off the mountain safely.

When Heath gets to Tessa she of course gives him an argument that continues as they head down the mountain.

This is a favorite scene.

“You told me to get my stuff out of the apartment before you got back. Tessa, I can’t do this now. We need to get to the bottom of the mountain. We’re coming up on the area where the fire is growing.” He turned off the air conditioner and closed the vents. They didn’t need the smoke from the fire coming inside the truck.

“I’m not done talking about this.”

“Well, I am.”

“Typical Heath Falco. When the emotions get high, he runs for cover. Who would believe a man brave enough to run into danger was also the same man afraid of his feelings and my feelings for that matter?”

He turned to look at her. “I am not the unfeeling man you make me out to be. I just choose to keep my emotions close. I can’t get emotional on the job. Now, it’s a habit. You don’t get to decide when I let them out. You aren’t in control of everything even though you have to be right down to how the mail gets sorted. And another thing—”

“Heath, watch out.” Tessa let loose a scream and held her hands up as if to protect herself.

Time barely slowed down. His foot jammed the brake. The tires squealed in response. The back of the truck fishtailed. He tried to swerve out of the way, but he wasn’t fast enough. The hood collided into a moose, stopping the truck dead.

The crunch of metal vibrated in his fillings. Glass cracked but did not shatter. The seat belt pushed him back, keeping him from kissing the airbag. If they hadn’t been arguing, he would’ve seen the moose in time.

“Oh my God. Oh my God.” Tessa’s arms flailed. She patted herself down. Her eyes were as wide as the moose’s.

His ears rung. He struggled to take a full breath, but he didn’t think he was hurt. His chest only heaved from the scare. “Are you okay?”

“Yes. I think so. Where did that thing come from?”

The moose stared at them as if it were bored. If they had been in a mid-sized car, that moose would have been in Tessa’s lap. Because his truck was jacked up, they must’ve hit it right above the legs. Animals knew when something was wrong. They sensed it. They moved to a safer place. Sometimes Sometimes they could go back to their habitats; other times the fires had ravaged the land too much.

Thankfully, they hadn’t knocked the animal over. The moose, however, had crushed the right corner of the truck and cracked the windshield pretty good, but at least he and Tessa were unharmed.

“It’s moving because its habitat is on fire.” The fire was still below them, but the smoke was settling in around them, dirtying the air. It was just thick enough to be a nuisance.

They would’ve made it to the bottom of the mountain in the truck. Even if the flames were to the side of them, they had a shot to reach safety. But not without the truck. They couldn’t chance following the road on foot. The walk would take too long. They would end up walking right into the fire.

“The door won’t open.” Tessa tugged on the handle, but the door wouldn’t budge.

“Climb over to my side.” He slid out. His legs wobbled for a second. The one-ton moose lumbered on in the direction it was headed without a look back. Thanks, pal.

Tessa held out her hand, and he helped her from the truck’s cab. She pressed her face against his chest and wrapped her arms around his waist, gripping him tightly. He held her close. She was in shock. She would not have clung to him for any other reason.

“I need to check for cell service,” he said into her hair.

She gripped him tighter. “We could’ve died.”

“But we didn’t.” He eased back to look down at her. “We do need to get out of here, though. I can call one of my brothers to help. One of them might be nearby.” He had no idea where any of them were or who was on assignment. But he was certain, if any of them could help, they would come.

“Your brothers? Aren’t they scattered all over the place?”

“It’s a long story. I’ll explain it later.” He doubted he would ever explain how Troy had talked them all into joining the Brotherhood Protectors and helping out in the Fool’s Gold fire department when needed. Or how his dad had died two months ago, leaving a lot of unresolved issues for him still.

He pulled his phone out of the pocket of his pants. “No service.”

He typed up a group text to his brothers and sent it anyway. If the phone grabbed a signal at any point, the text would go, and they would come. It was a simple survival technique he taught to any rookie hikers he met. He was always surprised at how many of them hadn’t thought of it.

“What do we do now?” Tessa pulled the collar of her shirt over her mouth and nose.

“We have to go back up the mountain and come down the north side where the fire is less likely to burn.” South and west facing slopes had drier fuels, giving the fire too much to chew on.

“Back up? But you said we can’t be near the top. Doesn’t fire burn that way?” She clenched his shirt, twisting it in her hands.

He untangled her grip before she tore a huge hole in his shirt and held her one hand with both of his. “You are right about fire making its way uphill. But we can’t walk into it either. I want to climb until we can come down on the side that’s less likely to burn. It’s not a guarantee, Tessa. I don’t want you to panic.”

“Can we stay here until help comes?”

“No one is coming.” He needed her to understand they were the only two people who could save themselves now. Without cell service or his two-way, which the moose had also crushed, he couldn’t reach anyone. And even if he could get a hold of his brother Marcus and ask him to fly his chopper in, they would still have to climb higher for Marcus to reach them.

“If we can climb, then we can go back to the cabin. Of course we can.” She shook her head. “You’re just being overprotective like you always are. Remember the time I said I had to park in a parking garage for that concert? In that city… I forget the name. Anyway, when I sent you the text, you said you wish you had given me mace to carry because the parking garage had been blocks away from the venue.” She tilted her head back and released a strangled laugh.

He cupped her face. “Look at me. Take a deep breath. We’re going to be just fine. I promise you. This time isn’t like your night at the concert. You have to trust me.” He couldn’t let her panic. She was on the verge. He sucked in a loud breath. Thankfully, she did the same.

“So, you’re saying we have to hike up the mountain through the trees and shrubs, off the trail, until we somehow get high enough, and then come back down the other side.”

“That’s about the long and short of it.” He grabbed his hiking pack from the back of the truck. He was grateful for the tools in this pack just in case things went sideways. Better they were prepared.

He worried that Tessa wasn’t dressed properly. She only had on a pair of thin wide-legged pants and a crop top. He grabbed the sweatshirt she had in the front seat. He recognized the emblem from his hotshot team in the corner. His sweatshirt. That realization shouldn’t make him feel good when they were in a ton of trouble, but it did. He held it out to her. Her useless little sneakers would have to do. At least her feet were covered. He’d seen hikers get stuck in the mountain due to weather changes, wearing only flip-flops. Nothing good ever came of that.

“Thank you.” She cradled the shirt to her chest. He wanted to comment about it being his, but he clamped his lips over the stupid words about to tumble out of his mouth.

“Stay here a second.” He didn’t like wasting time, but he wanted her to have some kind of trekking pole. The terrain would be uneven and difficult to maneuver. She wasn’t a hiker. Her stamina would fade quickly, and he had no idea how far they would have to go or hard it would be.

He found a branch that would do the job for her and one for him. He didn’t really need it since they weren’t dealing with ice, but she would argue less with him if he had one too.

“Here. Use this. It will help you with balance on the uneven ground. And if one of us rolls an ankle, we’ll be glad we have them.”

“Please don’t say one of us is going to get hurt.”

Okay, stupid thing to say. He should know better. “Sorry. It’s a hard truth. Anything can happen out here. We need to be prepared.” He pulled out a map from his pack. He carried a few maps with him just for this sort of thing. Like he had just said, better to be prepared.

“What are you looking for?” She leaned around him to see what he was doing. A hint of vanilla scent caught him off guard. Her scent always followed in her wake. He had asked her once to put it on a t-shirt of hers that he carried in his work pack. He never told anyone that so no one on his team would make fun of him for wanting a piece of her close to him. It was his good luck charm.

“I’m looking for the lowest angle of the mountain’s slope. Without a trail, I would prefer we don’t walk off a cliff’s edge. Let’s get moving.
Wilk, Stacey; Protectors World, Brotherhood. Fighting for Tessa: Brotherhood Protectors World (Team Falco Book 3). Kindle Locations (618-682). Twisted Page Press, LLC. Kindle Edition.

Without the truck, Heath has to figure out the best way to get down the mountain and away from the fire.

This will not be easy and there are a few unexpected and dangerous surprises along the way.

With suspense, danger, forgiveness, and some sizzle I couldn’t put this book down.

5 Contented Purrs for Stacey!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

  Stacy Wilk

From an early age, Stacey Wilk told tales as a way to escape. At six she wrote short stories in composition notebooks, at twelve she wrote a novel on a typewriter, in high school biology she wrote rock star romances in her binder instead of paying attention.

But it wasn’t until many years later, inspired by her children and a looming birthday, that she finally took her story-telling seriously. And published her first novel in 2013. Since then, she’s gone on to publish fourteen more so women everywhere could fall in love and find an escape of their own.

She isn’t done telling stories. Not by a long shot. If you want to read her emotional and honest books about family, romance, and second chances, visit her website.

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