USA Today Bestselling Author
He wanted a family to call his own.
She wanted a fresh start.
What they ended up with was something unexpected.
All Daisy Greene wanted to do was protect her boys. Moving to Killeen was supposed to be a fresh start. A chance at a new life. Only her past came crashing down and threatened to destroy everything she’d worked so hard to achieve. Now she had to rely on a perfect stranger to help her through one of the most challenging times in her life. The last thing she expected was to fall in love.
Liam Murphy had watched his entire team find their soulmates, and all he had was a cat named Spits. Worse, the damn thing hated him. He didn’t begrudge his buddies for their happiness. However, he wanted what they had but seemed to be looking for love in all the wrong places. After being injured during his last mission, he’s tasked with helping out a friend of Craig “Doc” Wagner’s, and in the process, he finds the one thing that has been alluding him his entire adult life: true love.
Only will he be able to save her from a deadly past?
Liam is still on medical leave after being injured on his last deployment. He’s at a barbeque at his team lead Cannon’s home when he’s approached by Doc. Doc and his wife have a friend in need of help. Doc has been supporting her, but he’s got a two-week training mission and can’t at the be at the hearing with her. His also concerned that her ex is escalating and might try to coerce his sons to be compliant.
Daisy is an Olympic Gold Medalist, who was married to her coach, Boris Fedorov. He’s involved in a scandal involving underage girls. The problem is the girls who came forward have changed their stories and he’s free. Daisy has full custody with no visitation, and he now wants that right and Daisy fears for her boys’ state of mind since Boris is a master manipulator.
Daisy was nervous to meet Liam and is surprised at the way she feels when she does. She’s been around physically fit and attractive men before, but none made her feel the way she does now. The idea here is for Liam to be around during the day to watch over her. The boys are safe at school and the school’s both know they aren’t to release them to anyone other than herself.
Then everything changes with a text from Boris. On top of that he does a press conference blaming Daisy for everything. Daisy can’t say a word to her boys about how she feels or it could jeopardize the outcome of the hearing.
This is a favorite scene.
“When I first left Boris, Edwin was so withdrawn and often angry. Mostly it came out sideways and was directed at me, but I know the source was his father. He took the brunt of Boris’ harsh discipline and he also saw some things that he shouldn’t have.”
“Like what?” Liam tempered his anger. This wasn’t about how this affected his emotions or the triggers it brought. It was about two small children and the support system they needed.
“He heard the way Boris treated me. He saw him hit me. He stepped in once and that cost him a sucker punch.”
Liam closed his eyes for a brief moment, taking in a long slow breath. It would take a miracle for him not to beat the shit out of Boris if he ever crossed paths with the man.
“I’m not sure, because Edwin has always clammed up about it, but the psychiatrist believes he might have seen inappropriate behavior on my ex-husband’s part when it comes to teenage girls,” Daisy said softly. “But again, it can’t be me to bring that to the surface. If I’m the one who pulls that information from my son, it will be seen as—”
He pressed his finger over her lips. “I get it and I don’t want you to worry about any of that. Craig has already said he’s willing to take this case. Let him do what he’s good at.”
“This hearing is happening too fast. I can’t lose my boys.”
“I’m not going to let that happen.” He kissed her forehead. “Is it okay with you if I go talk with Edwin?”
She blinked her big doe eyes. “What are you planning on saying to him?”
“I’m going to let him know that I’m a good listener, that’s all.”
“Don’t take it personally if he tells you to leave him alone.”
Liam’s only experience with children was dealing with his buddies’ kids. He’d babysat a few times and he’d been considered cool Uncle Liam. But all he had to do in those situations was show up with gifts, play a little ball, and pretend to think the grown-ups were super annoying.
This was going to be an entirely different kind of conversation.
“What time do we need to leave for school?” he asked.
“I’ll make sure he’s ready.” Liam squared his shoulders. Growing up, his father always told him that half-assing anything was disrespectful to one’s own being. As a teenager, that statement drove Liam bonkers. However, he’d completely understood what his dad had meant by the time he got to West Point. Commitment and dedication to action were the cornerstones to his father’s philosophy in life. He believed in hard work as well as putting time and energy into relaxing. Life was all about balance. Being lazy had its place when it was time to put your feet up and take a breather from the fast pace of life.
He lifted his fist and tapped his knuckle against the door. “Hey, Edwin, it’s Liam, can I come in?”
“Whatever,” Edwin called.
Liam pushed open the door.
Edwin sat on his bed holding his glove and baseball in his hands. He glanced up. “Are you going to lecture me?”
“Nope.” Liam sat down on the edge of the mattress. His entire childhood had been filled with love and kindness. Sure, he had difficult times and he got angry with his parents. They fought, but to him, that was a normal part of being a teenager, especially when his father banned him from driving the convertible. That totally sucked and it had been embarrassing to tell his girlfriend at the time he couldn’t take her out in the vintage Mustang. Turned out, she didn’t care about Liam at all, but only wanted a ride in the damn car.
That had happened more than once.
And not just with the vehicle. The moment some girls got wind that his dad had his own plane, Liam became a hot commodity.
“Why are you here anyway?” Edwin tossed the ball up in the air and caught it in his glove.
Liam’s areas of expertise were in foreign language, search and rescue, and counterterrorism. He had a basic understanding of six languages and spoke four fluently. That did not include brooding preteens. “Doc asked me to support you, your brother, and your mom while his team’s deployed.”
“Is it necessary for you to spend the night?”
“Does my presence bother you?”
“I just don’t understand why.” Edwin set the ball and glove aside and shifted. “My mom’s been acting strange lately and now you show up. I want to know the reason.”
“You’re a smart kid. I believe you already know the answer to that.” Liam made sure he chose his words carefully. He didn’t want to be part of the problem. However, something told him that Edwin wanted to someone to talk to; he didn’t know how to go about it or who to trust.
“My mom keeps giving me nonanswers. Or suggests I talk to the therapist. I hate that.”
“I probably would too if I were you.”
“Why does she do that?”
“That’s a complicated answer and it’s not my place to—”
“You’re just like the rest of them.” Edwin jumped to his feet. “This meeting with the judge affects me. My life.” He tapped the center of his chest. “I have a right to know what I’m up against.”
“I’m going to ask you a question and I’d like it if you gave me a straight answer.”
Edwin scoffed. “Right, because you grown-ups do the same for us kids.”
“The adults in your life are doing two things.” Liam held up two fingers. “The first one is they are trying to protect you and your brother from anything that could harm you. The second one is they are being forced to play by a set of rules that don’t even make sense to them and that’s scary.”
“That’s the closest thing to a real answer I’ve gotten from anyone,” Edwin said quietly. “What do you want to ask me?”
“It’s pretty simple, but it might not be easy to articulate.” Liam held the young boy’s gaze. “What do you want the outcome of this hearing to be?”
“If I had my way, I’d never have to sit in front of a judge and say anything and now my mom keeps telling Oliver and me that it’s important we’re truthful, but she doesn’t want to hear what we have to say.”
“That’s not true.”
“Then why won’t she talk to us?”
“Because of those rules I mentioned.” Damn, this was complicated as fuck. “You understand what the judge will be deciding, right?”
Edwin nodded. “Whether or not my dad will have visitation and possibly custody.”
“You know what custody means?”
“It’s who we live with most of the time.”
“It’s more than that,” Liam said. “It’s who gets to make decisions for you and if it appears your mom put words in your mouth, that could be used against her. We don’t want that.”
“She’s explained that part.”
“Good.” Liam nodded. “So, even if you were to tell her exactly what you wanted, and she smiled or frowned or made any kind of body movement that made you feel like your response pleased or displeased her, the judge could take that as a sign she’s pressuring your statements.”
“That’s not fair. We live with her.”
“Dude, none of this is fair.” Liam remained seated, where he was eye level. He hoped that continued to help the boy feel as though he was in a safe place. “Unfortunately, you’re going to learn that there are a lot of things in life that aren’t, but for the time being, you can express anything you want to me, including what you’re thinking and feeling right now, especially with what your dad just did.”
“I want to stay with my mom. She knows that and I’ve told the therapist we want to live here. We’ve also said that to Doc. I don’t see why I have to go to Dallas and tell a judge.”
“Are you afraid of seeing your father?”
Edwin’s mouth drew into a tight line. His clenched his fists at his sides. That spoke more than words ever could. The anger that resonated from his body was palpable. “He puts a lot of pressure on us to choose him.”
“When was the last time you spoke to him?” Edwin glanced around the room. He rubbed his hands against his thighs.
“A while ago,” he mumbled.
“Would you be willing to let me know if he reaches out to you again?”
“Will you tell my mom?”
Oh boy. That was a tough one. “That depends on the nature of what your father says and expects from you.” Liam took a chance and rested his hands on Edwin’s shoulders. He lowered his chin, making sure to catch the boy’s gaze. He didn’t want to press too hard on this first intense conversation. His main goal was to establish trust. “If I feel that it’s something your mom needs to know, you and I will work on a game plan to inform her.”
Liam stood. “I’ll let you finish getting ready for school. We need to leave soon.”
“You’re driving me?”
“I sure am.”
Jen Talty. Shielding Daisy – Jen Talty (Kindle Locations 526-600). Kindle Edition.
Not only is Liam falling for Daisy, but he’s also falling for her children. They’re bright, happy, and enthusiastic young people in spite of everything going on.
This is a very emotional book, and Craig the PI hired by Liam more than accomplishes the job he’s hired to do.
Plenty of laughter, tears, some action, romance and sizzle as this story unfolds.
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.