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Shielding Sierra – Delta Team Two Book 8 by Susan Stoker

Shielding Sierra
Delta Team Two Book 8
USA Today, NY Times & Wall St Journal
Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker


Sierra Clarkson thought she’d found the perfect way to serve her country without having to join the military…until she was kidnapped right from the base in Afghanistan she was working on. Even worse, no one knew she’d been taken and no one was looking for her.

Except someone was. The tall, very confident in himself, Delta Force soldier she’d met one day on base a year or so ago. Fred “Grover” Groves hadn’t ever forgotten the red-headed spitfire working in the chow hall. And once he discovered she hadn’t simply blown off his advance by not getting in touch with him when he went home, and she was, in fact, kidnapped…nothing would keep him from finding her and bringing her home.

But Sierra wasn’t exactly a damsel in distress, and Grover would find that out first hand. He’s never loved a woman more…but neither would have a future together if they didn’t work together to battle a common enemy.

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At the end of the last book we saw Grover head to Afghanistan after receiving a letter from Sierra that was delayed a year. Grover never forgot her and was truly disappointed when he didn’t hear from her once he was home. The letter spurs him to something he knew would get him in trouble, get himself captured. Doing so has him finding Sierra and she’s in far better shape than he could have imagined.

This is one of many favorite scenes.

The second she heard voices coming toward her, she tensed. She knew better than to leap up and grab onto the bars of her cell, but oh how she wanted to. The lights their captors carried weren’t the brightest, but they put off enough of a glow for her to see Grover. He was barely able to walk, even with men on either si

e of him, holding onto his arms. He stumbled over his feet as they dragged in the dirt. Shahzada was nowhere to be seen, but the other men were grinning as if they’d just had the time of their lives.

Grover now wore nothing but a pair of boxer briefs, and she could see dark areas on his legs and torso. Blood. His face was a bloody mess as well. He’d obviously been hit repeatedly, and it made Sierra’s anger bubble under her skin, though she kept quiet and didn’t say a word as their captors opened the cell and threw Grover inside.

They turned around and left without a sound, and it wasn’t until she and Grover were once again alone, in the pitch darkness, that she left her spot against the far wall of her cell. Sierra crawled over to the other side and lay down. She reached her hand and arm between the bars, bending her elbow. The position was uncomfortable, but if Grover moved closer, she knew she’d be able to touch him. And she needed that more than she’d ever needed anything, ever.


He grunted.

“Scoot over here. Toward my voice. My hand is through the bars, I should be able to touch you if you get close enough.”

She heard slow movement in the cell next to hers and held her breath as he came closer. She jerked at the first touch of his fingers against hers, then grabbed hold when his hand brushed hers a second time. She could feel the dirt from the floor on her own skin, and wetness on Grover’s, which she knew was probably blood. But none of that mattered. He was alive, and warm, and she could feel his pulse hammering in his wrist.

She wasn’t sure what to say. She didn’t want to ask what happened; she already knew it was bad. Sierra thought back to everything she’d been through in the last year, and knew he’d probably suffered through as much—or more—as she had in the past.

“I’m okay,” Grover said softly.

His words were slightly garbled, and Sierra squeezed his hand. “You kinda sound a little like your namesake right now.”

He chuckled lightly, and the sound ran up her spine and curled around her heart. She wracked her brain to think of something to talk about, anything that might take his mind off the pain. “Did my hair look as bad as it feels?”


She assumed he was bullshitting her. Regardless, for the next fifteen minutes, she quietly told him the story of how she’d manipulated her captors until they actually thought it had been their idea to cut it. “I know it looks awful, that I have to look terrible, but it feels so much better this way.”

“Smart,” Grover said.

“If it makes you feel better, they’ll probably leave you alone for a few days now. They like us to be relatively healthy and strong before they try to break us again.”

Grover grunted.

“So that will give your team more time to get here.”

She heard him mumble something under his breath.

“What can I do to help?” She felt useless just lying there. Holding his hand didn’t feel like nearly enough.

“You’re doing it,” he replied. Then he asked, “Did they do this to you?”

“No,” Sierra said guiltily. “When they took me, some of Shahzada’s followers hadn’t ever tortured anyone before. I was practice. At least, that’s what I was told. They did really awful stuff, especially the waterboarding. But they didn’t usually draw blood. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman. Or maybe because I’m not a soldier and had no real useful information. I don’t know. But I feel guilty that they seem to have gone so light on me, comparatively.”

“Don’t,” Grover said. “They took your freedom. That’s bad enough.”

“I guess. Did you do what I told you?” she couldn’t help but ask. “Did you tell them what they wanted to know?”

“Didn’t ask anything,” Grover said. “Just beat on me. Shahzada especially.”

“Assholes,” she muttered, the hate easy to hear in her voice. “He’s jealous of you. Probably remembers how much your team was respected. From the little I’ve overheard in the last year…he seems pissed he hasn’t been able to get a better foothold in the Taliban network and is taking it out on his captives. I think he wants to move up faster, but he’s kidnapping the wrong people to make that happen.”

Grover grunted.

“I’m not saying his followers are good men, but they aren’t as bloodthirsty as Shahzada. They have families. Wives and children. I get the impression they like the idea of climbing the ranks, but aren’t willing to be as violent as Shahzada to get there.”

“Still gonna die.”

Sierra nodded. “I know. And I don’t feel bad about it. Not at all. Their fate was sealed when they sided with Shahzada.”

Grover didn’t reply, and after several long seconds, she felt his hand go lax in hers.

Sierra didn’t let go. She knew her arm would eventually fall asleep from the awkward position, but she didn’t care. She needed to keep this connection with Grover. She felt guilty that he’d been hurt so badly. Not once in the last year had she been tortured as heavily as Grover obviously was today.

She ran her thumb over the back of his hand. She’d have to let go eventually. Go back to the other side of her cell so when their captors hopefully returned with food in the morning, they wouldn’t know she and Grover had connected. If they did, Shahzada would certainly use that against them.

But for now, she stayed huddled against the edge of the dirt wall in her cell and held Grover’s hand as he slept. At least she hoped he was sleeping and hadn’t passed out. There was always the possibility that Shahzada had hit Grover hard enough to rupture something inside his body.

Moving a finger down so she could feel the pulse in his wrist, Sierra sighed in relief at the steady beat.

She’d been afraid to believe Grover earlier, when he’d told her his team would find them, but now she prayed harder than she’d prayed in the last year.

Find us. Grover needs you.
Stoker, Susan. Shielding Sierra (Delta Team Two Book 8) (Kindle Locations 487-536). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

Grover’s team does show up and they manage to accomplish getting them away and the well-deserved demise of Shahzada.

I really loved their homecoming, Tex met them at the airport with not only a phone for Sierra, but it was loaded with a slew of phone numbers she could call for anything she may need. He also arranged for both her and Grover to spend time at The Refuge, a facility catering to veterans and civilians alike who need respite from trauma and/or help for PTSD. I LOVE TEX!

Being home again is very challenging for Sierra, what with the reporters and the sympathy and pity. Her parent while supportive, can’t make everything better.

Grover arranges for them to head to The Refuge a bit earlier, and while there they spend a lot of time getting to know each other. Although you do know he wants her to move to Texas.

This is all just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I think I was screaming NO for a bit. Sierra shows incredible strength and initiative, there is no doubt that she and Grover are meant to be.

While I hate saying good-bye to this series, I loved the epilogue which not only wrapped up some things but also teased at upcoming books, all of which are now on my ‘Want to Read’ list.

Thank you, Susan, you never disappoint!

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Tennessee where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

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Shielding Ember – Delta Team 2 Book 7 by Susan Stoker

Shielding Ember
Delta Team 2 Book 7
NY Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker



For as long as she can remember, Ember Maxwell’s life hasn’t been her own. A world-renowned influencer, she’s a brand unto herself, created by her parents—who also want Olympic glory for their only daughter. Years of grueling training have led to Seoul, Korea, and a spot on the modern pentathlon team. It’s a turning point for Ember in more ways than one. Chafing against her parents’ tight reins, she opts to stay in the Olympic Village, a decision that leads to a gravely harrowing event…and a man unlike any she’s ever met.

Craig “Doc” Wagner has actively avoided the spotlight since childhood, a trend that’s continued with his career as a Delta Force soldier. Falling for someone whose entire life is splashed on social media is possibly the worst idea ever, though his attraction to Ember won’t be denied. It’s not long before he discovers they have plenty in common where it really matters…but he lives in Texas, and her life is in California. So Doc will take every stolen moment they can get.

When Ember makes a few life-changing decisions, Doc is thrilled. The same can’t be said for some of her biggest fans, including one who sees Ember’s new direction as the ultimate betrayal…that should cost her the ultimate price.


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The team is excited to be here at the Olympic games. It’s a choice assignment and while they will be providing additional security, they will also have the chance to see some events. One they really have to get to is baseball. Oz’s wife is soon to give birth so he’s not with them, his nephew Logan is a huge fan of Shin Soo Choo and they promised an autograph. Unfortunately for them that team is staying in a hotel instead of the Olympic village.

Surprisingly one person they didn’t expect to stay in the village does show up. Ember Maxwell is a world renowned influencer and a modern pentathlon team member. Her parents are the driving force behind it all and she is trying to break away from it all. For all her notoriety she appears uncomfortable under the attention she is attracting just by walking into the cafeteria.

Doc notices and rescues her, seating her with his team but then he leaves. The guys introduced themselves and for the rest of the meal put her at ease by talking about themselves and including her in the conversation. She honestly answered about where she’s from and how she got into the modern pentathlon, something she usually avoided.

She was however confused by Doc’s leaving, and polite declines their invite to join them for dinner later.

This is a favorite scene after dinner as Doc takes a walk around the dorms checking all is secure.

She gave him a tiny smile, then asked, “So why’d you leave then?”

Doc considered lying to her. Telling her he wasn’t hungry, or that he’d had a phone call to make. But he couldn’t do it. Something about the sadness in her eyes spoke to him. Drew him in like a moth to a flame. He knew she could possibly pierce the armor he kept around him at all times, but he couldn’t resist her. “Because you make me uncomfortable.”

Her brows furrowed. “I do?”


“I’m sorry.”

Doc shrugged. “Don’t be. It’s really me, not you.”

She gave him another small smile. “That sounds like a line,” she informed him.

“It’s not. You make me…feel things I don’t want to. I’m uncomfortable with the attention you garner. I’m used to hiding in the shadows, and you’re like a bright, shiny light. And anyone who gets near you is engulfed in that light.”

His words seemed to make her even sadder, which hadn’t been his intention.

“Yeah, that’s true. And since we’re being honest, I’d give anything to turn that light off. Just once. To hide in those shadows with you.”

They shared a long intimate gaze. He realized that she was being sincere.

He never would’ve guessed after seeing her Instagram page that Ember Maxwell was uncomfortable being in the spotlight, but he should’ve known. Social media was all bullshit. People said things to try to fit in, to seem more popular and interesting than they actually were. They claimed to be one kind of person, but in real life were completely different. And Ember was living proof of that…just not in the way he’d expected.

“What are you doing in here?” he asked.

She shrugged. “Trying to see the stars.”

That wasn’t the answer he’d expected. “Pardon?”

“The stars. Every night before I go to sleep, I sit in my window and look up. The world is such a huge place, and seeing the stars twinkling reminds me that there’s so much more out there than my narrow little life. But I can’t see them from my room. There’s another dorm right outside my window and the lights from it make it impossible to see anything. So I came down here. But the view’s not much better.”

“I can see them from my room,” Doc blurted.

She stared at him again.

“Look…you don’t know me, but I swear on my honor as a US Army soldier that you’re safe with me. If you want to come to my room for a while, to look at the stars, I’d be okay with that.” Doc knew that sounded like the worst pick-up line ever, but he didn’t regret the offer.

“My room must be on the other side of the hall from yours,” he went on. “I face the stadium and the track. When a game or match is going on, you can’t see anything because of the lights, but tonight it’s quiet and there aren’t any clouds, so you should be able to see the stars.”


He wasn’t surprised she was skeptical of his offer. “Because regardless of my actions earlier, I usually don’t shy away from things that make me uncomfortable. Hell, my entire life has been uncomfortable. Letting you sit in my room for a while isn’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. And if it’ll help you be able to sleep, so you can be on top of your game when you compete, compete, all the better. I’ll even stay in here if you want, so you’ll feel more comfortable.”

Ember wrinkled her nose, and Doc couldn’t help but think it was adorable.

“I’m not kicking you out of your room. People might think I’m a diva, but I’m not.”

Doc took a deep breath and stepped toward her, holding out his hand in invitation. “Then let’s do this, so you can get some sleep. I’d never forgive myself if you lost out on a medal because you were exhausted from staying up too late.”

She gave him a shy smile. “Trust me, I’ve gone plenty of nights with not enough sleep. Especially before a competition. That won’t be the reason I don’t medal.”

Doc stayed where he was, with his arm outstretched, practically holding his breath as she came toward him.

He had a sudden feeling that the second she touched him, his life was going to change forever.

For good or bad? That was the question.

Their fingers touched, then she was gripping his hand tightly.

As Doc turned and headed for his room, Ember’s hand tucked in his, he knew he was right. Knew his life had taken a turn.

It was ridiculous. He didn’t know Ember, and she didn’t know him. Her life was everything he didn’t want—fame and fortune and the limelight. But he could’ve no sooner walked away from her in this moment than he could turn his back on his family.

He’d caught a glimpse of the real Ember Maxwell hidden below the glitz and glamour she showed the world. And he was intrigued. Wanted to know more about her. Wanted to know everything about her.

It made no sense…but then, being with her right now made more sense than just about anything he’d done in his life.

He kept hold of her hand and led her into his room, only reluctantly letting go to push the one chair in the room over to the window. He walked to the bathroom and flicked on the light, then turned off the lamp on his bedside table. It would be easier to see the stars in a completely dark room, but he figured she’d be more comfortable alone with him if the room wasn’t pitch black. Finally he headed back to the window, pulled up the blinds and took a step back, gesturing to the chair as he did. “Your throne, my lady.”

Ember rolled her eyes but walked toward the chair and sat. She looked up, and Doc heard her sigh in appreciation. “Oh, yeah. This is what I needed.” She leaned forward, as if that would get her closer to the stars she was admiring.

Doc took a step back. Neither said a word for several long moments. Ember was soaking in whatever it was the stars did for her, and Doc soaked in the view of the beautiful woman sitting in his room.
Stoker, Susan. Shielding Ember (Delta Team Two Book 7). Kindle Locations (422-468). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

Doc and Ember really connect as they get to know each other. There’s also a lot of things going on behind the scenes. We see this Alex person who is more than a little stalkerish and of course there’s gonna be some excitement before the games are over.

Once again a Susan Stoker book I couldn’t put down, with action, suspense, laughter, tears, romance and some sizzle.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming Soon!


Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Tennessee where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

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Trusting Molly – Silverstone Book 3 By Susan Stoker

Trusting Molly
Silverstone Book 3
NY Times, Wall Street Journal &
USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker


When Mark “Smoke” Chamberlin ventures into the Nigerian jungle with his team of government assassins, his mission is clear: get in, kill the target, and make it out alive. With his extensive military experience, Smoke has no problem heading into dangerous territory. When it comes to love, though, he’s always been a little wary. But then he meets the beautiful, intrepid Molly Smith.

Schoolteacher Molly has been trying to outrun a lifetime of bad luck, and now she finds herself kidnapped along with a hundred schoolgirls in the jungle. But when Smoke finds them, Molly thinks her luck might be turning around—until she returns to the US to find her beloved grandparents murdered.

Devastated by their deaths and mystified by the turn of events, Molly turns to Smoke for comfort. But as Molly and Smoke grow closer, a different threat emerges…one that will put their relationship to the test and their lives in grave danger.

Mark “Smoke” Chamberlin and his team finally found the camp of the Boko Haram group that kidnapped seventy two young girls from their school. The leader needs to be taken out and the girls rescued, hopefully they’d find the American Environmental Engineer with these girls. Molly Smith was visiting the school when the attack happened. As they worked out their plan they scanned the area but don’t see Molly. They are pretty sure she’d been killed and dumped in the jungle since she wasn’t a child, they’d really like to confirm that one way or another. No one was looking for her, her grandparents died in a fire not long ago and her company pulled everyone out of Nigeria after the attack. Waiting was difficult for the Silverstone crew, but they need to wait for the Nigerian Security Forces. There were too many terrorists for them to handle on top of their mission to kill Abubakar Shekau.

Molly had managed to cause trouble early in their captivity and was now in a hole dug into the jungle floor. She knew her time was running out, the water that had been at the bottom of the hole was dried up and further digging didn’t find more. She wouldn’t be able to survive without water. In a twist of fate it started to rain that evening, and Molly was grateful for it. She had no idea what was going to happen next.

Smoke was more than a little surprised to fall into a hole, and more so to discover Molly there. He has to leave her to help his team, but he promises to return and leaves his pack with her.

This is one of my favorite scenes.

“You said you found Molly?” Gramps asked.

“Yeah. I need to go back to her,” Smoke said. He turned and headed behind one of the large tents, straight toward the hole where she was being held. His teammates followed close behind. Smoke knew he should be paying attention to the jungle around him, as it was more than likely some of the terrorists had fled into the dense foliage, but his eyes were glued to the ground.

The hole wasn’t exactly hidden. Her captors hadn’t tried to camouflage it.

“Holy shit, are you fucking kidding me?” Bull asked as they neared Molly’s prison.

“Please tell me she’s not in there,” Eagle added.

“Assholes,” Gramps threw in for good measure.

Smoke didn’t blame his friends for their reactions. They’d seen many of the horrible things one human could do to another during their stint in the Army and as Silverstone. They definitely hated to see anyone, especially a woman, put into a hole and left to rot.

Lifting the strap of his rifle over his head and shoulders, Smoke got down on his hands and knees and crawled the remaining few feet to the hole. He didn’t want to risk any debris falling in on Molly.

He peered over the edge—and blinked in surprise. Molly had obviously been through his pack, as she was now wearing one of his extra T-shirts. She’d tied it in a knot at her waist, and he could also see the ends of the rope he’d told her to use as a belt dangling down her legs. She was sitting on his pack, and her head was resting on the dirt wall behind her. Her eyes were closed . . . and she looked as if she was sound asleep.

“Molly?” Smoke called out.

She jerked as if he’d bellowed her name right into her ear, losing her balance and falling off his pack and into the mud at the bottom of the hole.

“I’m here!” she called, then looked up. “Are you all right?”

Smoke frowned. She was asking him if he was okay? Admiration bloomed in his chest. “I’m good. You want to get out of there?”

“Yes!” she practically shouted as she stood up.

“There should be a makeshift ladder somewhere in camp. That’s how I got in here, and how the assholes who kidnapped me got me out whenever they wanted to make a point.”

Smoke didn’t like the sound of that, but he let it go for now. “No need for a ladder,” he told her. “Can you scoot over until your back is against the wall?”

She looked confused but immediately did as he asked. Smoke turned to look at his teammates. “I’m going down. I’ll give her a boost up, then I’ll need a hand.”

“Of course,” Gramps said, shrugging off his own pack and getting ready to assist.

“I’m coming down,” Smoke warned Molly.

“What? No, wait—”

But Smoke was already moving. He sat on the edge of the hole, then hopped back down into the pit.

“I don’t know whether to be impressed or pissed that you make that look so easy,” Molly complained.

Smoke grinned, then ran his gaze over her, assessing. She looked rough. There was no denying that. But then again, so did he. He hadn’t shaved in a month, and other than using a washcloth to clean himself, he hadn’t had a real bath in that same amount of time. He and his team had been scouring the jungle for any signs of Boko Haram and the kidnapped girls. While they’d had the option to stay in a few small villages, they’d decided to rough it instead, just in case they came across any Boko Haram sympathizers.

But he hadn’t been starved. Hadn’t literally slept in the dirt. He’d washed his clothes in a couple of the small streams they’d come across, and he’d had plenty of water, thanks to the filters and purification tablets he and the others carried.

Molly hadn’t had any of that. He had no idea how long she’d been kept in this hole, though it was obvious it had been more than a day or two. But amazingly, she stood in front of him right now, upright and unwavering.

If Smoke was being honest with himself, he was a little bit intimidated by her strength.

“You ready to get out of here?”

“Yes.” Her answer was short, but the emotion behind that one word was clear.

“Right. My friends will help you at the top, all you have to do is put your foot in my hands, and I’ll lift you. Easy peasy. You ready?”

Molly looked up and saw Bull, Eagle, and Gramps standing at the top, waiting to help her. Then she looked back at him.
“Am I allowed to ask what your name is?” she asked quietly.

“Shit. I haven’t even introduced myself to you. Wow, is that rude. I’m Mark Chamberlin. But everyone calls me Smoke.” He held out his hand.

“I’m Molly,” she said politely as she shook his hand. “It’s very nice to meet you.”

Smoke held on to her hand for a beat, then squeezed it gently before letting go. He interlaced his fingers together and leaned over. “Put your foot here,” he told her, gesturing to his hands with his head.

She put her hand on his shoulder to steady herself, then placed her tiny bare foot into his hands trustingly. Moving slowly so as to not startle her, Smoke stood as Molly walked her hands up the side of the hole, and the second she was within reach, his teammates took hold of her arms and pulled her up and out of her prison without fanfare.

Once she was out, Smoke picked up his pack and shrugged it on. Then he held up a hand, and Gramps grabbed hold. Within seconds, he, too, was standing beside the hole.

“Well, that was almost a little anticlimactic,” Molly said, running a hand uneasily over her hair.

“Trust us, anticlimactic is good,” Gramps said. “We prefer things to be unexciting, if possible. I’m Gramps.”

Molly looked up at him. “I think you’re taller than that hole I was in,” she noted as she shook his hand.

He smiled back at her but didn’t comment.

“I’m Eagle,” Eagle said, as he extended his hand.

Bull then introduced himself, and Molly smiled at them all. “And I’m Molly, but I’m guessing you all knew that.”

Everyone nodded. “We’re very glad to see you alive and well,” Eagle told her.

“Well . . . alive. I’m not sure about well,” Molly quipped.

“You’re sick?” Smoke asked, concern lacing his voice.

She shrugged. “I just meant that I’m a little worse for wear.”

Smoke knew he should’ve relaxed at her explanation, but he couldn’t seem to. Why he felt so bothered by her discomfort about the way she looked, he had no idea.
Stoker, Susan. Trusting Molly (Silverstone). Kindle Locations (429-487). Montlake. Kindle Edition.

The original plan was for Molly to go with the other girls, but that changes as soon as they see how the girls treat her. Blaming her for their kidnapping. The fact Molly considers herself bad luck is something the guys especially Smoke want to change her mind about.

They take their time getting back to their truck and on the way they tell Molly about her grandparents. They also learn about Molly’s ex who was her reason for taking the overseas assignment.

I love the Silverstone team. The relationship that develops with Smoke and Molly is a simmer to sizzle one as they work through all the issues to keep Molly safe.

I couldn’t put this book down!

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming Soon!

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

Susan Stoker is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her series include Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, Delta Force Heroes, and Mountain Mercenaries. Married to a retired Army non-commissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri and California to Colorado and Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website, or find her on Facebook. Links below.

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Trusting Taylor – Silverstone Book 2 by Susan Stoker

Trusting Taylor
Silverstone Book 2
NY Times, Wall Street Journal &
USA Today Bestselling Author

Susan Stoker


Former military man turned government assassin Kellan “Eagle” Trowbridge isn’t looking for love. He’d rather keep his head down at his cover job as an employee of Silverstone Towing. That all changes, however, when he meets Taylor Cardin.

Beautiful, smart, and witty Taylor instantly falls for the mysterious tow truck driver, who comforts her both in the aftermath of the car crash she sees firsthand and when the police dismiss her as a credible witness because of her prosopagnosia, or face blindness. Eagle, on the other hand, can remember every person he’s ever met—and the two counterparts forge an immediate connection. But someone else is just as intrigued by Taylor’s unique condition as Eagle is…and his intentions are downright deadly.

Soon, Eagle and Taylor are too caught up in each other to see the danger that’s approaching. But as time runs out, they’ll discover their love isn’t the only thing fighting to survive.

Kellan ‘Eagle’ Trowbridge met Taylor Cardin under interesting circumstances. She’d witnessed an altercation in the grocery store parking lot and while she’d given what information she could, she wouldn’t be able to identify anyone later. She has a rare condition Prosopagnosia, she can’t remember faces, not even her own. Unlike the other witnesses she was off to the side waiting to be let go. Once they told her she could go all she wanted to do was get her shopping done fast. She hated it.

This is just one of my favorite scenes.

Instead of telling her what was on his list, he showed her. With Archer away, the employees took turns cooking, and they’d made a list of things for him to buy so they could put together meals. It was a hot mess, with ingredients scribbled in no particular order on the notepad kept on the refrigerator. Most of the time when he shopped, he just started at the top and worked his way down, having to backtrack several times throughout the store to get stuff from an aisle he’d already been down. It was a pain in the ass, and part of the reason he hated the chore.

“What is this?” Taylor asked, squinting at his list.

“Everything I need to buy,” Eagle replied, telling her something she obviously already knew. “The employees at the station write down what they want, and I shop.”

“Holy crap, this is awful,” she told him. “No wonder you hate shopping.”

Eagle couldn’t help it—he laughed. “I was just thinking the same thing.”

“Okay, first things first, we need to put some order to this,” Taylor said, grabbing her cart and heading for an empty part of the produce section, out of the way of the other shoppers. She reached into her purse and rummaged around for a moment before pulling out a pen and a receipt.

“This isn’t ideal, but it’ll have to do,” she mumbled. Then she propped his list on top of her purse, which was sitting in the child seat of the cart, and bent over the receipt. She’d turned it over and was writing on the blank back side.

“Okay, you’ve got muffin mix down twice, but they didn’t say what kind, so I think you should get blueberry and cinnamon raisin. If they don’t like it, tough, they should’ve specified. Eggs are on here three times, so maybe if you get two dozen, that should be good enough for a week. And if it’s too much, they’ll keep until next time. Fresh fruit? What kind? Jeez, they need to be more specific. No wonder you hate this; no one tells you exactly what they want, so they’re setting you up to fail. Fine . . . how about apples, peaches, and grapes? If they want something else, they’ll have to be more specific next time. Ground hamburger, chicken breasts, and shrimp . . . that’s easy enough.”

Eagle observed Taylor as she completely took over his list. She was scribbling furiously on the back of the receipt, and he couldn’t help but smile as she continually mumbled under her breath while she wrote. It was as if the rest of the world ceased to exist. It was cute as fuck—but it also concerned him as well.

“Taylor?” a voice called out, making her jerk in surprise.

Eagle turned and saw a middle-aged woman coming toward them, smiling brightly.

“I thought that was you. How are you? It’s been forever since I’ve seen you!” the woman enthused.

Glancing at Taylor, Eagle saw that she hadn’t been lying about her condition . . . not that he’d thought she had. She had absolutely no idea who the woman standing near them was—the woman who was waiting to be acknowledged.

It truly dawned on him for the first time how frustrating and difficult not recognizing anyone might be.

Plastering a smile on his face, he stepped forward and held out a hand to the woman. “I’m Eagle, a friend of Taylor’s. I don’t think we’ve met?”

And just as he knew she would, the woman turned her attention to him. “Oh, hi. I’m Wanda Wright.”

“Nice to meet you. How do you know Taylor?” Eagle asked as he shook her hand.

“We used to live in the same apartment complex,” the chatty woman volunteered. “I moved out last year to another complex closer to my son’s. His wife left him and their two kids, and I wanted to be closer to help out.”

“How are Gail and Bobby doing?” Taylor asked softly from behind him.

Eagle dropped the woman’s hand and took a step back.

“Oh, they’re doing great!” Wanda gushed. “They’re flourishing in school and are growing like weeds.”

“And your son? He’s okay?” Taylor asked.

“He had a hard time of it for a while, but I think he’s finally realized the bitch he married did him a favor by leaving. The divorce went through, and he got full custody . . . not that she contested it at all. She was more concerned with her new twenty-year-old boyfriend to want to deal with kids. Her loss. And how’re things going with you?”

Eagle tuned out the conversation and concentrated on observing Taylor. As soon as Wanda had approached, she’d tensed, her fingers curling into her palms. But she looked relaxed now. The two women talked about some of Taylor’s neighbors and commiserated about the woes of apartment living.

“I’ve taken up enough of your time,” Wanda said after a while. “It was great to see you again. I was happy to move closer to my grandbabies, but I was sorry to say goodbye to you.”

“I’m glad things are working out for you,” Taylor told her.

Wanda smiled huge and said her goodbyes.

After Wanda had pushed her cart away, Taylor turned to Eagle.

“Thank you.”

“For what?” Eagle asked, playing dumb.

Taylor frowned. “You know what. I had no idea who that was, and you seamlessly stepped in and made her introduce herself.”

Eagle looked into her dark-brown eyes and said, “You don’t know me, and like you said, you have no reason to trust me. But you absolutely can. I’m going to prove it.”

She didn’t say anything, but didn’t drop her gaze either.
Stoker, Susan. Trusting Taylor (Silverstone). Kindle Locations (250-296). Montlake. Kindle Edition.

Now that they’ve bonded over the grocery store, Eagle is more than a little determined to have this awesome woman meet the rest of the crew. He’s certain she could use some friends that won’t judge her.

Then there’s that guy who’s watching Taylor for an entirely different and scary reason. We get glimpses of him throughout and dang this is nail-biting. All of that while Eagle and Taylor get closer and more into their relationship.

I truly love the way Susan takes on difficult, sometimes rare conditions with compassion and understanding. I know you won’t be able to put this book down.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Coming Soon!

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

Susan Stoker is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her series include Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, Delta Force Heroes, and Mountain Mercenaries. Married to a retired Army non-commissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri and California to Colorado and Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website, or find her on Facebook. Links below.

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Falling for the Delta – A Duet by Susan Stoker and Riley Edwards

Falling for the Delta
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker
USA Today Bestselling Author
Riley Edwards


When Delta operatives Dash and Magic officially meet Holly and Stella—the women they’ve had their eyes on—it’s hardly a conventional moment, but the fireworks are undeniable. Both men fall hard, fast, and deep, each planning a Valentine’s Day their women will never forget. And they don’t…but for reasons no one saw coming.

These interconnected but separate stories were originally published in a Valentine’s Day Anthology. They have been expanded and now include an epilogue for each story as well as extra content!

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This is my favorite scene. It’s in both books and had me laughing out loud so I’m putting it first.

“Stella!” Holly snapped, trying to get her best friend’s attention. But Stella was far too focused on climbing the stupid tree next to her neighbor’s balcony.

Stella and Holly had clicked the first time they’d met at their job on Fort Hood Army base in Texas. They’d both just been hired and had been going through new employee orientation. One of the presenters had said something stupid, Holly couldn’t remember what it was now, but when Stella had turned to her and opened both eyes wide as if to say, “Oh my God, was that a stupid thing to say,” Holly knew she was someone she wanted to get to know better.

And now, five years later, they were closer than ever—even if at first glance they seemed to be complete opposites. Holly was short whereas Stella was tall. Holly had dark hair, Stella light. Holly was more reserved, while Stella was outgoing and not afraid to try new things…like climb a tree to get onto her neighbor’s balcony so she could climb over the railing and break into her own apartment.

And not just any neighbor either. The hot-as-hell Delta force operative she’d been crushing on for ages. The day he’d moved in, Stella had texted Holly and given her a blow by blow of what was happening. As hard as Stella had worked to try to finagle a way to run into him by “accident,” their schedules just seemed too different to have a more casual passing-in-the-parking-lot kind of interaction.

It figured that today of all days, when Stella had locked herself out, Stella’s apartment manager was out of town and her friend had already borrowed the extra key she’d given to Holly for situations exactly like this one. A key that was currently locked inside her apartment, along with the one Stella had forgotten.

But like usual, Stella wasn’t going to let a little thing like not having a key slow her down. Stella swore the door to her balcony was unlocked and all it would take to get inside was her getting up there.

On one hand, they were both thrilled it was an unseasonably warm day for Texas in January. Stella had on shorts, as it was a weekend and she took every opportunity to wear casual clothes when they didn’t have to work. But on the other hand, shorts weren’t exactly great for tree-climbing.

“We have a problem,” Holly told Stella as she stood under her, attempting to balance with her friend on her shoulders. Holly had no idea what Stella thought she was going to do if she actually fell. There was no way she could actually catch her, but just staring up at her felt wrong. So after Stella actually got hold of the branch, Holly hovered under her like a nervous mother.

But they definitely had another problem at the moment. More than Stella’s shirt getting snagged on a branch and her flashing the entire neighborhood when she’d first attempted to shimmy up the tree.

“We don’t have a problem,” Stella grunted as she did her best to reach upward toward the thicker branch above her head. She had her legs and arms wrapped around the lower branch like a monkey. She hung there for a moment, then exclaimed, “I almost have it!”

“I told you to give me your spare key back,” Holly complained.

“Whoop-whoop, I got it!” Stella crowed.

Deep laughter sounded from behind Holly, and she turned to look again at the two men she’d seen approaching. She’d tried to warn Stella that they were no longer alone, but as usual, her friend was completely focused on the task at hand and oblivious to what was going on around her.

“Girl, you need a throat lozenge,” Stella said, apparently thinking the men’s laughter came from Holly, as she began to shimmy hand over hand across the branch that led right to her neighbor’s balcony.

“Abort mission!” Holly said.

“Are you crazy? I’m almost there!”

Holly gave up trying to warn her friend. How Holly always seemed to find herself in embarrassing situations like this when she was around Stella, she didn’t know.

When the two men laughed again, Stella finally turned to look down. She froze mid-swing and hung from the tree branch halfway to her goal. “Why didn’t you tell me?” she hissed.

“I told you we had a problem,” Holly insisted.

Stella began to mumble under her breath, something about the scrapes she’d gotten on her knees and tearing her shirt, but all of Holly’s attention was on the two men.

Figured it was none other than the sexy neighbor and his equally gorgeous friend. Why couldn’t it have been the maintenance man—the guy with the huge paunch and who smelled like bacon all the time?

Holly hadn’t really admitted to Stella that she was interested in her neighbor’s friend. If she had, her friend would’ve been relentless in trying to set them up. For some reason, Stella felt it was her goal in life to get Holly a boyfriend.

So Holly had admired the other man from afar. It seemed as if she saw him all over post too. They apparently liked to eat lunch at the same place in the PX, a small sub kiosk inside the lobby of the post exchange building. She’d smiled at him a few times but had never worked up the nerve to actually talk to him.

And now, here he was, laughing at them.

“Are you open to suggestions?” Stella’s neighbor asked, but Holly couldn’t take her eyes off his friend. He was tall, but not too tall. Muscular, of course. Had brown hair that was longer than most soldiers were allowed, most likely because he was a special forces operative. His hazel eyes were locked on hers, which made Holly’s heart speed up until she was afraid she was going to have a heart attack.

Her attention was jerked back to Stella when she screeched. But her neighbor stepped forward and caught her friend before she hit the ground. It was like a scene from one of the romance books she loved to read.

“Gotcha,” he said in a deep, rumbly voice. “You’re bleeding,” he added.

“Yeah, that happened when she said she knew how to climb a tree. Obviously, she’s not very good at it,” Holly explained helpfully. It felt better when she concentrated on her friend and tried to ignore the handsome man now standing next to her.

“Let’s get you upstairs and get your knees cleaned up,” Stella’s neighbor said.

“She’s locked out,” Holly blurted. Stella turned and gave her a shut-up face. In return, Holly widened her eyes and gave her a small headshake.

Both men chuckled once more.

“Come on, Lucy and Ethel, we’ll go to my place then and get you cleaned up.”
Stoker, Susan; Edwards, Riley. Falling for the Delta. Kindle Locations (59-110). Kindle Edition.

From this point the books go off to the individual and intertwining stories.

Dash & Holly
Susan Stoker

Instead Dash leads Holly off, and assures her Stella is in good hands and safe. Then proceeds to inform her she’s safe as well and she could a text of his license plate to Stella for good measure.

As these two start getting to know each other, they stay in the car in the parking lot of her apartment complex. This leads to an interesting encounter with law enforcement.

However, they find they have much in common. Holly is not only beautiful, she’s intelligent and has almost as high a security clearance as he has, maybe even higher.

Meeting for lunch at the PX becomes a staple as these two get closer. Then one of these lunches isn’t calm and fun at all.

Plenty of romance, a bit of action and a touch of heat.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

Magic & Stella
Riley Edwards

Magic was more than a little amused at Stella’s antics in the tree outside his apartment. He takes Stella to his apartment, more than a little curious as to how she was planning on getting into her locked apartment from his balcony. He has a lot to say on the subject as he’s cleaning her scrapes.

He wasn’t quite prepared for her to identify him as Delta, and even more surprised to learn she’d been in on OPSEC briefings. He’s also very relieved to find she’s a civilian contractor and not military. It makes life easier.

They too enjoy the ritual of lunch at the PX together, until that one fateful day.

Lot’s of laughter, romance, some action and a touch of sizzle.

5 Contented Purrs for Riley!

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Tennessee where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

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Riley Edwards is a bestselling multi-genre author, wife, and military mom. Riley was born and raised in Los Angeles but now resides on the east coast with her fantastic husband and children.

Riley writes heart-stopping romance with sexy alpha heroes and even stronger heroines. Riley’s favorite genres to write are romantic suspense and military romance.

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Shielding Devyn – Delta Force Two Book 6 by Susan Stoker

Shielding Devyn
Delta Team 2 Book 6
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker


When Devyn Groves needed a place to go, to get away, she headed for Texas, to the town her Delta Force special forces brother lived. She never thought she’d stay, she just needed a safe refuge for a while. But then she met one of her brother’s teammates.

Troy “Lucky” Schmidt fell for Devyn the moment he met her. But she was skittish, and seemingly not interested in any kind of relationship. But he slowly wore her down and convinced her to take a chance on him.

But when the reason she fled her hometown shows up unexpectedly, Lucky has a feeling the woman he loves more than anything is ready to bolt once more. But when danger strikes out of nowhere, Lucky, and the rest of his Delta team, have to band together to find one of their own.

Shielding Devyn is the 6th book in the Delta Team Two Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

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Devyn Groves is Grover’s sister, she moved to Texas to be near her brother when things closer to home became unbearable for her. She won’t tell anyone what’s wrong and Grover’s really worried about her even with her assurances she’s not sick again.

Troy ‘Lucky’ Schmidt is one of Grover’s teammates, and he wants to date Devyn. He wants to be the one to break down the walls she’s built around her. He seems to be making some headway but she still won’t confide in him knowing he wouldn’t keep secrets from her brother. Grover offers advice of getting a pet to assist him in winning Devyn over and Lucky does more than give it a thought. He goes to the shelter and adopts a dog and a cat that had bonded but the staff couldn’t get them acclimated and they had been on the kill list for the end of the week.

This is a favorite scene when Lucky calls Devyn after realizing he can’t take his new pets into the store to get food and stuff.

He clicked on the Bluetooth in his car and selected Devyn’s number. Grover had told him that Devyn had the day off today.


Everything about Devyn appealed to Lucky. Even her husky voice. “Hey. It’s Lucky.”

“What’s up?”

“I need your help. But I want to make things really clear from the start—your brother told me to do this as a way to manipulate you. To give me a way to spend more time with you and to make sure you’re all right. But that’s not what this is,” Lucky said.

Devyn chuckled nervously. “Oooookay. That sounds ominous.”

“I just didn’t want Grover to say something later and have you misconstrue it. I mean, I don’t think it’s a secret that I want to spend time with you. That I like you a hell of a lot. But I didn’t do this as a way to force you to hang with me. I want you to want that because you like me back.”

“You’re making me very nervous,” Devyn said. “But I appreciate your honesty. And while we’re being honest, I like hanging out with you already, you don’t have to come up with fancy excuses.”

“I appreciate that,” Lucky said, although he was afraid to ask if she liked hanging out with him as a friend of her brother’s, or if the possibility for more existed. He was too much of a chicken at the moment to even go there.

“So…what do you need me to help you with?” she asked.

“I kind of adopted a dog and a cat, and I have nothing for them. No food, no litter box, no beds. And I need it all. But I don’t want to leave them alone in my townhouse while I go out, and I can’t bring them into a store with me. I was hoping maybe you wouldn’t mind picking up some stuff and bringing it to my place? And when you get there—if they’re okay with it—maybe taking a peek at them to check them over? Health-wise.”

There was silence on the other end of the phone for a long moment.

“Devyn? Are you still there?”

“I’m here. You kind of adopted a dog and a cat?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Lucky sighed. “Grover suggested that it would help me get in your good graces, but honestly, I’ve been thinking about getting a pet for a while. I grew up with animals, and with everyone getting married and having babies, we’ve all been hanging out a lot less outside of work. And I’m not afraid to say it—my place is lonely. So I thought I’d get a cat. Except, then we walked by a kennel with a dog and a cat. A bonded pair. They were scheduled to be euthanized later this week. I couldn’t leave them.”

“Holy shit, Lucky’s a total softie,” Devyn murmured.

“Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone,” he joked.

Then he sobered. “They’re scared to death, Dev. Skittish as hell. It’s breaking my heart to think about why they’re so scared of people. I got them to trust me at the shelter, but I have a feeling they’ll be completely freaked out when I get them home. I just…I need help.”

“I can be there in forty minutes or so,” Devyn said without hesitation. “Do you have their records? Did the shelter give them any medical care?”

“Yeah. They’ve both been spayed, so they’re both female. They’ve got mats in their fur, and I think they’re both underweight, but the shelter gave them all the required shots…rabies, parvo, kennel cough, that sort of thing.”

“Okay, that’s good. You know I’m not a vet, right?” she asked.

“I know, but you’re a damn good vet tech. I realize I need to bring them in for a complete workover, but I can’t do that when they’re so scared. They need time to relax. To see that they’re safe with me. That I won’t hurt them. And shoving them back into this crate and hauling them off to be poked and prodded isn’t going to do a damn thing to make them trust me.”

“You’re…This is a side of you I haven’t seen before,” Devyn admitted.

“What, a Delta Force Operative can’t be concerned about two helpless animals?” Lucky asked, a little snappier than he probably should’ve.

“It’s not that. It’s just…most people wouldn’t care this much about a stray dog and cat.”

“I’ve seen a lot of shit on missions—animals being abused in the worst ways—and I haven’t been able to do a damn thing about it. But I could do something for Angel and Whiskers.”

“Do you have a preference for food or anything else?” Devyn asked in a tone Lucky couldn’t interpret.

He mentally kicked himself for talking about abused animals. “No. Although neither are really young, so don’t get kitten or puppy food. Oh, and I’m thinking a pink collar for Angel; she seems as if she’d like that. Don’t get retractable leashes, those are dangerous as hell. And get Whiskers a harness so she can go on walks with us. I have a feeling she won’t be happy if I take Angel for a walk and she doesn’t get to come too. And the dog bed should be really fuzzy. Big enough for a thirty-pound dog and ten-pound cat, because they’re inseparable. They don’t weigh that much right now, but I’m sure I’ll overfeed them when they give me the pathetic dog and cat eyes. Oh, and toys! Get some harder ones Angel can chew on, and some of the stuffed ones. We’ll have to see if she destroys them to get to the squeaker inside or not. And catnip stuff for Whiskers—”

Devyn burst out laughing.

“What?” Lucky asked.

“Nothing. So you want me to get half the store then?”

Lucky chuckled. “I’m being ridiculous, I know. But you didn’t see them, Dev. They need pampering more than anyone I’ve seen in a very long time. You’re gonna fall in love the second you meet them.”

“I’m sure I will,” Devyn said quietly. “Okay, I’m out of here. I’ll be at your place as soon as I can. I’m not sure how much stuff will fit in my Mini Cooper though. Do you need a crate?”

“Yeah, I think I do. They’ll feel safer in there. I need to bring the one the shelter gave me back to them. It’ll be a place they can hide in if they need to. I’m thinking a plastic one. Medium. I can call Grover or one of the other guys to pick it up if it won’t fit in your car. You really do need something bigger, Dev.”

“Nope. I love my Mini. It’s old, but it runs great and it’s not boring, like a sedan would be. I’ll see what I can do about the crate. I agree with you that if Angel and Whiskers are already skittish, having a crate for them is a good idea.”

“Thanks for helping me out,” Lucky said.

“Of course. See you soon.”

Lucky clicked off the phone at the same time he pulled into the parking space in front of his townhouse. He lived in an end unit in a row with five others. His neighbors were mostly military families, and he’d never had any issues with anyone. He had no idea if Angel was a barker, but he hoped not for his neighbors’ sakes. So far he hadn’t heard the dog make a sound, so he hoped that boded well for his future relationships with his neighbors.

“We’re home,” he told his passengers. “I know this is all very scary, but I promise your lives will be smooth sailing from here on out.”
Stoker, Susan. Shielding Devyn (Delta Team Two Book 6) Kindle Locations (374-429). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

This certainly is an major ice breaker for these two and eventually they reach a compromise on what’s bothering her. Unfortunately the problem shows up in Texas and brings some trouble with it.

I love this story, the new pets and all the guys. There’s fun, laughter, tears, some OMG and some sizzle as well. You should also know that Susan is driving us crazy with peeks of Sierra at the end of all these books.

I can’t wait for the next book in this series, which still isn’t Sierra’s LOL.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming Soon!

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Tennessee where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

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A New Series!!! Finding Elodie – SEAL Team Hawaii Book 1 by Susan Stoker

Finding Elodie
SEAL Team Hawaii Book 1
NY Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker


Renowned chef Elodie Winters’ dream job, private chef to a powerful family in New York, quickly becomes a nightmare when her employer turns out to be the head of a notorious mob family. Now on the run, she thinks she’s finally safe, having landed in the middle of the Arabian Sea, cook on the Asaka Express cargo ship. When the ship is taken by pirates, she can’t believe her bad luck…but it’s about to take a turn for the better.

Scott “Mustang” Webber is pulled from his current mission, along with the rest of his SEAL team, to prevent an act of piracy in the Middle East. They’re all surprised when the first person to radio for help is a woman. He soon senses “Rachel Walters” is hiding something, and offers his help. He’s both shocked and pleased when she actually comes looking for him in Hawaii months later. He’d felt a connection with her on that cargo ship…one he’s looking forward to exploring further.

Keeping Elodie safe in Hawaii turns out to be easy…until it isn’t. Long days in paradise have a way of making one complacent. Now Mustang is working against the clock and the elements themselves, as he faces his greatest mission ever—finding Elodie.

Finding Elodie is the 1st book in the SEAL Team Hawaii Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

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When Elodie Winters ran from her situation in New York she never expected to be in the situation she was now. She changed her name to Rachel Walters, became the chief cook on a large cargo ship and the last thing she expected was for it to be boarded by pirates. Sure it was a possibility but it had been many years since such a thing had happened. When the Captain made the announcement she headed to the galley with her emergency radio. Using the radio she got an answer from the USS Paul Hamilton.

Admiral Light answers her and the SEAL team from Hawaii is with him. They were already in the gulf when the distress call went out but they had no information other than they were being boarded and needed immediate assistance. Hearing from ‘Rachel’ was their first break. She gave them the little information she knew and the channel to the bridge that had been opened.

Mustang ‘Scott’ and his team Midas, Aleck, Pid, Jag, and Slate would be the first to board the ship. After securing the bridge they head floor by floor, until they find one of the pirates and ‘Rachel’.

This is a favorite scene.

When a radio suddenly crackled and one of his fellow pirates began speaking, Elodie nearly leaped out of her skin. She jolted badly and almost dropped the knife she was holding, which would’ve been a disaster.

The man on the other end of the radio sounded agitated, and Elodie wished she knew what he was saying. The man next door swore…at least, that’s what she thought he was doing.

Then he yelled, “If anyone is here, you come out now. I won’t kill!”

Elodie didn’t dare move a muscle.

“If you hide, you die!”

She still didn’t move. Elodie wondered briefly who the man suspected was down here before he suddenly shot off a volley of rounds from his rifle. She jerked and gasped. Luckily, the sound of the shots was slightly muted, since the pirate was shooting in the pantry behind a closed door.

“That was warning!” the man yelled again.

Nothing about him shooting his weapon made her want to come out of hiding.

Then he muttered something under his breath before speaking on his radio once more.

He was still speaking when the door to the officers’ mess opened.

If Elodie hadn’t turned her head at the exact right moment, she wouldn’t have seen the two sets of legs entering the room. A sliver of illumination from the pirate’s flashlight, flickering through the pantry window, momentarily highlighted the figures. The door shut without a sound, and she almost threw up with fear when she lost sight of the men.

Were these more pirates? If so, why weren’t they calling out to their friend? She was confused, but didn’t dare make a move, much less breathe. She couldn’t see what was happening, but she could faintly hear the fabric of their pants as the two figures walked past the table, and her hiding spot.

The pirate in the galley seemed to be arguing with someone on the radio now. He sounded upset and pissed off. Then he stopped talking—and the sound of something large being thrown against the wall made Elodie jump in surprise yet again.

Apparently, while the pirate was throwing his temper tantrum, whoever had entered the officers’ mess had opened the door to the pantry. The sound of gunshots made a small whimper escape her lips. The shots were much louder, since the weapon was fired in the same room where she was hiding. Now she could hear little but the ringing in her ears. Elodie strained to hear what was going on, and for several seconds heard nothing but her own heart racing.

“Tango down in the galley.”

With the ringing and her heartbeat, Elodie wasn’t sure she was hearing correctly.

That sounded like English. Non-accented English. And she was pretty sure her fellow Asaka Express employees wouldn’t use a word like “tango” to describe the pirates. She also didn’t think they’d be slinking around like these two men were.

She’d waited what seemed like forever for Scott and his team to arrive—and it sounded like they finally had.

It had been a couple hours since she’d been in contact with Scott, which she understood. He was busy planning a way to get onboard, and he couldn’t exactly take the time to reassure her every other minute. But each time he’d reached out, it had made her feel so much better. Less alone.

“We need to find Rachel,” one of the men said. She knew it was Scott because she recognized his voice.

“Maybe we should leave her where she is,” the other man said.

“No. She would’ve heard the shots and is probably freaking out,” Scott argued.

The last thing she wanted to do was get shot, so Elodie knew better than to pop up out of her hiding spot and surprise the men, but she definitely didn’t want to stay where she was either.

“I’m here,” she said softly, hoping she didn’t startle them badly enough that they’d turn around and start shooting.

But she should’ve known they were too professional to do something like that.


Elodie winced at hearing the name from his lips.

She wanted to tell him that wasn’t her name…but she couldn’t. She’d changed her name in the first place because Elodie was too unique. It wouldn’t be hard for Paul to find her if she’d kept it. But the drawback was that she sometimes forgot to respond when someone called her Rachel.

“It’s me,” she said.

“Where are you?” Scott asked.

“Lying on the chairs, under the table.”

She heard more than saw movement on the other side of the table.

“Damn, that’s smart,” the other man said. “You fit perfectly up there, and in this darkness, even if someone looked they probably wouldn’t see you.”

“How are you seeing me then?” Elodie blurted. She hadn’t been blinded with a beam from a flashlight.

“Night-vision goggles,” Scott said.

Elodie jerked because his voice sounded from right next to her.

“Easy. How can I help you get out from under there?” he asked.

“I got it,” she told him, amazed that she hadn’t heard him come over to the side of the table. She kept her voice down as she climbed off the chairs. “I had to improvise. I snuck out of the pantry in the other hall to use the bathroom and when I came out, that guy was in the galley. I literally had nowhere to hide other than under here.”

She crawled out from under the table and stood, using the table as a crutch. Her legs felt shaky from the adrenaline dump.

“Careful with that knife,” Scott told her.

Elodie hadn’t even remembered she was holding the thing. Now, she realized her fingers hurt from grasping it so tightly. She looked up, toward where she’d heard Scott’s voice, and was frustrated when she couldn’t see him. The flashlight the pirate had been holding was lying on the floor in the room next door, but it didn’t give her enough light to see either of the men.

“Are they all dead?” she asked, proud when her voice only shook a little. It was surreal that she was talking about killing people so nonchalantly, but she supposed she could be forgiven, given the circumstances.

“No,” Scott said, dashing her hopes that they could get in touch with the others onboard and have the electricity turned back on.

“This is the first pirate we’ve run across,” the other man said.

“Which one are you?” Elodie blurted. He chuckled. “I’m Midas.”


Just then, the radio the pirate had been using cackled to life, and a man began speaking urgently in whatever language the pirates used.

“Shit,” Scott muttered.

Elodie felt a rush of air as he moved away from her.

“I don’t suppose you’re a language savant and can understand what they’re saying, are you?” Midas asked. She’d already told him and the other guys on the team that she couldn’t understand the pirates, but she appreciated that he was trying to lighten the mood. “Sorry, no,” she told him. “But right before you got here, he was talking to his friends and none of them sounded happy. He threw something big and it broke.”

“Yeah, I think it was a jar of spaghetti sauce,” Midas said, seemingly unconcerned.

She heard more sounds in the other room, but didn’t dare move from her spot next to the table. Then Scott was back. She wasn’t sure how she knew he was there, but she did.

Then he spoke, confirming his location. “Okay, we have to continue clearing the ship. You need to go up to the bridge—”

Elodie didn’t let him continue. “No!” she said frantically.

“Yes,” he countered.

“I’m staying with you,” she insisted.

“We’ve cleared the floors above this one. It’s safe for you to go back up to the bridge. Two other members of my team are up there, they’ll keep you safe.”

Elodie was shaking her head. She knew she was being completely irrational, but the thought of being alone even for the short trip to the bridge was terrifying. “You don’t know where the other pirates are. You said yourself that you’re clearing the ship. And I think they somehow know, if that conversation I overheard was any indication.”

The radio Scott had taken off the dead pirate came to life again. “Djama?” A few more words were said after that. It was obvious his friends were trying to get in contact with him. “They’re going to come looking for him,” Elodie said. “And if I go up to the bridge, I could run into them. And you don’t have time to escort me up there. They could be hurting or killing my friends. And if they find me, they’re not going to hesitate to kill me either. The safest place on this ship at the moment is with you guys, so that’s where I want to stay.”
Stoker, Susan. Finding Elodie (SEAL Team Hawaii Book 1) (Kindle Locations. 633-701). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

Mustang felt an instant connection to ‘Rachel’ even though he’s sure that’s not her real name. So much so that before they leave the ship he gives her his phone number. Telling her to come to Hawaii and call him if she needs anything. Unfortunately she loses that number. But she does go to Honolulu in the hopes of finding him.

That they run into each other at all is quite the twist and as this tale continues the romance, fun, and the intrigue will keep you turning the pages.

I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Tennessee where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

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Securing Jane – 1001 Dark Nights/SEAL of Protection Legacy Book 6.5 by Susan Stoker

Securing Jane
1001 Dark Nights
SEAL of Protection Legacy Book 6.5
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker


Over the years, Storm North has witnessed two teams of Navy SEALs under his command find true love. He doesn’t expect the same for himself. He’s too old. Too jaded. Too set in his ways. Until a woman who’s been right in front of him for years manages to impress Storm in a way very few women—or men—ever have.

Jane Hamilton knows it’s ridiculous to have a crush on the charismatic and handsome admiral. She’s the divorced mother of a twenty-six-year-old daughter. Too old for crushes. Too old for a lot of things. There’s no chance she’ll ever catch the eye of a man like Storm North.

Until someone delivers a bomb to the base.

As the civilian contractor in charge of the mail room, Jane finds herself in the direct line of fire, enduring a series of events that leads to a budding relationship with the very man she’s been longing for. She couldn’t be happier, and Storm feels the same.

The only one unhappy, in fact, is the thwarted bomber. Unhappy enough to do something drastic. Now Storm and Jane have to work together to save innocent sailors—and themselves—from an explosive situation threatening their happily ever after.

**Securing Jane is the 7th and final book in the SEAL of Protection: Legacy Series and a part of the 1001 Dark Nights collection. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

Admiral Storm North has always been heads down and on top of everything his SEAL teams are doing or going to be doing. The thing is he hasn’t really done anything for himself. Today however he’s about to wake up and notice someone he should have long ago.

Jane has been working in the mail room on base since her Navy husband left her and her child twenty years ago. She’s worked her way up to manager but still delivers mail in the building herself. She’s been crushing on Storm since his office moved into her building and delivering his mail is always a bright spot in her day. She doesn’t delude herself that he’ll ever notice her, but that doesn’t stop the fantasy.

This is a favorite scene.

In the near decade that she’d been living on her own, Jane had felt as if she’d been learning who she was as a woman.

At first she’d been Jake’s girlfriend. Then his Navy wife. Then she was the woman who’d been dumped and a single mother. She’d struggled for so long and so hard that she still felt as if she was finding herself. Which was somewhat silly after half a century, but there it was. And she wanted to find love again. Find a man who would support her as much as she supported him. Wanted someone to laugh with…and do all the naughty things she’d been fantasizing about for years and years.

But Storm North wasn’t that man.

Jane knew it, but that didn’t mean she could stop fantasizing about him.

Pushing the mail cart down the hallway, Jane felt her heart rate increase as she got closer to Storm’s office. It was silly. Ridiculous. But she felt as if she was in middle school again, about to see the boy she had a massive crush on.

But Storm was no boy, that was for sure.

She entered his administrative assistant’s office and smiled at the man sitting behind the desk.

“Good morning,” she said cheerily.

“Hi, Jane,” the young man replied with a smile.

“Go on in. He’s not in a meeting.”

“Thanks,” Jane told him, hoping she didn’t look as excited as she felt. She didn’t get to see Storm every day, since he was a very busy man, and whenever she did, it made her morning.

She picked up the small packet and three letters that had arrived for him and headed into his office. She knocked briefly and when she heard him call, “Come in,” pushed open the door.

Storm was sitting behind his desk in his digitized blue battle dress uniform. She could see a bit of gray at his temples, but otherwise she’d have no idea he was in his late forties. He looked as if he could take on the young Navy SEALs he commanded any day of the week…and win.

“Good morning,” Jane said softly.

Storm looked up. “Hi, Jane. How are you today?”

“I’m good. You?”

“Not so bad, now that the Admiral’s Mast for one of my best SEALs is over and done with.”

Jane knew what he was referring to. They might work on a huge naval base, but people talked, and word got around quickly. A SEAL named Phantom had disobeyed orders to go on leave and instead had gone to Timor-Leste to rescue a young woman. She wasn’t completely sure of all the details, but what she did know made her romantic heart go pitter-patter.

“I’m sure that was difficult,” she said diplomatically.

Storm smiled, and Jane’s knees went a little weak.

“That’s one word for it. So…are you doing okay? I didn’t see you yesterday.”

She wanted to read into that statement, feeling giddy that he’d even noticed that she wasn’t there but instead shrugged nonchalantly. “I’m fine. I woke up with a migraine and took a sick day. I’ve got a ton of time saved up and figured I might as well use it.”

“Good for you,” Storm said. “I mean, being a hard worker is one thing, but never taking leave, sick, or vacation isn’t healthy.”

“When’s the last time you took leave?” The question popped out before Jane could call it back.

“Touché,” Storm said with an even wider smile. “I swear anytime I think about taking some time off, the shit hits the fan around here… Oh, sorry. I sometimes forget how to talk in polite company.”

Jane chuckled. “Nothing you can say will surprise or offend me,” she told him. “I’ve worked around here long enough to hear just about every swear word invented. Not to mention hearing them from my daughter when she was a teenager.”

“You have a daughter?” Storm asked with a tilt of his head. “You don’t look old enough to be the mother of a teenager.”

Jane rolled her eyes. “Oh, please. I’m plenty old. She’s twenty-six, and she gave me every one of these wrinkles on my face.”

“Seriously…you look amazing. Your husband’s a lucky man.”

Was Storm flirting with her? Trying to figure out if she was married or not? Jane barely stopped herself from doing a stupid little girly dance right there in front of him. “He was lucky,” she told him. Then added, “But he decided twenty years ago to throw me away for some young flunky. His mistake.”

Storm’s hazel eyes were fixed on her face, and Jane suddenly felt flustered. She’d dreamed of having his undivided attention for years, but now that she had it, she wasn’t sure what to do.

“How long have you been working here?” he asked.

“Twenty years. I got the job right after he walked out.”

Storm nodded. “I, for one, am grateful. I appreciate what you do. I’ve never had to worry about my mail getting lost, and anytime I’ve had an issue, it’s been resolved quickly. You’ve trained your employees well.”

That was one of the best compliments Jane had ever gotten. She wished he’d complimented her on something more personal, but she’d settle for him noticing that she was a good employee. She took great pride in running a tight ship. A lot of people didn’t realize how intricate and complicated dealing with the mail could be. From packages with incomplete addresses that they had to figure out, misdelivered items, postage due…and then there was all the internal correspondence that went back and forth across the base. She and her employees were kept very busy. “Thanks,” she replied with a small smile.

“That all for me this morning?” he asked with a nod toward the mail in her hand.

“Oh! Yes, sorry,” Jane said, stepping forward and putting the envelopes and packet on his desk.

“No problem,” Storm said. “So your head’s feeling better today?” he asked.

For a second, Jane was so flustered she had no idea what he was talking about, then remembered. “Oh, yeah. Thanks. I don’t get migraines a lot, but when I do, they tend to knock me off my feet. But other than a slight twinge today, I feel fine.”

“Good. Then I’ll see you tomorrow, right?”

Beaming, Jane nodded. “Right. Have a good day, Sir, and try not to scare newbie sailors too badly.”

“It’s Storm…and I’m making no promises.”

Jane knew she probably looked like a big dork with the huge smile on her face, but she couldn’t help it.

She gave him a little finger wave and backed out of his office. When she’d cleared his door, she spun, said goodbye to his admin, and pushed her mail cart out into the hallway. She stopped outside the door and leaned against the wall, closing her eyes and sighing in contentment.

Every time she talked to Storm, she felt happy, but today was markedly different. He’d seemed more…engaged. He’d asked her about her personal life, asked for her to call him by his first name…and when he’d smiled at her, she’d gone weak in the knees.

Taking a deep breath, she continued down the hall to the next office, feeling happier than she’d felt in a very long time.
Stoker, Susan. Securing Jane: A SEAL of Protection: Legacy Series Novella (Kindle Locations 307-357). 1001 Dark Nights Press. Kindle Edition.

For the first time Jane and Storm had a conversation and he’s now decided to get to know her more everyday and then ask her out. Of course that’s when all hell breaks lose with a code black in the mail room.

Storm wasn’t about to leave the building without knowing if Jane was okay. Finding out she was locked in waiting decontamination, he wasn’t waiting. Pulling rank he entered the room determining the ‘bomb’ contained CS gas aka tear gas/pepper spray. This is where I fell in love with Storm.

While NCIS and Admiral Creasy work to determine who would send him the package, Storm and Jane’s relationship takes a leap forward. Through the suspense, intrigue, and danger, Storm and Jane manage to date and they start heating up the pages quickly. Although Jane isn’t going to be spared any of Susan’s antics when it comes to her heroines. I also love the fact they’re an older couple and it truly is a wonderful love story.

A perfect, page-turning end to the SEAL of Protection Legacy Series.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Tennessee where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

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Shielding Riley – Delta Team Two Book 5 by Susan Stoker

Shielding Riley
Delta Team Two Book 5
NY Times, Wall Street Journal &
USA Today Bestselling Author

Susan Stoker


Winter Blog Blurb

Porter “Oz” Reed knows as well as anyone the damage words can do. So while he’s not looking for a relationship, he has no problem standing outside his apartment looking intimidating as his sweet neighbor finally kicks her verbally abusive ex to the curb. Just in case. But it’s Oz who’s punched in the gut when, at that precise moment, his ten-year-old nephew Logan is dropped on his doorstep.

After finally ditching her ex, Riley Rogers is ready for a break from men. But her plan to stay single takes an immediate hit when Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome from next door comes knocking, panicked at the prospect of caring for a nephew he never even knew existed. Riley’s only too happy to help. After all, Porter had her back when she needed him. And she feels a kinship with Logan…whose story hits a little too close to Riley’s own.

As they team up to make Logan feel safe in his new environment, Riley and Oz quickly fall hard for the boy, and each other. But they’ve barely adapted to their altered lives when Logan shares a secret that changes everything—again.

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Winter Blog Review

At the end of Shielding Aspen we saw when Riley kicked out Miles and Child Protection Agency brought his nephew Logan to Oz’s door. Oz was making sure Riley was okay after Miles left, when his life changed forever.
It’s been hours and conversation with Logan was stilted and uncomfortable, but now the boy was sleeping and Oz is panicking. He has next to nothing in his pantry and definitely no breakfast foods. He hears the TV in Riley’s apartment and hopes she’ll have ideas as he leaves Logan’s bedroom door open and the apartment’s while he knocks on her door.

This is just one of my favorite scenes.

Tiptoeing to the door so she could look through the peephole to see who was knocking at this hour of the night, Riley was shocked to see her neighbor, the gorgeous Porter Reed, standing on the other side. He looked agitated and kept glancing back down the hall toward his apartment.

Without thought, Riley took the chain off and unlocked the deadbolt before opening the door.

“What’s wrong?” she asked without preamble.

“I… What do boys eat for breakfast?” Porter blurted.

Riley blinked. “What?”

“I…uh…you saw that I just got custody of my nephew. He’s sleeping—I’ve got the bedroom door open, and the one to the apartment, so I haven’t left him alone—but I got to thinking about the morning, and he didn’t want anything to eat tonight, but I have no idea what he’s going to want for breakfast in the morning.”

“What do you eat?” Riley asked.

“Um…a protein shake, usually,” he said sheepishly.

Riley couldn’t help but wrinkle her nose in disgust.

“I know. I figured he wouldn’t want that, but I don’t know what he would want.”

“Do you want to come in?” Riley asked.

“Thanks, but I can’t. I need to watch my apartment and listen in case Logan wakes up.”

That’s right, he’d said that, but Riley was completely thrown by him showing up at her door and asking such an easy question. “Right, sorry. Um…let’s see…cereal, Pop-Tarts, pancakes, maybe scrambled eggs, granola bars…he looks like he’s probably not all that picky.”

But instead of her words making her neighbor feel better, they seemed to stress him out all the more.

“Shit,” he said under his breath. “I don’t have any of that. Not even eggs. I need to go to the store—fuck, I can’t go to the store with him in the apartment! I can’t leave him alone. Should I wake him up and take him with me? I really don’t want to. I’m not sure the kid even likes me. He’d probably like me less if I woke him up in the middle of the night to go to the freaking store. Damn it.”

Riley’s heart melted for the man. It was obvious he wanted to do the right thing for his nephew, but had no idea what that was at the moment. “Wait here,” she ordered.

She hadn’t meant to sound so abrupt, but instead of getting upset with her—or telling her to shut the fuck up and not tell him what to do, which is what Miles would’ve said—he merely nodded. His lips were pressed together in agitation and his forehead was furrowed with stress lines.

Riley left her door standing open and she walked quickly back inside her apartment. She headed for the kitchen and grabbed one of the reusable grocery bags she kept handy for trips to the store. Opening her pantry, she filled the bag halfway with odds and ends that she thought a kid might enjoy. Luckily, Riley wasn’t a health nut, so she had plenty to choose from.

Then she opened her fridge and threw in the carton of eggs, which had six left, a half-eaten container of cream cheese and the half-gallon jug of milk, which had just enough left in it for a bowl of cereal. She grabbed the package of bagels from her counter, and the three-fourths-full box of Froot Loops.

At the last minute, she threw in two bananas and three apples. The bag was overflowing by the time she was done, and Riley worried that she might’ve gone overboard, but decided the man and boy next door needed this food more than she did, and she wanted them to have plenty of options.

She rushed back to her door, hoping Porter hadn’t left. He was still there, standing with his back against the wall across from her apartment. He didn’t look any less stressed; if anything, he looked more concerned.

“Here,” she said, holding the bag out to him.

But instead of reaching for it, Porter just stared at it in confusion. “What’s that?”

“Breakfast stuff,” she said. “It’s all been opened, sorry, but I had several things that I’m sure your nephew will eat. You can find out in the morning what he prefers. I threw in some granola bars—the soft kind, the hard ones are disgusting—eggs, bagels, cream cheese, cereal, cheese sticks, some fruit, and peanut butter, just in case nothing else appeals to him. All kids eat PB&J sandwiches, I think. There’s also some other junk in there—don’t judge, I have a sweet tooth.”

“I can’t take that,” Porter said, still not reaching for the bag.

“Why not?”

“Because, it’s your food.”

“Porter, it’s fine. I’m not wasting away, as you can probably see.”

He frowned at that. “There’s nothing wrong with your size,” he told her.

Riley wanted to bask in his approval, which was ridiculous, but she couldn’t remember the last time Miles had complimented her. “Uh-huh. Anyway, I’ve got plenty of food. This should tide you over until you can talk to your nephew and find out what he likes to eat. I’m assuming you’re going to get him enrolled in school, and you’ll need to figure out if he wants to eat the school lunches or if he wants to pack his own, so you’ll need lunch food as well. And dinner stuff. Chicken fingers, hamburgers, pasta, that sort of thing. Most kids eat a ton, so I’m sure this won’t last long.”

The more she spoke, the more the rattled look in Porter’s eyes increased. Riley realized she was freaking him out.

Taking a chance, she stepped forward and put a hand on his arm. “Porter?”

He blinked. Then said, “No one calls me that.”

“Oh, um…sorry.”

“No, it’s fine. How did you even know that was my name?”

“Your mail was delivered to my mailbox once. I’m sorry, I can call you by your nickname…Oz, right?”

“I kinda like you calling me Porter,” he admitted.

“Okay,” Riley said. She couldn’t be imagining an attraction between them…could she? Now wasn’t the time or the place, but she couldn’t help liking how his entire attention was on her when she spoke. He wasn’t looking down at a phone, wasn’t checking out her boobs, wasn’t looking past her at her TV, which was on low inside her apartment.

His eyes flicked down to the bag she was still holding then back up to her face. “I really shouldn’t take your food.”

“It’s fine,” Riley insisted, holding the bag out once more.

“I feel horrible about it.”

“Don’t. It’ll give me a reason to get out of my apartment tomorrow,” Riley said. “I’m only sorry I don’t have any doughnuts or cinnamon rolls. I’m sure your nephew would love those.”

“Logan. His name is Logan. And he’s ten.”

Riley smiled and breathed out a sigh of relief when Porter reached for the bag of food she’d collected.

“I’m really sorry for bothering you. I panicked,” Porter admitted a little sheepishly.

“It’s okay. I’m glad you did. I work from home, so I’m pretty much always here. If you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to come over. I can also give you my number so you can text if you want.
Stoker, Susan. Shielding Riley (Delta Team Two Book 5). Kindle Locations.(215-267). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

To say Oz was a bit overwhelmed at first is an understatement, but he quickly got it together and with Riley getting him off the bus and hanging with him after school things fell into an easy pattern.

We get to see even more how the guys on the team are more like family with gatherings and including Logan in things when they can. Trigger and Gillian readily agree to be part of his family care plan while deployed and guardian if something should happen to him. All the others agreed to be backup. That right there is awesome!

The first deployment was rough on all of them and Gillian actually brought Logan to Riley so he could stay at Oz’s. Logan’s having problems and he’s also got a secret he’s not sharing.

Of course you know Riley’s ex is gonna show up again, boy does he.

Riley and Oz have an unusual courtship but they truly bond as friends then into a sizzling relationship.

Laughter, oh so many tears, with surprises both good and bad that combine into this page-turning read.

I can’t wait for the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Winter Blog About Author

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Tennessee where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

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Shielding Jayme – Delta Force Two Book 4 by Susan Stoker

Shielding Jayme
Delta Force Two Book 4
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker


Winter Blog Blurb

After a decade of hard work and dedication, Jayme Caldwell’s dreams of a Seattle bakery are whisked out from under her. She’s licking her wounds in Killeen, Texas, living with her memaw, Winnie, while contemplating her future. Of course, Memaw knows exactly the kind of future her granddaughter needs…and it starts with a handsome young man she tricks into having dinner with Jayme. She’d be upset…if the man wasn’t something straight out of any red-blooded woman’s fantasies.

Rocket Long never suspected the sweet little old lady he’d befriended at the grocery store would turn out to be a conniving matchmaker, cleverly setting him up with her beloved granddaughter. But once he lays eyes on Jayme, Rocket can’t be too upset. Especially when, at forty, he’d already given up on finding “the one.” Suddenly, the love and family he’d all but given up on could be his for the taking.

But life is precious. And short. And happiness can be snatched away in the space of a breath. All things Rocket may discover the hard way…before he even gets his ring on Jayme’s finger.

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Rocket Long met Winnie Morrison at the grocery store. He helped her with her packages and as a result they’ve become friends. Now Winnie has an ulterior motive when she invites him to dinner, her granddaughter Jayme is staying with her and she believes they would be perfect together.

Jayme doesn’t really suspect anything when her Memaw asks her to change for dinner. However, when she returns downstairs and Winnie is talking to a man she doesn’t know, she knows something is up. Then when Winnie says she forgot about bingo when Jayme has made an amazing dinner and desert, all bets are off.

I kind of felt sorry for Rocket being stuck in the middle of all that.

This is a favorite scene.

Not bothering to put on makeup— she was drawing a line there— Jayme turned and headed for the stairs once more. She needed to check on the stuffed shells and stir the dressing. The smell of freshly baked cookies permeated the air, making Jayme smile as she headed for the kitchen.

Stopping in her tracks at the edge of the small room, Jayme blinked in confusion.

Her memaw was in the kitchen— along with a man Jayme had never seen before.

“Oh, here she is!” Memaw said brightly. “Come in and meet Rocket, love.”

Rocket? Jayme was immediately confused, but she stepped forward politely.

“This is Rocket Long. I met him at the grocery store, and he was kind enough to help me to my car with all my parcels. He works on the Army base here as a helicopter mechanic. He’s stopped by a few times to see how I’m getting along.”

Looking up at the tall man standing beside her grandmother, Jayme had to force herself not to turn tail and run.

He was absolutely gorgeous.

At least a foot taller than her, the man had black hair with a bit of gray at the temples and a sexy five o’clock shadow. His lips were full and currently quirked upward in a small smile. He had a square jaw, brown eyes the color of semi-sweet chocolate… and he smelled delicious. Like citrus. She assumed it was either his shampoo or his soap. Whatever it was, it made her want to bury her nose in the crook of his neck.

“Um… hi,” Jayme said a little shyly, feeling intimidated by the good-looking man.

“And this is my granddaughter, Jayme Caldwell. She just moved here from Seattle. She’s an amazing baker. Just wait until you taste her pastries. They’re to die for.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” Rocket said with a nod in her direction.

Jayme gave him a small smile, feeling immensely uncomfortable. She was great with strangers when she was working, not hesitating to offer suggestions as to what treat to try and explaining the ingredients in the delicacies she made, but socially, she’d always been awkward. Never knowing what to say or do around people she’d just met.

Memaw’s phone trilled with the chime she’d downloaded for her text messages. Looking at her phone, she frowned. “Oh, dear,” she said.

“What, what’s wrong?” Jayme asked, concerned.

“Nothing. I just forgot that I said I’d go with Maude to bingo tonight. She’s here now to pick me up. I’m so sorry, love. Rocket, you’ll stay and keep my granddaughter company, won’t you? She made this big meal and it shouldn’t go to waste.”

Jayme’s face flamed. Darn it. She knew her memaw’d had something up her sleeve. Asking her to change into her sundress, to fix a grand meal for them tonight. She’d totally set this up! There was no way she’d forgotten about bingo with her friend. Winnie had a mind like a steel trap. She might be old, but her mind was as sharp as ever.

“Well, I—”

“She worked on dinner all afternoon,” Winnie said, not letting Rocket graciously get out of the meal. “I’ll be back by nine or ten. Don’t wait up!”

Then she put a hand on Jayme’s arm and stood on tiptoe to kiss her on the cheek. “Have fun,” she whispered, winked, then turned and headed for the front door without a backward glance.

Jayme pressed her lips together and took a deep breath. She turned to the man still standing in her memaw’s kitchen, looking out of place and completely dwarfing his surroundings. He smiled at her, and Jayme almost melted right there. The man was way too good-looking for her own good.

“You don’t have to stay,” she assured him. “If you’re hungry, I can package some food up for you, but as someone who’s been on the receiving end of Memaw’s machinations too many times to count, I know how it feels to be blindsided by her.”

“Is your cooking as good as Winnie claims?” Rocket asked.

Jayme wasn’t conceited. Didn’t like to brag. But she knew she was a good cook and baker. She shrugged and simply said, “Yes.”

“Then if you aren’t too uncomfortable to eat with a stranger, I’d love to stay.”
Susan Stoker. ’Tis The Season For Romance. Shielding Jayme. (Kindle Locations 7087-7120).

As they get to know each other over dinner things just click and Rocket asks for a date.

I loved the way these two get to know each other, it’s a slow but ever building relationship. Rocket encourages Jayme to open her own bakery after not only tasting her baked goods himself but also bring some for his team.

Once again Susan takes us on a journey of overcoming obstacles and making dreams come true. With that simmer to sizzle romance I love!

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Winter Blog About Author

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Tennessee where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

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