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Review and A Giveaway! Rescuing Bryn Delta Force Heroes Book by Susan Stoker


Rescuing Bryn
Delta Force Heroes Book 6
By
Susan Stoker

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When you’re a Delta Force soldier, you see a lot. Often too much. But nothing can ever prepare you to see your entire team die before your eyes…

The loss of his Delta brothers—and his arm—has Dane “Fish” Munroe still struggling months later. He’s moved to Idaho, where an isolated lifestyle is making things worse, not better. Not that there’s anyone left to care.

Actually, Bryn Hartwell cares. In fact, she tries to surreptitiously make life just a little easier for the mysterious man who comes into the grocery where she works late at night, only to get a tongue lashing for her trouble. Still, he’s obviously hurting; someone has to worry about him, spurring Bryn to nurse Dane when he hits a particularly low point.

Intrigued by the quirky, kind, socially awkward woman, Dane allows himself to get close to someone for the first time in ages. A potentially epic mistake—because when her interest in the prepper lifestyle puts Bryn in the hands of a homegrown terrorist, losing her could put Dane’s mental recovery permanently out of reach.

But once a Delta, always a Delta. And there’s a team in Texas who are ready to have Dane’s back at a moment’s notice.

**Rescuing Bryn is the 6th book in the Delta Force Heroes Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

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I have to say I love this series and the life issues Susan brings up, some common, some not as much.

I love Fish aka Dane, he has gone through so much and I’m so glad he has Truck and the rest of Ghost’s team to turn to. When he thinks Bryn is stalking him I wasn’t surprised but I felt bad for her since she really was just trying to help.

Bryn notices a lot, she is a genius and was diagnosed as having some Asperger’s tendencies, most folks consider her weird or a freak but it really hurts her when Fish calls her the same. It almost made me cry when she sacrifices her job so Fish wouldn’t have to change where he shops.

Even though he hurt her feelings she can’t stop thinking about Dane and wanting to help him. She was like this with most everyone though. She just wants to make life a bit easier if she can.

While I loved the supermarket scene this scene featuring Dane’s reaction as he wakes up after getting drunk and rescued by Bryn is my favorite because he begins to realize he’s been an ass.

Dane groaned as he turned over and the morning light shone into his eyes as if a laser beam was aiming directly at his pupils.

“Fuck,” he swore as he quickly rolled onto his back and threw his arm over his face. Feeling nauseous, he took a few deep breaths, trying to control the urge to throw up. When he thought he had enough control that he wouldn’t vomit all over his sheets, he slowly turned his head to see what time it was…and blinked.

Sitting next to the clock on the little table next to the bed was a glass of water, two large tablets and two small. There was also a note. Dane reached out slowly, careful not to jostle his head, and picked it up.

I’m sure you feel like crap. Put the Alka-Seltzer tablets in the glass and when they dissolve, drink it all down. It has sodium bicarbonate, which will help settle your stomach and make you not wanna throw up, and the aspirin will help your headache.

That was it. It wasn’t signed and had no other information about what the hell he’d done last night. Dane closed his eyes and tried to recall anything past arriving at the hole-in-the-wall bar he’d impulsively pulled into. He’d been driving home from Post Falls, where he’d gone to grocery shop.

The trip had been a disaster. It was too early, there were too many people, even in the small town northwest of Coeur d’Alene, and he’d been too damn keyed up to finish his shopping. After going up and down three aisles, he’d simply put down his basket and left. The storm that had roared in as he was driving home didn’t help the feeling that he’d never be normal again. Even though storms didn’t usually send him over the edge, every clap of thunder made him flinch and the lightning reminded him of the flashes of light from the bomb that had killed his friends and ruined his life. Feeling defeated and sorry for himself, he’d stopped at the bar on the outskirts of Rathdrum and proceeded to get shit-faced drunk.

Other than a bartender who needed an attitude adjustment and a waitress who had seemed to want to go home with him—until she’d seen his stump—the rest of the night was a complete blank.

Feeling sick, now for more reasons than the leftover alcohol in his bloodstream, Dane forced himself to scoot upright in the bed. He picked up the tablets and dropped them into the glass of water, watching dispassionately as they bubbled and fizzed. When it looked like they were done releasing their hangover cure into the water, he drank it in three large gulps.

Dane couldn’t remember how he’d gotten home. When he first woke up he figured the bartender had probably called a cab or something for him. But after seeing the note and medicine on the table next to him, the cabbie idea was out. He sighed, trying to figure out how he was going to get his truck. It was most likely sitting in the parking lot of the bar. At least he hoped it was.

Thinking it was a good sign that he didn’t hear anyone in his small house, Dane eased his legs over the side of the mattress and carefully stood.

He wavered, but remained upright. Deciding that he’d need coffee if he was going to be remotely human in the next four hours, he stumbled out of his bedroom and down the hall into the living room.

Focusing on the kitchen, he grabbed hold of the granite countertop as soon as he neared it. Thank God for open floorplans. He reached for the coffeepot—and paused with his hand in the air as if frozen.

Another note.

I figured you’d need coffee first thing. Just hit start. It’s ready to go.

After pushing the green “on” button, Dane picked up the second note to examine it. The writing was slanted slightly to the right without any embellishments. It looked like a man’s handwriting, but somehow Dane knew it wasn’t. How, he couldn’t have said, but there was a memory at the edge of his mind that told him whoever had brought him home, and left him notes, had been a woman.

He looked down at himself. He was wearing a pair of boxers and that was it. Feeling self-conscious for the first time, Dane scratched the stump on his left arm absently. He never went to bed without wearing a shirt anymore. Ever. But here he stood. Practically naked.

Without waiting for the coffee to finish, Dane went back to his room and looked around. The clothes he’d been wearing yesterday were nowhere to be seen. Fuck. Having a feeling what he’d find, he went to his dirty clothes hamper. Empty. Except for another fucking note.

Your hamper was full, and your clothes stunk from all the cigarette smoke, so I started a load. Don’t forget to move the clothes to the dryer, otherwise they’ll mold and smell nasty.

Whoever it was had done his laundry.

Definitely a woman.

Had she seen his arm?

His scars?

God, he felt pathetic. First, he’d gotten drunk enough to black out for the first time since he’d gotten back from the mission that had changed his life forever, and now he was bemoaning the fact a chick had seen his scars.

Damn. Had he fucked her? Shit. Had he hurt her? Kicked her out? Not used a condom? He’d always been careful. Always. In fact, he hadn’t been with anyone since he’d been hurt, hadn’t had the slightest urge to get naked with anyone. Had being drunk made him lose his inhibitions enough to get laid? He hoped not. He’d never been a man-whore, and his stomach turned at the thought.

Dane turned toward the bed and ran his eyes over it. There it was—a head-shaped indentation in the pillow on the far side of the bed.

The one he never slept on. He felt even sicker than a moment before. Damn, damn, damn.

He opened the drawer next to his side of the bed and looked inside. The box of condoms he’d bought on a whim over two months ago after Truck’s urging to get back in the saddle was sitting right where he’d left it. Unopened. The sight of it relieved him a bit, although it was possible he’d been drunk enough to not even think about gloving up. Shit.

As if in a trance, he walked over to the side of the bed where someone had obviously lain the night before, and picked up the pillow. He brought it to his face and inhaled.

The smell of coconut assailed his nostrils, and Dane felt his dick twitch in his boxers. He lifted his head and looked down at himself in disbelief. With a hangover from hell, his head feeling as if someone was pounding on it from the inside, his stomach rebelling against him with every breath, it was almost unbelievable that the scent of a woman on his pillow could still give him a woody. He brought it up to his face once again and breathed in the smell that reminded him of the beach…of suntan lotion and woman.

Smalls.

The name popped into his brain as if the smell of coconut had conjured it up. He didn’t know anything about her other than the way she smelled and the nickname he’d bestowed on her, but Dane knew without a doubt that the woman who’d done his laundry, pre-made his coffee, and left him Alka-Seltzer tablets to help his hangover—and had given him a hard-on for the first time in forever—was one and the same.

He had a sudden vision of a woman with brown hair lying next to him on the bed. She’d been fully dressed and he was smelling her hair. He relaxed a bit. He still wasn’t positive, but he had a feeling they hadn’t had sex. He sighed in relief and a little bit of disappointment. Which was fucked; no way did he ever want to take a woman and not remember it. Somehow, he knew to the very marrow of his bones that being inside the mystery woman would be fucking amazing.

Dropping the pillow on the bed, Dane wandered back down the hall and opened the door to the garage. After everything else, he wasn’t all that surprised to find Miss May was there, and he walked around his truck, checking for damage. Nothing. There was another note stuck to the driver’s side window, however.

Miss May is safe. No damage done.

He smirked. She was funny. He had no idea if she was trying to be funny when she’d written the note, but it was obvious they’d had a conversation at some point about the nickname for his truck. He hadn’t dated, or even met, one woman who would voluntarily use a ridiculous nickname thought up by a man for his truck.

Dane opened the driver’s side door and stared at the seat. It was pulled all the way forward; no way he’d be able to fit behind the wheel with it in that position. He nodded, pleased. So he hadn’t driven himself home. Thank God.

Smalls.
Stoker, Susan. Rescuing Bryn (Delta Force Heroes Book 6) (Kindle Locations 757-832). Stoker Aces Publication, LLC. Kindle Edition.

I giggled through that scene and several more in this book. With every little tangent Bryn went off on I giggled a little. Her facts were undeniable but her delivery was amusing.

I think Dane enjoyed listening to them as much as she enjoyed sharing them.

Of course her curiosity leads her to a dangerous situation and Dane is beside himself with fear of losing her.

Fun, tense, sexy and lots of little tangents. I thoroughly enjoyed every page turning minute.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below!

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Coming Jan 16, 2018

To share the love of this series, Carol Kittie Reviews is giving away a SIGNED copy of Rescuing Rayne. This is the first book in the Delta Force Heroes. Giveaway is open to ALL and ends October 28th.

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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 Texas where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

She debuted her first series in 2014 and quickly followed that up with the SEAL of Protection Series, which solidified her love of writing and creating stories readers can get lost in.

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Sleeper Seals: Protecting Dakota – SEALS of Protection Book 10 by Susan Stoker


The Sleeper SEALs, are former U.S. Navy SEALs recruited by a new CIA counter-terror division to handle solo dark ops missions to combat terrorism on U.S. soil.

Each book in this multi-author branded series is a standalone novel, and the series does not have to be read in order. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

Protecting Dakota
Seals of Protection Book 10
By
Susan Stoker

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Dakota James’s life has become the stuff of nightmares. The leader of the Ansar al-Shari’a terrorist group has become obsessed with her, determined to take her as his wife. On the run, she’ll have to pin her hopes on the retired SEAL charged with finding and stopping Aziz Fourati before he can carry out plans to bomb more US airports.

Recently recruited to join a sleeper SEAL team tasked with fighting terrorism on US soil, Slade “Cutter” Cutsinger, with the help of some Special Forces friends, has located the one woman who can identify the deadly Ansar al-Shari’a leader. That was the easy part. Keeping her safe proves more difficult than anyone ever imagined.

When she and her new friend, Caroline, are kidnapped by the terrorist group, Dakota can only pray Cutter and the SEALs will reach them before they’re taken out of the country–and away from Cutter forever.

** Protecting Dakota is a part of the SEAL of Protection Series. It is also in the “Sleeper SEAL” connected series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

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When I saw this new Kindle world I knew I had to start it. Susan Stoker has joined up with many of my favorite authors to bring the Sleeper SEALs to life.

This first book brings to light a fear many of us have. That of domestic terrorists.

Dakota survives a domestic terror attack because the leader is attracted to her. She manages to escape him but is now on the run.

Recruited by the CIA to be a sleeper SEAL, Cutter’s first assignment is to find Dakota, get a description of the terrorist and protect her while they flush him out. His first stop on this journey is to her father. Skeptical as to his intent her father puts him through quite the test before revealing what he knows. Which isn’t very much at all.

With the aid of the postcards from her dad and some from Tex Slade finally locates her.

This is a favorite scene as he tries to convince her he’s not a bad guy.

Dakota nodded and cursed under her breath. She didn’t want to take her eyes from Slade’s, but she couldn’t find the stupid handle.

“I told you last night, but my name is Slade Cutsinger. I’m a retired Navy SEAL and I’m here to keep you safe.”

“Uh huh,” Dakota murmured, only partly listening. She found the handle, finally, and pulled, planning on getting the hell away from the huge man currently glaring at her.

“I talked to your dad the other day. I saw the postcards. It’s how I found you.”

Dakota froze with one foot on the hard dirt outside her vehicle and spun back around to face Slade. “He has nothing to do with this. Leave him alone,” she whispered shakily.

“I know he doesn’t,” Slade reassured her. “The postcards were a good idea, by the way. Your dad was sure you were doing okay, as was your intention. Unfortunately, a few people you gave them to got lazy and instead of waiting until they got home, mailed them from Vegas.”

“Darn,” Dakota said. She figured she might as well listen to what Slade had to say. Since he knew about the postcards, he most likely had seen her dad. She might be stupid, but she wasn’t getting scary vibes from Slade, so hopefully her dad was in his house secure in the knowledge his daughter was okay… even if she was on the run from a terrorist.

“I know all about the bombing in the airport, Dakota,” Slade said softly, bringing her out of her musings.

Dakota’s stomach cramped. He’d used her real name.

Of course he had. If he’d seen her dad, he had to know who she really was.

“I know you were the only survivor. I know that you saw Aziz Fourati, and I also know that you’re the only one in the world right now who can identify him. He also knows this, and not only wants to make sure you keep that information to yourself, but wants you for his own. To be his wife.”

Dakota shut her car door and shivered. Damn, it was cold. She tried to clear her foggy morning brain. She never functioned well before she’d had a cup of coffee. “His name is Aziz?”

She’d surprised him. Slade’s eyebrows went up and he tilted his head as he asked, “You didn’t know his name?”

“No. He never said it. What’s his last name again?” She was trying really hard not to freak out. Oh, she was leaving today for sure, but she needed to know what Slade knew before she bolted. Information was power.

“Fourati.”

“That sounds foreign,” Dakota observed, proud of herself for how calm she sounded.

“It is. Best guess is that he’s Tunisian.”

“Tunisian?” she asked, really confused now.

“Yeah, Tunisian. The country between Algeria and Libya in Northern Africa.”

“I know where Tunisia is,” Dakota answered grumpily. “I just…” She paused for a moment, realizing that she should definitely not be talking to Slade about anything. She didn’t know him. He could be one of Aziz Fourati’s goons. She was happy to have a name for the guy who was making her life a living hell, but she needed to be smart… no matter how much her intuition was screaming that she could trust the man next to her.

Slade leaned over and grabbed something off the floor at his feet. It was a metal travel cup. He offered it to her without a word.

Dakota stared at the cup, then back at him. If he thought she was going to drink something he gave her, he was insane. “No thank you,” she said politely.

“You don’t know what it is,” Slade said evenly.

“I don’t know who you are,” she returned a bit snarkily. “The only reason I’m still sitting in here right now is because it’s cold outside, and there’s nowhere for me to go. I’m sure if you wanted to, you could catch me in two-point-three seconds and slit my throat. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I’d like to get as much information as I can about why my life is in the crapper before I die.”

“You don’t swear.”

“What?”

“You don’t swear,” he repeated patiently.

Dakota shrugged. “I’m an elementary school principal. Or I was. I can’t exactly go around saying fuck, shit, and damn all the time.”

“True. I like it.”

“I can die happy,” Dakota grumped.

His voice lowered further, if that was even possible, and as much as she hated it, goosebumps broke out on her arms at his tone. “I’m one of the good guys, Dakota,” he told her. “The short story is that the government knows Fourati is behind the airport bombing and they want to make sure he’s punished for what he did. But now he’s gathering soldiers online. Trying to convert them to his cause. He wants to do it again, but on a grander scale this time.”

“I’m aware,” Dakota whispered, and she was. Aziz had bragged about his plans while she and the other hostages had huddled together, scared out of their minds in the airport.

“Then you know how important it is to stop him.”

“I almost died that day.” Dakota told him something he probably already knew.

He confirmed it by saying simply, “I know.”

“You can’t just show up out of the blue, tell me you’ve been looking for me, and expect me to trust you are who you say you are.”

“Why not?”

“What do you mean, why not?” Dakota asked, confused.

He continued to hold the cup out to her, but said, “I told you that I’d been to see your dad. I saw the postcards. I am a retired Navy SEAL. I’m not Tunisian and couldn’t pass for an Arabic terrorist on a good day. If I had cell reception, I’d call one of my best friends in the world and let him vouch for me. But that will have to wait until we’re back in civilization. I’m one of the good guys, Dakota. Swear to God.”

“That’s what a terrorist would say,” she informed him, not swayed in the least. “Besides, calling someone in order to vouch for your trustworthiness isn’t going to make me believe them.”

“Take the cup,” Slade ordered gently.

Without thought, Dakota obeyed his urgent words. She reached out and took the stainless-steel travel mug from him. Her fingers brushed his, and she swore she could feel the heat from his fingers shoot up her arm.

But no, it wasn’t his fingers that caused the heat, it was the mug. It was warm. She looked up in question.

“I stopped by the restaurant before coming here and asked Pat to warm up the contents for me.” He looked sheepish for a moment before saying, “I’m sure it doesn’t taste the best after two days, but your dad told me what you liked. He said you’d know I was telling the truth about talking to him if I brought this.”

Dakota slowly and carefully turned the plastic lid— and immediately the smell of peppermint wafted up to her nose. She closed her eyes in ecstasy and brought the mug closer to her face. She inhaled the delicious scent of her absolute favorite coffee in the world, and thought about all the times she and her dad had shared a cup of coffee like this while sitting in his small living room. She fought the tears that sprang to her eyes.

“And this,” Slade said softly, interrupting the memory.

Dakota opened her eyes and saw he was holding out a small white paper bag. She knew what was inside without having to look.

“A maple-iced donut,” she said.

“That’s right. Although I’m afraid it’s probably a bit worse for wear after being in my saddlebag on the back of my bike.”

Dakota reached out and snagged the bag from his fingertips, being careful not to touch him this time, and peered inside. Sure enough, the donut was mushed on one side and the maple icing was mostly stuck to the bag rather than on the pastry itself, but again, the memories that assailed her were almost overwhelming.

“You really did go see my dad.”

“I did.”

“And you swear you didn’t hurt him?”

Slade made a weird sound and Dakota’s gaze went to his. He looked pissed now. “No, I didn’t hurt him,” Slade growled. “I’m exactly who I’ve told you I am.”
Stoker, Susan; Sisters, Suspense. Protecting Dakota (Sleeper SEALs Book 1) (Kindle Locations 814-891). Kindle Edition.

In spite of all that Slade still had a ways go to gain her trust.

From here it is attraction, action and so much more. I love Dakota’s strength and persistence brought forth even more by her friendship with Caroline.

Don’t miss this book, it’s a new favorite. I can’t wait to read what the other authors contribute.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

Click the Cover for Buy Link

about-the-author-fall-cornucopia

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 Texas where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

She debuted her first series in 2014 and quickly followed that up with the SEAL of Protection Series, which solidified her love of writing and creating stories readers can get lost in.

newsletter - for blog

author-links-fall-cornucopia

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

 

Brotherhood Protectors: Protecting Kiera – SEAL of Protection Book 10 by Susan Stoker


Brotherhood Protectors: Protecting Kiera
SEAL of Protection Book 10
A Kindle World Novella
By
Susan Stoker

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Summer Blurb

Cooper Nelson’s SEAL career was cut drastically short when an explosion left him almost completely deaf. With so much of his pride and self-worth tied to the profession he loved above all else, Coop struggles in his nearly silent new world, his future seemingly bleak…until Commander Hurt badgers him into volunteering at the Riverton School for the Deaf. There, he meets teacher Kiera Hamilton, who opens his eyes—and his heart—to a love more fulfilling than any job could be.

Ten years his senior, Kiera can’t believe Coop would ever be interested in anything long term, but he patiently proves her wrong. And she’s not the only one enamored with the sexy former-SEAL—her impressionable first-grade students are enthralled with the man, especially Frankie. The troubled young boy flourishes with each of Cooper’s visits, which only makes Kiera fall harder.

As he learns ASL, connects with the students, and gets closer to Kiera, Coop’s happier than he’s ever been…until an attempted abduction at the school threatens to take away everything that makes his new life worth living.

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Cooper like all the SEALs has been devoted to protecting his country. Forced to retire when an explosion takes out his hearing he is struggling. At first he isn’t happy to volunteer at the School for the Deaf, but that quickly changes. He meets Kiera a first grade teacher, and his interest is peaked in a romantic way.

This is one of my favorite scenes when Cooper visits Kiera’s classroom for the first time.

Just when Kiera was about to tell the children to get back to work, a little boy sitting in the back of the classroom slowly raised his hand. She hid her surprise. Frankie was small for his age and wasn’t making much progress. He was very reluctant to sign and hadn’t made any friends in the class since he’d been there. He frequently resorted to pushing the kids in his class when he couldn’t understand them or when he wanted his way.

Kiera knew his attitude was a result of his tumultuous home life and starting in a new school and her heart hurt for him. Frankie’s father was excited about the chance for his son to be in the special school. They’d moved down to Riverton from Los Angeles for a fresh start after a contentious divorce. His ex-wife was a drug addict who was deemed unfit to have custody of their son. Until recently, she’d been allowed to have supervised visitations with Frankie, but after slipping away from the court-ordered supervisor and taking Frankie to the mall to a drug drop, she’d had all parental rights stripped from her.

Kiera understood that the little boy was probably having issues dealing with all the upheaval in his life, but it had been two months since he’d started school and he wasn’t getting any better. The fact that he’d engaged enough to raise his hand and ask a question was almost a miracle at this point.

She pointed at the skinny boy and signed, “Yes, Frankie?”

He mostly used the alphabet to spell out his question, but it was understandable, if not painful to wait for him to get through.

Kiera swallowed and flicked her eyes to Cooper before repeating the question for the rest of the class. “Frankie asked what his tough military friends thought of Cooper using his hands to speak in such a sissy way.”

A few of the kids gasped and whipped their heads around to gaze at Frankie with wide eyes. Kiera hadn’t realized that was what Frankie thought of sign language. It was as heartbreaking as it was shocking.

Bless Cooper, he didn’t even blink at the question. He got up and went over to where Frankie was sitting. When he got there, he sat on his butt and awkwardly crossed his legs. Then he proceeded to blow Kiera’s mind.

He used mostly finger spelling, as Frankie had, and not once did he look to Kiera for a sign. “My friends are jealous that I have my own secret language. Believe it or not, Frankie, my team had our own hand signals for stuff. This,” he made a movement with his hands that Kiera didn’t recognize, “meant danger. And this,” he did it again, making another sign that clearly wasn’t American Sign Language, “meant bad guy ahead. I don’t know who told you that sign language was sissy, but it absolutely isn’t. It’s cool. The coolest thing I’ve ever tried to learn. I can talk to you, your classmates, or Ms. Hamilton, and people who aren’t deaf can’t understand me. It’s like being an undercover spy right under people’s noses. I love knowing a secret language, even if I’m not very good at it yet.”

If Kiera hadn’t been watching Frankie carefully, she would’ve missed it, but his eyes got big and she could literally see the knowledge that a big, strong man like Cooper thought sign language was cool sinking into his psyche.

She’d tried for months to get Frankie to show an ounce of interest in anything she did or said, to no avail. But with one painstakingly finger-spelled answer, Cooper had somehow bonded with the young boy in a way she’d rarely seen before.
Swallowing hard so she wouldn’t burst into tears, Kiera waved her hand in the air to get the children’s attention. She sighed, “Now that we have all met Cooper, time to get back to your lessons.”

The kids all nodded and shuffled back to various places around the room with their tablets. There were beanbags strewn around the classroom, as well as small couches, and big fluffy rugs… more than enough choices for the children to settle in comfortably somewhere.

She looked over at Frankie and Cooper and caught the tail end of Cooper’s question to the little boy. “…me sit with you while you read?”

Frankie nodded his head and Kiera watched in awe as Cooper and her troublemaker student shifted so they were sitting facing each other, knees touching, with the tablet off to their right. Frankie reached out and turned it on, activating the story he’d been reading before the interruption.
Stoker, Susan. Brotherhood Protectors: Protecting Kiera (Kindle Worlds Novella) (SEAL of Protection Book 10) (Kindle Locations 485-521). Kindle Worlds. Kindle Edition.

While Kiera had struggled not to cry I didn’t have the same luck. Get your tissues you’re going to need them. Now none of these SEALS have had an easy time with love and Coop’s no different. Hold onto your kindle and get swept away into this story.

Once again Susan has hit on problems in today’s world and done it with finesse and tact.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Summer About the 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 Texas where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

She debuted her first series in 2014 and quickly followed that up with the SEAL of Protection Series, which solidified her love of writing and creating stories readers can get lost in.

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Summer Author LInks

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Oh My! Shelter for Sophie by Susan Stoker!


Shelter for Sophie
Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes – Book 8
By
Susan Stoker

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She’s shy, he’s stoic…not the hardest personality traits to overcome, but Sophie Carson and Roman “Chief” Proudfit have their work cut out for them.

Sophie has a crush on the silent-but-studly firefighter next door. She’s been pining away silently while secretly helping the hardworking man by mowing his lawn—which he thinks is being done by her nonexistent husband and/or boyfriend. He’s definitely not big on neighborly chitchat, but with her stutter, that suits Sophie just fine. But now a misunderstanding at a bar has put him even further out of her reach.

Roman’s difficult upbringing on an Indian reservation is a sore spot, so when he thinks Sophie is taking advantage of poor people for medical trials at her workplace, he lets her know exactly what he thinks. But when he discovers he misunderstood, he’s man enough to admit it…and also that he should have opened his eyes to his beautiful, sensitive neighbor sooner.

As the couple gets closer, each helping the other overcome lifelong pains, for the first time in years, Roman has something to live for other than his job. And, as he discovers when Sophie puts herself in danger, something even bigger to lose…

** Shelter for Sophie is the 8th book in the Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings. **

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I am finding it difficult to find new words of praise for Susan Stoker. Once again she has enthralled me with her tale. In this one we once again have a very strong woman, but she is also introverted and shy. Sophie is a researcher, looking to find better and less painful ways to treat severe burns.

Chief is a paramedic/firefighter who has previously insulted his neighbor by giving her twenty dollars for mowing his lawn while he was on shift. Without knowing her, he again puts his foot in it while out with friends at the Sloppy Cow. This is a favorite scene.

“Soph, I don’t know how you do it. You always manage to find the most vulnerable people for our studies.”

“It’s a gift,” Sophie responded, the pride easy to hear in her voice. “S-Sometimes disadvantaged people are the easiest to convince. Honestly, s-sometimes I feel bad about pressuring patient’s families, but then I think about how it affects m-me and the institute, and the m-money it will ultimately bring in, and I’m perfectly okay with m-my actions.”

Chief chugged the rest of his beer, stood, and informed his friends, “I’ll be right back.”

He swallowed down the bile that had crept up his throat. He didn’t know his neighbor, but he was disappointed nevertheless. Growing up on the reservation in New Mexico, he’d experienced “do-gooders” first hand who’d tried to take advantage of his people. They’d come in pretending to have their best interests at heart, when in reality all they’d wanted was a Native American body for whatever experiments they wanted to do. Drug trials, mental health counseling, magic pills to “cure” alcoholism…the list was never ending.

The fact that his pretty neighbor might be like the leeches he remembered from his childhood sat like a thick black ball in his gut.

Chief used the restroom and looked in the mirror as he washed his hands. The face looking back at him had been called handsome by more than one woman. He kept his hair long, but pulled back into a ponytail that hung down his back to honor his heritage. Being part Native American was as much a part of who he was as being a firefighter. It was literally in his blood.

Gritting his teeth as he dried his hands, Chief knew what he had to do. He’d promised himself when he’d moved to Texas and off the reservation that he wouldn’t stand by and let anyone take advantage of those weaker, poorer, or not as fortunate as him. Even knowing it would cause problems, since he lived next door to the woman, he couldn’t leave without confronting her and making her agree to lay off the poor teenager she had in her sights.

He left the restroom and saw his lovely neighbor standing at the bar talking to Erin, one of the bartenders. Realizing it was the perfect chance to talk to her away from her friends, and his, Chief went right up to her.

“Sophie, right?”

She turned in surprise and looked at him with wide eyes. To give her credit, she didn’t gape at him as she had in her driveway. “Yeah, that’s m-me. Hi.”

She held out her hand in greeting and Chief ignored it. He knew he was being rude, but he didn’t want to pretend he liked her when he was so pissed.

“It’s not cool to prey on the poor.”

“Pardon?” Sophie asked, dropping her hand and shifting uneasily.

“I heard what you told your friends. That the poor teenage boy with the single mother can’t afford treatment so you just happened to be there to jump in and offer to pay for it…as long as they entered your program. That’s not cool. Not at all.”

He ignored the cute little furrow in her brow as she looked at him in confusion. “I’m s-sorry, but I don’t understand what you’re talking about.”

“I’m talking about you offering to help the ‘poor black boy’ who doesn’t have any money. I’ve seen it time and time again when I was growing up on the reservation. You know they can’t afford to pay for the treatment they need so you play savior and offer to pay for everything…as long as they take the drugs you want them to and allow you to take his blood and do who knows what else in return. You make him a pin cushion and a human scientific experiment. It’s disgusting and vile. I know I can’t stop you from doing it, but I’m hoping I can make you at least think twice about it.”

“I think there’s been a m-misunderstanding,” Sophie insisted. “That’s not what I’m doing. I m-mean, I do look for patients who can’t afford treatment, but—”

“There are no buts about it,” Chief interrupted, thoroughly disgusted. “I’ve seen what burns do to people firsthand. They hurt, and when people hurt, they aren’t thinking right. They’ll sign whatever bullshit agreement you put in front of them if you say there’s a chance it’ll reduce that pain.” His lip curled in derision and he didn’t care that the woman in front of him saw it. “I think I’ll go to the hospital tomorrow and have a talk with that poor kid’s mom. Tell her what she’s really getting into.”

Instead of looking scared by his threat, Sophie put her hands on her hips and glared at him. “You do that. Ask for Traynesha Washington and her s-son, Diontray. And m-make s-sure you ask her exactly what S-Sophie promised her, too, while you’re at it.”

“I will.”

“Good.”

They glared each other for a heartbeat before Sophie shook her head and turned to Erin who had been standing on the other side of the bar shamelessly eavesdropping. “I just wanted you to know we’re gonna call it a night. We’ve called cabs and will be out of here in a bit. Thanks for the drinks tonight.”
Stoker, Susan. Shelter for Sophie (Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Book 8) (Kindle Locations 189-233). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

From here Chief has to eat a lot of crow and even grovel a bit to get back into Sophie’s good graces. He is determined though. Especially as he learns more about her and her never ending quest to make things better for those in need.

Another beautiful example of how strong and beautiful one is, even with what some would consider a disability.

I couldn’t put this book down, thank you Susan for not being quite as hard as you usually are on your heroines!

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Coming November 14th 
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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 Texas where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

She debuted her first series in 2014 and quickly followed that up with the SEAL of Protection Series, which solidified her love of writing and creating stories readers can get lost in.

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Special Forces: Operation Alpha: Buck the System – Sealed With A Kiss Book 2 By Margaret Madigan


 

Buck The System
Sealed with a Kiss Book 2
By
Margaret Madigan

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Dr. Melinda Emerson is still reeling after her escape from Russian mafia terrorists. If she never sees or hears anything Russian again, it’ll be too soon. She’s ready to go back to researching a cure for Alzheimer’s and to begin building a life with her new man, Grady “Buck” McCormick. But the Russians aren’t done with her just yet.

Grady “Buck” McCormick likes to be in charge. But he loves Melinda more. Turns out it’s not so easy for a single alpha male to learn how to be a partner rather than a leader, but he’s determined to do it. That resolve is put to the test when his team gets orders for a new mission where the tables are turned and he must relinquish control, depending on Melinda to protect him.

The Russian mafia is back like a bad penny. They’ve been experimenting on the cognitive enhancing drug Melinda invented. Their version makes users obey orders without question, but it’s also fatal. Melinda is sent along as a civilian consultant with two SEAL teams to infiltrate a secret Siberian lab, secure the head scientist, and retrieve all the research on the drug. But the mission goes sideways when Buck and several of the SEALs are injected, and Melinda is forced to find a cure, or lose the man she loves.

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Well it seems I have started to read the second book in a series once again. I didn’t really need to go back to the first, but curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to know the relationship’s beginning. My review of Bang For The Buck posted last Friday.

This book opens with an argument that I think many women have had with their partners at one time or another. The ability to drive and getting where they are going the best way possible.

I really love this developing relationship between Melinda and Buck, and her friend Jayla is a hoot in her relationship with Noah another SEAL.

Fearing what the Russians might do with her accidental discovery Melinda agrees to work with the CIA. Never expecting to actually do more than consult on things.

This is a favorite scene.

“Dr. Emerson will go along on the mission as a consultant to assist in the interrogation of Petrov, and identify and obtain pertinent information,” Moss said.

“Sorry, ma’am, those are your orders.” Commander Gerald “Hard-Ass” Hardigen entered the room through a door at the front corner, and everyone in the room shot up from their seats to attention. “Have a seat, men,” he said.

Buck dropped into his chair, numb that his first mission with his new team had his loyalties divided between the mission itself and protecting Mindy no matter what. Certainly protecting a civilian asset would be part of the mission, but this was the woman he loved who had exactly zero military or covert ops training. She could barely hit a fucking target with a handgun, and she fainted in crowds.

“Sir,” Mindy said. “What’s the purpose of my going? Couldn’t Dr. Franklin go? He seems knowledgeable enough.”

Buck bit back a grin. She managed to drag Franklin for his disrespect simply by adding ‘enough’ to her comment. Good girl. But one look at Franklin and the guy was in no better shape for a mission than Mindy.

“No. You’re going. You have two of the Navy’s finest SEAL teams protecting you. Trust me, you’ll be fine,” the commander said, implying the discussion closed. Buck knew she’d have at least one SEAL stuck to her like glue the whole time. “All right, men. You have your orders. Team Leaders will be given infil, exfil, rendezvous, and mission details, and teams will receive those on the flight. You’re to prep and report for departure at oh-six-hundred tomorrow. Dismissed.”

As the rest of the men filed out of the room, Buck worked against the flow to get to Mindy. She looked stunned, just standing at the front of the room like a lost little girl.

“Mindy,” Buck said. When she saw him she came to life, her eyes welling up with tears.

She threw herself into his arms. “Buck. I don’t want to go.”

“I know. But you work for the CIA now, too, right? I assume when the Commander said you had orders, that’s what he meant?”

She pulled away and swiped at her eyes. “Yes.”

Ice Bates stepped up and cleared his throat. “I assume you two know each other, then?”

If the guy wasn’t his team leader Buck would have shot back with some sarcastic response. “Yes, sir,” he said instead. “Dr. Emerson is my girlfriend.”

“Is that going to be a problem for you on this mission?”

“No, sir.”

“Because if it is, I can replace you for this one.”

The hell he would. “Having Dr. Emerson on the mission will not compromise my ability to perform my duties, sir.”

“Good to hear.” He turned to Mindy. “Nice to meet you ma’am. You’ll be briefed further in transit. I suggest you go home and pack a small bag, make whatever arrangements you need to for your job, then report back in the morning.”

“Any idea how long we’ll be gone?” Mindy asked.

Ice held her gaze, his expression flat. “No.”

Buck and Mindy followed Ice to the door. Wolf Steele met them near the exit, offering his hand to Ice to shake.

“I’m Wolf Steele, leader for my team. We’ll be working together on this mission.”

“We will,” Ice said, shaking Wolf’s hand.

“You know, my wife’s call sign is Ice,” Wolf said.

Ice paused for a beat then said, “I trust you won’t get us mixed up.”

Buck swallowed a snort, and Mindy covered her mouth to muffle her snicker. Wolf just grinned.

“No chance of that.”

Ice nodded. “See you all in the morning.”

After Ice left, the three of them looked at each other.

“Wow. He needs a sense of humor,” Mindy said.

“Hey, if he’s good at his job, he doesn’t need one,” Buck said.

“I haven’t had a chance yet to welcome you to Coronado,” Wolf said, offering his hand.

Buck accepted the handshake. “Thanks, Wolf. I’m looking forward to working together.”

Wolf turned his attention to Mindy.

“You okay, Melinda?” She smiled, having collected herself enough to do so. “I will be. My experience with the Russian mafia so far hasn’t convinced me I’m any more qualified to deal with them now than I was the first time.”

Wolf rested a hand on her shoulder and squeezed. “We’ve got your back. You’ll have fourteen of the best soldiers the Navy has to offer, protecting you. I promise, it’ll be a breeze. In and out and home before you know it.”

Mindy raised an eyebrow, not buying into the hype. “Thanks, Matthew. I appreciate your confidence. And your protection.”

Wolf smiled and patted her shoulder. “You’re practically part of the family. Besides, Caroline would never let me hear the end of it if I allowed anything happen to you.”

“Oh, that reminds me. I need to talk to her before we leave. You think she’d watch Mr. Wiggles while I’m gone?”

“I’m sure she would.”
Margaret Madigan. BUCK THE SYSTEM (Kindle Locations 481-524). Kindle Edition.

This mission has disaster spelled all over it. The Russians do not give up easily and finding her original kidnappers lived begin the nightmare all over again.There are lots of twists and turns as the SEALs are compromised in the most horrible way and the clock is ticking.

Action, suspense, and plenty of romance! A hold your breath combination.

5 Contented Purrs for Margaret!

Click the Cover for Buy Links

  Margaret Madigan

I write romance for Entangled Publishing and Evernight Publishing. I write and indie-publish romance and sci-fi through M&M Publishing.

I’m an Oregon Ducks fan.

I’m a donut and pastry addict (pretty much any carbs, really).

I like cats.

I’m terrified of balloons.

When I’m not writing you’ll find me in a college classroom teaching English and, of course, wrangling my family.

I love it when my readers review my work on Amazon, GoodReads, Barnes and Noble, blogs, or wherever else they think of. When you talk about something I’ve written, not only does it make me ridiculously happy, it also lets other readers know it’s a great read and they should run out and buy it. So if you enjoy something I’ve written, please review it! I’ll love you forever if you do.

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Special Forces: Operation Alpha: Bang For The Buck – Sealed With a Kiss Book 1 By Margaret Madigan


 

Bang For The Buck
Sealed with a Kiss Book 1
By
Margaret Madigan

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Grady “Buck” McCormick blows shit up for a living as the explosives and demolitions expert on his SEAL team. He grew up on a thoroughbred farm in Kentucky, but he joined the Navy to escape the pain of watching his mom die a long, slow death of cancer. Since then he’s lived with the guilt and dedicated his life to protecting others, carefully guarding his heart along the way.

Melinda Emerson loves chemistry but isn’t so crazy about people. A pharmaceutical chemist with social anxiety, she’ll happily climb through a jungle canopy in search of medicinal plants, but put her in the middle of a party and she passes out. As the only child of older parents, she struggled watching her father fall victim to Alzheimer’s, and is determined to find a cure. Instead, she discovers a cognitive enhancer that has everyone from the CIA to the Russian mafia after her and her new invention.

When Melinda’s social anxiety spikes at a friend’s barbecue, she lands in Buck’s arms. After their one-night stand, Melinda makes a desperate call to Buck for help when her lab is attacked by Russian terrorists intent on kidnapping her and stealing her drug research. He blasts in guns-a-blazing, but under his watch, the relentless Russians manage to kidnap both of them, holding them hostage on board a container ship steaming toward the motherland. Now Buck must protect Melinda, her research, and his heart as he embarks on the mission of his life.

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Melinda was more than embarrassed when her anxiety causes her to faint at Caroline’s party. She didn’t want to attend but her other friend and co-worker Jayla talked her into it. Now instead of going home with her friend she is being escorted by Buck, a SEAL she could definitely fall for.Buck (Grady), is at Coronado for specialized training. His home base is in Virginia. He is not looking for romance or really even a fling. Something about Melinda strikes at the core of him, and he’s not sure what to do about it.

The drug Melinda has been working on for Alzheimer’s accidentally produced another, one that is dangerously mind altering with fatal side effects. The government wants her to perfect it and she has been holding off answering them. She wants to focus on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s not something that was a dangerous mistake.

Unfortunately the Russians found out about the drug and they not only want it, but her too.

This is a favorite scene after the first attempt to capture Melinda.

She pulled a couple of bottles of beer from the fridge and offered him one. “You want some?”“Sure. Thanks.”

Melinda opened her bottle and took a long, cold gulp. For the first time since the Russians invaded Triada, she breathed deeply and let it out, allowing herself to relax some.

“If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine. I understand. But I’m curious, what was that all about?” Buck asked. “At Triada. Why were they after you?”

The muscles of her neck tightened as the whole thing came back again. She didn’t really want to talk about it, but he’d saved her life, and her colleagues’ lives. He deserved some answers.

“Remember I told you I work with cognitive enhancing drugs? I’ve been researching cures for Alzheimer’s, but not too long ago I created something else, completely by accident. Unfortunately, it has a lot of bad side effects, but when the government got wind of it they wanted it anyway. And they wanted me to continue perfecting it. I guess someone leaked the information and the Russians decided they should have it, too. And me.”

“At least they didn’t get it.”

“Well, they got the drug and the research, but they didn’t get me. Thanks to you.” She leaned into him, resting her head on his shoulder and drawing comfort from him.

“Then they missed the most important thing,” he said, kissing her forehead.

“You should get some sleep.”

“I want a shower first,” she said. Her skin itched to clean the horror of the day off. “I still have Brent’s blood on me.”

He nodded. She suddenly wanted the blood off of her. She guzzled the rest of the beer, went to her room to grab some clean clothes, then into the bathroom to start a shower.

As she stripped her clothes off, tears stung her eyes and her throat clogged with grief and anger and confusion. She threw the clothes in a corner and climbed into the shower, setting the water as hot as she could tolerate, and stood under the spray as the tears poured down her already-wet face.

The tears turned to sobs, and when her knees went weak, she collapsed into the tub, wrapped her arms around her bent legs, and rocked and cried while the hot water pounded down on her.

She didn’t register the door opening and only noticed Buck when he pulled the curtain open.

He squatted down to her level. “I heard a thump. I wanted to be sure you were okay.”

She dropped her forehead to her knees. “It’s my fault they’re dead.”

He reached in and turned off the shower before grabbing a towel and held it open for her. “Come on. Stand up.”

She looked up at him. Kindness warmed his eyes, but his jaw set firm like he wouldn’t tolerate any argument from her. She was too tired to care, anyway. It was easier to do as he asked because it didn’t require her to think.

She stood, unashamed of and comfortable in her nakedness, and stepped out of the shower into the towel. He wrapped it and his arms around her, holding her tight.

Leaning into him, she allowed herself to absorb his warmth and solid strength.

“It’s not your fault,” he said.

She looked up at him, gazing into the deep blueness of his eyes. “It is. They were there for my drug. And for me. If not for me, those people would still be alive. And if not for you, more of them would be dead. Oh my God. I haven’t thanked you yet. I’m so sorry.” She’d been so wrapped up in her own feelings about the incident that she hadn’t even thought to thank him for rescuing her.

“You don’t have to. It’s what we do.”

“No. You put your life at risk to come after a woman you’ve known for three days. You didn’t have to do that. So, thank you. I’m so grateful you saved the rest of those people. And me.”

He smiled and caressed her cheek with his knuckles. Her heart lurched at that little expression of kindness and affection. “You’re welcome, darlin’.” He backed away and took her hand. “Now, let’s get you into bed. You need some sleep.”
Madigan, Margaret. Special Forces: Operation Alpha: Bang for the Buck (Kindle Worlds Novella) (SWAK Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 848-884). Kindle Worlds. Kindle Edition.

This night doesn’t go so well and the rest of this is fraught with danger, fear and unparalleled strength of will.

A nail-biter for sure, with plenty of action and a sizzling relationship, you will definitely want more of.

5 Contented Purrs for Margaret!

Click the Cover for Buy Links

  Margaret Madigan

I write romance for Entangled Publishing and Evernight Publishing. I write and indie-publish romance and sci-fi through M&M Publishing.

I’m an Oregon Ducks fan.

I’m a donut and pastry addict (pretty much any carbs, really).

I like cats.

I’m terrified of balloons.

When I’m not writing you’ll find me in a college classroom teaching English and, of course, wrangling my family.

I love it when my readers review my work on Amazon, GoodReads, Barnes and Noble, blogs, or wherever else they think of. When you talk about something I’ve written, not only does it make me ridiculously happy, it also lets other readers know it’s a great read and they should run out and buy it. So if you enjoy something I’ve written, please review it! I’ll love you forever if you do.

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Amazon Author Page

 

New Series! Claiming Grace – Ace Security #1 by Susan Stoker


 

Claiming Grace
Ace Security Book 1
By
Susan Stoker

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Winter Blog Blurb

For Logan Anderson, moving on from a traumatic past means moving back to his hometown of Castle Rock, Colorado, to start a personal-security business with his brothers. But it’s not long before Logan runs into Grace Mason, his best friend from high school…and the woman who never answered his letters during his Army years.

Grace was pleasantly surprised to see Logan return to Castle Rock, despite their falling-out ten years ago. Everyone always assumed they would end up together, including Grace, who had eyes only for him. But as Logan eventually escaped their town, Grace got pulled further into her family’s controlling grasp—and farther away from the man she loved.

Now, united by scars both visible and not, the two must fight to free Grace from the suffocating hold of her family. But the Masons won’t let go easily—and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart.

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Winter Blog Review

When it comes to really tough subjects Susan Stoker has a knack of bringing out the truth of things while wrapping you into the story she weaves. Although this book contains incidents and stories of abuse that may be triggers or be disturbing to some individuals, it is informative and a reminder that abuse can happen no matter what your means.

Logan and his brothers have returned to Castle Rock to bury their father. Their mother had always been abusive and they lived with it until they were old enough to leave. Their father paid the ultimate price, his life and their mother killed herself after doing the deed.

Because of this and their childhood Logan and his brothers are starting a security company to aid those men who might otherwise never come forward.

Now Grace on the other hand, knows what her parents inflict on her is abuse but she can’t figure a way out. Her parents are manipulative and emotional abusers. The last straw is when the set their sights on someone they want her to marry.

Grace and Logan had a relationship in school, when he left to join the Army they vowed to write and she would wait for him. But he didn’t write and Grace finally stopped waiting.

Now she sneaks out of her parents home to be with her friend Felicity. She has her own apartment but her parents always need something and she spends more time at their home than her own.

This is a favorite scene from the party Felicity and Cole have at the gym.

“You were my safe harbor, Grace,” Logan told her honestly. “When I was with you, I felt like the man my mother never let me be. I felt as though you liked me for who I was. That night at the football game, when you wore my shirt, it felt good. I realized that I liked being around you. I liked looking after you. I liked protecting you.”

“I liked it too.” Her words were soft and Logan breathed out a sigh of relief. He knew he was bungling this, and he probably sounded like a pussy, but he shouldn’t have worried. The Grace he knew wouldn’t make fun of him or make him feel bad about his feelings. He went on.

“So, when I left that morning, I was being completely serious about wanting you to move in with me once I got settled. I thought you felt the same way, but when you didn’t answer my letters, I figured you’d changed your mind. Or found someone else to be with.” Logan shrugged, trying to be nonchalant about the explanation. The words seemed too inadequate to explain the hell he’d gone through at the time.

“Wait, what?”

“It’s okay,” Logan hurried to reassure her. “Again, we were young. I never really told you how I felt, other than that morning at the bus station. That’s on me. After a while, when I didn’t hear from you, other than getting my letters sent back, I figured it was selfish of me to ask you to be an Army girlfriend. I moved every two years. You would have had to quit your job if you came with me with every change of station. Not to mention the deployments and long hours. I also figured you’d moved on from this town to follow your dreams and probably found the man of your dreams to share it with.”

Logan stopped talking when Grace put her hand on his arm and dug her fingernails into it. He had no idea if she knew what she was doing or not, but her words caught him by surprise.

“You didn’t write.”

He looked at her in confusion. “I did,” he insisted. “Every week when I was in Basic, and then every so often after that. For almost an entire year.”

“No, you didn’t,” she insisted.

Logan was getting angry now. “Grace. I did. I should know, I was the one who wrote the letters. Handwrote them, by the way, not typed. I was the one who waited every day for you to write me back, to acknowledge me. But you sent them all back, except for the last one. Unopened. The last few you even wrote, ‘I’m dating someone. Leave me alone,’ on the back.”

Grace didn’t respond, but leaned over her knees and started to hyperventilate.

“Grace! Shit. What’s wrong? Are you okay? You need to slow your breathing down or you’ll pass out. Come on, Smarty, breathe.” The nickname he’d given her when they were kids popped out without thought. “You’re scaring me, Grace. Take a deep breath. Good. Another. Keep doing that. Yeah, that’s it.”

Finally, when her breathing had slowed down and gotten close to normal, Grace turned her head to look at him. She hadn’t bothered to sit up, just stayed huddled over her knees.

“I didn’t get any letters.”

He barely heard the whispered words. Logan didn’t believe her. “It’s fine, Grace. I’m over it. It was a long time ago.”

“I. Didn’t. Get. Any. Letters,” she enunciated slowly, then closed her eyes and put her forehead back on her knees. Her voice was muffled, but Logan heard every word as if they were knives plunging into his heart.

“I waited. Every day after my college classes I rushed home to check the mail. And every day, there wasn’t anything from you. At first I told myself you were just busy. I can imagine how Basic Training is. You were probably really tired, and didn’t have time to write me. It was fine. After eight weeks went by, I thought for sure you’d start writing.

But every day I was told there was nothing. I was writing you, though. I must’ve written at least fifty letters. I figured I’d save them and send them all at the same time, as soon as I got your address. But you never wrote. So I figured you were just being nice that morning at the bus station.” Grace’s voice trailed off, and she didn’t look up.

Logan was frozen in disbelief. Suddenly he sprang up and paced in front of her. Neither of them said anything for a few moments. Finally, Logan stopped in front of Grace and put both hands in his hair, holding onto his temper by a thread. “Grace, I swear to you, I wrote. I poured my heart into those letters. I made it through the eight weeks of hell that was Basic because I thought you were waiting for me. I couldn’t wait to see you again.”
Stoker, Susan. Claiming Grace (Ace Security Book 1) (pp. 58-61). Montlake Romance. Kindle Edition.

Things heat up from here in more ways than one. Bradford and his parents aren’t thrilled with Grace’s parents ideas. However, Grace and Bradford had long decided to be just friends even though his sister Alexis doesn’t quite understand that.

Logan finds there are many more types of abuse than the physical and vows to be with Grace.

An emotional and heart wrenching story as the journey to happiness meets extreme circumstances for all involved. Keep those tissues handy, you will definitely need them.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

Winter Blog More Books

Coming July 11, 2017
Click the Cover To Pre-Order

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 Texas where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

She debuted her first series in 2014 and quickly followed that up with the SEAL of Protection Series, which solidified her love of writing and creating stories readers can get lost in.

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