Tag Archives: @Susan_Stoker

Defending Harlow – Mountain Mercenaries Book 4 by Susan Stoker



Defending Harlow
Mountain Mercenaries Book 4
By
NY Times, USA Today & Wall Street Journal
Bestselling Author

Susan Stoker

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Lowell “Black” Lockard, former Navy SEAL, has watched his fellow Mountain Mercenaries settle down with the women of their dreams, but he’s convinced he doesn’t need love. Then he gets a call from Harlow Reese—a chef at a local women’s shelter—and begins to reconsider his decision.

After being continually harassed by a local band of punks, Harlow asks Lowell to give the women of the shelter lessons in self-defense. She doesn’t expect him to take such a special interest in her safety, but he insists on escorting her to and from work, never taking no for an answer. Not that Harlow minds the personal touch…especially when it’s coming from her former teenage crush.

Despite her long history of bad dating luck, seeing Black again makes Harlow rethink her self-imposed celibacy. Easy on the eyes and hard to forget, the man has morphed into an alpha stud. And Harlow may be exactly the type of woman Black is looking for. Making her feel safe isn’t only a duty; it’s a pleasure. But the threats are escalating. The motives are a mystery. And as the danger burns almost as hot as their passion, there’s much more at risk than their hearts.

Harlow has given up on dating, she’s had so many terrible, and some positively atrocious first dates, it’s just not worth it anymore. She ran into Lowell ‘Black’ Lockard as he volunteered at the women’s shelter where she’s one of the chefs. She had a crush on him in high school, but they are both very different now. She had asked for his number since she wanted to take gun safety lessons at his shooting range.

Black was surprised when Harlow calls him, he thought she changed her mind about the lessons. Although he finds out there is something else bothering her. She is being harassed by men near the shelter and so are the women and children who live there.

As the guys start stepping up with more security at the house, Black also steps up his game. He wants to date her but somehow he has to convince her it’s not a date.

This is a favorite scene, the first surprise, ‘not a date’.

She hadn’t slept well the night before. She kept having nightmares about the shelter blowing up and watching from the outside as everyone burned to death inside. So when her alarm went off at three thirty, she was tempted to roll over and ignore it, but had a feeling that Lowell would drag her out of bed if he had to. She could tell he was excited about wherever they were going.

Besides . . . she was curious.

And she was looking forward to whatever he had planned.

It had been a long time since anyone had surprised her with anything. Generally, she didn’t like surprises, but she had a feeling whatever Lowell had up his sleeve would be epic.

She’d told him she trusted him, and she hadn’t lied.

So here she was. Four in the morning, tired as hell, but game for whatever Lowell wanted to do.

Harlow hadn’t had much time to explore the area, so when she finally thought about paying attention to where they were going, she was already lost. The darkness didn’t help her orientation either.

“Can you tell me where we’re going yet?” It was the first thing she’d said other than a mumbled “Good morning” when he’d knocked on her door.

“You’ll see.”

Too tired to complain, Harlow put her drink in the cup holder and her head back on the seat and closed her eyes.

“Sleep, Harl,” Black said quietly.

She felt his hand on her thigh and looked at him. “I didn’t sleep well last night,” she apologized.

He looked upset at her words, but merely said, “I’ll wake you when we get there.”

She wanted to tease him by saying of course he’d wake her when they got to the mystery destination they were headed toward. It wasn’t like he was going to drive her somewhere, then let her sleep in the car while he got out and did whatever. But instead she said, “I’m just going to rest my eyeballs for a bit. I’m not going to sleep.”

He grinned at her. “Okay, baby. You rest your eyeballs.”

She shut her eyes again, and the last thought she had was how nice his hand felt on her leg and how glad she was that he hadn’t removed it.

What could’ve been seconds or hours later, Harlow felt a hand on her shoulder and heard Lowell’s low voice. “Wake up, baby. We’re here.”

Sighing, Harlow sat up and opened her eyes. If possible, she was even more tired than she’d been earlier. She looked out the windshield and blinked in confusion. They were sitting in front of a fairly large building. She didn’t recognize it and had no idea where they were, but a sign over the door said CHALLENGE UNLIMITED.

Running a hand over her face, she said the first thing that came to mind. “Um . . . I don’t like challenges. This isn’t one of those superhuman workout things, is it? Because I’m telling you right now that I’ve never done a burpee in my life, and I’m not about to start now.”

Lowell let out a loud guffaw, and she turned to look at him in surprise. She’d seen him laugh before, but it was a rare thing.

“I thought you trusted me,” he said when he had himself under control again.

“I do. But you also told me that you worked out every morning, and since we’re up at the crack of dawn parked in front of a business with the word challenge in the name, what else am I supposed to think?”

“I’m coming around,” he told her instead of answering the question. Harlow picked up her now-lukewarm coffee—they must’ve been driving for more than a couple minutes—and took a large sip. She figured that she would definitely need the caffeine for whatever Lowell had planned.

He opened her door and held out a hand. “You don’t have to chug that. Bring it with you.”

“You mean they allow coffee in hell?” she quipped.

He chuckled, and once again, the sound went straight to her belly. She accepted his hand to help her out of the low car, then clutched her travel mug in her other hand as he shut and locked the car door before they headed for the entrance to the building.

They walked hand in hand, and he opened the door for her. They entered a brightly lit retail space with everything from bicycles to clothing for sale. She looked at Lowell in confusion, but he simply strode to the back of the room, where a desk of sorts was set up.

“Lowell Lockard and Harlow Reese, checking in,” he told the teenage girl behind the large wooden kiosk.

The teenager greeted them with a smile and said, “Hi! Welcome to Challenge Unlimited. We’ve got a continental breakfast set up in the back room. There are waivers you’ll need to sign, and once everyone checks in, we’ll play the safety video. We should be ready to go in about thirty minutes. If you need to use the restroom, make sure you do so before we leave. You won’t have another chance once we get to the top.”

Harlow blinked. Top? Top of what? She opened her mouth to ask the girl in front of them, but Lowell spoke before she could.

“Thank you. We’ll be ready.” Then he pulled her in the direction the teenager had pointed. T

hey were almost through the door to the back room when Harlow tugged hard on Lowell’s hand, bringing him to a stop.

He turned to look at her, and she almost melted at the concern in his eyes. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Nothing’s wrong. I just want to know right this second what we’re doing here and what’s going on. Why can’t I pee later? And what are we going to the top of?”

Lowell looked at her for a beat, then said, “I’m a little stunned that you don’t like surprises.”

“I just never have. Especially not when it comes to doing something with someone of the opposite sex. It’s never turned out well for me, which you’re very aware of. I’m two seconds away from sitting on that bench over there”—she pointed at an uncomfortable-looking wooden bench along one wall—“and just waiting for you to be done with whatever it is you came here to do.”

“We’re going to be driven up to the top of Pikes Peak, and then we’ll come down on bikes,” Lowell told her without hesitation.

“Um . . . you do remember that I’m, like, the most uncoordinated person ever, right?”

“You don’t actually have to do much other than steer,” he tried to reassure her.

“Lowell, the last time I got on a bike, I was ten,” she told him.

He frowned. “You’re really worried about this, aren’t you?”

“Yes!” she practically shouted. Then took a deep breath. “Pikes Peak is, like, really high. I look at it outside my window at home. I’m going to fly head over heels over the handlebars or something. How fast are we going to be driving—er, biking? I’ll kill myself if I crash at high speed.”

Lowell took her head in his hands. “Breathe, Harl.”

“I told you once that I’m not an outdoorsy girl. I thought you understood. I just . . .” Her words trailed away.

“What?” he urged.

She’d never admit what she was about to say if they were on an actual date. The last thing she wanted to do was admit to something that would turn him off. But since things between them weren’t like that, she threw caution to the wind.

“I don’t want to embarrass you. I saw a few of the others who’ve already checked in milling about.

They’re all . . . athletic looking. Like you. My butt probably won’t even fit on the seat. I won’t be able to keep up with everyone, and then you’ll feel like you have to hang back with me, and you’ll be miserable.”

“Harlow, you could never embarrass me. I’m proud to hang out with you. You’re an amazing person and beautiful to boot. Even half-asleep, you’re exquisite. I thought you would enjoy this. There’s really no athleticism involved. I swear. I saw the bikes we’ll be using, and they aren’t anything professional. They have big, cushiony seats. Hell, you think I like sitting on bicycle seats? That shit hurts a man’s junk. Our balls get all squished and shit. And as far as keeping up, we’ll get on the bicycles at the top of the hill and coast all the way down. It’s not a race, just a nice, easy ride downhill. We’ll be wearing safety gear, and you only have to go as fast as you’re comfortable with. I just figured you might like to do something fun. To get your mind off what’s been going on. But if you really want to leave, we will. I’d never force you to do something you don’t want to.”

Harlow stared into his eyes and could see the sincerity in them. He had a point about the small seats and his manly parts. Thinking about his dick made her feel all squirmy inside, so she tried to distract herself. She licked her lips, and saw his eyes dart down to her mouth before meeting hers once more. She liked the look in his eyes, but she still wasn’t sure about this.

“I’ll make you a deal,” Lowell said. “We’ll watch their safety video, and if you still have doubts, we’ll bail. We can go out to breakfast instead. Then I’ll take you home.”

“But you already paid,” she protested.

He shrugged. “It’s not a big deal.”

Hating that she was being a chicken, Harlow took a deep breath and nodded. “I can do this. I’m not going to wuss out. I just had a momentary freak-out. But if something happens, I get to say I told you so.”
Stoker, Susan. Defending Harlow (Mountain Mercenaries Book 4) (pp. 109-114). Kindle Edition.

Black plans many ‘surprises’ for Harlow in the process of protecting her. So much fun and the whole not dating thing kept made me chuckle every time.

I thoroughly enjoyed her bad date stories, they made me yearn for that HEA.  It was great seeing the rest of the crew while also finding out some surprises, plus learning more about the mysterious Rex.

Lots of suspense, intrigue and a few confrontations with more than one person as they find the instigators. With just enough heat in more ways than one.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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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 noncommissioned 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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Securing Sidney – SEAL of Protection: Legacy Book 2 by Susan Stoker



Securing Sidney
SEAL of Protection: Legacy Book 2
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker

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For Sidney Hale, rescuing dogs is more than a hobby. It’s a calling. A deep-seated need. An unstoppable compulsion. For reasons so unsettling, she shares them with no one…until she meets Decker. After coming to her rescue while Sidney battled to save a dog—literally—the gorgeous SEAL proves he can be trusted with her secrets, her safety…maybe even her heart.

Saving an abused pit bull from a suspected dog fighter brings Decker “Gumby” Kincade not only the dog he’s always wanted, but the first woman in ages to catch his interest. Sidney’s reason for rescuing Hannah, and animals like her, is shocking…but it makes Gumby want her even more. Her harrowing past has made her the strong, brave, compassionate woman she is today. She could be The One…if Gumby can help curb her habit of putting herself squarely in danger’s path.

But he may be too late. Hannah’s previous owner is enraged over her loss…and looking for revenge.

** Securing Sidney is the 2nd book in the SEAL of Protection: Legacy Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

** This story examines the stark reality of dogfighting and other animal abuse, and includes brief descriptions that may be unpleasant for some readers. .

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This is a very emotional and scary book as Susan delves into the world of dog-fighting. It’s not only the abuse the dogs are put through, but also the depravity of the people involved.

It opens after our heroine Sidney is involved in a fight over a severely abused dog. Gumby drives the dog to the vet and Sidney follows him. On that drive he not only decides to keep the dog, but also names her Hannah. Hannah’s reactions to him are absolutely priceless.

This is a favorite scene.

“We’ve got an injured dog here. We need to see a doctor immediately!”

The receptionist stood and gestured for them to follow her. Gumby was surprised when he felt Sidney’s hand land on the small of his back, and she practically glued herself to his side as they entered the small treatment room.

“A technician will be here momentarily to get your information and triage your pet.”

“Oh, but she’s—”

“Thank you,” Gumby said, interrupting Sidney.

When the lady had left, Sidney turned to him and frowned. “Why’d you cut me off?”

“The last thing I want is for them to think Hannah is a stray, or unwanted, because she’s not.”

Sidney opened her mouth to say something else, but a technician burst into the room before she could say a word.

“I heard we have an emergency. What’s— Oh my!”

Gumby very gently placed Hannah on the raised table in the room and kept his hand on her head. “Yeah. It’s bad.”

“What happened?” the vet tech breathed.

“She was taken out of my yard,” Gumby lied. “And we think the guy who took her was training her to be a bait dog or something for illegal dogfighting. He poured something caustic on her back, and it looks like she was dragged behind a car. Maybe he was trying to condition her and get her to run, but she couldn’t keep up.”

“Poor baby,” the tech crooned, leaning over to pet Hannah.

The hackles on the back of the dog’s neck rose and she growled low in her throat.

“Hannah,” Gumby said in a low, hard tone. The dog immediately stopped and whimpered instead. “Sorry about that,” he told the technician. “She’s usually very docile, but we don’t know what was done to her between when she was taken and when we got her back just now.”

“Of course,” the woman said. “It’ll take her some time to trust again.” She handed over a couple sheets of paper to Sidney. “I’ll need you to fill those out and the doctor should be in here in a few minutes.” She turned to Hannah. “Hang on, girl. We’ll have you fixed up in a jiffy.”

The second the woman left the room, Sidney turned to Gumby and whisper-yelled, “Why’d you tell them she was stolen out of your yard? That was stupid.”

Gumby ran his hand over Hannah’s head and didn’t miss the way the dog sighed in contentment and tried to crawl closer to him.

“What should I have said? That I just met the dog thirty minutes ago when you were in a fistfight with the asshole who had abused her? That you stole her from him? You think that would’ve gotten her treated any faster?” He went on before she could answer his rhetorical questions. “No. They would’ve wanted to know more details, and when we admitted that we know nothing about Hannah’s history, they might’ve been reluctant to treat her at all. This way, she’ll get the medical care she needs as soon as possible. Besides, I’m keeping her.”

Gumby had been thinking about getting a dog for a while now. Ever since he’d almost died in Bahrain on his last mission. He’d always regretted not having one, and Hannah seemed to have been dropped in his lap. It was a sign—and Gumby was a big believer in them.

“We should go through the coordinator at the local rescue group I work with. I was going to bring her there. They get medical attention for the dogs that need it, and they do extensive background checks on potential adopters,” Sidney told him.

“You do this a lot?” he asked.

“Do what?”

“Track down people you think are up to no good on social media? Then spy on them and, when they cross the line, take on men twice your size in order to rescue the animals they’re abusing?”

Without blinking, Sidney said, “Yes.”

It was Gumby’s turn to be surprised. “Seriously?”

She nodded. “The animals are innocent. They didn’t ask to be thrown into a pit to fight another dog. Or to be starved. Or to be chained up in a backyard for their entire lives. I’ll take on whoever I have to in order to save a helpless, innocent animal.”

“You ever gotten in trouble because of it?”

She grinned. “You mean do the low-life, abusive bastards turn me in? No. They’re all too busy trying to protect themselves and stay under the radar of the cops to file complaints against me.”

Gumby thought she looked a little too pleased with herself. But there was something in her eyes as she explained how she championed animals—guilt. And now he wanted to know why. Wanted to know her story.

His attention was diverted when the veterinarian entered the room. She was all business, and the next ten minutes were taken up with her examining poor Hannah and getting as much information as she could from Gumby…which wasn’t much. He told her to do a full blood panel on Hannah, as he wasn’t sure what had been done to her since she’d been taken. He wasn’t proud of his lies, but if they helped get Hannah the care she needed and deserved, so be it.

The vet agreed that it looked like some sort of acid had been poured onto her back and that she’d been dragged. The dog had no toenails left and the pads of her feet had been worn off. It was the vet’s opinion that her back looked worse than it probably was. She didn’t think the hair would grow back, but she thought the wound should heal up pretty well.

When they went to take Hannah to the back to treat her, however, the mild-mannered dog disappeared, and she began growling at the vet and her assistant.

Stepping back, the vet said, “Maybe you should come back with us. Just until we manage to get her sedated.”

“Sedated?” Gumby asked.

“Yeah. Cleaning these wounds is gonna hurt, and I’d rather not harm her any more than I have to.”

Gumby immediately nodded. “Right. Okay, we can come with you.”

“I think just you,” the vet said, giving her assistant a look Gumby couldn’t interpret. “Your…friend can stay and fill out the paperwork.”

“That okay, Sid?” Gumby asked, the nickname just coming out naturally.

Sidney nodded. “Of course.”

“You think she’ll let you pick her up again?” the vet asked.

“Only one way to see.” Gumby leaned down and whispered to Hannah, “What do ya say? These nice people are gonna get you all fixed up. Let’s not growl at them, okay?”

In response, Hannah lifted her head and licked Gumby’s face with a loud slurp.

Everyone chuckled.

“Guess that means she’s okay with it.” And with that, Gumby once again picked up the large dog and followed the vet into the back area of the animal hospital.
injured
Susan Stoker. Securing Sidney: SEAL of Protection: Legacy, Book 2 (Kindle Locations 67-121). Stoker Aces Production, LLC.

As Decker and Sidney get to know each other, there is more than one bomb shell dropping relating to her past. Her compulsion to save these poor animals is startling and heartbreaking.

Her neighbor Nora is a hoot, and Caite becomes her friend in an unusual way.

Hannah becomes attached not only to Decker but also Sidney as she heals from her horrific wounds.

We get to see Carolyn in this one as well as Rocco and the rest of this team.

I couldn’t put this book down, as I cried, laughed and held my breath. It was disturbing, scary, romantic, loving and sexy as all get out.

Susan once again proves that any topic can be turned into a book, and this one definitely brought out the horror of dog-fighting and the difficulties of taking it down.

I can’t wait to see what the next book in this series will bring.

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 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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Securing Brenae – SEAL of Protection: Legacy Book 1.5 By Susan Stoker



Securing Brenae
SEAL of Protection: Legacy Book 1.5
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker

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Rear Admiral Dag Creasy has enjoyed a long, successful naval career. It’s not all been smooth sailing, but his beautiful and generous wife, Brenae, has been at his side for nearly three decades, helping him weather every storm. He loves her more than words can express, their relationship only growing stronger with every year. Now, they’re both excited and anxious for the completion of their dream home, where they’ll start the next chapter of their lives together…

If an unexpected menace doesn’t cut their storybook romance short.

** Securing Brenae is a short story in the SEAL of Protection: Legacy Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

This ebook version contains two brand new chapters that aren’t available in the audio podcast edition (Read Me Romance)!

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I love Susan Stoker’s books. It doesn’t matter how long or how short the stories are enthralling.

It’s rare to see the higher ranking officers in a story, but in the first book of this series we do meet Rear Admiral Dag Creasy. This is more about him and his wife Brenae.

A love story of the highest order, as we see Dag in the aftermath of the circumstances that brought down a man who was his friend.

Brenae is the ultimate Navy wife, she has stood beside Dag from the beginning of his career to the present, from SEAL to Admiral it’s been quite the journey.

After several minutes of cuddling, she asked sleepily, “What do you have on tap for today?”

“PT. Then a meeting with the base commander about what happened last week and to get an update on his replacement. Then I’m meeting with each of the SEAL teams to answer their questions and to reassure them that they will absolutely be safe when they go overseas on a mission in the interim. I have to go to NCIS and answer questions about the traitor from Bahrain, and to find out if I’ll have to testify in his hearing. I have a stack of paperwork a mile high I have to try to get through, and then hopefully convince my admin that she doesn’t want to quit as a result.”

“So a normal day,” Brenae quipped.

Dag chuckled. “Pretty much.”

“You thought any more about retirement?”

Dag stiffened and propped himself up on an elbow and tried to read her face. The light was too low for him to interpret what she was thinking. “You know all you have to do is say the word and I’m done,” he said softly.

“I wasn’t hinting,” Brenae chided. “I just hate seeing you so stressed. I mean, I know you’re pretty much always stressed, but the last week has been worse. I wasn’t sure if everything that happened had tipped the scales, making you want to get out sooner rather than later.”

Dag thought about it for a long moment. Then finally said, “Honestly, everything about that situation sucked, but I feel as if I’m needed even more now. I’m not so conceited to think that no one else can do my job, but with everything else going on, I have a feeling keeping things as normal as possible is the best thing for everyone. SEALs, their families, and my own bosses.”

“I agree,” Brenae said softly. “I’m so proud of you, Dag.”

“As long as you can say that, I’m good. The second that changes, I’m out.”

“I’ll always be proud of you,” she said. “Always.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“I’ve still got another hour before I have to get up and get ready for work,” Dag told her. “Go back to sleep, baby.”

“You too?” she asked sleepily.

“Sure,” Dag told her, but he knew he was lying. One of this favorite things in the world was holding her while she slept. He’d never told her, but he loved how easily she fell asleep in his arms. How she innately trusted him to keep her safe no matter what.

The second he felt her deep, even breaths, he leaned over and kissed her forehead. “I swear the next thirty years are going to be easier than the first,” he vowed.
Stoker, Susan. Securing Brenae: SEAL of Protection: Legacy, Book 1.5. Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Locations (460-481). Kindle Edition.

Now keeping in mind this is Susan Stoker, you know it’s not going to be all cuddles and love. Brenae and Caite find themselves in a fix without their phones. I could feel the shift from day to day to mission, when Rocco and Dag hear of the issue and take off to assess the situation.

I loved the way Brenae and Dag can interpret each others thoughts. Almost the same as Dag can with his teams.

With lots of love, laughter, tears, sizzling heat and just a bit of action, these two are an awesome couple and I hope we see more of them in this 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 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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Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads Amazon Author Page

Rescuing Macie – A 1001 Dark Nights Novella – Delta Force Heroes Book 9.5 by Susan Stoker




Rescuing Macie
A 1001 Dark Nights Novella
Delta Force Heroes Book 9.5
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker

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From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Susan Stoker comes a new story in her Delta Force Heroes series…

After years of estrangement, Mercedes Laughlin has finally reconciled with her older brother. It should be the happiest time of her life, getting to know Truck and his new wife…and it would be, if an ex wasn’t causing her trouble. Add in Truck’s boss, Colonel Colton Robinson, an amazingly distracting man whom she met under embarrassing circumstances, and Macie’s got a bit more on her plate than she can handle.

From the moment they met, Colt was fascinated by Macie, and helping her through an anxiety attack at her brother’s wedding didn’t diminish the appeal. He’d do his best to sweep her off her feet, if not for a little voice telling him to tread lightly—until a frantic phone call changes the plan. Macie’s being targeted, and Colt’s determined to keep her safe while he and her brother eliminate the threat.

Colt isn’t about to let his friend lose his sister again so soon…or miss his own chance at a happy ending with Macie before they’ve barely had a beginning.

** For fans of Susan’s Delta Force Heroes, Rescuing Macie is book 9.5 in that series**

**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.**


Every time I pick up a Susan Stoker book I know I’m in for an emotional adventure. I fell in love with Colt and Macie when I read the teaser at the end of Rescuing Mary.

Colt is beyond patient with Macie and her brother Truck is going to have to get used to the fact that his commander is going to be hanging around.

Truck gets a frantic call from his sister Macie as the team is being debriefed, someone is in her apartment. Every one jumps into action to help her but it’s Colt who manages to calm her.

Anxiety and panic attacks are a hidden problem since no one wants to talk about them. Susan handles them with finesse and tact as they are woven into this tale.

Romance, heat, laughter and tears round out Colt and Macie’s relationship much to Truck’s initial dismay. 

Keep reading for an excerpt that is also a favorite scene of mine featuring the women of the Delta Force Team.

I look forward to the next series with the new Delta team.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

“Everything good?” he asked.

Macie nodded.

“No, Macie,” he said as he put a hand on the side of her neck and leaned in. “Are you good?”

She couldn’t help the small smile that broke out. “I’m good,” she told him. “Really. I liked them. Annie is hysterical, and I loved getting to know Emily and Casey more.”

“And Mary? Did she behave?”

Macie must’ve hesitated a moment too long, because Colt sighed and pulled back. He reached for her hand and pulled her into the living room. He sat on the couch and tugged Macie down onto his lap. He put his arms around her waist and held her firmly.

Macie stared at him in shock. They’d slept curled up next to each other every night, and Colt never hesitated to touch her, to caress her cheek or run a hand over her hair. But he’d never simply hauled her around before—at least, not since the night of the break-in—and she hadn’t sat on anyone’s lap since she was five years old.

Not sure where to put her hands, she rested them in her lap awkwardly.

“What’d she say?” Colt asked.

“Nothing.”

“Mace,” he said more gently. “I can tell she said something. I mean, it’s Mary, she can’t help herself, it’s part of her charm.” He smiled. “Now tell me, so I can reassure you about whatever it was, and then I’ll go get us some dinner. I’m hungry.”

It was the last bit that made Macie change her mind about telling him. She had a feeling he would sit there all night if she didn’t spill. He was that stubborn. But his stubbornness was one of the many reasons she was crazy about him.

Pushing those feelings to the back of her mind, refusing to think about them right now, she said, “I’m sure she was exaggerating, or that she simply doesn’t know the truth.”

“About what?”

Taking a deep breath, Macie said, “She was just trying to make sure I knew what this was. What was happening here. And she told me about you killing a bunch of people when your friend was captured.”

She felt Colt’s thigh muscles tense under her butt, and it seemed as if the air in the room thickened with emotion.

Oh shit. Why had she told him? She should’ve made something up. She was such an idiot! Now he was going to tell her she couldn’t stay at his house anymore, that he couldn’t help her. She should’ve kept her big mouth shut!

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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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Defending Morgan – Mountain Mercenaries Book 3 By Susan Stoker



Defending Morgan
Mountain Mercenaries Book 3
By
NY Times, USA Today & Wall Street Journal
Bestselling Author

Susan Stoker

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Dispatched to the Dominican Republic to rescue a kidnapped child, former Navy SEAL Archer “Arrow” Kane makes a startling discovery: another hostage—Morgan Byrd, a very beautiful and very well-known missing person who disappeared off the streets of Atlanta a year ago. She’s brave, resilient, and unbroken. All Arrow wants to know is why she ended up in a shack in Santo Domingo. All he feels is the desire to protect.

Morgan is done being the victim and is determined to find out who hates her so much that they want her gone—but not dead. Until then, she has Arrow, an alpha stranger who’s offering a warm and safe place to hide. But as the passion between them flares, so does the fear that whoever took Morgan will do anything to get her back. For Arrow, protecting this woman with a mysterious enemy is the most dangerous mission of his life. And it’s worth every beat of his heart.

I’ve decided that Susan Stoker’s mind is a very scary place. I don’t know how she consistently comes up with new and harrowing ideas but they are excellent.

I have been waiting for this book since the tease at the end of Defending Chloe. The accidental discovery of someone who has been missing for a year while rescuing a child taken by her father was surprising to say the least.

Archer and his team have paperwork for the child to return to the states but not for Morgan. Having them split up to avoid detection had me biting my nails even as I could smell the garbage and see the abandoned rundown building they hid in.

Keeping Morgan safe while also gaining information was a challenge Archer accepted without question.

This is a favorite scene.

It took another twenty minutes for Arrow to put everything in place, but when he was finished, he felt satisfied that he’d done what he could to give him and Morgan a window of opportunity to get the hell out of this part of the city undetected.

Crouching down between two buildings, Arrow waited for the first detonator to go off.

When it did, he was pleased to see the two men lurking nearby take off running toward the sound.

As he made his way back toward Morgan, he heard the other explosions he’d set. They went off right on time, hopefully leading the assholes away from his and Morgan’s escape route.

The second he entered the alley where he’d left Morgan, he could feel his body relaxing. He could see the mound of trash looked exactly as he’d left it earlier. Crouching, he whispered, “Morgan? It’s me, Arrow. It’s time to go.”

He brushed off the fish heads and bones and picked up the box he’d put around her head. She peered up at him, her pupils huge in her face and the dark alley.

“Come on, beautiful. Time to go.”

She awkwardly scooted out from under the debris, and when he brushed his fingers against hers, she grabbed hold of his hand as if she’d never let go.

Just then, a louder boom sounded to the west. That was the last explosion he’d rigged, and hopefully the one that would take all attention off where they might be as the thugs tried to figure out what was going on. Arrow had chosen the placements for the explosions carefully. He wasn’t opposed to killing, if it had to be done, but there was no way he was going to hurt someone indiscriminately. He’d used a bit of C-4 next to abandoned buildings, making sure there weren’t any squatters inside, and had used a timer to set them.

They should hopefully bring the police and fire department, and draw the attention of anyone looking for Morgan.

“I take it that’s your handiwork?” Morgan asked.

He could hear the fright, and relief, in her words. He’d been gone longer than he’d planned, but it had been necessary. He’d had to set the small flashbangs and explosions a bit farther out than he’d initially assumed.

“Don’t know what you’re talking about, beautiful. I was just out for a nightly stroll.”

Her teeth flashed white when she smiled.

“Come on. Stay right by me and don’t talk. I’m pretty sure we should be in the clear, but I’m not going to take any chances.”

Morgan nodded and took a deep breath. She looked down at their clasped hands, then he felt her fingers loosening. He was about to protest, but she moved her hand to his waistband once more. Even through his shirt he could feel that her fingers were cool against him. He reached down and moved her hand so it was at the small of his back.

“Hang on, beautiful. There’s a bubble bath calling your name.”

Then, without another word, he set off out of the alley toward the east and safety.
Stoker, Susan. Defending Morgan (Mountain Mercenaries Book 3) (pp. 40-42). Kindle Edition.

For Morgan the return to the US did not ensure her safety. Whoever arranged for her to be taken and kept out of sight in the Caribbean was still out there and the possible suspects were many.

Plenty of hold your breath action, family drama, and romance as the Mountain Mercenaries do what they do best. Protect and find answers.

The twists and turns in this book had me on the edge of my seat with every turn of the page. Morgan and Arrow have a chemistry that will not be ignored and when the whole truth comes out, just wow.

I can’t wait to read Harlow and Black’s book, the tease has me wanting it now.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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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 noncommissioned 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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Shelter For Quinn – Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Book 13 by Susan Stoker



Shelter for Quinn
Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Book 13
By
NY Times, USA Today & Wall Street Journal
Bestselling Author

Susan Stoker


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Freak. Witch. Ugly. Abomination.

Having grown up with a port-wine birthmark on her face and neck, Quinn Dixon’s heard them all. Her own mother couldn’t bear to touch her, let alone strangers. Years of stares and insults from everyone from classmates to foster families have made her understandably reluctant to trust. So when John comes along, of course he couldn’t be interested in more than a brief affair. He’ll get sick of all the gawking and whispers soon enough and leave her…just like everyone else.

John “Driftwood” Trettle was captivated by Quinn the moment they met. After months of skirting around their attraction, one pivotal evening finds John seizing the reins and refusing to be denied a chance to prove he’s worthy of Quinn’s time, her trust, and her love. To show her he’ll have her back, always, and defend her against anyone cruel or stupid enough to hurt his woman.

But he can’t protect against an unknown threat. Even if it wears a familiar face…

** Shelter for Quinn is the 13th book in the Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

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Once again Susan Stoker takes on a topic that some may find difficult. This book is about lifelong bullying, how it has affected Quinn, and also about the people that perpetrate this sort of thing.

I’ve loved Quinn since we met her in Sophie’s book, the fact that she hides her port wine birthmark has tugged at my heartstrings from that moment.

John aka Driftwood has been trying to get Quinn to go out with him since he first met her. He sees her for who she is, a beautiful person inside and out. Her green eyes remind him of emeralds so he calls her Emmy. As this book opens, John has declared them dating and has taken Quinn to his place to recuperate from the girl’s night out.

While Quinn has agreed to this, she is surprised to find herself in John’s home in bed alone with him on the floor next to the bed.

This is a favorite scene.

John hadn’t taken advantage of her drunken state. She was still fully dressed. He’d simply put her to bed and presumably watched over her as she slept to make sure she was all right. A lot of men would’ve put her on the couch, or at least slept in their own bed next to her, but not John.

Snippets of conversations she’d had with her girlfriends over the last couple months came back. How she’d declared if she ever found a man who treated her like her friends’ men treated them, she’d latch on to him and never let go. But she’d been so scared of giving John a chance, of opening herself up to more than friendship.

Watching him immediately go after the men who were making fun of her last night, and watching him sleep now—on the floor by her side—made something inside Quinn snap into place.

Maybe she’d been an idiot. John wasn’t the kind of man to lead her on. He wasn’t out for a one-night stand.

Settling back down on her side, Quinn propped her head on her hand and kept her eyes on John. She didn’t look around. Didn’t check out his bedroom. She could only stare at the man below her.

It was probably ten minutes or so later when he began to stir. Quinn didn’t move, curious as to what he’d do when he woke up. He sighed, then inhaled deeply through his nose. He stretched, and she saw his forehead wrinkle in what she could only guess was confusion at the hard floor beneath him.

His eyes opened, and the first thing he did was look up at the bed.

Quinn didn’t flinch when he met her gaze.

The thing was, when John looked at her, he looked at her. His gaze didn’t drop to the red birthmark on her face and neck. He didn’t look away nervously. He stared into her eyes and held her gaze.

“Morning, Emmy,” he said with a deep rumble.

That was another thing. He’d started calling her Emmy because he’d said her eyes twinkled like emeralds. How could she not like that? “Morning,” she replied.

“Sleep well?” he asked as he sat up slowly.

“Better than you, probably,” she said honestly. “The floor couldn’t have been comfortable.”

“I’ve slept in worse places,” was his nonchalant reply.

“Why didn’t you put me on the couch?” she asked. “I would’ve been perfectly comfortable there.”

He stood then. Unfolding from the floor and moving like a sleek panther, he sat on the mattress next to her hip.

Quinn rolled over onto her back to prevent herself from falling into him.

“Because I wanted you here,” John said without a trace of guile. “I don’t know if you remember what I said last night, but you agreed to be my girlfriend.”

Quinn knew he hadn’t exactly asked, but went with it anyway. “I remember.”

He smiled. “And my girlfriend does not sleep on the couch,” he said firmly.

“Why didn’t you sleep next to me?” she asked.

“I may be an overbearing ass sometimes, and push you to do things you might not be comfortable with, but I’d never do something that intimate without making sure you were okay with it first.”

It was a good answer. “I would’ve been okay with it,” she told him.

“Noted.” He brushed a lock of her chestnut hair off her forehead. “Hungry?”

Quinn thought about it and, despite all that she’d drank the night before, found that she was. Nodding, she said, “I could eat.”

“Great. Feel free to take a shower, although I don’t have any fancy shampoo or conditioner that you’re probably used to. You can borrow one of my T-shirts, but you’ll have to wear your jeans again. Nothing I have here will fit you. Is that okay?”

Sitting up, Quinn tilted her head at him. “And if it’s not?

John shrugged. “Then I’ll go over to your apartment and grab something for you. Or I can take you home right now and we can eat breakfast at your apartment, or we can go out. Or you could decide to go back to bed when you get home. It’s Saturday and you’re not working today, so you might have plans.”

It was Saturday, but she didn’t have plans. Quinn spent most weekends holed up in her apartment. She didn’t like going out in public if she didn’t have to. Thanks to the stares and comments she’d heard over the years, it was simpler to not put herself in the kinds of situations that would be uncomfortable for everyone around her. “I don’t have plans,” she told him. “And I’d love to shower here.”

John smiled. “Perfect.” Then he simply sat there and stared at her for the longest time.
Stoker, Susan. Shelter for Quinn (Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Book 13) (pp. 2-5). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

From a creepy neighbor to adjusting to a man who defends her at every turn is quite a challenge for Quinn. All the women are so very happy for the two of them, even as they aren’t as sure about Taco’s new girlfriend. I wanted to smack her more than once.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this story and I was sniffling more than once. This is a page turning read you won’t want to miss.

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 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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Legacy Is HERE! Securing Caite – SEAL of Protection: Legacy Book 1 by Susan Stoker





Securing Caite
SEAL of Protection: Legacy Book 1
By
New York Times & Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker

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Winter Blog Blurb

Caite McCallan is a Department of Defense admin working in Bahrain when a glitchy elevator, of all things, leads to an unexpected invitation to dinner by a gorgeous Navy SEAL. When he later stands her up, Caite’s understandably upset…until she overhears a plot that confirms Rocco didn’t blow her off. Instead, he and two fellow SEALs are in danger—and Caite is forced to put her career and her life on the line to save them.

Blake “Rocco” Wise never expected his routine mission to go sideways, but he was even more surprised to find himself and his teammates rescued by the adorably shy woman he met in a stalled elevator. Caite’s selfless act saved his life, but when attempts on her own make it clear someone wants her gone, it’s Rocco’s turn to protect the brave, sweet, sexy woman. The longer he knows her, the more he wants her…but keeping Caite close could bring her nearer to the enemy than ever before.

** Securing Caite is the 1st book in the SEAL of Protection: Legacy Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

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Once again Susan has delivered a strong sexy heroine, one who has no idea how smart, beautiful and desirable she is.

Caite meets Blake ‘Rocco’ Wise in an unusual way, they get stuck in the elevator at her office. After finding out his boss is her bosses boss she knows she shouldn’t see him again. But when he asks her to dinner she just can’t refuse.

Rocco dubs Caite ma petite fée, my petite fairy because she was so tiny compared to him. Now he can’t get her off his mind and his teammates convince him to go see her before they go do their recon mission.

This is a favorite scene.

I’ve just learned to stay quiet and listen. It’s crazy what people will say to each other or on the phone when they don’t take the time to look around and see who might be listening. I already blend into the background, and people only tend to notice me when they’re really looking.” She shrugged. “It’s easier, and safer, to lay low and not make a fuss than try to rock the boat.”

Rocco shook his head. “First, you do not blend into the background. I have no idea why you think that.”

“Because it’s true,” Caite insisted. “It’s fine. I don’t mind. I wouldn’t know what to do if men hit on me all the time or if women were constantly trying to talk to me.”

“I saw you the second we walked into that elevator,” Rocco said. “And I don’t just mean because you were the only one in there. You were flushed from the heat and irritated that I’d dare force myself into your elevator.”

She stared up at him with huge guilty eyes.

He went on. “You were surprised we’d even bothered to say hello, and when the elevator stopped, you weren’t fazed, you just plunked yourself down on the ground without a word of complaint.”

“I told you that I hate to complain because it never does any good,” she said, blushing harder.

“I’m thinking the people you’ve known in your life are blind,” Rocco said. “Either that or they’re so narcissistic, they never take the time to look around and notice anyone else. I’m sorry others are assholes to you, especially my fellow navy peers. I’m sorry that you have to put up with rude behavior. I’m sorry that you haven’t found anyone you feel safe enough with to explore Bahrain. It’s an amazing country, with wonderful people. Yes, their culture is very different from ours, but that’s what makes it so wonderful. If I was going to be here longer, I’d absolutely give you a tour. I’d show you what areas to stay away from and how to navigate the city. I’d show you how delicious falafel and machboos are and take you to Tariq Pastries, so you could try their chocolate-dipped baklava.”

Caite licked her lips as she stared up at him, and the longing on her face was almost painful to witness.

Rocco raised a hand slowly and brushed the backs of his fingers against her cheek. He stared into her dark blue eyes and said, “Don’t sell yourself short, ma petite fée. And don’t think that no one sees you. I do. Those assholes sexually harassing you in French saw you too. And I bet your boss is threatened by you, so he sees you as well. You’re an adult. You can do what you want, all I’m asking is that you’re careful. Staying quiet is often a good idea, except when it’s not.”

“I don’t understand,” she whispered.

“There’s a time to be silent, and there’s a time to yell as loud as you can at the top of your lungs. You’ll know the difference when the time comes.”

Caite took a deep breath and straightened. Rocco forced his hand back to the edge of the bench. Her skin was soft, and he’d wanted nothing more than to shove his fingers in her hair, tilt her head back, and see if her lips were as soft and sweet as the rest of her.

Clearing his throat, Rocco said, “So…tonight…dinner?”

Caite nodded.

“Please tell me you don’t want to go to the Taco Bell here on the base,” he quipped.

She smiled. “No.”

“Good. There’s a place in Block 338 that I think you’d like.” “Block 338?” Rocco looked at her in surprise. “Yeah. Some of neighborhoods around Manama are labeled in blocks. For instance, the naval base is closest to Block 338, and the Ritz-Carlton is north of here on the other side of the island in Block 428. And there are some areas that you just plain shouldn’t go to, no matter what. Like Block 404 and 424. They aren’t safe.”

She nodded. “I got the briefing when I arrived. The US embassy puts out maps of places that are off limits. I don’t remember anything about blocks, but they gave us a map of the city with some areas marked in red where we shouldn’t go.”

“Good. Anyway, Block 338 isn’t too far from the base. There’s a restaurant inside a hotel that’s really good. It’s called Kolors, and it’s got just about every kind of international food you could ever want. But if nothing appeals, Miz Natasha will let us special order anything you want, even if it’s not on the menu. I didn’t think you’d be comfortable going way off base, but maybe you could trust me enough to go just a bit farther than you’ve been so far.”

Caite nodded immediately, which made him feel good. “I’d like that.”

“Then it’s a date.” Rocco couldn’t stop smiling when she blushed again. He could see a sheen of sweat on her forehead and knew it was time to get his girl inside.

He stilled at that thought. His girl. The very idea was irrational, and way too soon, but it didn’t feel wrong.

He stood and held out his hand.

“Come on. Time for you to go inside before you melt.”

“It’s hot out here,” she said in her defense even as she stood.

“You don’t know hot until you’ve been in the Iraqi desert, in full uniform, including bulletproof vest and helmet, in one-hundred-and-twenty-degree temps in the glaring sun, tracking down insurgents,” Rocco said without thought. “This feels like a nice spring day in comparison.”

She stopped him with a hand on his arm. Concern was written all over her face. “Thank you, Rocco.”

“For what?”

“For what you do. For your service to our country. For having to trek through the one-hundred-and-twenty-degree heat to keep people like me safe. Our way of life. Just…thank you.”

His heart melted. “It’s words like yours that make it all worthwhile.”

And without thought, he did what felt right. He leaned over and gently brushed his lips against hers.
Stoker, Susan. Securing Caite (SEAL of Protection: Legacy Book 1).Kindle Locations (653-697) . Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

If you’ve read any of Susan’s book you know something is going to go FUBAR here and it does. I started crying at this point wondering how they will get out of this impossible situation.

It is Caite who comes to the rescue and Gumby, Ace and Rocco are stunned at her bravery and naivete. Unfortunately this also means the end of their mission and they return to the states.

Of course this is going to have repercussions for Caite, even though they keep her out of the official report. She was seen wearing the traditional abaya and hijab, and it was reason enough for her unreasonable boss to fire her and send her home.

Now everything heats up, her relationship with Rocco, becoming friends with his team, and frequent harrowing experiences. All this pointing to someone of high rank on their home base.

We get to see some of our favorites characters in this one two, including Wolf and Caroline, Cookie and Fiona, and Slade and Dakota.

A can’t put it down read, filled with suspense, tension, love and so much more! I know for sure this series is going to be as amazing as the original SEALs of Protection.

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 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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