Tag Archives: @Susan_Stoker

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.

newsletter - for blog

Summer Author LInks

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

 

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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Amazon Author Page

 

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.

newsletter - for blog

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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!

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Winter Blog About Author

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of 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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It’s Here! Marrying Emily by Susan Stoker


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Marrying Emily
Delta Force Heroes Book 4
By
Susan Stoker

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Winter Blog Blurb

Few people know better than Delta Force soldiers that life is unbearably short and achingly precious. So Cormac Fletcher isn’t waiting one more day to marry the love of his life, Emily. Fletch has already adopted her daughter, Annie. Now it’s time to officially make Emily his too.

Emily understands just about every woman experiences a few wedding snafus—but they’re usually not of the harrowing, life-or-death variety. Fortunately for her, a guest list full of Delta soldiers and SEALs will make this an event to remember—for both Emily and the uninvited guests trying to ruin her special day.

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I did a lot of giggling at the beginning of this one. Fletch was a hoot as he tried to get a look at Emily before the ceremony. Then of course there is Annie, precocious as ever and looking like a little angel.

This is a favorite scene as Annie comes down the aisle as flower girl.

Annie smiled at him from the end of the aisle and she started toward him slowly, as she’d been trained. Her tongue stuck out in concentration as she picked a flower petal from her basket and dropped it on the floor. Her eyes were glued to her basket, trying not to mess up.

Fletch smiled. Her hair was wild around her face and shoulders, hanging loose. It was interesting that for a girl who eschewed anything feminine, she wouldn’t let anyone cut her long hair. He was thankful for that, because she had beautiful hair. Long, shiny, and thick. Yes, it was messy at the moment, but it was totally Annie.

Fletch heard the chuckles start from the back of the church and slowly move forward as Annie continued down the aisle. He wasn’t sure what everyone was laughing at until Ghost leaned into him and whispered, “Look at what she’s dropping in the aisle.”

Fletch’s eyes went from his daughter to the floor behind her— and he almost choked, trying to keep his chuckle from erupting.

Annie was dropping white flower petals, as she’d been instructed, but she was also dropping little green Army men. She’d reach into her basket, pull out a petal and drop it, then reach in and pull out an Army man. She continued down the aisle, alternating between sprinkling the floor with flowers and the toys.

As much as he wanted to scold her for being mischievous, he couldn’t. It was so freaking adorable. He worried about Emily stepping on one of the plastic toys and twisting an ankle though.

As soon as the thought went through his head, Dude, one of the SEALs, moved. He was already sitting toward the back of the room, but he quickly walked back up the aisle and unobtrusively brushed the toys to the side of the aisle as he went, standing at the back of the church when he got to the end so as not to bring any more attention to himself.

Fletch relaxed. He didn’t know the SEAL team that well, but it was obvious Dude was the kind of man who took extreme care of his woman. Fletch would bet everything he owned the man had a daughter… one he was extremely protective of.

Annie got to the end of the aisle and beamed up at Fletch. “Hi, Daddy Fletch!” she said loudly. “I’m sooooo ready for you and mommy to get married. I mean, you’re already sleeping in the same bed, so that won’t change, but now mommy will be ‘Fletch’ too.”
Stoker, Susan. Marrying Emily (Delta Force Heroes Book 4) (Kindle Locations 250-268). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

You’d think I was at an actual wedding the way I blubbered as I read them saying their vows. A beautiful ceremony surrounded by family and friends.

Of course their reception wasn’t typical at all, everyone dressed comfortably instead of in the formal attire. I couldn’t believe how many characters made an appearance in this. Just about everyone was there, Fletch’s team, the guys from Seals of Protection and their families, even Tex attended with his family. As was Penelope (“the Army Princess”) and Moose and TJ Rockwell from Texas Heroes.

We learn more about all of them and meet a couple of new folks as well over the course of the reception, which has a surprise of it’s own.

This is a must read, but then all of Susan’s books are a must read for me.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Winter Blog About Author

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of 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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Release Day! Sheltering Adeline by Susan Stoker


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Shelter for Adeline
Texas Heroes Book 7
By
Susan Stoker

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Winter Blog Blurb

Saddled with a job she hates and a detestable boss she likes even less, Adeline Reynolds could use a break. It doesn’t look like she’ll get one today. Her service dog, Coco, is alerting her she’s about to have an epileptic seizure—and her frustrated blind date has left her to deal on her own. Enter firefighter Dean Christopherson, who escorts her to the nearby fire station, where she can suffer through her ordeal safe from injury and prying eyes.

Dean—known as “Crash” to his friends—didn’t expect to find The One in a diner during his lunch break, but he’s blindsided by the beautiful, brave Adeline. She brings out his every protective instinct—along with the carnal ones. As they get to know each other, Dean’s feelings for Adeline grow fast, as does his irritation with her boss, whose behavior is suspicious at best.

As much as he wants to protect Adeline from the world, Crash has to tread carefully. His overprotectiveness could push her away…and leave her vulnerable to a man whose obsession has reached the boiling point.

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Winter Blog Review

We meet Adeline as she is on a first date with a guy registered on a dating site. It quickly went downhill when her service dog, Coco, alerts her she has a seizure impending. Jerk leaves her instead of helping her find the safe place she requested.

Fortunately Dean aka Crash a paramedic from Firehouse 7 is there. He doesn’t think twice about it and brings her across the street to the firehouse. I fell in love right then, but even more in this scene after her seizure.

She took a deep swallow and sat back with a sigh. As quickly as she relaxed, her body tensed and she sat forward as if she was about to stand up. “Well, thank you for helping me out, I appreciate it. I should get going.”

“Stay,” Crash immediately protested. “At least for a while.”

“I’m really all right,” Adeline said softly. “Unfortunately, I’m used to the seizures and they don’t wreck me like they used to.”

Crash sat on the couch next to her. He felt exactly like he did the first time he’d asked a girl out in the seventh grade. Nervous and hopeful at the same time. “It’s not that, I…damn. Okay, if you’re sure.”

“What is it?” Adeline asked, looking concerned now. “Did something happen while I was out of it?”

“No,” Crash protested immediately. “Nothing like that… Are you seeing anyone?”

She looked taken aback at his question, but Crash was relieved when she answered immediately without looking away from him. “No. Why?”

“The guy at the diner wasn’t your boyfriend?”

Adeline wrinkled her nose adorably. “No. First—and last—date.”

“You never got to eat. Want to go back across the street and grab something…with me?”

“Are you asking me out?”

“Yes. Obviously very badly, since you have to clarify,” he said sheepishly.

“Oh…well…you don’t have to babysit me. I’m okay. Honest.”

“I don’t want to babysit you,” he said immediately.

The fact of the matter was he did want to keep his eye on her for a while to make sure she was okay after the seizure. But it wasn’t just that. He was nervous…which was out of character for him. Asking women out usually didn’t faze him. But for some reason, Adeline had gotten to him.

“I’d like to get to know you,” he told her honestly. “And you have to be hungry.” He added the last bit to try to cajole her.

“You don’t care that I have epilepsy?”

“No.”

“Or that I have a dog?”

“No. I love dogs.”

She considered him for a long moment, then finally nodded. “Okay. Then yes, I’d like to have lunch with you.”

“Thank God,” Crash breathed out and pantomimed wiping sweat from his brow.

Adeline chuckled.

Crash stood and held his hand out to her. “Lunch awaits.”

Taking his hand, she stood as well. He kept hold of hers as he led the way to the door. Feeling her small, smooth fingers around his as they walked made Crash smile. There was just something about her that made him feel as though he could do anything.

Maybe he was an idiot. Maybe Adeline was a horrible person. But as stupid as it seemed, for some reason, Crash felt as if he was taking the first steps toward his future.
Stoker, Susan. Shelter For Adeline (Kindle Locations 171-194).Kindle Edition.

I loved Crash’s nervousness as he asks her for a date. Their first real date was just inspiring. I wish guys would really give as much thought to a date as Dean did.

As their relationship develops she meets his other teammates as well as the law enforcement friends from this series. Including Penelope and the wives that readers love so very much.

Adeline is looking for a new job, her boss is an arse who steals credit for everyone’s work. He’s always trying to get her to have lunch with him to discuss her ideas for his clients. She really dislikes him and tries to be pleasant. Dean hasn’t met him and doesn’t like him and I was with him in that opinion. I don’t know if I would have been as nice as Adeline.

Lots of love, compassion and some pretty steamy sex as we watch Dean and Adeline’s attraction become more. Love is never too quick to surface when the pairing is right.

As always there are situations that bring to light the issues faced when one has a disability. This one gives a glimpse of a few of those specific to service dogs.

We also get to know Roman aka Chief, in this one. I love this man, but Susan has someone picked out for him…as we find out at the end of this book.

Once you start reading be prepared to finish the book, you won’t want to put it down for anything.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Winter Blog About Author

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of 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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Winter Blog Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page