Tag Archives: @Susan_Stoker

Shielding Riley – Delta Team Two Book 5 by Susan Stoker


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

Susan Stoker

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Winter Blog Blurb

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

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

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

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

This is just one of my favorite scenes.

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

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

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

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

Riley blinked. “What?”

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

“What do you eat?” Riley asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why not?”

“Because, it’s your food.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh, um…sorry.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I feel horrible about it.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

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


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Shielding Jayme – Delta Force Two Book 4 by Susan Stoker


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

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Winter Blog Blurb

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a favorite scene.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was absolutely gorgeous.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Well, I—”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Winter Blog About Author

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

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


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A New Series! Trusting Skylar – Silverstone Book 1 By Susan Stoker


From bestselling author Susan Stoker
comes a sizzling new series
about four former military operatives
who rid the world of the worst of humanity
while fighting to protect
the best part of their lives:
the women they love.

Trusting Skylar
Silverstone Book 1
By
NY Times, Wall Street Journal &
USA Today Bestselling Author

Susan Stoker

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Winter Blog Blurb

From bestselling author Susan Stoker comes a sizzling new series about four former military operatives who rid the world of the worst of humanity while fighting to protect the best part of their lives: the women they love.

Former military operative Carson “Bull” Rhodes hasn’t dated seriously since he and his teammates left the army. Since then he’s opened Silverstone Towing—which is a front for his other job: hired killer. When kindergarten teacher Skylar Reid calls for help while stranded on the side of the interstate, the attraction is instant. The problem is Bull’s career has jaded him. Skylar’s innocent, and he wants to keep her that way.

Cautious by nature, Skylar never expected to fall in love with her tow truck driver. Even so, once Bull reveals what he really does for a living, she’s not sure she can handle it. When Skylar faces threats that have nothing to do with Bull’s job but are just as deadly, the stakes are higher than ever.

With the help of the Silverstone team, Bull will use everything he’s learned over the years to bring the woman he loves home—because the alternative is unthinkable.

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Four Delta’s essentially forced out because of a judgement made on the scene of an assignment, given the opportunity to continue what they’re good at, serving their country. Under the now very profitable guise of a towing company, Silverstone Towing, these men continue to take out the top most wanted.

Now there’s an interesting twist for one of the guys, Carson ‘Bull’ Rhodes meets a woman on a tow call. He immediately goes into protective mode, from helping her select the right place to take her car to seeing she gets home okay.

A kindergarten teacher, Skylar Reid is a little flustered by the situation with her car. She seems a little naïve to Bull and for some reason Bull can’t help but educate her just a bit. There’s a definite attraction between them that puzzles both of them.

He talks her out of taking her car to a place known to cheat people and take it to Stanley’s Automotive instead. That way she’ll have a car while hers is being fixed. On the drive he talks to her about the children in her class and if she has favorites. One in particular he takes notes of asking the father’s name. Before she can’t ask him more about his curiosity they arrive at Stan’s.

This is a favorite scene.

After ten minutes of paperwork and teasing from Stan, Skylar followed him back outside to see her car sitting in a parking spot in front of the garage. She’d left her keys in the ignition and assumed Carson had moved it.

“I said I was gonna give you a choice as to the loaner you wanted, but I changed my mind,” Stan said, holding out a key ring to her. “You’re takin’ the Volvo.”

Skylar didn’t much care which car she drove as long as it got her to school and home in one piece. But when she saw the car in question, she couldn’t help but wince. The white older-model car looked like it had seen better days. The paint was peeling, and there was rust around the edges. It looked like a hunk of junk, but she’d never tell Stan that.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” Carson told her, obviously seeing her dismay. “It looks like a piece of shit, but I can guarantee she purrs like a kitten. If any of his loaners broke down, Stan would take it personally.”

“I’m sure it’s fine,” Skylar said politely.

Both Stan and Carson chuckled.

“She just got a new engine a few months ago,” Stan reassured her. “She was a complete overhaul. You’ll never drive anything as smooth as her, I promise. But considering you live at Southpoint, you couldn’t exactly pull in there with a Mercedes. It would draw too much attention. Nobody’ll take a second look at this piece of crap. They won’t try to steal it, because they’ll assume it won’t run well. Go on, get in and start ’er up. You’ll see.”

Skylar conceded his point, though she wasn’t exactly convinced the car wouldn’t fall apart around her. But when Carson held out his hand for the bouquet of flowers, she didn’t have much of a choice. Smiling at Stan, she climbed behind the wheel and put the key in the ignition. When the engine turned over, she looked up in surprise.

Once again, both men chuckled.

“Told ya,” Stan said.

“It’s so quiet!” Skylar exclaimed.

“Yup. She’ll get you where you need to go safely. She’s got no flash, but you don’t need any more attention on you than you’ve got already.”

Frowning, Skylar asked, “What does that mean?”

Instead of answering her, Stan turned to Carson. “She serious?”

Carson nodded. “Yup.”

“Damn. All right, I’ve got your digits. I’ll give you a call after I get under the hood of your car tomorrow,” Stan told her.

Skylar saw a look pass between the men that she couldn’t interpret. She had a feeling there were a lot of things going over her head, but she wasn’t about to ask. She’d always been kind of clueless when it came to innuendos, so she let it go.

“Sounds good,” she told Stan. “And I really appreciate you coming out tonight to meet us.”

“Of course. Bull’s a good man. One of the best. If you see Terrell, tell him you saw me and I said to be good,” Stan said. Then he turned and headed back for his shop. He locked the front door and went around the corner, probably to where he’d parked his own vehicle.

“You good?” Carson asked as he handed her the flowers he’d been carrying around. He’d also grabbed her messenger bag and gave that to her too.

Skylar looked up at him after putting the bouquet and bag on the seat next to her, feeling at a disadvantage since he was so tall and she was sitting in the car.

As if he could read her mind, Carson squatted beside her door so they were more or less eye to eye.

“I’m good,” she told him. “Thank you for coming.”

“Of course.” He paused, then said, “I’m going to follow you home. Not because I’m being creepy, but because I want to make sure you get there all right.”

“Stan’s loaner car isn’t as good as he claimed?” she asked.

“No, it’s not that. That car would get you all the way to California and back without any issues whatsoever. I just want to make sure you get home all right. It’s getting late and . . .”

“And you don’t like where I live,” Skylar finished for him.

He merely shrugged.

“It’s not that late,” she protested. “It’s only like nine.”

“Even so,” Carson said. “Nothing I say is going to change your mind, is it?” she asked.

Carson didn’t even break a smile. “If you told me it honestly made you uncomfortable and you didn’t want me to follow you, I’d respect that. But I swear that I only have your best interests in mind.”

“It’s okay if you follow me,” Skylar told him.

His lips twitched.

“But I’ve made it a rule not to let strays stay if they follow me home,” she joked.

The twitch turned into a real smile, and her heart swelled.

“What would you say if I asked if you’d like to go out for coffee or lunch sometime?” he asked.

Skylar stilled. She couldn’t believe this beautiful man was asking her out. Some people might assume he asked out every woman he picked up for a tow, but she had a feeling he was acting out of character. And when she paused a bit too long before answering, she knew for sure that he didn’t do this kind of thing all the time. A mask seemed to fall over his face, as if he wasn’t feeling anything at all. As if her answer wouldn’t faze him one way or another.

Hating that blank mask more than she wanted to admit, especially after making him smile and laugh several times that night, her hand landed on his forearm. He’d braced it on his knee, and it tightened at her touch.

“I’d like that. But I’m not free until the weekend . . . because, you know . . . teacher.”

“You don’t get time off for lunch at school?”

“I do, but I usually eat with the kids. It gives me time to catch up with former students, or if any of my kids needs some extra affection, that’s a great time to give it without being distracted by lessons or other classroom stuff that takes my attention during regular class time.”

He didn’t say anything for a long moment.

“Carson?” she asked tentatively. “Is that okay? I’m not blowing you off.”

“I know you aren’t,” he told her. “I bet you’re an amazing teacher. Your students are extremely lucky to have you.”

Skylar knew she was blushing once more. “I don’t know about that.”

“I do,” he said firmly. “And if you’re free this Saturday, I’d love to take you to lunch.”

Saturday. That was three days from now. Skylar wasn’t sure she could wait that long. But she forced herself to smile sedately. “Sounds good.”
Stoker, Susan. Trusting Skylar (Silverstone). Kindle Locations (856-905). Montlake. Kindle Edition.

This is the beginning of a relationship that Bull is so afraid isn’t going to last once she knows everything about him. After all, he along with his partners are essentially assassins for hire. What woman could possibly put up with that?

I fell in love with all the Silverstone men and the way they interact with Skylar and her students is priceless. Bull’s doubts and hesitation and that simmer to sizzle I love between him and Skylar.

There’s a lot that Susan covers in this book including the lack of funds that cause teachers to buy extra thing to augment their classrooms. While I am familiar with some Susan’s writing tactic’s, the twist in this story surprised me.

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

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 non-commissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri and California to Colorado and Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website, or find her on Facebook. Links below.


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Shielding Aspen – Delta Team Two Book 3 by Susan Stoker


Shielding Aspen
Delta Team Two Book 3
By
NY Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker

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Desperate to ditch her ex once and for all, when Aspen Mesmer asks a complete stranger to kiss her, she never expects to feel an immediate connection. Despite already dealing with one soldier she can’t shake, Aspen would be a fool to ignore the intense chemistry she shares with the Delta Force operative. Even better, he shows her the respect few others offer in her male-dominated profession. It’s clear she’ll never have the camaraderie she craves with her own platoon, but maybe…just maybe…she’ll find it with Kane and his team.

Kane “Brain” Temple isn’t the kind of man most women look at twice, so when Aspen makes her interest clear after their impulsive, explosive kiss, he’s thrilled. As a combat medic attached to a Ranger team, Aspen is pretty impressive in her own right. She might be one of the few women who can not only handle Brain’s frequent deployments, but understand exactly how dangerous his missions can be. Bonus: she’s not turned off by his nerdy tendencies. It’s as if Aspen was made just for him.

Her ex disagrees. He’s not handling Aspen’s rejection well, or her deepening relationship with Brain. Being thrown over for a Delta is humiliating, and he’ll do anything to make her regret it.

Anything…

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Aspen is dealing with her ex Derek when Brain walks into the bar to meet up with his teammates. She totally surprises him by throwing her arms around him and in a whisper offers him twenty bucks to kiss her. He does but in a way that surprises them both, and totally pisses off Derek. Brain brings her over to his team as Derek leaves, and then to his delight she fits right in. A combat medic she can identify with not only the women in this group but also the men. The men were considerably impressed with her, knowing the kind of training she’s gone through all while taking care of her team and herself.

A favorite scene is at the end of this evening.

“Grover’s not exactly subtle,” Brain told her.

Aspen chuckled. “No, he’s not. But he means well.”

“He does.” Brain mentally smacked himself in the forehead. This wasn’t exactly how he’d wanted their first one-on-one conversation to go. No matter what Grover had said, Brain wasn’t a “ladies’ man.” He wasn’t “cool.” He was the brain. The smart guy. The one everyone turned to when they had a mystery that needed solving.

He was thirty years old, and he hadn’t even lost his virginity until he was twenty-four. He’d been out of his depth, socially; going to college so young meant most of the women avoided him like the plague. It wasn’t until he’d joined the Army and had gotten some independence that he’d managed to figure out how to fit in with men his own age a little better.

“I’m embarrassed that I didn’t ask earlier, but you and your friends…you aren’t Rangers, are you? Because if you are, I totally put my foot in my mouth earlier.”

Brain quickly shook his head. “No, we aren’t Rangers.”

“Thank God,” she breathed.

Brain continued before thinking. “We’re Delta.”

Aspen went completely still and stared at him with wide eyes. “Please tell me you’re kidding.”

“Nope. And I know you know this, but please don’t share that with anyone.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t. No way. And…oh, shit, I’m such a dork.”

“No, you aren’t,” Brain told her immediately. She was anything but a dork.

“I am! You were going on and on about how hard Ranger training is, and I know you guys have been through much worse.”

“It’s not a competition,” Brain told her.

She tilted her head as she studied him.

“What?” Brain asked.

“You aren’t like most men in special forces I’ve met. Neither are your friends, for that matter.”

“In what way?”

Aspen shrugged. “It’s just that…you’re so down-to-earth.”

“You’ve been hanging around those asshole Rangers too long,” Brain retorted.

She grinned. “They’re not all assholes.”

“Derek is,” Brain told her.

Her grin widened. “True. Thank you for helping me earlier. I’m usually not so forward, but—”

“But he was being a dick, and you were desperate,” Brain finished for her.

“Maybe not desperate,” Aspen countered. Then she dipped her head and raised her eyes shyly. “Maybe I took one look at you and liked what I saw, and figured I could kill two birds with one stone.”

It took a minute for her words to sink in, and when they did, Brain was shocked.
Stoker, Susan. Shielding Aspen (Delta Team Two Book 3) (Kindle Locations. 178-203). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

Aspen and Brain continue to start a relationship as both of them have training that is ramping up for possible deployment.

Brain gets to see her at her worst when it appears her team’s lead enters a bit of competition with Derek’s team. Pushing harder and harder and ignoring basic health and safety of their teams. Only made worse when her team doesn’t have her back.

It’s quite the shift when Aspen is the one who has to leave a get together because she is being deployed. It gives Brain and his team a startling and personal example of how it is for wives and girlfriends. He also understands how Trigger and Lefty must feel when their team gets deployed.

Things don’t improve in Aspen’s deployment if anything they get worse. Derek doesn’t take the news that the Delta’s would be coming in to assist in finding the threat he’s looking for. His actions once the Delta team arrives put things in a whole new light as things go a bit FUBAR. It becomes quite the turning point for this book.

I loved the interaction with Annie and Ghost’s team at a base family event. Aspen definitely gets a look at how a team is supposed to work and it helps Annie understand some things as well.

All the things that Aspen goes through makes this book a bit different from the others in Susan’s series. Having Aspen not only in the military but attached to Rangers puts her in a unique position. One that enables Susan to put the spotlight on how misogynic the Army and Special forces can be. Mind you not everyone is that way but it is still an issue.

There’s fun, laughter and tears as well as some ups and downs for Brain and Aspen and there’s also hints at the future books in this series. I truly can’t wait for the next one!

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Coming Soon!

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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 non-commissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri and California to Colorado and Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website, or find her on Facebook. Links below.


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Shielding Kalee – SEALs of Protection Legacy Book 6 By Susan Stoker


Securing Kalee
SEALs of Protection Legacy Book 6
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker

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After her capture by rebels in the mountains of Timor-Leste, Kalee Solberg doesn’t think she’ll live to see her father, friends, or hometown again. What started as an adventure with the Peace Corp until she figured out what to do with her life has turned into a waking nightmare, every day a struggle to survive. Beaten into submission, Kalee guesses she’s been presumed dead by now. And she has been…by everyone but one man.

A childhood filled with abuse and neglect has turned Forest “Phantom” Dalton into the kind of man who finishes what he starts. The failed mission to rescue Kalee Solberg is no exception. After discovering she’s still alive, that he and his SEAL team left her to a fate worse than death, Phantom will stop at nothing to bring her home, with or without permission…no matter the cost to his career.

Neither Phantom nor Kalee could ever guess another, equally grave threat awaits them back home.

NOTE:
Securing Kalee is the 6th and final book in the SEAL of Protection: Legacy Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

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Ever since the team left Timor-Leste with Piper and the girls, I was waiting for Phantom to remember what he had seen. When he was injured in Avery’s rescue and remembered, I cried my eyes out. I thought they would all go get Kalee. Apparently that wasn’t what the government had in mind when Tex supplied the information of Kaylee’s whereabouts.

Without a doubt Forest ‘Phantom’ Dalton, wasn’t going to sit around waiting. Tex had given him all the information he needed to get Kalee back home where she belongs.

I held my breath as I read, Phantom truly is one. The way he got Kalee out was perfectly executed, but the after brought me to tears.

This is a favorite scene and the first one that made me cry.

Suddenly anxious to clean every inch of herself, to rid her body of the dirt that clung to her like a parasite, she reached for the used bar of soap sitting on a ledge nearby.

Not caring that others had used it—it was amazing how things that would’ve grossed her out a year ago didn’t even faze her now—Kalee quickly rubbed her hands together and worked up some foam. Then she ran her hands over her body, cleansing all the unwanted touches away. She felt almost giddy.

The dirty bubbles swirled at her feet before they disappeared down the drain.

But then the enjoyment and high of being free faded suddenly, and the realization of just what she’d escaped pressed down on her. Of what she’d endured. Of what she’d been made to do.

Tears formed in her eyes again. She hadn’t cried in forever, and here she was crying for the second time in minutes. It was as if getting clean washed away the armor she’d donned to protect her heart and mind from the hell she was living in, leaving her vulnerable and unable to function.

Kalee’s knees went weak, and she fell to the floor, not even feeling the pain from her knees hitting the tile. The hot water rained down on her back as she bent, her arms around her stomach, her forehead resting on the floor.

She sobbed. The unfairness of her situation hitting her all at once. She couldn’t breathe, images of what she’d seen and done flashing through her brain, sickening her.

One second she was lost in her memories, and the next the water above her turned off and she felt a towel drape across her back. She should’ve freaked out when she felt hands turning her. Lifting her. But deep down inside, she knew it was Phantom. He wouldn’t hurt her. Not like the others had.

She found herself sitting on Phantom’s lap, her face buried in his chest. His beard tickled her cheek.

After a few minutes, she barely registered the sensation of her body being lifted. Clinging to him, Kalee let her mind shut down. She couldn’t take any more. Not one thing. Everything was overwhelming. Her skin, which had felt so clean a second ago, now tingled and burned with the heat of the water. The dirt flaking from her body had opened a wound so deep, she wasn’t sure it would ever heal.

“I’ve got you, precious. That’s it, let it out. You’re safe now.”

She heard his words, but they didn’t really penetrate. Kalee felt him push open the door to the bathroom and stride toward his room. The cold air felt good against her overheated skin, and she didn’t even care at the moment that she was probably flashing anyone who might happen to come down the hall.

Phantom leaned over and sat her on something soft, but she refused to let go of him. The tears wouldn’t stop either. They coursed down her face as if someone had turned on a faucet inside her.

Phantom didn’t seem to have any plans to make her let go. She felt him shifting them until she was under a sheet, and he was sitting on top of it. He readjusted the towel over her shoulders, and she snuggled into his side as he leaned against the headboard of the small bed in his room.

Squeezing her eyes shut didn’t stop her tears. Nor did it stop the images running through her brain as if they were a movie on fast forward.

The bodies of the little girls she’d gotten to know at the orphanage.

The leering expression of the first man to rape her as she fought him with all her might, to no avail.

The screams of villagers as the rebels swooped into their small towns, shooting everyone who moved.

The drunken laughter of the rebels as they celebrated the day’s haul with beer and food, making sure she didn’t get any.

The pictures went on and on in her head. Taunting her with all she’d had to endure.

How long she sobbed on Phantom, Kalee had no idea. All she knew was that with his arms around her, the nightmares couldn’t pull her under. She was watching everything that had happened to her over the last months, but Phantom was there to make sure she didn’t get sucked back in.

When she finally realized where she was again, and that she wasn’t a captive anymore, Phantom was slowly rocking her back and forth. She was still naked, but at the moment it didn’t matter. She was being touched. More than that, she was clinging to Phantom as if she’d fly away if she let go.

But she wasn’t embarrassed. Mostly because of Phantom. He wasn’t telling her to hush. Wasn’t begging her to stop crying, as she figured most badass Navy SEALs probably would. Instead, he was murmuring for her to let it out. To cry as long as she needed to. To cleanse her soul…that nothing she did was her fault.

Feeling exhausted, Kalee tried to lift her head. Tried to get her muscles to obey, to let go of the man under her. But Phantom simply tightened his hold.

“Close your eyes, Kalee. Rest.”

But they needed to go. He’d said they had to get to the embassy and catch a flight.

As if he could read her mind, Phantom said, “We’ve got time. I’ve got you. Sleep. Just for a bit. I’ll wake you when we need to go. You’re safe, Kalee.”
Stoker, Susan. Securing Kalee (SEAL of Protection: Legacy Book 6). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Locations (470-511).Kindle Edition.

Phantom didn’t take her straight back to California, he knew she need to acclimate first. A beach house in Hawaii, becomes a place of healing for Kalee. She has an inner strength that just needed some prodding. Phantom was the perfect person to bring her through.

Their relationship is a slow simmer and we learn much about the grumpy Phantom. He knows, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that when he returns to California he would be facing an Admiral’s Mast for disobeying a direct order.

We meet a new SEAL team in this one. Mustang, Midas, Aleck, Pid and Slate become pivotal in proving to Rocco that Phantom truly was in Hawaii and not Timor-Leste. Of course he’s already been there and returned with Kalee.

I loved every interaction between Phantom and Kalee as well as those with the Hawaii team. The love, the emotional support and so much more flew off the pages of this story of survival.

I laughed, cried and cheered as this story unfolds, there are than a few surprises, some good, some bad. Just don’t start reading at bedtime…there will be no sleep if you do.

I can’t wait to read the books Susan has planned for the Hawaii Team and of course the one coming soon for Commander North.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

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


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Shielding Kinley – Delta Team 2 Book 2 By Susan Stoker


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

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When Kinley Taylor witnesses what was possibly the last few minutes of a young girl’s life while in Paris, she realizes exactly how alone she is in the world. The only person she has to turn to for help is the one man who she feels is completely out of her league.

Gage “Lefty” Haskins liked the personal assistant the first time he met her. And after spending an afternoon in Paris with her, he likes her even more. But when she shows up in Texas, on the run, and desperately in need of help, he’s determined to keep her safe.

But the person after Kinley is patient, and determined to get to her no matter who is protecting her.

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Gabe met Kinley first in Africa when her boss sent her for coffee and she ended up in trouble. They connected and although she agreed to keep in touch once home ghosted him.

Now Gabe’s in Paris and although his team is guarding another diplomat, he knows Kinley is there. He wants to know what happened and comes up with a plan to share the sights of Paris with her and have that conversation.

Kinley is surprised at the trouble Gabe went through to have time with her and does her best to explain what happened. They wandered around Paris’ sites and when they get to Notre Dame, Gabe calls his mother. I loved this, because his mother is obsessed with the Cathedral he wanted her to see it. It’s Kinley who actually gives her the tour though.

This is a favorite scene.

Knowing she’d probably be up, even as early as it was in California, he clicked on his mom’s number and put it on speaker. As it rang, he felt Kinley staring at him. He met her gaze as his mom answered.

“Hey, son. Everything all right?”

“Yeah, I’m good. I’m in Paris,” he said without preamble.

“Paris?” his mom breathed. “Please tell me you’re getting to do a bit of sightseeing.”

Lefty chuckled. “As a matter of fact, I am, which is why I’m calling. I’m going to FaceTime you, that all right?”

“Of course. It’s not like I’m standing here naked and decided I might as well answer the phone when my only child calls.”

Lefty chuckled, and he loved the giggle that escaped Kinley’s mouth. He clicked on the button that would let his mom see him.

“Hey, baby,” his mom said softly when she saw his face.

“Hey, Mom,” Lefty said. “You look great.”

She rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Always the flatterer,” she accused.

“You know I never lie,” he said. “Before I get to why I called, I have someone for you to meet.”

“Gage, no,” Kinley whispered, but he ignored her.

“Mom, I’d like you to meet Kinley Taylor. Kinley, this is my mom, Molly.”

“Hello, Kinley,” his mom said as Lefty pulled Kinley into his side so her face would be on the screen with his. “I love your hair! The black color looks positively radiant in the sun.”

“Um…thanks. I washed it this morning,” Kinley said, and Lefty felt her stiffen as if she was embarrassed over what she’d just blurted out.

But his mom didn’t miss a beat. “Good for you. I swear I’m addicted to that dry shampoo stuff. Kaden, my husband, has to force me to get in the shower some days.”

Lefty felt Kinley relax next to him. “I haven’t tried it. Does it really work?”

“Oh, honey,” his mom said. “Yes. It’s amazing! I’ll have Gage give me your email, and I’ll send you names of the ones that I’ve found work best. They aren’t all made equally, you know.”

“Thanks,” Kinley said.

“Anyway, Mom, I wanted to call because we’re standing in front of Notre Dame right now,” Lefty said.

“You aren’t!” his mom exclaimed.

Lefty chuckled. “Would I call you from Paris and lie about something like that?”

“Not if you wanted to live to see tomorrow,” his mom retorted. “Lemme see! I get to see your ugly mug all the time. I’ve never seen Notre Dame in person.”

“Just for that, I don’t think I should show you,” he teased. He turned to Kinley. “My mom loves Notre Dame. As long as I can remember, she’s been in love with this building. There were times I thought she loved it more than me when I was growing up. For her birthday one year, I managed to get a buddy who was coming here on assignment to pick up a street artist’s drawing of the cathedral. I thought my mom was gonna die when she opened it.”

“Shut up,” his mom complained. Lefty kept teasing, drawing out the moment for his mom. “She’d planned to come to Paris with Dad one year, but she had to have an emergency appendectomy and they missed it.”

“Gage,” his mom threatened. “Turn the damn phone around or I swear I’ll tell Kinley about the time you peed your pants while you were waiting in line at Disney to see Mickey Mouse.”

“I was four,” he told Kinley with a wink. “And Mickey was my hero. Of course I peed my pants.”

“Gage!” Molly Haskins whined.

Before he could put his mom out of her misery, Kinley took the phone and turned the camera around, pointing it at the iconic building. “From this angle, you can hardly tell there was a fire,” Kinley told his mom. “Look, the stained glass is almost perfect still.”

Then, as if she gave tours of Notre Dame all her life, Kinley proceeded to give his mother the thrill of a lifetime by walking around and showing her every little thing.

Lefty didn’t mind in the least. He loved that his mom and Kinley were bonding over the building. He’d always thought his mother’s obsession with Notre Dame was a little odd, but seeing her love for it being nurtured by Kinley was a gift.

“And look, you don’t see this in any of the pictures of the chapel,” Kinley said, pointing the phone toward their feet. They were standing in the square in front of the church, looking down at a compass engraved into the stone. “Point zéro des routes de France,” Kinley said, then translated, “point zero of French roads. This exact spot indicates where all distances to and from Paris are measured.”

He heard his mom sigh in contentment. “Thank you for the tour,” she told Kinley after she’d brought the phone back up to look into the camera. “You have no idea what this has meant to me. I’m gonna get there someday, but seeing it today, and hearing you tell me all about it, was special.”

Lefty saw Kinley had no idea how to respond, so he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her into his side, reaching out and taking the phone from her. “Anything you want to know about anything, Kinley can probably tell you,” he told his mom. “She’s super smart.”

“What I want to know is when my boy is going to find the time to come visit his parents,” Molly quipped.

Lefty chuckled. “Hopefully soon, Mom.”
Stoker, Susan. Shielding Kinley (Delta Team Two Book 2) (pp. 39-42). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

It’s what Kinley sees on her last night in Paris that causes all kinds of trouble for her. Fired from her job, nearly pushed onto the tracks of the metro, she makes the decision to run. Unfortunately her phone was in the box that was crushed by the train, so now she can’t contact Gabe.

Gabe was sure she ghosted him again, until they return from their mission and Gillian tells him she was there. Unfortunately Gillian hasn’t heard from her in days and is now worried. When the guys find her she’s burning up with a fever. All this is just the beginning.

This book is full of painful memories for Kinley, and Gabe, with the help of his team, is determined to help her do the right thing for that girl in Paris.

There’s fun, laughter, and so many tears as this story unfolds. That Susan bases what Kinley goes through on a real life story makes it even more poignant.

I can’t wait to see what’s next in this series!

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 non-commissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri and California to Colorado and Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website, or find her on Facebook. Links below.


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Defending Raven – Mountain Mercenaries Book 7 By Susan Stoker


Defending Raven
Mountain Mercenaries Book 7
By
NY Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker

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A missing woman leads the alpha heroes on their boldest mission yet in New York Times bestselling author Susan Stoker’s searing Mountain Mercenaries novel.

It’s been ten years since Rex’s wife, Raven, disappeared from a Vegas casino. Never losing hope, he even formed the Mountain Mercenaries to help find her—and other missing wives, sisters, and children. Now Rex and his fearless team are following a lead to Lima, Peru, where the rescue operation is greater than they imagined.

A day at a time. That’s been Raven’s motto for a decade. Once held captive by an elusive sex trafficker, she has an indomitable will to survive. But Raven’s not ready to leave Peru. She can’t. Not yet. Because her liberation from the barrios comes with devastating consequences. One wrong move and all hope will be lost to an unimaginable hell.

For the Mountain Mercenaries, the stakes have been raised. The threats are escalating. But Rex hasn’t searched this long, risked so much, and come this far to lose Raven all over again.

Once again Susan Stoker had me up all night reading although I can probably put some of the blame on Amazon for the book showing up on my kindle just as I was heading to bed.

The entire team and Zara are headed back to Peru. Zara is going to help Daniela set up a real clinic and also act as a translator for the team. She also knows the Barrio like the back of her hand so navigating it will be much easier.

One of the most poignant moments in this book is when Dave first lays eyes on Mags, his Raven. It is also one of my favorite scenes.

Mags looked back at Dave . . . and once again couldn’t breathe. He hadn’t taken his eyes off her. It was as if he was drinking her in. But instead of his gaze comforting her, she felt exposed. Naked. She felt as if he could see straight through her to her deepest, darkest secrets. Things she’d never speak of. Not to him or to anyone. They were her shame to carry.

Zara was acting as a translator, but Mags couldn’t even hear what she was saying with the rushing sound in her ears.

Dave didn’t get off his knees. He stayed on the floor, looking at her intently. Mags knew if she had to endure it for one more second, she’d go stark raving mad.

“Raven,” Dave said softly. “I wanted to believe Zara. Wanted to believe that the woman she knew as Mags was really you . . . but I also didn’t want to get my hopes up too high. I’ve been disappointed so many times, I knew I couldn’t handle it again. But it’s you. It’s really you.”

Mags stared at him without blinking.

“Can I . . . Are you all right?”

She wanted to snort at that. Was she all right? No, of course she wasn’t.

“It’s a lot to process, Dave,” Arrow said, putting a hand on his shoulder. “You need to give her some time.”

“I can’t leave,” Dave said, his voice breaking. “I just found her. I can’t go!”

Mags stiffened. He couldn’t stay. She had to make him understand. “I don’t want you here,” she said in as hard a voice as she could muster. Unfortunately, it came out more like a plea than a demand from the in-charge woman she’d had to become over the years.

She was shocked when tears formed in Dave’s eyes and spilled over his cheeks. He didn’t reach up to wipe them away, simply continued to stare at her.

“Ten years,” he said softly. “Ten years, twenty-two days, four hours, and thirty-six minutes. That’s how long you’ve been missing. And I’ve been searching for you for every single second of that time. I’ve prayed to hear your voice again . . . and the reality is so much better than my dreams.”

His words both soothed a hurt she didn’t know she’d harbored and stung like a thousand bees. Dave had obviously suffered. The man she used to know never would’ve cried. Especially not in front of others. She couldn’t talk through the lump in her own throat.

“You should go. Just for tonight,” Zara said. “Mags needs time to process everything.”

Dave opened his mouth to protest, but Gray spoke before he could.

“That sounds like a good idea. We can come back tomorrow.”

“You’re not staying here,” Meat told Zara.

“I’ll be fine,” she told him gently.

“No.”

Mags approved of Zara’s man. He was protective and obviously concerned about her safety. As much as Zara was a product of the barrio, it wasn’t safe. Not even for her.

“Maybe they can all come to the motel with us?” she asked.

“If we’re gone too long, Ruben or someone else might take over our house,” Maria said.

Zara’s shoulders drooped. “Yeah.”

“We’ll come back first thing in the morning, and we’ll bring food,” Meat reassured both Zara and the other women. “If there’s anything else you can think of that you need, we’ll go shopping again tomorrow and get it for you. We need to visit Daniela as well.”

The women all agreed, and Mags knew they were anxious to go through the bags of supplies the men had brought them and talk about exactly what was happening.

“I don’t want to go,” Dave argued.

Meat put his hand on Dave’s shoulder and squeezed. “She needs time,” he said quietly.

No one said anything for a long moment.

Then, from his position on his knees in the doorway, Dave said, “I love you, Raven.”

Mags braced herself to look at him again.

“I love you. I know enough about what happens to young women who get taken without their consent to know your life has been hell. But I’ve found you—and I’m going to do whatever it takes to prove you’re now safe. That my love for you hasn’t stopped simply because you’ve been gone.”

“People change,” she said softly. “I’m not the woman you once knew.”

“And I’m not the same person you married,” Dave countered. “I’m harder. More stubborn. A hell of a lot less trusting. But one thing will never change, and that’s how much you mean to me, and how much I love you.”

“I don’t love you anymore,” Mags lied.

Dave didn’t even flinch. “You will.”

Frustration rose within her. She needed him gone. Why wasn’t he getting mad? Leaving? She had too much to lose if he didn’t go. “My life is here in Peru,” she said as sternly as she could manage. “I’m not leaving.”

Dave eyed her for a long moment, and Mags refused to squirm under his scrutiny. Then he slowly stood, and Mags forced herself to stand her ground and not cower from the intensity of his gaze. The tears had dried up, and a very determined man stood in front of her now.

“I didn’t tell your parents that I was coming to Peru. They’ve had their hopes raised too many times and dashed just as many. And my parents have suffered right along with me. But they don’t matter. No one matters but you. My life is wherever you are,” Dave said without a trace of irritation or insecurity. “If I have to move to Lima in order to be with you, I will.”

At any other time, Mags would’ve thrown herself at her man and begged him to take her away from the barrio. From Lima. From Peru. But she couldn’t.

She was in hell. This was like being offered everything her heart desired, but she knew if she dared reach for it, she could lose something else she loved just as dearly.
Stoker, Susan. Defending Raven (Mountain Mercenaries) (pp. 39-43). Kindle Edition.

Like everything else in life this gets far more complicated than just talking to Mags and bringing her home.

The bullies in the Barrio learn a few lessons from this dedicated team, lessons that start making life for the residents a bit better. The horror of del Rio’s mindset had me both cringing and crying as Susan takes a horrific part of human trafficking and intertwines it with a love story for the ages.

So much suspense as Dave breaks down the walls Raven has erected to maintain her sanity. Her reason for needing to stay in Lima, while shocking to Dave only cements his determination to bring her home.

Some laughter, lots of tears, and an ending you won’t soon forget.

This is the last book in this series and I will miss these characters. Thank you, Susan it’s been a wild ride.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

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


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Securing Avery – SEALs of Protection Legacy Book 5 By Susan Stoker


Securing Avery
SEALs of Protection Legacy Book 5
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker

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Navy Nurse Avery Nelson never dreamed she’d be taken hostage during her deployment in Afghanistan. She’s assisting local women with healthcare, not fighting in a war. But digging her way out of her would-be grave turns out to be the battle of her life. She’s not the type to simply lay down and die, or sit around crying, waiting for someone to save her…though Avery can’t deny it’s a massive relief when the very SEAL she’s been flirting with for months comes to her rescue.

Cole “Rex” Kingston has saved his fair share of women over his time as a SEAL, but no mission has ever seemed as important as the one to find Avery Nelson. Digging the woman out of the rubble of a mountainside in Afghanistan hammers home to them both just how short life is, and they waste no time acting on their attraction, getting closer as Cole helps Avery deal with the aftermath of her ordeal.

But someone isn’t happy that Avery didn’t die in the mountains…and they’ll do anything to make sure she doesn’t live long enough to talk about what she might’ve heard and seen while deployed.

NOTE:
** Securing Avery is the 5th book in the SEAL of Protection: Legacy Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

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These books always have strong women and damn Avery is so much more than that. From the very beginning she’s fighting to live, digging her way out stone by stone after being left to die. Her one regret, not encouraging Cole ‘Rex’ Kingston to ask her out, something she would do something about if she manages to get free of this mess.

Rex has been hanging at the hospital where Avery works as much as he can get away with. He finally was going to ask her out but she was being deployed. When his team is sent to rescue drivers and a woman taken when a convoy of weapons is hijacked he finds out the woman is Avery. Nothing will stop him from finding her and he knows his team will have his back.

When they do find her some very interesting things happen.

This is one of them and a favorite scene.

“If you can keep me from falling over, I’m ready to get out of here,” she stated.

Rex stepped closer and wrapped an arm around her waist. “Is this okay?” he asked, not wanting to contribute to any horrible memories she might have of what had been done to her while a captive.

She nodded and wrapped her own arm around him, keeping her head down and grabbing onto his shirt with surprising strength. “Yeah. Look, we’re the perfect height to win a three-legged race,” she quipped.

Rex snorted. It wasn’t quite a laugh, he couldn’t bring himself to laugh at a time like this, but he agreed with her assessment. They fit together perfectly. He walked them over to the hole where he’d entered the cave.

She was squinting and doing her best to look through the hole, toward the bright sunshine outside, but it was obvious it was causing her pain.

“Hang on,” he told her, then raised his head and yelled, “Phantom?”

“Right here,” his friend said.

“I need your sunglasses.” Without a word of question, a hand thrust a pair of sunglasses down the hole. Rex grabbed them and turned to Avery. “Here, these will help until your eyes can adjust.” Then he slipped them onto her face, brushing her hair behind her ears in the process.

He heard her sigh in relief. “Thank you, you have no idea how…” Her voice trailed off when she finally looked at his face.

“What?”

“Cole?” she whispered.

Rex did chuckle this time; he couldn’t help it. “Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard anyone call me that. How’d you know my name?”

She shrugged. “I may or may not have asked around,” she admitted freely.

“You can call me Rex,” he said, flattered beyond belief that she’d wanted to find out more about him. He knew she wouldn’t have learned anything but the basics. Because of his top-secret clearance and the secrecy surrounding the SEALs, anything said about him would’ve been general knowledge.

“Thanks, but I think I like Cole better. I can’t believe you’re here,” she said quietly. He couldn’t see her eyes behind the dark lenses of the sunglasses, but he could feel her gaze boring into him nonetheless.

“Wanna go out sometime?” she blurted.

Rex knew his mouth was hanging open, but he couldn’t believe what he’d just heard.

“I mean…” She began to falter at his obvious astonishment. “I just…I made a promise to myself that if I got out of this hole in the mountain, I’d go after what I wanted.”

“And what you wanted was me?” Rex couldn’t help but ask.

He saw her cheeks pinken, and it was a welcome sight. She was way too pale for his peace of mind.

She shrugged. “Yeah.”

“You should know, I was kicking my own ass for chickening out and not asking you out for coffee before you were deployed,” Rex told her honestly.

They smiled at each other for a long, quiet moment before Avery swayed.

And just like that, Rex recalled where they were and what the hell they were doing.
Stoker, Susan. Securing Avery (SEAL of Protection: Legacy Book 5) (pp. 26-28). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

So many hold your breath moments, and Avery takes no crap from anyone. Rex and his team and a few of those Delta guys are awesome. The fact that Phantom remembers the thing he couldn’t and many more OMG moments, add to the suspense. There were times I had tears running down my face even as I laughed out loud.

I really wish I had the will power to not start reading these books when they hit my kindle, I couldn’t put this book aside and now I need a nap or three.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming Soon!

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

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


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Shielding Gillian – Delta Team Two Book 1 by Susan Stoker


Shielding Gillian
Delta Team Two Book 1
By
NY Times, USA Today & Wall Street Journal
Bestselling Author

Susan Stoker

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As an event planner, Gillian Romano’s an expert at rolling with the punches and solving unexpected problems. But her flight getting hijacked while returning from a job is definitely out of her skill set. Passengers are being murdered, and when she’s chosen by the terrorists to be their mouthpiece, even more innocent lives rest on Gillian’s shoulders. Only the calm, reassuring voice on the other end of the line keeps her sane, forging a bond with a stranger she’s never seen but trusts with her life.

Walker “Trigger” Nelson and his Delta Force team have spent years training for close-quarter hostage rescue. When they get called to South America to attempt to save an airplane full of hostages, he doesn’t expect to meet a woman who rocks his world in the middle of the op. Gillian’s cool head and bravery in the face of certain terror—and possible death—blows him away. Any outcome that doesn’t include Gillian leaving that plane alive and well is not an option.

After their safe return to Texas, both Trigger and Gillian are excited to find out if their instant chemistry can survive the real world. Neither realizing that someone isn’t happy with the outcome of the hijacking, and is watching, waiting, for a second chance to strike.

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As Ghost and his team start stepping back, it’s time for another team to take the limelight, this book introduces us to the men of Delta Team 2.

We jump right in with a hijacked plane and a passenger told to be their spokesperson or die.

Gillian is really wishing she hadn’t taken that extra day to relax after the event she planned was over. Now she’s on a hijacked plane and scared out of her mind, but knows she has to get through to the authorities the seriousness of the demands.

She’s relieved when the original person is replaced with someone else, and American, military. She just has to hold on and give these men what they need to succeed at this rescue.

Trigger Walker and his team get valuable information from Gillian, but things go sideways but they succeed.

This is a favorite scene.

“I don’t know, and right now I don’t care. All I care about is that they’re dead and you’re not,” Walker said.

“I think they were going to take me with them,” she whispered. “Thank you for making sure that didn’t happen.”

“No way in hell was I going to let them do that,” Walker told her. Then he slowly pulled her into him once again.

Gillian rested her cheek on his chest. He was taller than she was, but they still fit together perfectly. She knew she needed a shower, and she had Alberto’s blood in her hair and on her clothes, but she couldn’t bring herself to care. All she could focus on was the man holding her.

She’d never felt for anyone the way she felt about Walker at this moment.

She was well aware it was because she’d almost died. She was shaking with the adrenaline still coursing through her veins. But some distant, stubborn part of her whispered that this was real. That Walker felt something for her, and not just because he was doing his job.

“We need to get gone,” one of his friends said gently from next to them. For a second, Gillian gripped Walker tighter, then she took a deep breath and picked her head up off his chest. He didn’t immediately loosen his hold. They stared at each other for a long moment before he reluctantly—at least, she thought it was reluctantly—dropped his arms.
Gillian swayed, and Walker immediately reached out and steadied her with a hand on her biceps. She flinched, and he frowned.

“What’s wrong? Are you hurt after all? Let me see.”

“I’m okay,” Gillian reassured him. “That’s just the same place those assholes assholes liked to grab me and haul me around. It’s just bruises. They’ll heal.”

She thought he mumbled something about how he should’ve killed them slowly, but then he brought his hand up to her face. His thumb rubbed her cheek, and she watched him taking her in slowly. His gaze flicked from the top of her head to her eyes, then her cheeks, and finally her mouth.

She couldn’t help but wipe her tongue over her suddenly dry lips, and she loved that his pupils seemed to dilate at seeing the movement.

“What happens now?” she asked quietly.

“The US government has chartered a flight to get you and the other Americans back home as quickly as possible. Venezuela is not a country you want to spend any more time in than necessary right now. Much of the government is corrupt and it’s dangerous as hell.”

“Yeah, I think I found that out the hard way,” Gillian quipped.

His lips quirked up into a smile, but he quickly got serious again. “I’m sure you’ll be interviewed about what happened. You should see a doctor to make sure you’re all right physically, as well.”

“I will,” she told him. “What should I say about you and your friends?”

“What do you mean?” he asked with a frown.

“I just…I guess I assumed you’d want your role in what happened here to be downplayed.”

“Why would you think that?” Walker asked.

Feeling awkward, like maybe she’d misread the entire situation, Gillian said, “You said you were stationed in Texas, which means you’re in the military. And since it’s just you guys, and not a whole platoon of men, I’m also guessing you’re special forces of some kind? And because of the relationship between the US and Venezuela, I’m further assuming what you did today should be downplayed.”

When no one said anything, Gillian looked down at her feet. “Or I’m just a girl who reads too much. Never mind, forget I said anything.”

She felt a finger under her chin and looked up into Walker’s eyes. “I knew you were a smart cookie. I’m sure the people who interview you will know who we are and what our role was, so you can be honest with them. But once you’re home…yeah, it would be good if you didn’t talk about us with the media or anyone else.”

“What about my best friends? Ann, Wendy, Clarissa, and I tell each other everything. We’re more like sisters than friends. I can keep most of the details secret, but they’ll know I’m lying if I don’t tell them something.”

“Use your best judgement,” Walker said.

“I like her,” one of his friends said from behind them.

“Me too,” someone else chimed in.

She saw Walker shake his head in bemusement at his friends, but he didn’t take his eyes from hers. He leaned forward and said softly, “You’re amazing, Gillian Romano. I’m in awe of your strength.”

Then he straightened and took a step away from her.

Gillian shivered, even though it wasn’t close to being cold.

She heard yelling, and turned her head to see at least a dozen men headed toward them wearing camouflage uniforms. She looked back at Walker and saw a mask had fallen across his features. He was back in business mode.

“Will I see you again?” she blurted. When he didn’t immediately respond, she awkwardly said, “I mean, I live in Austin, and I’m assuming you’re stationed at Fort Hood because, you know…it’s Army, and really big.”

She couldn’t interpret the look on his face, but she was relieved to see his expression change. Get softer.

“Go with the Venezuelan officials,” he urged. “Be safe, Di. You never know who might just show up on your doorstep someday.”
Stoker, Susan. Shielding Gillian (Delta Team Two Book 1) . Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Locations (862-902). Kindle Edition.

Now back home, Trigger is confronted first by Lucky but Grover, Doc, Brain, Oz and Lefty also put their two cents in about his attitude. He’s constantly thinking about Gillian and it shows.

It’s Brain who gives him the perfect excuse to go see her, but he almost totally screws that up too.

Now you know Susan isn’t going to let Gillian off that easy and everything starts ramping up from here, and I do mean everything.

Plenty of suspense, lots of romance and some sizzle and this one kept me guessing until the end.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

Coming Soon!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

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


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Defending Zara – Mountain Mercenaries Book 6 By Susan Stoker


Defending Zara
Mountain Mercenaries Book 6
By
NY Times, USA Today & Wall Street Journal
Bestselling Author

Susan Stoker

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For a Mountain Mercenary and a desperate woman,
love becomes a dangerous refuge
in New York Times bestselling author
Susan Stoker’s novel of
heart-gripping suspense.

Mountain Mercenary Hunter “Meat” Snow has a mission: eliminate the human traffickers scouring the barrios of Lima for vulnerable prey. But it’s Meat who’s taken down. Separated from his team and beaten within an inch of his life, he’s left for dead. When he wakes, it’s to the intimate care of a beautiful stranger who knows all about survival.

Zara Layne was a child when a brutal murder left her orphaned and abandoned in Peru. Ever since, she’s fended for herself on the streets, outrunning its predators. Trusting men is not in Zara’s blood…until it warms to the exhilarating touch of the wounded hero who promises deliverance. As each other’s rescuers, they return to Colorado for a new normal.

But when Meat disappears, Zara discovers how ruthless the past can be. With the help of the loyal Mercenaries, she’s drawing on her own skills of endurance to find him. And for Zara, there’s no danger great enough to come between her and the man she loves.

Zara has been masquerading as a boy since she realized it was safer than being a girl in Lima’s barrios. It’s been fifteen years since she witnessed her parents murder and long ago she gave up on ever being found and embraced her fate, concentrating only on surviving.

The Mountain Mercenaries were on a mission in Lima, they had intel on kidnapped children and were set to rescue them and put a few kinks in that branch of human traffickers. Unfortunately things went sideways and Black and Meat were severely beaten.

Zara was with the group Mags ran that tried to help the women and children and saw the guys get taken down. Unfortunately they were only able to get one of the men away.

Zara took him to Daniela a doctor who helped them when necessary, she does patch him up a bit under protest but Meat realizing his situation does behave.

This is a favorite scene.

Zara froze. She wasn’t ready to talk about herself. Hell, she never talked about herself. It was safer that way. But she didn’t want to get up and walk away either. For some reason, she felt comfortable with Meat.

It made no sense, really. But then again . . . she was tired. Tired of constantly looking behind her. Of having to scrounge for food. Of trying to stay under the radar. She was way too practical to live her life wondering “what if,” but at the moment, talking to Meat, she felt her guard lowering.

She still wasn’t going to talk about herself. Not yet. She’d only known this man for hours. But she could put his mind at ease. “I went back to the barrio and found out about your friends today.”

His eyes widened and he sat up straighter. He leaned toward her eagerly. “Yeah?”

Zara nodded. “Mags said that right after I left with you, the Americans came and got the man you’d been with.”

Meat sighed in relief. “Thank God! Did you get a chance to tell them I was all right?”

Zara bit her lip and shook her head.

Meat frowned.

At his expression, she found herself wanting to explain. “The Special Forces Brigade members are still with them. We can’t risk talking to the Americans. It would bring attention to ourselves. Bad attention.” Zara wasn’t sure Meat understood. “The best thing is to not be seen,” she said. “If they see us, they’ll start asking questions, and we won’t be able to help others like we do now.”

Meat looked at her for a long moment before he finally nodded. “I understand.”

“Mags said she would try to get a note to them. But hopefully you will be healed enough to leave soon, and it won’t be necessary.”

“I wondered where you had gone today,” Meat said. “I hadn’t expected you to do that for me.”

“You were worried about them.”

“I was. But still. How far did you have to travel to get back to the barrio where you found me?”

She hesitated. The last thing she wanted was to get Daniela in trouble, or for Meat to get too curious. The less he knew, the better.

Before she could think of a good answer, he spoke.

“Never mind. I’m learning that there’re a lot of things I’m better off not knowing, right?”

Zara nodded.

“Have I thanked you yet?” Meat asked.

Zara looked at him with what she knew was probably another shocked expression.

“I guess I haven’t. It’s obvious you know this area much better than I do. Black and I weren’t expecting to be jumped like we were. I appreciate you and your friends stepping in to help us, especially considering the amount of danger it obviously put you in.”

Zara licked her lips and said nothing.

“You haven’t asked what we were doing there.”

She already knew about the boys they’d found, but shrugged anyway.

“My friends and I are part of a somewhat secret group. We’re called the Mountain Mercenaries. We’ve made it our mission to rescue women and children from those who would do them harm. The wife of our leader, Rex, disappeared years ago, and he suspects she was kidnapped into the sex trade. He’s never stopped looking for her. In the meantime, he’s dedicated dedicated his life to helping others like her, who are taken from their homes and families.

“We were working with the government on a human-trafficking sting. We were told there were several boys on the verge of being sold into the kind of life no child should ever know exists. Our intel was good . . . but when we got here, things got all fucked up. We should’ve pulled out of the mission immediately, but decided to go ahead with it. That was our mistake.”

Zara stared at Meat. She and the others had already deduced the Americans were there to try to save the children, but they hadn’t known anything about their motives. They’d wondered why a group from the United States would care about what happened to a bunch of poor barrio kids. And it was obvious that Meat did care. He cared about a bunch of children he’d never met.

For just a moment, Zara wondered what her life could’ve been like if Meat and his friends had been around when she’d needed them.

But the second she had the thought, she dismissed it. She didn’t know how old Meat was, but fifteen years ago, he probably wasn’t in the same line of work he was in now.
Stoker, Susan. Defending Zara (Mountain Mercenaries) (pp. 29-31). Kindle Edition.

Slowly Meat gains Zara’s trust and she tells him her story when he says that his group is from Colorado. Ironically that’s where she was originally from as well. In that moment Meat knew he wasn’t going to leave this country without her.

Oh the many surprises this book has in store for you! I couldn’t put it down which also means I got very little sleep.

Full of suspense, family drama, romance and just enough sizzle.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming Soon!

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

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


newsletter - for blog

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page