Protecting those in trouble is what Army Ranger Garrett Harding does best. But after helping a feisty redhead toss a couple of losers from her Idaho bar, the woman is anything but grateful for his assistance—in fact, she seems to know him. Worse, she almost certainly hates him.
The only thing Rachel Maguire wants is to send this smart-mouthed, muscled military man packing. She knows Garrett has his own reasons for staying, so when he offers Rachel a deal—two days to prove his worth or he leaves—she reluctantly agrees. Despite wanting to loathe him, Rachel finds herself drawn to his quiet confidence…and the way he fills out a t-shirt.
But when Rachel receives a phone call from the past, everything changes. The stalker who destroyed her life ten years ago is closing in once more. Refusing to put anyone else in harm’s way, Rachel hits the road hoping to lure danger away from those she loves. But Garrett won’t leave this sexy spitfire to face her stalker alone. He’ll do anything to protect her. Even if it means risking his life—and his heart.
She stood with elbows braced against the far side of the bar, drawing down on the kid with the rifle she gripped like a modern-day Annie Oakley, and Garrett didn’t doubt her threat for a minute. Clearly, however, the dimwitted kid didn’t have the sense to take her seriously. Shit. It chapped his ass to have to take this worthless scum’s side. “Uh . . . Rachel is it? Maybe we should let the police handle this.”
A disbelieving laugh burst from her. “The police are worse than Riley here.”
With her attention solely on the young Riley, Garrett sidled up to the bar, shoved the barrel of the rifle up, and pulled it from her hands. “Trust me. He’s right about this. You don’t want to do that.”
Riley picked that moment to laugh.
“Damn it. Shut up, kid, if you know what’s good for you.” Garrett’s patience was at its breaking point.
Rachel inhaled sharply, and Garrett’s attention jerked back to her. She stared at the door.
“Drop the rifle, Mister.” The new voice was deep and raspy, and it was followed by the sound of footsteps moving closer.
Garrett slowly turned to see the two men from the old Ford pickup standing one on each side of the swinging panels. Both carried sawed-off shotguns. They reminded him of Darryl and Darryl, two no-doubt inbred brothers from an old sitcom he’d watched once. These two weren’t quite as funny, though.
Riley hooted, strode toward Garrett, and confiscated the Winchester. “What the hell are you boys doin’ back here? I told you to go pick up the supplies.”
“We saw this yahoo park and go inside. Thought there could be some trouble.” Darryl #1 smirked as though that’s what he’d been hoping for.
Riley gave him a playful shove. “Oh, and you didn’t think I could handle it by myself?”
“Naw, Riley. Just didn’t want you havin’ all the fun.”
Darryl #2 chewed on a toothpick as he studied Rachel, then swept his gaze to Garrett. “Thought we was just supposed to git the girl. What we gonna do with him now?” The older of the two jabbed his shotgun toward Garrett.
“What d’ya think?” Riley smirked.
What the hell was going on here? This wasn’t some awkward kid trying to coerce a kiss out of a reluctant girlfriend. Not even close. Both parties seemed willing to kill over whatever the stakes were in this little game, and Garrett was sadly out of the loop. He met Rachel’s gaze and cocked an eyebrow in question.
“I’d say I told you so, but the satisfaction would be short-lived. Bet you wished you’d stayed on the interstate now.” She lowered her eyelids, and it appeared she was studying something below the level of the bar, then she slowly opened them again until she was looking into his once more. There was a message in her green depths—if he could only figure out what it was.
writes in Central Oregon, inspired by what she believes is the most gorgeous
scenery anywhere. She resides with two dogs and a cat, who make sure she never
takes herself too seriously. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading,
movies, and trips to the beach.
Sarah’s Review (4.5 kisses, GR 4):
Thank you to Dixie Lee Brown, Tasty Book Tours and Edelweiss for providing Sassy Moms with the opportunity to read and review this story. I saw this posted on Ms. Brown’s Facebook page and knew that I wanted to read this story.
I really enjoyed this story and really want to give it 5 kisses/stars, but the bad guy’s name in this book is the same as the guy that I really like. It made it weird, but not enough that I couldn’t finish it. Yes, a name is the reason that I can’t give it 5 kisses/stars.
I really loved Garrett and his protective manner. The reason he comes to Idaho is because of his past making a surprise appearance, despite his father’s best attempts to keep it hidden. When Garrett discovers this, he knows he needs to find out what happened.
Rachel is an employee of Garrett’s aunt but Garrett doesn’t know who she is. Rachel knows who Garrett is though and she doesn’t like him at all. When Garrett shows up while Rachel is almost abducted, she accepts his help before she realized who he was. When Rachel continues to get calls from her stalker, she decides to protect her friends and Garrett.
When the identity of her stalker is revealed, it is a shock. When the truth comes out about Garrett’s past, his father attempts to clear the air, but doesn’t succeed.
I hope that Ms. Brown writes about Garrett’s brother next!