DEFENDING HARLOW –Susan Stoker
Colorado Springs, Colorado – Present day
Lowell “Black” Lockard was sort of bored sitting in the office of his shooting range. Black had been in the Navy, and now is involved with the Mountain Mercenaries when he isn't running his shooting range. The Mountain Mercenaries haven't had a mission in over a month, their missions are to help find women or children kidnapped or abused, all over the world. Mountain Mercenaries is run by Rex, their handler, who no one on the team has ever met or seen, and when he calls them for another job, he uses a scrambler on the phone to hide his voice. Gossip is his wife was taken years ago, and he has never been able to find her after many supposed sightings. Eventually the guys at Mountain Mercenaries will wonder when Rex will ask them to try to find her. Then a call from a woman he knew in high school, Harlow Reese, will end his boredom. Harlow works at a shelter for abused women and children as a chef, and there are men across the street that harass them and call out to them as the women enter and leave the shelter. The Mercenaries have given the women self-defense training, but none of them are prepared for these men, who don't threaten or touch them, just scare them. Can Black help? Bet your bottom dollar he can!
Harlow loves working at First Hope Women's Shelter as a chef and connecting with the women and children that live there. When the situation with the men outside the shelter starts getting worse and the police refuse to do anything, she calls Black. The month before, he stopped by and she enjoyed talking to him, but when he never called back, she figured he wasn't interested. Black is interested and is upset with himself that he never called back to see if the harassment had stopped. Everyone else in the Mountain Mercenaries has met the woman for them, but Black still prefers the single life—he thinks. After assessing the situation at the shelter, Black gets the rest of the Mercenaries, Gray, Ro and Arrow, to investigate who is harassing the women, maybe an ex? Rex is usually at the heart of the mission, but all of a sudden, his mind isn't on what is going on, so what is he doing that has him off his game?
Written from Black's and Harlow's points of view, their chance meeting again stirs up all sorts of feelings within each other. As Black and his fellow Mercenaries try to go deep into who is behind all this, things look to be getting worse, especially when an empty gas station across the street burns down. Could that be a warning for the shelter?
DEFENDING HARLOW is a story full of dynamic characters such as Gray, Ro and Arrow, and even the mysterious Rex taking part. Loretta is the shelter director, and there's also the man behind the threats and his enforcer. Too bad for them when they meet the Mercenaries!
As usual, Susan Stoker hits it out of the park with DEFENDING
HARLOW, book 4 in the Mountain Mercenaries series. Seat of your pants creepy without being frightening, DEFENDING HARLOW is well worth your reading time this month.