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.
“Sorry, bud. Needed you with me on this one.” He rested his hand on the dog’s shoulder just above the ragged scar where a bullet had torn through muscle and tissue. Cowboy had recovered surprisingly well, but the wound had ended the career of the best military dog Garrett had ever been teamed with.
Cowboy’s big, brown, soulful eyes studied his for a moment before a barely audible woof broke the silence.
Garrett chuckled and patted the dog’s furry side. “Good boy. That’s right—use your indoor voice. You’ll need to be on your best behavior while we’re here. Shouldn’t be long, though. I can’t imagine there’d be anything to keep us here beyond the end of the day.”
Why had he come anyway?
Aunt Peg’s letter. His temper flared remembering the confrontation between him and his father after Garrett had stumbled upon the year-old letter in his dad’s desk drawer.
“Looking for something, son?” There’d been wariness in his father’s voice.
Garrett had dragged his gaze from the envelope in his hand to study the senator. “I misplaced Shay’s telephone number. I thought I might find it in here.” The call to his sister momentarily forgotten, he’d held the letter up so his father could see.
The senator had looked away, his expression shuttering over. “I meant to give that to you, but both you and Luke were out of the country when it arrived and, frankly, it’s not something you should worry about. You need to concentrate on getting well,” his father had said, but the way his gaze bounced around the room instead of meeting Garrett’s told a different story.
“Dad, I’ve been in the States for six months. Two months at the VA hospital and four months recuperating right here in this house. Luke’s been here a week. What were you waiting for?” Garrett had held the letter out in front of him. “ ‘Garrett and Luke Harding.’ ” He’d read the first line of the address out loud and then jerked the letter away as his father made a grab. “Peg Williams. That’s Aunt Peg, isn’t it? Did it cross your mind at all that Luke and I might be interested in what our mother’s sister had to say?”
“Your mother passed away a year ago. Peg invited you to the reading of the will. Hell, your mother didn’t have time for you while she was alive. Why would you be interested now? Hate me for it if you want—I took it upon myself to keep the letter from you. I didn’t think it was important twenty-nine years after she walked out on you boys.” Anger had hardened his father’s expression.
Garrett had sucked in a breath as the words pelted him, reopening a wound he’d thought long closed. After all, they hadn’t heard from the woman their father had said was a drug addict in nearly thirty years. Now she’d apparently left them something in her will—as though she’d have anything they’d want. Wasn’t that just the icing on the cake?
Garrett had straightened his six-foot-one frame until the muscles surrounding the six-month-old wound in his back protested sharply. “You had no right to make that call.”
“I had every right. I wasn’t going to let that woman hurt you again.”
Steel-gray eyes, so like his own, had stared back at Garrett. “Are you sure that’s the reason, Dad? Or could it have had anything to do with keeping the senator’s ex-wife off the front page of the newspaper?” Silence had stretched for at least thirty seconds, during which Garrett had had ample time to regret his words.
His father, ever the diplomat, had smiled faintly. “Let’s table this discussion until cooler heads prevail, shall we? You have your letter, and I have a meeting I’m going to be late for.” He’d grabbed several folders from his desk and hastened from the room.
Cowboy is my new dog book boyfriend!
Is that a thing? It should be. He’s just awesome:)
The ranger isn’t too bad, either. 😉
Rescued by the Ranger was my first book by Dixie Lee Brown, and fortunately, it’s a standalone–though there’s some potential here for future stories (Garrett’s brother Luke, though he’s pretty much a forgone conclusion; Rachel’s friend Jonathan; and Garrett’s friend Jace), so maybe it’ll be the first in a series? It was an okay read–the pacing was good with interesting characters. I especially liked Garrett, and did I mention Cowboy? 😉
Rachel, however, was not my favorite character. She had a tendency to see everything in black and white, was quick to judge, quick to jump in where it wasn’t really any of her business, and she constantly threw barriers up between herself and Garrett that weren’t really justified. It really seemed like she was more work than she was worth and half the time I wasn’t sure why he stuck with her. Her stalker storyline felt a bit over the top too. She had her moments, though, and fortunately my interest in the other characters was enough to keep me reading.
The secondary characters here were sufficiently interesting that if it were to continue as a series, I would definitely consider picking up a book or two.
Rating: 3 stars / C
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
DIXIE LEE BROWN lives and 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.