Title: Defending Allye (Mountain Mercenaries)
Author: Susan Stoker
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Ever since his rescue op off the Pacific Coast, Mountain Mercenary Gray Rogers hasn’t been able to forget his latest “job”—Allye Martin. Any other woman would have panicked during a rescue, but the wily dancer kept her cool—even after being kidnapped by an elusive human trafficker. And Gray couldn’t be happier when a grateful Allye follows him home to Colorado Springs…
For Allye, finding sanctuary in the arms—and bed—of the former Navy SEAL is only temporary. People are disappearing off the streets of San Francisco, victims of the same underground trade that targeted her, and Allye could be the key to dismantling the entire operation. She’s willing to do anything to bring them down. Gray isn’t—for good reason. But you don’t say no to a tough girl like Allye who refuses to play it safe.
Now Gray is risking more than ever before. The Mountain Mercenaries have his back. But is it enough to keep the woman he loves out of harm’s way?
Excerpt: Defending Allye by Susan Stoker
Allye turned to her right and glanced at the group of men sitting at the only square table in the room—and froze.
Her breathing increased, and her fight-or-flight instinct kicked in. The men weren’t paying any attention to her and hadn’t seen her yet.
Allye took one step backward toward the doorway she’d just walked through. But she was too late.
“What the hell?” The exclamation had come from Black. The man she’d met just over a week ago on a mission she knew wasn’t exactly public knowledge.
Five more heads swiveled to look in her direction, and Allye could do nothing but stare. It was as if she could actually feel the amount of testosterone in the room increase.
All six men at the table were big. And good-looking. And staring at her as if they’d never seen a woman before.
But it was Grayson Rogers’s eyes that she couldn’t look away from.
Without a word, he stood, a fluid movement that was as graceful as those of any dancer in her troupe, and walked toward her.
“Kitten, what the hell are you doing here? How’d you find me?”
She loved the sound of her nickname on his lips, but his second question sounded more like an accusation than an actual “Boy, am I glad to see you again” statement.
“I . . . I didn’t know you’d be here,” she stammered. “I wasn’t looking for you.”
He looked confused.
“I called Rex, and he arranged to meet me here. But he hasn’t shown up yet. I was sitting out there”—she pointed at the doorway—“talking to the bartender, Dave, and got bored waiting. I didn’t know you’d be here,” she repeated.
“Rex,” Gray said under his breath, then held out his hand. “Whatever the reason, I’m glad to see you again. Are you okay?”
Allye liked this gentler Gray. She nodded and put her hand in his outstretched one. The second she touched his palm, his fingers closed around hers. The warmth from his body seemed to seep into her. She hadn’t even known she was chilled until she felt how warm his skin was. “I’m okay,” she said softly.
“No one’s been following you?” Gray asked.
Allye shrugged. “I don’t think so. I’ve felt uneasy recently, but it’s probably just a result of what happened to me before.”
Gray frowned and tightened his fingers. “Maybe, maybe not. Come on, I want you to meet my friends.”
She allowed him to lead across the room. He stopped at the table and wrapped an arm around her waist. Their hips were smashed together, and she felt every finger as he gripped her opposite hipbone.
“Guys, I’d like you to meet Allye Martin. Allye, these are the guys. Meat, Arrow, Ball, Ro, and you know Black.”
“Hi,” she said awkwardly. “It’s nice to meet all of you.”
Her greeting was returned by all the men, and she couldn’t help but squirm under their scrutiny. The man Gray called Meat got up, snagged a chair from a nearby table, and placed it next to the empty one. She sat when Gray gestured to it. She didn’t lean back in the chair but instead sat fully upright, wondering what in the world was going on.
“So . . . you’re the woman Gray rescued the other week, huh?” Arrow asked.
Allye swallowed, then gave him a small nod.
“What I’m about to tell you, kitten, isn’t common knowledge. But after what you’ve been through, and given the fact that you’re supposed to be meeting Rex here, so he obviously trusts you, I’m comfortable telling you. These men and I are all part of a group called Mountain Mercenaries,” Gray said quietly. “Rex is our leader, so to speak. He contacts us when he has rescue jobs for us to do, mostly involving women and children who are being abused or were abducted. And before you ask, we’re highly qualified. All of us are former military, all different branches, for the most part, and we’ve been through extensive training.”
Allye stared at him for a second, then her eyes went to the rest of the men around the table. She was surprised that he’d explained as much as he had, but she had no trouble believing that these men had the skills and strength to operate rescue missions.
Then something Gray said sank in.
Allye was confused. “You have a name? Can I look you up online? Hire you?”
“Then why have a name?” Allye thought it was Ball who answered.
“Because Rex decided, rightly so, that we would become more well known if we were associated with a name. He wanted the bad guys to fear hearing the Mountain Mercenaries were coming for them. And it’s worked. There was a situation not too long ago where a bad guy in Chicago was desperate to keep Rex and his Mountain Mercenaries out of his business. Desperate enough to kill his own son when he couldn’t control him anymore.”
Allye wasn’t sure she wanted to know the details about that. But she was still a little confused. “But mercenaries are guns for hire. Like, they go where the money is and don’t care about right or wrong, good or bad. They’re all about the money. Aren’t you more like vigilantes or something? Working around the law to do what’s right and good?”
Gray stared at her, but the other men around the table chuckled.
Finally, Gray grinned. “Knew you were too smart for your own good,” he said. “You’re right, but when Rex formed our little group, he thought Mountain Mercenaries sounded tougher than vigilantes.”
Allye rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I guess Vengeful Veterans doesn’t exactly have the same ring, does it?”
And with that, the other men burst out laughing.