With: Susan Stoker
Chloe had never thought she’d be sitting on the floor playing War with someone like Ro. He wasn’t the kind of man who she’d thought would have the patience to sit for hours and play the monotonous and somewhat boring game. But somehow it wasn’t boring playing with Ro.
She’d laughed more than she had in the last three years. Ro was a poor loser, and when he got down to having only seven cards, he’d scowled at them, and at her, and pouted. But then they’d had a tie, and he’d won an ace back from her, and he’d quickly won back most of the cards he’d recently lost.
In the past, if someone had scowled at her like Ro had, she would’ve been more than a little leery, but instead she’d mocked and teased him for being a poor loser. And remarkably, he’d taken her teasing without complaint, and then crowed when he began winning once more.
Chloe knew what he was doing, and she didn’t mind. She knew he was trying to relax her, to make her stop thinking so much about her brother and what had happened. She actually appreciated his efforts. Lord knew she’d just about reached the end of her rope. She’d gone from being completely sure she’d landed in another awful situation that morning to being entirely relaxed by the time the sun had set.
Some might say she wasn’t being smart, but Chloe knew better. Ro wasn’t like her brother or his friends. She’d been around him long enough to be able to tell the difference. She might’ve been freaked out that morning, but she felt as if she’d had good reason. Leaving her alone, and giving her the tools to take off if she wanted to, had done exactly what Ro had hoped it would. It had made her trust him.
Chloe laughed when he lost another tiebreaker, and she won back one of the two aces he had in his pile.
“Bloody hell,” he swore under his breath as she collected the cards gleefully.
She heard the dryer buzz in the background and blushed anew. She really needed to stop being embarrassed about doing laundry, but it was obvious that Ro hadn’t thought about the fact she wasn’t wearing anything under her new clothes until Ally had mentioned using the washer and dryer. She’d seen his eyes drop to her chest and hips before he’d looked away.
Instead of feeling embarrassed or creeped out by him looking at her, it had aroused her. Which shocked Chloe. How had she gone from feeling totally disassociated from her body and not wanting any man near her, to wanting Ro to touch her? All over?
Standing, Chloe said, “I’ll go and get that.” She motioned to the laundry room with her head.
“Are you seriously going to take your cards with you?” Ro asked.
She mock-glared down at him. “Uh, yeah. The last time I got up, you stole an ace from my stack,” she scolded.
“I did no such thing,” Ro said with wide, innocent eyes.
Chloe’s lips twitched. He was the worst liar. At least, he was pretending to be the worst liar. “Whatever,” she told him as she headed for the dryer.
“Want something to eat?” Ro called out behind her.
Chloe turned. It was late. They’d stopped and had sandwiches for dinner, but she was hungry again. It was dark outside, and she was used to staying up way past midnight at the strip club. She wasn’t ready to go to bed yet; besides, she was winning the game again. “Do you have any junk food?” she asked a little shyly. Yes, she knew she shouldn’t eat snack foods, but it had been so long since she’d indulged.
“I think I can rustle something up,” Ro said dryly. “Go on. Get your clothes. But don’t dally. I’ve got a lucky streak coming. I can feel it.”
Title: Defending Chloe
Author: Susan Stoker
Release Date: December 4, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Gorgeous women don’t just stumble onto Ronan Cross’s remote property. But this one—vulnerable, victimized, and needing the kind of help only Ronan can offer—tells a story that makes his blood boil almost as hot as his need to protect her.
Since her father’s death, Chloe Harris has become a prisoner. Her own brother, a flesh peddler and low-level player in the Denver Mafia, is forcing her to sell her body for an endgame Chloe never saw coming: control over a vast fortune. Her only way out is to run—straight into the arms of the one hard-bodied man she can trust.
Defending Chloe could rain punishment down on the Mountain Mercenaries. Her brother has Mob connections and the local police in his pocket. But Ronan still has an edge—the unshakable loyalty of his deadly teammates. As well as an unquenchable thirst for retribution…and Chloe.
Susan Stoker is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose series include Ace Security, Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, Unsung Heroes: Delta Force, and Mountain Mercenaries. Married to a retired army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri to California to Colorado to 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, www.stokeraces.com, or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/
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