While it’s a little past the actual dates for Wolf Awareness Week, there’s never a bad time to learn about those beautiful creatures! Wolf Awareness Week is held the Third Week of October and while we didn’t plan it, it perfectly coordinated with our release of the TEAM WOLF series set in Elle James’ Brotherhood Protector World.
The graphic I’ve used here is a combination of a number of graphics that I made to use in the Brotherhood Protectors group so that readers could find out more about the wolves that our team was so bent on protecting.
I was so excited to have a series of books set in and around a National Park. I’m a bit of a park person. When my son was young, we did take him to amusement parks and he liked them, but he really came alive when we visited National Parks. Discovering new animals and touring caves, taking long hikes, and getting hands-on with exhibits that the Park Rangers brought out for interactive exhibits.
Those were favorites of mine too. Learning about the flora and fauna of an area is always exciting for me. The natural world has always been an exciting topic for me. I think you’ll see some of that in my book, Guarding Eris. One of the bits of my research into the area of Yellowstone plays a big part in one of the tense moments of the book.
So, I hope you’ll enjoy reading Guarding Eris and the other books in the series!!
I’d love to know… Which National Park is your favorite??
Leave a comment, win a signed copy of Beck’s Six, the lead story in the “Athena” series.
If you loved Defending Sophie and Beck’s Six, you’ll love Harper and her wolves.
Here is a taste of Guarding Harper:
Gabe Walker regarded the five men gathered in Hank Patterson’s kitchen, along with Hank himself and Stone Jacobs, the Brotherhood Protectors leader who had reached out to them. They all had the same look of the hardened warrior, the take-no-prisoners attitude, which was good. They weren’t here for playtime. The work Stone had hinted at needed men like him and his teammates.
Gabe had gone into the military right out of college, after his parents passed away, and there was no longer a place for him on the Texas ranch where they’d worked. Disillusioned by the manner of the drawdown in Afghanistan, they’d all – he and his team – left Fort Drum, headquarters for the Tenth Mountain Division, not reupping in the Army. Since then they’d been putting their skills to use in a security and consulting service. Their motto for their First Brigade Combat Team was “Find a way or make one,” and they’d kept that in place.
When Stone and Hank had approached them, they’d been told a big plus was the fact they’d been working in the Adirondacks, which gave them plenty of experience in the mountains. His team had kept their motto as they created a place for themselves in civilian society. They were all hardened military men. No job was too tough for them.
Gabe was aware that Stone himself had made a major change when Hank Patterson reached out to him. Hank had built a vast security organization that took on the most challenging jobs and could operate where other agencies could not. Stone owed Hank big time for getting him out of a dangerous situation overseas before Hank left the military. He’d made sure the men knew why Brotherhood Protectors was so important to him. Folding his own one-man operation into Brotherhood Protectors seemed like the most productive thing to do. Especially when Hank told him he wanted this part of the organization based in Yellowstone. It was a win/win because Stone’s father owned a lodge in Yellowstone, and he was very familiar with both the territory and the turmoil going on in that area.
When he reached out to the men with his proposal, they’d all been interested. After all, new challenges were what they were about. The more challenging the better. He’d told them when he approached them that the fact they’d all been working in the Adirondacks would make an easy transition for what he had in mind.
Gabe shifted his attention to the man leaning against the kitchen counter. The one outlier in their group. Alex “Ridge” Ridgely. He had been part of their team at Fort Drum and had the hardened, experienced persona they needed. He was slightly older than the others, but that was because he had enlisted later. The men on Gabe’s team had welcomed Ridge’s experience, and he was a steadying influence.
He also was dedicated to wildlife preservation, which meant this might be right up his alley. He’d at least been interested enough, after two meetings, to show up today and listen to the entire proposition. And the others were glad to see him at least entertaining the offer.
And now, here they were, waiting for the rest of the details that would shape their team.
“Anyone need a coffee refill before we get started?” Hank asked.
They all topped off the liquid in their mugs before taking their seats at the table again, all except Ridge who returned to his spot against the counter. Still reserving judgment, Gabe thought.
“You all know how Hank Patterson and I met,” Stone began. “He saved my ass in a big way when we were both still in the military, and I’ve owed him big time ever since then.”
“Not so,” Hank interrupted. “You’ve paid it back in spades.” He grinned. “But I’m happy to have you obligated to me.”
“I know we’ve explained Brotherhood Protectors to you,” Stone went on, “but just a little refresher here. Hank started it when a situation arose with Sadie, now his wife, and just grew from there. We handle kidnappings, illegal aliens, anything that comes up. No job is too challenging. “
“So you told us,” Justice Kane said. “But what specifically do you have in mind? I’m sure you don’t expect us to stand around taking target practice until a job comes along that we like.”
Stone grinned. “There won’t be much time for hanging around, trust me.”
“You said something when we first met about establishing us in Yellowstone, but you never went into the reason why.”
“Wolves,” Stone told them. “That dwindling species.”
“I understand it’s becoming a bigger and bigger problem.” Nate “Edge” Edgerton sat on one of the barstools, his black German shepherd, Pierce, lounged but alert at his feet.
Stone nodded. “Park rangers eliminated the last wolves in Yellowstone National Park in the 1920s, but they were reintroduced in 1995. The project has been lauded as a conservation success story. The internationally acclaimed Yellowstone Wolf Project oversees research and monitoring of wolves in Yellowstone.”
“But exactly what does that have to do with us?” Wade Fielding asked.
“Good question. There seems to be all kinds of crap going on where wolves are concerned in Yellowstone. Despite the organization’s and individual efforts, it’s become more than local law enforcement or wildlife officers can handle. People are hunting wolves for sport, for profit, or because they interfere with their lifestyle. This is especially true of the ranchers who don’t want to work with the wildlife officers and licensed volunteers.”
“You mean they’re poaching?” Justice asked.
“Worse. In many instances, they draw them out of the areas fenced for them to roam freely then kill them. They can sell the pelts for high dollars on the black market. And that’s only part of it. Some ranchers are trapping them and letting them loose on a rival’s ranch, so they can attack the cattle and put the rancher out of business.”
“Shit.” Gabe Walker had been rocked back in his chair, listening carefully to what Stone had to say. He had a vague idea of what was happening with wolves in the area, but this, what Stone had just told them, turned his stomach.
“Indeed,” Hank agreed. “The project and the wildlife officers make a concerted effort to ensure the wolves stay inside the designated area for them.. But once they leave the park, they’re fair game. And there are plenty of assholes who take advantage of that fact.”
“I’m still curious as to what role we’re supposed to play,” Wade said.
“We have men releasing wolves from the park area to trap and kill. Moving them to other ranches to kill cattle. Using them as attack animals to achieve a purpose. And then there are those who just don’t like the wolves period and will do anything to get rid of them. We’ve had two civilians shot and killed during wolf incidents, and it can only get worse if someone doesn’t put a stop to it.”
“Shit.” Justice let out a slow whistle.
“And that’s not all,” Stone went on. “We have a well-run wolf sanctuary here that’s constantly under attack. Harper Young, who runs it, works her ass off but is constantly coming under fire. People want to shut her down, kill her wolves, destroy her property. You have no idea how vicious people can be when it comes to the preservation of wildlife.”
I looked for a scene that would best show you both Hannah’s and Edge’s personalities. Hannah’s a stubborn, independent thing and Edge is the exact same. Here there are discussing the fact she needs protection, with her brother-in-law Billy in on the conversation. BTW, Pierce is his dog. I love writing these two! ~DD
“I don’t need protection,” Hannah said, shaking her head before he even finished.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Billy said. “Hell, I better call Rebecca and let her know to stay close to home until I get there.” He pulled his phone from his pocket and stepped away to place the call.
“This is ridiculous. I have an alarm system for my studio. My apartment’s in the back. I’ll be fine.”
Edge frowned. “If these men decide on taking revenge, they’ll play for keeps, Hannah. I don’t like the idea of having to shadow you either but—”
He stopped mid-sentence because her eyebrows shot up, and her mouth pursed as though he’d offended her.
“What I mean,” he amended, “is I’m in the same boat as you. Hell, so is Pierce. We have to lay low while my team sets up surveillance to make sure they won’t harm any one of us.”
“I can’t have you hovering over me. My studio isn’t huge. My apartment is small—one damn bathroom, a tiny kitchenette, and a bed.”
“Then come stay at the lodge. There’s plenty of room, and no one in their right mind will come after you when you’re surrounded by ex-Special Forces.”
“I’m not staying at the lodge. At least at my place, I can get some work done.”
Good Lord, she was going to argue about every damn little thing. “Fine. I’ll take the couch.”
Her gaze ran from his head down to his feet then back up again. “My couch is a loveseat.”
He gritted his teeth and smiled. “Then I’ll roll out my sleeping bag on the floor.”
She rolled her eyes. “You’re not going to take no for an answer, are you?”
He couldn’t help it. Her voice was rough with aggravation, and her eyebrows were arrowed downward in the center. She was cute as hell when she was mad. He smiled.
Hannah gave him a hard glare and huffed. Then she threw up her hands and marched over to her brother-in-law who was still on the phone, presumably with his wife.
An argument ensued. Hannah’s hands gestured wildly; her face turned red. Billy, for his part, kept his cool, blinking once when she pointed her finger at his chest and tapped him. He pulled the phone from his ear, passed it to Hannah, then walked away. He headed straight for Edge.
“Women,” was all he said.
Edge grunted. “Your wife as stubborn as that one?” Edge asked, jerking his chin toward Hannah.
“It runs in the family.”
For some reason, Edge looked forward to meeting the mother and the sister. He cleared his throat. “You putting your wife on lockdown, too?”
“I’ll try, same as you.” Then he grinned, and the smile wrinkled the corners of his eyes. “I’m gonna call Sandy, their mom, to make sure she heads over there and sits on Rebecca until I get there.”
“Think she’ll be on your side?”
“She’s a mama bear. The stubborn’ll work in my favor.”
Edge chuckled. “And I thought I was going to have a nice quiet weekend.”
“Yeah, and now that you’ve met a Mackey woman, you can kiss all that goodbye.”
In one week, ALL FIVE TEAM TROJAN stories release! My book, Defending Evangeline is the second in the series, following Desiree Holt’s Defending Sophie! And you don’t want to miss a single story! Here’s the link to the series: Team Trojan
Want to know more about Defending Evangeline? Read on!
A sharp-edged, disgruntled former Green Beret who needs to find redemption finds himself attracted to a woman hiding dangerous secrets.
Zeke Turner still can’t get his head wrapped around the fact he’s been all but booted from the job he loved. Angry over the fact Trojan Team took the fall for their leadership’s failure, he’s relieved that he and his buddies appear to have landed on their feet, still together, having been hired by the Brotherhood Protectors, but he doesn’t trust this move will end well. Once burned, twice shy is his motto—and he was never very trusting in the first place.
His first protection job doesn’t leave him feeling any surer he made the right decision, but he’s keeping his dissatisfaction to himself, keeping his head down…until then he bumps into a dark-haired angel in Fool’s Gold, who manages to both attract and intrigue him. He knows something’s not right, that Evangeline Carré is scared and hiding secrets. With his protective instincts going into overdrive, he’s determined to unravel the mystery surrounding her while keeping her safe, even when she swears she doesn’t need or want his help.
Read a snippet…
Evangeline Carré rested her back against the door of the Bottom of the Barrel Tavern as she fought to catch her breath.
He was here. Or at least, his men were here. Or worse, maybe he’d put a bounty on her, and more hunters would descend on Fool’s Gold looking for her. As much as she hated the thought, she had to leave, even though the cash she’d fled with was quickly dwindling.
“Damn him. Why won’t he let me go?” she whispered to herself.
Her eyes adjusted to the dim interior of the bar, and she straightened away from the door, stepped forward, and looked for the darkest corner in the establishment. She’d sit there until it was dark before leaving. She might as well eat and get something to drink before then. Who knew when she’d get the chance again? While she waited, she’d make a plan.
Then she remembered she’d dropped her shopping bag with her wallet inside it. She closed her eyes and gave a little moan.
Just then, the bar brightened as the door behind her opened.
She glanced over her shoulder, and her stomach dropped to her toes. The man who’d followed her from the coffee shop had just entered. Standing in the middle of the floor, frozen in place, she watched as he glanced around. When his gaze landed on her and stayed, any doubts she’d had about whether he’d been following her in the first place evaporated.
She looked to the bartender, who was frowning at her. With his long, greasy hair, cutoff sleeves and tattoos snaking up both arms, she doubted he’d be much help. Deciding she’d rather stand and defend herself rather than cowering on the ground, she lifted her chin and waited as the man approached.
He looked like any one of the men her boyfriend hired to do his bidding—tall, intense, frightening. A tall, well-muscled man, he had dark, close-cropped hair, a days-old beard darkening his cheeks and jaws, and a nose that looked a little crooked. The closer he came, she noted his eyes were brown but gleamed gold in the light shining from the bar. His stare as his gaze roamed up and down her body made her shiver.
When he reached her, he frowned. “Are you okay?”
Swallowing the rock that had lodged at the back of her throat, she nodded.
“I don’t know what was going on back there, but do we need to call the police?”
Her mouth parted. That was the last thing she’d expected him to say. “Why would you ask me that?” she whispered fiercely. “The police won’t pay you.”
His head tilted to the side, and his dark eyebrows drew together. “Why would I be looking to be paid?”
At that moment, she noted the hint of white foam clinging to his upper lip, reminding her of when she’d first seen him and his disgusted look at the coffee he’d purchased. Her shoulders relaxed a fraction as she matched his stare, unblinking. “You were following me.”
His chest rose as he drew a long breath. “I’m not sorry for that. Well, maybe I’m sorry you noticed and that I scared you, but if I hadn’t been following you…”
Tears pricked her eyes, and she hated showing him any weakness, but she was still quivering inside, and she didn’t know how she was going to escape this man when she was almost done. Done being afraid, done running. Her hand went to her belly, and she blinked her eyes. “Do you work for him?” she asked, thinking, maybe, if he was a bounty hunter, she might be able to pay him enough to let her walk away.
“Who do you think I work for?” he asked.
His voice was deep and rasped a bit. As rough as he appeared. Was he going to pretend he didn’t know? “Look, I have money. Back…where I’m staying. I’ll give it to you, if you’ll just let me go.”
He rocked back on his feet. “Marie? Why would I want your money?”
She jerked at the name, realizing he’d remembered it from when the barista had called her name in the coffee shop. It was the name she’d used since arriving in Fool’s Gold. Maybe he was just a smarter bounty hunter and was trying to win her confidence before he captured her. Or maybe, he wasn’t here because Emil wanted her found. Maybe he was just a nosy sort of guy.
He sighed and raked a hand through his hair. “Marie, you look ready to pass out. Why don’t we take a seat and get you something to eat? We’ll talk over lunch, and then you can tell me what kind of trouble you’re in.”
Although she had every reason not to trust him, when he waved a hand toward an empty booth in the back, she turned away from him, leaving herself vulnerable to attack, and strode with unsteady steps toward the dark, shadowed corner.