Bestselling Author Delilah Devlin
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Defending Evangeline

Defending Evangeline

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 an Excerpt

Running was Zeke Turner’s least favorite form of exercise. He was too damn big for it to ever feel easy. Sure, he’d done triathlons—but running a damn marathon was hell on his knees and sitting on a bike for a hundred damn miles was even worse on his balls. His idea of the perfect workout was a messy, mixed martial arts fight or eight rounds in a boxing ring. His cracked knuckles and crooked nose were a testament to how much he liked to fight.

However, running did wipe away the cobwebs cluttering up his mind. He slowed his pace and walked the last hundred yards. After six miles or so on open road, he could finally admire the sight of his new digs nestled in the Rocky Mountains.

As far as places to fall, this landing had been pretty soft. Which made him uneasy. Things for him and his team were working out, maybe for the better. His natural skepticism kept him from fully trusting how easy everything had fallen into place. He hadn’t had to leave his team—they’d arrived in Colorado intact. Still, a team—still Trojan Team. They’d all found jobs, just when they’d needed them most. His room in the lodge at Lost Valley Ranch was a big step up from the tiny, barely furnished apartment he’d lived in before. Their meals, until they found their own places, were provided by the lodge and a damn sight better than anything any chow hall had ever served them. Yeah, things were pretty good. His current blue funk made him an ungrateful prick.

Maybe he’d woken up on the wrong side of the bed, or maybe he had yet to let go of the rage roiling inside him over the way he and his team had been shafted and pushed out of the Special Forces. He’d prided himself in being a skilled warrior, a patriot, but right now, he felt like all his sacrifices had been for nothing. In the end, he’d been forced, along with his brave team members, to resign from the service or face a dishonorable discharge. It didn’t sit right. The events that had led up to their separation from their unit and their livelihoods had tainted his view of the organization he’d given everything to for twelve years.

How they’d all wound up, still together, and working now for the Brotherhood Protectors might have felt like a balm on a festering sore to his teammates, but he wondered if he’d simply entered another organization that would use him up and spit him out like he was dirt.

Finally, he halted and leaned back his head while he closed his eyes, breathing deeply, calming his blood pressure and slowing the thoughts ricocheting around inside his head. He had a job. A well-paying one. They’d seemingly landed on their feet. Hank Patterson, the head honcho of the Brotherhood Protectors, and Jake Cogburn, who ran the Colorado division, had assured his team they respected their service, and that they would be proud of the work they’d do here. Zeke had to hold onto that thought and let himself start to believe, otherwise, he could see himself entering a downward spiral of anger and self-loathing. He might end up like his dad, dead at the wheel while driving drunk after years of blaming everyone else but himself for his bad luck.

Zeke wasn’t his dad. If he ever had a family, he’d never abandon them to seek solace in the arms of women not his wife or the bottom of a whiskey bottle.

A cough sounded next to him, and he glanced to his left. Max Thornton, Jake’s first Colorado hire, stood just feet away, one eyebrow raised.

Max was also former Special Forces, not that they’d ever met on active duty.

Zeke drew a deep breath and lifted his chin in greeting.

“Didn’t mean to interrupt your workout…”

“It wasn’t much of one. Just had some things on my mind.” Like wondering what the hell I’m doing here.

“Jake’s got a job. It’s a one-day thing for two men. Bodie said you’re tired of kitchen duty, so I thought I’d hit you up.”

Zeke perked up. A chance to do something real. And yeah, he had been feeling itchy after several days of working in the kitchen at Gunny’s Watering Hole. Not that he was too proud to do grunt work, but he had been wondering when he’d actually be able to put his skills to better use. “What’s the gig?”

“A protection detail. Low risk. But the word’s getting out in the area, and Jake thinks it’s a great way to make an impression on new clients.”

“Well, I’m in.” Anything not to have to wash another damn dish for a while.

“Let’s go see Jake. He’s in the basement. He’ll fill us in there.”

The basement was located beneath the lodge and served as the headquarters for the Colorado branch. As Zeke trailed after Max, he thought maybe he’d been bellyaching about nothing. This job might just be what he needed to get him out of this blue funk he’d been in since he’d been booted out of the job he’d loved.