DEFENDING CHLOE – Susan Stoker
Mountain Mercenaries – Book 2
Colorado Springs, Colorado – The Present
In the prologue, ne're-do-well spend thrift Leon Harris has finally earned his master's degree in accounting. He sits down with his father, Ray Harris, who is also an accountant, to talk about his future. His controlling father has given him a measly hundred grand a year to live on, and he is eager to increase his income. His father, however, challenges Leon to match his older sister Chloe's success. This, and learning he will not be working with his father's client, Joseph Carlino, of the Cosa Nostra in Denver, infuriates Leon. He hates his sister. Then he learns their mother left her a half billion dollars which she will receive when she reaches age thirty-five. An inheritance neither his father nor his lawyer can change and goes strictly to Chloe. His father discloses he does receive fifty grand a month for overseeing the trust fund. After he politely leaves his father's office, he swears to himself to teach both his father and his sister Chloe just how much smarter, devious actually, he is than they think.
A bedraggled but also provocatively dressed woman hikes into the yard of Ronan (Ro) Cross at his remote home in a suburb north of Colorado Springs. He notices the large bruise on her back through her transparent blouse before another woman stops and picks her up, berating her the whole time. Before she left, Ro had elicited the woman's name: Chloe Harris. He also gave her his card before she was nearly dragged away. He suspects Chloe is an abused woman, a problem very important to his team, the Mountain Mercenaries. They work to eliminate the abuse of women and children in whatever way they can. Their mysterious boss, Rex, who seems to have clandestine contacts with those in high powered places both legal and ill-legal, arranges their missions, but in this instance, Ro prompts the investigation.
The immediate attraction between Chloe and Ro is apparent, but Chloe suffers serious trust issues since the murder of her father, followed by her brother's and his girlfriend Abbie's abuse of her. She is unaware of her inheritance or why her brother treats her so badly while he insists she live with him. As her thirty fifth birthday approaches, Chloe is determined to flee her brother's vast social and political influence, and while Ro helps her, she suspects his and his friends' purpose after they kidnap her.
Mountain Mercenary Gray and his girlfriend Allye, from the series' first story, DEFENDING ALLYE, play roles in this story as do the other men in the group: Meat, Black, Ball, and Arrow. Arrow knows some information about Englishman Ro's unfortunate past that few others do, and of course Rex also has influence on the dire situations soon to evolve. DEFENDING CHLOE contains extreme violence and depravity, but the surrounding story shows the other side of love and caring with some very hot sex scenes. All this provides a satisfying story.