I love romantic suspense (shocking, right?) and this story has it all for me. I really like complex plots that lead to one, bit thing that shapes the lives of the characters, and this book promises that. Also, it’s been a while since I had a Hero coming by for a few words, which makes JT visit all the more appreciated.
The Book is Defending Her Heart (Crystal Creek Series #6) by Laura Haley-McNeil.
His head says no. His heart won’t let go.
JT Whitloch can’t close his eyes without seeing the body of the woman who drowned in his swimming pool two years ago. Though he doesn’t remember that night, he blames himself for her death and walks away from a life that gave him everything he ever wanted…almost everything. His move to Crystal Creek gives him the solitude he longs for, but still he can’t find peace.
Then Gretchen Moore moves to town, and she doesn’t just stir up his desire. She stirs up his past, a past with a secret so deadly it could destroy her.
Gretchen wants nothing to do with JT. Because of him, someone wants her dead. The terror from his past forces them into an alliance that soon ignites their passion. Fighting these feelings leads them to the secret of the woman floating in JT’s swimming pool, but the knowledge doesn’t ease JT’s inner turmoil. Instead, it reveals an answer that could destroy him and Gretchen. His own destruction he could accept, but he’ll defend Gretchen to his death.
Guarding Her Heart is the 1st book in the Crystal Creek Series
Crystal Creek Christmas Book #2
A Ring Around Her Heart #3
Steeling Her Heart #4
Risking Her Heart #5
Defending Her Heart #6
Crystal Creek Boxed Set Books 1 – 3
Want more romantic suspense? Download a free short story: laurahaleymcneil.com.
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Ladies and gentlemen, here’s the Hero of this story, JT Whitloch.
Hi JT, and thank you for being here today. Let’s start with your profession.
Are you happy with your life?
Finally. No one knows who I am. No one remembers who I was. In Crystal Creek, I’m just another cowboy trying to eke out a living.
Would you change something about it?
The past can’t be changed, but because of my past, the nightmares won’t stop. If there was some way to stop the nightmares, if I could have one night of peaceful sleep, I’d think I would’ve died and gone to heaven, but because of one night my life turned upside down and inside out.
Your thoughts on love?
There was a time when I thought love didn’t matter. I knew what I wanted. The women were beautiful and willing. Passion was mine for the asking. But after that night, the night when the authorities found the body floating in my swimming pool, my satisfaction didn’t matter anymore.
What kind of impression do you make on people when they first meet you? Is that accurate?
Thankfully, the impression I make is the right one. Worn jeans, scuffed boots, battered cowboy hat. I don’t stand out anymore. Once, I did, and once I loved it, but looking like everyone else in Crystal Creek helps me move through my day without anyone else bringing up that night that everything changed.
Worst and best thing that happened to your life.
Best was when our rock band hit number one on the charts. Worse was the night I can’t remember. Like I said, I only know it’s the worse because that night someone died.
What would you change about Gretchen?
If I’d known she was going to buy the Vasquez Ranch, I would’ve talked to Esteban and told him to find another buyer. I couldn’t tell him why. Would he have listened to me? I doubt it, but there had to be a way to keep her out of Crystal Creek. Now she’s here and I can’t get rid of her.
What do you like about her?
What I don’t like is how she brought my past to Crystal Creek. She’s a nightmare with golden curls, dark brown eyes and a musical laugh that’s sealed in my mind forever.
Thank you JT!
If you need one more reason to buy this book, here’s and Excerpt.
JT Whitloch sensed the woman the moment he set foot inside the auction stables. Through the scent of anxiety-ridden horses and a mass of humanity floated the fragrance of delicacy and wealth. A wave of disappointment dropped over him. He’d been twenty-three years old when he’d walked away from that life two years ago. He thought he’d suppressed his urges for women—at least that kind of woman. The desire pumping through him was a quick reminder—he’d failed.
The brim of the woman’s cowgirl hat cast a shadow over her I’m-a-celebrity sunglasses. Two words popped into his mind—elegant and stunning—as elegant and stunning as the Arabian stallion they both eyed.
Behind her glamorous exterior he sensed something else—cool strength and determination. She may be used to winning but if she planned to bid on the stallion, she’d learn she was no match for Rose Whitloch, JT’s stepmother. What Rose wanted, Rose got, and she wanted to add this horse to her Crystal Creek ranch stable.
The stud’s whinny rang in JT’s ears. It was a refined timbre practiced to receive immediate attention. And it demanded freedom.
That was what JT wanted—freedom from these urges pouring through him and freedom from the past.
The past didn’t let go.
Laura Haley-McNeil is an award-winning author of romantic suspense and women’s fiction in novel length and in short stories. Her work has been featured in several women’s magazines. She has studied piano and ballet and has been a board member for two community orchestras. She and her husband reside in Colorado. When she isn’t writing, she jogs, bicycles and crochets.