Rescued by the Ranger
by Dixie Lee Brown
Protecting those in trouble is what Army Ranger Garrett Harding does best. But after helping a feisty redhead toss a couple of losers from her Idaho bar, the woman is anything but grateful for his assistance—in fact, she seems to know him. Worse, she almost certainly hates him.
The only thing Rachel Maguire wants is to send this smart-mouthed, muscled military man packing. She knows Garrett has his own reasons for staying, so when he offers Rachel a deal—two days to prove his worth or he leaves—she reluctantly agrees. Despite wanting to loathe him, Rachel finds herself drawn to his quiet confidence…and the way he fills out a t-shirt.
But when Rachel receives a phone call from the past, everything changes. The stalker who destroyed her life ten years ago is closing in once more. Refusing to put anyone else in harm's way, Rachel hits the road hoping to lure danger away from those she loves. But Garrett won't leave this sexy spitfire to face her stalker alone. He'll do anything to protect her. Even if it means risking his life—and his heart.
A wave of anger hit Garrett hard as he watched the red-haired woman school her expression into patient nonchalance, yet she couldn’t hide the fury that burned in those green eyes. Garrett, taking his cue from her, forced a smile and shifted his weight to one of the barstools. “Huh! They just left the place unlocked?” He stared directly at the kid. “Seems reckless. Any slimy piece of riffraff could wander in and sit himself down.” A faint smile crossed quickly over Rachel’s face, but apparently the idiot beside her was too stupid to take offense. Garrett would have to try harder.
The kid leaned back in his chair, and a black scowl twisted his features. “I won’t be tellin’ ya again to clear out. A fella stickin’ his nose in around these parts is askin’ for a beatin’ . . . or worse.”
Garrett’s gaze shifted to Rachel as she slowly lifted her eyes to his. She studied him curiously for a second before the slimeball squeezed her hand cruelly and she bit her lip, muffling a small sound. The tautness of her body and the determined set of her jaw telegraphed her intention ahead of her movement, and Garrett started toward them seconds before she jumped to her feet, sending her chair flying backward. Rachel fisted her right hand and flung a haymaker at the punk’s nose. Obviously quicker than he looked, the kid saw it coming and easily caught her wrist, yanking her arm behind her back. With one foot, he pulled the closest chair into position and forced her to sit, then turned to face Garrett with a make-my-day smirk on his face. Clearly enjoying himself now, he twisted Rachel’s arm higher, bending her over the table, and a cry escaped her this time. “As I was sayin’, it’s time for you to go.”
Garrett held his ground. The woman’s eyes still flashed with fire, but fear seemed noticeably absent, if the instinct to knock the kid on his ass was any indication. Maybe they were a couple and this was their idea of Saturday-afternoon foreplay. Damn. He hated getting involved in family matters, but he’d never been able to abide violence against women.
A deep breath later, he’d committed himself to what was likely to follow. “Thanks for the warning, but I think I’ll hang around for a while. Unless you want to let this pretty little bartender here sell me a drink.”
The guy took a step toward the edge of the table, still grasping Rachel’s wrist. “Hey! You hard of hearin’ or somethin’? You’ve got two seconds to git back on the road or I’m gonna kick your ass.”
Garrett laughed, then let his forced humor fade as he squared his stance. “You can try if you want.”
The guy roared like a wounded rhinoceros, released the woman’s wrist, and lurched around the table toward Garrett. Rachel didn’t waste a second. She darted away from the table, vaulted over the top of the bar, and dropped out of sight on the other side.
Garrett braced for the lunatic’s clumsy attack, but with three strides still separating them, he heard the distinctive sound of a Winchester lever-action rifle. The charging bull in front of him obviously recognized the sound as well.
He skidded to a stop and threw his hands in the air. “Now, Rachel, baby. You don’t wanna do that.”
“I sure as hell do, you sorry excuse for a single-celled amoeba. I told you if you ever laid a hand on me, I’d kill you, and I meant it.” Rachel’s voice was silky smooth and hard-edged.
Dixie Lee Brown is a new to me author so I wasn't really sure what to expect going into Rescued by the Ranger and while it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, it was still a good read.
Rachel and Garrett meet when Garrett stops at her bar to ask for directions to his aunt's lodge and he ends up helping her out of a bit of trouble with a couple of local guys. I really enjoyed their meeting but unfortunately things took a turn for the worse as soon as Rachel realized who Garrett was. I get that she hated him on Amanda's behalf but I think she reacted a bit harshly, at least in my opinion.
Garrett, having no idea why Rachel despises him so much, is determined to make her see that he's not the bad guy she believes him to be. It was a little rocky for a while, but once they started to get to know each other and learn each others side of the story, things smoothed out pretty nicely.
The romance was a bit lacking for my taste and I never really felt the connection between the two but the suspense aspect kept me interested. Rachel has been dealing with a stalker for the past ten years, and while she's managed to stay hidden so far, it seems he's finally caught up with her. Of course she decides to run to save her friends but Garrett isn't having any of that and he decides it's his job to protect her.
Not knowing who this Jeremy guy is made the suspense that much better and I was shocked when we finally discovered who it was. There were some twists and turns along the way and some definite "oh no" moments that kept me on the edge of my seat. Overall, while this isn't something that I'd re-read anytime soon, I still enjoyed it and would definitely consider reading more books by Dixie Lee Brown in the future.
DIXIE LEE BROWN lives and writes in Central Oregon, inspired by what she believes is the most gorgeous scenery anywhere. She resides with two dogs and a cat, who make sure she never takes herself too seriously. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, movies, and trips to the beach.
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Disclosure: I was provided with an ARC of Rescued by the Ranger in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.