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Love is a life-and-death risk for the Mountain Mercenaries in New York Times bestselling author Susan Stoker’s explosive series of alpha heroes, hot action, and hard passion…

Ever since his rescue op off the Pacific Coast, Mountain Mercenary Gray Rogers hasn’t been able to forget his latest “job” — Allye Martin. Any other woman would have panicked during a rescue, but the wily dancer kept her cool — even after being kidnapped by an elusive human trafficker. And Gray couldn’t be happier when a grateful Allye follows him home to Colorado Springs…

For Allye, finding sanctuary in the arms — and bed — of the former Navy SEAL is only temporary. People are disappearing off the streets of San Francisco, victims of the same underground trade that targeted her, and Allye could be the key to dismantling the entire operation. She’s willing to do anything to bring them down. Gray isn’t — for good reason. But you don’t say no to a tough girl like Allye who refuses to play it safe.

Now Gray is risking more than ever before. The Mountain Mercenaries have his back. But is it enough to keep the woman he loves out of harm’s way?

263 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 7, 2018

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About the author

Susan Stoker

233 books6,553 followers
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New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Tennessee where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee. She's married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

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For all upcoming books click here: http://www.stokeraces.com/coming-soon...

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 956 reviews
Profile Image for ✰ Liz ✰ .
1,353 reviews1,283 followers
September 2, 2018
"If you loved me, you would stay here with me. Safe."

Defending Allye is the first book in the Mountain Mercenaries Series. A perfect blend of action, suspense, passion, and tender romance, Susan Stoker delivers a stunning "militaryesque" romance with a lot of heart. Gray Rogers is a former Navy Seal and a member of an elite mercenary team that serves to protect civilians. When he is sent on a job and inadvertently rescues Allye Martin from harm, a connection is made. Allye, a professional ballet dancer, is spunky and strong-willed. Spending time with Gray, she learns what it means to be truly loved and protected. But with so many dangers lurking around them, the stakes are high for both to stay alive.

"Their tongues dueled and danced together as if they'd kissed a thousand times before."
Told in multiple POV, Defending Allye is a fast-paced read with complex characters and an intense plot. The brotherhood between the Mercenaries is a central part of the plot and the relationships between the entire team has me hooked and I want more Mountain Mercenaries NOW! The passion between Gray and Allye is smoldering hot. Perhaps the best aspect of this read was the way in which these two both grew exponentially by pairing up with the other. The writing flows at a natural pace and when the action was building, I could not turn the page fast enough!
"Love with your whole heart, and give it your all."
Overall, Defending Allye is an absolute must-read for readers who enjoy action, suspense and smoking hot passion. I had the pleasure of meeting Susan Stoker at Book Bonanza in Denver this past summer and I could not wait to get my hands on her books. This is my first Stoker read and I can guarantee it will not be my last. I am looking forward to reading more from Ms. Stoker!

*ARC graciously provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

For more reviews/reveals/giveaways visit:
Profile Image for Dri ✰.
693 reviews217 followers
December 25, 2018

Profile Image for Mindy Lou's Book Review.
2,700 reviews658 followers
July 31, 2018
Grayson Rogers from the Mountain Mercenaries is sent on a mission to gather information on a human trafficking business. On that mission he rescues Allye who was just kidnapped. When the man who purchased her isn't willing to stop going after her, Gray and his fellow mercenaries work diligently to bring this guy down.

Our main characters, Gray and Allye are what really made this story for me. Despite Gray's toughness, he was incredibly sweet to Allye. That is almost the perfect combination in character traits for me with a hero. Add in that Allye was such a strong character herself, and these two have become one of my favorite couples.

I will caution that this has some very disturbing scenes. This is about human trafficking and the villain of the story is a disturbed individual. If you can handle that, this story was really good and I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Erth.
3,623 reviews
July 14, 2019
DEFENDING ALLYE by Susan Stoker. This is book one of a new series by Ms. Stoker. Having read many of her previous books, I was looking forward to this one. Well, Ms. Stoker did not disappoint! This story tells the tale of Allye and Gray. I adored Allye. She's sweet and a bit quirky and a touch naive, despite having a bit of a rough life thus far. She made me laugh and smile throughout. Gray is tough and rough and uber sexy! He's all about protecting his woman and I LOVE IT! Since this is a book about a mercenary, yes, there is danger and suspense. And, I tell you, Ms. Stoker knows how to write a bad guy. Her villains are often the devil himself and this one was no exception. I found I was often anxious, not knowing when or if the villain would strike. This story encompasses a lot - love, family and friends, danger and even a bit of heartbreak. Ms. Stoker, you have hit this one out of the park! I cannot wait for book two!
Profile Image for Apoorva .
166 reviews183 followers
January 10, 2021
2.5-3 stars

It was okay-ish. I liked the writing style but the plot didn't suck me in much and the relationship felt too much too soon at some places. Plus, the sick, twisted fucker man went down too easily for my liking and the ending was a bit anti-climactic, at least in my opinion.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
3,389 reviews1,991 followers
August 25, 2019
Get it here:
Amazon US * Amazon UK

Defending Allye is my first full length novel by Susan Stoker, and a story I really enjoyed. I liked the suspense that was thrown in around the whirlwind romance of Allye and Gray. The chemistry they shared added a sensual feeling to the intriguing story and I thought the blend of everything coming together was done very well.

This is definitely a series I'll be reading more of and even might jump to the second book as my next read. All of the secondary characters were very likable so they have my dying to get to know more about them, especially Rex. Overall, it was a sexy and suspenseful story that I would recommend.
Profile Image for Simply Love Book Reviews.
7,013 reviews837 followers
July 11, 2018

3.5 stars

While this was a good book, it was also deeply disturbing and not for the faint of heart. Expect some horrifying scenes, a merciless villain, and the possibility of triggers for abuse victims.

When mercenary Grayson Rogers boarded the white slavers' boat, he didn't anticipate finding the victim handcuffed to the bed. After killing the men aboard, he freed the girl, Allye Martin, and ended up in the ocean. During the hours they spent in the water waiting for his friend to come to their aid, he came to respect her and admire her spirit. When they parted, he didn't expect to see her again.

But Allye hadn't escaped empty handed-she brought with her, the flash drive she took from the room at the last minute. When she contacted Gray's mercenary group and turned over the drive to be hacked and reviewed, Gray took her under his wing. Knowing she was still in danger, he insisted she take a leave of absence from her dancing job and hide in another state with him. But the person who tried to buy her is a vicious, merciless egomaniac who isn't going to let her get away. Can Gray and Allye bring this monster to justice without endangering her life?

I really liked Allye. She didn't shrink from doing what needed to be done, and she handled some scary situations with grace and humor. Gray was a little more problematic because he wasn't willing to let Allye make her own decisions.

This book would have been improved with less detail about the monster's actions and treatment of his captives, but it was a fascinating read.
Profile Image for Trish.
2,020 reviews3,436 followers
September 30, 2018
This was meant to be just a short, sweet filler on the last day of the month. And in a way it was. However, it was also a bit more because the author actually managed to let the main characters talk to one another instead of instantly ending up between the sheets.

Allye hasn't had a nice time growing up. Nevertheless, she is an accomplished dancer now. However, at the beginning of the book she's only one thing: a kidnapping victim. The thing is, she wasn't even supposed to be on the boat Grey boarded that night. He's working for a secret organisation helping victims when the law would take too long (think Charlie's Angels but the angels are male, former military and there's 6 or 7 of them). He meant to get info on the boss of a human trafficking ring and instead got a feisty dancer.
Naturally, the (truly sick) bad guy isn't giving up that easily so while the emotional and sexual tension between the MCs mounts, we also get some action.

The concept isn't new, far from it, but I liked the banter and how the MCs actually got to know one another a bit more through conversations before anything else happened between them. Moreover, there was barely any drama at all and the little there was, was only towards the end and didn't last too long so it was much more "realistic" and enjoyable than many other stories of its kind.

Maybe the bad guy was a bit too over the top in the end, but there are truly sick individuals out there who "collect" human beings and do unspeakable things to their "property" (looking into actual numbers and details of human trafficking cases makes one sick) so maybe not.

Last but not least, the attraction between the MCs worked very well and the (relatively few) sex scenes were deliciously hot, not least because Grey was very cool (and I don't just mean physically).

And, of course, we have the set-up for further novels to come. No idea if I'll read them but they are probably going to be very good. 4.5 stars
Profile Image for "Avonna.
1,204 reviews366 followers
August 8, 2018
Check out all of my reviews at: https://www.avonnalovesgenres.com

WOW! This first book in Susan Stoker’s new Romantic suspense series is intense, gritty, sexy and HOT!

DEFENDING ALLYE (Mountain Mercenaries #1) by Susan Stoker has everything I am looking for in a Romantic suspense. The excitement takes off from page one with the alpha hero rescuing the heroine, but she is no ordinary, shrinking violet heroine. The villain of the book is pure evil and sadistic. (WARNING for those who have problems with extreme sexual and physical violence against women, the villain’s crimes are graphic and this series is about a group of ex-military men who fight outside the law against human trafficking.)

Gray Rogers is a former Navy SEAL now working for the mysterious Rex as one of his Mountain Mercenaries in Colorado Springs. The Mountain Mercenaries are all former military with regular jobs, but one call from Rex and they are dispatched around the world to fight human trafficking and/or rescue victims.

Gray cannot stop thinking about his most recent rescue, Allye Martin. He has never had trouble separating his feelings from his job and rescued subjects before, but something about Allye will not let go. Of course she is unique with her one blue eye and one brown and her streak of white hair in her auburn curls, but it was her calmness and fortitude during the rescue that set her apart.

When Allye comes to Colorado Springs from San Francisco to deliver a USB drive that could contain the information needed to catch the head of the human trafficking ring in San Francisco, she remains with Gray in his home and in his bed. But her fellow dancers begin to disappear and turn up dead with a message for her to return to the city.

She refuses to hide as much as Gray fights her return and possible capture. The Mountain Mercenaries have their backs as Allye returns to face her possible capture. Will they be able to stop the human collector who wants to add Allye to his collection permanently?

I loved everything about this story. Allye is a great heroine that has defeated hard luck her whole life and still has an endearing personality, strength and love. Gray is alpha in all ways and is extremely caring and tender with Allye and his family. The sex scenes are smokin’ hot and I feel written perfectly for these two. The plot moves at a fast pace and ramps up the suspense throughout. The head of the traffickers is sadist and his acts are written about graphically and I feel realistically. You cannot sugarcoat the type of evil that is involved in these types of crimes. This is an amazing start to this new series and I am looking forward to the other Mountain Mercenaries’ stories!

Thanks very much to Montlake Romance and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. It is a great start to a new series!
Profile Image for Janise Way.
21 reviews6 followers
June 15, 2018
Thank the stars above! Defending Allye is a new series for Mrs. Stoker. Kind of. Sort of totally new, but it’s not. It’s sort of like shopping at Target. You know what you came in to shop for, but those dudes in the red and khaki just made a new display that catches your attention. So, you walk back to the front of the store and grab a cart. That’s what Defending Allye is. It’s a new display. And it’s awesome. I can’t tell you how excited I was to read an old, familiar name pop up. It was like “Yay!! I totally remember you!” I won’t say what other series characters pops up. You read it; you’ll see.
Mrs. Stoker builds strong characters—both Hero and Heroine.—in Defending Allye. And her new book, like a new display has levels. There’s the characters. They’re relatable, reliable, resolute, but they’re also funny and sometime quirky. They are people you know in real life. Isn’t that what draws us to read her awesome stuff? Because in every book we connect with a character? So, there’s also the story line level. It’s almost like it’s sitting there on the bottom shelf holding everything up. The characters move through storyline in the most natural, albeit sort of complicated way. But, you aren’t saying “whoa! That’s crazy!” You almost know intuitively that that’s how everything is supposed to happen. And then there’s the display shelf of the side characters. And honestly, for me, I’m a little more excited to be introduced to them as I am the main characters. I know, it’s weird, but I know that with these side characters comes the wonderful possibilities of them getting their own displays! And that tickles me pink! That’s a wonderful thing about Mrs, Srokers books. You want everyone mentioned to get their own story. You crave it. You rant at your friends via Instant Messenger about the injustices of you having to wait to hear about your favorite characters. It’s why you go back and get a cart—you know you need all the matching accessories.
You won’t be disappointed delving into Mrs. Stokers new series. You won’t. Pinky swear.

ps. I might know too much about Target. Lol. It was a great place to work during college :)Susan Stoker
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,425 reviews215 followers
November 25, 2018
Cute ass audio that helped me put up my tree... with lights.
Ornaments will come later.

Defending Allye is the first book of the Mountain Mercenaries series. It was cute and everything and I love the two main characters buttt some things annoyed me. For most of this book, Allye is basically the victim. I get that she was kidnapped and shit..but it was kind of boring.

I did end up falling for Grayson and Allye though. They were cute and he's like the alpha always looking to save his woman. I'm glad that they got their happy-ish ending. They definitely got each other throughout the book as well. Their banters were cute and I just couldn't help shipping them.

Other than that, there's that dreaded cliffhanger. I need to know what the hell is happening with that girl back at her home. Is that woman beating her, is it her brother, or is it both? I have so many questions and need answers stat!
1,417 reviews22 followers
August 23, 2018
I read once that Susan Stoker was the highest selling modern romance author. So obviously she knows what she’s doing. It’s been a while since I read one of her books but she hasn’t changed things up much if at all since the last time I read her. Defending Allye her first book in her Mountain Mercenary series is pretty much like all her other books. You have a beautiful, emotionally strong and caring, lusty heroine in Allye who survived a tragic childhood and seems to be able to keep her cool regardless of how dire her situation. You have an over the top macho handsome military (or in this case ex-military) hero, former SEAL Gray who becomes Allye’s savior, protector and eventual lover. You have the bad guy who is intent on doing our heroine harm in Nightingale. So if you’re a fan of Stoker’s you’ll probably love this book/series too. Frankly even though I love her heroines I’m a bit bored with her story telling where only the names seem to change. But then again I’m a heterosexual male which is hardly her target demographic.
One of the first problems I have with this story and I assume it will carry on through the series is this group of ex-military vigilantes led by the mysterious Rex, are just that, vigilantes. I’m down with taking out bad guys who prey on women and children. In this book Nightingale, a man who trades in making women sex slaves for the highest bidder. I’m down with killing people in self-defense. I can even understand how in rare cases where the villain is so well connected you know if left to the legal system he’ll go unpunished you end him. But I’m not down with these guys acting as judge, jury and executioners torturing and killing all the bad guys they come in contact with rather than turning them over to the law for due process. Another problem I had was with the slave trader Nightingale. Stoker surely made him an evil enough monster as she portrayed his acts of cruelty on his victims. I’m not even sure how she wrote some of those scenes? But she made him so deranged in the way he reduced his captives to nothing more than animals or objects to be added to his menagerie, he felt almost cartoonish to me. I know Allye had to eventually end up in the hands of Nightingale to be rescued or to save herself but Stoker made our band of heroes look like the Keystone cops Nightingale accomplished his goal so quickly and easily. Which was okay I guess because the boys seemed to find his secret lair and enter it just as easily. The whole final confrontation between good and evil felt under done. And as much as Stoker isn’t shy about writing sex scenes (and I don’t pretend to understand what turns some people on sexually) there were a few rough sex scenes in this book where I just don’t get how Allye was turned on by Gray’s behavior? I mean forcing her over a kitchen table, forcing her to her knees in the shower to give him a blowjob is sexy? To me the term forced and turned on just don't go together. And for heavens sake if the man is so good at sex why were there so many times where he told Allye, “make yourself come kitten.”? What does she need him for then?
As you’ve figured out while I didn’t hate this book I really didn’t like it much either despite a great heroine. But again, if you’re a Stoker fan you probably will.
Profile Image for Anita.
2,167 reviews159 followers
May 4, 2020
I've read other books in this series, but I always wanted to read the first one, but just hadn't gotten around to it. All the books can be read as standalones as each book is about a different member of the Mountain Mercenaries. The Mountain Mercenaries are a group of former military operatives hired by the mysterious, filthy rich Rex. Think Charlie from Charlie's Angels. He contacts them by phone as gives them assignments, usually having to do with hunting down sex traffickers, but not always. What you can always expect is that there is a big, mean, baddie that needs to be dealt with and the Mountain Mercenaries, who are extremely well funded and work just outside the law, are the ones to do it.

Gray Rogers is a former SEAL and a Mountain Mercenary sent to rescue a "package" off the coast of San Francisco. Mission accomplished, but why can't he stop thinking about the utterly delightful "package" he rescued and more than a little, fell for.

Allye Martin was kidnapped right off the street leaving the dance studio where she is a featured dancer. With her different color eyes, dancer's body and unusual hair, she has attracted the attention of a very nasty baddie, one who "collects" the unusual.

Allye is used to fending for herself. After spending her childhood in foster care, that is all she knows. Having someone to depend on is just something she finds hard to conceive. When Gray rescues her, she feels something for him and would be happy to see where it might go, but, you know, timing is everything and the timing here just sucks. But, there is a dangerous predator who is after Allye and Gray is going to do everything in his power to keep her safe, even if it means surrendering his heart. 3 1/2-Stars
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,910 reviews852 followers
August 25, 2018
Really wanted to love this one, and it started out promising, but Allye's character just fell flat for me. The events in her childhood should've made me feel bad for her, but as it was described it didn't really stir any emotion.

Discussing your life story while trying to stay alive and swim to safety in frigid water didn't really ring true for me either.

A copy was kindly provided by Montlake Romance via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kristina .
736 reviews311 followers
March 9, 2023
Typical formulaic suspense romance from SS. Nothing new here. Misogynistic alpha hero, underprivileged heroine damsel in distress, stereotypical stalker psychopath villain. They meet, she’s in danger, instalove happens, she moves in with hero to stay safe, gets captured by villain anyway, hero and his team of other misogynistic alpha heroes save her, she gives up her whole previous life and moves in with him.
Copy paste, change characters names and occupations, book done.
If you like her stuff you will like this. If you are looking for a deeper and more original plot with well developed characters, look elsewhere.
Profile Image for The Romance Book Disciple (Samantha).
1,902 reviews314 followers
August 4, 2018

Defending Allye is a new series by Susan Stoker so you know I was gonna pick this up! All the men of Mountain Mercenaries are former soldiers who now work for the mysterious 'Rex' saving women and children from the clutches of evil. Its like Charlies Angels, but instead of hot girls, its hot guys.

Allye is a dancer who has caught the eye of a sick, demented guy who wants to 'collect' her. Seriously, this guy is messed up and if you have triggers, you should check out the trigger warning. Trust me. MESSED UP! The story starts with Grey saving Allye from the first kidnapping attempt. Of course, this sicko isn't going to stop until he has Allye and he will do whatever it takes to lure her out of hiding.

Grey and Allye certainly have that insta-love thing. Part of it was believable because I do think intense feelings can rise from intense situations like theirs. I felt that Grey and Allye were kind of static though. Neither really developed over the story and I was left feeling kind of blah about them. I enjoyed their story, but their relationship was not the best part of the story for me.

Defendying Allye is a bit darker than many of Stoker's other stories, with this villain being dark and depraved! The plot is compelling, even though you know who the bad guy is, and ultimately, you can guess what will happen. Still, reading it all play out was still engaging and that is always the mark of a well written story to me. While Grey and Allye might not be my favorite couple, I didn't dislike them and they didn't ruin the story. Also, I think this story was filled with more sexy times than many of Stoker's previous stories. I actually found myself skimming a few of them! (So, mom, you are gonna wanna skip this one for sure!)


POV: 3rd
Tears: no
Trope: on the run
Series/Standalone: stand alone

Redemption Harbor series by Katie Reus, Killer Instinct series by Cynthia Eden, Cincinnati Series by Karen Rose...then you will probably like Defending Allye!


Defending Allye


See full review on The Book Disciple
Profile Image for Jacqueline's Reads.
2,842 reviews1,483 followers
September 1, 2018
4 Stars

Truly this is a 3.5 star-ish book but the last 1.5 hours was pretty intense and good. It felt like the whole book was leading up to the last 2 hours of the book.

The great thing about kindle unlimited is that you can get audio books for free too, so this is one of those books I had nothing to lose to try.

The narrator wasn’t my favorite. Her voice was fine, she fit the heroine because she sounded older, BUT she pauses way too many times. She reads at a nice pace, but she pauses too long in between sentences. It did bother me a bit and it did hinder some of my listening experience. Sad and true.

The book starts out okay. I felt like nothing really happened for the first 4 hours. There was a lot of detail given while you are listening. I don’t think I would have enjoyed this book had I read it, instead of listening to it, because I tend to like descriptive books in audio format.

Allye is a unique girl, she has two different color eyes and a stripe of hair that is white. Because of this, it makes her the perfect target.

Gray was once a seal and now is an accountant? I know right? He also does private rescue work? Anyhow. I liked him. He was hardcore, but cool.

I thought Allye was kind of annoying at times, but overall she was okay. I didn’t see the chemistry between Gray and Allye, I thought they were good as friends. I found the last two hours of the story the best because I felt like there was a plot. Most of the book was Allye and Gray getting to know each other, which is fine, but not usually my cuppa.

Would I binge read this author? No. If she had another book on kindle unlimited with free audio would I listen to it? Sure.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
2,417 reviews73 followers
June 6, 2018
ARC received for review

Great first book to what is going to hopefully be an amazing series.

Gray and Allye were amazing together and smokin hot. I loved how she spelled her name every time after she was introduced to someone new. Allye had a sh*t childhood which made her very strong. She was perfect for Gray. Now the bad guy, Nightingale, was a seriously messed up mo-fo, and had his sights set on Allye. Gray and his crew of course swoop in and save the day. Great epilogue and the teaser chapter for the next book makes me want it now.
1,254 reviews1 follower
November 12, 2018
Not listening to my first instinct bites me in the ass again. I almost quit from the get go due to the ott soap opera style of writing but I wanted to give it a fair shot. I was willing to overlook that, and the overly repetitious writing, and even the things that made no logical sense (trained seals breaking after three days, a mid to late twenties woman becoming a professional dancer with no prior training, a bunch of men jaded from bad Intel taking orders from an anonymous man). Then I made it to the first sex scene. First of all he keeps talking all this nonsense about how nothing gets him off faster than rough sex. Like...homeboy that's not the purpose of a romantic sex scene. He didn't really seem too interested in how it felt beyond getting initial consent and they didn't feel terribly connected during the scene. He decides to rub her clit hard enough that it made me cringe and her protest. All in all not sexy and afterwards in his own head he starts making plans for them to be together including her giving up her entire life, her job, home, friends to move to a different state just for him who she's only met twice. All without her input or even her knowledge this is happening. That's a big fat dnf flag right there.
Profile Image for CC.
1,761 reviews213 followers
January 4, 2019
Hmmm. I just don’t know why this authors books don’t teally ever rate higher than 3 stars for me. They are ok. They have the right ingredients. But something is missing. But I still keep reading.

I felt zero chemistry with the MC. So it was ok. But really nothing special and kinda boring.
Profile Image for Brea.
6 reviews
August 8, 2018
No no no.
What? Who is rating this book?! No. You read the wrong book or something.

If you’re going for “totally unbelievable” -(And bad, groan-with-despair-at-the-impossibility dialogue) fine. Five stars. If you’re at all trying to read a story that maybe, in some parallel universe, possibly could have taken place... no.

No no no.
Profile Image for Lydia.
461 reviews54 followers
January 14, 2020
Whoohoooo!!! First review of the year! I'm so excited - and it's about a book that moved me to the core with its story! I suspect this will be a nice reading year indeed!

Allye Martin is a victim in every sense of the word. She's kidnapped with the intention of being sold to a guy who collects HUMANS of all things. In his own personal 'zoo'. Yeah, I know, it doesn't get creepier than that. Enter Gray Rogers, one of the Mountain Mercenaries - the one who's tasked with rescuing her. After the mission supposedly goes well, the two hit it off and Allye follows Gray home - but bad guys are never that easy to evade, and Allye's would-have-been buyer will stop at nothing to get his hands on her.

I honestly had a hard time putting this one down. Not only was it fast-paced, it gets right in the action from the very start. Moreover, it manages to get a few words on the team in, so we're not completely in the dark concerning Gray's team mates. I like it when that happens - it gives me a heads up for most of the cast, and tags me along immediately to get things going.
(also, calling dibs on Ro, oh my God, I'm in love!)

Speaking of the cast, I loved Allye! And I usually find it tough to like the female lead. But this one was amazing! She was so smart and self-dependent. Sure, there were many times when she needed help and she knew it, but she wasn't acting all stubborn about it, neither was she sitting on her thumbs doing nothing - instead, she tried to help her rescuers so that the job would get done faster!

Gray, on the other hand, was a bit difficult to like. I mean, yeah, he was hot and caring and all we ever expect a male hero to be. But he kept assuming she'd leave her life behind just for him, without even asking. OK, he can't live without her - but there are other ways to compromise, don't just take over the whole thing, dude! You should be ready to make sacrifices, too! Also, I think even the writer herself understood that there was some work to be done with this character, and that's why she gave us that scene with the "little kid whose dad is in the army", to make him see his errors. In my opinion, it was a bit too convenient and kinda forced...

Finally, let it be said, Nightingale is sick - SICK, I TELL YA!

I can't wait to start reading the rest of the series. The team sounds fantastic, and I'm sure they'll find themselves in even more dangerous situations than before!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

Read this and other reviews at: http://cupcakesandpopcorn.wordpress.com/
Profile Image for Chanel.
277 reviews47 followers
March 24, 2020
I am in the minority here. I know I am but hear me out. I LOVE romantic suspense. It’s usually my bread and butter but this? I hate that I’m even writing this but here we go.

The story begins with Gray who has gotten intel that may lead him to this Nightingale fellow who is kidnapping and killing women. He’s on this boat literally excited to kill all the bad guys when he learns Allye is on the boat. He saves her but the boat ends up in fire so they end up stranded in the middle of the ocean while his backup arrives.

This is where the characters connect because they had all this time on their hands they discussed their pasts and what not and Gray who doesn’t really get close to anyone starts to like Allye a lot especially because she has this tough persona in the face of everything she’s gone through so far. They get rescued and then go their separate ways.

Allye returns to her normal life but she starts to feel as if she’d being watched so somehow she remembers the phone number of Grays boss and calls him to tell him she feels she’s being watched and oh yeah she has this zip drive that probably has pertinent info on it. Rex flies her to Colorado and tells her to walk into a bar. Literally. She happens to meet Gray and this is where I started to dislike the book because from here on out her name is “kitten” not Allye.

Normally I’m all for pet names but holy shit it’s completely overused especially since they are still virtually strangers but also because there’s an insane villain who LITERALLY keeps women as pets and calls them “pet”, keeps them in cages and tortured them or torture them and turns them into breeders. Yeah.....It just didn’t sit well with me. So now Allye begins to live with Gray and he becomes a little obsessed with her and they have sex and he wants rough sex all the time and now the plot doesn’t matter.

I stopped tuning in after Gray became controlling and actually stopped reading for days but I picked it back up hoping it might end better or at least break my slump and it did but it still sucked. It became constant bickering about what they should or shouldn’t do and Allye ends up coming up with the grand plan instead of the trained military crew and all their ideas always failed somehow anyway. Then they catch the bad guy and kill him in one chapter and Gray tells Allye she’s gonna marry him and that’s pretty much the end.

This was my first time reading this author and I’m not in a rush to read her again. Again, I’m probably in the minority but this just was not the kind of romantic suspense I’m used to.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Inna.
1,452 reviews249 followers
July 25, 2021
2.5 stars.

This might be an “it’s me, not you” situation. This book just didn’t work for me, but many seem to love it. I didn’t feel a connection with the couple and didn’t like that the entire plot was so horribly predictable. The evil guy was too evil for me, which is saying something since I normally don’t mind that kind of stuff. I guess, to me, it read like a caricature of a “bad guy”. A lot of the dialogue just fell flat instead of delivering any kind of emotional reaction.

Safety is fine; heroine celibate for 3 years, hero for one, no others for either, no om/ow drama, HEA.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Wendy Hodges.
2,312 reviews35 followers
December 16, 2018
Suspense and excitement from the outset, powerful story with action and love. Gray is strong and trustworthy, a real knight in shining army or wetsuit as the case may be, saving an unexpected damsel in distress. Allye is normally independent and very self sufficient because she has had to be, being kidnapped to some degree doesn't phase her. Many of the things that happen in this story are worrying and even a little stomach churning, scary to think that there are possibly people out in the world for real mad enough to actually do some of them, or at the very least the sex trafficking and treating woman and kids as their own personal sex slaves. But it happens, so reading a story like this really highlights that subject matter enough to make you think. This is book one in a new series and boy what a first book it is, I cant wait to see what we get in the rest of it. I have loved everything that this author has written, she is one author I always one click and pre order. I myself found some of the content in a bit upsetting in the being a woman and the abuse suffered kind of way, it is disturbing even if it is just fiction, I would hate for anyone to go through what some of these do. At the same time it held my attention and interest, I loved Gray's protective and very alpha persona and behaviour, while Allye stood her ground in some ways but in others was putty in his hands. Their connection and the love that sparked out of something so horrible, the bond that builds with the others in the team as well is really nice. Despite the scary stuff this story is great reading and a fabulous start to a new series.
Profile Image for Kate.
2,099 reviews316 followers
January 25, 2021

Ok, two two star reads, in the last couple of days. I even tried reading a Suzanne Wright and I can officially say that with this two star read I am in a book funk. This book is just bloody awful. It is stilted and comes across to me as unbelievable.
835 reviews74 followers
August 15, 2018
I’ve never read a Susan Stoker romance but a friend was chatting about her so when Defending Allye popped up on Netgalley, I decided to jump on it. I’m glad I did! With lots of action, suspense, and loads of chemistry between the MC’s, I found this to be a great way to spend a lazy afternoon.

Defending Allye did suffer just a tad from first-book-in-a-series-itis, but it wasn’t a bad case so I easily got past it. My main issue was with the backstory of how the Mountain Mercenaries came together. It had my BS meter flirting with the danger zone but I decided to just ignore it. Instead, I allowed myself to just enjoy meeting this wonderful group of extremely interesting guys.

This story focuses on Gray who is a Navy Seal that is now out of the military. He is an accountant by day and a superhero vigilante who saves women kidnapped by slavers by night. I have to say, when he rescued Allye from the ship in the opening chapters, I was unbelievably impressed. He was one hell of a calm during the storm, keeping Allye from panicking even though the situation was dire. He did get on my nerves a bit with his reaction to a certain situation towards the end of the story but I was relieved when he quickly got his head out of his posterior.

Allye impressed me from the beginning. She kept her cool throughout the entire book even knowing she was being targeted by the head of a sex slavery ring. Although not a traditional badass heroine, she showed over and over that she had a backbone of steel.

We also get introduced to the rest of the Mountain Mercenaries, a group of men who I definitely want to know about, especially Rex, their mysterious leader. Once I got past the completely unbelievable way they were formed, I found myself intrigued with their groups dynamics. I also want to know more about the bartender at their favorite haunt. He seems to fit well with them. Maybe too well.

The suspense swirled around a sex trafficking ring and the whacked out leader who the Mountain Mercenaries were determined to take down. Although it did keep me interested and turning the pages, I thought the main antagonist was maybe a bit cartoon-like in his evilness.

Defending Allye had enough strong chemistry, action and suspense to keep me glued to my iPad and my curiosity about the rest of the Mountain Mercenaries will have me one clicking the next book when it comes out.

Rating: 4 Stars

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Profile Image for Liz.
455 reviews26 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
November 9, 2018
I had trouble identifying why this book was pissing me off. I mean, the heroine was strong, she's been kidnapped and soon finds herself in a near-death situation but she doesn't cower, cry or bitch and moan. The hero, Gray, was badass and caring enough. But I still found myself really disliking him and his whole ex-military team.

I finally figured out that it's because this book is full of situations where the men make all the decisions. It's that whole "I'm making a decision that will heavily impact your life without giving you any say because I know what's best for you."

Women are perfectly capable of making their own decisions. Allye's choices are very limited throughout the book; she is a victim and the baddy is still after her. She's a contemporary dancer and the guys are ex-military that deal with these things regularly. So I get why they're taking charge. But Gray calls her stupid when she goes back into the sinking ship for something. If he had asked what she was getting instead of judging her, he would have found she had good reason for her "stupidity". He then leaves her to fend for herself even though he knows she's still in danger, because, come on, he knew. And then when she finds Gray again and asks to speak to him privately, he straight up says "No. I trust these guys". What if she doesn't want to speak in front of a group of men she knows nothing about? But like I said, she doesn't get a say.
Rex, the leader of the gang sends her on a merry journey to meet him without telling her there will be many men who will be picking her up and dropping her off at weird places. He basically barks his instructions then says "your life is more valuable that that important info you have". Yet where was he when he acknowledged she was still in trouble and still decided there was nothing he could do for her?
I guess there is one instance where the heroine is in charge of herself

In the epilogue (which is one of those that just introduces the next book's couple), the next MCs meet when the beaten heroine walks up to the hero's mechanic shop. She's there to use the phone, but once the hero sees a part of a bruise on her back, he DEMANDS she show him all her injuries. Why the fuck would a woman who's been beaten blue want to show a mechanic all her bruises? Women who have been abused often have trouble showing DOCTORS where they've been hurt. And this shithead practically forces her to show him.

Needless to say, I will not be continuing this series or looking into any of the other books by this author.
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