Title: Claiming Grace
Author: Susan Stoker
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
For Logan Anderson, moving on from a traumatic past means moving back to his hometown of Castle Rock, Colorado, to start a personal-security business with his brothers. But it’s not long before Logan runs into Grace Mason, his best friend from high school…and the woman who never answered his letters during his Army years.
Grace was pleasantly surprised to see Logan return to Castle Rock, despite their falling-out ten years ago. Everyone always assumed they would end up together, including Grace, who had eyes only for him. But as Logan eventually escaped their town, Grace got pulled further into her family’s controlling grasp—and farther away from the man she loved.
Now, united by scars both visible and not, the two must fight to free Grace from the suffocating hold of her family. But the Masons won’t let go easily—and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart.
Logan left the office of Ace Security and headed for his motorcycle. He didn’t drive it often, but it was a beautiful day and he needed the ride.
He saw Grace and Felicity eating lunch at the sub shop before he’d gone into the office. Grace had been laughing at something her friend had said. Her head was back and she looked more carefree than he’d seen her since he’d been back in town.
Logan thought back to the Grace he used to know. She had been friendly, happy, and would drop everything to talk to him when he needed her. She’d listened to him bitch about his mother for hours. When she noticed he had a black eye, she’d brought him a bag of ice from the nurse’s office, with no questions asked.
He knew about her dreams of working in marketing for a big firm and how she wanted to travel. They’d discussed what the ocean would look like, and how the sand would feel under their feet more than once. Back then, Logan could see her hopes and dreams in her eyes and had no doubts she’d accomplish each and every one.
He’d been flummoxed when he’d moved back to Castle Rock a few months ago and had run into her for the first time. They’d been in the grocery store and he’d run his cart right into hers as he’d gone around the corner of an aisle. She’d looked up at him as if she wanted to say something, but after seeing it was him, merely bit her lip and turned in the other direction.
It wasn’t the direct snub that had concerned Logan; it had been the look in her eyes. The Grace he’d known in high school was gone. There were no stars in her eyes anymore. No dreams. It was as if he’d run into a robot. There was no welcoming smile on her lips, only a blank stare. Logan had opened his mouth to say something, he wasn’t sure what, but Grace disappeared down another aisle.
Every morning he watched as she came out of the coffee shop across from Rock Hard Gym and headed to work. As a security expert, he hated that her routine never varied, but as a man who’d once thought they might end up together, he loathed the fact that it seemed as if she wasn’t living her life, was merely going through the motions.
And while she might be able to fool those around her, she couldn’t fool him. Even though she’d ripped his heart out, he still cared about her. Way too much. He’d thought he was over her, but the second he’d seen her, the attraction came back with a vengeance.
Grace was as put together as she always had been in high school. Her shirts looked tailored and professional, she wore small heels that showcased the muscles in her calves that were exposed in the knee-length skirts she always wore. Her light brown hair was pulled back into its customary bun at the back of her neck, which made Logan want to unravel it and wrap it around his hand as he kissed her. She’d always been curvy, but she’d grown into her body over the years, her hips full, her ass swaying as she walked down the street.
But it wasn’t only her looks that interested Logan. He’d been watching her from a distance for the few months he’d been back. She was considerate to just about everyone she met, stopping to talk to an old homeless man who was sitting outside the coffee shop one morning, even giving him her coffee. One morning, Grace even entertained a stressed-out woman’s toddler while the woman searched her purse for her wallet.
Grace was reserved and quiet, but just as he remembered from spending so much time with her in high school, she genuinely cared about those around her. It was that trait that still tugged at him today.
He might’ve been able to blow her off if it wasn’t for the fact that Felicity and Cole thought the world of her. Logan knew they were both hard to impress. Cole hadn’t stopped trying to pry into what had happened between them, and Felicity wasn’t much better.
But seeing Grace smiling and laughing with Felicity was a blow. Apparently she wasn’t as dead inside as he’d thought. But it wasn’t Logan who brought that joy out in her anymore. That hurt. More than he was willing to admit.
Logan mentally shrugged and grabbed the helmet off the handlebars of his Harley. He knew he would have it out with Grace at some point. He had to. If he wanted to move on with his life, or if they were even going to live in the same town together, he needed answers. But he wouldn’t rush it. Eventually they’d get their chance.
About the Author
Susan Stoker is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose series include Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, and Delta Force Heroes. Married to a retired Army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri to California to Colorado—and currently lives under the big skies of Texas. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love.