Defending Chloe

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

Title: Defending Chloe
Series: Mountain Mercenaries Book #2
Stand Alone Title: yes
Author:  Susan Stoker
Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Blurb: Love is the best defense in New York Times bestselling author Susan Stoker’s explosive Mountain Mercenaries novel. 
Gorgeous women don’t just stumble onto Ronan Cross’s remote property. But this one—vulnerable, victimized, and needing the kind of help only Ronan can offer—tells a story that makes his blood boil almost as hot as his need to protect her.
Since her father’s death, Chloe Harris has become a prisoner. Her own brother, a flesh peddler and low-level player in the Denver Mafia, is forcing her to sell her body for an endgame Chloe never saw coming: control over a vast fortune. Her only way out is to run—straight into the arms of the one hard-bodied man she can trust.
Defending Chloe could rain punishment down on the Mountain Mercenaries. Her brother has Mob connections and the local police in his pocket. But Ronan still has an edge—the unshakable loyalty of his deadly teammates. As well as an unquenchable thirst for retribution…and Chloe.
Favorite quote(s): “There’s something between us, Chloe.  Tell me you feel it.  Tell me I’m not the only one,” he ordered.
Thoughts: Defending Chloe was a good edition to the Mountain Mercenaries series.  I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first book, but it was still a great read.  The premise of the book was set up at the end of book one, so we kind of already know what to expect with this book.  For me, it started out really strong, but was a bit slow in the middle for me.  Gradually, it picked back up though.
Overall, a good book – but then we expect nothing less from Susan Stoker…
Rating: B
Was this review helpful?
Susan Stoker is one fine writer that I was glad to have come upon and enjoyed reading her stories. From her Badge Of Honor Series, Delta Force Heroes Series to Seal Of Protection Series and now to Ace Security series, I’ve literally enjoyed every single one of her books. Protecting Caroline, Protecting Fiona and Protecting Alabama are my top favorites of her books that I’ve visited innumerable times…chicken soup for the soul!!!

And following her Mountain Mercenaries Series, “Defending Chloe”, book two in the Mountain Mercenaries Series, is another great write, bringing Ronan Cross to the rescue of abused victim Chloe Harris. Raised by an abusive mob brother with a greed for her vast fortune, Chloe runs into Ronan raising his protective instincts and an attraction that takes them by surprise. When things get personal, it is left to Ronan and his team of mercenary brothers to defend Chloe from the enemy within.

No matter which series of Susan Stoker you read, everyone of her stories is as intense as the previous one and as captivating as the next one! There’s something very addictive and seductive about Susan Stoker’s various series of courageous and brave soldiers, their fight for justice and the fierce protectiveness of their loved ones.  
Received an ARC from Montlake Romance via NetGalley for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Just okay. I've really tried to like Ms. Stoker's writing and I keep hoping with each book that I will. The synopsis always draws me in and I continue to be disappointed.
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately will not be posting a review as I did not care much for the book. I felt the characters and storyline were underdeveloped.
Was this review helpful?
Family should be our first line of support when life throws us curve balls, but that's often not the case, unfortunately.  For Chloe, the support offered by her brother is deceiving and covers a number of ulterior motives that ultimately trap her under his control.  A foot to the back and being stranded by that same brother puts her on the radar of a sexy, quietly dangerous, and fiercely protective Ronan.  His mission in life is to assist his brothers in helping women and children in abusive and dangerous situations.  The curvy Chloe calls to all his protective instincts and no matter the trials he has to face, he'll help her escape.  If he can get her to fall just as hard for him as he has for her in the process, then all the better.

Chloe is a very intelligent woman and while I was shocked at first that she could be so smart and yet get stuck in her horrendous situation, it became clear that it wasn't just the obvious abuse from her brother and his girlfriend that kept her seemingly compliant.  There were much bigger foes she was afraid of that kept her mostly in line.  What I loved the most about her was that she quietly amassed information and inner strength to escape and rebuild her life.  Her fight and her determination to survive was definitely admirable.

Ronan's heart was always in the right place, though it didn't always keep him out of trouble with Chloe.  His reliance on his team and his staunch belief in serving their brand of justice to abusers of all types is incredible.  Learning of his relationship with his family was a mixed bag of feelings because I certainly wasn't expecting what we got, but it felt genuine in it's complicated nature.  It was a unique personal conflict that gave a different kind of depth to the man.  And loving Chloe the way he did was as sweet as it was sexy.

One thing I will say is that while I don't have a problem with insta-lust or when one or both of the MC's feel and know who their one person is, there were quite a lot of sexual situations, and crude descriptions during those moments, that occurred in a really short timeline.  The language of the more sexual stuff in this author's books can never be described as shy, subtle, or even tame, and I'm a fan of that, there were just a couple moments that I had to cringe a little.  Other than that, this was a super sexy story with a whole lot of tenderness wrapped up in a suspenseful package.  I love strong women and alphamallows and we get both here.  It was most definitely an enjoyable read and I can't wait for more from this series.
Was this review helpful?
Oh my goodness where to start?  As to be expected this is a great book because of the unique storyline Susan Stoker has creatively woven together.  Ronan is the kind of hero that makes you all warm and fuzzy on the inside.  Chloe is the kind of heroine that takes you through the entire emotional spectrum.  At times your heart breaks for her and other times you want to scream at her.  I really enjoyed the "realness" of the storyline and characters.
Was this review helpful?
Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader – ☆☆☆☆☆
4.5 stars
M/F Thriller, Romance
Triggers: Human Trafficking

While some might believe it's not necessary to read book one, I think that it would help greatly if you knew what was happening. Book two pretty much starts where book one left off and it gives a lot of backstory.

Chloe is living in a nightmare that just won't end. Her father and mother were loving once upon a time. But now that both have passed on, she's stuck with a brother so full of hate and malice, she doesn't know what to do. She's trying to bide her time, but time is running out and Chloe is becoming more and more desperate. When she happens on Ronan, she is not in any shape to be outside. But Chloe isn't going to shy away – she needs to figure out her situation.

Ronan is not usually one to worry about someone he just met. But because of his job, because of his nature, he can't simply let Chloe leave and not check on her. Ronan figures out that Chloe's brother isn't a great person and that just makes him worry more.

When Ronan seeks Chloe out again to check on her, their connection is just as strong. While I'm not usually one to like insta-love, this was more of an instant attraction. I think that it helped the story immensely.

The mystery behind Chloe's brother's issues, the attraction that just won't quit, and the mystery behind what really happened to Chloe's family is wonderful. I am really looking forward to the next story because while there are some questions that are answered in this book, there are a ton more that are posed too.


Ruthie – ☆☆☆☆
This is the second book in the series and I would recommend that you read the first book, as it sets up the world of the Mountain Mercenaries – as well as being an excellent story! Here the quiet Brit, Ronan, gets to tell his story and find his intended.

I have to admit to finding mafia stories difficult to read, but the spin taken in this book works really well. I was fascinated by the levels of moral (or immoral) code that are in place, and how Chloe's brother eventually gets all that he deserves. This aspect of the plot plays really well alongside us getting to know Ronan better, and to be reassured about his absolute code of ethics. Thankfully, Chloe breaks down her barriers and gives him the chance that he deserves. It was great to connect with Allye again too – and Chloe certainly needs a female friend and confidante.

Clever plotting, tight timing, and plenty of adventure make this an action-packed romance. Thank you, Susan Stoker.


Veronica – ☆☆☆
Ro is a member of the group Mountain Mercenaries, who rescue women and children who are being abused. At a base level, Defending Chloe is a story about the damsel in distress being rescued by the big strong man and the two of them falling in love. But just because Chloe is being abused by her brother and being forced to work in his strip club, doesn’t make her meek. She is smart and making her own plans to get out of her situation. Nothing wrong with accepting a bit of help from a hot guy.

Ro and Chloe make a sexy couple and are both strong and smart. I like that they didn’t immediately fall into bed with each other, I really enjoyed the build-up. The action in the story is good and kept my interest and had me turning the pages to see what would happen next and see how long it would take Chloe and Ro to figure out what Chloe’s brother was really up to.

Defending Chloe was good, easy reading. A bit predictable but it was just what I needed for holiday reading. It had the right amount of action and romance and I could just sit back and enjoy.
Was this review helpful?
I love romance and suspense individually and so reading a book that has both elements in it, is just the best. It worked so well. I got captivated from the first page and for the first time in a long time, I sat and read it through without stopping. It was so addicting!

Susan has this talent for making the heroine strong and when Chloe met Ro, their chemistry, their interactions and their love for each other cemented my love for this book. It just works on every level, and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to read it!
Was this review helpful?
Defending Chloe is the second novel in Susan Stoker's Mountain Mercenaries series, and I absolutely loved the first book in the series, Defending Allye, and gave it a 5-star rating. While I very much enjoyed Defending Chloe, I liked it a little bit less than it's predecessor, and am therefore giving in a 4.5 star rating. 

The Mountain Mercenaries are all ex-military, and their leader is known only to them as "Rex, " whom they've never met--their only access to Rex is by phone, and he mechanically disguises his voice. There is a common thread to all their missions--rescuing kidnapped, trafficked and abused women and children, and this is the point at which I warn you that there are triggers aplenty in this novel, as well as graphic sex and violence, and it's definitely for mature readers.

I liked that Ms. Stoker revealed who the villain is at the beginning of this novel--it's Chloe's younger brother, Leon Harris, who, if this novel were set in Victorian England, would be called a ne'er do well and a wastrel. He's totally self-centered, greedy, despises his father's control of the family fortune and resents his older sister's well-earned achievements, and that she's always held up to him as all the things he is not. When he learns that Chloe will inherit half a billion dollars from her mother's estate, he plans and plots to get that money for himself, and the lengths he goes to after that to control and isolate Chloe will boggle your mind. I should also mention that Leon's father was in deep with the Mafia, and that Chloe is also brought on board to do their accounting and money laundering. The Mafia connection figures prominently in why Chloe is so easily manipulated by Leon, who tells her that if she tries to get away from him, they'll torture and kill her to keep her quiet. 

Ronan (Ro) Cross, one of the Mountain Mercenaries, is British and a former SAS operative. He lives and works in a remote area of Colorado, Black Forest, where he repairs car motors in his garage. When a barely dressed, nervous-looking woman shows up alone in his driveway, tottering on a pair of too-high heels and asking to use his phone, when he notices the large bruise on her back, he offers to help her get away from whoever hurt her, but Chloe has been under her brother's thumb for so long, and also terrified by his Mafia connections, she's learned not to trust anyone, and once she's picked up and gone, Ronin can't seem to get her out of his mind, and when he and his mercenary friends check out the rumors they've been hearing about a new strip club in town, where some of the female employees are there unwillingly, he's shocked to discover that their waitress is Chloe, wearing barely-there clothing. When he learns that Leon, who owns the club, is forcing her and the other female employees into prostitution in the private rooms out back, she brings out Ro's protective instincts, especially since he was already attracted to her. Kudos to Ms. Stoker for not making her a tall, willowy blonde. I loved that Ro was attracted to full-figured, somewhat overweight Chloe. 

From this point on, and after being kidnapped and drugged by the masked Mountain Mercenaries, who are, in fact, rescuing her from Leon's evil clutches, the novel revolves around Chloe's distrust of everyone including her rescuers, Leon's attempts to find her, and the growing attraction between Chloe and Ronin. While I didn't have a problem with the graphic sex, in the one-week time span of this novel, there was an awful lot of it, and I felt that it slowed the action and suspense down a bit too much, no matter how much I came to like both characters, especially Ronin, who was seriously sexy, charming, an an all-around wonderful hero. 

Once the action picks up again, as the mercenaries enlist Rex in their quest to take down Leon, his evil empire, and their attempts to understand why he's treating his sister so horribly. When Chloe is actually kidnapped again from Ro's super-secure home, the pace picks up and it's quite a thrill ride to the finish and the HEA ending. 

While I found Defending Chloe to be a somewhat addictive read, I did, however, have a problem with the two heads of the Denver Mafia families being so strongly opposed to the mistreatment of women--it just seemed extremely unrealistic to this reader. There's also a teaser at the end of this novel, and I'm already hooked and now can't wait to read the next novel in this series.

I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of t his novel. The opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Story was...okay, really not a huge fan of the hero *or* the heroine. The hero's actions at the end that were supposedly for the heroine's own "good" (and her weepy acquiescence with them) were just over-the-top WTF-ery. 

Next one in the series (as per the epilogue) sounds interesting, though--so maybe...?

Rating: 3 stars / C

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
DEFENDING CHLOE by Susan Stoker.   Wow!  Ms. Stoker has done it again!  Her characters tug at the heartstrings, the story keeps the reader on edge and a bit nervous, and her bad guy is as evil as they come.  Chloe and Ronan are so sweet together.   Chloe is trying to escape some really bad family drama (putting it mildly) and Ronan, a Mountain Mercenary, is there to help.   Their story and road to love wasn't necessarily an easy one, dealing with Chloe's mistrust and some really horrible family members, but it was a journey I'm glad I got to read.  I am enjoying this new series by Ms. Stoker (this is book 2) and look forward to the stories of the remaining Mountain Mercenaries!  (received ARC for honest review)
Was this review helpful?
I read an ARC of the first book in this series and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to reading this book! I then received an ARC of it and started reading it straightaway! After reading this book, I can say that I enjoyed it as much as the first book! I also zoomed through it, so I'm not sure if it was shorter than the first book or I just wanted to find out what was going to happen next lol! The plot developed at the perfect pace and it had some action and suspense in it to keep things interesting! These two elements added a lot to the plot and allowed for more things to happen! There was also plenty of romance in this book between the two characters and this allowed for some seriously hot scenes between them! I wasn't expecting the scenes to be so hot, but they were lol! The characters were also amazing and made this book even better! Ronan was the main male character, and in this book he was seriously hot! I loved the way he was and he was such a sweet, lovable guy! Ronan had also been through a lot and this is why he was determined to do good in the world and try and help as many people as possible! This made me have a lot of respect for him! I loved the way that Ronan was with his love interest too! He was very protective of her and it was easy to see his feelings for her develop! Chloe was the main female character and love interest of Ronan! In this book Chloe was treated horribly and was in a situation that she really didn't want to be in! This made me feel very sorry for her! Chloe then had the chance to be herself in this book and to take back control of her life and she definitely took it! I loved Chloe a lot in this book! She went through a lot in a short space of time, but she still stayed strong and kept going! I also connected with her all the way through this book too! I loved that this book was written from both Ronan and Chloe's point of views! I was expecting it to be because the first book was written from both characters point of views, so I was expecting this book to be written the same way! It helped me connect and understand Ronan and Chloe more and it allowed for more things to happen in the plot, especially as both characters were going through their own situations! This book was also written in third person like all this author's books are and I normally don't like reading a book in third person, but I seem to be getting better at it lol! I now can't wait to read the next book in this series! I thought that it was going to be the final book in this series, but it's not! I can't wait to read it once it releases next year! There isn't too long of a wait for it and I'll definitely be reading it as soon as it releases! I can't wait to read the books from this author that I haven't read yet too! I also love the cover for this book a lot! It suits the book perfectly and it matches the cover for the first book too! It would definitely draw me to the book and the cover model is also the perfect Ronan! Big thank you to Montlake Romance, Netgalley and Susan for an ARC of Defending Chloe!
Was this review helpful?
Defending Chloe is an intense and captivating story with complex, dynamic and flawed characters. 

This addition to the Mountain Mercenaries series is a sweet and sexy romance, jam packed full of twists and turns, intrigue and suspense. 

Chloe Harris is a survivor, who has been used an abused a the hands of her greedy and malicious brother. She's incredibly sweet, strong and resilient despite her fears, she is willing to fight for her survival.  

Ro 'Ronan' Cross is a sweet, kind, caring, honorable and compassionate alpha.  Although he can be quite reserved and intuitive, he can be quite determined when warranted, and is not afraid to go after what he wants. 

The chemistry between this pair is palpable, and their connection just oozes from the page. 

I loved the interactions with the other Mountain Mercenaries, seeing more of their characters revealed and it's left me even more eager for Morgan and Arrows' story next.
Was this review helpful?
Susan Stoker is a force to be reckoned with. I’m sure that’s been used before but all puns aside, it’s absolutely true! There’s a reason why she’s one of greats and this book is one of them. I could not pick up one of her books and not fall helpless in love, even bigger than love with them. Seriously this book is HOOOMAHGAWD and is why it’s definitely in my top 5 books by her. Absolutely and totally recommend it to all book lovers
Was this review helpful?
I have been waiting anxiously for this book since the last one! I was really wondering about Chloe and her story. This is Ronan and Chloe’s story. It was so well written, and it was a nail biter from the beginning! We were pulled into the story from the beginning, and you could feel the character’s emotions. I hated putting the book down and leaving it unfinished. It took me a few days to read it, but all I could think of was what would happen next! I wish I could have read this book from start to finish. I loved Chloe and Ronan’s chemistry, and I LOVE karma (of course in the end)!!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Oh my goodness, Ronan and Chloe’s story had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. I have to admit my dark side came out near the end and I may have laughed and cheered a little when a certain character gets what’s coming to them. 
Action packed, high energy, must keep reading even if you have to ship lunch story. I am loving this series.
Was this review helpful?
A story where Chloe Harris who thinks her life is well on the way to good things all of a sudden is thrown into turmoil and becomes a prisoner of her own brother. When one day she stumbles into a home asking to make a call. She does not know that the man who has said yes Ronan Cross works with men that rescue women and children from situations that she is in. She does not believe that her situation can get any worse, but it does when her brother now wants her to entertain men in the private rooms. Surprised to see Ronan later that week she is equally surprised when later that night he pulls off a rescue, but to her it feels like she is being kidnaped. Now Ronan must try to make her somewhat comfortable and also try to get information from her about her brother. When she starts to feel comfortable days later she begins to tell the team of how she came into the situation of her brothers and how he came to run her father’s company after his death. She was not working for her father she had her own job and everything was going good until a few months after the death of her father. The story of Chloe and Ronan is good, so is the suspense of how you find out what happened to her and how it gets settled. Overall a good story.
Was this review helpful?
Ronan is part of the Mountain Mercenaries. A group of tough men that help to those in dire situations and that are feared by those that are rule breakers, like some Mafia families.
Chloe is the sister of a horrible man that tries to use her in every way he wants to get whatever he fancies for his future. He terrorizes her to the point that she ends up being kidnapped to get away from him.
The characters in this book are very good and their development happens at a slow pace. Some may consider the slow pace too slow but I think it's OK because of the circumstances. I do have to say that Chloe evolves more than Ronan as a character and at some point in the story I find myself disbelieving on the things she's doing but this is a fiction book, not a biography or something.
The world of the Mountain Mercenaries was built in the previous book and some even in another story because Tex is not exactly a character that we, the readers of Susan's books, are unfamiliar with. That doesn't get in the way of the enjoyment of this particular story and how the whole thing was set up. Some of the twists and turns where very good surprises for me and I'm intrigued by these two mafia families now.
I would recommend this book just for the fact that it's a great story with the caveat that touches subjects like kidnapping, sex trafficking, mental and physical abuse in between other things.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book provided by Netgalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This story had my emotions all over the place. I could feel the emotions from the characters as if I was there. Susan did an amazing job of this book!
Was this review helpful?
I didn't enjoy this book as much as Stoker's other series but it was still really good. I don't know why I'm not as into it as her other ones but what can you do. I did really enjoy the brief mention of Tex, I mean, I'm assuming it was Tex.
Was this review helpful?