Defending Harlow

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

DEFENDING HARLOW is the fourth instalment in Susan Stoker’s contemporary,adult MOUNTAIN MERCENARIES romantic, military, suspense series focusing on a group of six former soldiers and Navy SEALS who call themselves Mountain Mercenaries, headed by the mysterious ‘Rex’. This is thirty-five year old,  former Navy SEAL Lowell ‘Black’ Lockhard, and thirty-four year old, chef Harlow Reese’s story line. DEFENDING HARLOW can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary. 


Told from several third person perspectives including Harlow and Lowell, DEFENDING HARLOW follows the slow building relationship between former high school acquaintances, Navy SEAL Lowell Lockhard, and chef Harlow Reese. Having reconnected with Lowell a few weeks before, Harlow battled between head and heart as the threats against the women and children at the local woman’s shelter became increasingly threatening. Lowell had previously offered his services as well as the services of the Mountain Mercenaries to protect the people living at the shelter but our heroine was reluctant to abuse their friendship. Knowing is was necessary to protect the people she loved, Harlow made contact with Lowell Lockhard, contact that would bring her face to face with the man with whom she would fall in love. What ensues is the slow building relationship and romance between Lowell and Harlow, and the potential fall-out as the woman’s shelter is targeted by an unknown source.


Harlow Reese’s success in the world of dating can be summed up as disastrous and dark therefore our heroine has decided to remove herself from all future relationships including the possibility of dating our story line hero. Lowell Lockhard struggles with his attraction to a woman who wants nothing to do with ‘dating’ or love, so he begins a slow seduction of Harlow by planning ‘outings’ just for the two. 


The relationship between Harlow and Lowell is an acquaintance to friends to lovers romance; an immediate, palpable sexual attraction is tempered by Harlow’s inability to move beyond the failed ‘dates’ and potential threats from the men with whom she had gone out. Lowell’s need to protect Harlow keeps our hero close, close enough to pull Harlow into something more. The $ex scenes are limited but passionate and intense.


The colorful secondary and supporting characters include  computer guru and Navy SEAL Hunter’Meat’ Snow, and former Coast Guard officer Ball; Grayson and Allye (Defending Allye #1), Ronan and Chloe (Defending Choe #2), Archer ‘Arrow’ and Morgan (Defending Morgan #3), as well as the mysterious ‘Rex’; woman’s shelter owner Loretta Royster, as well as several women and their children who live at the shelter. The requisite evil has many faces.


DEFENDING HARLOW is a story of power and greed; of danger and suspense; of friendship, protection, and falling in love. The premise is entertaining and inviting; the romance is seductive; the characters are energetic and dynamic. DEFENDING HARLOW is a passionate and fated look at romance and love. My only complaint is the length of time the ‘mercenaries’ took to uncover the reason behind the threats against the women and the shelter. For me, the motive was fairly obvious, or at the very least should have been a logical path to follow.


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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader – ☆☆☆☆☆
M/F Romance

While it's not necessary to read the previous books, I would recommend them. They are all fantastic and it gives you insight into the Mountain Mercenaries that you would otherwise not understand.

This is Lowell's book. I love that he is getting a story. He's calm when necessary but finds that he feels a little lost at the moment. When he reconnects with someone he went to high school with, he can't help but be attracted. When she calls and asks for his help, he'll stop at nothing to make sure that she's safe.

Harlow is a great main character. She's strong, but also knows when to lean on those around her. She has an amazing heart and you get to see it shining through her character at every turn. I love how she defends the kids and knows how to help the women. I also love how she sees Lowell.

These two have some steamy moments, but overall, while there is some mystery, this was much more relationship oriented than the previous books. I missed the fast pace, but still found this book very enjoyable.

I can't wait to see what happens next. These are fantastic!

Triggers: Stalking, Arson


Ruthie – ☆☆☆☆
This is the fourth book in the series, and I would recommend that you read them all, as they are all fabulous. I think you would understand Lowell and the Mountain Mercenaries far better that way, but you could read this and enjoy it as a standalone.

This is a slightly different book to the previous ones, as Harlow is not under threat in the same way as the women in the previous stories. She works as a chef in the women's refuge home. She unexpectedly meets Lowell there, far from their childhood home in Kansas. The guys all support the refuge when they are needed. And Harlow determines they are needed when men start to harass the residents and their children.

Sadly these troubles are only the beginning, and as Lowell realises just how important Harlow is becoming to him, he has to step up and keep her and the others safe – and find out who is behind the threats. In involving the rest of the Mountain Mercenaries, we get to learn a bit more about the illusive Rex. He is distracted and not giving them the support that they are used to, so events there too also come to a head... more of which I am guessing we will discover in the next book.

Harlow is a lovely person, and the scenes with her and the children in the refuge kitchen are beautifully written. She is so tuned in to their needs and how to help them in difficult circumstances – it is inevitable that Lowell will fall for her hook, line, and sinker! He deserves his happily ever after, and that the couples formed in previous books are along for the journey is a lovely touch. The women supporting Harlow as she enters the Mountain Mercenaries world leads to some fun too.

Another Mercenaries man has found his reason to be, and Harlow is a great addition to the Mountain Mercenaries family.
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Book 4 in the series has not one woman is in need of help like the other books but a woman’s shelter needing their help. One of the women the chief Harlow Reese had seen Lowell Blackwell at his gun range. What Lowell doesn’t know is that she remembers him from high school. She was a few years behind him. When she asks for his help he has known problem jumping in then he brings in the team to find out why the shelter is being targeted like they are. Harlow and Lowell want to be together but at the same time, Lowell does not want to lose focus of the job at hand. He also is getting upset with their boss because he feels that he is letting them down as far as who could be behind these attacks. Especially after a fire starts. What was also different about this book was that Harlow told him about all of her bad sates and that she did not want to go on dates with him. He agreed and yet she did not realize that all of the different places that he took her were actually dates. This whole story was different than the other books and I really liked it and it still had action and the same characters from the other books. This is a very good book with a very good storyline.
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Defending Harlow is book 4 in the Mountain Mercenaries series. Meet Lowell “Black” Lockard who was a Navy SEAL before he became a Mountain Mercenary and he would lay down his life for his brothers in arms. 

"They worked together, they played together, and they simply enjoyed spending time with each other both during missions and when they were living their lives in Colorado Springs."

And now looks like falling in love seems to be the Mountain Mercenaries fate! Lowell falls for his high school friend, Harlow Reese as she seeks his help when being harassed by a local band of punks. Perfect opportunity to date and woo her!!

Any book of Susan Stoker is a reading pleasure!!!!!
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Sweet, funny, a beyond entertaining. In Defending Harlow book #4 in the Mountain Mercenaries series written by Susan Stoker, the gloves are off and someone needs to be taking in hand. Someone is terrorizing a bunch of already beating women and children. That’s where the Mountain Mercenaries come into play. They don’t mess around when women and/ or children are being harassed. It becomes even more personal for one of the team members when he falls hard for Harlow the head chef at the halfway house.

Harlow Reese enjoys cooking. But she hates dating. After the bad dates that she had, she doesn’t want to even want the hear the word even reference with her name in it.  Well, she never met a savvy and tough Navy SEAL before either.

Lowell “Black” Lockard, was tired of the mainstream. He sees his buddies hooking up and are happy; that is what he wants. When he receives a call from a woman from his past, he knew he had to rekindle their friendship. However, one thing stands in their way…...Harlow doesn’t like to date. Who can blame her, after hearing the horror stories of her past dates; with finesse and creativity, he will show Harlow a DATE like no other!

 I never read one of Susan Stoker books, until I happen to purchase Claiming Grace by accident, and fell in love with the characters.  It has been all uphill from there. I couldn’t purchase her books fast enough, in order to read Defending Harlow.

This is a stand-alone title.  I found, though, reading her series in order, I got the full entertainment value.
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***5 Stars***

Susan Stoker hit all the right buttons again with this baby. Fun, sweet, swoon worthy read, with a lot of heart and a good dose of suspense to keep things interesting and bring out the best, and worst, in all the characters making me want to spend a lot more time with all of them.

I adored Black/Lowell & Harlow.  Black is all kinds of honest, protective and loyal, but also a little sneaky when necessary. What I really liked about him was that when he got something wrong he owned up to it, no excuses given, and worked to never to do it again Harlow has a huge, generous heart that gave selflessly, even though it was quite battered, and had the type of confidence that drew you in. Also her being a chef and loving to cook was a huge bonus

Their journey to their HEA was sweet, fun and smexy, but also a bit frustrating as they - well, mostly Harlow - tried to avoid what was going on right in front their noses. Thankfully, Black was all kinds of sneaky goodness and their friends and family didn’t pull any punches when it came to give their opinions. They worked for me as a couple on all levels and I loved just hanging out with them and watching as they got closer than they’d ever dreamed.

This was another fun read, that can be read as a standalone, but after meeting all the guys and their women ~ at least those that have found their HEA’s ~ you’ll want to read all of them. The suspense aspect of the story was very well done, and though it kept me guessing at who the baddie could be, it never detracted from all that was going on with Black and Harlow. And after that little tease at the end, I cannot wait to get my hands on Defending Everly!
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✦Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: DEFENDING HARLOW by Susan Stoker https://wp.me/p3d0RZ-b8A
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna 
Rated 4.5 Stars 

This is my favorite of the Mountain Mercenaries series. Harlow and Black were both characters that were easy to bond with and I loved watching Black’s ingenious plan to win her heart play out. It was sweet, romantic, and had just enough sex to spice it up. Black’s fellow mercenaries interacted more, and their banter made them feel like a close-knit group with unshakable bonds. Just what I love in a group series. The action flowed quite nicely with the budding romance, never appearing gratuitous or forced as it reached its climax. I only have one request….I want to know more about Rex! I guess I’ll just have to wait impatiently for book 5.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

~*~*~*~
Kindle https://amzn.to/2MjM3OO
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DEFENDING HARLOW –Susan Stoker 
Mountain Mercenaries, Book 4 
Montlake Romance 
ISBN-13:  978-1-542-04280-2 
June 2019 
Romantic Suspense

Colorado Springs, Colorado – Present day

Lowell “Black” Lockard was sort of bored sitting in the office of his shooting range.  Black had been in the Navy, and now is involved with the Mountain Mercenaries when he isn't running his shooting range.  The Mountain Mercenaries haven't had a mission in over a month, their missions are to help find women or children kidnapped or abused, all over the world.  Mountain Mercenaries is run by Rex, their handler, who no one on the team has ever met or seen, and when he calls them for another job, he uses a scrambler on the phone to hide his voice.  Gossip is his wife was taken years ago, and he has never been able to find her after many supposed sightings.  Eventually the guys at Mountain Mercenaries will wonder when Rex will ask them to try to find her.  Then a call from a woman he knew in high school, Harlow Reese, will end his boredom.  Harlow works at a shelter for abused women and children as a chef, and there are men across the street that harass them and call out to them as the women enter and leave the shelter.  The Mercenaries have given the women self-defense training, but none of them are prepared for these men, who don't threaten or touch them, just scare them.  Can Black help?  Bet your bottom dollar he can!

Harlow loves working at First Hope Women's Shelter as a chef and connecting with the women and children that live there.  When the situation with the men outside the shelter starts getting worse and the police refuse to do anything, she calls Black.  The month before, he stopped by and she enjoyed talking to him, but when he never called back, she figured he wasn't interested.  Black is interested and is upset with himself that he never called back to see if the harassment had stopped.  Everyone else in the Mountain Mercenaries has met the woman for them, but Black still prefers the single life—he thinks.  After assessing the situation at the shelter, Black gets the rest of the Mercenaries, Gray, Ro and Arrow, to investigate who is harassing the women, maybe an ex?  Rex is usually at the heart of the mission, but all of a sudden, his mind isn't on what is going on, so what is he doing that has him off his game?

Written from Black's and Harlow's points of view, their chance meeting again stirs up all sorts of feelings within each other.  As Black and his fellow Mercenaries try to go deep into who is behind all this, things look to be getting worse, especially when an empty gas station across the street burns down.  Could that be a warning for the shelter?

DEFENDING HARLOW is a story full of dynamic characters such as Gray, Ro and Arrow, and even the mysterious Rex taking part.  Loretta is the shelter director, and there's also the man behind the threats and his enforcer.  Too bad for them when they meet the Mercenaries!

As usual, Susan Stoker hits it out of the park with DEFENDING 
HARLOW, book 4 in the Mountain Mercenaries series.   Seat of your pants creepy without being frightening, DEFENDING HARLOW is well worth your reading time this month.

Carolyn Crisher
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As usual Ms Stoker too me from zero to enthralled in minutes and kept me glued to my kindle from start to finish.  Harlow and Black were perfect together and I've been looking forward to Black's book for a while now so I was excited to read it.  There is never a dull moment between the covers of the Mountain Mercenaries books.
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“Defending Harlow,” the fourth book in the “Mountain Mercenaries” series shows readers the 9 to 5 jobs that members of the strike team lead when they are not on assignment. Lowell “Black” Lockard, who takes center stage in this book owns and runs a gun range in Colorado Springs.

We find Black in a pensive mood as he notices the changes of his three team members settling down with their significant others. And though he was not looking for forever, there is now wishful thinking on his part that perhaps, there is someone out there for him.

Enter Harlow Reese. A friend of Black from high school, it was only by chance that both ended up in Colorado Springs. As their friendship reconnect, they are figuring out that their relationship can be more than friendship.

But before they could pursue their happily ever after, Harlow and Black plus the whole Mountain Mercenaries team must neutralize a threat looming around them. 

When reading a series, I have always felt that the books in the middle are more often than not about character building. The first three books are adrenaline pumping as the romantic heroes try to save the day especially because “the mission” is the main theme of the book. 

With “Defending Harlow,” author Susan Stoker went for “normal,” i.e., members of the team stay put in their home base – Colorado Springs. Harlow and Black went the “normal” stages of courtship. It was fun seeing the creativity in the “dates,” which is something unique in this installment. 

Readers also see more of Rex, the shadowy leader of the group. And thus, the storyline moves forward, and it segues to the next book.

“Defending Harlow” is Rated T for Teens due to some violence.
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Defending Harlow is Book 4 of Susan Stoker's Mountain Mercenaries series. These books stand perfectly fine on their own but I LOVE the fact that the characters from the previous books still continue to make strong appearances.

This story brings new meaning to "slow burn". You could feel the heat simmering beneath the surface between Harlow and Black. All throughout their "non-dates". This was a very enjoyable addition to the series and the back story involving Rex and his missing wife starts to gain more traction. I can't wait to read what is next!
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We are continuing with the Mountain Mercenaries Series. These novels are Standalones in a series but I do recommend reading your way through these hot alpha ex-military and kickass heroines.

Black comes across as the calm gentle one of the group, which he certainly shows us in this book. He has been struggling a little bit with where he is in life and what is next for him. Watching his teammates find love and happiness has brought forward some questions. When a woman from his past shows up at the shelter the often help out at, she has his interested piqued from the beginning. Not certain that he is ready for marriage and all that but certainly for something more. He willingly jumps in to help when there are some troubles at the shelter.

Harlow is a strong independent woman who has in her terms given up on men. She is the queen of disaster dates and has the stories to prove it. Yes when she sees Lowell again she quickly remembers the things she liked about him back in the day. She tries very hard to remind herself that she doesn't date and to stay away and let him be the good guy from afar. Her stories will make you laugh and giggle at some of the things she has gone through.

Will they be able to find out what is happening at the shelter and why? Who is doing this to them? Will Lowell be able to work his way into Harlow's life and past her defences?

This book had a little bit of a different feel than the others. With the threat being a little less subtle and the focus a little more on the relationship and the building of trust.

Looking forward to what is next in the series.

*** Advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review. ***
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Defending Harlow is the fourth book in the Mountain Mercenaries series by Susan Stoker. The main characters are Black, an ex-SEAL, who owns a gun range and is a MM on his spare time and Harlow a chef who works at a women's shelter. Some men are causing trouble at the shelter and Harlow asks for Black's help. They knew each other when they were in high school and now life has brought them back into each other's lives.

After a series of very bad dates, Harlow has decided to stop dating altogether. So what can a man do to convince her to give him a chance? He takes her on non-dates that actually date. I loved that part. He was slowly easing Harlow into dating him without pushing her too much. For a couple that's not dating for quite some part of the book, these two had a good romance. Black was proving to be the kind of man who is worthy of been in your life and was also kind and thoughtful. Harlow was such a great heroine. I am sure you will love her. She is very caring and I could see her operating a shelter of her own one day. While I was reading the book, I was thinking that she and the other heroines in some way could run a shelter and help the women and children in need.

I felt a lot of emotions while reading this book. I could have sworn that the big bad guy is crazy (even though he is not) since he was willing to do everything in his power to get what he wanted even if it meant killing people. While Harlow is not in danger as the previous heroines had been, we still get some intense scenes that made me worry about the fate of some of the characters. Still, I think that her case gave the guys a breather. I am saying that having in my mind that in a rare scene all the couples got together and they were just hanging out. That was one of the best scenes in the book. I also loved how a certain proposal was done. That chapter was my favorite and it made me cry. I wish I could say more, but I don't want to spoil something so good to the rest of you. I shed a happy tear or two because it was written so well and it brought me so many good emotions.

I was so excited to find out that the guys are going to finally help Rex find his wife or at least what happened to her! As I have said before, I hope they will find her, but at the same time, I am afraid to see what has been done to her. I am hoping she is hiding somewhere because I don't want to think of her as a prisoner or worse, for so many years. The couple of the next book is Ball and a feisty SWAT officer. And oh, boy, the started on the wrong foot so badly, that I doubt their transition to couple will be easy or fast. Ball has been burned in the past and Everly will be the one to show him how a real partner should be like. I have gotten very hyped for Rex book since I have been waiting for it for a while now, but Ball's book is also looking very promising.
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Lowell is an ex-Navy SEAL is a member of the Mountain Mercenaries who has watched his teammates find their “ones” and he would like the same thing for himself but doesn’t believe it will happen for him.   When he is asked to teach self defense at a woman’s shelter he is surprised and intrigued to find out that he and Harlow, the chef, went to high school together.

Harlow had a crush on Lowell when she was a teenager but with her dating history she is taking a break from men.   Lowell enjoys spending time with her  however he knows that she would never agree to a date so he suggests a non-date.

As they spend time together their feelings for each other escalate but so does the danger that is surrounding the shelter.   It becomes a race against time as Lowell and his teammates try to uncover the truth  behind the threats before they are successful.

Witty banter, great secondary characters and just enough suspense to keep you guessing make this an enjoyable story and a great addition to the series.
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With each book published in the Mountain Mercenaries series, I question whether I can possibly enjoy it as much as the last one...or two...or three. And with each book published, I'm once again immersed in a fast-paced story with edge-of-my-seat suspense, heart-tugging romance, danger, humor, and a feel-good triumph of good over evil. All four books in this series have gone straight to my keeper shelf.

Defending Harlow has a bit of a second chance romance vibe since the hero and heroine knew one another in high school. Even though they did not have a romantic relationship back then, I enjoyed the common ground it gave them when they met again years later. Harlow's situation is not as fraught as other heroines in this series in that she has not been kidnapped or abused. The abysmal dating history that has resulted in her swearing off future dates is more humorous than traumatic though her determination to not dive into that pool again is very real. It explains Black's various "methods" of convincing her to spend time with him without putting labels on what they're doing and made me more comfortable forgiving him for his "trickery." The danger facing the residents of the women's shelter where Harlow is the chef and Black (and his fellow MMs) volunteer, however, is all too real and Black's protective nature kicks into high gear when threats are made. But Harlow is no wilting flower and I loved how she held her own. They really do make a great team. The author did a wonderful job of bringing the characters, both main and secondary, especially the children living at the shelter, to life for me and my emotions were full engaged as the danger surrounding them escalated. 

For fans of the series, it's fun to catch up with characters from previous books but readers new to the series should have no trouble fully enjoying Defending Harlow on its own.
4.5 stars
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DEFENDING HARLOW (Mountain Mercenaries Book 4) by Susan Stoker is a romantic suspense that has the men of Mountain Mercenaries working a case in their own hometown. When a women’s and children’s shelter is threatened, these dedicated men work to discover who is responsible and why. All of the books in this series can be read as standalones, but there is more character crossover in this book than in the previous books.

Ex-Navy SEAL Lowell “Black” Lockard has watched his teammates find their forever matches one by one and even though he is not ready for forever, he would like to find someone to share his time with. When Black shows up for his turn to teach self-defense at the women’s shelter, he is surprised to see that the new chef is an acquaintance from high school. Harlow is a beautiful person, inside and out, and Black wants to see more of her, but Harlow does not date.

Harlow Reese loves her job and all of the women and children in the shelter. She is surprised when the boy she had a crush on in high school walks in to teach self-defense to the women. Recently a group of young thugs has started harassing the women and children and Harlow asks Black for his help. With Harlow’s “No Dating” rule, Black has to find a way to do things with Harlow without calling it a date. He starts by being available at all times to keep her safe and he begins to find that Harlow means more to him than he planned. 

The threats escalate and Black pulls in all of the Mountain Mercenaries to help find who is responsible. Can Black and the Mountain Mercenaries keep the shelter and its’ occupants safe as they work to uncover the threat?

I really enjoyed the mix of romance and suspense in this book in the series. Harlow’s list of bad dates had me laughing out loud. She had bad things happening around her at the shelter, but she was not abused as the previous heroines. Lowell was an interesting mix of understanding and caring for Harlow, but he has a dark side that is revealed in this story. These two were perfect for each other and I cheered on every step Lowell took to get Harlow. The suspense plot was well written to keep the story fast paced and interesting. The sex scenes were explicit, but not gratuitous when they did occur. 

I can highly recommend this book and the entire series! I am looking forward to Ball’s story next.
Thanks very much to Net Galley and Montlake Romance for allowing me to read this eARC.
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Yes...I’m still a huge Susan Stoker fan. And Defending Harlow is just one more reason I kind of love her writing. I love the main characters, Lowell and Harlow. Secretly crushing on each other in high school, life took them in completely different directions. She’s jaded when it comes to relationships, and he’s never really had one. But somehow...they fit. Perfectly. 

Lowell is hot. But he’s also a really great guy at heart. He’s an honorable and loyal gentleman. And he’s determined to change Harlow’s mind about dating. Or not dating, as the case is. And Harlow might be jaded where relationships are concerned, but she’s also a loyal and caring woman who is willing to sacrifice whatever is needed to take care of those she cares about.

With lovable but realistic characters, an underlying mystery of who Rex is and what he’s about that has yet to be solved, and plenty of heart-pounding action, I give Defending Harlow by Susan Stoker 4.5 out of 5 stars!
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The Mountain Mercenaries series continues with Defending Harlow and I must say this: I'm glad the characters in the book brought up the misnomer of "mercenaries" since that is not at all what they do. It has really bothered me for the entirety of the series (check out the excerpt for Harlow asking this exact question). Defending Harlow also has a different tone than the previous books. Harlow isn't being stalked, she hasn't been kidnapped and held for a year in a foreign country, or anything as horrific as the previous heroines have been subjected to. Her story is more the story of the shelter and what happens there. It gives the book a very different tenor because the extreme danger isn't as omnipresent. I thought I wouldn't like Defending Harlow as much since I really enjoy the suspense aspects of stories, however it wasn't really an issue.

Lowell (aka Black) and Harlow went to high school together. Harlow had a huge crush on Lowell; but he graduated and they went their separate ways. Now its 10 years later and they both end up in Colorado and their paths cross. Harlow is a chef but instead of getting a job at a swanky restaurant, she becomes the chef at the women's shelter that has been a background in this series. I admired Harlow for being willing to move to a different state and take a totally different, unorthodox job simply because it makes her happy to help others. Harlow has had a terrible history with dating and now has sworn it off (yeah....you know how that is going to go!). Her dating history was a bit over dramatic in my opinion. I get it-she had bad luck. But the stories were outlandish and it kind of made me roll my eyes a bit. But, I'm a cynical bitch, so maybe its just me.

Lowell isn't my favorite "mercenary". He doesn't ever see him self settling down and having kids. He wants to pursue something with Harlow, but he sees it as a relationship with a future end date. His friends all point out to him that doesn't seem likely, and if that IS what he thinks, he is a dick because it will hurt Harlow in the end. Does this deter him? No. That action made me less enamored with him. I get it-no one goes into a relationship thinking that on day one this is the one they will marry. But, going in with a termination in mind isn't great either.

As I mentioned, the suspense in Defending Harlow isn't really about Harlow exactly. Its about the shelter. I thought the motivation of the "bad guy" was pretty obvious but I could see how the mercenaries were struggling to figure out who would be doing all this. These women have some crazy exes, the shelter is in a bad neighborhood, and there were a lot of external factors. Overall, I thought this plot line was good and a nice detour from the previous books in that sense. If you like second chance romances, ex military men, and a touch of mystery, Defending Harlow is a good pick for a weekend read!
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Defending Harlow by Susan Stoker is 4 in the Mountain Mercenaries Series.  This is the story of Harlow Reese and Lowell 'Black' Lockard.  I have read the previous books (and Loved them!) but feel you can make this a standalone book if you wish to do so.
Lowell is feeling a touch of envy when his fellow Mountain Mercenaries are find their women.  When a call comes in asking them to help train women to defend themselves at the shelter he goes forward to help.  What Lowell finds is Harlow a women who attended his high school back in the day.  When he start asking questions he learns she is single and the spark for her just gets bigger. Harlow is done with the dating world after having so many frogs in her life, now her focus seems to be the shelter.  When they start getting harassed she looks to get help teaching then to defend themselves.  
This was a steamy read along with the back ground mystery that make it a page turner for me.
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Susan Stoker has done it again - she has written such an action-packed romance that it was hard to put down. The romance was good and the characters were exceptional. LOved it.
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