by Cami Checketts
To protect her sons from the mistakes of her past, Brinlee Trapper escapes to a secluded mountain home. But there are dangers lurking in the mountains she has never encountered. The little family is saved from injury by Jed, a mysterious hunter. Brinlee is drawn to him, but she worries about his involvement with a peaceful commune hidden deep in the mountains behind her property. Lance, Brinlee’s attentive neighbor, has his own troubled history. Between his obvious attraction to Brinlee and his developing love for her children, Brinlee finds it more than difficult to guard her heart against this tender intrusion. While Jed offers a life of excitement and freedom, Lance holds the key to the family Brinlee always wanted. When it comes time to choose, she learns that both men have secrets that could shatter her fledgling trust in men and the wrong decision could leave more than her heart exposed to danger.
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An arm wrapped around her waist while a firm palm clamped over her mouth. Brinlee screamed, but no sound escaped. She tried to wrench her head free, biting at the hand. The man stopped every movement.
Her hands pinned to her side, Brinlee was barely able to reach into her pocket. She inched the tranquilizer gun out and aimed it into the forearm that restrained her. The man’s other arm grabbed her hand and twisted it until the gun faced her own abdomen.
“Pull the trigger and see how it feels,” a rough voice said.
Brinlee released her grip on the trigger immediately. She was lifted from her feet and carried back the way she had come. She kicked and thrashed, fear giving her strength to fight harder, but the man was just too strong. Sweat poured freely down her back. Her mind raced with fearful questions. How was she going to get free? If she could run to that camp would they help her? If she didn’t get free, what would this guy do to her?
When they were several hundred yards from the camp, the hand on her mouth unclamped and she was spun to face her attacker.
She started to scream, but it died in her throat. “Jed?” she croaked.
His blue eyes shot sparks at her. “How did you find me?”
“I wasn’t trying to find you. I was hiking for a workout.”
Jed snorted and clutched his hands into fists. “You followed me. You intruded on my private life. You tried to shoot me with a tranquilizer gun.” He gestured to the gun still squeezed in her fingers. “How dare you?”
Brinlee’s hand trembled as she held onto the gun. “You just assaulted me. You show up uninvited all the time. You tried to make me shoot myself with my own gun. How dare you?”
Jed grabbed her elbow and ushered her down the trail. “You shouldn’t be up here by yourself. What if another mountain lion found you? What if someone from that hunting camp saw you first?”
Her brow wrinkled as he hurried her away from the group of people she had been watching. They didn’t look like your average group of hunters. “What is someone from your camp going to do to me? You growing pot up here?”
“How do you know that’s my camp?” Jed ignored her last question.
Brinlee dug her heels into the ground, but couldn’t stop him. “Why do you think I’m such an idiot?”
Jed blew his breath out, stopped, and turned to face her. “Why did you follow me? Couldn’t you trust that I would tell you about myself when I was ready?”
“I didn’t follow you and it’s not like you answer any of my questions anyway! Were you ever planning to tell me about yourself and your pot-growing friends?”
Jed’s eyebrows shot up. He glanced away from her. “Um, well, I wanted it to be the right moment so you wouldn’t get scared away. And we don’t grow pot.”
“Right moment? Sure, Jed. Every time we’re together you ask me a million questions and I answer them. Why won’t you ever answer a question straight for me?”
The edge of his mouth lifted. “You’re impossible.”
“No more so than you.”
He broke into a full grin. Grabbing her arm, he escorted her toward the north. “Let’s get you home. I don’t want anyone to see you.”
“It would raise questions neither of us is prepared to deal with.”
“What?” Her brow wrinkled. “Why can’t anyone see me?” What was he hiding? Jed seemed to have no shortage of weapons. Were they some kind of militant group?
Brinlee’s palms were sweaty. She wanted to get away from him, but the questions nagged at her. “How about now? Why don’t you tell me who those people are? What are you involved in, Jed? That looked like some kind of commune.”
His eyes shadowed to a dusky blue. “It’s nothing sinister, I assure you.”
Brinlee kept up with his long strides. “Then tell me what’s going on. Tell me who you are.”
The Colony is a story of Brinlee Trapper, an unwed mother of two boys, precocious Trevor and sweet baby Mikey, and her involvement with Lance and Jed. Lance, a handsome and protective next-door neighbor, is up to more than just romancing Brinlee. Jed is a member of a want-to-be commune group referred to as 'The Colony.' Jed came into Brinlee's life when he has to save her and her young boys from a mountain lion attack. Although he is very good looking, Jed discovers Brinlee to be less than cooperative with his efforts to win her. He wants more from Brinlee than just a free love experience. Her dedication to her young sons impresses him and he longs to enfold her into his way of life, a way that does not include children. The leader of 'The Colony,' Isaac, doesn't believe that children should be a part of his group, considering them an interference to the group's free-wheeling lifestyle. He is so strong in his opinion that he encourages and sometimes forces abortions on the young women of "The colony' who find themselves pregnant. The reader of "The Colony" will find him or herself to be drawn into the tale as they wonder what Lance is really up to and how dangerous Jed's interest is in Brinlee, Trevor and Mikey.
Reviewed by: JoEllen
Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Bernstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction. Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. Cami teaches strength training classes at her local rec and shares healthy living tips on her fitness blog: http://fitnessformom.blogspot.com. Cami and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn’t snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.
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