Colton P.I. Protector

By: Regan Black

He’s claiming redemption—and the woman he wants

A riveting Coltons of Red Ridge romance

A sudden attack and a dognapping leave K-9 trainer Danica Gage shaken to her core. Even more surprising is her rescuer: P.I. Shane Colton. Years ago her family stole Shane’s freedom, but now Danica needs him to catch a criminal. And she must fight the urge to run into his arms…because wanting him could be a deadly mistake.





“Have I said something wrong?” Shane asked, tapping his finger on his forehead just above his nose. “You’ve got that furrow going on.”

“What?” Danica rubbed the spot he indicated. “No. Nothing’s wrong.” Unless she counted the way he was slowly crowding her, much as he’d done just before he’d kissed her last night. She licked her lips, her body warming with anticipation at the sexy promises in his gaze.

“Can I kiss you again?” His rough voice went right through her.

She nodded, terrified she’d beg if she tried to speak.

He stroked his thumb along her cheekbone, traced the line of her jaw as he tipped up her face. Cradling her head in that big palm, he slowly, slowly brought his lips to meet hers.

She gripped his sculpted arms for balance when he broke the kiss and touched his forehead to hers. If the goal was to make her fall in love—or lust—to sell the ruse, it was working.

* * *

The Coltons of Red Ridge: A killer’s on the loose and love is on the line

* * *


Dear Reader,

The branch of the Colton family tree that resides in Red Ridge, South Dakota, embodies the definition of complex family dynamics. Throw in their long-standing animosity with the Gage family, cofounders of the town, and you have a recipe for disaster. Or possibly true love.

It’s an absolute pleasure to bring you another story featuring a charismatic corgi. I’m surprised my husband didn’t post a recording of my happy dance when I told him about this book. We’re both lifelong dog lovers and grew up around a variety of purebreds and mutts. A retired racing greyhound was our wedding gift to each other, and we’ve fostered over thirty retired greyhounds in the years since, adopting several along the way.

In Red Ridge, two more dog lovers are about to embark on an adventure that is sure to change their lives. Shane Colton is a private investigator with a chip on his shoulder and an excellent K-9 partner in his corgi, Stumps. Danica Gage is a dog trainer with a superb reputation; she even trained Shane’s dog.

With a serial killer running seemingly unchecked in Red Ridge, Shane, Stumps and Danica have their hands full with crimes that are hitting a little too close to home. I hope you’ll enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Live the adventure,

Regan Black






CHAPTER 1

In her office at the Red Ridge K9 Training Center, Danica Gage finished the reports for the day and shut down her computer. From the kennels, she heard the faint whining of the newest arrivals, two Belgian Malinois puppies. At three months old, they were beginning their journey to become working dogs. Danica loved this first stage when the goal was to teach a dog basic obedience and uncover the inherent strengths.

Whenever new dogs arrived, they were often lonely from leaving their mother and littermates, and uncertain about the new surroundings. This pair was no exception. The staff always scheduled an overnight trainer to supervise and ease the transition. Working these shifts, just her and the dogs and the expansive quiet of the South Dakota nights, gave Danica a deep sense of peace and purpose.

The puppies had been snuggled together when she’d been in the kennels half an hour ago to give a fully trained protection dog named Nico one last walk for the night. Also a Malinois, he was solid black and all the more intimidating for it. At this stage of his precise training, he was allowed only limited contact with a few members of the staff while he waited for the assignment of a permanent handler. Danica hoped it didn’t take long. Nico was one of the smartest dogs she’d had the privilege to support and he needed to get to work. With his inherent pride and defensive drive, the dog would be an asset to any handler or security team.

She opened the door between the offices and the kennels and the whining turned to a keening plea. She smiled as the puppies scrambled to the front gate. Other dogs nearby woke to the noise, but only one or two gave any verbal reaction when they saw Danica. The puppies, however, were wide awake and ready to go. Typical of their breed, this pair was bright and eager, their intelligent eyes gleaming from dark-masked faces. The tan fur still had plenty of puppy-fluff in it and on the rare occasions when they were still, she indulged in petting the soft coats.

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