Beautifully Brutal Romance

Shielding Nebraska

Cole Hackett, retired SEAL, reluctant civilian has one desire—a life without complications. So when Josie McLean, unpredictable hellcat daughter of police chief McLean and freshly licensed PI keeps sniffing around his cases, he’s determined to steer clear. She has trouble written all over her and the last thing he needs is to babysit a woman hell bent on getting killed in the pursuit of glory. 

Josie McLean spent two decades trying to gain a glimmer of attention from her father. Even a lucrative career as a private investigators isn’t enough to make him overlook the fact that she’d been born with the wrong parts. Despite his disinterest, she’s determined to be the best at her job, while keeping her butt on the straight and narrow to avoid his wrath. That is, until her case takes a life or death turn and everyone is a suspect.

Attitude and attraction collide when Cole and Josie’s cases intersect forcing them to band together to seek a dangerous enemy. When the mortal danger turns its sights on Josie, can both Josie and Cole step out from behind the shadows of the past and lean one another to find a killer before it’s too late?




“Really, New Guy…your parents named you Slyder?” She never even bothered giving him a glance. She just kept scanning her magazine, casual as can be, but he wouldn’t let that deceive him. He had her number; she was just waiting for him to slip up and say something that she could poke fun at him about.

He wasn’t about to give it to her. If she wanted to act like a shit, she was going to have to work for her material.

“Yes, Nebraska,” he replied enunciating her name. Seriously, she was named after a state. Not a common state name or the actual state she was from.

“So, why Slyder? I mean, wasn’t he a secondary character in Top Gun?” She bent her magazine toward her chest and squinted off in the distance, as if trying to concentrate. “I can’t remember what he looked like,” she said, shrugging, “because, as I said, secondary.” She swung her legs down to the floor and tossed her magazine onto the marble table.

He leaned against the wall, slid his hands into his pockets, and crossed his legs. If she was going to give him a hard time, he might as well settle in for it. “Pushing my buttons won’t work, so you might as well not waste your energy.”

“I guess if they had high hopes for you they might have named you Maverick, like the lead. Even Goose ranked higher than Slyder.”

He snorted. “Charming.”

“I’m not trying to be,” she said with a flip of her hair.

“Believe me, that’s abundantly clear. So let’s get down to business. The rules…”

She shot up to her feet and gave him a laugh devoid of humor. “Oh, you’re funny. You think you can give me rules. Look, New Guy, I work, I pay my own bills, I don’t follow other people’s rules. I’m a grown woman, for God’s sake.”

He pushed away from the wall and curled his fingers over the back of the couch as he leaned toward her. At least the furniture was there to keep distance between them, keeping him from wrapping his fingers around her pretty throat. “Really? Then don’t you think it’s about time you started acting like it?”

She dropped a hand to her cocked hip and pointed a finger at him, fire flaring in her eyes. “Look, you—”

“I’m not trained to run daycares, so you’re going to have to grow up,” he said. He shouldn’t push her buttons, but there was something about the way her body flared to life that amused him. Especially when she squared up as though she was six three and two twenty, ready to take him on.

© Casey Hagen, USA Today Bestselling Author