Bear on the Mountain: Watchdog Mountain Division

Bear on the Mountain: Watchdog Mountain Division

When the law can't protect you, Mountain Division can.
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When the law can't protect you, Mountain Division can.

These former soldiers returned home from war torn countries, changed by the injustices they'd seen. The pain and fear in a woman’s eye. The mistrust in a child’s careful smile. They did what they could to right the wrongs that hid their faces in shadows. As civilians back in the U.S. they’re still on a mission to help the wronged who can find no justice and no peace in a broken system.

Jonathan “Bear” Behr, a former Army Ranger, has been roaming the country aimlessly after the atrocities he's seen. A mountain man at heart, he returns to Lyons, Colorado where he grew up and takes a temporary job as a handyman for a bodyguard company. After that, he plans to move on to Texas for the winter. Until he meets Ellie, a woman on the run from her abusive family. Ellie has inherited a rundown cabin in the mountains and she is determined to make it her home, even if she has to fix it up alone.

Despite his best efforts to avoid entanglements, Bear can't help but fall for sweet Ellie as he helps her fix up her cabin, until their grumpy and sunshine relationship grows into a passionate romance.

Meanwhile, Bear's old friends are trying to recruit him into Mountain Division. Bear resists, not wanting to face any of his old ghosts. But as Ellie's family tracks her down and threatens her, Bear must use his skills and the help of Mountain Division to save the woman he’s come to love more than life. As Bear and Ellie confront the dangers of their pasts, can they protect their future together?

Olivia Michaels Watchdog Security Series and Watchdog Protectors Series are now joined by Watchdog Mountain Division -- a series about mountain men and brothers in arms who find love while protecting their Rocky Mountain small town from human predators.

Release date: August 22, 2023

Publisher: Falcon in Hand Publishing

Print pages: 268

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Behind the book

Sometimes, a book begins with a song.

Lyle Lovett is a great musician and a good person from everything I’ve heard. But at one point, one of his songs came on the radio when my alarm went off every. Single. Morning. I’d groan and blearily try to turn it off…and usually fail miserably (I’m not a morning person). That song meant I had to get up and go to a job I hated, one that degraded me. It was a good song that showed up at the wrong time in my life and I hated—hated—it for that reason. So, when it finally fell out of favor, I was relieved that I’d never have to listen to it again.

The thing is, a good friend of my loved Lyle Lovett, big hair and all. Adored him. Saw him in concert at every opportunity. Begged me to come along a couple of times, including when the dreaded song was at its peak. And I always said no. Because of that song. That’s how scarred I was by that hated job, even after I’d moved on.

Technically, I was escorted from the building by a security guard, but that’s a different story for a different day, one that may even end up in some shape or form in one of my books. I regret nothing.

What I do regret is not going to see Lyle Lovett with my friend. A few years ago, she and I fought cancer side by side. She fought harder than I did, but in the end she was the one who lost that battle.

Or maybe not. Before she passed, she filled her life with every last bucket list item she could and she lived hard and strong and good. She loved to travel, she loved Jesus, and she loved Lyle Lovett.

It wasn’t until after she’d died (First time I’ve used that word regarding her. I tell myself we just haven’t seen each other lately, that she’s on a long trip at the moment and I’ll catch up with her eventually) that I heard that dreaded song again after literal decades.

What a difference time and life circumstances can make.

I’d had this nebulous idea for a hero back then, one who I’d think about as I’d fall asleep nights after my last surgery, one who was big and strong and quiet, yet gentle and loving. He’d hold me silently as I fell asleep, keeping me safe in that leap between consciousness and sleep where I’d sometimes fall between those dark cracks and wake panicky. When I’d think of him, I’d make it through safely and sleep all night long.

He faded somewhat as I healed and got stronger and could make it to sleep on my own. When I started writing romances in 2020, he never quite made it into the series as a full-blown hero, though I’ve loaned out his strength, lovingness, and gentleness over and over to my other heroes.

Then I was writing in my usual place, the corner spot in my library café, working on More Than Beauty when that dreaded song came on overhead. But the strangest thing happened. I didn’t cringe. I didn’t run screaming from the room. I didn’t have a bad memory or feeling go through my head. Instead, I listened to the words, and they made me smile. They’re simple, good words in a simple good song, and the song reminded me of my friend.

Bess left on her final adventure before she could read my romances, but she knew I wanted to be an author with all my heart and soul. And here I was, living my dream. I immediately brought the song up again on my computer and put my earbuds in.

And there he was—my Bear. That hero who kept me safe through the scary nights when I was afraid I might not wake up the next morning.

I brought up a new document and started writing this book. My fingers flew while a tiny little voice in my head screamed What are you doing? You have another book to finish! You can’t go starting a new one!

I shooed that voice away for the rest of the day. And the next day. And the one after that. And I wrote what have become the most important scenes in this book, the beginning ones and the ending chapters. Then, I banked the Bear fires and went back to More Than Beauty, promising myself that I’d get back to Bear, that he obviously had a story to tell, and he’d chosen me to tell it, through a song that once brought me pain but now reminded me of love that endures through the dark and the fear and the pain.

I needed that reminder as I wrote Bear. I’d only gotten back to it when I lost another friend suddenly and without warning. Becca and I had just seen each other earlier in the week. We’d shared a hotel room in Los Angeles for an event and talked non-stop the entire time. Her death felt so unfair and so wrong, because dammit, our friendship was just getting started. I still feel cheated. Yet every now and then, I swear I can hear her voice in my head saying hello and giving me advice.

This is a book born of friendships old and new, a book that reminds me to live well, to never take my friends for granted, and that dreams do come true through lots of hard work and by following your stars. Mine are about to lead me to Iceland and Switzerland to visit more friends. I know both Bess and Becca would approve.

So, if you’ve got a minute, put on “Bears” by Lyle Lovett while you read this book. Or, if you’ve got access to Spotify, I have a playlist that I listened to while writing this book (I have one for all my books) that helped me get in touch with Bear and Ellie’s story and reminded me of Bess. You can listen to it here:


I hope you love this Bear as much as I do.

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