"Vivid and charming."—CHARLAINE HARRIS, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...
Ice rescue diver Derek Warner never meant to be a hero. But when two little girls go missing, he's the first in line to bring them home—even if that means scouring the wilderness with the woman he once loved and lost, Artemis Rey.
Artemis has never stopped wanting Derek. Now, racing to find the girls before it's too late, minutes turn to hours. Night falls. Old flames rekindle. And a danger grows in the darkest wilderness that may be more than even the Search and Rescue brotherhood can hope to face...
On His Watch is the pulse-pounding prequel to the riveting Search & Rescue series by Katie Ruggle.
"Gripping suspense, unique heroines, sexy heroes." —Christine Feehan, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
Search and Rescue Series:
On His Watch (FREE novella)
Hold Your Breath (Book 1)
Fan the Flames (Book 2)
Gone too Deep (Book 3)
In Safe Hands (Book 4)
After the End (FREE novella)
What People Are Saying:
"I love Ruggle's characters. They're sharply drawn, and vividly alive. I'm happy when they find each other. These are wonderful escapist books."—CHARLAINE HARRIS, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series
"Sexy and suspenseful, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough."—JULIE ANN WALKER, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author for Hold Your Breath
"Chills and thrills and a sexy slow-burning romance from a terrific new voice."—D.D. AYRES, author of the K-9 Rescue Series for Hold Your Breath
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
On His Watch
By Katie Ruggle
Sourcebooks, Inc.Copyright © 2016 Katie Ruggle
All rights reserved.
"Don't you think this punishment is a little harsh?" Derek asked under his breath, eyeing the yellow school bus pulling into the gravel parking lot.
His dive-team leader, Callum, didn't hesitate. "No."
"I think you're blowing this way out of proportion." The kids started flowing off the bus, and Derek had to resist the impulse to take a step back. Any show of fear would be like blood in the water. They'd devour him alive. "It was funny. You need to work on your sense of humor. Laughter makes you live longer. They've done scientific studies."
"It wasn't funny."
"C'mon." Since the chaperones had the kids contained to the parking lot, Derek risked taking his eyes off the horde to shoot a smirk in Callum's direction. "It was a little funny. Admit it. Your face ... man. When you opened your truck door and saw that goat, I nearly pissed myself laughing."
"It ate the seats." Derek wasn't sure how Callum managed to speak while clamping his jaw muscles so tightly. The man had a gift. "I can't take my truck to Denver to be reupholstered until next week." Now a forehead vein was throbbing in time with the clenching of his jaw. "Nine days. Until then, my seats are being held together with duct tape." Callum slowly turned his head to focus his chilly blue gaze on Derek. "Duct. Tape."
Forcing his face into serious lines with some difficulty, Derek donned his most contrite expression. "Hey, I'm paying for that new upholstery. Isn't that punishment enough?" Cal just narrowed his eyes a little more. "I was trying to do a good thing. Maybelle needed a home, and I thought the dive team could use a mascot."
"Why would the dive team need a mascot?"
"To improve morale? I mean, laughter is good for morale, right? And since Steve ended up taking Maybelle, now the Fire guys are going to be the ones with awesome morale. We lost out."
"How would a goat ... never mind." Callum gave his head a single shake. "You put the thing in my truck. How could you ever think that was a good idea?"
Since he was losing the battle to control his grin, Derek rubbed his hand over his mouth to hide it. "Uh ... didn't really think about it, boss. I mean, I'd just picked up the goat, and we got a call — I had to put her somewhere."
"Why not leave it in your truck?"
"Are you kidding?" Derek snorted. "Maybelle would've wrecked it."
Callum's expression cooled until it was positively glacial. "I've changed my mind."
"Really?" Hope replaced the amusement in Derek's voice. In his peripheral vision, he could see that the kids, now organized in semi-straight lines, had started their advance. Time was running out. He needed to escape — quickly. "I don't have to do this?"
"Oh, no," Callum said silkily, "you do have to do this. But I've decided that this punishment isn't sufficient. It ate. My. Truck."
A blond woman appeared at Callum's side before Derek could say more. "Hi! Are you Callum Cook?"
Turning his head, Callum focused the full power of his arctic glare on the woman. If he hadn't been so relieved not to be the target of that stare, Derek would've felt bad for her. Several uncomfortable seconds ticked past before Callum dipped his head, finally answering her question.
"Great! Fire Chief Early said I'd find you here." Her grin was still as wide as ever, and Derek couldn't help but be impressed. It had taken Derek years to build up the nerve to go toe-to-toe with Callum. "I'm Lou Sparks. I'd like to join the dive team, and the fire chief told me you're the one I need to hook up with." Her brown eyes widened as her smile finally began to falter. "Uh, not hook up with as in a dirty way or anything. I meant talk. Chief Early said I should talk to you."
Derek tilted his head, forcing his expression into severe lines as he clucked his tongue. "Don't think you're getting on this team that easy. Every one of us divers had to make it through the casting couch interview. There's no shortcut to wearing the neoprene uniform."
He'd been concentrating so hard on the woman that Derek didn't see the hand swinging toward the back of his head until it was too late to duck.
"Ignore him," Callum said, dropping his arm. "Do you have any dive experience?"
"Sure." Although her smile started to return, Lou's cheeks remained pink. "In tropical places, that is — I've never done any cold-water diving. Mainly because of the ... um, coldness." She gestured toward the icy reservoir behind them. "I'm guessing that's different than diving in just scuba gear and a bikini." She squeezed her eyes closed. "Frick. What is wrong with my mouth right now? I promise I'm not an oversexed bimbo. And now I just said 'sex' and 'bimbo.' Wow, what a great first impression I'm making. Please make me shut up immediately."
As Callum blinked at her, looking bemused, Derek couldn't hold back his laughter any longer.
"Lou," he said, holding out a hand. "Welcome to the dive team. I'm Derek, and I can already tell that I'm going to like you."
She grinned with obvious relief as she shook his hand.
"Meet me at Fire Station One at six thirty tomorrow evening for your official" — Callum shot Derek a scowl — "interview. Team training begins at seven."
She nodded, looking nervous again.
Derek stage-whispered, "Interview-shminterview. You're in. He's just trying to play the hard-ass." He glanced up and barely restrained a flinch. The kids had formed a half circle around them, eliminating any chance of escape.
Lou laughed. "I imagine it's a role he's comfortable playing."
Callum narrowed his eyes. "Since the two of you have apparently bonded, your first task can be to help Derek with this presentation."
Her mouth dropped open as she gave the encircling crowd a hunted glance. "Uh ... presentation? To kids? I'm not ... well, very good with kids. In fact, they tend to hate me." The terror in her voice matched what Derek felt, and he gave her a commiserating smile.
"They're waiting for you to begin." Jerking his chin toward the group, Callum turned and began walking away.
"Wait!" Despite his best effort at not showing fear, Derek knew his panic was obvious. "You're leaving me here? Alone?"
"You're not alone," Callum said, tipping his head toward Lou. "And I'll be right over there. Observing. Weren't you just saying that I should laugh more? I'm thinking this might be an excellent opportunity."
Well, shit. He couldn't argue with that.
Reluctantly turning back, Derek faced his audience. A funny-looking kid in the front licked at snot running from his nose to his upper lip. Holding back a wince, Derek forced a smile.
"Hey, kids. How's it going?"
All thirty-eight of the Simpson Elementary School third- and fourth-graders stared at him, unsmiling. Despite the December chill, Derek felt sweat prickle his forehead. When he shot Lou a desperate glance, she returned an equally fraught one and shifted behind him, putting his body between her and the kids.
Derek cleared his throat, making a mental note never to seriously piss off Callum again. The man was positively diabolical when it came to punishments. "I'm Derek Warner, and I'm going to tell you about the Field County Rescue Dive Team."
"Where are the firemen?" demanded a girl with dark curls poking out from under her stocking hat. "Ms. Belcher said we were going to see firemen."
"No firemen." Derek frowned. Apparently, even girls under ten had a thing for firefighters. "Divers are way better."
"Nuh-uh." The girl scowled at him.
Lou's amused snort interrupted the argument, and Derek took a deep breath. "When people fall into the water, the dive team rescues them. We also ..." His words trailed off as he turned his head toward Lou. Out of the corner of his mouth, he muttered, "How do I explain body recovery to kids without traumatizing them?"
"Um ... I don't think it's possible," Lou whispered. "Maybe you could use Barbie and Ken dolls to demonstrate?"
"What?" Realizing that his voice had risen, he lowered it to a hiss. "That's a stupid idea. Besides, I don't carry dolls around with me."
"Just don't mention dead people then!" she whispered back.
"Where are your fire trucks?" asked the snot-licker.
"We don't have fire trucks. We have a dive van." He waved toward the converted ambulance parked ten feet away.
The kids looked unimpressed. One mini-Neanderthal toward the back wasn't paying attention at all, too busy stuffing a fistful of snow down the neck of the girl in front of him. The girl yelped when it touched her skin.
"Hey!" Derek snapped. "Knock it off."
"Chase DuBois!" The all-too-familiar voice made Derek stiffen. How had he missed that she was here? Usually he had a divining rod crossed with a cattle prod inside him, giving him electric shocks whenever Artemis Rey was near. "If you can't behave, you'll be sitting in the bus with me for the remainder of the presentation."
Derek allowed himself a quick look. She was at the back of the group, standing next to the fourth-grade teacher, Marnie Belcher. Artie towered over the kids, and he wondered once again how he'd missed seeing her. After all, she was Artie, and he'd been panting after her since he'd been old enough to know that "hot" meant more than just a temperature. He gave her a nod of appreciation, and she smiled back at him, her delicate features somehow looking even more striking in contrast to her lumpy, hot-pink stocking hat. It appeared that she was attacking a new knitting hobby with more determination than skill.
A jab to his back brought him out of his Artie-inspired daze. "You have to do something, or there's going to be a mutiny," Lou whispered. "And that wouldn't go well, since there are more little people than big people. They'd have a chance at winning this thing."
He glanced around the crowd; the natives were indeed getting restless. The only other adults besides him, Lou, Artie, and Marnie were the two chaperones standing off to the side, too busy with their whispered conversation to pay much attention to the kids. Lou was right — the grown-ups were completely outnumbered. "What exactly do you think I should do? Dance? Sing? Magic tricks?"
"I don't know." She sounded irritated. "Does that poor excuse for an emergency vehicle have a siren? Maybe we can startle them into submission."
Derek sent a frantic glance over the crowd and noticed that Callum was leaning against the school bus, arms crossed over his chest and a tiny smile curling the corners of his mouth. For Callum, that small grin was the equivalent of belly laughter.
Scowling, Derek gave a short nod. "Code Three it is."
* * *
Using the flashing lights as a distraction, Zoe reached over and grabbed Maya's arm, towing her little sister several feet away from stupid Chase.
"I hate him," Maya said matter-of-factly, her voice just loud enough for Zoe to hear. She pulled at the back of her coat in an attempt to dislodge the last of the melting snow.
"Me too." Zoe wiped the moisture off the back of her sister's neck with her glove. "If Micah were here, Chase would've been too chicken to do anything to you."
"That's because Micah would've punched him in the face and made Chase cry in front of everyone." Releasing the hem in defeat, Maya gave a full-body shiver. "I wish the fifth-graders got to come today, too."
"It'll be okay. We'll watch him. If he gets too close, we'll go stand by Ms. Rey."
"Fine." Despite her reluctant agreement, Maya's face screwed up in a scowl. "I wish that dork-brain would fall in the water, though."
With a grin, Zoe eyed the reservoir with its thin coat of ice. "Yeah. It looks really cold."
Their gazes met, and the two girls started to giggle.
"Zoe and Maya Springfield!" Ms. Rey's crisp voice stopped their laughter. "Listening ears."
With slightly guilty nods, they turned back to the pair of presenters.
"Derek is really bad at this," Zoe whispered as the man struggled to talk while donning a goofy-looking suit.
"Yeah. Remember when he babysat us that one time?"
Clapping a hand over her mouth to hold back renewed giggles, Zoe nodded. "The spaghetti," she managed to say between her fingers, and it was Maya's turn to try to muffle her laughter.
A sharp poke at her side turned Zoe's repressed giggles into a grunt of pain. Chase was standing right next to her, holding a slimy-looking stick. She took a quick step away from the smirking boy, pulling Maya along with her.
"Leave us alone," Zoe whispered, but Chase just reached out with the stick again. She barely jumped back in time to dodge getting a slime trail across the leg of her jeans. When Zoe craned her neck to check for Ms. Rey, hoping the teacher would notice and put a stop to Chase's latest stupid behavior, she noticed Ms. Rey was staring at Derek.
Zoe looked back and forth between Ms. Rey and Derek, trying to figure out why the teacher was watching him so closely. It wasn't like Derek was doing anything interesting. He'd managed to get the funny-looking suit on all the way, and he'd taken a few steps out on the ice.
Ms. Belcher was trying to make Julius — who was always too hot — put his coat back on, and the two parent chaperones were all the way on the other side of the group, talking to each other. There wasn't any help coming from the grown-ups, so Zoe was going to have to take care of this herself.
The stick whacked the side of her boot, and Zoe refocused on Chase.
"I'm going to tell," she lied. Her brothers had taught her never to rat out anyone. "Then you'll have to sit on the bus. Ms. Rey said so."
With a shrug, Chase dragged the tip of the stick through a puddle of partially frozen mud. "Don't care. This is dumb, anyway."
That time, when he swung, he aimed at Maya. Pulling her sister behind her, Zoe kicked at the stick, trying to knock it out of Chase's hand, but she missed. Instead, mud spattered across her jeans. Rage-inspired heat prickled along the back of her neck and across her cheeks.
"You're such a bully, Chase DuBois!" Even in her flush of anger, Zoe remembered to keep her voice low so as not to incur the wrath of Ms. Rey. "Why don't you just go jump in the reservoir?"
"Like that guy?" Chase scoffed, pointing his muddy stick at Derek, who was back on shore, explaining different pieces of equipment. It actually looked kind of interesting, and Zoe wished that Chase would leave them alone so she could move closer to the presenters for a better view. "He's a tool. His stupid suit looks like something a baby would wear."
Zoe rolled her eyes. "Like you could do what he does."
His smirk fading, Chase swung the stick through the air next to his leg, the accelerating swish-swish revealing his growing temper. "I bet I could."
She made a contemptuous sound. "Ha. You'd be too scared even to walk out on the ice."
"Am not." Despite the denial, his expression was dubious as he eyed the reservoir.
"Then do it." Even as she spoke, Zoe's stomach started to feel like she'd eaten something rotten. "Not just on the edge, though. If you're really not scared, you have to walk ... thirty steps across the ice."
When Maya sucked in a breath behind her, Zoe almost lost her nerve and told Chase to forget about it. Before she could, he tossed down his stick.
"Fine. But I'm only going to do ten steps."
"Bock, bock!" she mocked.
"I'm not a chicken!" he almost yelled. They both paused and looked around to see if they'd attracted any attention, but the main group had pulled in more closely around the dive van. Zoe, Maya, and Chase were a good distance from anyone else.
"Twenty-five steps." As Zoe waited for his response, she made quiet clucking sounds under her breath.
"Okay. Twenty-five." Flushing darkly, Chase checked the teachers again, but all the others were focused on Derek and the woman presenter. Chase made a wide circle around the crowd, heading toward the edge of the ice.
"You shouldn't have dared him," Maya whispered, grabbing Zoe's gloved hand with both of hers.
"I know." She thought she'd enjoy watching Chase fall into the water, but now she just felt sick. Swallowing the sour remains of her lunch, she kept her gaze locked on the boy moving closer and closer to the ice.
Chase turned and glanced at them, and Zoe's nerve broke. She waved toward Chase, gesturing for him to return to safety. As if that had made up his mind, he shook his head and took a step onto the ice.
"One," Zoe counted under her breath. His other foot left the rocky security of the beach and he took another step. "Two."
Maya joined her in counting under their breath, each step feeling like it took an eternity. When they reached twenty-two, the band of fear around Zoe's chest loosened slightly.
"Almost there," she said quietly. "Twenty-three. Oh!" Her breath sucked harshly into her throat as she saw Chase drop to his knees. He turned his head to look at them, eyes huge in his pale face. For once, his constant smirk was gone.
"What happened?" Maya demanded. "Why'd he fall down like that?"
"I don't know." Her voice sounded strange — not like hers at all. She had to do something, had to help him. All at once he looked so pale and scared — not at all like the boy who constantly teased her.
Excerpted from On His Watch by Katie Ruggle. Copyright © 2016 Katie Ruggle. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
On His Watch,
An Excerpt from Hold Your Breath,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I read entire series. Kept me guessing. Tidy plot. Great characters. Dialogue was really good. Made me laugh out loud. And the action was terrific. Love scenes are heart pounding, not graphic. Very tastefully done. Would highly recommend. Kept me turning pages way too late at night. Love Katie Ruffle and I love this series. Can't wait for the next one.
Great intro to this series. Enjoyed this short story! Artie and Derek are sweet. The action steady and well written!
This is definately a short story, but it is certainly well written! This author is no beginner. Even though it is short, I didn't feel cheated. It seemed complete. Now......if it morphed into a full novel.......hum....This is a great story that feels real. Do note that there is a sexy scene between two people who have a long history together. The characters are intelligent members of a community. The main female is strong and capable. The man is sexy but smart. I loved it. It could only be better by turning into a full length novel. (I could write a comedy if I didn't go back and correct spelling. My Nook doesn't have that feature. I'd be writing about "a stiry" or a "nivel.")
Definitely read this novella, prequel first. I wish I had. Humor, love, suspense
Boring and a waste of time.
On His Watch by Katie Ruggle is a contemporary romance. This is a quick read, perfect for those with limited reading time. Ms. Ruggle has given us a well-written book and furnished it with a delightful cast of characters. Derek is on the fire department dive team. Artemis is an elementary school teacher. Derek and his team leader arrive at the school to give a presentation to Artie's class. Madness and mayhem arrived right behind them. Artie and Derek's story has enough drama, humor, sizzle, suspense and action to keep any reader happy. I enjoyed reading On His Watch and look forward to my next book by Katie Ruggle. On His Watch is book 0.5 of the Search And Rescue Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.
I know why it was free. It was miserable, slow moving, stupid characters, juvenile dialogue.
I enjoyed this book very much. So much so that I purchased and read the second one as well.
Loved this book
This book was a novella. The book was okay nothing amazing happened. It makes sense why this was a novella and not a full length book as the two main characters already had a past. The book was quick read but it doesn't make me want to read more in this series. I wish it did as I like to read new authors. *Gifted copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
This book just didn't do it for me. It was very juvenile and could be a teen book, not sure. It really needed some backstory before jumping into all of the suspense and drama. Derek and Artie were one dimensional and I thought at first some pages were missing. Several characters were introduced into the story with no background as well. I am guessing that the story takes place in a small town where everyone grew up together. I do not like to give poor reviews, so I will read the next in the series and hope for more fleshing out of the people in the story. I wish to thank NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca for gifting me with a copy of "On His Watch" and only asking for an honest review. 2.5 Stars
ON HIS WATCH is the prequel novella to the Search and Rescue series. Derek is diver on the Search and Rescue team in Colorado. He and a new recruit are putting on a demonstration for elementary school students when Derek has to perform an actual rescue. In the midst of the chaos, two students go missing and Derek, along with one of the teachers, Artemis, partner up to help search for the students. Derek and Artemis have a history together. Their relationship was unfortunately cut short when Derek ended things several years prior. Chemistry ignites as the pair work together to find the missing children. Their search leads them into each other’s arms as well as uncovering some evidence of a significant danger to the area and the people of this Colorado town. Excitement, suspense, intrigue and lots of romance round out this very short, yet completely compelling story! This is my first time reading Katie Ruggle and I am hooked! I really enjoyed the story and I love second chance romances! The plot was exciting, funny and engaging and the characters are memorable. I’m looking forward to reading the series and I can’t wait to find out what happens next! ***I was gifted an eBook copy from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. All conclusions reached are my own***
So we can all agree that the cover is definitely eye catching. And it did exactly what it was supposed to do, catch my eye. So then I read the blurb and that further peaked my interest. Well, not so much read the entire blurb as much as key phrases - Search & Rescue, Ice Rescue Diver, Hero. I had to grab it. At 100 pages, it's not a full story, but it's got enough room to let you get to know the characters. Derek and Artemis (love the name) story is a second chance at love - mainly due to Derek's bone-headedness years prior. There is some suspense going on, though it is short term it was intense at time. The ground work was laid for the next book as well as hints at an overreaching series arc. Overall, I must say that I enjoyed this prequel to what looks to be a promising series. Even though I don't normally give a high rating on a novella, I giving this book 4 stars. Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read and review the book.
3.5 - "I've missed this." Stars. The first novella in Katie Ruggles’ new Search and Rescue series gives us a quick introduction to some of the Rocky Mountain rescue teams main players. It also give us the reconnection story of Ice Rescue Diver; Derek Warner and Artemis Rey, the woman he loved and left 4 years previously. ”Nothing’s ever easy is it?” In the process of searching for two missing children one snowy windy evening, Derek and Artie also rediscover their feelings for each other, newly divorced Artie is the one woman Derek has always wanted, but never felt he was good enough for. But while getting themselves into scrapes and two children out of danger they both realize that the past and their mistakes with each other from then mean absolutely nothing when their feelings are still so strong for each other. ”If I get another chance with you… I’m never letting you go.” This was a really quick read, it wasn’t too heavy going even though there were quite a few things happening plot-wise. Katie is an author new to me, and this novella was a great way to discover that her writing style and story-telling are things that I would like to experience more of in the future. Hold Your Breath the next book in the series is due for release in April, and I look forward to reading more from this author. ARC generously provided via Netgalley, and it was my pleasure to provide the above honest review.