Archive for the ‘Series’ Category

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Cedric the Demonic Knight
The Cedric Series Book 1
by Valerie Willis
Genre: Epic Fantasy
 
Known for hunting the supernatural, no mortal man realizes Lord Cedric is
one of Sorceress Morrighan’s abominations. After competing in a
tournament, he is wed to a Lady of the Court, Angeline. Cedric’s
senses begin to overwhelm him and he struggles to decipher his
feelings; Are they a creation of his incubine bloodline or truly
heartfelt emotions for the girl who has lost it all to him? He finds
himself forced to choose between falling in love or continuing his
suicidal quest to kill his creator. Epic battles against all manners
of beasts and demons fill this story with memorable antagonists such
as Morrighan and her two sisters; Romasanta the Father of Werewolves;
Succubus Queen Lillith and many more. Find yourself engulfed in lores
and history long forgotten from the 12th Century and beyond.

 
 
Romasanta: Father of Werewolves
The Cedric Series Book 2
 
Romasanta finds himself a cursed man and struggles with his internal demon,
literally. All his troubles start with a stone and after that he will
be losing everything he’s ever loved. Faced with clinging on to what
little humanity he has, he will lose it many times before reaching
the end of his journey. His life’s tale will take you through time to
see how every lore, every moment in history tied in with wolves all
come back to him. They call him the Ancient One, others simply refer
to him as the Father of Werewolves, but we know him by his name,
Romasanta. Many battles will be fought before he gets closer to his
goals, but will he be ready to finish what was asked of him at the
very beginning of his horrible fate. Will he be able to return the
Eye of Gaea and free the love of his life from the laurel tree in the
Black Forest?
 
 
The Oracle
The Cedric Series Book 3
 
Released Sept 1st
 
With Angeline back in Cedric’s arms and the Eye of Gaea in Romasanta’s
grip, the next step in their journey begins. All eyes are set on Mt.
Parnassus where the Oracle is protected by Delphyne, the mother of
all dragons and beasts. Assembling a group of willing patrons,
Romasanta leads them to Delphi, Greece where they will cross into a
realm void of technology. Only brute strength and magic reign in a
place where packs of Mimick dogs, Wyverns and Jaculus still run wild.
Meanwhile, back home Lillith takes on a mysterious curse cast on Tony
who will have to make a life changing choice. The question weighing
on all their minds is if two werewolves, the Incubus King, and a
demonized sorceress will live to fight their way into Gaea’s Gate
to enter the Otherworld?
 
 
 
Valerie Willis is a sixth generation Floridian who loves crafting novels with
elements inspired by Mythology, Superstitions, Legends, Folklore,
Fairy Tales and even history. She braved the Independent Publish
route at the end of 2012 and has devoted herself for being a pillar
of “Self-Publishing How-to” from formatting of both print and
digital versions to book cover designs. 


Her fantasy romance novels within The Cedric Series is a wonderful blend
of genres that appeal to a wide-range of readers whether they like
paranormal, fantasy, romance or action adventure. The characters are
flawed in mental and emotional ways while being amazing powerful
creatures, demons, witches and Gods. Many of the monsters presented
in battle derive from Medieval Bestiaries and adds a fun flavor of
new yet deeply rooted assortment of creatures such as Coin Iotair,
Shag Foal, Cynocephali, and many more. 

 

For Young Adult readers looking for a Dark Fantasy and coming-of-age
lessons, Tattooed Angels Trilogy is an ode to her teenage life for
those teenagers getting ready to step out in the world on their own.
Hotan is a failed reincarnation and is becoming immortal against his
will. Life is complicated and often we withdraw within ourselves,
shut others out, when life becomes hard. As the story unfolds we
learn the importance of opening up and asking for support in all its
forms to the people in our lives even beyond friends and family. Each
immortal controls amazing powers of Nature, like fire, or elements of
Humanity, such as fear.

 

You can often find this Author hosting workshops about writing and
self-publishing in the Orlando, Florida area or working on the next
novel. She loves to inspire other writers and creative minds. Be sure
to visit her blog for some of the advice she has to offer from a
perspective that has influences from Game Development and Graphic
Design.
 
 
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 
 

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You can find a list of my reviews HERE.

For a list of free eBooks go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE

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Forever and a Night
by Lana Campbell
Genre: Paranormal Romance
 

Nathan Davenport is being stalked by Isabella Ravini, the feral vampire who stole his
human life over a hundred and sixty years ago. She made him her fledging, a slave for
her dark, evil purposes—hunting humans. After a few years she released him, and
Nathan reluctantly learned to accept the cursed life she’d foisted upon him.
Over time he amassed a great fortune, which today has made him famous
worldwide. Isabella decides she wants to be a part of this world of fame and fortune
Nathan created for himself. She’s determined to marry him, and love has nothing to do
with it. His money is her primary target, and the fame and prestige attached to being
the wife of one of the richest men in the world wouldn’t be so bad either.
In an effort to evade her until he can figure out how to stop her, he hides at a safe
house he owns in New Orleans. One Saturday evening in NOLA, he decides to have
dinner in the city. He chooses a quiet little Italian bistro, never imagining this night
will change his life forever. The human woman who delivers his order isn’t a server,
but the restaurant’s sous chef, a beautiful ethnic woman possessing the most delicious
blood scent he’s ever encountered.
The moment Mia Peebles arrives at his table with his plate, tasting her becomes
an obsession. Mia wants nothing to do with him because of Nathan’s reputation as a
playboy. So Nathan enchants her, feeds from her, but his lusts for her blood and body
play havoc with his thinking.
Nathan finds a way to bring her into his life as his personal chef and quickly falls
in love with her. The trouble is Mia has no idea he’s a vampire because during the
enchanting episodes, Nathan blocked her memories of those sensual encounters.
How will Nathan tell her the truth without losing her and keep Isabella from
finding him? Or worst yet, will Isabella discover how much Mia has come to mean
to him?

 
 
Dark Experiments
Forever and a Night Book 2
 
Christian is the exception to Tiffany’s rule that all males are louses. For
years Tiffany has lusted after Christian and of late she can’t help
but wonder what it might be like to have a brief fling with him. The
opportunity to explore her secret fantasy appears when Christian
offers her a job as the IT person for his practice, the V clinic. She
knows if he gives her the green light, she’s going to have a romp
with her sexy vampire. When the night finally arrives and she and
Christian have sex, the experience is so overwhelmingly powerful,
Tiffany backpedals and tries to turn down the heat between them.
She’s human. He’s a vampire. She can’t afford to fall in love
with him. 
Christian has other ideas. During their sexual encounter, he discovers Tiffany
is his life mate and he vows to change her thinking. His intentions
are put on hold when he gets caught up in an angel of death’s
vicious plan to chemically terminate V clinic patients’
pregnancies. Tiffany herself falls victim to a lethal dose of arsenic
and Christian can only save her by turning her into a vampire. She’s
furious when she wakes from her turning and discovers what Christian
has done. She wants nothing to do with him ever again, but when she’s
kidnapped by this angel of death and used as a guinea pig for deadly
experiments she only has Christian to turn to save her life.
 
 
 
 
Hi. I’m Lana Campbell author of Forever and a Night, a paranormal,
vampire romance. I love writing and reading paranormal books. I live
in Avoca, AR with a husband and a cat. Love cats too!
 
 
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 

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For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE

I loved Laura’s Hallowed Ones, Anya Kalinczyk, and Dark Alchemy Series so you can bet I’ll be reading her newest one, The Dragon’s Playlist.

Check it out!

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The Dragon’s Playlist

by Laura Bickle

35169461

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ISBN: 9781537891965

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

 

From the author of THE HALLOWED ONES and NINE OF STARS comes a new novel blending the magical and the real…

 

“This is war,” the dragon said. And she believed him.

 

Di fled rural West Virginia to study music and pursue a bright future as a violinist. But when a mining accident nearly kills her father, she is summoned back home to support her family. Old ghosts and an old flame emerge from the past. When Di gets a job as a bookkeeper at the same mine where her father worked, she is drawn into a conflict pitting neighbor against neighbor as the mine plans an expansion to an untouched mountain.

If the mining company’s operation goes forward, there will be more at stake than livelihoods or the pollution of the land: Di has discovered a dragon lives deep within Sawtooth Mountain, and he is not happy with this encroachment upon his lair. When catastrophe strikes, Di must choose between her family’s best interests and protecting the dragon – the last surviving bit of magic in Di’s shrinking world.

 

In every fight, sides are chosen. And there can be no yearning for what has been left behind.

 

Read 2 New Chapters Free Each Week Starting June 1

at

Wattpad

and

https://www.facebook.com/Author.Laura.Bickle

 

Full eBook Available at Pronoun

Amazon      BN      iBooks      Kobo      Google Play

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About Laura Bickle

Laura Bickle

Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology-Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs. Her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.

 

More information about Laura’s work can be found at:

Website / Twitter / Facebook

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For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE

Legion Lost
By K.C. Finn
Genre: Dystopian
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One Underground girl escapes from a soldiers’ raid. Lost and above

ground for the very first time, she has only one option to secure her

survival: the Legion—a government organization for teenagers with

no place left to run. Leave your identity at the gate, and join a

life of military service until you reach adulthood. It sounds ideal,

but the Underground girl knows that the System won’t stop looking

for its female runaway. So, she tells a lie about her gender.

And it will change her forever.

Posing as Raja, a boy-soldier, the Underground girl is thrown into Legion

life at its full, brutal speed. Here, she meets Senior Commander

Briggs, whose savage authority reigns over the teenage soldiers.

Amongst them are a band of oddballs known as the South Tower Rejects,

led by Stirling, a tall, savvy stranger with bright copper hair and

eyes that shine like oceans. There’s something hiding behind his

cocky smile, and Raja wants to know what it is.

Legion Found

The heart-wrenching sequel to Kindle Press’s LEGION LOST has arrived. As

our heroine Raja suffers with intense grief, her new identity as a

Highland rebel soldier is about to be put to the test. As part of an

intrepid rescue mission, she and her fellow Highlanders will travel

south to infiltrate the System itself, discovering the fresh horrors

that Governor Prudell has subjected her people to. Death, destruction

and all-out war awaits, and nothing can prepare them for the terror

of the truth.

K.C. Finn was born and raised in Cardiff, South Wales, where her love

for storytelling grew at a precociously young age. After developing

the medical condition M.E. / C.F.S., Kim turned to writing to escape

the pressures of disabled living, only to become hooked on the

incredible world of publishing.

Kim spends most of her time locked in the writing cave with an obscenely

large mug of tea. When not writing, she can be found pursuing her PhD

in Linguistics, watching classic British comedy, or concocting evil

schemes in the secret laboratory in her attic.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Amazon

***From February 17th to 23rd, my fantasy novel The Book Of Shade will be 99

cents, a 78% discount on the usual Kindle price.***

Buy it on Amazon!

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For a list of my reviews go HERE

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14288244  21911320

Welcome to My Monday Minis Reviews where I share short reviews of books I’ve read. For today I’ll be sharing two thrillers. Tracker by James Rollins. And The Kill Switch is from a new series I’m really excited about, co-authored by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood.

Tracker

Sigma Force #7.5

by James Rollins

14288244

Genre: Thriller

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My Review

I was so excited to get this short story. I first encountered Tucker and his canine partner, Kane, in the author’s Sigma Force book, Bloodlines, another great series.

Tucker can’t stand by when he sees a damsel in distress. Before he can say shit storm, he’s in one. Turns out the men following said damsel are after a treasure stolen by Nazis during World War II.

The action and danger are palpable. There’s hardly time to breathe. And there’s no guarantees that Tucker or Kane will get through it unscathed.

This is an up close and personal introduction to Tucker and his mighty dog, Kane. They work as a team, their bond so strong it seems like they read each others minds. It didn’t take me long to become attached to them, and it was fascinating to see them in action.

Tucker and Kane now have their own series and I’m already reading the second book. These characters are larger than life and the action never stops.

4 Stars

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Synopsis

From New York Times bestselling author James Rollins comes a stirring story of a soldier and his military war dog who are drawn into a dark mystery tracing back to World War II and a lost treasure tied to the bones of the dead.

Off the blustery streets in the medieval heart of Budapest, Captain Tucker Wayne and his war dog, Kane, rescue a mysterious woman fleeing three armed men. The secret she holds will unlock a terrible treasure, one steeped in blood and treachery, tied to a crime going back to the fall of Nazi Germany and a heritage of suffering and pain that reaches out from the past to wreak havoc today. In a final showdown in the depths of a lost cemetery, truths will be unearthed, treasures exposed, and the fate of all will rest upon the shoulders of one man and a dog whose courage is beyond measure.

Included within this thrilling story is a sneak peek at the opening chapters of Bloodline, in which the further exploits of Tucker and Kane will be revealed.

Amazon

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The Kill Switch

by James Rollins

and Grant Blackwood

21911320

Genre: Thriller

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My Review

I’ve read most of James Rollins books. One of the things that I love about his stories is that he mixes the larger than life scenarios with mysterious events from days long passed. From ancient artifacts and biological weapons to undiscovered creatures and the latest in technology, it’s always a thrilling adventure.

I first met army ranger Tucker Wayne and his military dog, Kane, in Bloodlines, a Sigma Force novel. Now they have their own series and I couldn’t be happier.

Right out of the gate you’re with Tucker and Kane on the job. How they work as a team is amazing and my favorite parts in the book. Being a dog lover myself, the bond between them touched me in a big way. And also reading from Kane’s point of view brought home their affection for each other. It was sweet how they reassured each other, how Kane was so ferocious in his defense of Tucker, and how Tucker was torn when having to put Kane in danger.

From one end of the globe to the other, the deadly duo took on some truly bad guys, or should I say gals. The action was super fast, and some scenes were so intense that I really worried about the outcome.

These two talented authors lay it on the line is this fantastic new thriller series. Loved it and Tucker and Kane are now some of my favorite characters.

 5 Stars

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Synopsis

From bestselling authors James Rollins and Grant Blackwood, the first installment in an exciting new thriller series based on the Sigma Force novels featuring former Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and his partner, Army working dog Kane, introduced in the New York Times bestseller Bloodline and the e-original story “Tracker.”

Former Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and his military working dog Kane are recruited by Sigma Force to extract a Russian pharmaceutical magnate from Siberia. A scientific genius, the drug tycoon holds the biological key to a new weapon system, a danger engineered from the ancient past to terrorize the modern world.

From the frozen steppes of Russia to the sun-blasted savannahs of Africa, Tucker and Kane must piece together a mystery going back to the origins of life on Earth—before the ancient peril can destroy the heartland of America, and with it, all of humankind.

Amazon

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For a list of my reviews go HERE.

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A Secondhand Life:
(The Killer Thriller Series Book 1)
by Pamela Crane
Genre: A compelling serial killer thriller

**”A Secondhand Life” is a standalone psychological thriller

featuring characters also found in the companion novella, “A

Secondhand Lie.”**

2016 New Apple Literary Award in Psychological Thrillers, First Place Winner

2016 Reader’s Favorite Award in Thrillers, First Place Winner

2015 Library Journal selection

2016 Chanticleer Clue Awards nominee
2016 Silver Falchion Best Fiction nominee
A heart never forgets its last beat…

In a freak collision when she was twelve, Mia Germaine faced death and

the loss of her father. A heart transplant from a young murder victim

saved her life, but not without a price. Twenty years later, chilling

nightmares about an unresolved homicide begin to plague Mia.

Compelled by these lost memories, she forms a complicated connection

to the victim—the girl killed the night of Mia’s accident—due

to a scientific phenomenon called “organ memory.”

Now suffocating beneath the weight of avenging a dead girl and catching a

serial killer on the loose dubbed the “Triangle Terror,” Mia must

dodge her own demons while unimaginable truths torment her—along

with a killer set on making her his next victim.

As Mia tries to determine if her dreams are clues or disturbing

phantasms, uninvited specters lead her further into danger’s path,

costing her the one person who can save her from herself. More than a

page-turning thriller, “A Secondhand Life” weaves a tale of

second chances and reclaimed dreams as this taut, refreshing story

ensnares and penetrates you.

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A Secondhand Lie:
A gripping short story thriller
(The Killer Thriller Series Book 0)

**”A Secondhand Lie” is the companion novella featuring characters

also found in the full-length standalone thriller, “A Secondhand

Life.”**

Sometimes you know things you’re not supposed to know. Things that you can

never un-know. Things that will change the course of your life…and

the fate of the ones you love.

I found her in our living room, bleeding and close to death, but alive.

Barely. Until morning stole her last breath. The media called her

killer the “Triangle Terror” … and then forgot about her. But I

never forgot—my murdered sister, and an investigation that led to

my own resurrection from the dead.

Twenty-two years ago, on a cold February night, Landon Worthington lost his

father for the last time. After an armed robbery gone wrong, evidence

and witness testimony pointed a shaky finger at Dan

Worthington—deadbeat dad and alcoholic husband. But before the dust

could settle over the conviction, Landon’s preteen sister, Alexis,

is murdered in their home, plunging Landon’s life into further

despair.

Two decades and a cold case later, Landon is dogged by guilt over their

estranged relationship and decides to confront his incarcerated

father-of-the-year about what really happened the night of the

robbery. But the years of lies are hard to unravel. And the biggest

question of all haunts him: How does everything tie into his sister’s

murder?

And so begins Landon’s journey to piece together the puzzle of secrets,

lies, and truths that can free his father, avenge his sister, and

perhaps save himself.

Pamela Crane is a professional juggler. Not the type of juggler who can toss

flaming torches in the air, but a juggler of four kids, a writing

addiction, a horse rescuer, and a book editor by trade. She lives on

the edge (ask her Arabian horse about that—he’ll tell you all

about their wild adventures while trying to train him!) and she

writes on the edge. Her characters and plots are her escape from the

real world of dirty diapers and cleaning horse stalls, and she

thrives off of an entertaining tale.

She is the author of the best-selling psychological thriller “The

Admirer’s Secret,” Amazon top 20 short story “A Fatal

Affair,” and her latest releases “A Secondhand Life”

and “A Secondhand Lie.”

To pick up a copy of a FREE book, or to find out more about her chaotic

existence, visit her website at www.pamelacrane.com.

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew and Good Luck!

For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways click on the lucky horseshoe below!

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Partners In Crime Tours

War Hawk

by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood

http://i0.wp.com/www.partnersincrimetours.net/pict/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/warhawk-mm-c.jpg?resize=353%2C639

Genre: Thriller
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date:December 27th 2016 (first published April 19th 2016)
Number of Pages: 544
ISBN: 0062135295 (ISBN13: 9780062135292)
Series: Tucker Wayne #2
Purchase Links: Amazon ? | Barnes & Noble ? | Goodreads ?

Synopsis

Former Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and his war dog Kane are thrust into a global conspiracy in this second Sigma Force spinoff adventure from #1 New York Times bestselling author James Rollins and Grant Blackwood.

Tucker Wayne’s past and present collide when a former army colleague comes to him for help. She’s on the run from brutal assassins hunting her and her son. To keep them safe, Tucker must discover who killed a brilliant young idealist-a crime that leads back to the most powerful figures in the U.S. government.

From the haunted swamplands of the deep South to the beachheads of a savage civil war in Trinidad, Tucker and his beloved war dog, Kane, must work together to discover the truth behind a mystery that dates back to World War II, involving the genius of a young code-breaker, Alan Turing…

They will be forced to break the law, expose national secrets, and risk everything to stop a madman determined to control the future of modern warfare for his own diabolical ends. But can Tucker and Kane withstand a force so indomitable that it threatens our future?

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Enjoy The Excerpt

Prologue

Spring 1940

Buckinghamshire, England

Few in the Abwehr’s military intelligence knew his true name or even his intent here on British soil. The spy went by the code name Geist, the German word for ghost, and for him failure was not an option.

He lay on his stomach in a muddy ditch, with ice-encrusted cattails stabbing at his face. He ignored the midnight cold, the frigid gusts of breezes, the ache of his frozen joints. Instead, he concentrated on the view through the binoculars fixed to his face.

He and his assigned team lay alongside the banks of a small lake. A hundred yards off, on the opposite shore, a row of stately rural mansions sat dark, brightened here and there by the rare sliver of yellow light peeking through blackout curtains. Still, he spotted rolls of barbed wire mounted atop the garden walls of one particular estate.

Bletchley Park.

The place also went by a code name: Station X.

The seemingly nondescript country house masked an operation run by British intelligence, a joint effort by MI6 and the Government Code and Cypher School. In a series of wooden huts set up on those idyllic acres, the Allied forces had gathered the greatest mathematicians and cryptographers from around the globe, including one man, Alan Turing, who was decades ahead of his peers. Station X’s goal was to break the German military’s Enigma code, using tools built by the geniuses here. The group had already succeeded in building an electromechanical decrypting device called The Bombe, and rumors abounded about a new project already under way, to build Colossus, the world’s first programmable electric computer.

But destroying such devices was not his goal this night.

Hidden upon those grounds was a prize beyond anything his superiors could imagine: a breakthrough that held the potential to change the very fate of the world.

And I will possess it—or die trying.

Geist felt his heart quicken.

To his left, his second in command, Lieutenant Hoffman, pulled the collar of his jacket tighter around his neck as an icy rain began to fall. He shifted, cursing his complaint. “Gott verlassenen Land.

Geist kept his binoculars in place as he scolded the head of the commandos. “Silence. If anyone hears you speaking German, we’ll be stuck here for the rest of the war.”

Geist knew a firm hand was needed with the eight-man team under his charge. The members had been handpicked by the Abwehr not only for their superb martial skills but for their grasp of English. Whatever the British might lack in military presence out here in the rural regions, they made up for by a vigilant citizenry.

“Truck!” Hoffman rasped.

Geist glanced over his shoulder to the road passing through the woods behind him. A lorry trundled along, its headlights muted by blackout slits.

“Hold your breath,” Geist hissed.

He wasn’t about to let their presence catch the attention of the passing driver. He and the others kept their faces pressed low until the sound of the truck’s puttering engine faded away.

“Clear,” Hoffman said.

Geist checked his watch and searched again with his binoculars.

What is taking them so long?

Everything depended on clockwork timing. He and his team had offloaded from a U-boat five days ago onto a lonely beach. Afterward, the group had split into teams of two or three and worked their way across the countryside, ready with papers identifying them as day laborers and farmhands. Once they reached the target area, they had regrouped at a nearby hunting shack, where a cache of weapons awaited them, left by sleeper agents who had prepped the way in advance for Geist’s team.

Only one last detail remained.

A wink of light caught his attention from the grounds neighboring the Bletchley Park estate. It shuttered off once, then back on again—then finally darkness returned.

It was the signal he had been waiting for.

Geist rolled up to an elbow. “Time to move out.”

Hoffman’s team gathered their weapons: assault rifles and noise-suppressed pistols. The largest commando—a true bull of a man named Kraus—hauled up an MG42 heavy machine gun, capable of firing twelve hundred rounds per minute.

Geist studied the black-streaked faces around him. They had trained for three months within a life-sized mock-up of Bletchley Park. By now, they could all walk those grounds blindfolded. The only unknown variable was the level of on-site defense. The research campus was secured by both soldiers and guards in civilian clothes.

Geist went over the plan one last time. “Once inside the estate, torch your assigned buildings. Cause as much panic and confusion as possible. In that chaos, Hoffman and I will attempt to secure the package. If shooting starts, take down anything that moves. Is that understood?”

Each man nodded his head.

With everyone prepared—ready to die if need be—the group set off and followed the contour of the lake, sticking to the mist-shrouded forest. Geist led them past the neighboring estates. Most of these old homes were shuttered, awaiting the summer months. Soon servants and staff would be arriving to prepare the country homes for the leisure season, but that was still a couple of weeks away.

It was one of the many reasons this narrow window of opportunity had been chosen by Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German military intelligence. And there was one other time-critical element.

“Access to the bunker should be just up ahead,” Geist whispered back to Hoffman. “Ready the men.”

The British government—aware that Adolf Hitler would soon launch an air war against this island nation—had begun constructing underground bunkers for its critical installations, including Bletchley Park. The bunker at Station X was only half completed, offering a brief break in the secure perimeter around the estate.

Geist intended to take advantage of that weakness this night.

He led his team toward a country house that neighbored Bletchley Park. It was a red-brick Tudor with yellow shutters. He approached the stacked-stone fence that surrounded the grounds and waved his team to flatten against it.

“Where are we going?” Hoffman whispered. “I thought we were going through some bunker.”

“We are.” Only Geist had been given this last piece of intelligence.

He crouched low and hurried toward the gate, which he found unlocked. The winking signal earlier had confirmed that all was in readiness here.

Geist pushed open the gate, slipped through, and led his team across the lawn to the home’s glass-enclosed conservatory. He found another unlocked door there, hurried inside with his men, and crossed to the kitchen. The all-white cabinetry glowed in the moonlight streaming through the windows.

Wasting no time, he stepped to a door beside the pantry. He opened it and turned on his flashlight, revealing a set of stairs. At the bottom, he found a stone-floored cellar; the walls were white-painted brick, the exposed ceiling a maze of water pipes running through the floor joists. The cellar spanned the width of the house.

He led his team past stacks of boxes and furniture draped in dusty sheets to the cellar’s eastern wall. As directed, he pulled away a rug to reveal a hole that had been recently dug through the floor. Another bit of handiwork from Canaris’s sleeper agents.

Geist shone his flashlight down the hole, revealing water flowing below.

“What is it?” Hoffman asked.

“Old sewer pipe. It connects all the estates circling the lake.”

“Including Bletchley Park,” Hoffman realized with a nod.

“And its partially completed bunker,” Geist confirmed. “It’ll be a tight squeeze, but we’ll only need to cross a hundred meters to reach the construction site of that underground bomb shelter and climb back up.”

According to the latest intelligence, those new foundations of the bunker were mostly unguarded and should offer them immediate access into the very heart of the estate’s grounds.

“The Brits won’t know what hit them,” Hoffman said with a mean grin.

Geist again led the way, slipping feetfirst through the hole and dropping with a splash into the ankle-deep dank water. He kept one hand on the moldy wall and headed along the old stone pipe. It was only a meter and a half wide, so he had to keep his back bowed, holding his breath against the stink.

After a handful of steps, he clicked off his flashlight and aimed for the distant glow of moonlight. He moved more slowly along the curving pipe, keeping his sloshing to a minimum, not wanting to alert any guards who might be canvassing the bunker’s construction site. Hoffman’s teammates followed his example.

At last, he reached that moonlit hole in the pipe’s roof. A temporary grate covered the newly excavated access point to the old sewer. He fingered the chain and padlock that secured the grate in place.

Unexpected but not a problem.

Hoffman noted his attention and passed him a set of bolt cutters. With great care, Geist snapped through the lock’s hasp and freed the chain. He shared a glance with the lieutenant, confirming everyone was ready—then pushed the grate open and pulled himself up through the hole.

He found himself crouched atop the raw concrete foundations of the future bunker. The skeletal structure of walls, conduits, and plumbing surrounded him. Scaffolding and ladders led up toward the open grounds of the estate above. He hurried to one side, ducking under a scaffold, out of direct view. One by one the remaining eight commandoes joined him.

Geist took a moment to orient himself. He should be within forty meters of their target: Hut 8. It was one of several green-planked structures built on these grounds. Each had its own purpose, but his team’s goal was the research section overseen by the mathematician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing.

He gestured for the men to huddle together.

“Remember, no shooting unless you’re intercepted. Toss those incendiaries into Huts 4 and 6. Let the fire do the work for us. With any luck, the distraction will create enough confusion to cover our escape.”

Hoffman pointed to two of his men. “Schwab, you take your team to Hut 4. Faber, you and your men have Hut 6. Kraus, you trail us. Be ready to use that machine gun of yours if there is any trouble.”

The lieutenant’s men nodded in agreement, then scaled the ladders and disappeared out of the open pit of the bunker. Geist followed on their heels with Hoffman and Kraus trailing him.

Staying low, he headed north until he reached Hut 8 and flattened against the wooden siding. The door should be around the next corner. He waited a breath, making sure no alarm had been raised.

He counted down in his head until finally shouts arose to the east and west. “Fire, fire, fire!

Upon that signal, he slid around the corner and climbed a set of plank steps to reach the door into Hut 8. He turned the knob as the night grew brighter, flickering with fresh flames.

As more shouts rose, he pushed through the doorway and into a small room. The center was dominated by two trestle tables covered in stacks of punch cards. The whitewashed walls were plastered with propaganda posters warning about ever-present Nazi eyes and ears.

With his pistol raised, he and Hoffman rushed across and burst through the far doorway into the next room. Seated at a long table, two women sorted through more piles of punch cards. The woman to the right was already looking up. She spun in her chair, reaching for a red panic button on the wall.

Hoffmann shot her twice in the side. The suppressed gunfire was no louder than a couple of firm coughs.

Geist took out the second woman with a single round through her throat. She toppled backward, her face still frozen in an expression of surprise.

They must have been Wrens—members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service—who were assisting in the work being conducted here.

Geist hurried to the first woman, searched her pockets, and came up with a thumb-sized brass key. On the second woman, he found a second key, this one iron.

With his prizes in hand, he hurried back to the main room.

From outside, there arose the wonk-wonk-wonk of an alarm klaxon.

So far our subterfuge seems to be—

The rattling blasts of a submachine gun cut off this last thought. More gunfire followed. Hoffman cursed.

“We’ve been discovered,” the lieutenant warned.

Geist refused to give up. He crossed to a waist-high safe along one wall. As expected, it was secured by two keyed locks, top and bottom, and a combination dial in the center.

“Need to hurry, sir,” Hoffmann rasped next to him. “Sounds like we got a lot of foot traffic outside.”

Geist pointed to the door. “Kraus, clear a path for us back to the bunker.”

The large soldier nodded, hefted up his heavy weapon, and vanished out the door. As Geist inserted his two keys, Kraus’s MG42 opened up outside, roaring into the night.

Geist focused on the task at hand, turning one key, then the other, getting a satisfying thunk-thunk in return. He moved his hand to the combination lock. This was truly the test of the Abwehr’s reach.

He spun the dial: nine…twenty-nine…four.

He took a breath, let it out, and depressed the lever.

The safe door swung open.

Thank God.

A quick search inside revealed only one item: a brown accordion folder wrapped in red rubber bands. He read the name stenciled on the outside.

The ARES Project

He knew Ares was the Greek god of war, which was appropriate, considering the contents. But that connotation only hinted at the true nature of the work found inside. The acronym—ARES—stood for something far more earth-shattering, something powerful enough to rewrite history. He grabbed the folder with trembling hands, knowing the terrifying wonders it held, and stuffed the prize into his jacket.

His second in command, Hoffman, stepped over to the hut’s door, cracked it open, and yelled outside. “Kraus!”

“Komm!” Kraus answered in German, forsaking any need for further subterfuge. “Get out here before they regroup!”

Geist joined Hoffman at the door, pulled the pin on an incendiary grenade, and tossed it back into the center of the room. Both men lunged outside as it exploded behind them, blowing out the windows with gouts of flames

To their left, a pair of British soldiers sprinted around the corner of the hut. Kraus cut them down with his machine gun, but more soldiers followed, taking cover and returning fire, forcing Geist’s team away from the excavated bunker—away from their only escape route.

As they retreated deeper into the grounds, smoke billowed more thickly, accompanied by the acrid stench of burning wood.

Another set of figures burst through the pall. Kraus came close to carving them in half with his weapon, but at the last moment, he halted, recognizing his fellow commandos. It was Schwab’s team.

“What about Faber and the others?” Hoffman asked.

Schwab shook his head. “Saw them killed.”

That left only the six of them.

Geist quickly improvised. “We’ll make for the motor pool.”

He led the way at a dead run. The team tossed incendiaries as they went, adding to the confusion, strafing down alleyways, dropping anything that moved.

Finally they reached a row of small sheds. Fifty meters beyond, the main gate came into view. It looked like a dozen soldiers crouched behind concrete barriers, guns up, looking for targets. Spotlights panned the area.

Before being seen, Geist directed his group into a neighboring Quonset hut, where three canvas-sided lorries were parked.

“We need that gate cleared,” Geist said, looking at Hoffman and his men, knowing what he was asking of them. For any chance of escape, many of them would likely die in the attempt.

The lieutenant stared him down. “We’ll get it done.”

Geist clapped Hoffman on the shoulder, thanking him.

The lieutenant set out with his remaining four men.

Geist crossed and climbed into one of the lorries, where he found the keys in the ignition. He started the engine, warming it up, then hopped back out again. He crossed to the remaining two trucks and popped their hoods.

In the distance, Kraus’s machine gun began a lethal chattering, accompanied by the rattle of assault rifles and the overlapping crump of exploding grenades.

Finally, a faint call reached him.

Klar, klar, klar!” Hoffman shouted.

Geist hurried back to the idling lorry, climbed inside, and put the truck into gear—but not before tossing two grenades into each of the open engine compartments of the remaining lorries. As he rolled out and hit the accelerator, the grenades exploded behind him.

He raced to the main gate and braked hard. British soldiers lay dead; the spotlights shot out. Hoffman rolled the gate open, limping on a bloody leg. Supported by a teammate, Kraus hobbled his way into the back of the lorry. Hoffman joined him up front, climbing into the passenger seat and slamming the door angrily.

“Lost Schwab and Braatz.” Hoffman waved ahead. “Go, go.”

With no time to mourn, Geist gunned the engine and raced down the country road. He kept one eye on the side mirror, watching for any sign of pursuit. Taking a maze of turns, he tried to further confound their escape route. Finally, he steered the lorry down a narrow dirt tract lined by overgrown English oaks. At the end was a large barn, its roof half collapsed. To the left was a burned-out farmhouse.

Geist parked beneath some overhanging boughs and shut off the engine. “We should see to everyone’s injuries,” he said. “We’ve lost enough good men.”

“Everybody out,” Hoffman ordered, rapping a knuckle on the back of the compartment.

After they all climbed free, Geist surveyed the damage. “You’ll all get the Knight’s Cross for your bravery tonight. We should—”

A harsh shout cut him off, barked in German. “Halt! Hände hoch!

A dozen men, bristling with weapons, emerged from the foliage and from behind the barn.

“Nobody move!” the voice called again, revealing a tall American with a Tommy gun in hand.

Geist recognized the impossibility of their team’s situation and lifted his arms. Hoffman and his last two men followed his example, dropping their weapons and raising their hands.

It was over.

As the Americans frisked Hoffman and the others, a lone figure stepped from the darkened barn door and approached Geist. He pointed a .45-caliber pistol at Geist’s chest.

“Tie him up,” he ordered one of his men.

As his wrists were efficiently bound in rope, his captor spoke in a rich southern twang. “Colonel Ernie Duncan, 101st Airborne. You speak English?”

“Yes.”

“Whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?”

Schweinhund,” Geist answered with a sneer.

“Son, I’m pretty sure that isn’t your name. I’ll assume that slur is intended for me. So then let’s just call you Fritz. You and I are going to have a talk. Whether it’s pleasant or ugly is up to you.”

The American colonel called to one of his men. “Lieutenant Ross, put those other three men into the back of their truck and get them ready for transport. Say good-bye to your team, Fritz.”

Geist turned to face his men and shouted, “Für das Vaterland!

Das Vaterland!” Hoffman and the others repeated in unison.

The American soldiers herded the commandos into the back of the lorry, while Colonel Duncan marched Geist over to the barn. Once inside, he closed the doors and waved to encompass the piles of hay and manure.

“Sorry for our meager accommodations, Fritz.”

Geist turned to face him and broke into a smile. “Damned good to see you, too, Duncan.”

“And you, my friend. How’d it go? Find what you were looking for?”

“It’s in my jacket. For whatever’s it worth, those Germans fight like the devil. Bletchley’s burning. But they should be up and running again in a week.”

“Good to know.” Duncan used a razor blade to free his bound wrists. “How do you want to play this from here?”

“I’ve got a small Mauser hidden in a crotch holster.” Geist stood up and rubbed his wrists, then unwound his scarf and folded it into a thick square. He reached into the front of his pants and withdrew the Mauser.

Geist glanced behind him. “Where’s the back door?”

Duncan pointed. “By those old horse stalls. Nobody’ll be back behind the barn to see you escape. But you’ll have to make it look convincing, you know. Really smack me good. Remember, we Americans are tough.”

“Duncan, I’m not keen on this idea.”

“Necessities of war, buddy. You can buy me a case of scotch when we get back to the States.”

Geist shook the colonel’s hand.

Duncan dropped his .45 to the ground and smiled. “Oh look, you’ve disarmed me.”

“We Germans are crafty that way.”

Next Duncan ripped open the front of his fatigue blouse, popping buttons off onto the straw-covered floor. “And there’s been a struggle.”

“Okay, Duncan, enough. Turn your head. I’ll rap you behind the ear. When you wake up, you’ll have a knot the size of a golf ball and a raging headache, but you asked for it.”

“Right.” He clasped Geist by the forearm. “Watch yourself out there. It’s a long way back to DC.”

As Duncan turned his head away, a flicker of guilt passed through Geist. Still, he knew what needed to be done.

Geist pressed the wadded scarf to the Mauser’s barrel and jammed it against Duncan’s ear.

The colonel shifted slightly. “Hey, what are you—”

He pulled the trigger. With the sound of a sharp slap, the bullet tore through Duncan’s skull, snapping his friend’s head back as the body toppled forward to the ground.

Geist stared down. “So sorry, my friend. As you said before, necessities of war. If it makes you feel any better, you’ve just changed the world.”

He pocketed the pistol, walked to the barn’s back door, and disappeared into the misty night, becoming at last…a true ghost.

FIRST

Ghost Hunt

1

October 10, 6:39 p.m. MDT
Bitterroot Mountains, Montana

All this trouble from a single damned nail…

Tucker Wayne tossed the flat tire into the back of his rental. The Jeep Grand Cherokee sat parked on the shoulder of a lonely stretch of road in the forested mountains of southwest Montana. These millions of acres of pines, glacier-cut canyons, and rugged peaks formed the largest expanse of pristine wilderness in the Lower 48.

He stretched a kink out of his back and searched down the winding stretch of blacktop, bracketed on both sides by sloping hills and dense stands of lodgepole pines.

Just my luck. Here in the middle of nowhere, I pick up a nail.

It seemed impossible that this great beast of an SUV could be brought low by a simple sliver of iron shorter than his pinkie. It was a reminder of how modern technological progress could still be ground to a halt by a single bit of antiquated hardware like a roofing nail.

He slammed the rear cargo hatch and whistled sharply. His companion on this cross-country journey pulled his long furry nose out of a huckleberry bush at the edge of the forest and glanced back at Tucker. Eyes the color of dark caramel looked plainly disappointed that this roadside pit stop had come to an end.

“Sorry, buddy. But we’ve got a long way to go if we hope to reach Yellowstone.”

Kane shook his heavy coat of black and tan fur, his thick tail flagging as he turned, readily accepting this reality. The two of them had been partners going back to his years with the U.S. Army Rangers, surviving multiple deployments across Afghanistan together. Upon leaving the service, Tucker took Kane with him—not exactly with the army’s permission, but that matter had been settled in the recent past.

The two were now an inseparable team, on their own, seeking new roads, new paths. Together.

Tucker opened the front passenger door and Kane hopped inside, his lean muscular seventy pounds fitting snugly into the seat. He was a Belgian Malinois, a breed of compact shepherd commonly used by the military and law enforcement. Known for their fierce loyalty and sharp intelligence, the breed was also well respected for their nimbleness and raw power in a battlefield environment.

But there was no one like Kane.

Tucker closed the door but lingered long enough to scratch his partner through the open window. His fingers discovered old scars under the fur, reminding Tucker of his own wounds: some easy to see, others just as well hidden.

“Let’s keep going,” he whispered before the ghosts of his past caught up with him.

He climbed behind the wheel and soon had them flying through the hills of the Bitterroot National Forest. Kane kept his head stuck out the passenger side, his tongue lolling, his nose taking in every scent. Tucker grinned, finding the tension melting from his shoulders as it always did when he was moving.

For the moment, he was between jobs—and he intended to keep it that way for as long as possible. He only took the occasional security position when his finances required it. After his last job—when he had been hired by Sigma Force, a covert branch of the military’s research-and-development department—his bank accounts continued to remain flush.

Taking advantage of the downtime, he and Kane had spent the last couple of days hiking the Lost Trail Pass, following in the footsteps of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and now they were moving onto Yellowstone National Park. He had timed this trip to the popular park to reach it in the late fall, to avoid the crush of the high season, preferring the company of Kane to anyone on two legs.

Around a bend in the dark road, a pool of fluorescent lights revealed a roadside gas station. The sign at the entrance read

Fort Edwin Gas and Grocery. He checked his fuel gauge.

Almost empty.

He flipped on his turn signal and swung into the small station. His motel was three miles farther up the road. His plan had been to take a fast shower, collect his bags, and continue straight toward Yellowstone, taking advantage of the empty roads at night.

Now he had a snag in those plans. He needed to replace the flat tire as soon as possible. Hopefully someone at the gas station knew the closest place to get that done in these remote hills.

He pulled next to one of the pumps and climbed out. Kane hopped through the window on the other side. Together they headed for the station.

Tucker pulled open the glass door, setting a brass bell to tinkling. The shop was laid out in the usual fashion: rows of snacks and food staples, backed up by a tall stand of coolers along the back wall. The air smelled of floor wax and microwaved sandwiches.

“Good evening, good evening,” a male voice greeted him, his voice rising and falling in a familiar singsong manner.

Tucker immediately recognized the accent as Dari Persian. From his years in the deserts of Afghanistan, he was familiar with the various dialects of that desert country. Despite the friendliness of the tone, Tucker’s belly tightened in a knot of old dread. Men with that very same accent had tried to kill him more times than he could count. Worse still, they had succeeded in butchering Kane’s littermate.

He flashed to the bounding joy of his lost partner, the unique bond they had shared. It took all of his effort to force that memory back into that knot of old pain, grief, and guilt.

“Good evening,” the man behind the counter repeated, smiling, oblivious to the tension along Tucker’s spine. The proprietor’s face was nut brown, his teeth perfectly white. He was mostly bald, save for a monk’s fringe of gray hair. His eyes twinkled as though Tucker was a friend he hadn’t seen in years.

Having met hundreds of Afghan villagers in his time, Tucker knew the man’s demeanor was genuine. Still, he found it hard to step inside.

The man’s brow formed one concerned crinkle at his obvious hesitation. “Welcome,” he offered again, waving an arm to encourage him.

“Thanks,” Tucker finally managed to reply. He kept one hand on Kane’s flank. “Okay if I bring my dog in?”

“Yes, of course. All are welcome.”

Tucker took a deep breath and crossed past the front shelves, neatly stocked with packets of beef jerky, Slim Jims, and corn chips. He stepped to the counter, noting he was the only one in the place.

“You have a beautiful dog,” the man said. “Is he a shepherd?”

“A Belgian Malinois…a type of shepherd. Name’s Kane.”

“And I am Aasif Qazi, owner of this fine establishment.”

The proprietor stretched a hand across the counter. Tucker took it, finding the man’s grip firm, the palm slightly calloused from hard labor.

“You’re from Kabul,” Tucker said.

The man’s eyebrows rose high. “How did you know?”

“Your accent. I spent some time in Afghanistan.”

“Recently, I am guessing.”

Not so recently, Tucker thought, but some days it felt like yesterday. “And you?” he asked.

“I came to the States as a boy. My parents wisely chose to emigrate when the Russians invaded back in the seventies. I met my wife in New York.” He raised his voice. “Lila, come say hello.”

From an office in the back, a petite, gray-haired Afghani woman peeked out and smiled. “Hello. Nice to meet you.”

“So how did you both end up here?”

“You mean in the middle of nowhere?” Aasif’s grin widened. “Lila and I got tired of the city. We wanted something that was exact opposite.”

“Looks like you succeeded.” Tucker glanced around the empty shop and the dark forest beyond the windows.

“We love it here. And it’s normally not this deserted. We’re between seasons at the moment. The summer crowds have left, and the skiers have yet to arrive. But we still have our regulars.”

Proving this, a diesel engine roared outside, and a white, rust-stained pickup truck pulled between the pumps, fishtailing slightly as it came to a stop.

Tucker turned back at Aasif. “Seems like business is picking—”

The man’s eyes had narrowed, his jaw clenched. The army had handpicked Tucker as a dog handler because of his unusually high empathy scores. Such sensitivity allowed him to bond more readily and deeply with his partner—and to read people. Still, it took no skill at all to tell Aasif was scared.

Aasif waved to his wife. “Lila, go back in the office.”

She obeyed, but not before casting a frightened glance toward her husband.

Tucker moved closer to the windows, trailed by Kane. He quickly assessed the situation, noting one odd detail: duct tape covered the truck’s license plate.

Definitely trouble.

No one with good intentions blacked out his license plate.

Tucker took a deep breath. The air suddenly felt heavier, crackling with electricity. He knew it was only a figment of his own spiking adrenaline. Still, he knew a storm was brewing. Kane reacted to his mood, the hackles rising along the shepherd’s back, accompanied by a low growl.

Two men in flannel shirts and baseball caps hopped out of the cab; a third jumped down from the truck’s bed. The driver of the truck sported a dirty red goatee and wore a green baseball cap emblazoned with

I’d rather be doin’ your wife.

Great…not only are these yokels trouble, they have a terrible sense of humor.

Without turning, he asked, “Aasif, do you have security cameras?”

“They’re broken. We haven’t been able to fix them.”

He sighed loudly. Not good.

The trio strutted toward the station entrance. Each man carried a wooden baseball bat.

“Call the sheriff. If you can trust him.”

“He’s a decent man.”

“Then call him.”

“Tucker, perhaps it is best if you do not —”

“Make the call, Aasif.”

Tucker headed to the door with Kane and pushed outside before the others could enter. Given the odds, he would need room to maneuver.

Tucker stopped the trio at the curb. “Evening, fellas.”

“Hey,” replied Mr. Goatee, making a move to slip past him.

Tucker stepped to block him. “Store’s closed.”

“Bull,” said one of the others and pointed his bat. “Look, Shane, I can see that raghead from here.”

“Then you can also see he’s on the phone,” Tucker said. “He’s calling the sheriff.”

“That idiot?” Shane said. “We’ll be long gone before he pulls his head outta his ass and gets here.”

Tucker let his grin turn dark. “I wouldn’t be so sure of that.”

He silently signaled Kane, pointing an index finger down—then tightening a fist. The command clear: threaten.

Kane lowered his head, bared his teeth, and let out a menacing growl. Still, the shepherd remained at his side. Kane wouldn’t move unless given another command or if this confrontation became physical.

Shane took a step back. “That mutt comes at me and I’ll bash his brains in.”

If this mutt comes at you, you’ll never know what hit you.

Tucker raised his hands. “Listen, guys, I get it. It’s Friday night, time to blow off some steam. All I’m asking is you find some other way of doing it. The people inside are just trying to make a living. Just like you and me.”

Shane snorted. “Like us? Them towelheads ain’t nothing like us. We’re Americans.”

“So are they.”

“I lost buddies in Iraq—”

“We all have.”

“What the hell do you know about it?” asked the third man.

“Enough to know the difference between these store owners and the kind of people you’re talking about.”

Tucker remembered his own reaction upon first entering the shop and felt a twinge of guilt.

Shane lifted his bat and aimed the end at Tucker’s face. “Get outta our way or you’ll regret siding with the enemy.”

Tucker knew the talking part of this encounter was over.

Proving this, Shane jabbed Tucker in the chest with the bat.

So be it.

Tucker’s left hand snapped out and grabbed the bat. He gave it a jerk, pulling Shane off balance toward him.

He whispered a command to his partner: “grab and drop.”

* * *

Kane hears those words—and reacts. He recognizes the threat in his target: the rasp of menace in his breath, the fury that has turned his sweat bitter. Tense muscles explode as the order is given. Kane is already moving before the last word is spoken, anticipating the other’s need, knowing what he must do.

He leaps upward, his jaws wide.

Teeth find flesh.

Blood swells over his tongue.

 

* * *

 

With satisfaction, Tucker watched Kane latch on to Shane’s forearm. Upon landing on his paws, the shepherd twisted and threw the combatant to the ground. The bat clattered across the concrete.

Shane screamed, froth flecking his words. “Get him off, get him off!”

One of the man’s friends charged forward, his bat swinging down toward Kane. Anticipating this, Tucker dove low and took the hit with his own body. Expertly blunting the blow by turning his back at an angle, he reached up and wrapped his forearm around the bat. He pinned it in place—then side kicked. His heel slammed into the man’s kneecap, triggering a muffled pop.

The man hollered, released the bat, and staggered backward.

Tucker swung his captured weapon toward the third attacker. “It’s over. Drop it.”

The last man glared, but he let the bat fall—

—then reached into his jacket and lashed out with his arm again.

Tucker’s mind barely had time to register the glint of a knife blade. He backpedaled, dodging the first slash. His heel struck the curb behind him, and he went down, crashing into a row of empty propane tanks and losing the bat.

Grinning cruelly, the man loomed over Tucker and brandished his knife. “Time to teach you a lesson about—”

Tucker reached over his shoulder and grabbed a loose propane tank as it rolled along the sidewalk behind him. He swung it low, cutting the man’s legs out from under him. With a pained cry of surprise, the attacker crashed to the ground.

Tucker rolled to him, snatched the man’s wrist, and bent it backward until a bone snapped. The knife fell free. Tucker retrieved the blade as the man curled into a ball, groaning and clutching his hand. His left ankle was also cocked sideways, plainly broken.

Lesson over.

He stood up and walked over to Shane, whose lips were compressed in fear and agony. Kane still held him pinned down, clamped on to the man’s bloody arm, his teeth sunk to bone.

“Release,” Tucker ordered.

The shepherd obeyed but stayed close, baring his bloody fangs at Shane. Tucker backed his partner up with the knife.

Sirens echoed through the forest, growing steadily louder.

Tucker felt his belly tighten. Though he’d acted in self-defense, he was in the middle of nowhere awaiting a sheriff who could arrest them if the whim struck him. Flashing lights appeared through the trees, and a cruiser swung fast into the parking lot and pulled to a stop twenty feet away.

Tucker raised his hands and tossed the knife aside.

He didn’t want anyone making a mistake here.

“Sit,” he told Kane. “Be happy.”

The dog dropped to his haunches, wagging his tail, his head cocked to the side quizzically.

Aasif joined him outside and must have noticed his tension. “Sheriff Walton is a fair man, Tucker.”

“If you say so.”

In the end, Aasif proved a good judge of character. It helped that the sheriff knew the trio on the ground and held them in no high opinion. These boys been raising hell for a year now, the sheriff eventually explained. So far, nobody’s had the sand to press charges against them.

Sheriff Walton took down their statements and noted the truck’s blacked-out license plate with a sad shake of his head. “I believe that would be your third strike, Shane. And from what I hear, redheads are very popular at the state pen this year.”

Shane lowered his head and groaned.

After another two cruisers arrived and the men were hauled away, Tucker faced the sheriff. “Do I need to stick around?”

“Do you want to?”

“Not especially.”

“Didn’t think so. I’ve got your details. I doubt you’ll need to testify, but if you do—”

“I’ll come back.”

“Good.” Walton passed him a card. Tucker expected it to have the local sheriff’s department’s contact information on it, but instead it was emblazoned with the image of a car with a smashed fender. “My brother owns a body-repair shop in Wisdom, next town down the highway. I’ll make sure he gets that flat tire of yours fixed at cost.”

Tucker took the card happily. “Thanks.”

With matters settled, Tucker was soon back on the road with Kane. He held out the card toward the shepherd as he sped toward his motel. “See, Kane. Who says no good deed goes unpunished?”

Unfortunately, he spoke too soon. As he turned into his motel and parked before the door to his room, his headlight shone upon an impossible sight.

Sitting on the bench before his cabin was a woman—a ghost out of his past. Only this figment wasn’t outfitted in desert khaki or in the blues of her dress uniform. Instead, she wore jeans and a light-blue blouse with an open wool cardigan.

Tucker’s heart missed several beats. He sat behind the wheel, engine idling, struggling to understand how she could be here, how she had found him.

Her name was Jane Sabatello. It had been over six years since he’d last set eyes on her. He found his gaze sweeping over her every feature, each triggering distinct memories, blurring past and present: the softness of her full lips, the shine of moonlight that turned her blond hair silver, the joy in her eyes each morning.

Tucker had never married, but Jane was as close as he’d come.

And now here she was, waiting for him—and she wasn’t alone.

A child sat at her side, a young boy tucked close to her hip.

For the briefest of moments, he wondered if the boy—

No, she would have told me.

He finally cut off the engine and stepped out of the vehicle. She stood up as she recognized him in turn.

“Jane?” he murmured.

She rushed to him and wrapped him in a hug, clinging to him for a long thirty seconds before pulling back. She searched his face, her eyes moist. Under the glare of the Cherokee’s headlamps, he noted a dark bruise under one cheekbone, poorly obscured by a smear of cosmetic concealer.

Even less hidden was the panic and raw fear in her face.

She kept one hand firmly on his arm, her fingers tight with desperation. “Tucker, I need your help.”

Before he could speak, she glanced to the boy.

“Someone’s trying to kill us.”

 

 

~~~~~

About The Authors

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JAMES ROLLINS is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers, translated into more than forty languages. His Sigma series has been lauded as one of the “top crowd pleasers” (New York Times) and one of the “hottest summer reads” (People magazine). In each novel, acclaimed for its originality, Rollins unveils unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets–and he does it all at breakneck speed and with stunning insight.

Catch up with James Rollins on his Website / Twitter / & Facebook.


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In addition to his New York Times bestselling collaborations with Clive Cussler and Tom Clancy, GRANT BLACKWOOD is the author of three novels featuring Briggs Tanner: The End of Enemies, The Wall of Night, and An Echo of War. A U. S. Navy veteran, Grant spent three years as an Operations Specialist and a Pilot Rescue Swimmer. He lives in Colorado.

Catch up with Grant Blackwood on his Website / Twitter / & Facebook.

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for James Rollins and Grant Blackwood. There will be 5 US winners of one (1) copy of War Hawk by James Rollins. The giveaway begins January 9th and runs through January 17th, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Click here to view the ‘War Hawk by James Rollins & Grant Blackwood’ Book Blast Participants

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew and Good Luck!

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For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways click on the lucky horseshoe below!

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