Max and Hope: A Red Team Wedding Novella (Red Team #13)
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When a CIA agent is found beheaded in a Boulder, Colorado alley just hours after speaking to an informant about a potential terrorist cell, retired Navy SEAL Levi Jones is activated to find his killer. The informant herself is a suspected co-conspirator, but Levi has to rely on her to get him inside the close-knit community.
Zaida Hassan is used to going against the grain in her family. Not only does she write sexy romance stories, but she hasn't married and settled down as expected, and has no plans to in the near future. She has a personal mission to carry out first. When someone finds out about her covert activities, though, and leverages that information against her, she asks a friend to send help.
The handsome, hard-hearted man who shows up seems to have stepped right out of one of her novels, but Zaida quickly figures out that Levi Jones hasn't come to bring her fantasies to life, or even to help her. He's there to avenge the death of her friend, whom he thinks she sold out.
Each book in this multi-author branded series is a stand-alone novel, and the series does not have to be read in order.
The only truth Owen Tremaine is certain of is that everything in his life has been a lie. Not only is his former fiancée alive, but so is their son…a child he never knew existed. Raised as a fighter in the resistance against a violent and secretive cult, Owen abandons his team, his family, everything to extract the woman he once loved and the son he’s never met from the clutches of his enemy.
Adelaide Jacobs has only loved one man…Owen Tremaine. She grew up in the long shadow he and her brother cast, toddling after them as much as her brother tolerated. Owen’s visits were the best memories of her childhood…until the day he saw her as a woman. They had one night together before hell took over her life in a war that’s framed her world ever since.
Now she’s a fighter too, battling an unknown disease that consumes a little more of her each day. She'll never forgive her brother for bringing Owen into her hell. The boy she worshiped as a child, who became the man she adored as a woman, now has eyes full of anger, fear, and regret…everything she’s feeling.
Is there enough time to find the cure so they can have the future they both thought they’d never have? Or is now—this very moment—all the time they’ll have?
FORSAKEN DUTY FIRST CHAPTER EXCERPT:
Owen Tremaine hoped he’d survive the next punch. He kept his eyes closed, but couldn’t shut out the pain. Life’s bitter ironies. Addy Jacobs was alive…but he was going to die here, before he could see her again if he couldn’t end Mr. Edwards’ interrogation. Life fucking sucked. He laughed at his own morose thoughts. Wasn’t like him to feel sorry for himself. This wasn’t so bad. Not like the day she was taken from him. This was just physical, not a soul injury like that had been.
He’d gotten through that; he could get through this. For her.
He’d been some meathead’s punching bag for what, a day? A week? How long had it been? What was it they were after? He tried to think through the pain. He could hear Jax’s muffled shouts in another room. How far away was he? How many men were with Edwards?
He cracked his eyes open, trying to figure out where he was and how he got there. Oh yeah, the accident. Jax’s car had been broadsided on a country road outside of Denver. They’d exchanged gunfire before a flashbang had been tossed under their SUV, knocking them down long enough for the others to take them. After that, he woke up in this hellhole, tied to a rusty steel chair in the middle of what looked like an old jail cell in some long-abandoned piece-of-shit property, if he were to judge by the peeling paint and the persistent sound of dripping water. He wondered if he was in the tunnels somewhere.
He slowly straightened in his seat. Who knew how long of a break he’d have before they came back to him? If he was going to act, now was the time. He tugged against the ropes on his right ankle, once again maneuvering his foot to the support bar connecting the front to the back of the chair. Wedging his boot in the weakened corner, he used his other foot to push the chair and himself up a few inches, then slammed down on the one leg. The rope felt like a garrote around his ankle. Didn’t matter. He had to get free. Had to get to Jax. He did it again and again until the chair’s decaying support bar gave way. He repeated the motion with his other foot, breaking that bar too.
He sat for a minute, letting the pain wash through him, listening to hear if the bastards who’d been torturing them were coming back. When he didn’t hear them, he leaned the chair off one leg and wiggled his tied ankle free, then did the same with his other leg. That was all he could manage before he heard them coming his way.
He tucked his ankles close to the chair legs so no one would notice he’d gotten them free. The meatheads came back in, followed this time by a trim, middle-aged man with blond hair and blue eyes. His nose was too small for his face. His skin was weathered. Bastard apparently liked the sight of a man beaten to jelly, for he smiled at Owen.
“I see you’re awake again. Wonderful. Shall we start over?”
Edwards was the man who’d carved up Wynn’s hand. The man who’d strung up Ace. Probably one of the costumed observers to Fiona’s attempted initiation. He was the devil himself, and he had a blood price on his head among Owen’s team.
Owen would be quite pleased to collect it.
He closed his eyes, knowing the bastard fed on negative emotion—fear, anger, hopelessness. He stuffed those emotions away, starving Edwards of his jollies. “You go ahead. I can’t remember what we were talking about.”
The edge in Edwards’ voice was the only indication Owen had hit his mark. “Who’s funding you?”
“I already answered that. Pay attention, man.”
Edwards nodded toward one of his paid fists. Owen took a hit in the jaw. He looked up at the guy, visualizing a steel chair leg going through his chest.
“Answer it again,” Edwards said through clenched teeth.
“What family?” Edwards asked.
“What does it fucking matter?” Owen’s hands were almost free from the rope binding them behind him. He wasn’t about to sell out his investors. Val was a minority shareholder. He could take care of himself, but Senator Jacobs, who’d provided the other minority stake in angel funds, couldn’t. Beyond that, the government had footed the bill for this lucrative contract from their dark ops budget.
Before the goon standing near him could throw another punch, Owen said, “Uncle Sam’s family. It’s classified. Don’t you have friends in high places? Go ask them. By the way, while I have your attention, where’s my boy?”
“How would I know?”
“You took him from Addy.”
Edwards went absolutely still. “She still has her boy. For now.”
So it was true; Addy had had a son. “Word on the street is you put him with the watchers.”
“What makes you think he’s yours?”
“Good intel. Where is he?”
Edwards nodded toward his hired muscle. “I’m done here. Finish him. He’s got no info for me.”
Owen leaned back and braced himself by gripping the bars of the seatback so he could kick out. He hit the man’s chest with his heels, knocking him back several steps. The other guy rushed forward. Owen twirled to his feet, slamming him with the steel chair. In the seconds that opened for him, Owen finished freeing his hands, then kicked in the other side of the broken bottom rung, separating it from the chair. He grabbed it in time to shove it upward into the guy’s chest cavity, using his own forward momentum to impale him. Owen shoved his body into the second guy, then ran after Edwards, but he was too late.
Edwards had already rushed out of the jail cell, leaving the door locked behind him. The second guy charged toward Owen. He ducked. The guy’s fist hit the steelwork of the front wall, shaking it loose. Owen punched him in the gut then double-fisted the back of his head when he bent over. He slumped down, exposing the knife in his holster. Owen grabbed it and, fisting the guy’s hair, lifted his head and sliced his neck.
Shoving him aside, Owen looked around the room, assessing his situation.
The door was locked, and he had no key. Neither man had the door key or wallets, but one had car keys. He pocketed them then gave the cell bars a tug. Flakes of rusted metal and paint fell away. Two bars were loose. Owen looked around the room again. His gaze fell on the busted chair. He broke off the other support he’d loosened, then used it to pry the compromised cell bars free, giving him enough room to climb up and squeeze through.
He rushed toward the area where he’d heard Jax, finding him three cells down. Owen had to move fast—he didn’t know where Edwards had gone or if he was coming back with reinforcements. Jax was slumped over in the chair he was tied to. The door to his cell was locked, too. Owen used the knife he’d taken to fish around in the big skeleton keyhole. It worked. The gate came loose.
He hurried over to check his friend, who looked as mangled as Owen felt. At least he had a pulse. Owen cut the ropes binding him. Jax was in a fist-induced stupor. Owen wasn’t certain, in the state he was in himself, if he’d be able to carry Jax out…or even drag him.
He knelt in front of Jax and gently lifted his head. “Hey…you in there? Anything broken? Can you move?” They had to get out before Edwards came back.
Jax instantly came alert, ready to fight.
“Whoa. Whoa,” Owen said. “Just me. We need to move out. Can you walk?”
“Is gone. For now. We gotta go.” He pulled Jax’s arm over his shoulder and hoisted him up from his chair. They moved as fast as they could down the hall to a flight of stairs. Up was the only direction to go. It was dark in that part of the building—no windows anywhere and no lights on. Owen had no idea what time of day it was, where they were, or what the hell they were going to do next.
They made it to an exit. A chain had been cut and now draped from one of the push bars on the industrial door. It was night outside. The climb out of the hellhole had let Owen’s eyes adjust to dark. They were nowhere. Absolutely fucking nowhere. The building was in the middle of wide-open prairie, inside a tall, walled space. No lights shone anywhere around them, not even on the outside of the building.
A single SUV sat in front on the overgrown driveway. Owen used the key fob to see if it belonged to the guy below. The lights came on. He ran with an arm around Jax to the vehicle and managed to get him inside, laying him across the backseat. Owen jumped into the driver’s seat and started the SUV up. The building they’d just left was lit up in the headlights. It was a stately brick monolith with gothic arches over the front and side doors. The headlights illuminated a sign over the grand front door: Hawthorne Sanitarium, est. 1878. Jesus. The guards could have just left them there to die and no one would ever know before they were a pile of bones.
“Hang on, bud,” Owen said as he got them the hell out of there…wherever there was.
* * *
When the sun came up, Owen changed directions, heading west. He knew the moment Jax woke up from the string of foul words he growled. They were so far east that there wasn’t a hint of the mountains, only miles and miles of parched prairie grass and dirt road in the predawn light.
Owen looked over his shoulder. “How you feeling?”
“I need to take a piss. And I could use a gallon of water.”
Owen stopped the SUV. “The piss we can do. Water, not so much.”
“Where are we?”
“No fucking clue. I’m gonna need gas soon. I got no cash, no cards, and no ID to get cash. How about you?”
“Yeah. I got my wallet. They didn’t take it.”
Owen pulled over. They both got out and relieved themselves in the dust on the side of the road. The sound of their streams made Owen’s thirst even worse. Afterward, he looked in the SUV’s back hatch, searching for bottled water. The trunk was empty. He slammed the door then glared at Jax. “What the fuck happened? How did Edwards know where we were?”
Something about Jax’s quick answer made Owen question everything about him. If Jax weren’t in as bad a shape as Owen, it would have been easy to believe his old friend was in with the Omnis. Owen also found it hard to believe that Edwards didn’t know where his funding came from. Sure, it was funneled through a couple of dummy corporations, but not so deeply hidden that a patient and persistent investigator couldn’t figure out Jax’s dad and Val were his partners—especially an investigator with deep Omni pockets and plenty of time.
At Owen’s continued stare, Jax’s eyes narrowed. “You think I had something to do with it? Like I like getting pulverized?”
Owen sighed. Fuck. Edwards was sneaky as hell. The Omnis probably had someone watching Winchester’s, since it was a popular hangout with Owen’s crew. They were likely tracked leaving the bar that night.
“You hear that?” Jax asked.
Owen tried, but couldn’t hear anything. “No. My ears are still ringing.”
“It’s a highway. Or at least a paved road.”
Jax listened for a minute then pointed in the direction they were headed. “Let’s stay headed west.”
They got back into the SUV. Owen didn’t press Jax for answers. He needed to rehydrate, sleep, and eat something before anything Jax said would make sense. They found the road Jax had heard. It wasn’t a highway, just a two-lane country road. But there was heavy truck traffic, which made Owen fairly certain at one end or the other they’d hit a gas station. Eventually, they pulled into a little town that didn’t have a single traffic light but did have a gas station.
Owen used Jax’s cash to get them some food and water while he filled up. The girl behind the counter stared at him in horror.
“You want me to call an ambulance, mister?” she asked.
“No.” He managed a laugh. “My buddy and I were off-roading at a friend’s place. Guess helmets shouldn’t have been optional.”
An older lady joined the convo, eyeing Owen like he was trouble. “Little old to be learning that, doncha think?”
Owen laughed again as he set the money on the counter. “Was a helluva weekend.”
“It’s Thursday.” The clerk punched in his purchase and gave him change.
Fucking Thursday. They’d been questioned for four days. He took his case of water and sandwiches and returned to the SUV.
“It’s Thursday,” he said to Jax as he handed him a water bottle.
“Yeah, I saw the date on the pump.” They guzzled down a bottle each, then took a couple more before heading back down the road. This time, Jax was driving. He turned south out of town.
“Where are we going?” Owen asked.
“I know where we are now. I got a place we can lay low for a bit.”
“I don’t want to lay low. I want to see Addy.”
“You go see her like you are right now, you’ll scare the shit out of her. She’s safe, but we aren’t. I need to dump this vehicle, get a phone, and sleep for about a week.”
“A night. Not a week. We’ve already lost four days.”
“I’ll take it.”
Owen dozed off. The day was well into the afternoon when he woke again. They made another pit stop, then ate the sandwiches he’d bought at the last gas station.
“So where are we headed?” Owen asked when they got back in the SUV.
“I have a place an hour west of Denver.”
“What’s your status with the Red Team?” Owen asked.
“I’m on a special assignment for the senator.”
“You were Ace’s handler.”
“You gave her Adelaide’s picture.”
Jax neither confirmed nor denied that statement.
“What happened to the boys Ace recovered? The watcher groups.”
“I’ll show you soon.”
“Why did you direct Ace to find them?”
“Because King was using them as his private lab rats. I had to get them away from him. That’s why I got Lion’s group vaccinated. And it’s why the Friends kids and others from his various cults were targeted with the smallpox; King had no one else to test it on.”
Owen’s eyes narrowed. Jax had sent Ace to Wolf Creek Bend well after he’d already found Lion’s pride himself. He’d had them inoculated at least a month before she got there. “You already knew about Lion before Ace got to town. You didn’t send her there because of the watchers.”
Jax looked Owen in the eye. “So I passed one of my operatives off to you. What of it?”
“You were close to finding the tunnels. She needed justice. It was all coming to a head.” Jax shrugged. “It was time.”
Owen doubted that line of reasoning, but let it go for now. “Is it true that I have a son?”
“Where is he?”
“He was with Lion’s watchers. I don’t know where he is now—I don’t know where Lion’s pride is now. They were moved before I could get them out.”
“What’s his name in the pride?”
“You’re sure he’s mine?”
“The DNA said so.”
Owen looked out the window. Every part of his body hurt. His head wasn’t on straight. He needed a good night’s sleep, more food and water, and a long, hot shower. If pushed hard now, he’d make a mistake, compromise himself.
He still wasn’t sure which side Jax was on, but if they weren’t on the same one, then he’d gone through hell just to make it look like they were.
A few hours later, they made several turns onto dirt roads in the foothills northwest of Denver before going down a long drive in the middle of a patch of evergreens. Their headlights showed an old, nondescript, one-story farmhouse, like so many others up and down the Front Range. There was a black Expedition parked out front. No lights were on in the place.
Owen checked Jax, wondering if he was expecting anyone. He looked as tired as Owen but showed no signs of tension. The door unlocked when Jax reached for the knob. Lights came on inside. Owen didn’t have to look around to know there were cameras monitoring them and that access had been remotely granted.
Inside, the little farmhouse had been fully renovated. New kitchen, small dining area, new living room with a wall of bookshelves and a TV. Beyond that, there were two bedrooms, both with their own en suites. Simple, clean, and complete with two dinners sitting under warming caps. Owen lifted a brow at Jax.
“I called ahead while you were in the bathroom at our last stop. You’ll find clothes in your room too.” Jax shrugged. “What? Surprised I have my own crew?”
“No. I don’t know you at all anymore.”
“Fine. You can eat, shower, sleep, whatever the hell you want. I’m gonna clean up. You need a doctor?”
“No. We’ll talk in the morning. I gotta crash.”
Owen went into the second bedroom. A phone and a change of clothes were on the bed—a pair of jeans, black boxer briefs, and a white T-shirt. He and Jax were about the same size. Good thing, because Owen hadn’t packed for a trip. Toiletries were in the bathroom. Probably wouldn’t be shaving for a few days. His face was filled with cuts and bruises. His mouth and jaw were swollen. He looked like road kill. Maybe Jax was right about giving themselves a few days before going to see Addy.
No, fuck that. Owen wasn’t waiting. Not a goddamned minute more than he had to.
He ate his dinner, beef and broccoli on rice. Nothing too hard to chew for his sore jaw. He didn’t have an appetite, in part from the beating he’d taken, but also because they hadn’t been fed the four days they were being questioned—his body had gotten used to having no food. Owen looked at the phone, considering checking in with his team. He knew the phone Jax had given him was keyed in to whatever system he had rigged up. Owen didn’t know what his team might reveal on the other end. And truthfully, he didn’t want them involved; if he was walking into a trap, they couldn’t be anywhere near him.
After dinner, Owen had to decide between sleep or a shower. The bed, with its clean sheets, looked like heaven, but he needed that shower first. The hot water was soothing. He let it spill over him, wash the past few days away.
When he got out, he dressed. Who the hell knew what fun new torture would come as soon as he let his guard down; he didn’t want to face it naked.
He got into bed. His body was screaming. He wondered if he had a broken rib. Addy slipped into his mind. He thought of their childhood together, remembered watching her mature, feeling an unholy hunger for her, wondering if she’d like him when she was a woman.
She was fifteen when he and Jax graduated from West Point and took their commissions in the Army. She’d been eighteen when he and Jax came to her high school graduation party. Twenty-one when she got her college degree.
Twenty-one the day their lives started and ended.
Owen thought back through the small bit of info Jax had told him about her. Not once had he actually said Addy was still alive. For all Owen knew, Jax was taking him to see Addy’s grave.
That thought caused him worse pain than Edwards’ goons had.
He’d lived so long without a heart that it hurt to think of having one once again…and it would be worse to learn his fresh hopes were just smoke and mirrors.
He threw the covers off and stormed into Jax’s room. It was dark. “Wake up, you son of a bitch.” He gripped Jax’s throat and squeezed, lifting him from his mattress.
Jax didn’t fight back.
“Tell me she’s alive.”
Jax broke free of Owen’s grip. He stared at Owen, then scooted himself up to lean back on his pillows.
The delay was all the answer Owen needed. A tear spilled down his swollen cheek. Jesus fucking Christ. He was glad his team wasn’t here to see him break. Addy was the perfect way to torture him. He’d give his soul away to have her back in his life.
His shoulders slumped as he sat there on the edge of Jax’s bed. So many people he’d thought dead had emerged from the shadows of the Omni World Order that it had been a short jump to believe that Addy would, too.
“She is alive, O. But different.”
“We had four days of tender focus from the Omnis. She had years.”
“What happened to her?”
Jax shook his head. “I can’t… I gotta leave that to her to say or not.”
“But she’s alive?”
He nodded. “She doesn’t want to see you. When I finally found her, after everything she’d gone through, I couldn’t violate that trust.”
Owen left Jax’s room and went back to his. She was alive. It wasn’t much to go on…and it was everything. He’d take it.
Copyright 2017 Elaine Levine
DEADLY CREED (Red Team #8)
The ebook is available internationally:
The dead just don’t seem to stay dead…
A recent grad with a degree in gifted ed, Wynn Ratcliff jumped at the chance to be a young linguistic savant’s private tutor. The job let her stay near her grandmother while she was recovering from her stroke. Unfortunately, the terrific opportunity came with some horrific negatives…namely catching the eye of her employer’s enemies. After her grandmother’s murder, Wynn fled back to the safety of the real world and her life as it was before she met Angel Cordova and his team of terrorist hunters.
She soon discovers the reality she thought she was returning to is gone…or perhaps it never existed.
Former spec ops soldier Angel Cordova has no choice but to retrieve Wynn when he learns she’s being stalked by the enemy his team is fighting. It’s not entirely against her will that he brings her back to the team’s headquarters, but it is under duress. Keeping her safe means steamrolling the life of her dreams. Setting her free means handing her over to their enemies, all wrapped up in a sparkly bow.
It’s a choice no man should ever have to make about the woman he loves…one he knows she will not quietly accept.
NOTE: I did change the title from Forsaken Duty to Deadly Creed. I wanted to save Forsaken Duty for Owen's book.
DEADLY CREED First Chapter Excerpt:
He let her go, just let her walk right out of his life, the only woman he’d ever met who could have been The One.
Angel Cordova closed his eyes and saw Wynn Ratcliff standing alone in the cold October wind next to the fresh dirt mounded over her grandmother’s grave earlier that day. It was for the best that she was gone. A woman like her didn’t belong in his world. She was too soft, too fragile. Too kind.
Angel shoved those memories from his mind, forcing himself to stay present. His team lead, Kit Bolanger, had given the group the afternoon off. None of them had their heads in the game after the funeral earlier that day. Wynn’s grandmother had made everyone fall in love with her, and they all were wounded by her death.
He wandered into the living room. Ace was sitting on the sofa with her laptop. “What are you working on?” he asked, hoping Val had told her the war room was the place for any of the team’s work.
“I’m putting together a photo album for Rocco and Mandy from the pics I took of their wedding.” She smiled at him. “I wanted to do it sooner, but things got crazy.”
Angel sat next to her, careful not to bump against her and jostle her broken arm. He wondered if she’d taken some pics of Wynn. Crazy how he craved the sight of her. She was gone. Long gone. He had to let her go.
But really, would it hurt anyone if he just looked at some pictures of her?
“I’ll start it over at the beginning.” Ace reset the photo album, then handed him her laptop.
The pictures were more than 2-D images; they were multidimensional vignettes of emotion and light. She had an eye for life. He watched the photos, trying to focus long enough to do each image justice, though he just wanted to see Wynn’s face. He paused the photo display. She’d been busy that day with Zavi and Casey. Doing her job. Letting Mandy have her day and giving Ivy the chance to do the things a friend does at her bestie’s wedding.
He flipped to the next digital page, and there was Wynn…in a collage that filled the page. Laughing with Zavi, pulling him up into a hug, doing some flower project with Casey as Zavi watched.
“She looks happy there. Look at her eyes.” Ace pointed to one of the pics in the collection she’d made.
Angel nodded. “She does.”
“Not like she did in these.” Ace clicked to a different grouping of Wynn’s pictures, the motion a little awkward since she was using her left hand, sparing her injured right arm. All of the pics that slowly slid across the screen were candid shots. “She looks scared in these. I’m not sure if I should include them in the album.” She looked up at him. “I want this collection to be a tribute to happiness, not fear.”
Angel clicked on each picture, bringing it to full size. He went through a whole bunch of them. How scared Wynn must have been just about the whole time she was here. He felt Ace’s eyes on him.
“You’re in love with her,” she said.
A wave of frustration come over him before he gave a harsh laugh. “Not that it matters now.”
Ace linked her good arm through his. She looked up at him. “It matters. Love always matters.” Her eyes held his. “Val showed me that.”
“He didn’t keep you here when you wanted to go. I can’t do that to her, either.”
“What matters most to you? Your heart or your life?”
Jesus. Ace was relentless. Both were lost without Wynn in his life. He eased himself away from her then got up and walked over to the patio doors. Tomorrow they’d be clearing the silos and those connector tunnels that Ace had discovered. At least the next few days would be busy and exhausting. Maybe by the time they finished that task, he will have purged his craving for Wynn.
Then again, maybe not.
“Send me the pics of her, when you get a chance. My email’s just like Val’s but ACordova.”
Copyright 2017 Elaine Levine
~ ~ ~ RAZED GLORY BLURB ~ ~ ~
Raised inside the secret society of a hidden cult, Ace Myers has dedicated herself to exposing the crimes of her enemies…an endeavor she expects will cost her her life. Before her time runs out, there’s a wrong she must set right…a mission that causes her to cross paths with Valentino Parker and his team of counterterrorist operatives.
Gorgeous, seductive, and way out of her reach, Val shows her another side of life, one of light and hope and possibilities that wake her heart and make her dream of things that can never be—not in her world, not in her lifetime.
Val Parker is pulling apart the mysteries woven around him, the puppet strings that prescribe his choices, which are slowly choking him. Nothing in his life was truly as he believed it, and his discoveries may cost him everything he holds dear—his family, his team, and Ace Myers…the one woman he wants to keep forever.
~ ~ ~ RAZED GLORY PROLOGUE EXCERPT ~ ~ ~
Ace Myers kept herself in as small and tight a ball as she could. For warmth. For cover. It was a pose she’d held for hours through the night in the shrubs outside Val’s home, just outside the reach of its cameras. Her leather jacket provided little warmth. The dry stalks of rough grass were pokey. She faced the wind to keep the smell of blood from searing her nostrils, even though it was dried now on her clothes, in her fingernails, in her hair.
“There will come a time when you’ll have to kill,” Santo had warned her almost a decade ago.
“I don’t want to kill,” she’d told him.
“What you want and what you’ll do will rarely be the same. Not in your life. You’re a warrior.”
“How will I handle the killing? How will I recover?”
Santo shut his eyes. His skin was thin and wrinkled, like stretchy crepe paper. But his body’s wrapper didn’t define him; she never doubted that inside him lay coiled the honed reflexes of a man who’d spent his entire life walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
“You won’t judge yourself. Others will do that for you. God will do that. You’ll do what you have to, and move on.”
Santo, her teacher, had drilled that lesson into her over the long years she’d trained with him. No remorse…no regrets, no fear, no confusion, no doubt. No fucking emotion whatsoever.
Tears slipped down her cheeks in warm, wet tracks that quickly turned cold. She didn’t want to be this thing she’d become anymore. She craved the transformation that the butterfly tattooed on her back promised. Her kills were becoming increasingly violent. The guy last night had needed a body bag to keep all of his friend together when he’d carried him out of her apartment. Still, the message wasn’t getting through to King. He kept sending men after her. And she kept sending them back in body bags.
Everyone was expendable to him. Every one of his associates, the people in his army, his social circle, his family…their deaths were simply their tribute to him.
When she found Adelaide’s son, when she could consider her purpose in this fucked up world completed, she’d make her own tribute to King.
She set her head on her knees and closed her eyes. Breathing through her mouth, she shut her senses to the taste of blood that still lingered.
Sleep came instantly.
Razed Glory (c) 2016 Elaine Levine
Pregnant and alone—not a situation Mandy Fielding ever expected to find herself in, especially while living with the man who owns her heart and is her baby’s father. Rocco isn’t a whole man, and he hasn’t been since his return from Afghanistan. Just where they go from here, she doesn’t know.
The past is more real than the present in covert operative Rocco Silas’ mind. His girlfriend, Mandy—the only woman he’s ever loved—not only adores his son as if he were her own, but she’s now expecting their first child. He's been in this spot before, and its ending was the stuff of his nightmares.
He’s coming to believe there’s only one way to break that terrible cycle…
Get your ebook now!
The ebook is available internationally from my website now! You will need to be comfortable side-loading the file to your device. Check out these instructions before purchasing =>
Downloads for Kindle devices: http://geni.us/Dd9i use discount code 916WH6W at checkout to save $0.50.
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If you would rather pre-order it from your favorite vendor, it will be available for delivery on July 7, 2016:
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PRINT: The print version of this novella is in production.
|Draft Manuscript -- 39K / 25K||My Edit Pass||Ms with Editor||Input Edits||Ms with Proofreader||Input Edits|
|Buy Now from ElaineLevine.com||Pre-Order on Amazon * KOBO * iBooks for July 7th|
|Green - Finished||Peach - In Progess||Red - Pending|
The Covert Operative…
Kelan Shiozski wasn’t looking for a girlfriend or a wife or any other sort of female in his life, but he found her hiding in his enemy's home...and he knew instantly she was his soul mate.
Patience has long been part of his warrior ethos—until it meant waiting for his woman to come of age. Now that time is here, and he’s about to spend three days alone with her, away from his team, away from their mission tracking a homegrown terrorist group operating out of the Rocky Mountains. He has three days to show her, with his heart and his body, what it means to be his other half.
But when she’s kidnapped before their celebratory weekend, Kelan must track her into the dark depths of a hidden crime world, which few ever experience or exit alive.
…And the Innocent
At just twenty-one, Fiona Addison has lived a sheltered life that began unraveling a year earlier when her mom and her friend died in two separate car accidents the same week. The layers are peeling away, revealing who she really is, culminating in a truth she cannot accept.
And now, everything she learns about herself imperils the future she hoped to have with Kelan, a man whose fierce warrior nature will not let her go despite the cost to himself.
They’ll either live together or die together...a fate they cannot let be decided by a madman.
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Greer's Book is LIVE on Amazon internationally. I'll post links to Nook, Kobo, and iBooks as I get them!
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1LONp7s
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The print copy is now available in Amazon's Createspace eStore =>
https://www.createspace.com/5828135. Use discount code
CSG32HV4 to save 40% off the Amazon list price (US$9.60 instead of US$15.99).
Assassin’s Promise Blurb
Traumatized by her unusual childhood, sociologist Dr. Remington Chase, has made a career out of her lifelong obsession with American cults. Her research often results in pushback from the groups she studies, but not like what’s happening now, with the White Kingdom Brotherhood biker gang shadowing her every move.
Is it luck or something far more sinister when a consultant from the Department of Homeland Security makes a surprise visit to her university office, seeking her help in finding a teenager lost inside the group she’s studying?
Covert operative Greer Dawson has one objective: find the girl who tried to kill his team leader. He promised to protect her, but he didn’t, and now his failure haunts him. He’ll fight for the answers he and his team need...and risk losing his heart to a woman with secrets as dark as his own.
Available Now in eBook and Print!
Weddings are the spice of life…
After reuniting with his bio dad, Cord Ryker, Ty Holt is all too aware of how easily life can change—for better or worse. He convinces Eden Miller to pin down their wedding plans and set a date, pronto!
And family drama’s the hot sauce…
When a woman from Cord’s past makes a startling accusation, the team discovers an unexpected new clue in the mystery they’re unraveling. Eden’s mom, stepdad, dad, and stepmom, out for the nuptials, worry their daughter has fallen into the grasp of an insidious crime lord—a concern that Ty can’t, in all honesty, put to rest.
Print Version: The print version is now available! Use this discount code 6HBB9QZM to save $2 off the retail price of $7.99 when you buy directly from Amazon's POD store!
Hope Townsend has spent long years searching for the brother she was brutally separated from when their mother was murdered. Now, thanks to help from a mysterious source, she’s found him deep in the Medicine Bow Mountains on the remote compound of the notorious White Kingdom Brotherhood motorcycle club and prison gang—a viper's nest of drug runners, murderers, and thieves. The only person who can help her is one of the club’s most lethal members—a man who goes by the road name "Mad Dog."
Colorado's infamous Wall Street hacker, Max Cameron, served five years of his twenty-seven-year sentence before being recruited by the Red Team. Now a seasoned operative, Max has gone under cover in the motorcycle club of the white supremacist prison gang that befriended him in jail. His mission was simple until Hope Townsend, a female mechanic, came along and gummed-up the works.
Nothing about Hope is as it seems, and Max struggles to keep her out of danger…and out of his heart. When his team finds evidence she’s working for their enemies, Max will have to decide where his loyalty lies: with his team or with the woman he loves.
Print Version:The print version is now available! Use this discount code PPKELAKH to save 30% off the retail price of $17.99 when you buy directly from Amazon's POD store!
Ex-spec ops solider Kit Bolanger tried hard to forget Ivy Banks, the only woman he ever loved. When his work brought him back to his hometown, and he learned she was still single, he pursued her with a relentless focus. Now, in just a few weeks, they're set to lock things down permanently on their big day.
With the wedding looming, Ivy's working tirelessly to create the perfect menu and orchestrate their dream wedding. However, Kit has one last secret to reveal--and it might just be a deal breaker. Will Ivy see the truth behind Kit's actions? Or will she call the whole thing off, this time for good?
Ages: 18 & up (story contains sex and profanity)
Length: 26K words (approximately 100 pages)
Chayton's story is coming next week! This is the 5th installment in my Men of Defiance series. While I've tried to write it as a stand-alone, it should be read after RACHEL AND THE HIRED GUN and LOGAN'S OUTLAW.
Join the Men of Defiance discussion group on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1bzqoV9
The Men of Defiance series continues with the long-awaited conclusion to Chayton’s story!
Alone on the remote prairie in Wyoming Territory, Agnes Hamilton plans to spend a summer painting landscapes of the rugged terrain…until she comes face to face with the renegade Lakota warrior hiding out in the bluffs above her rented cabin. As wild as the territory, haunted by all he’s lost, the warrior becomes the focus of her art, filling canvas after canvas like a madness.
…And the Warrior
Chayton has lost everything to the white invaders—his family, his tribe, his world. He lives in the hunting grounds stolen from his people, a Lakota warrior, feared by all, claimed by none…until she invades his valley—and his heart. Something about the blue-eyed woman draws him out of the dark place he’s existed in for so long, but loving her means he’ll have to step into her world and claim the heritage left him by his white mother…and that he will never do.
Step into Elaine Levine's exciting new series of alpha warriors--products of the government's secret corps of assassins called the Red Team
Haunted by memories he cannot reach, stalked by an enemy bent on revenge . . .
Rocco Silas has come home to Wyoming after long years as a Red Team operative in Afghanistan. It isn't easy returning to civilian life, especially burdened as he is with a staggering case of PTSD or hunted as he is by an enemy determined to seek an eye-for-eye--neither of which can he battle until he confronts the truth of what happened one fateful day in the high mountain ranges of the Hindu Kush.
. . . She alone holds the key to his sanity.
Mandy Fielding's dream of opening a therapeutic riding center on her family's ranch is almost within her grasp--until she hires Rocco Silas, a dangerous ex-Spec Ops friend of her brother's. His haunted eyes and passionate touch promise a love she never dared believe possible. Can they confront the truth of his past and build a future together or will the enemy stalking him destroy them both?
Every step leads her deeper into danger...
Eden Miller has her life arranged exactly as she wants it--until a reunion with her high school BFFs places her in the middle of a turf war with a ruthless prison gang, their terrorist allies, and the hunters tracking them. Her every move draws her deeper into the danger surrounding Ty Bladen and his team of terror fighters, but his seductive charm and engaging smile make her believe his promises of protection.
A secret is a dangerous thing...
When the terrorists Ty Bladen is tracking infiltrate his remote ranch in Wyoming, he learns the past he buried cannot be so easily escaped. Though he's recovering from a bullet wound he received in Afghanistan and is hunted by an unseen enemy, he knows he can't leave Eden alone to face the danger swirling around her, danger he and his team have brought to her--even if the has to risk letting her near his frozen heart. But when she learns his terrible secret, will she stay or will she run?
Love Isn’t a Battle…
Kit Bolanger, ex-spec ops soldier, has followed the trail of an international drug lord back to his childhood town, the one place he swore never to return. He and his team of terrorist hunters are the only thing standing between the town’s residents and the evil threatening them. It doesn’t help to know that she’s here—the woman who betrayed his trust and shredded his heart.
…It’s a War and He’s Offering No Quarter
Deciding to put roots down, Ivy Banks has brought her daughter home to the sleepy ranching community of Wolf Creek Bend, Wyoming—the one place where she was certain she’d never run into her high school flame. But he’s back, fighting a global enemy and home-grown terrorists in a hidden war that puts their lives and their hearts in jeopardy. He was bad news in high school, and he’s even worse news now.
Surrendering to him is not an option…but it’s the only thing he’ll accept.
Men of Defiance, Book 4
Sarah Hawkins survived capture by the Sioux, but after her escape she faced public scorn. Now, she'll do anything to start over, and the small town of Defiance promises the anonymity and security she needs. Before she melts into the shadows, though, it's her mission to put a great injustice to rights, and that means jeopardizing her safety once more. But this time, she's not alone.
Without meaning to, Sarah has fallen under the protection of Logan Taggert, a rough-and-tumble trader unused to caring for others - and yet unable to ignore the tempting, tenacious woman's plight. Though she refuses to trust him, Logan won't leave her side, keeping her one step ahead of danger...even as she takes hold of the very thing he never thought he'd risk: his heart.
Reviews for LOGAN'S OUTLAW:
“Really good, angsty, passionate western with a very tormented heroine, and an extremely sighworthy hero. The Indian/white conflict causes pangs within me that remind me why I avoid NA romance. Not because I don't care, but because I care too much. I have found a new western author in Elaine Levine. I will be reading her other books.” --Lady Danielle,Affaire de Coeur Magazine (adcmagazine.com, excerpted from Goodreads.com)
"Levine is an excellent writer who makes readers care about her characters, but also adds historical perspective on a part of the country she obviously loves. If readers want satisfying historical romance, they need go no further than Levine to get their fill."-- Pat Henshaw, All About Romance, selected as a Desert Isle Keeper!!
Men of Defiance, Book 3
They are brash, they are brave, and when they see a chance to be a hero, they take it. They are the Men of Defiance, and they are not easily tamed!
To Leah Morgan's mind, the last thing her hometown of Defiance needs is another gunman stalking its dusty streets, especially one as sweet-talking and fine-looking as Jace Gage. Despite her warnings, the infuriating man seems determined to meddle in her life and risk his own, all for a town that can't be saved and a heart she locked away long ago.
Professional bounty hunter Jace Gage has cleaned up plenty of corrupt towns in his lifetime, and he knows he can handle whatever Defiance's thugs have to offer. But the town's most lawful citizen is another story. Beautiful, willful and exasperating at every turn, Leah is the one person capable of bringing the ruthless gunslinger to his knees,Â”and capturing his desire with a single kiss.
Reviews for LEAH AND THE BOUNTY HUNTER:
“Elaine Levine has created one of the more complex heroes I’ve read about in a long while. There are layers and layers to Jace Gage and with each new chapter, another layer is revealed. When Jace calls himself a beast, you feel his pain. When, after a particularly difficult killing, he silently pleads for Leah to see him as a man who hurts and suffers, the unspoken and unanswered plea makes you ache. The journey toward love begins with loving oneself and that is one journey neither Leah nor Jace have been able to take. Can they do it together?
A gritty, sexually-charged, and emotional love story that’s also a battle for the soul.” --Carol, Love Western Romances Book Reviews
“I have read Ms Levine’s two previous books about the Men of Defiance and have to say that she has a unique way of weaving books 2 and 3 together like they are happening almost simultaneously. Though Leah and the Bounty Hunter stands on its own, I found that reading the other books in the series (Rachael and the Hired Gun and Audrey and the Maverick) helped round out the tale of Defiance.
Leah and the Bounty Hunter will grab you from the start and keep you reading long into the night. (I read this in one weekend!). If you enjoy the old west, let the "Men of Defiance" guide your way.”--Trudy, Once Upon a Romance Reviews
“The latest installment in Elaine Levine’s Men of Defiance series is an emotional rollercoaster that gives you a look at the life in the wilderness of the West. Now, I haven’t read any of Levine’s previous Men of Defiance books but you don’t need to. This novel is just as good as a standalone. Though, I can say with a certainty that you will probably find yourself wanting to read the previous stories, as characters from them make guest appearances in this one...If you’re looking for romance found in the wilderness of the Dakotas, with a dose of what life was like in that time, Leah and the Bounty Hunter is the way to go.” --Landra, The Season Book Reviews
“Ned Buntline, the writer who is credited with popularizing the dime novel in the American Old West, would have loved Elaine Levine’s writing. Levine pens Western romances using old fashioned storytelling techniques. Her stories are often over the top with quirky individual characters and blood-thirsty events geared to the gut.Leah and the Bounty Hunter, the third of the Men of Defiance series, is no different than its predecessors.” --Pat Henshaw, All About Romance
Men of Defiance, Book 2
Virginia financier Julian McCaid has put his troubled past behind him. His plans for the future don't include Audrey Sheridan, the extraordinary frontier woman he met just once, but it's because of her that he's come to the Dakota Territory to investigate problems at his ranch. And it's all the more surprising when he discovers she isn't the innocent he believed. Now nothing but her complete surrender will purge her from his soul.
If it weren't for the children she cares for in her makeshift orphanage, Audrey would have left Defiance long ago. Now the sheriff is blackmailing her to distract the man who might derail his corrupt schemes, a man who can offer Audrey not just protection, but a passion bold enough to make them claim their place in this harsh and beautiful land.
Reviews for AUDREY AND THE MAVERICK:
“Julian McCaid returns from Virginia to dwindling, lawless Defiance to check out vandalism on his Dakota Territory sheep ranch. He has even more trouble when Audrey Sheridan steals his money and ends up on the ranch working off the debt as a cook. But Audrey is on a mission for the crooked sheriff: she must keep Julian distracted for a month, or the orphans she cares for will be killed, one by one. VERDICT A pair of appealing, well-matched protagonists (with a bit of a history), a slimy villain, well-drawn secondary characters, and plenty of action make this rough-and-ready Western one that fans are sure to enjoy.” --Library Journal
“No need to mince words -- Elaine Levine is a find. Categorizing AUDREY AND THE MAVERICK as a western just doesn't do it justice. A bright, intelligent and insightful look at rough times in America where people survived by defying the odds and those with guts and determination reached unimagined levels of success. Don't expect to get anything else done once you begin this book and expect to feel remiss when it's done. But keep your spirits high -- there is to be another installment in the saga about the town of Defiance. This book should be on everyone's short list. Enjoy.” --Fresh Fiction Reviews
“Elaine Levine’s writing style grabs the attention of the reader and never lets go until the happy-ever-after that seemed so unattainable is indeed reached with Audrey and Julian’s rock-solid love—a love that reaches out to encompass lots of little orphans. Audrey And The Maverick is an exciting and engrossing story about strong characters that helped push the American frontier westward.” --Long and Short Reviews
“Audrey and the Maverickis a book you can't afford to miss, and [is] every bit as engaging as Rachel and the Hired Gun. From what I have heard, there still another from Elaine in this particular series. This will also remain on my keeper shelf, and if you really want to know, I have gone back to read it again already. Julian is what heroes are made of, and Audrey is a feisty, determined woman you will love. There are also friends who need their stories written so head on out, discover Elaine's world, and get your copy of Audrey and the Maverick TODAY!” -- Rose, Romance at Heart Magazine
“Ms. Levine has created two complex and sympathetic characters for this absorbing and sensuous romance. The taut and vibrant sexual tension between Julian and Audrey keeps the story moving and those pages turning. Ms. Levine is also adept at providing delightfully telling details of character and place. Compelling, romantic and highly recommended.”--Carol, Love Western Romances Book Reviews
Men of Defiance, Book 1
Note from Elaine: This book is out of print in paperback. It is still available as an ebook from Barnes & Noble (Nook), Amazon (Kindle), Kobo Books, and Apple.
Running from a brutal past to the father she's never met, Rachel Douglas must rely on the survival skills of the hard-edged gunman her father sends to guide her across the rugged terrain of the Dakota Territory. But Sager's got another plan and a blood debt to settle.
Time doesn't always heal all wounds. Sometimes it takes a little vengeance.
Reviews for RACHEL AND THE HIRED GUN:
"Fast paced and action filled, Rachel and the Hired Gun is a book you can't afford to miss. From what I have heard, there are more coming from Elaine, and I hope to get every one if they are all like this one. This will remain on my keeper shelf, and if you really want to know, I have gone back to read it again already. Sager is the best of what heroes have to offer, and Rachel is a woman you will love, so head on out and get your copy of Rachel and the Hired Gun TODAY!."
--Rose, Romance Readers At Heart!
"Elaine Levine makes a sterling debut with a novel filled with wonderfully complex characters set in the hard-scrabble western frontier where the line between right and wrong doesn't run so straight or clear. Sager is almost an anti-hero, hard, vengeful and filled with a deep-seated hatred. Yet, he saves a child from a wolf, tenderly ministers to Rachel's wounds and shields her from the censure of others. His slow ascent into finding his conscience and his heart has the reader rooting for him. And the sensuality that electrifies Rachel and Sager's relationship is wonderfully described. Not since Elizabeth Lowell's Only His have I read such an intense love scene set in a pool of water. Looking forward to Ms. Levine's next western historical romance."
--Carol, Five Spurs from Love Western Romances Book Reviews!
"Elaine Levine pens a story of adventure, love and redemption. The characters pop right off the page and are truly realistic. The plot is seamless, full of twists and turns that keep the reader enthralled. I loved the interactions between Sager and Rachel and I wonder if some of the secondary characters will have their own stories. Levine scores a victory with Rachel and the Hired Gun."
--Nicole, Four and a Half Stars from Manic Readers!
"First-time author Levine draws on classic western themes and a rugged backdrop like a veteran of the genre. Her realistic characters leap from the pages yet never supersede the emotionally charged romance. The western is alive and well with authors like Levine."
--Kathe Robin, Four Stars from Romantic Times!
"New author Elaine Levine offers us a stylish Western romance with a wonderful pair of lead characters, and a promise of more to come. Rachel and the Hired Gun is a welcome addition to the Western subgenre, which could use more fresh voices like this."
--Cathy Sova, Four Stars from The Romance Reader!