Hard-driving suspense and intense passion are the hallmarks of bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann's pulse-pounding thrillers. In her tales of daring, danger, courage, and desire, men and women of action fight fiercely, love deeply, and time after time raise the bar for adventure to new heights. Brockmann's latest novel is no exception.
Florida private investigator and ex-cop Ric Alvarado's life is spiraling out of control. His beautiful new girl Friday, Annie Dugan, is far more interested in fieldwork than filing, and despite Ric's best efforts to ignore the attraction, sparks are flying between them. Then one of Ric's clients turns femme fatale and tries to gun down an innocent man. Thanks to quick thinking and even quicker reflexes, Ric comes to the rescue, only to learn he's done a very good deed for some very bad people.
Suddenly Ric finds himself deep undercover with Annie, working for notorious crime boss Gordon Burns. One mistake from Ric's painfully inexperienced partner and they're both dead.
FBI agent Jules Cassidy's life isn't in much better shape. For years the FBI has been trying to prove Gordon Burns's ties to terrorist activity. Now, thanks to Ric and Annie, Jules has found a way into the lion's den. But in the course of his investigation he comes face-to-face with Robin Chadwick, the charismatic but self-destructive and closeted movie star for whom Jules feels a powerful attraction. Robin's in town promoting his latest film-and Gordon Burns is a star-struck movie buff.
With Robin and Jules's help, Ric and Annie are soon entrenched in Burns's organization, surrounded by killers who may already have executed an FBI infiltrator. Before long the couple realizes that many more lives besides their own will be at stake if they make a false move. As the heat between them reaches dangerous levels, so do the risks they're willing to take-in the line of duty, for the sake of loyalty, and in the name of something that runs even deeper.
From the Hardcover edition.
Ex-cop Ric Alvarado, after receiving word that Florida mobster Gordon Burns may be working with international terrorists, manages to gain access to Burns's inner circle in prolific bestseller Brockmann's enjoyable 11th Troubleshooters thriller (after 2006's Into the Storm). Alvarado's feat brings him to the attention of Jules Cassidy, a maverick FBI agent and counterterrorism expert derided by fellow agents for being gay. The message of tolerance and the personal issues--Cassidy's relationship with closeted Hollywood leading man Robin Chadwick; Alvarado's crush on his attractive assistant, Annie Dugan; Cassidy's determined struggle for acceptance and recognition--at times interfere with the terrorist plot in the mix of undercover police work and romance, but romantic suspense fans should be well satisfied. (Aug.)
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August 13, 2007
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Excerpt from Force of Nature by Suzanne Brockmann
A Year Later
"I'm going in."
Ric laughed out loud, which was probably not the best thing to do, given the circumstances. "No, you're not."
But Annie only narrowed her eyes at his amusement instead of delivering a smack to the side of his head.
Which, he realized, was something she hadn't done to him since she was thirteen. Still, he could tell that she was tempted.
"Look," he tried reason. "I said you could ride along. There's an unspoken understanding there that you'll stay in the car." Of course, they were both already out of the car, standing in this suckhole of a parking lot on the crap side of Sarasota.
At least they were standing in the shade.
Annie, too, tried reason. But hers was laced with attitude. "You can't go in. And unless Hutch is on his way over . . ."
Damn, but he hated when she called him Starsky, even by omission like that. But this time he clenched his teeth and kept his mouth shut. This was definitely not the time or place to get into The Argument, which went something like: "Oh, that's right, Ric, you don't have a Hutch. You don't want one, don't need one, even though I'm standing right here, volunteering for the job. No, you prefer to believe-- despite years of police work that proved otherwise--that you don't need any backup whatsoever. You'd prefer to end up lying in an alley again, with the shit kicked out of you. You'd prefer to pee blood. Again."
Annie's second day of work as his new office assistant at Alvarado Private Investigations hadn't been a particularly good day for Ric.
Her third day, however, had included his successful apprehension and delivery to the FBI of the shitkicker's brother, who was wanted in four states for a variety of violent crimes. Ric had received a twenty-thousand-dollar reward for his diligent, but not particularly brilliant detective work. Twenty thousand. After adding up the time he'd put in, plus expenses, it worked out to just over four hundred dollars an hour, which was sweet. Well, sweet, with the exception of those particularly nasty twenty minutes during which he'd allowed himself to get stomped in order to gain possession of the kicker's cell phone--which subsequently revealed the location of his even nastier older brother's girlfriend. And again, it wasn't Ric's skill as a detective, but rather the fact that Nasty the elder had just broken the woman's nose, that had worked to Ric's advantage. For a slim five percent share of the reward, plus a truckload of revenge, she'd eagerly divulged the wanted man's whereabouts.
Still, four hundred dollars an hour, however he'd earned it, wasn't something to sneeze at. And the fact that he'd finally worked a lucrative case that didn't involve bored, wealthy suburbanites cheating on each other was another reason to cheer.
Yet it was the getting-beaten-up-and-peeing-blood part that Annie brought up over and over again.
Along with the fact that she had been sorely misled by her own asshole-of-a-brother-Bruce--her name for him, not his--to believe that Ric needed an assistant rather than a receptionist. Annie had taken this position, she'd told him, not merely because she needed a job where she could bring along her separation-anxiety-suffering little rat-dog, but because she didn't want to sit behind a desk all day. Yet all Ric wanted her to do was sit in his office behind a desk, take phone calls, and create--again, her words--stupid office forms.
Of course, the most recent stupid office form Annie had created--in under ten minutes--was an exceptionally well-organized client interview sheet. It was precisely what he'd needed--possibly with the exception of those two little boxes, one that said yes, one that said no, next to the words This client wants to do me.