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"You don't deserve to die here."
Juliana James looked up at the sound of the quiet voice. She couldn't move her body much because she was still tied hand and foot to the chair in the dimly lit room. Tied with rough ropes that bit into her skin. Though she'd struggled for hours, she hadn't been able to break free. She'd done nothing but slice open her flesh on the ropes.
"If you tell them what they want to know " He sighed. "They might let you go."
Juliana swallowed and felt as if she were choking back shards of glass. How long had it been since they'd given her anything to drink? After swallowing a few more times, she managed, "I don't know anything." She was just trapped in a nightmare. One day, she'd been soaking up the sun on a Mexican beach, and the next—
It was a nightmare all right, and she desperately wanted to wake up from it. Ready to wake up—now.
John Gonzales, the man who'd been held captive with her for—what was it now? Three? Four days?—was slumped in his chair. She'd never met John until they were thrown together in this hell. They'd both been kidnapped from separate areas in Mexico. The men who'd abducted them kept coming and getting John, taking him.
And she knew her time was coming.
"I'm not perfect," John's ragged voice whispered to her. "But you you didn't do anything wrong It was all your father."
Her father. The not-so-honorable Senator Aaron James. She might not know who had taken her, but once her abductors had started asking their questions, Juliana had figured out fast that the abduction was payback for something the senator had done.
Daddy hadn't raised a fool. Just, apparently, someone to die in his place.
Would he even care when he learned about what had happened to her? Or would he just hold a press conference and look appropriately saddened and grievous in front of all the cameras? She didn't know, and that fact made her stomach knot even more.
Juliana exhaled slowly. "Perfect or not " She didn't know the things that John had done. Right then, they didn't matter. He'd talked to her when she'd been trapped in the dark. He'd kept her sane during all of those long, terrible hours. "We're both going to make it out of here."
His rough laughter called her words a lie.
She'd only seen his face a few times, when the light was bright enough in the early mornings. Appearing a bit younger than her own thirty years, John had the dark good looks that had probably gotten him plenty of female attention since he was a teen.
Not now, though.
"Do you have any regrets?" John asked her. She saw his head tilt toward her as he waited for her response.
Juliana blinked against the tears that wanted to fill her eyes. Regrets? "A few." One.
A pause. Then "You ever been in love, Juliana?"
"Once—" and in the dark, with only death waiting for her, she could admit this painful truth "—but Logan didn't love me back." Pity, because she'd never been able to—
The hinges on the door groaned as it opened. Juliana tensed, her whole body going tight with fear. John was already swearing, jerking against his binds, but.
But the men weren't coming for him this time.
They were coming for her.
Logan Quinn felt a trickle of sweat slide down his back. He didn't move, not so much as a muscle twitch. He'd been in position for the past forty-three minutes, waiting for the go-ahead to move.
To storm that building and get Julie out of there.
Hold on, baby.
Not that she was his baby. Not anymore. But the minute Senator James had contacted him, asking for his help and the help of his team, Logan had known that trouble, serious trouble, had come to hunt him down.
Julie's missing. You have to get her back.
That was all it had taken. Two sentences, and Logan had set his team up for a recovery mission in Mexico. His unit, part of the Elite Operations Division, didn't take on just any case.
But for her, he'd do anything.
"There's movement." The words whispered into his ear via the comm link that all members of his recovery team used.
Logan barely breathed.
"I have a visual on the target."
His heart raced faster. This was what they'd been waiting for. Movement and, hopefully visual confirmation. They wouldn't storm the place, not until—
"I see her. The girl's being led down a hallway. There's a knife at her throat."
Logan held his position even as fury pulsed within him. Juliana would be scared. Terrified. This was so far from the debutante balls in Mississippi that she knew. So far from the safe life she'd always wanted to lead.
He'd get her back to that life, then he'd walk away. Just as he had before.
"South side," that same voice whispered in his ear. Male. Gunner Ortez, the SEAL sniper Uncle Sam had recruited for their black-ops division. A division most said didn't exist.
They were wrong.
"Second door," Gunner said, voice flat and hard as he marked the target location.
Finally, Logan moved. A shadow in the night, he didn't make a single sound as he slipped into the building. To his right, Jasper Adams moved in perfect sync with him. The Ranger knew how to keep quiet just like Logan did. After all their training, stealth was second nature to them now.
Logan came up on the first guard, caught the scent of cigarettes and alcohol. One quick jab, and the guard's body slumped back against him. He pulled the guy into the shadows, dropped him in the corner and signaled for Jasper to keep moving.
Then he heard her scream.
The blood in Logan's body iced over. For a second, his vision seemed to go dark. Pain, fear—he could hear them both in Juliana's scream. He rushed forward, edging fast on Jasper's heels. Jasper knocked out the next guard, barely pausing.
Logan didn't pause at all. He drew out his gun and—"Please, I don't know!" It was Juliana's desperate voice. The voice he still heard in his dreams. Not soft with the South now, but high with terror.
They passed the first door. The second was just steps away. Hold on, hold on
"Company!" Gunner's terse warning blasted in his comm link. They barely had time to duck for cover before the rat-a-tat of gunfire smashed into the wall above them.
Made. Logan fired back, once, twice, aiming with near-instant precision. He heard a choked cry, then the thud of bodies as two men hit the ground. Jasper covered him, moving quickly, as Logan kicked open lucky door number two. With that gunfire, the men inside would either flee
Or try to kill their prey.
Option number two damn well wasn't going down on his watch.
But as Logan burst into the room, three men turned toward him. He fired at the guy on the left as the man drew his gun. The guy's body hit the floor. Then Logan drove his fist into the face of the attacker on the right. But the one in the middle the one with his knife pressed against Juliana's throat.
Logan didn't touch him. Not yet.
"Deje a la mujer ir," Logan barked in perfect Spanish. Let the woman go.
Instead, the soon-to-be-dead fool cut her skin. Logan's eyes narrowed. Wrong move.
"Vuelva o ella es muerta," the guy snarled back at him. Step back or she's dead.
Logan didn't step back. He'd never been the type to retreat. His gaze darted to Juliana. She stared at him, eyes wide, body frozen. A black ski mask covered his head, so he knew she had no idea who he was. But Logan knew she'd always had a real fine grasp of the Spanish language. She understood exactly what the man had said to him.
"Step back." Her lips moved almost soundlessly. "Please." Then she repeated her plea in Spanish.
Still, he didn't move. Beneath the ski mask, his jaw locked. He kept his gun up and aimed right at her attacker's head. One shot.
"Vuelva o ella es muerta!" Now the guy yelled his warning and that knife dug deeper into Juliana's pale throat.
Instead of backing up, Logan stepped forward. Juliana screamed—and then she started fighting. Her nails clawed at her captor's hand, and she drew blood of her own. The guy swore and yanked back on her hair, but that move lifted the knife off her throat. Lifted it off just enough for Logan to attack.
He caught the man's wrist, wrenched it back. Even as Logan yanked Juliana forward, he drove the guy's wrist—and the knife—right back at the bastard's own throat.
When the body hit the floor, Logan didn't glance down. He pulled Juliana closer to him and tried to keep her attention off the dead men on the floor. "It's all right," he told her, attempting to sound soothing in the middle of hell. More gunfire echoed outside the small room. The sound was like the explosion of fireworks. The voice in his ear told him that two more men had just been taken out by Jasper. Good. The guy was clearing the way for their escape. Logan's hands tightened on Juliana, and he said, "I'm gonna—"
She kneed him in the groin.
Logan was so caught off guard by the move that he let her go. She lunged away from him, yelling for all that she was worth.
"Damn it," he growled and hissed out a breath, "I'm not here to hurt you!"
She'd yanked the knife out of the dead man's throat.
She came up with it clutched tightly in her white-knuckled grip. "You stay away from me!"
"Easy." They didn't have time for this. Logan knew that if he yanked up his mask and revealed his identity, she'd drop the weapon. But he had mission protocol ruling him right then. Their team was to stay covered during this rescue, until the target had been taken to the designated safe zone. No team member could afford to have his identity compromised at this site. Not until everything was secure.
"Back up and get out of my way," Juliana snapped right back at him, showing the fire that had first drawn him to her years ago.
He hadn't obeyed the dead guy. Did she really think he'd obey her?
But then Jasper leaped into the room at the same instant that Gunner barked on the comm link, "Extraction. Now."
Logan caught the whiff of smoke in the air. Smoke and the crackle of flames. Fire wasn't part of the extraction plan.
"Two hostiles got away," Jasper grunted, shifting his shoulders, and Logan wondered if he'd been hit. He'd seen the Ranger take three bullets before and keep fighting. One hit wouldn't slow him down—Jasper wouldn't let it slow him down. "And I think those fleeing hombres want to make sure we don't get out alive with her."
No, they wouldn't want her escaping. Too bad for them. Logan spun for the window. Using his weapon and his fist, he broke the glass and shattered the old wooden frame. He glanced down at the street below. Second story. He could handle that drop in his sleep, but he'd have to take care with Juliana.
"Clear," Gunner said in his ear, and Logan knew the guy was still tracking the team's movement. "Go now. 'cause that fire is coming hard for you."
Juliana's captors had probably rigged the place for a fast burn. The better to leave no evidence—or witnesses—behind.
Logan grabbed Juliana's hand. She yelped. He hated that sound, hated that he'd had to hurt her, but now wasn't the time for explanations.
The knife clattered to the floor.
Now was the time to get the hell out of there. He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her close against his body. "You'll need to hold tight," he told her, voice low and growling.
But Juliana shook her head at him. "I'm not going out that window. I have to—"
"You have to live," Jasper said from his post at the door. "That fire's coming, ma'am, and you need to get through that window now."
She blinked. In the faint light, Logan saw the same dark chocolate eyes he remembered. Her face still as pretty. "Fire?" Then she sucked in a deep breath, and Logan knew she'd finally caught the scent of smoke and flames. "No!" She tried to rip out of his arms and lunge for the door.
Logan just hauled her right back against him. Now that he had her safe in his arms, he wasn't about to let her get away.
"Area's clear," Gunner said in Logan's earpiece. "Extract now."
Logan tried to position Juliana for their drop. The woman twisted against him, moving like a slithering snake as she fought to wrench back and break free. "I'm not leaving!" she snapped at him. "Not without John!"
"Extract." Gunner's order.
" Stop fighting," Logan told her when she twisted again. "We're the good guys, and we came to take you to safety."
She stilled for a moment. Heaving a deep breath, she said, "Me and John."
Seriously, who the hell was John?
"He's back there." Her hand lifted and one trembling finger pointed to the doorway. The doorway that was currently filling with smoke. "We have to get him out."
No other civilians were in the building. Only Diego Guerrero's killers. Logan's team members were pulling back and—
"I'm not leaving without him!"
An explosion rocked the building. Juliana fell against Logan's chest.
Jasper staggered. "Go time," Logan heard him say.
And yeah, it was. Keeping a hold on Juliana, Logan tapped his receiver. "Is there another civilian here?" He had to be sure. He wouldn't leave an innocent to burn.
He motioned for Jasper to take the leap out. He had Juliana; there was no need for the other agent to stay any longer. Jasper yanked out a cable from his pack and quickly set up an escape line. In seconds, he began to lower his body to the ground.
"Negative," Gunner responded instantly. "Now move before your butt gets fried."
Gunner wouldn't make a mistake. He and Sydney Sloan had the best intel there was. No way would they send the team in without knowledge of another innocent in the perimeter.
Juliana blinked up at him. "Y-your voice."
Aw, damn. He'd lost most of his Southern accent over the years, but every now and then, those Mississippi purrs would slip into his voice. Now wasn't a good time for that slip.
"You're goin' out the window " Another explosion shook the building. Her captors were packing some serious firepower. Definitely don't want her getting away alive. "Your choice—you goin' through awake or asleep?"
"There's a man trapped back there! He's tied up—he'll burn to death."
She wasn't listening to him. Fine. He grabbed her, tossed her over his shoulder, held tight and dropped down on the line that Jasper had secured for him.
By the time she'd gotten any breath to scream, they were on the ground.
"Take her," Logan ordered, shoving Juliana into Jasper's arms. "Get her out of here." She was the mission. Her safety was their number one priority.
He' ll burn to death. Logan wasn't leaving a man behind. He grabbed the cable and started hauling his butt back up into the fire.
Posted September 23, 2014
Posted March 19, 2013
Posted February 24, 2013
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Read from February 15 to 16, 2013
"Julie's missing. You have to get her back."The minute he got the message, undercover agent Logan Quinn sprang into action. Getting Juliana James out of Mexico alive was the Elite Ops covert agent's only priority. But once the senator's daughter was safely back in their Mississippi hometown, Logan had a new mission: to get another chance with the woman he couldn't lose again.
Juliana had never forgotten the day, ten years ago, when Logan left her heart in pieces. Now he was back in her life, sworn to protect her from the ruthless weapons dealer who wanted her dead. As passion blindsided her—and she was once again thrust into danger—Julie realized how much she'd risk for one more day in Logan's arms.
At 20 Juliana James fell in love with tall, dark 22 year old Logan Quinn. Juliana never realized however that her father, Senator Aaron James, was responsible for Logan walking away. Ten long years have passed and Juliana has been kidnapped by "El Diablo", the weapons dealer who her father made the mistake of double crossing, the man who is convinced that Julie has evidence her father collected that could bring his organization down. Logan and his team of Black Ops, "Shadow Agents", have been contacted by the Senator to rescue Julie and bring her home safely.
When reading a "2nd chance romance" that combines such violent action, suspenseful scenes of intrigue and mystery as well as really sizzling chemistry between the reunited lovers one almost always feels like things could haves been different if only some of the characters impetuous decisions would have been made using logic instead of emotion.
Violent, action packed, bloody and totally sexy romantic suspense that delivers the chills and thrills readers have come to expect from author Cynthia Eden .
With all the twists and turns in the story the reader is able to easily grasp what is going on at all times, the main characters come across well and are fully fleshed out in a way that makes them both likable as well as believably realistic when they interact. The fact that both Julie and Logan have kept secrets from each other plays a big part in how they treat each other after being apart for 10 years, the villain of this piece is both chilling and heartbreaking. I could not believe how fast this one read, it just seemed like had started and book was already finished!
Alpha One is a smooth, sexy read that does justice to the Romantic Suspense genre and is a very good start to what I hope is a series that has a story for each team member as they are each and every one just as enigmatic and arresting a character as that of Logan Quinn!
I am hoping for a chance to read Jasper's story Guardian Ranger soon as it is book 2 which released in February of 2013 and it promises to be as exciting as book 1.
[EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]
Posted February 23, 2013
A cave with a large bush next to it. The cave has crevices in the walls for herbs. There is one lage crevice with a nest of mint leaves on one side of the wall for the healer. A tunnel on the other side leads to inside the bush. In the bush there is a den with 65 nests for the patients.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 18, 2013
Just what the reading doctor ordered: a romantic suspense filled with in your face danger, a lover from the past, seal/agents, edge of your seat suspense. This basically sums up this story for me. As much as I love Cynthia Eden for her paranormal storytelling, I love her even more for her ability to keep you on the edge of your seat with very bad characters and hot heroes who goes all in to protect their lady. This story was just what I expect from the author- I thoroughly enjoyed it. I gave it 4 stars because the heroine was not my favorite-she did not distract from the story and I connected with her but I did have some "get over yourself" moments.
I am looking forward to the next book from Cynthia Eden in this Harlequin Intrigue line.
Posted January 11, 2013
Alpha One is the first book in a new romantic suspense series by Cynthia Eden. Like all of Cynthia's novels it is action packed from the get go, the main characters where likeable, the bad guys liked to use torture to get their way, the plot twists kept me reading. The secondary characters are what will have me going back for more! I am so curious about them and I can't wait to unravel their secrets.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 10, 2013
~Reviewed by ANGELA & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog
“Eden is great with her story telling of the paranormal world as she is amazing in the romantic suspense.” ~Under the Covers
Eden is great with her story telling of the paranormal world as she is amazing in the romantic suspense. I am a big fan of her The Fallen series which has a great story line, world building, lots of action and great romance. She delivered all that and then some in this novel.
Juliana James is the daughter of a crooked and a greedy Senator, Aaron James. Due to his corrupted dealings with a weapons dealer (Diego Guerrero), Juliana’s life is threatened and kidnapped until the Senator gives Guerrero what he wants. Desperate to save her life, he contacted Elite Ops Division who specializes in just what he needs. They are a “…group, a hybrid formed of recruited nave SEALS, Rangers and intelligence officers from the FBI and CIA” and they specialize in hostage retrieval. However, Logan Quinn is a member the Senator did not expect to see.
Logan and Juliana are not strangers; in fact, they were very close at one time. They had a heart breaking past but as tragic as it is, fate had brought them together and perhaps given a second chance to mend what was broken. I love Logan. He is your twentieth century alpha male and Julie plays a very independent heroine. Both their characters are well developed and believable. And because of their past relationship, their romance did not feel rushed at all.
Alpha One is a fast paced, action packed story and full of unexpected twists. This novel definitely had a Swat movie feel to it with a hint of romance and family drama. I cannot wait to get more of this series especially Jasper and hopefully Gunner! Thank you Ms. Eden for another enthralling read!
*ARC provided by publisher
Posted January 3, 2013
This review was first posted at Reading Between the Wines!
Logan Quinn has been in love with one woman for ten years. However, that love has been from afar after he left her in Mississippi all those years ago, and walked away, determined that he wasn't good enough for the likes of Julianna James. With one message from her father Senator James, those miles are erased and Logan is scrambling to be by Julie's side again. It's not a happy reunion though, he's on a mission to rescue her Julie from El Diablo, an arms dealing mastermind based in Mexico.
After saving Julie, and whisking her out of Mexico, the battle really starts on more than one front. Logan will have to fight to keep Julie safe from El Diablo and the mad man's attempts to kidnap Julie again for evidence her father has on him. Logan will also have to keep her safe from the person trying to kill her. The last fight will be the hardest for him though, because it means keeping Julie safe from himself. He hurt her once, and he doesn't want to hurt her again, but what happens when he can no longer keep her at arm's length? The secrets he's kept from her will devastate her. Will he be able to convince her that their love is meant to be? Or will Julie be unable to forgive Logan for the secrets, lies and heartache he's caused?
A four wine glass toast for Ms. Eden's Alpha One, and I can not wait to read the next book in the series! I hope it's Gunner and Sydney's story...
Posted January 2, 2013
Logan Quinn is a covert agent for an Elite Ops agency. Logan gets a message that Juliana James is missing and his new mission is to get her back and bring her home safely to their Mississippi hometown. Logan is determined to not only keep Julie safe and alive but also to get another chance with her because he is finding that he cannot lose her again.
Juliana James is a senator’s daughter that a ruthless weapons dealer wants dead. Julie never expected to see Logan again after he left her heart in pieces ten years ago. But now he is back in her life and is determine to protect her from the man that wants her dead.
Now as Logan and Julie are both blindsided by the passion that is still there between them they find that they will do anything for another chance at a future together. First they are going to have to defeat the weapons dealer so that they can stay alive and so they can enjoy that future.
This is a story that starts off fast and never slows its pace. It is action packed as Julie and Logan try and figure out just what is going on and exactly who knows what. If they are not careful and trust the wrong person it just might cost them their lives. The characters are well written and the reader will find they are very able to relate to them. For readers then enjoy action with their romance this is one to read as the action never stops and the passion between the characters sets the pages on fire.
Posted January 1, 2013
This is my first romantic suspense book by Cynthia Eden, as most of the books I have read of hers have been in the paranormal romance category. After reading this, I think her suspense books can be termed more thriller than suspense. She always gets my heart pounding with her stories and this one involves a crazy weapons dealer. Luckily there is a Happy Ever After...
Juliana James is the daughter of a Senator who is not on the up and up and is working with a weapons dealer (Diego Guerrero). After the Senator lost his wife, he became lost and started dealing in weapons to make some extra cash on the side. Unfortunately he was skimming off the top and gathering evidence against the Guerrero. That didn't make Guerrero happy at all and being the ruthless person he was known as, he wasn't going to stand for it. So, what means the most to the Senator? Juliana. The Senator calls in the Elite Ops Division to rescue her. Little did he know Logan Quinn (someone he did not want in Juliana's life before) was part of the EOD that would be on the mission, but he was desperate to get his daughter back. The adventure begins at the beginning of the book and doesn't end until the last page.
Logan Quinn is a hero with a lot of confidence but also self doubt. It seems from the beginning of the story all he does is lie. Some of it is his choice, some comes from direct orders. Boy does he dig himself a deep hole where Juliana is concerned!
Juliana doesn't have a good relationship with her father, Senator Aaron James. Not after her mother died and he stared dealing in weapons. She has no idea why she is kidnapped because she has no information on her father. She quickly learns why she is the target and does her best to help the EOD protect her and bring Guerrero down.
The plot in this story had the expected twists and turns that Cynthia writes but allows you to keep up and not feel lost. The romance part of this story fit very well. Logan and Juliana were together 10 years prior to this rescue mission so the reunion and time it took for them to be together emotionally again was appropriate and believable. There were a lot of lies between them and they had to get past those first. I enjoyed the supporting characters, specifically Jasper, and look forward to more stories about the EOD. If you are looking for a romantic suspense book, which is heavy on the suspense but would also like a happy ever after and is hard to put down, I highly recommend Alpha One!
Posted December 31, 2012
Alpha One by Cynthia Eden
Alpha One starts off with action and does not let up. It is full of drama and little romance too. Everybody has secrets they are hiding from each other.
Juliana James has been kidnapped while she was on vacation in Mexico. She been held in a dark room. Thier is another prisoner that was thier before her John. John was the only she had to talk to in the dark. John kept being taken away and tortured for information.
Juliana's father is a U.S. Senator and thats why she was taken. She does not know any of his deals and thinks he won't pay to get her safely back.
Logan Quinn's black ops team is sent to rescue her. Her father told them he had evidence to trade for her life. But it is personal to Logan he fell in love with her years ago and was determined to keep her safe. When they break into rescue Juliana she does not want to leave without the other prisoner John. Logan's team is wearing masks so Juliana has no idea that it is Logan rescueing her.
Logan goes back into the house but thier is no other hostage thier. When they get Juliana back to her father he is dead. He committed sucide but his note said that Juliana had the evidence to put Guerrero the arms dealer out of business.
At the Senator's funeral Logan takes Juliana in his truck instead of the Limo but before they can leave the cemetary the Limo is blown up killing the driver. Juliana is not safe yet.
I would like to read more about Logan's Shadow Agents in the future. The team of agents seem close and I would like to find out more about them.
I was given this ebook to read in exchange of honest review from Netgalley.
01/02/2013 PUB Harlequin Imprint Harlequin Intrigue Series 224 pages ISBN-10: 0373696655
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