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Bad Nights
     

Bad Nights

2.3 6
by Rebecca York
 

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"Rebecca York's writing is fast-paced, suspenseful, and loaded with tension."-Jayne Ann Krentz

You Only Get a Second Chance...

Private operative and former Navy SEAL Jack Brandt barely escaped a disastrous undercover assignment, thanks to the most intriguing woman he's ever met. When his enemies track him to her doorstep, he'll do

Overview

"Rebecca York's writing is fast-paced, suspenseful, and loaded with tension."-Jayne Ann Krentz

You Only Get a Second Chance...

Private operative and former Navy SEAL Jack Brandt barely escaped a disastrous undercover assignment, thanks to the most intriguing woman he's ever met. When his enemies track him to her doorstep, he'll do anything to protect Morgan from the danger closing in on them both...

If You Stay Alive...

Since her husband's death, Morgan Rains has only been going through the motions. She didn't think anything could shock her-until she finds a gorgeous man stumbling naked and injured through the woods behind her house. He's mysterious, intimidating-and undeniably compelling.

Thrown together into a pressure cooker of danger and intrigue, Jack and Morgan are finding in each other a reason to live-if they can survive.

"Rebecca York is a real luminary."-Washington Post Book World

"No one sends more chills down your spine than the very creative and imaginative Ms. York!"-RT Book Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
York (Carrie’s Protector) fumbles her latest romantic thriller. Though widow Morgan Rains knows that taking a naked stranger into her remote forest cabin might not be such a good idea, when she sees cigarette burns all over his body, she has to offer her aid. Former Navy SEAL Jack Brandt can barely remember his own name, let alone what happened to him during his last undercover mission, but he’s certain that he is still in danger. When Jack’s militia pursuers close in on Morgan’s cabin, Jack and Morgan are forced to rely on each other to survive as they escape into the wilderness, leading to an affair and a rather unlikely collaboration on stopping a terrorist attack. It’s never clear why generic action hero Jack and bookish Morgan are meant for each other, and the nonstop tension becomes wearying after a while. Readers looking for more romance than suspense might want to skip this one. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg Agency. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"[Rebecca York] did an excellent job with the suspense element... She turned the tables in a brilliant stroke of genius. It's a page turner for sure. Reviewer Top Pick" - Night Owl Reviews

"Tense and intriguing, the first of York's Rockfort Security books is an action-packed read that promises much for the series to come... a suspenseful, visceral reading experience." - RT Book Reviews

"Enough action and suspense to keep readers reading." - Booklist

"This is a guns blazing, fast paced, suspense filled story. The plot was engaging. " - Tome Tender

"A heart-in-throat thriller and a soul-satisfying romance-a fantastic read!" - Long and Short Reviews

"Fast paced romantic thriller. York is a master of the romantic suspense genre." - Genre Fluent

"I recommend this to those who enjoy their romantic suspense on the spicier side." - Delighted Reader

"Terror, torture, and temptation... a heart-in-throat thriller and a soul-satisfying romance-a fantastic read!" - Long and Short Reviews

"This action packed novel keeps moving from the first page right until the last. " - BookLoons.com

"Romance, suspense, danger!" - Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

"Suspenseful and action-packed. " - Caffienated Book Reviewer

"An adventuresome romance filled with precarious danger and sizzling passion." - Single TItles

"An action-packed, adrenaline pumping romantic suspense that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Danger reaches a fever pitch in this exciting story..." - Romance Junkies

"Fast-paced, riveting, and loaded with tension." - The Royal Reviews

"Filled with action, adventure, and a steamy love story, BAD NIGHTS is an entertaining romantic suspense with complex characters and a thrilling plot." - Book Lover and Procrastinator

"If you are looking for an edge of your seat, action packed novel with some romance thrown into the mix, look no further than Bad Nights. " - Romancing the Book

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402280016
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
09/03/2013
Series:
Rockfort Security , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
208,222
File size:
971 KB

Read an Excerpt

Bad Nights


By REBECCA YORK, Jon Zychowski

Sourcebooks, Inc.

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Glick
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4022-8001-6


CHAPTER 1

Above the muted sound of laughter coming from the television set, Morgan Rains heard a noise that made the hairs on the back of her neck prickle.

With a click of the remote, she turned off the DVD she'd been watching — of herself and Glenn in happier times — and sat very still in the darkened room, listening intently for sounds from outside.

The rustle of dry leaves came again, louder this time and closer to the little vacation retreat nestled in a hollow between two foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Morgan was sure that either a person or a large animal was out there.

In the years she had been coming to this cozy cottage, there had never been any problem with intruders, but modern life might have changed that, which was one of the reasons she was here — to start getting the place in shape to sell it. She didn't need a vacation home, especially one where so many memories lurked.

Even when she'd told herself the house was perfectly safe, Morgan hadn't been foolish about staying here alone. Quietly, she walked to the desk drawer and pulled out the automatic pistol she kept with her, feeling more secure with the weight of the weapon in her hand.

Not so long ago, owning anything more deadly than a water pistol would have been as foreign to her as going back for a second PhD in quantum physics. That was before her husband had been shot and killed by a burglar, and her world had shattered.

Glenn Chandler. The love of her life.

She'd dragged herself through almost a year and a half without him, throwing herself into the psychology courses she was teaching. Although the joy had gone from the work, keeping up with research in her field, preparing lectures, giving tests, and grading term papers filled her time.

Now the semester was over, and she'd come back to the little house she'd inherited from her parents to finally pack up the clothing Glenn had left here and decide which of the furnishings should go to charity shops and which she'd move to her house in Falls Church. But when she'd come across the videos they'd made during the five years of their marriage, she'd sat down to watch. Starting with their wedding day, when they'd been smiling and happy, surrounded by family and friends.

She clicked off the gun's safety and held the weapon down by her right leg, wondering if she was going to end up like the heroine of a mystery novel who was too stupid to live.

Confronting danger was usually a bad idea, yet she didn't see any option in her present situation. This vacation retreat was in the middle of nowhere. The closest neighbor was over a mile away, even if she knew who lived in the house on the other side of the woods. And calling 911 was hardly an option, since it would take the local cops forty minutes to get here. Too late if someone outside was getting ready to break in.

She couldn't simply sit here and wait for an intruder to pounce. Of course, she reminded herself, there had been sightings of mountain lions in the area. If a big cat was prowling around out there, staying inside and opening the blinds so the cat could see her were the best alternatives. That would probably make it run away. But if it wasn't an animal, that was exactly the wrong tactic.

With her heart thumping inside her chest, she settled on a compromise. Walking to the window, she eased the curtains aside with her free hand and scanned the woods beyond the house. At first she saw nothing in the fading light. Then a flash of something that wasn't part of the natural environment made her go very still.

She was seeing flesh. Not fur. Naked flesh.

A man or a big woman. She kept her gaze trained on the figure, looking for details. It was definitely a man. He was in the woods fifty yards from the house, weaving his way through the trees on unsteady legs as though he was coming off a three-day bender.

The breath froze in her lungs. Who the hell was out there in his birthday suit? Some pervert who knew a woman was staying alone in this isolated location? A nudist who'd wandered onto the wrong property? Or an escapee from an insane asylum?

She'd seen him only briefly from the front — long enough to confirm that he was very male.

But he'd turned away from the house. Which meant that he wasn't stalking her. Unless the maneuver was designed to make her drop her guard if she was watching.

While that paranoid thought spun in her head, he wavered on his feet. His large fingers clawed at the trunk of a tree as he made a desperate attempt to stay upright.

She watched him lose his grip on the bark and slide downward to his knees.

Again he flailed out toward the tree, but his hands slipped away, and he fell onto the ground, lying on his side in a pile of dry leaves with his knees curled toward his chest. Unmoving.

She'd thought he might be stalking the house. Now it looked like he was a man in bad trouble, unless he was still pulling an elaborate scam.

But she couldn't simply leave him there. As she looked around, her gaze fell on a striped maroon and orange afghan, one of the many her mother had crocheted on long winter evenings. Snatching it off the couch, she threw it over her arm, concealing the gun as she hurried to the front door.

Outside, on the porch, she shivered in the evening chill. Not a night to be out naked, she thought as she looked around to make sure an accomplice wasn't lurking behind a tree. When she saw no one besides the guy on the ground, she crossed the patch of straggly weeds that had once been a lawn and stepped into the shade under the tulip poplars and maples. The man hadn't moved since she'd seen him claw at the tree trunk and go down.

As she approached, she took in his head full of close-cropped dark hair, broad shoulders, and narrow hips.

What in the world had happened to him? Had some disease felled him?

When she got closer, she saw well-defined muscles, and more dark hair fanned across his chest, peeking out from behind the raised knees that hid his genitals.

But that wasn't what riveted her attention. Now that she was close to him, she gasped as she realized his condition. The side of his face she could see was dark with beard stubble that didn't hide the bruises on his cheek and jaw. Or the dried blood around his nose and mouth.

There were more bruises on his back and shoulders and over his ribs. And something else made her draw in a quick breath — the small, angry red circles peppering his back, arms, and thighs.

A rash? She didn't think so.

She'd seen something similar once when she'd been a teenager. She and a bunch of kids had been out in the woods smoking. Billy Anderson had dropped a cigarette on his hand, and the mark had looked like the ones on this man, only these were deeper, angrier.

He might have gotten the bruises in an auto accident or a tumble down one of the nearby mountains, but not a dozen cigarette burns on his skin.

She shivered. Much as the idea alarmed her, the only thing she could figure was that he'd been tortured by someone.

But who would do such a thing? She couldn't ask because he was unconscious, lying out in the open with the temperature falling, his breath shallow.

Again her mind spun unwanted scenarios. There were people in these hills growing pot. Others with meth labs. Had he gotten into a dispute with one of his fellow criminals?

Her gaze landed on his hip which was covered with a particularly nasty bruise. The rational part of her mind knew that taking him into her house was dangerous. The reckless part sent a different message.

Does it matter what happens to you? You've been dead for over a year anyway. If he finished you off, it would be a kindness.

She made an angry sound, dismissing that last self-destructive thought as she turned to the injured man and murmured, "We have to get you inside."

At the sound of her voice, he stirred.

"Don't worry," she said. "Everything's going to be okay."

The words were automatic. She'd said them to Glenn when he'd lain dying on the hall floor, a pool of blood spreading around his head.

Clenching her teeth, she shoved that unwanted image out of her mind. She didn't need it now. Or any time.

"Who are you? What happened?"

He had been lying absolutely still. Now he rolled to his back. As his head moved on the bed of leaves, she saw that one of his eyes was swollen closed.

"We have to get you inside," she repeated, knowing she couldn't carry him. "Do you think you can walk?"

As she was about to come down beside him, his good eye flew open. It was dark and unfocused, until it lit on her. A kind of wily intelligence seeped into his face, and she knew he was going to attack.

"Don't," she gasped.

But it was already too late. He lunged, and she jumped back. Even in his battered condition, his reflexes were good. He closed his hand around her ankle, his grip surprisingly strong for someone who'd been unconscious a few moments ago.

She hadn't known what to expect, but it certainly wasn't this.

His voice was steely as he asked, "I don't remember you around the camp. Did they send a woman to work me over this time?"

"No," she answered automatically. "Who are they?"

He laughed. Not a pleasant sound in the gathering gloom of the forest. "What? Are you fucking Trainer? And he's having some fun letting you play with the prisoner."

"No. I'm trying to help you. Who are you? Who did this to you?"

"You know damn well." Even as he said the words, a look of confusion crossed his features.

"Please, I don't know anything about you — except that I found you in the woods outside my house. You're hurt. You need help."

The gun was still in her hand, but she didn't want to shoot him, unless there was no alternative.

"What's your name? Is there someone looking for you?"

"Looking for me? Get real."

He'd been lying unmoving on the ground, his large hand gripping her ankle. Still holding her in place, he surged up and grabbed at the afghan. As it slipped off her arm, he fell back, but the damage was already done. His gaze riveted to the gun in her hand, and she knew that a dangerous situation had just become a whole lot more deadly.

CHAPTER 2

"I'm trying to help you," Morgan protested, hearing her own voice go high and thin.

"Not likely." The stranger's eye stayed on the weapon, and she knew he was calculating his chances of getting it from her before she pulled the trigger.

In that moment of confrontation, she knew she couldn't shoot him point-blank.

In desperation, she tried to throw herself backward, away from him. As she fell, her finger tightened on the trigger, and the gun discharged with an ear-splitting blast. Not like on the practice range where she always wore ear protectors.

The man's grip on her ankle loosened and he flopped heavily back against the leaves, his eyes closing again and his face ashen.

"Oh God. Oh no."

Her heart was pounding wildly as she stared at him. For a long moment she was too shocked to move. Then she came down beside him on the leaves. After putting down the gun, she frantically began to check him over, looking for signs that the bullet had hit him. She ran her hands through his hair, touched his face, slid her fingers down his arms, across his chest, down his torso to his thighs, his knees, his feet, As far as she could tell, the bullet hadn't touched him. Thank the Lord.

When she'd finished her physical inspection, she took a moment to catch her breath. She hadn't hit him, but nothing had changed. He was still naked and injured, and she couldn't leave him outside on the cold ground.

Another thought skittered through her mind. What if the sound of the gun discharging brought the people who had done this to him?

Sobbing out a breath, she stared down at the stranger who had become her problem. He'd lost consciousness again, and she figured that he must have been operating on raw nerves when he'd grabbed for the weapon. He was badly beaten. She didn't even know if he had internal injuries, but she did know for sure that he needed help.

The wind was beginning to sway the branches of the trees above them. The temperature was dropping, and she knew a storm was coming.

If she'd thought it was safe to deal with him awake again, she would have tried to rouse him and help him walk to the house. Under the circumstances, that was much too risky. In fact, taking care of him was much too risky — because it was clear he thought that the men who had savaged him still had him in their custody.

Could she convince him otherwise?

Maybe after she got him inside.

That decision brought her up short. For all she knew, he could be a criminal, although she didn't think so.

She repressed a hysterical laugh. Did she think he had an honest face? Black and blue and honest all over?

While she was thinking all that, he was still lying out here, naked and cold.

After clicking the gun's safety on, she shoved the weapon into the waistband of her slacks and opened the afghan. She thought about rolling him onto it and using it to drag him to the house, but if she laid his weight on it and pulled, it would likely tear apart. Instead she spread it over him, thinking that his back was still against the cold bed of leaves.

When he moved his head and moaned, she held her breath, waiting for him to wake up and attack her again. But his eyes stayed closed.

After a silent debate, she left him where he was and ran back to the house where she found a tarp in the storage closet. Her dad had used it to cover the woodpile in winter, but she hadn't burned anything in the fireplace since forever.

Quickly she returned to the woods. When she didn't see the injured man, panic jolted through her.

Looking wildly around, she spotted him staggering a few yards farther into the trees, the afghan clutched around his shoulders. The man was obviously tough as iron — and bullheaded as a rogue elephant. As she watched, he went down again, obviously at the limit of his endurance.

She knelt beside him, murmuring soothing reassurances as she rolled him onto the tarp and breathed a sigh of relief when he didn't try to do her bodily harm. With him stretched out straight, she had a better view of his injuries. It looked like his body had taken an awful lot of punishment. Maybe some of his ribs were even broken, and she marveled that he'd gotten this far.

How far exactly?

She'd thought her nearest neighbor was a mile away. Was there someone closer? A cabin hidden in the woods, perhaps, where they'd been holding him and torturing him?

And they must know he'd escaped. Which meant they were looking for him now. That realization made her shudder.

Fat drops of rain were beginning to fall as she arranged the afghan over him again. Praying that she could get him to the house, she began to tug on the tarp, using it like a sledge, pulling his dead weight back the way she'd come, foot by slow foot.

Thoughts circled through her mind as she clenched her teeth and kept moving. Why was she doing this? She could just leave him out here and call an ambulance. Yet she couldn't shake the feeling that if she followed that route, he'd be dead.

On the other hand, he'd tried to attack her. When he woke up, would he do it again?

Even as she tugged on the tarp, then stopped to catch her breath, she questioned herself. Maybe she was trying to help him because something about him reminded her of Glenn.

Not his physical appearance. Her husband had been fair-haired with blue eyes — and a sunny disposition. This man was all dark shadows and hard angles. If she had to guess what he was, she'd call him a warrior. Whatever that meant. But there was something below the surface that she was responding to.

She made a scoffing sound. Maybe she was responding because she hadn't had a relationship with a man in more than a year.

But if she chose to have one, it wouldn't be with this guy. Would it?

The questions distracted her as she tried to hurry. The rain was only sporadic at the moment. Soon it would be coming down in buckets.

She was breathing hard by the time she reached the house. Thankful that the entrance was only one step up from the ground, she pulled him onto the porch. She'd thought about leaving him outside, but just as they reached the shelter of the porch, the storm broke in earnest, the wind blowing stinging drops of rain against her face and toward the front door.

Because she wouldn't have left a dog out in the storm, she pulled the man into the house.

Once he was inside, she wanted to slam and lock the door, but when she looked back the way they'd come, she saw a clear trail of skid marks where she'd dragged the tarp across the open ground, a dead giveaway that she'd been pulling something heavy, like an unconscious man. And somehow she had the feeling that giving away his presence in her house would be a bad mistake.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Bad Nights by REBECCA YORK, Jon Zychowski. Copyright © 2013 Ruth Glick. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rebecca York's writing has been compared to Dick Francis, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Maggie Shayne. Her award-winning books have been translated into twenty-two languages and optioned for film. A recipient of the RWA Centennial Award, she lives in Maryland, near Washington, D.C., which is often the setting of her romantic suspense novels.

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Bad Nights 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a painfully disappointing read. Because Eloisa James' recommended it in her monthly B&N column, I purchased it without first reading the sample. While the plot is interesting, it's full of enough holes to make Swiss cheese look solid. Coincidence and poor choices run rampant, as do painfully thorough descriptions of everything--from what the characters are feeling to each and each room they enter. Information is repeated so many times I have to wonder if Ms York is convinced her readers are simpletons.  Full disclosure:  I did not read the entire book. I hit the 2/3 mark and simply could not continue. The attraction between the h/h is unbelievable, the conversations trite, their escapes highly manufactured and "too stupid to live" moments abound.
Sailon More than 1 year ago
Morgan Rains thought her trip to her family cabin would help her heal from the tragedy of her husband's brutal murder. When a naked, tortured, unconscious man shows up on her door step she never imagined the danger she would face. Jack Brandt is has been working undercover for months, now he finds himself on the run for his life, his cover blown, no memory of what he discovered and at the mercy of a beautiful widower. This is a guns blazing, fast paced, suspense filled story. The plot was engaging. The premise was outstanding but for some reason I did not connect to the characters plight. I most enjoyed the adrenaline packed action and the ignitable relationship between Jack and Morgan. I received this ARC copy of Bad Nights from Sourcebooks Casablanca in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication September 3, 2013. Written by: Rebecca York Series: Rockfort Security Sequence in Series: 1 Paperback: 352 pages Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca  Publication Date: September 3, 2013 ISBN-10: 1402280009 ISBN-13: 978-1402280009 Rating: 3 Age Recommendation: Adult Genre: Action, Romance
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had a lot of promise and an interesting plot but never delivered. Too much coincidence and unbelievable escapes. I also found the diction an writing style distracting.
BooksnKisses More than 1 year ago
NUMBER OF STARS:  4 REVIEW: I had the honor of listening to this book on audio.  I love audiobooks.  But the narrator can make or break a good book.  If you don’t have a great narrator it really doesn’t matter how good the book is. I do have my favorite narrators.  So let me say that I really enjoyed the story of Bad Nights Rebecca York is an amazing story teller.  And this was my first Rebecca York books.  But I was not in love with the narrator for this book Tara Sands does a fine job in the dialog part, although some of the guys sounds very similar.  But the storytelling part felt like she was just reading the book not telling the story.  I prefer to have my narrators tell me the story.   But overall I really did like this story. But I think the next book in this series I will be reading.   I am not sure.  I might give Tara another shot.  I loved Jack & Morgan.  Oh and Shane & Max!!  I can’t wait for these two’s story.  But back to Jack & Morgan.  Jack is a man on the run and Morgan is the unfortunate person who finds him naked, hurt and out cool.   This chance meeting puts them both in grave danger.  The only trusting each other and a little lucky will keep them safe.   This was a really good story.  It keep my attention the whole time.  I wanted Jack & Morgan to get out safe.  I wanted them to realize what they could have together.  I wanted to slap Jack for telling Morgan he was not the man for her. But in the end.....  Well you need to read the book to find out.  Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review.