Blaze of Glory

Blaze of Glory

4.3 9
by Catherine Mann

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A brand-new, heart-pounding tale featuring Catherine Mann's heroic Special Ops unit

Air Force captain Bobby "Postal" Ruznick wouldn't consider working a job that didn't occasionally scare him to death. But nothing gets under his skin like sexy profiler Dr. Grace Marie Lanier. Not that Dr. Uptight Lanier could tolerate his risk-taking ways


A brand-new, heart-pounding tale featuring Catherine Mann's heroic Special Ops unit

Air Force captain Bobby "Postal" Ruznick wouldn't consider working a job that didn't occasionally scare him to death. But nothing gets under his skin like sexy profiler Dr. Grace Marie Lanier. Not that Dr. Uptight Lanier could tolerate his risk-taking ways when they'd struck sparks off one another on assignment a year ago. Now it looks as though the two of them are stuck with each other once again.

Being paired with Bobby's Special Ops crew sends Grace Marie's calm, collected existence into a tailspin. Not only does she have an assignment of utmost importance to complete…but she's got little recourse except to turn for help to the one man who threatens her orderly world the most—Bobby.

Now with one week to stabilize a situation that could destroy the lives of countless others, Bobby and Grace Marie are about to learn that to save the world, they'll have to risk their hearts.

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Cantou, Asia
Nine months later

"AVOIDANCE," Lieutenant Grace Marie Lanier, Ph.D., sighed to herself with longing.

What a wonderfully passive-aggressive way of dealing with the uncomfortable moments undoubtedly in her near future. Not a particularly professional thought for a psychologist, but, well, professional objectivity checked out when it came to Bobby Ruznick. And she would be unable to avoid him for a full flipping week in their jungle mission camp in Cantou.

Grace Marie directed the unloading of her platoon's gear from the cargo plane for the joint Air Force/Army Reserves exercise in the lush jungle. A career coup that she had pulled strings to get. She wasn't here in Cantou for the job perk. Only one thing could have lured her here.

Rescuing her father.

And she could very well need Bobby's help, the reason she had by name requested his crew.

Grace Marie kept her eyes off the steaming expanse of sky where his CV-22 aircraft would crest the horizon any minute now. She'd arrived earlier today in a cargo plane with her equipment. Bobby's Special Ops craft would bring the troops.

Damn it, she needed to focus on her father, not Bobby. Yes, nuclear scientist Matthias Lanier touted more brain power than any Mensa think tank, but when it came to common sense, the man might as well still be in kindergarten on the buddy system for field trips.

A shadow stretched over her onto the tarmac, reminding her to get her head out of the clouds before genetics kicked in and she morphed into her absentminded old man. She pivoted to find one of the cargo-plane pilots rocking on his heels beside her…Rodeo, another Air Force flyboy. But this one was her friend, a very treasured and dear pal.

"Hey there, Flipper."

Grace Marie cringed at the use of her honorary call sign given to her by her Air Force buddies. Thank God, most of them didn't know the reason why and she sure wasn't sharing the details of that mortifying event.

My, how they loved their nicknames. She'd learned early on the different military services had different group personalities. Knowing that aided her in dealing with these people. Air Force service members tended to be more laid-back than their Army compadres, which wasn't a problem for her. She simply needed to understand how best to approach the different mind-sets, something she usually managed with ease thanks to her training, except when it came to Bobby Ruznick.

But Rodeo — Derek Washington — was a friend, easy to relate to. His Denzel-like good looks drew plenty of female attention, but for Grace Marie, Rodeo tamed any lady-killer tendencies in honor of their friendship.

She relaxed her Army stance for the less rigid Air Force at-attention. "Something I can help you with or are we just catching up on gossip?"

He gestured to the back hatch of the cargo plane, a military van rolling down the tracks with loadmasters controlling. "Just passing time while they unload. Did you bring any good shoot-'em-up videos for us to watch via your surveillance van?"

The equipment would also provide infomercial-type films for the camp and area military to teach ways to win over the hearts and minds of an enemy in the hope of avoiding war. Or, at least softening up some of the enemy to lessen casualties.

"Capture their minds, and their hearts and souls will follow." She winked. "My unit's motto."

Heart. What an interesting word choice. She knew she and Rodeo weren't interested in each other that way.

She'd gone out with him a couple times after breaking up with Bobby, only for Rodeo and Grace Marie to find after a few kisses — no spark. Definite friendship realm. Most likely because they were both stuck on other people.

And why did it seem the monkeys were cackling louder at her thoughts right now?

Rumor had it Rodeo's call sign had been earned because he always shouted the wrong woman's name during sex and one particular time got bucked off in under eight seconds flat, bare butt landing on tile.

Grace Marie didn't have any firsthand naked experience with Derek on the subject. However, according to a late-night drunken conversation between them in an Officer's Club bar, he confessed he always called out the same woman's name.

Since Grace still couldn't ditch thoughts of Bobby, she and Derek made a pretty good team. They offered each other a no-strings way to keep others from hitting on them until they could shake loose of the past.

Something she could really use this week with Bobby around.

Another shadow stretched overhead. An aircraft. Bobby's CV-22 had sneaked up without her noticing. Damn, she was off-kilter today. Derek seemed to sense that, sticking to her side like glue as if he understood full well how tough standing strong against temptation would be this week. God love him.


The cutting-edge new aircraft shadowed over her simultaneously with the noise like the sensation of someone strolling over her grave. The mammoth gray tilt-rotor roared over the towering banyan trees, right on top of them, in fact, skimming so close the branches and leaves parted, almost bowing.

Or evading.

The new-to-the-inventory craft differed from any other, able to operate as both an airplane and helicopter. The propellers on the wings could pivot forward, airplane style, or rotate upward so the craft could fly or hover like a helicopter. When moving forward, it could nearly double the speed of its helicopter counterparts, inserting or rescuing troops in half the time while maintaining the ability to land in the smallest of clearings.

The craft was technically still in the testing phase, Bobby one of the hand-picked few to see it through until a squadron could be stood up. Hopefully within about a year.

Another year of Bobby flying insane maneuvers to test the craft. Her gut clenched. Derek's hand stayed steady on her back in comfort in spite of the ban on PDAs — public displays of affection in uniform.

Regardless of her fears, clearly this craft was well on its way to being a major asset in the Air Force inventory that would save countless lives. She could envision spouses who would have their military husbands or wives return home through the door after combat because of the risks Bobby had been willing to take to test his craft to the max.

An awesome test pilot.

And really unsettling dating material.

Some kind of funky cawing parrot joined the mocking monkeys.

The CV-22 had to be at full speed as it skimmed the treetops. Then in a blink, it pulled up, losing airspeed as it climbed. God, would it stall? It had to.

There wasn't a doubt in her mind who was flying right now, because conservative Joe "Face" Greco would never pull a stunt like that.

The craft seemed suspended in midair, in mid-time. Even the birds and monkeys quieted. The wings transitioned from flight to hover as the nose swung around, pointing down and dropping toward the tarmac, swooshing like something from a war-movie festival Bobby took her to on one of their dates — probably because of the free admission.

Right now, however, no one could look away. Impossibly close to the ground the nose came up and the aircraft settled down just as soft as you please. From the second she saw the airplane until it was parked and spooling down could not have been more than thirty seconds. The maneuver would counter threats around the airfield, but who had the cajones to handle an aircraft like that?

God, when she was around Bobby, turmoil roiled. She'd been right to break things off with him. Although at the time, she'd been half hoping he would argue with her. Then he'd saved them all from the exploding cow, a brave and fearless act.

She'd been totally wowed. Who wouldn't be? Except she'd noticed his pulse as he sat beside her, drifting off to sleep. For a full five minutes she'd watched the throb in his neck, slow, steady, when hers had been about to explode out her ears in hyperspeed.

Any need to call back her Dear John words had evaporated, as she thought of life with her mentally ill father.

Bringing her thoughts back to the here and now, she readied to see Bobby again, CV-22 acrobatics apparently through for the moment. Grace Marie compacted her focus like a snowball in her fist, ironic since it was hot as hell out here on the runway. But she would manage as she'd done since she was four and her mama gave up custody in the divorce in exchange for big bucks.

That was a tough thing to live with sometimes, that her mother had sold her and without a second glance left her with a bipolar parent.

Still, all in all, it had worked out for the best. Grace Marie was used to taking care of her old man, who functioned thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and a lifetime supply of lithium.

His sky-high IQ brought him many exciting opportunities, such as participating in the nuclear-research project here at Cantou for the summer. But she hadn't heard from him in over six weeks and that scared the crap out of her. What if he'd ditched his meds? What might he do? He carried so many U.S. secrets in his head, what might the people here do to him?

She definitely didn't have time for romance with anyone, most especially a guy one loose screw away from a breakdown.

Screw? Bobby? Ohhhh… Tingle.

Paging Dr. Freud. Paging Dr. Freud.

Screw? Yep. Interesting word choice considering Bobby's animal attraction brought that notion to mind every time he strutted right past her boundaries. And even when he was nowhere around.

But he would be. Soon. So she'd better shore up her defenses or they'd be in a lip lock against the nearest wall again. And again.

And next time they wouldn't stop.

Meet the Author

USA Today bestseller Catherine Mann has books in print in more than 20 countries with Desire, Romantic Suspense, HQN and other Harlequin lines. A five-time RITA finalist, she has won both the RITA and the Bookseller's Best Awards. Catherine resides in Florida with her aviator husband, their four children and a menagerie of pets. For more information, visit:

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Blaze of Glory 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this. It wasn't as good as some of her other books. There was lots of action both in and out of the sack. It shows the human side of our military. That is something people have to remember.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Blaze of Glory by Catherine Mann soars with the love and valor of our men and women in uniform. Profiler Dr. Grace Marie Lanier could not get used to Captain Bobby ¿Postal¿ Ruznicks over the top personality so she ended their relationship months ago. Now her genius father nuclear scientist Matthias Lanier is in deep trouble in war torn Candou. Grace Marie turns to Bobby and his special ops team for help. Captain Bobby Ruznick is still harboring feelings for Gracie. He is shocked to see that she is an integral part of his current mission. Bobby has always felt he wasn¿t the right man for Gracie but something about her keeps drawing him back into her world. Even though this mission is full of danger and intrigue it brings Bobby and Gracie closer. They both realize there is more to each other then what appears on the surface. Catherine Mann really delivers the high voltage war story along with a searing romance. The lives and loves of Bobby¿s crew will touch your heart. The secondary romance regarding Gracie¿s dad is tender and moving. Blaze of Glory is another keeper from Catherine Mann. Looking forward to the next story in this series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you think ¿Postal¿ doesn¿t sound like the name of a bigger than life hero, you haven¿t picked up Catherine Mann¿s latest military romantic thriller BLAZE OF GLORY. Wow, what a page-turner and the characters are as endearing as the action is exciting. Grace and Bobby¿s relationship spins, dives and shoots to the heavens in a spectacular romance woven amidst a daring mission. Mann peels back the human psyche in poignant layers, exposing emotional challenges in a way that will touch the soul of every reader. With so many interesting secondary characters, I can¿t wait to see whose book is next. Any hints?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Catherine Mann does it again! She brings all of her flyboy characters to life with warm memories and exciting scenes! Finally, I found out what makes Bobby ¿Postal¿ Ruznick tick,how he got that cool call sign, and meeting the woman who brings him to his knees. Bobby and Grace Marie chemistry sizzle throughout the pages. Not only does their story rock, so does the second storyline with Matt and Felicia. Ms. Mann brings to front some of today¿s issues on mental health and does a great job showing how people struggle, and achieve these hurdles on a daily basis. Can¿t wait to see more from her Wingman Warrior series, especially Rodeo¿s story. Thanks for the great read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Police profiler Lieutenant Dr. Grace Marie Lanier asks by name for Air Force Captain Bobby ¿Postal¿ Ruznick to help her on her current imperative assignment in spite of the two having a heated history together. However, though she knows how volatile he can be, the prim Grace feels he is the best and she needs the best on this quest to save her father in the Asiatic jungle surrounding the CantouNuclear retreat.--------------- Bobby feels the same way about Grace as she does about him. Though he has not forgotten how she dumped him nine months ago on a bus in Baghdad, he knows they are opposites who can set an inferno with their looks of desire, but cannot live together without also wanting to kill one another. Still he appreciates and admires her tucking away her ego and asking for him that shows she trusts him with her life and that of her father.------------------- The lead couple makes for a terrific romantic suspense that never slows down once Prim and Postal see one another for the time since Iraq though both deny it to themselves even as they salivate. The action-packed story line centers on the rescue mission as much as the witty verbal battles from the onset when Grace insists she accompany Bobby and his team while he demands she stay home safe. Fans will wonder if they survive the mission will they survive the rumble in the jungle intimacy.----------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wakes up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This cabin is for Persephones children.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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