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In his career as one of America’s elite ...
In his career as one of America’s elite warriors, Lt. Sam Starrett can do no wrong. In his private life, Sam–the king of one night stands–has done little right. Now, he’s waiting for a divorce and determined to stay active in his young daughter’s life. But when Sam shows up at the door of his ex-wife’s home in Sarasota, Florida, he makes a grisly discovery. His daughter is gone and the body of a woman lies brutally murdered on the floor.
FBI agent Alyssa Locke’s relationship with Sam has been overwhelmingly intense and nearly catastrophic, yet it refuses to end. The last time she saw Sam was six months earlier, when they worked together to stop terrorists from assassinating the U.S. President. Much to her dismay, Alyssa is assigned to lead the murder investigation and once again the two are face to face. When explosive information surfaces linking Sam to the still unsolved assassination plot, the stakes are raised. With her reputation hanging in the balance, and her loyalties in question, Alyssa is faced with an impossible dilemma:arrest a man she believes to be innocent, or risk her career.
While Alyssa tries to fight their intense attraction, Sam is determined to heat things up between them once again. And the complex case pushes them both to the wrong side of the law–and on the run to discover the truth. As more agents step into the chase, and with Sam’s daughter still unaccounted for, neither Alyssa nor Sam can predict just how deadly hot this situation is about to become. . . .
A thrilling novel that ranges back into the days of World War II, into friendships, families, liaisons, betrayals, and the code of honor that binds the U.S. Navy SEALs, Gone Too Far is an electrifying experience in suspense–and a brilliant tale of lives lived on the edge.
Monday, June 16, 2003
Roger “Sam” Starrett’s cell phone vibrated, but he was wedged into the rental car so tightly that there was no way he could get the damn thing out of the front pocket of his jeans.
At least not without causing a twelve-car pileup on Route 75.
He had the air-conditioning cranked—welcome to summer in Florida—and the gas pedal floored, but the subcompact piece of shit that had been one of the last cars in the rental company’s lot was neither cool nor fast.
It was barely a car.
Feeling trapped in an uncomfortable place had been pretty much SOP for Sam ever since he rushed into marriage with Mary Lou nearly two years ago, and he waited for the familiar waves of irritation and anger to wash over him.
Instead, he felt something strangely similar to relief.
Because Sarasota was only another few minutes down the road. And the end was finally in sight.
Sam knew the town well enough—he’d hitched down here from his parents house in Fort Worth, Texas, four summers in a row, starting when he turned fifteen. It had changed a lot since then, but he had to believe that the circus school was still over by Ringling Boulevard.
Which wasn’t too far from Mary Lou’s street address.
Maybe he should make a quick stop, pick up a few more Bozos, turn this thing into a bona fide clown car.
On the other hand, one was probably enough to qualify for clown car status.
His phone finally stopped shaking.
What were the chances that it had been Mary Lou, finally calling him back?
Nah, that would be too damn easy.
Although, in theory, this should have been an easy trip. Pop over to Sarasota. Pick up the divorce papers that Mary Lou was supposed to have sent back to him three weeks ago. Put an end to the giant-ass mistake that was their marriage, and maybe even try to start something new. Like a real relationship with his baby daughter, Haley, who after six months probably wouldn’t even recognize him. Then pop back home to San Diego.
Fucking easy as pie.
Except this was Mary Lou he was dealing with. Yes, she was the one who’d filed for this divorce. Yes, she’d been compliant right up to this point. But Sam wouldn’t put it past her to change her mind at the zero hour.
And it was, indeed, the zero hour.
And, true to form, Mary Lou was surely messing with him.
Had to be.
Why else would she not have sent the papers back to the attorney after receiving them four weeks ago? Why else would she not return Sam’s phone calls? Why else would she not pick up the phone even when he called at oh dark hundred, when he knew she had to be there because the baby was surely sleeping?
Sam reached for the stick to downshift as he took the exit ramp for Bee Ridge Road, and came into contact with the stupidass automatic transmission.
Six months ago, this entire suckfest scenario would have made him bullshit. Everything sucked. This car sucked, the fact that he had to come all this way for something that should have cost the price of a first-class postage stamp sucked, and knowing that Haley was going to look at him as if he were some stranger really sucked.
But along with his weird feeling of relief came a sense of readiness. Maybe this wasn’t going to be easy, but that was okay. He was ready for it. He was ready for anything.
Like, Haley was probably going to cry when he tried to hold her. So he wouldn’t hold her at first. He’d take it slow.
And Mary Lou, well, she was probably going to ask him to get back together. He was ready for that, too.
“Honey, you know as well as I do that it just wasn’t working.” He tried the words aloud, glancing at himself in the rearview mirror, checking to see if he looked apologetic enough.
But, shit, he looked like roadkill. His eyes were bloodshot behind his sunglasses, and the flight out of Atlanta had been weather delayed for so damn long that he desperately needed a shower.
And he definitely shouldn’t start out by calling her honey. She had a name, and it was Mary Lou. Honey—and every other term of endearment he’d ever used, like sugar, darling, sweetheart, sweet thing—was demeaning.
He could practically hear Alyssa Locke’s voice telling him so. And God knows Alyssa Locke was the Queen of Right.
She’d hated it something fierce when he’d called her sweet thing. So he’d called her Alyssa, drawing the S’s out as he whispered her name in her perfect ear as they’d had sex that should’ve been listed in the world record books. Best Sex of All Time—Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke, Champions of the Simultaneous Orgasm.
What was Alyssa going to think when she heard about his divorce?
Sooner or later the news was going to get out. Up to this point, his commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Tom Paoletti, and the SEAL team’s XO, Lieutenant Jazz Jacquette, were the only ones who knew that Sam and Mary Lou were finally calling it quits. He hadn’t told Nils and WildCard yet—his best friends in Team Sixteen. Shit, he hadn’t told his sister, Elaine. Or even Noah and Claire.
And he sure as hell hadn’t told Alyssa Locke.
Who was probably going to think, Thank God I’m in a committed relationship with Max so Roger Starrett doesn’t come sniffing around my door, looking for some play. Max. The fucker. Even after all this time, Sam was still insanely jealous of Max Bhagat. Despite his new sense of relief and hope, he was feeling neither when it came to thoughts of Alyssa and Max.
“How could you fuck your boss?” Sam asked.
Alyssa, because she wasn’t in the car, didn’t answer him, of course.
It wasn’t too tough of a question. Sam could come up with plenty of answers without Alyssa’s help. Because Max was handsome, powerful, brilliant, and, yes, probably great in bed.
Yeah, and who was he kidding with that probably? Max was no doubt definitely great in bed. Sam knew Alyssa, and she wasn’t about to spend more than a year of her life with someone who couldn’t keep up with her sexually.
And as far as the fact that the man was her boss . . .
She and Max were incredibly discreet. In fact, they were so discreet, there were some people in the Spec Ops community who refused to believe that they actually had an intimate relationship.
But Sam knew better. He’d gone knocking on Alyssa’s hotel room door about six months ago. And, yeah, it was a stupidass thing to do. He and Mary Lou hadn’t even separated back then. He had no business knocking on anyone’s door.
But an FBI agent matching Alyssa’s description—a woman of color, in her late twenties—had been killed that day, and until the news came down that Alyssa wasn’t on the casualty list, Sam kind of lost it.
Except who had opened that hotel room door that he’d knocked on? Well, gee, hiya, Max. Sorry I woke you, man.
And that was it. Game over. It was looking into Max’s eyes that did it. The fucker cared deeply about Alyssa—that was more than clear.
And every day since then, Sam tried—he really honestly tried—to be happy for her.
And as for his own elusive happiness . . .
Well, he was done feeling sorry for himself. And he was done letting this divorce take place on Mary Lou’s timetable, with Mary Lou running this freak show.
Sam and his expensive new lawyer had worked out a schedule of visits—dates and times that he could see Haley. He wasn’t looking for joint custody—that would be crazy. As a SEAL he went out of the country at the drop of a hat, sometimes for weeks or even months at a time.
He just wanted to be able to see his kid a couple of times a week whenever he was Stateside. Surely Mary Lou would agree to that.
To make it a no-brainer for her, Sam was prepared to give her the deed to their house back in San Diego, free and clear. He’d take care of the mortgage and continue to pay the taxes. Now that Mary Lou’s sister, Janine, had split up with her husband, Sam’s plan was to talk all three of them—Mary Lou, Janine, and Haley—into moving back to California.
Where he would be able to see Haley every other weekend and once a week on Wednesday nights—instead of some pathetic twice a year bullshit.
Surely the idea of a free place to live would appeal to Mary Lou, who, in one of the bigger surprises of a marriage filled with complete surprises, was a total miser when it came to saving money.
So, yeah, Sam was hopeful that he and Mary Lou were going to be able to work this out.
And who knows? Once he did that, the rest of his life could start to turn around, too. Maybe perfect Max had a perfect sister who was beautiful, brilliant and great in bed, too. And maybe Sam and the sister and Max and Alyssa could all double-date.
Yeah, right. Just as Max wasn’t his favorite person, Sam wasn’t Max’s. The chances of them ever socializing—by choice—were in negative numbers.
Traffic in the city was light at this time of the morning. He was literally four minutes from Mary Lou’s door.
Please be home.
Sam had tried calling his soon-to-be ex-wife from a pay phone at the airport, right after his flight had gotten in. It had occurred to him that she was screening her calls and that maybe she’d pick up if her caller ID gave her a number other than that of his cell phone.
Not a chance.
He didn’t leave a message on her machine. He was just going to head over to the house and wait. Sooner or later Mary Lou or Janine would scoop up Haley from day care and come home.
And then he’d do whatever he had to do to get Mary Lou to sign those papers and move back to San Diego.
Hell, if she didn’t want to live in that same house they’d once shared, they could sell it and she could buy another. It didn’t matter to him as long as she lived in the San Diego area. He was going to move into the BOQ on base either way.
Sure, the bachelor officers quarters were tiny, and there was no pri- vacy to speak of. But since it was highly unlikely that he was ever going to have sex again, privacy wasn’t something that he needed.
Sam laughed at himself. That sounded really pathetic—never having sex again—like he was such a loser that no woman would want him.
Truth was, women went for him in a major way. In fact, the girl at the car rental counter couldn’t have been more obvious about her interest if she’d used semaphore flags.
“Where are you staying?”
“Are you in town alone?”
“If you’re looking for a good hangout, you might want to try Barnaby’s, down by the dock. I go there all the time after work.”
She was hot, too. A strawberry blonde with a lithe, athletic body and a cute little ass. But hot wasn’t enough for him anymore. No, thank you.
Sam was finished with casual sex. He was keeping his pants zipped, which actually wasn’t as hard as it seemed, even after he’d gone for well over nine months without getting laid.
It sounded like a really pansy thing to say, but he wanted more from life than a fast fuck with an empty-headed stranger.
Because, shit, he’d been there and done that—and ended up married to an empty-headed stranger who was pregnant with his child. And hadn’t that been a fun two and a half years of his life?
He wanted sex to mean something. He wanted to be fucked for more than his blue eyes and his muscles and the fact that he was a lieutenant with the U.S. Navy SEALs.
Unless, of course, Alyssa Locke called him up and begged him to come over, get naked, and light her world on fire.
If that ever happened, all bets were off.
Alyssa was neither empty-headed nor a stranger, but during the few nights they’d spent together, way back before Sam married Mary Lou, she’d definitely thought of him as only a temporary plaything, which still stung.
Sam leaned over to look at the numbers on the houses as he turned on to Mary Lou’s street: 458, 460, 462.
Number 462 Camilia Street was a tiny little single-story Florida-style house with a carport that sat empty. There wasn’t a car in the driveway either, nor one parked out in front.
Sam pulled up and sat, air-conditioning blasting, just looking at the house. With flaking paint and shutters that hung in crooked disrepair, it was about half the size of their place in San Diego. The yard was dry, the grass and plants brown, courtesy of the drought that was turning Florida into a desert.
A tired-looking palm tree provided the only shade out front. The door was shut behind the torn screen, and the dark shades on the windows were pulled all the way down and—
What the fuck . . . ?
From the Hardcover edition.
Heart to Heart: When did you start writing suspense thrillers featuring a Navy SEAL counterterrorist team? What got you started, and how do you do the research?
Suzanne Brockmann: I've been writing about Navy SEAL counterterrorist teams since the mid-1990s. The Troubleshooter series is my second series of books to feature SEALs. I also write the Tall, Dark & Dangerous series, about U.S. Navy SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad, for Silhouette.
Back in the mid-'90s, a good friend told me about an article he'd read in Newsweek about Navy SEAL BUD/S training. He knew I was looking for a series hook -- something that hadn't been used before to tie a series of books to together -- and he told me to run to the library, that he'd found what I was looking for. I still remember sitting in that library, reading that magazine and thinking, Yes! I felt that not only could I do justice to the subject matter but that I'd really enjoy doing the research.
As it turned out, researching Navy SEALs at that time was easier said than done, since SEALs are used for covert operations, but the books I read were filled with adventure and danger and real-life superheroes. These days, there's information available about both the Navy and the SEALs online. A wonderful reader (thanks, Vicky!) told me about the UDT/SEAL Museum in Ft. Pierce, Florida, and the Discovery Channel has also come out with a number of informative videos on the SEALs and Special Operations.
HtoH: One of your trademarks is the ability to handle multiple plots (also multiple romances) over the course of many books and still keep up the momentum. How do you keep it all straight?
SB: I keep notebooks filled with information about characters and timelines, although, to be honest, I know these characters so well -- you wouldn't need a notebook to keep your friends straight, would you? When it comes to writing the stories, I outline extensively. I'm talking 80-page outlines. I know exactly where I'm going, how the story is going to end, and nearly every scene that happens along the way, before I sit down to write each book. I also plot way out, five or six books, into the future. This allows me to do extensive foreshadowing and to keep my characters consistent. Gone Too Far is the final book of Sam and Alyssa's six-book story arc. (But it's not the final book of this series -- there are plenty more coming!) I plotted their story arc way back when I wrote The Unsung Hero. I didn't work out all of the little details, but I did know generally where I was going with these characters -- as well as many of the highs and lows of their three-year relationship. You see, my goal with Sam and Alyssa was to write a series of books in which a romance hero and heroine's somewhat traditional backstory was delivered to the readers in real time.
Let me explain: In a romance novel, you'll often see characters in a situation similar to Sam and Alyssa's. Two people meet, they have something of a love/hate relationship, they have several one-night stands, and neither of them can deal with the emotions involved in a real relationship, so they go their separate ways. Years later, they meet again and are forced to work together to solve a mystery. Sparks fly and old feelings surface, but they've got issues to work through before they can achieve a true happy ending.
Now, in a more traditional romance novel, this unhappy shared past would be revealed through flashbacks or conversations. What I did with Sam and Alyssa was to take their backstory and make it into an ongoing subplot that ran through each of those five books that preceded Gone Too Far. The biggest struggle came from my attempts to make each book in this series stand alone. I didn't want readers new to the series to feel lost when they read about Sam and Alyssa, but I couldn't include too much, or I'd risk boring the readers who'd been following the series from the start. It was something of a balancing act!
HtoH: Have you seen a change in reader reaction to these series since 9/11 or even since the war in Iraq?
SB: I think there's a new awareness of who the SEALs are, and of what Special Operations means. I also think there's a certain gratification in reading books where the terrorists are thwarted and the good guys save the day. We live in an era where we really need heroes, don't you think?
Posted September 11, 2003
It seems like a lifetime ago that we met Sam and Alyssa. Through several books we watched their ups and downs. Now in Gone Too Far they get their story. Its is well worth the wait. Sam Starrett is on his way to see his soon to be ex-wife and young daughter. What he finds at her house is horrific. It sets off a chain of events that rocks Team 16. Alyssa Locke gets dragged back into Sam¿s world. She realizes that she is his only hope to clearing his name and finding his daughter. The resolution of Sam and Alyssa¿s story has everything you want in a book. I can¿t recommend it enough, hurry and get this book.
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Posted June 12, 2003
I am not going to bore you with a synopsis of the book. Instead I am going to tell you why you have to own this title. I have been a Suz Brockmann fan from WAY back in the 'Loveswept' days and own almost everything ever published (darn Loveswept for making Ladies Man a subscriber exclusive). The last two books by Suz have been just sorta 'ok' and honestly, I was ready for her to make a change from the SEAL line, but this book has brought me back hoping for more stories from the guys of Team 16 and the 'new business' (you have to read the book to know what I am talking about). Typically Suz's full length novels are a little overcrowded with simultaneous story lines and frankly, the WWII stories had dragged most of the other books in this series down for me. But this novel has it all: a great Hero and Heroine, fast pacing, excellently interwoven sub-plots and a touching WWII story that fits nicely with the rest of the book. Now, I will say that if you are sensitive to cursing this might not be the book for you, because there is A LOT of cursing. You can't help but root for Sam and Alyssa and their journey is not an easy one. Mary Lou fans will be pleased as well. The story had me laughing and even crying a little. You won't be able to put it down and it is worth the hardcover rate. Don't pay attention to the Kirkus Review. Obviously they only skimmed the story because some of what they said is not close to the mark. I checked out their website and it seems sarcastic reviews are their stock and trade. Way to go, Suz! Please write faster!!!!
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Posted June 1, 2012
Posted April 30, 2012
I love the whole series, I went from one to the next to the next non stop and loved each one more than the one before. Great characters and stories throughout the series!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 11, 2010
I Also Recommend:
I completely agree with Linda Howard's review: "At last! Sam and Alyssa's book!..." I've been intrigued about this couple from the first book in the series (Unsung Hero) and I've been anxious for their "happy ending", as Alyssa put it in Out of Control.
If you've read the previous books in the series, you know that Sam and Alyssa have had a hate/love relationship; topped off with twists and heartache. I didn't think I could love a fictional set of characters anymore than I did, and then I read this book. I want Sam Starret and I want to be Alyssa Locke.
I can't say a bad thing about this story line. Brockmann gave me exactly what I wanted with this couple. I'm glad she took the circuitous route because we got to know them so well.
Of course Brockmann doesn't focus on one couple for an entire book, so we also get a better look at Mary Lou and Ibraham's (sp?) story, as well as Max and Gina's story. (I have a strong feeling that Max and Gina are going to be the new Sam and Alyssa.)
I hope you read the previous books in this series. The book can stand by itself but it's such a good, tied-into-each-other-series that I feel like you'd be missing nuances without the background. I recommend this book and all of the books in the series!
** P.S. This is the first book in the series without a WWII storyline.
Posted August 22, 2009
Posted May 10, 2009
Finally Sam and Alyssa get there story, and its a good one. Very action packed and thrilling. If you have not followed the series I suggest you go back to where Sam and Alyssa first started in "The unsung hero". This was such a good story. I think you will all enjoy it as much as I did! Happy reading.....Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 14, 2009
Posted April 13, 2009
Posted February 18, 2007
I am late to the Troubleshooters series and came in half way through it. Of course Sam and Alyssa caught my eye immediatly. I looked everywhere for this book and with every bookstore i went to, my anticipation doubled. When i finally got the book, i was satisfied and yet not. The book is good. The plot is good everythign is fine BUT with how much effort Suzanne put into bringing these charectors together in previous books, she dissapointed with the climax. i was expecting..i dont know, a more explaosive coming together and yes, the side stories did take away from the main idea BUT the book was excellent and if you are able to keep track of the charectors and side stories, its a really good book. I deinfilty recommend it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 23, 2007
I loved this book! It's better to read this author's books in order otherwise, the build up of the characters through the different books is lost. Yes, there were a lot of subplots, but, once again, the author was building characters for future books. No one can beat Suzanne Brockmann when it comes to writing books featuring Navy Seals. She's the best!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 9, 2006
I found this book to be one of her many great reads. Mrs. Brockmann did an excellent job with this book as well as her other nine books. I found that I was up until 2-4 in the morning reading Mrs. Brockmann's books, and still had to get up for work at 6 am. I have two more left in the series and I am very sadden that it is almost over--but this was the main one that I look forward to reading the most. Oh and I found out that if you read them in the order they were written in they all came together in some-way-shape- or-form! As far as the many plots or subplots goes, I had no problem keeping up with them because I read the other six or seven books before this one so it was very easy to keep up with the plots. So as an avid reader I had no problem getting through this book just as I did the others...Keep up the good work Mrs. Brockmann and I look forward to more of your work...Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 7, 2006
I was disappointed with this book. I think there were way too many subplots and her other books have carried on their own but this one had way too many carry-over plots. I don't think the Sam and Alyssa romance was one I even care about anymore. Although I liked them individually I wanted to say 'enough already' about their relationship. I think more appropriate title would have been ' Runaways' as everyone was runing from something in this book:Mary Lou, Sam, Max. I agree that the Max and Gina plot was much more enjoyable than the Sam and Alyssa and MaryLou plots. I read some of Ms. Brockman's books out of order and went back and read them all even though I knew from some books how they would turn out. They are still very worth reading and enjoyable. I usually am not distracted by all the subplots and they all tie together but this book definately has been my least favorite.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 18, 2006
This book had too many side plots, drawing away from each other. None of the stories got the attention they deserved, especially Sam and Alyssa. There was just too much going on at once for me to connect with the characters. A particularly meaningful moment would start to take place, and then suddenly the scene would change to two completely different people. This made the characters hard to know and connect with. I also found it difficult to believe that Sam was worrying about sex with Alyssa when his daughter is missing and possibly dead. The relationship with Max and gina doesn't seem to fit in with the main storyline, not that you could really tell there was one, and drew away from it. The only part I liked was the flashbacks of Sam's childhood. That provided a little more background into his character. Other than that, the storyline was weak as with the character development.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 18, 2005
This was my second book by Ms. Brockmann and I didn't find it great. I thought it was drawn out at times, especially the cell phone conversations with Sam and Alyssa. I also found the constant fighting/bickering between them boring at times too. I totally enjoyed Max and Gina's storyline better. But as I have said in my other reviews, I don't particular like that Ms. Brockmann has other storylines going because I think it takes away from the main characters.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 23, 2005
Finally Alyssa and Sam's book! Suzanne Brockmann has a way of making her characters come to life and she doesn't disappoint with Sam, who is one of the most realistic characters I've ever read about and my new favorite of all of her SEALS.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 12, 2005
This book was okay. I am a new reader of this author and this was my second book by her. I have to get used to the side characters that she adds. I like that she went into Sam's background, it made him seem so real. I thought he and Alyssa fought too much and I was getting bored at times with all the talking on the cell phone. Should have been more action less talking/fighting (I love the romance though). I did prefer the sides - Max and Gina. I am now reading another book by her hopefully it will be much better.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 10, 2005
I really liked this book but because I enjoyed the 'side' story about Max and Gina. In all the other books, I've enjoyed Sam and Alyssa's romance and I'm glad the finally get together. But they make better side characters than main characters. I can't wait to read Breaking Point which is Max and Gina's story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 16, 2004
Posted August 17, 2004
This is the BEST Brockman book. I loved how she really developed Sam's background. She went into great detail, he almost seems real... I'm so glad Sam and Alyssa got together FINALLY!!! Keep writing great stroies. All of the SEAL stories are beautifully written.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.