Into the Fire (Troubleshooters Series #13)

Into the Fire (Troubleshooters Series #13)

4.1 78
by Suzanne Brockmann

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Suspense doesn't burn any brighter and desire doesn't run any deeper than when Suzanne Brockmann takes the helm, opens the throttle, and takes readers along for a breathless ride as she breaks the thrill barrier-again and again. With Into the Fire, Brockmann lights the fuse on her most explosive story yet.

Vinh Murphy-ex-Marine and onetime operative for the…  See more details below


Suspense doesn't burn any brighter and desire doesn't run any deeper than when Suzanne Brockmann takes the helm, opens the throttle, and takes readers along for a breathless ride as she breaks the thrill barrier-again and again. With Into the Fire, Brockmann lights the fuse on her most explosive story yet.

Vinh Murphy-ex-Marine and onetime operative for the elite security firm Troubleshooters Incorporated-has been MIA ever since his wife, Angelina, was caught in a crossfire and killed during what should have been a routine bodyguard assignment. Overcome with grief, Murphy blames the neo-Nazi group known as the Freedom Network for her death. Now, years later, Freedom Network leader Tim Ebersole has been murdered-and the FBI suspects Murphy may have pulled the trigger. To prevent further bloodshed, Murphy's friends at Troubleshooters scramble to find him and convince him to surrender peacefully.

Murphy himself can't be sure what he did or didn't do during the years he spent mourning and lost in an alcohol-induced fog. He does know he occasionally sought solace from Hannah Whitfield, a former police officer and the very friend who'd introduced him to his beloved late wife.

But Hannah, still grappling with the deafness that resulted from an injury sustained while on duty, was fighting her own battles. For years Hannah had feelings for Murphy, and one painful night their suffering brought them together in a way neither expected-and both regretted.

Murphy is ready to rejoin the living. As always, he finds himself knocking on Hannah's door, and as always, his longtime friend welcomes him back into her home. Yet even as Murphy slowly rebuilds his splintered life, hecontinues to fight his growing feelings for Hannah.

Then he learns of Ebersole's murder and comes to believe that the Freedom Network has targeted him-and Hannah-to avenge their leader's death to violence. Now Murphy must face the terrifying prospect of losing another woman he loves.

As the Troubleshooters desperately search for him, Murphy races toward a deadly confrontation with the Freedom Network and ultimate choice: surrender his life in hopes that Hannah will be spared, or risk everything to salvage whatever future they may have together.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Stressful love/hate relationships simmer in the ranks of the Troubleshooters and their U.S. Navy SEAL buddies in RITAA Award winner Brockmann's 13th series entry (after All Through the Night ). But when shots are fired, they all direct their attention instead to the neo-Nazi bad guys picking off their agents. Written in third person and told from multiple points of view, the somewhat confusing and slow-to-unfold story benefits from having two readers. Patrick G. Lawlor and RenA©e Raudman (co-narrators, Don't Look Down ) successfully use accents, pacing, and tone to bring the large cast of characters into focus. Public libraries with a Brockmann following will want to purchase.-Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Lib., Colonial Williamsburg Fdn., VA

From the Publisher

Force of Nature

“Brockmann deftly delivers another testosterone-drenched, adrenaline-fueled tale of danger and desire that brilliantly combines superbly crafted, realistically complex characters with white-knuckle plotting.”

Into the Storm

“Brockmann is an undisputed master at writing military and suspense fiction [with] action, danger and passion all rolled into one.”
–Curled Up with a Good Book

Breaking Point

“Readers will be on the edge of their seats.”
–Library Journal

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Troubleshooters Series, #13
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

January 2008 Dalton, California

Hannah Whitfield woke up alone in her bed. Which wasn’t that unusual. In fact, this had been her only opportunity to not wake up alone for the first time in years– due to the still somewhat unbelievable fact that she’d actually had sex last night.

Hannah swept her hair out of her eyes as she reached to turn on the lamp that sat on her bedside table, trying–not as successfully–to push away her feelings of imminent dread. Her head was pounding and her ankle was on fire so she took a pull from the nearly empty bottle of Johnny W. she’d left next to her bed. Hair of the dog, was the age-old excuse. She knew better, but right now she needed the drumming pain in both her head and her ankle to back the hell off.

Last night had been far from fairy-tale-inducing material, with no impending happily-ever-after in sight. True, she’d wanted to get with this particular man ever since their very first encounter–since he’d knocked her off that Alaskan pier, a hundred years ago.

A hundred years? No. It felt more like a solid thousand since the tall, dark and handsome man with the laughing brown eyes had held out an enormous hand and helped Hannah out of the icy water. It felt like an eternity since either of them had so much as smiled. And maybe it had been. Maybe tragedy had its own rules in the time-space continuum. The year following the death of a murdered wife and best friend passed at the speed of five hundred years in normal, happy, human time, with all of the previous years of laughter and joy instantly fading to ancient-seeming, sepia-toned distant memories.

So, yeah. Last night had been grimly moonbeam- and fairy-dust-free. Once upon a time, Hannah had let herself get laid–except, no, that wasn’t quite right. She’d been the layee. It was Vinh Murphy who’d gotten laid–for the first time since Angelina had died.

Last night, like most nights these days, Hannah had been somewhat anesthetized, but she was nowhere near as shit-faced as Murph. They’d had an argument about the same old same old–the keys to his truck. Hannah had swiftly adiosed them when he’d shown up at the cabin at 0100, already wasted. That was his MO–she wouldn’t see him for months, and then he’d appear. Usually in the dead of night, flashing his headlights in the driveway, stinking of gin, his brain damn near fried from whatever else he’d ingested in his attempt to forget that his wife–the love of his life, as he called Angelina–was forever gone.

They’d argued–no, I will not give back your keys–and Murphy had tripped over the leather ottoman and fallen. He’d hit his head on the arm of the sofa, and Hannah had thought he was down for the night, so after she’d helped him up, she’d dragged him over to her bed. Her intention had been–as always–to let him sleep it off in her room here downstairs, while she pulled herself up the ladder to the mattress in the loft.

But as she’d toppled him onto her bed, her bad ankle had bent the wrong way and the sudden surge of pain had made her lose her balance. She tried to straighten up, but Murphy’d held on to her, the expression in his dark brown eyes far different from anything she’d ever seen there before.

“Hannah,” he’d said. “I’m so fucked up.” And then he’d kissed her.

Yeah, Murphy had kissed her, and she should have scrambled away, but she hadn’t. Instead, she’d pulled up her nightshirt and opened her legs for him and he’d pushed himself inside of her, which, God, had felt so good, even though she knew it was the worst kind of mistake–not just flat-out stupid but incredibly, insanely wrong for too many reasons to count.

And no, sex with Murph hadn’t been the romantic, passionate ecstasy she’d dreamed about all those years ago when he’d laughed and pulled her back onto the pier alongside Patrick’s boat, but rather a fumbled, clumsy, silent, joyless rutting. Murphy didn’t kiss her again. He just kept his eyes shut and his head down as his body strained, as Hannah clung to him, not allowing herself to wish or hope for anything–not even her own physical relief–as he filled her, as she felt his heart pounding alongside of hers. But she came right away because it had been close to forever for her, too, and he was right behind her, shuddering his release.

And then, there they were, mere seconds after it had started. In Hannah’s bed with most of their clothes still on. Bonus moron points went to both of them for failing to use protection of any kind.

It was then that Murphy started to cry–which he’d never done in front of her, not even at his toasted worst, not even at Angelina’s horror-show of a memorial service. And so Hannah had cried, too, just holding on to him.

He’d finally fallen asleep in her arms, here in her bed, but now he was gone.

A light was on in the living room.

Hannah moved as quietly as she could out of the bedroom, considering she’d misplaced her cane and...

“What are you doing?” Her shock and volume apparently startled him and he turned, guilt on his grim face, her keys in one giant hand as he held the lock to the gun case in the other. He didn’t try to explain–he didn’t need to. He just went back to trying the next key.

It was possible Hannah was going to throw up. “What’s your plan, Murph?” she asked instead. “You gonna kill yourself–right here in my living room?”

He didn’t answer. Or maybe he did, but his back was to her as he fumbled with the key ring. He was still drunk or high or whatever he’d been when he’d first appeared at her door nearly four hours ago.

“Stop,” she said, her heart in her throat. He swayed slightly, but he didn’t even slow down. “The key’s not on there–I don’t even have a key.” It was a lie. She did have a key, even though the weapons weren’t hers. They belonged to her uncle–everything in this cabin did. A former Marine and Vietnam vet, Pat had a similar glass-fronted case at his place up in Juneau, and she had the key for that one, too. He trusted her, Pat did. Semper fi and hoo-yah and all that, even though she’d never actually been a Marine.

Murphy had, however. He knew Pat well. And he knew Hannah. Drunk or not, he didn’t need to do more than glance at her to know the truth. The key was on that ring he was holding.

“Please stop,” she said again, begging him this time.

And this time Murphy did. And he turned and looked right at her. “Why?” How am I going to live without her? He didn’t need to say the words for Hannah to know what he was thinking. God knows he’d said it enough since Angelina had died.

“Jesus, Murph.” Hannah felt her voice shake. “I lost her, too. It’s time to stop the bullshit. It’s time to start dealing–”

He turned to face her again. “Dealing? You’re gonna to talk to me about dealing, while you hide away here–”

“I’m not the one who wants to kill myself!”

“Yeah,” Murphy said, making sure she understood, speaking carefully so that his words didn’t slur together. “Because you’re already dead and buried.”

Hannah felt herself bristle and the retort was out of her mouth before she could stop it. “Fuck you!”

“Tried that,” he said, his eyes filled with such hatred. It took her aback until she realized it was self-loathing that she saw there. “Didn’t help.” He turned back to the keys, but even as he tried the next one, he sank to his knees, his shoulders shaking as he began to sob.

And all of Hannah’s hurt and anger and fear morphed into near-blinding grief. “Vinh,” she said as she crossed to him.

“I wanted her,” he told her through his tears, his words even more blurred. “Not you.”

“I know,” she said, as she held on to him, rocking him, her heart breaking for him, and herself, too. “I know that.”

“I’m so sorry, Hannah...”

“Shhh,” she said. “Murph, it’s okay. I was trying to help. I thought...” She’d thought she could at least give him what he seemed to want–a chance for relief, release. Yeah, right, like it had been all about Murphy and what he’d needed.

“God, I’m sorry, too.”

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Into the Fire (Troubleshooters Series #13) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 76 reviews.
christmas_baby More than 1 year ago
I'm usually prefer mysteries to romance novels, but I'm a fan of Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooter series. I like her style, her characters, and the way that she ties multiple subplots together. I also like that the secondary romance doesn't always have a happy ending until a later book. I was disappointed in this book, though. I had recently reread all the previous books in the series so the weaknesses were even more apparent. I didn't care about the main two characters, Vingh and Harriet. In the earlier books I felt that I got to know the characters. I didn't get that with these two. You find out the details of how Harriet, Vingh, and Angelina met and a little bit about Harriet but not to the depth that existed in previous books. SB did a great job with Annie/Ric in Force of Nature so it's not because Harriet's new and Vingh was a minor character in earlier books. The Izzy/Eden story was "icky". The Max/Gina relationship shows that SB knows how to handle a large age difference romance. That develops over a period of a few years, and Max resists the attraction because she's so much younger than him. Also, Gina's always portrayed as mature for her age. Here, in their initial encounter, Izzy ends up having extremely intimate contact with his teammate's barely 18 year old sister after she kisses him even though he know it's wrong. Does he really have such poor impulse control? Also, Eden is described several times as looking younger than her age, and she's definitely immature. All in all, it just gave me the creeps. The Decker/Sophia saga finally resolves itself. I was OK with how it turned out, but I think SB let it drag on for too long. It began 6 books ago with little development in the meantime. There were also two minor things that I didn't like. I kept getting Dave and Decker confused because their names are so similar. Decker's usually referred to as Deck in this book. Maybe it says something about my reading style, but two 4 letter names beginning with D threw me. I also didn't like how flat Jules' dialog was. I know his role is minor but he is normally such a vibrant character. The first 2/3 of the book were really slow, and I would have given this book 1 1/2-2 stars if that was all I'd read. However, it did improve in the last part. Also, I missed this book when it first came out so I was able to read Dark of Night immediately afterwards. This left me with a slightly better impression of this book since DON begins right at the end of ITF and ties up some of the loose ends. All in all, you need to read this book if you're going to continue reading the series, but it's not that great.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Vinh Murphy lived the Marine value of never leaving behind a brother or sister in arms. He took that ethic with him when he left the military and joined Troubleshooters Incorporated as a top gun operative. However, on what was an alleged simple and safe mission, his beloved wife Angelina died in a crossfire. Filled with grief and guilt over her death, he simply vanishes, but holds culpable the neo-Nazi Freedom Network especially its leader Tim Ebersole everyone who knows him knows he deeply blames Ebersole.---------- When someone cleverly kills Ebersole, the FBI and even his associates at Troubleshooters assume Murphy is the prime suspect as he has a gut wrenching motive and his skills give him means and opportunities few could achieve to murder the highly protected Ebersole. Fearing a lethal shootout his Troubleshooter friends search for Murphy to persuade him to come in peacefully. Angelina¿s best friend former police officer Hannah Whitfield has always loved Vinh, but hid her deep regard from him and from Angelina when she was alive. He seeks her help as he is unsure whether he pulled the trigger or not as he was in an alcoholic stupor they seek the truth by going INTO THE FIRE of the Freedom Network.------------ Hannah and Vinh are an interesting pairing because both grieve the loss of Angelina and the guilt of one night of solace together after the woman died. In some ways Hannah is the more complete character as she was forced to retire due to an on the job injury leading to deafness and has hid her love for Vinh whereas Murphy remains grief stricken although the murder has awakened him from his drunken stupor. With other subplots also in the fire, fans will appreciate this action-packed romantic suspense thriller starring two walking wounded and the rest of the troubleshooters willingly going INTO THE FIRE to prove the innocence of one of them for once you join this team you remain part of them even after you leave.-------------- Harriet Klausner
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So Happy Murphy Could Find Love Again With His Longtime Friend. Hannah Found Out Good Things Come To Those Who Wait.
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Shawna Duffert More than 1 year ago
Not nearly as good as the rest of the series up till now but it has alot of information needed to continue the series. Im hoping that jules plays a more important part in future books like he did in all the other ones
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