Night Shadow

( 28 )

Overview

Aside from working for T-FLAC (and having the same last name), Lexi Stone and Alex Stone are polar opposites, right down to Lexi’s mere mortality and Alex’s paranormal powers. And though Lexi disdains Alex’s rule-breaking bravado, she can’t ignore how his roguish charm makes her heart race.

But Lexi’s secret desires clash head-on with her duties when suspicions arise that Alex is poised to switch sides and join forces with a European terrorist cell. Lexi is now assigned to ...

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Overview

Aside from working for T-FLAC (and having the same last name), Lexi Stone and Alex Stone are polar opposites, right down to Lexi’s mere mortality and Alex’s paranormal powers. And though Lexi disdains Alex’s rule-breaking bravado, she can’t ignore how his roguish charm makes her heart race.

But Lexi’s secret desires clash head-on with her duties when suspicions arise that Alex is poised to switch sides and join forces with a European terrorist cell. Lexi is now assigned to shadow his every move, but her task becomes even tougher when Lexi and Alex suddenly find themselves partnered on an emergency mission in Russia. To stop the rise of a superhuman terrorist threat, Lexi and Alex must work as a well-oiled team, with lethal shadows looming behind them and no one to trust but each other.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Pulse-pounding . . . contains all the danger, treachery and romance a reader could wish for . . . [Cherry] Adair elevates her high-octane tales into the must-read category!”—Romantic Times

“Thriller action and hot sex . . . smoothly blends sensuality and espionage.”—Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly

Adair's conclusion to her paranormal romance trilogy that began with Night Fall and Night Secrets smoothly blends sensuality and espionage. As two covert T-FLAC (Terrorist Force Logistical Assault Command) agents-newbie Alexis "Lexi" Stone and seasoned veteran Alexander Stone (no relation)-travel the globe in search of those responsible for a series of bombings, the pair must contend with the attraction that threatens to destroy the professionalism of their relationship. Complicating the mission for Lexi are orders from her superiors to kill Alex if, as they suspect, Alex is a rogue operative. Meanwhile, Alex, who frequently teleports from one location to another, has to deal with deadly doppelgängers who have a tendency to disintegrate into "soot." The confusing similarity of the protagonists' names provides some comic relief from the thriller action and hot sex. (Nov. 25)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345499929
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/24/2009
  • Series: Bodyguard Trilogy
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 622,325
  • Product dimensions: 6.84 (w) x 4.38 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Cherry Adair has garnered numerous awards for her innovative action-adventure novels, which include Night Secrets, Night Fall, White Heat, Hot Ice, On Thin Ice, Out of Sight, In Too Deep, Hide and Seek, and Kiss and Tell, as well as her thrilling Edge trilogy: Edge of Danger, Edge of Fear, and Edge of Darkness. A favorite of reviewers and fans alike, she lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is as work writing the next T-FLAC mission.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

MOSCOW
 55 45 08 37 36 56 02 10 08 
1800 HOURS 

Blinking snowflakes off her lashes, T-FLAC operative Alexis Stone shot a quick glance down at the toes of her brand-new, size-eight combat boots as she teetered on the edge of the snow- encrusted roof. The excruciating headache that had plagued her for the last several minutes intensified. A headache was going to be the least of her damned problems if she didn’t move. 

Jump. Get it over with. Quick and painless. 

What the . . . ? 

Jump across, she told herself. Not down. Across. Between the buildings. A relatively easy jump, yet she hesitated. Terminal velocity wouldn’t be in effect in such a short drop. She’d only fall about a hundred and fifty feet, not the four hundred necessary to pick up the hundred and thirty- five miles an hour to achieve terminal speed. 

What was she thinking? Mouth dry, heart pounding, Lexi shook her head to clear it. 

Mathematically, a falling object—her—increased its velocity by thirty- two feet per second as it fell. Acceleration to gravity— 

Over. Not down. 

She’d be on the ground in less than two seconds— 

Over. Not down. 

Jump. Do it now. 

Hallucinations? 

Crap. She blinked white out of her eyes, her breath coming hot and fast. The training simulations hadn’t aptly portrayed what it felt like to be out in the field under hostile conditions. Not the cold, not the pressure, not the frantic tattoo of her heart. Not the irrational thoughts clouding her mind. One word summed up the experience. 

Terrifying. 

Focus. Fortunately, she was a pragmatic woman. Flights of fancy weren’t in her DNA. Or hadn’t been before to night. She’d trained with the best of the best. Now she just had to put it into action. She could do this. Do not imagine being shot in the back. 

Do not picture falling. 

Do not look down. 

Her mouth was too dry to even attempt swallowing. She started counting, silently, to slow the rushing thud of her pulse, which made it hard to hear and intensified the headache. 

Her gaze climbed upward incrementally until she focused on the hotel across the alley. Only eight feet separated the two buildings. 

Fifteen stories to the snowy ground below. 

She’d never been afraid of heights before. Lights popped on in some of the dark windows as dusk fell like an unwelcome blanket over Moscow. 

They’d followed her. She knew they had. Jump! her brain screamed. 

Despite the bone- chilling cold, sweat beaded her face. Her entire body was damp and clammy beneath her black civilian clothing. The familiar weight of the Glock, all seven ounces of firepower, felt as heavy as a boulder in her numb fingers. 

Running footsteps, crossing the roof behind her, sounded like a freaking herd of crazed wildebeests charging. Her galloping heart jumped into her throat. Too late. Her hesitation was going to cost her. She glanced down at the shadowy drop just beyond the tips of her boots, then back at the dark footprints just behind her. Easy to follow her trail when her steps were clear in the snow blanketing the rooftop. 

She’d had a five- minute, eleven- second head start. They’d caught up. The men following her had scaled that blasted metal fire escape in record time. And probably without being terrified the thing would pull away from the crumbling brick wall as they scrabbled for purchase. 

The high- pitched whine- piiiing and yellow sparks of a bullet ricocheting off metal just a few feet away made her flinch. Close. Too close. Do it, Lexi. Just freaking jump. 

No. Return fire. Then jump. 

Cautiously, but as fast as she could manage, she walked backward in her own footprints. As soon as she felt the heated metal of a four- foot- wide exhaust flue against her back, she spun and dropped into a crouch behind the only cover for a hundred feet of flat white rooftop. 

A dozen indistinguishable exhaust fans dotted the roof, belching unsynchronized clouds of foul- smelling steam. The steam and stink collided with the rapidly falling snow, making visibility nearly non ex is tent in the pseudo fog the mix created. If she couldn’t see them, they couldn’t see her. She hoped. 

Crouching to below their eye level, Lexi squeezed off a half dozen textbook- perfect shots. Night was falling as fast as the snow now, and the spare illumination was a thick, barely transparent charcoal. She knew exactly how to get to where she needed to be. Like a lodestone, she had ID’d the black shutters against the whitewashed walls of the safe house seven buildings southeast. 

Five men had chased her all the way from Belorussky Railway Station on Tverskaya Zastava Ploshchad, through the alleys and up onto this rooftop half a dozen blocks away. 

Piiingpiingpiing. They weren’t messing around. 

Sparks shot out like fireworks as a hail of bullets struck metal. The men were firing blind. A waste of ammunition, but pretty much a guarantee that one of the stray bullets would hit their target. Her. 

Six. There’d been six of them, she corrected, seeing them come out of nowhere in her mind’s eye. A mathematical mistake could very well bite her in the ass. 

One guy was way ahead of the pack, moving fast and low, closing the gap between them. 

Shifting her trigger finger off the frame of the Glock, Lexi squeezed off a shot. The impact of the bullet hitting him square in the chest knocked the guy off his feet. With a brief look of annoyance he went down soundlessly. 

Went down . . . and dissipated into nothingness before his body hit the ground. 

Ducking out of sight, back flat against the warmth of the pipe, Lexi sucked in a startled breath. Shit. My first kill shot. A wizard? Her heart beat hard enough to block out the sound of running footsteps. She felt the vibration through the soles of her boots and took a chance, angling her head so she could see them coming. And there they were. Thirty yards and closing. 

Five men, dressed in black, their shadowy forms barely visible. 

Narrow- eyed, she watched a second guy break from the pack, coming at her flat- out, long legs closing the gap between them. Weapon raised, he stopped, head shifting as he searched the rooftop for her. 

Two other men joined him, snow veiling them where they stood, warm breath thick in the air around their heads. 

“Did she jump across?” the middle guy asked the other two in his native Rus sian, glaring down at the gap between the buildings. Lexi followed their gazes. Her footprints teetered right on the edge. Visibility was iffy, and unless they looked closely, they wouldn’t notice the faint blurring of her double steps. She hoped. 

She held her breath as two more men caught up, the murmur of the voices blending. One man indicated they separate, and they spread out on the roof. 

Her pulse shot into overdrive, and her mouth went dry as a metronome ticked off the seconds in her head. They’d find her in moments. And there was no wondering what they’d do to her if they got their hands on her. She freaking knew. She’d seen too much. And she was as good as dead unless she could make that jump. 

As much as she wanted to plot things out to the last variable, as much as she wanted to calculate the exact trajectory necessary to leap the gap and how she should fall on the other side, Lexi literally took a running leap of faith. 

The run, followed by an ungraceful jump had her body suspended over nothing but air for what felt like an eternity. Rapid fire, followed by shouts, accompanied her leap across the abyss. Too pumped up on terror and adrenaline to feel any pain, she landed hard on the other, slightly lower, roof, and stumbled into a low run. 

Go. Go. Go. 

Her breath led the way as she found the extra speed necessary to leap between the next two buildings, a jump of at least twelve feet this time. One foot skidded out from under her as she landed in wet snow on the other side. Sheer willpower pulled her upright and she kept running. 

Go. Go. Go. 

Chunks of cement exploded inches from her feet, sending bits of it stinging into her skin through her pants. She spun, returning fire. She knew she wasn’t going to hit anyone; her aim was too wild, and she couldn’t see a damn thing now that it was fully dark. Numb with cold, the snow was a soft menace as it landed soundlessly on any exposed skin. A stark blackand- white movie with her frantic heartbeats and sawing breath as theme music. 

The whine and the hot slice of a bullet as it cut through her coat and into her shoulder made her curse under her breath. It would probably hurt like hell later. Well, no probably about it, but right now she didn’t feel a thing. Lexi ducked behind the dubious protection of a small cement maintenance shed in the middle of the rooftop. Hat down, collar up, just her eyes visible, she scanned the area. The cold, and the vicious vise of the headache, made her eyes water and burn, forcing her to waste precious seconds blinking things back into focus. 

There they were. Running, spreading out, determined to catch her. Catch her, hell. Kill her. 

No CGI- generated bad guys. No drill. This was as real as it got. 

Reaching into her tac belt, she grabbed a new magazine and wiped the sweat out of her left eye onto the shoulder of her jacket. Let the training take over. Deep breath in. Rapid reload. Pop the empty clip, slam in a new one. Thumb the slide- stop so the slide jacks forward and fire again. And again. Chest high, level and steady. Wrist firm, firing hand pressed securely against her opposing palm. Double- tapping in controlled bursts, tiny lateral movements to avoid creating gaps in the kill- zone. 

Visualize the target; see the slap of the bullet. 

She squeezed the trigger. A scream indicated she’d managed to hit one, even in the dark. 

She heard the thud of his body with grim satisfaction. That one wasn’t a wizard. Or if he was, he was a dead wizard. 

Her weapons instructor would be proud. 

Two down. Four to go. And six more buildings to navigate before reaching the safe house. 

She couldn’t lead these yahoos there. Four more kills, or a wild goose chase across the rooftops of Moscow. In the dark. God, what a choice. 

Lexi tried to come up with a plan. Heart manic, sweat stinging her eyes, she leaned against the cement wall. 

Think. 

Easier said than done when an anvil pounded behind her eyeballs and every instinct told her to run like hell. Odds were she’d be shot within the next few minutes. 

Take a deep breath. Center yourself. Think. 

Somehow she had to circle around behind them. 

Somehow. 

Couldn’t see them, but Lexi heard their voices. Whispered Rus sian, carried away on the light breeze, impossible to hear well enough to interpret. She prayed they’d conclude she’d managed to evade them. 

For a moment a stray bit of light reflected off the snowy ground and she saw them. They’d gathered in a tight little group at the edge of the roof, a knot of dense darkness barely visible against the even bigger blackness of the night. Big mistake, boys. 

Four shots. Rapid. No hesitation. 

They wouldn’t expect her to return the way she’d come— straight at them. 

Pulling the extra fabric of her turtleneck over her mouth and nose, Lexi welcomed the few seconds of warmth. Good time for a tac- reload. Quietly, she slid the clip out of the mag well and replaced it with a fresh one, stowed the partly spent one in her belt. Then, blocking out the cold, she dropped to the ground. A shallow, twelve- inch- high wall ran around the perimeter of the flat roof. On her belly, using her feet and elbows to move her forward, she crawled up against the wall, the fully loaded Glock in her right hand. 

One chance to do this. 

One. 

She could hear them more clearly the closer she got. Confused. Undirected. They weren’t sure what to do next. Good. 

Sucking in a breath, she squeezed off a shot. Another, and another. Three down. One to go. 

The remaining guy fired back, yelling in Rus sian as he tried to pinpoint her location from her muzzle flashes. But she’d already moved. She was practically under his feet as he fired blindly into the darkness. Rolling to her back, Lexi aimed for the underside of his chin. She let out half a breath. The big oaf looked down just as she squeezed the trigger. 

In that instant, some of those training details that seemed so hard to memorize came back effortlessly. Nine- millimeter, 124- grain, plus- P rounds. For a Glock 19, that translated into a muzzle velocity in excess of thirteen hundred feet per second— 

Her bullet punched into his gaping mouth and blew the back of his head off. His body instantly turned to a fine black powder. 

Shuddering, she didn’t pause to congratulate herself on her marksmanship or her mastery of weapon specs. There wasn’t time. All the gunplay and shouting would draw the curious, or stupid, sooner or later. Lexi hauled ass and ran as if the hounds of hell were on her heels. 

Stretched out on the narrow sway- backed bed, hands stacked beneath his head, Alexander Stone dozed lightly. Since the room was on the top floor, he opened one eye when he heard pounding footsteps on the rooftop just above the window. 

Interesting. 

Curling his fingers around the butt of the Sig Sauer lying on the mattress beside his hip, he lay still, just another shadow in the room. Seconds later, the window slammed back against the wall. A slight figure, dressed from head to toe in black, catapulted feet first through the opening as if jet propelled. 

He could barely make out her slender form in the darkness. Hands on her knees, head down, Lexi struggled to catch a wheezing breath. “Shit. Shit. Shit.” 

Alex sat up, swinging his feet to the floor. “How was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” 

At the sound of his voice, coming as it did out of the darkness, she let out a startled yelp as she straightened. But damn if she didn’t come up weapon raised. 

“Turn on the light.” Still out of breath, but her voice was strong. 

“Hell, Lexi. I could’ve shot you ten times by now. Shoot first, ask questions later.” Alex leaned over and switched on the light beside the bed. He immediately noticed the dark red wetness on her right shoulder. “But it looks like someone already beat me to it.” Jesus. What the hell was Lexi Stone doing in Moscow? Bleeding? When the innkeeper had assured him his room was ready, Alex had had a moment of confusion. He hadn’t already checked in . . . Alex Stone. Alexis Stone. No relation. Not even third cousins five times removed— he’d checked. 

Might be confusing for the accounting department, but he’d never expected to see her anywhere but HQ in Montana. Didn’t make a damn bit of sense seeing her here. 

She belonged at her desk in the research department. She was completely out of context in a shit- hole of a safe house in Rus sia. 

Dove- soft gray eyes blinked at him, her expression a mixture of confusion and irritation. “What are you doing here?” 

“Here in Moscow or here in our room?” He’d forgotten how tall she was. He was used to seeing her hunched over her computer at her desk at HQ. “It isn’t our room. It’s my room. My op.” 

Her . . . op? “Do you own Moscow as well, or is that up for grabs?” 

Annoyed, she pulled a black knit cap off her head and stuffed it into the pocket of her coat. Well, hell. Her hair used to be a very pretty, glossy light brown. And long. She used to wear it in some sleek, complicated braid thing on the back of her head. She’d cut about a mile and a half off. Now it was chin length, fashionably choppy, and a sunny blond. “Cut your hair yourself ?” 

She raised a hand to her chin- length bob and didn’t bother answering the obvious. “You’re supposed to be in Paris.” She touched the bridge of her nose. Damn it to hell. She used to wear glasses as well. “True.” He pushed back on the edge of the bed to lean against the wall, dangling his hand off his bent knee. “You wearing LockOut under that jacket?” Hiplength black Thinsulate coat, black jeans, soaked to the hem of the coat, and the smallest damned combat boots he’d ever seen, carry ing a Glock, and packing an attitude a mile wide. 

With a fucking bullet crease in her shoulder. Color crept into her already chill- bright cheeks. “I just went to—” 

“Get shot?” he said dryly. “We’d better take care of that.” He shoved himself off the bed in one lithe move, tucking his Sig in the waistband at the back of his pants. She backed up. “Did you manage to hit anyone?” Yeah. She was taller than he remembered. Her sunny hair would brush his lips if he were to hold her. Which of course he had no intention of doing. His gaze dropped to her lips. Mistake. She had the kind of soft mouth that would distract most men. 

Didn’t distract him. Alex concentrated on eye contact. Up went the chin. “I was trained by Darius, what do you think?” 

The best of the best. No need to ask further. “Were you followed?” 

She shot a ner vous glance over her shoulder at the open window and the night sky beyond. “I don’t believe so.” 

Shit. Damn. And fucking hell. “You’d better be sure.” 

“I—” She wanted to tell him to go to hell, Alex could see it in the mutinous line of her lips. “I’m not sure,” she admitted somewhat belligerently. Lexi. Honest to a fault. 

He gave a lugubrious sigh and slid the Sig out of his waistband, not sure who else was coming through that window. “Get that coat off and go into the bathroom. Take a shower. I’ll be right back.” 

“I’ll go with you.” 

If he was any judge of women, and he was, the lady was about to puke or pass out. Possibly both. “How will I explain your bloodless body to your supervisor in the— What department is it again? Accounting?” She was the girl with the glasses and great legs in the research department. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Fabulous!

    Alex Stone is a T-FLAC agent who is on the search for a terrorist wizard who is causing havoc all over the world. Lexi Stone works in the Internal Affairs division of T-FLAC and her mission is to find proof that Alex is a traitor to the organization. When they are forced to work together on a mission in Moscow that involves a massacre at a train station they discover they also have to fight their rising attraction to each other. Night Shadow is a great conclusion to this three-book trilogy inside of Cherry Adair’s T-FLAC series. I would definitely recommend this and any of Cherry’s book. You won’t be disappointed!

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  • Posted April 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    the stones

    IT TOOK ME FOREVER TO ACTUALLY FIND THIS BOOK SINCE IT WAS ONLY AVAILABLE IN HARDCOVER when it first came out. I finally got it on my kindle app and read it in one day I loved it so much! Definitely worth the wait!!!

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  • Posted April 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Night Shadow is the first of Cherry's psi/TFLAC books I read and

    Night Shadow is the first of Cherry's psi/TFLAC books I read and was immediately caught up in it from the first page. Alex Stone and Lexi Stone are both TFLAC agents. Lexi is a by-the-book internal affairs operative and Alex does whatever he can to get his man. Lexi is sent on her first mission in the field with Alex with dual purposes, one as a TFLAC operative and the other as an internal affairs spy to investigate Alex to see if he is switching sides who is having erratic behavior because his powers keep fading in and out and the reasons for it are pretty shocking. Oh and did I mention Alex and Lexi are lifemates. Another fantastic Cherry Adair book that has plenty of action and suspense.

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  • Posted April 21, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Disappointing

    I love all of her TFLAC series, but the paranormal of the "Night" series was just not up to her usual. There was a limited plot, characters, and little suspense. I can't wait to read another "regular" TFLAC book with all of the suspense, complexities of plot and great in-depth characters.

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  • Posted December 10, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Night Shadow by Cherry Adair

    Sex, wizards, and clones. Oh, and a super-duper bad wizard guy who is defeated by the WOMEN! I think that was my favorite thing about "Night Shadow", the conclusion to Cherry Adair's trilogy.<BR/><BR/>Alexis Stone has finally made it out from behind her research desk and is now a full-fledged T-FLAC field op and on her first mission. The fact that said mission will mean she can work with the mouth-watering Alex Stone (absolutely no relation...thank God) is neither here nor there. At least that's what she keeps telling herself. But it's not like he'd ever look at her. I mean, sure she has a photographic memory, but she's a norm, not a wizard. And she does have a tendency to quote from her photographic memory when she's nervous...which is, of course, ALL the time when she's around Alex.<BR/><BR/>Alex has never had a problem working with female operatives before. But this is Alexis...who apparently just got shot! And with the mysterious and increasing shortages he's experiencing with his wizard powers, he'd really rather Alexis NOT be on his team. Not that he cares about flaunting the rules, but because she's becoming his weak spot. And with the lives of himself and his two best buddies on the line, not to mention millions of people the world over, he really can't afford to lose concentration right now. But Alexis...uh, what was he saying?<BR/><BR/>I found a lot of humor in this finale of the 'Night' series. There were parts that I thought were a bit cheesy if I tried to bring reality into the picture...so I just reminded myself to continue suspending reality and all was fine. I absolutely loved the fact that it was the women who saved the day. That's right, NOT the wizards, NOT the wizard council, and not the other T-FLAC ops. It was the lovers of the wizards in peril and the 'strength of their love'. Now if that doesn't scream romance, I don't know what does!

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  • Posted November 29, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Hardcover??

    Why is the last book in this series a hardcover and not paperback as the first and second book were? I don't believe it is fair to make us pay more just to see how the story ends.

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  • Posted November 7, 2008

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    The final T-FLAC romantic suspense espionage urban fantasy is a super thriller

    Besides their employment as Terrorist Force Logistical Assault Command (T-FLAC) operatives Lexi and Alex Stone have only on thing else they share, their identical surname. Alex is an experienced operative who rarely comes in from the cold; Lexi the human works data like a wizard in the office.<BR/><BR/>The T-FLAC leaders fear super field agent Alex the wizard has joined the enemy as there is proof of his staging terrorist events. They want to confirm their suspicion but know a field pro would be outed rather easily by Alex; they send Lexi who never leaves the office to investigate under the guise of assisting him. If she finds proof she must kill him. Alex is irate with his new partner who obviously has never stepped out of the office controlled climate into the field tundra. He has no time to protect Lexi, as something chilling is occurring around the globe. However she proves useful as her data analysis skills begin to uncover a pattern of terrorist strikes .His foster brothers Lucas Fox (see NIGHT SECRETS) and Simon Blackthorne (see NIGHT FALL) try to help the stunned couple deal with an international threat. <BR/><BR/>The final T-FLAC romantic suspense espionage urban fantasy is a super thriller that teleports readers around the globe as Lexi and Alex struggle with doppelgangers and love; with the latter being more dangerous. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action as once again Cherry Adair makes her realm seem genuine, but also adds self spoofing humor with the names of her lead couple. The return of the T-FLAC heroes from the previous paranormal spy novels enhance a strong finale that will have fans clamoring for more tales in the Adair environs.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

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