Jean-Luc Cavalier has only ever cared about three things: sex, booze, and the dangerous missions he undertakes with HORNET. Laissez les bons temps rouler is more than a Mardi Gras motto
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Niger Delta, Nigeria
Dr. Claire Oliver stepped from the hastily thrown together quarantine tent into a wall of oppressive humidity. Sweat already trickled between her breasts as she stripped off her mask, gown, and gloves. She placed all of the protective gear in the already-full dented metal drum that served as a biohazard bin. Soon local workers would pick up the drum and wash everything inside with a bleach solution. Disposable protective gear was an unaffordable luxury in this part of the Niger River Delta.
"Do you see now why I contacted you?" Dr. Sunday Reggie-Fubara asked in her posh British accent. Nigerian born, Sunday had lived most of her life in London until Médecins Sans Frontières — also known as MSF or Doctors Without Borders — sent her back to the land of her birth. She'd been a friend of Claire's since boarding school, and although they'd kept in touch even after Claire had moved to the States, it had been a long time since they'd last spoken. When Sunday's email had hit her inbox last week, she'd been surprised. Then shocked ... and a little bit curious. Sunday was an outstanding doctor and never asked for help.
The thought had crossed her mind that this could be a setup. A trap. After everything that had happened in the last month — her best friend killed, mercenaries chasing her across the globe, intent on stealing her life's work — it was entirely possible. She hated that she couldn't even view a contact from an old friend without suspicion. She'd wrestled with herself over answering the email, and in the end, decided paranoia couldn't dictate the rest of her life. What good would she accomplish if she was always running and hiding?
So here she was, sweating in the sticky tropical heat, soaked to the skin by the ceaseless rain of monsoon season, scratching her head over something that didn't make any sense. "The serologic tests are coming back as hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome?"
"And also hantavirus pulmonary syndrome."
No, that wasn't right. Too many variables weren't adding up. Hanta wasn't an African virus, and human-to-human transmission was so rare as to be nonexistent. Not to mention the fact that the two forms of the virus had never shown up simultaneously in one host. They were from opposite hemispheres — HFRS was found mainly in Europe and Asia, HPS in the Americas.
Claire shook her head. "It shouldn't be here, burning through the population like this."
"It's unlike any strain we've seen before," Sunday said. "It's really all very strange. I thought if anyone could figure out what is happening here, it would be you."
Claire looked at the quarantine tents. "How many people have died?"
"All of them."
She froze and stared at Sunday in disbelieving shock. "What did you say?"
Sunday's lips flattened into a grim line. "All of them have died, Claire. It has a one hundred percent fatality rate."
"What ...?" Horror tightened Claire's throat as she again looked at the tents. One hundred and fifty people convalesced inside the makeshift hospital, hoping the foreign doctors could help them. Men, women, children. Seniors. Babies. Even two pregnant women. There had been a toddler in one of the last beds before the decontamination zone. She'd stared at Claire and Sunday in the protective space suits with dull, fearful eyes.
"All of them," she repeated in a whisper and pictured the girl slowly bleeding out while her kidneys failed. It was a horrific, painful way to go.
No. Step back. Pull yourself together.
She closed her eyes, took a second to regroup. Getting emotionally involved wouldn't help that toddler. What would help was figuring out why this was happening, finding a suitable treatment, and keeping anyone else from becoming infected. "That's ..." She tried to reconcile the facts she knew about hantavirus with what Sunday was saying. "Depending on the strain, hantavirus has, at most, a thirty percent mortality rate."
"Could it have mutated? Maybe two strains combined into a daughter virus?"
"I suppose it's possible." Claire turned away from the tent and faced her friend. "But if this was a natural mutation, we'd have seen the mutated strain in Asia or Europe or South America. Even the U.S. Somewhere the virus is already prevalent. Not Nigeria, a country where there has never been a known case. It doesn't make sense."
"Could someone have traveled here with it?"
Claire considered the nearest village with its thatched roof homes. There was no electricity or running water. The locals were all uneducated fishermen, eking out a simple life along the banks of the Niger River. "Again, it's possible. It'd be more possible if this were a city, but ..." She waved a hand, encompassing the surrounding area. "This isn't a major travel hub. Even if someone had come here with the virus, they shouldn't have been able to transmit it to anyone else."
Concern drew a deep groove between Sunday's brows. "You said 'natural' mutation. If it was a natural mutation, we'd have found it elsewhere. You think this is unnatural."
"I don't know." It was a puzzle, and Claire had never been able to resist a puzzle. "The village where this started is just a few kilometers east of here? I want to see it. If I can find the virus reservoir, I'll know more about the infection."
"No." Sunday grabbed Claire's arm. "You're white. The whole area is owned by Egbesu Fighters. They'll think you're with the oil companies and see you as a potential payday."
So what else was new? Lately, it seemed everyone was after her for a payday. She'd spent the last month running from mercenaries who wanted her research. God only knew who had hired them, but someone knew about Akeso and wanted to capitalize the antiviral's panacean ability to kill virus-infected cells without harming healthy ones. She'd spent most of her adult life working on Akeso, and she'd be damned if she let some asshole Big Pharma company steal her research so they could turn around and sell it for ridiculous prices.
If only she'd been able to continue her research in peace. Akeso would help these people. She was sure of it, but she and her old med school roommate, Dr. Tiffany Peters, had only just started trials on human cells in the lab before the world turned sideways and Tiffany was killed.
Oh, she missed Tiffany. She often caught herself reaching for the phone to call, only to remember her best friend was gone.
She gazed toward the east. Thought of the village. Who else there was infected? Had this started with an infected rat population or was this something worse? Something more sinister? She wouldn't know without an investigation, and she couldn't investigate if she kept running from Tiffany's killers.
She gave herself a moment — only a moment — for the fear, then pushed it down and locked it up. That way there be dragons and their names were Paranoia and Anxiety. It wasn't productive to let them off their chains, especially when people were dying.
Sunday's hand still clenched her forearm. Claire covered it with one of her own and gave Sunday's fingers a reassuring squeeze. "I understand your concern, but you contacted me for help."
Sunday gave an abrupt laugh. "Same old Claire. Always fearlessly chasing trouble."
"I do not chase trouble," she protested.
"You don't exactly avoid it, either." Sunday studied her for a moment, then sighed. "And I see your mind's made up about this."
"If you want my help treating this virus, the village is our first step."
Sunday lifted a hand and waved a large man over. He had skin like onyx and thick lips that spread into a big white grin as he approached. He said something to Sunday in the local language, and Claire didn't need to understand to know it had been intimate because Sunday's lighter skin flushed dark with embarrassment.
They were lovers. Or if not, they would be soon enough. Good for them.
Claire looked down to hide her smile while Sunday smacked his arm and replied in an affectionately chiding tone.
"This is Adedayo Temitope," Sunday introduced. "He's our local guide."
"Call me Dayo," he said and held out a hand. "I've heard much about you, Dr. Claire."
Claire smiled at him and accepted the handshake, then raised a brow at Sunday. "I haven't heard nearly enough about you."
Sunday poked her in the ribs with an elbow and Dayo's grin only widened. But then Sunday got serious. "She wants to see the village."
Dayo's grin faded. "It's not safe."
Claire huffed out a breath in exasperation. "So I've been told, but I can't begin to help until I know what I'm dealing with and I won't know without an investigation." She planted her hands on her hips and stared the two of them down. "So will you help or not?"CHAPTER 2
Things could be worse. Things could be worse. Things could be worse.
Jean-Luc Cavalier kept repeating the mantra to himself as he sat propped against the stone wall of his prison, trying to ignore the throbbing in his arm where an ugly knife wound was still oozing blood and beginning to fester. Though he wasn't sure how anything could be worse than his current situation. The guard who was supposed to be guarding him had dropped dead half a day ago and now rotted on the other side of his prison's door. He had no food, no water, and no way to communicate with his team, who were halfway across the world because he was a coullion who went chasing weak intel with only one questionably sane man for backup.
And who knew where Marcus Deangelo had ended up. Or even if he was still alive. They'd been separated when militants attacked their truck and Jean- Luc hadn't seen him in days.
HORNET's commanders, Gabe and Quinn, had warned Jean-Luc not to come to Nigeria. Had told him he'd get himself dead if he did. At the time, he'd thought they were just spooked by the team's last clusterfuck of a mission in Martinique. They had lost a man that night — Marcus's best friend Danny — and nobody wanted a repeat.
Jean-Luc didn't blame his commanders for their caution, but nor could he stay at HQ twiddling his thumbs while Harvard, their computer whiz, gathered actionable intel. He'd made someone a promise.
He shut his eyes and brought her face up from his memories. Brilliant blue eyes, the dusting of freckles over her slightly upturned nose. Her shoulder- length bob of blond hair that somehow looked both severely professional and ungodly sexy at the same time. She was petite, not a lot in the way of curves, but merde, her mouth. She had lips made for kissing, upper lip slightly fuller than the lower. She wasn't all beauty. She had a brain to match, and a tongue sharp enough to draw blood. She fascinated him.
Claire was the reason he'd disobeyed orders and endangered his career as a linguist for HumInt Inc.'s Hostage Rescue and Negotiation Team. She was the reason he was here. When he'd helped her escape Martinique, he'd promised to find her again, to help keep her safe.
He didn't intend to break that promise.
Which brought him back to his current predicament.
It could be worse.
Yeah. Maybe if aliens invaded? That would be worse. The apocalypse would be worse. Four Horsemen, End Times, and all that. But barring those scenarios, nothing was fucking worse than this.
Jean-Luc sighed and pushed himself to his feet. He'd been trying to reach the keys on the dead guard's belt for hours until exhaustion finally won out, but it was time to move again. He wasn't dying here. Not like this.
He bellied up to the bars and reached his good hand through. He could almost catch the guard's shirt between his fingers. He just had to stretch ... a little ... farther ...
His fingers brushed the edge of the T-shirt, but he couldn't get a grip on it. For the first time in his life, he wished he didn't have such muscular arms and shoulders. He only needed another inch, and he'd have a fist full of the fabric. He stretched, felt the rusted bar dig into his biceps, ignored it, and stretched more, and ...
Putain! He couldn't reach.
He sat up and leaned the side of his face against the bars. He was shaking and sweating from the effort he'd expended. Exhausted. Every muscle in his body ached, even his goddamn eyelids. He hoped his current state was due to the beating he'd taken plus a lack of food or water, and not whatever had killed the fils de putain who was currently stinking up the place. Because he did not want to go out like that guy had, leaking blood from multiple orifices while coughing up his lungs.
Man, he'd seriously screwed up this time. He wasn't going to be able to talk, fuck, or kill his way out of this mess.
When he first arrived in Africa two weeks ago, he'd had a purpose, a plan, and a partner in crime. He'd find Claire and keep her and her research safe. He'd failed her so spectacularly two months ago in Martinique that he hadn't been able to get a good night's rest since. His need to find her became all consuming until he finally narrowed his search to Nigeria. Marcus had come along, chasing — or maybe running from — his own demons.
Had Marcus stayed in Nigeria after they were separated? Had he called in the rest of the team for help? Probably not. They'd gone against direct orders by coming here. That act of defiance had likely been the end of their careers with HORNET. For all he knew, Tucker Quentin, CEO and founder of HumInt, had written them off.
He shouldn't have come here. This time last year, he wouldn't have. He would have shrugged Claire's problems off as her own to deal with and gone about the rest of his life without much concern.
But when his grandmother died unexpectedly eight months ago, his whole world had tilted sideways. The foundation he'd built everything on had crumbled. He'd been determined to fuck and drink away the grief and had been doing a damn fine job of it until he'd crossed paths with a voodoo queen on Mardi Gras, and she'd cursed him with celibacy. Now Jean-Luc Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler Cavalier was gone and he didn't recognize the person he'd become. He wanted his old life back — go on dangerous missions and rid the world of some bad guys, come home and drink himself stupid, have some fun with a woman or two. Lather, rinse, and repeat. He'd liked it that way. Hadn't seen any need to change a thing.
So why the fuck had everything changed?
Claire. It all came back and centered on her. His life had only been sideways and unstable until he met her. But that night in Martinique, when she looked across the poolside bar with those sea-blue eyes and flatly told him his rendition of "The PiÃ±a Colada Song" was off-key — that was when everything flipped fucking upside down.
He wished he could hate her for it. He didn't. Even now, the need to find her chewed at him.
Jean-Luc heaved in a breath and straightened away from the bars of his prison. If he didn't find a way out soon, he might as well dig his own grave in the hard-packed dirt beneath his feet, because this was where he'd bite it. He climbed to his feet, paced around the small space, looking for something, anything to aid his escape. A crack in the wall, a loose bar in the door ... but his captors had known what they were doing when they chose his prison. Nothing short of a grenade was getting through these walls.
Dig a grave.
Now there was an idea. Maybe he could Shawshank his way out of here. Only problem was he didn't have a rock hammer or twenty years to dig his way to freedom.
He looked down. His captors had taken his boots, and his feet were bare and filthy. He dug one toe into the dirt floor. It was hard packed, but not so much that it was like concrete. It could still be moved.
He gazed over at the barred door again. There were about three inches between the bottom bar and the dirt floor. He wouldn't need to dig a hole deep enough to fit his entire body. Just one big enough to allow him to reach those damn keys. The throbbing in his arm spoke up right then, reminding him this would be a one-handed endeavor.
Mais, things could be worse.
He shook his head once, dropped to his knees in front of the door, and started digging.CHAPTER 3
The village was perched precariously on the riverbank, a cluster of newer mud huts with rusted tin roofs mixed in with the more traditional stilt houses made of wood, bamboo, and palm fronds. A dripping rain had started during the bumpy drive over, and now drummed steadily against the roof of the old Toyota truck MSF took into Port Harcourt for supply runs. The truck had no a/c, so it was either keep the windows down and get soaked, or roll them up and potentially die of suffocation in the stifling heat. Claire chose the rain. With humidity sitting at 100 percent, her tank top and capri pants already felt waterlogged anyway.
Claire studied the village through the windshield as the wipers did their best to keep up with the now pelting rain. No sign of people. Because of the rain? Or because they were all dead or dying?
"Are you sure you want to do this now?"(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Reckless Honor"
Copyright © 2018 Tonya Burrows.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the fifth book in Tonya's Hornet series and they just keep getting better and better! This is really a continuation of events that happened in Book 4. Training mission went sideways as terrorists take over hotel, Jean-Luc Cavalier (the Ragin' Cajun) tells Claire to run and she does. Dr. Claire Oliver, on the run because someone wants her antiviral research and wonder drug she's created. These people will stop at nothing to get it even if they have to kill everyone. She has no one to turn to but the Ragin' Cajun. Claire ends up helping a friend in the Niger Delta trying to get to the bottom of a deadly virus that has an almost 100% kill rate. Jean-Luc and Claire reunite, but saving her and her research becomes secondary when it appears that this deadly virus just might be a bioweapon. Action-packed and lots of romance!
This is book 5 in the Hornet series and it features Jean-Luc and Claire. A good romance never comes too easy and things are pretty scary for a while for these two. It’s hard to imagine the good time Cajun falling for just ONE woman but that seems to be the case here. This was a very emotional read. Deadly diseases are a very scary thing and this book was full of them. I can’t wait to read more from this fantastic author of this great series.
She pulls no punches and doesnt mind showing the ugly side of the world to get to the good side. I love all her books.
No one, and I mean no one, can write better adrenaline-fueled bad-assery than Tonya Burrows! Her heroes are flawed, hot, alpha and, well, badass. In this story, the hard-drinking, women-loving, brilliant linguist and “Ragin Cajun” Jean Luc Cavalier gets his front and center to flex his hero muscles and obtain the redemption he feels he needs but doesn’t deserve… This book picks up from the end of Code of Honor (HORNET #4); although you do not need to read that book before this one, but you will want to devour that one too! Starting in Nigeria and ending in New Orleans, this HORNET adventure is an over-the-top thrilling explosion of science, sex and a little too-real doomsday scenario. The plot is chilling, vivid and engrossing…..exactly why does someone want Dr. Claire Oliver and her antiviral research so bad that anything goes to get her? Hiring murderous mercenaries to kidnap her? Check. Killing innocent people to flush her out? Check. The level of villain involved in this story is truly the stuff of nightmares! Ah, but the romance - that is the stuff of dreams! At first blush, Claire and Jean Luc seem like total opposites. The serious, studious virologist versus the laughing, over-sexed HORNET operative. But these two have more in common than you think! Jean Luc hides his hurt from a rough childhood under that booze and sex-soaked facade, because underneath lies a brilliant mind that can pick up languages at the drop of a hat. The CIA had tapped into that and now HORNET is blessed with his skills. And our serious Dr. Oliver has quite the dirty-talking vixen side to her, not to mention strength to spare. I LOVED this couple, with their complexity and many sides. Who couldn’t love a nerdy scientist with a passionate core, and a easy-going hottie who knows 15 languages fluently? Once again, Tonya Burrows delivers a powerful story that is well-written, well paced and well plotted. In the midst of mayhem, Ms.Burrows can make us chuckle; the many body parts and multitasking line from Jean Luc to Claire regarding…...well, you have to read that! A+ +
Wow! What a crazy, action packed, thrilling kind of story! If you didn't love Jean-Luc before in this series, you definitely will now. The Raging Cajun is funny, very flirtatious and sexy, protective, and dangerous. I loved all his encounters with Claire. They kept each other on their toes and were completely fascinated with one another. I thoroughly enjoyed reading her stand up to these HORNET alpha men and them give way to her. She was incredible. Claire and Jean-Luc sizzled across the pages. Their story never lagged and kept me riveted to the pages. And then to think if any of the stuff they went through could possibly happen in real life was quite mind blowing. I am looking forward to more in this series. Each one gets better. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through Netgalley.
4 1/2 Spicy Cajun Stars! Jean-Luc is the linguist in the HORNET Group and is the Cajun manwhore who loves liquor, women and New Orleans ... and not necessarily in that order. But when he meets the lovely Dr. Claire Oliver (he meets her in the `Code of Honor` ... where their story actually begins), he feels things that he has never felt before and doesn`t quite know what to do. But he feels he has to find her so he travels to Nigeria in hopes of her being there. The last thing he thinks is that he will be infected with a deadly disease and she find him. And then their adventure begins! Jean-Luc is my favorite character in this series so far ... but then I think I have felt that about each of the alpha males on the HORNET Team in their own books. I love that Claire is smart and brave and doesn`t let Jean-Luc get away with anything. These two are opposite but still perfect for each other. This book is full of suspense, romance, steamy sex scenes and adventure ... it kept me up half the night turning the pages to see what would happen next. I wonder whose books will be next - Ian and Mercedes or Harvards? If you are looking for an action packed romance ... then I highly recommend this book. In fact the whole series is great! I received an ARC courtesy of Entangled Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.
Je t'aime Jean-Luc that sexy Ragin' Cajun!!! I've been waiting to see what kind of story he would get and Ms. Burrows did not disappoint. So happy to see that his playboy days are over! Jean-Luc has been looking for Claire, who definitely caught his eye during the Martinique attack (last book) that killed her best friend and fellow doctor, Tiffany. Now in Nigeria, Claire is working with Doctors Without Borders when a horrific viral outbreak kills so many people and is showing no signs of stopping. It's awful!! When Claire goes to a nearby militant camp looking for answers, she actually finds Jean-Luc. I don't want to give anything away but the story line from here on out is intense and there are some pretty scary moments along with some hot moments between Claire and Jean-Luc. I love that we get more of the rest of the team too! I enjoyed this book a lot!
If you enjoy your books fast paced, action packed, with a fun steamy romance look no further. That's exactly what this book is. Whether you have read previous HORNET books or not, you'll enjoy Jean-Luc's story. Always the joking playboy, Jean-Luc finds himself inexplicably drawn to Dr. Claire Oliver. He's finally tracked her down in Nigeria and realizes she's in real danger. Well actually she found him and he needs her to save him. Now that he has her he plans on keeping her and keeping her safe while they discover exactly what this intense attraction between them really is. This is a quick read that I think everyone will enjoy. I recommend it.
LOVED this book!!! Finally, Jean-Luc and Claire get their book! I love the Hornet series and this book is a great addition. Jean-Luc is the ultimate playboy who has been smitten with Claire since they first met in a prior book. When she disappeared in Nigeria, he immediately rushed to try to find her. Unfortunately, he was captured for ransom before he located her. Then, while there, he was infected with a dangerous virus. Claire, as a talented physician and researcher, was in the region treating the sick when she found Jean-Luc critically ill. But, Claire has an experimental treatment she developed and risks everything to get to it so she can use it to save him. But the people that were chasing Claire for this treatment are still chasing her and they don't care who they hurt in their quest to get both Claire and her research. This is a very quickly moving novel that fans of the genre will love. I loved the characters and their story. The author made me care about them and feel invested in their getting a HEA. There is lots of action and a struggle for life that is woven throughout the book. While this is a romantic suspense, fans of both genres will enjoy this book. The author is on my must read authors' list and should probably be on yours as well.
I loved everything about this book but the cover. But that’s okay because I have been waiting for the Ragin’ Cajun Jean-Luc to get his story and now he has. Jean-Luc has always intrigued me. He is so smart and acts happy go lucky but believes he has been cursed by a Voodoo queen. But sick on his death bed the curse is apparently broken. I love that Dr. Claire Oliver sees through his bull and into the heart of him. These two go through hell and come out the other side. This story is sure to get your heartbeat racing.
✩ ✩ ✩ ✩ FIVE-STAR ✩ REVIEW ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩ > > Judging a Book by it's Cover > Looking Deeper Third-person Jean-Luc made Claire a promise as she fled Martinique, he'd find her. He'd keep her safe. But she had to be smart, keep herself and her research safe, and survive the unsurvivable as she entered a new, deadly hot zone along Africa's Niger River. Cursed by a voodoo queen, Jean-Luc lost his charm with the ladies but he's drawn to Claire in a way he'd never been before despite feeling she was way too good for him and he'd never deserve someone like her. Against orders, Jean-Luc crossed the globe to find Claire, with Marcus in tow as backup. They were fully aware that they risked everything by going in... there was a hot new virus outbreak, hostiles at every turn, and no backup to rely on. And when things went FUBAR, they had to fight for their very lives. Jean-Luc has always been a fan-favorite character (though my guy still has not been written). Jean-Luc has this casual, easy attitude that seems to be synonymous with the Cajun or Bayou lifestyle. But, deeper down, there are a lot of repressed emotions and issues. The cast was full, rich, engaging. The chemistry between the lead characters was at a slow burn for quite the time due to circumstances unfavorable to them but you could still feel their attraction and WANT to be MORE to/for one another. Dialogue was entertaining and smart. The interactions were mostly natural and believable. The plot was dynamic and had plenty of emotional depth. I'm not a big crier and this did not quite get me there, but I did choke up a little in two separate parts. The plot also seems to hint at some history about "my guy" and the ending provides a glimpse into who may be getting their next book... but now my interests were really piqued with Marcus's vow to Lena, as I could not help but think there was some undercurrent of "something" interesting between Raya and "my guy". Then there also seems to be the interesting turn that Harvard is taking. Hmmmm... guess we'll have to wait and see how this all unfolds! There were conflicts, both between them personally as well as externally. Most were resolved by the end of the book. Some are shown to continue into the next plot. Predictability was low, plus several surprises along the way. The conclusion is solid and left me satisfied. Overall, I feel this was another fantastic addition to the series. Emotional, Enjoyable, Exciting. . Rating: [R+] ~ Score: 4.55 ~ Stars: 4 A lot of bloodshed & death. Prolonged and detained suffering from various viral causes. ========================== ⭐ ⭐ **** Disclosure of Material: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the Author/Publisher with the hope that I would voluntarily leave unbiased and unsolicited feedback. I was not