Shattered Duty (Deadly Ops Series #3)

Shattered Duty (Deadly Ops Series #3)

by Katie Reus

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Overview

A new novel from the author of Bound to Danger who “has the amazing ability of pulling the reader onto the front lines of the action and drama.” (The Reading Café)

When his wife was murdered two years ago, Special Agent Levi Lazaro turned his back on everything he cared about. Ever since, he has thought of nothing but vengeance. Now he's finally uncovered the identities of those who killed his wife—and he's ready to destroy them at any cost. He won’t let anything stand in his way—not even a beautiful NSA agent on a mission of her own.

Special Agent Selene Wolfe prides herself on being the best. Her fearlessness and quick-thinking make her the perfect person to take down a deadly terrorist cell. But she needs Levi’s help, and the moment he shows up, Selene knows her objectivity—and her heart—are in trouble.

As the two strike an uneasy alliance, Levi finds himself tormented by his desire for Selene—a feeling he thought long dead. But when their mission takes an unexpected turn, he finds himself at a crossroads. Can he put aside his need for revenge to save the woman who’s reawakened his soul?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451419231
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/02/2015
Series: Deadly Ops Series , #3
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 754,117
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Katie Reus is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Deadly Ops novels, which include Targeted and Bound to Danger, and the Moon Shifter novels. She has a degree in psychology, and lives near Biloxi, Mississippi, with her husband, who was a Marine scout/sniper and currently works as a police officer and SWAT team sniper.

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

Tango: NATO Phonetic Alphabet representation of the letter T. In military and law enforcement operations, tango often means target/terrorist.

Seven years ago

Levi hated the fucking jungle. Give him the desert or mountains any day of the week over the wet, muddy, dangerous jungle. He eased out onto one of the branches of the tree he was currently hiding in, careful to ensure there weren’t any snakes waiting to strike.

Nature in this Colombian hellhole was just as deadly as the men he was about to kill. Venomous snakes, insects the size of your face, deranged flying termites—which weren’t actually deadly, just annoying as shit—and poisonous tree frogs were the tip of the spear for what he had to look out for. In addition to gun-toting assholes.

The branch was thick, sturdy, and because of Diego Jimenez’s stupidity in not trimming the foliage around his mansion, it was the perfect way to gain entrance into the piece of garbage’s house. Levi had very specific orders and for one of the few times in his career in the Marine Corps, he had authorization to kill on sight. Didn’t have to worry about being fired on first or other rules of engagement. Every single person in this house and on the grounds was the enemy.

Since Levi knew Jimenez was into the skin trade, he didn’t feel an ounce of guilt. Anyone working for the guy should die. No one had a right to own another human being, much less rape and degrade them.

It was close to three in the morning and even though there were guards on the twenty-acre property, Jimenez kept only a total of five outside and right around the exterior of the house. Since the skin trader had a secured wall around his property he thought he was safe. His arrogance would be one of the things that got him killed.

Somehow this guy had pissed off someone in the CIA; it was why Levi was here. All he knew at this point was that Jimenez had taken a teenage girl and was keeping her captive. No details about what she looked like or why she was important. Just that she was an asset to national security and he must retrieve her at all costs, killing whoever got in his way. A teenage girl was important to national security? He wasn’t sure he bought that—more likely she was the daughter of someone important—but he didn’t need a reason to help a female.

Below him one of the guards strolled by with an AK-47 held loosely at his side as he puffed on a cigarette. His laziness was offensive, making Levi want to drop down and kill the guy right now on principle.

Once the man had passed under him and rounded the corner of the home, Levi continued inching his way along the branch until he hovered five feet above a small stone balustrade balcony. After another visual sweep of the surrounding land, he dropped down, his boots making a soft thud barely audible over the sound of monkeys and birds. Still, he crouched low, peering through the opening of the stone columns, waiting to see if he’d been discovered. There was a video camera by the top corner of the French door of the balcony, pointing right at him.

Jimenez had security cameras all over the compound and Levi had avoided most of them. It had been impossible to remain completely invisible though. He wasn’t a ghost. He waited thirty seconds, counting down in anticipation of an alarm sounding.

Nothing.

Somehow, he was still undetected. He and the rest of his six-man team waiting in the jungle had been told that he’d have twenty minutes where the video feeds would fail. Until now he hadn’t been positive it was true, but there was no way he’d have made it this far without those things being disabled.

It was go time.

Turning toward the doors, he quickly jimmied the lock and slipped inside. Again, no alarm, as promised. He’d also been given instructions and a crude map for how to rescue the principal. The French doors were the entry point in what appeared to be an unused guest room. He wouldn’t be going out this way though. Hell, no. He’d be going right out the front gate.

Normally he had his M-4 carbine rifle for any mission, but not this one. It was too bulky for the close quarters and likely hand-to-hand combat he’d be facing. He was coming in with his silenced MP5 submachine gun, a KA-BAR knife for up close kills, grenades in case he had a hot exit, and enough Semtex to blow this place to the ground.

This job was too last minute and they didn’t have enough intel. Less than twenty-four hours ago he’d been at Camp Pendleton, debriefing his commander on his most recent mission and dreaming about a cold beer when two men in black suits—like a fucking cliché—walked in and ordered him out. Barely a half hour later he was gearing up again and headed out on an unmarked cargo plane to a vague destination with a team of guys just as in the dark as he was about the mission.

His commander had demanded he be on point for this since he had more experience and more kills. Now he was about to put his skills to good use.

Scanning the plush room, he made his way to the far door. First, he placed a small brick of explosive under one of the dressers, pushing it up against a wall. It was undetectable to the eye in case anyone peeked in the room in the next few minutes. Once it was in place, he paused at the door and listened intently before slowly pulling it open.

One of his sidearms drawn, he swept out into the hall. Empty. His rubber-soled boots were silent as he hurried down the hall, mindful of the damn video cameras.

Even though they were turned off, their presence made him feel like he had a bull’s-eye on his forehead. At the designated door he found the keypad entry system just as he’d been told. Levi typed in the code he’d memorized, wincing at the soft beeps each press of a button made. The door opened with a barely discernible click. The CIA must have a seriously deep mole in Jimenez’s organization for this kind of intel.

His boots were silent as he descended the flight of stairs. According to his information there might or might not be a guard waiting. He slung his MP5 over his shoulder, then pulled out his KA-BAR as he reached the bottom stair.

The stairs opened up into another hallway with three doors. A guard was leaning against the wall next to the middle door—where Levi needed entrance—looking at his cell phone. Probably texting.

Without pause Levi hauled back and threw the blade at the man. It hit its mark, sinking into his throat.

Eyes wide, the guard’s phone fell from his fingers, clattering against the wooden floor as he reached up for his neck, making choking sounds. Before the man’s knees had even hit the ground, Levi had closed the distance between them. He withdrew the blade, then cut the man’s throat. Quick and efficient. Unfortunately there was a shitload of blood.

Shoving the body to the side, he easily picked the lock. Adrenaline pumping, he withdrew one of his backup pistols. The back of his neck was tingling, his gut telling him the shit was about to hit the fan.

His instinct was never wrong.

Pushing out a slow breath, he eased the door open, weapon at the ready.

There was only one piece of furniture in the small room: a twin bed. A slim, hooded female was lying on her side on it. Her arms were bound in front of her with flex cuffs and she wore thin shorts and a tank top. Her breathing kicked up the slightest notch when he stepped into the room, so he knew she wasn’t asleep, but she also wasn’t calling attention to herself. Smart. She was tall and thin but he couldn’t tell if she was the teenager or not. She was a little more developed than he expected a teenager to be. Still, even if she wasn’t part of the mission he wasn’t leaving any woman here like this. He didn’t have the operational latitude to make that kind of decision but if the CIA didn’t like it, they could suck his dick. No one was getting left behind tonight and if he had to improvise, so be it.

“Scorpion?” he whispered, the only code word he had to give her.

At that she jolted upright. “Yes.” Her voice was raspy beneath the hood, as if she hadn’t used it lately.

There was a metallic collar around her neck, holding the hood in place. “I’m going to cut your hands free, so don’t move,” he whispered, moving to kneel in front of her. “Is the collar rigged?”

“No, but it’s impossible to take it off without tools. I can see well enough anyway. We need to leave,” she whispered as he sliced through the cuffs, her body shaking with tension.

“Do I need to carry you or can you really see with that thing?” It was a mesh material that looked breathable, just uncomfortable.

“I can see your face paint,” she said, standing. She reached out and touched his paint-covered cheek. She still sounded hoarse. He wondered if her throat had been injured but didn’t ask. First he needed to get her to safety.

He was surprised she’d touched him, but didn’t pull away. Poor kid, he hated imagining what she must have been through. He tapped his earpiece. “Scorpion acquired. Everyone in position?”

Once he received affirmations from the team, he pulled out another small explosive and placed it in a corner of the room. Then he nodded toward the door. “Your guard is dead. I’m going to carry you over him so you don’t step in blood.” There weren’t any shoes or clothes in the room, so she’d be leaving like this. “Whatever I say, you do it. Don’t question me and we’ll get out of here alive. Understood?”

“Yes. Can I have one of your guns?”

She surprised him again by the question but considering how scared she had to be, he figured she wanted a way to protect herself. “You won’t need it.” Without waiting for a response, he lifted her into his arms and hurried toward the door. He hadn’t heard anything, but he scanned the hallway before stepping over the body and back toward the stairs. At the foot of the stairs he placed her on her feet and glanced at his watch even though his internal clock told him how much time had passed since his infiltration. Keeping his voice low, he said, “We’ve got eleven minutes to get to the garage unseen. After that, we’re going to come under heavy fire, but that’s okay because we’ve got backup. You’re going to stay down and out of range. No matter what happens, you keep your head down. If something happens to me, my team will get you out of here.”

She nodded, the hood moving oddly over her face. “I promise. . . . Thank you.”

That was all the affirmation he needed. Moving swiftly, they ascended the stairs. The upper hallway was still empty. He was glad because he didn’t want to have to kill someone in front of the girl. She was likely already traumatized enough.

Two doors down on the right side he stopped. There was another keypad. As he typed in the code, he felt her tentative hand at his back.

When he turned, she leaned in close. “There will be at least two guards in the garage.” Her voice was barely above a whisper.

He held a finger to his lips.

She nodded and wrapped her arms around herself, clearly nervous, but at least she was keeping it together. He didn’t have time for a hysterical principal. It would fuck up the entire op. When they reached the end of the stairs he glanced over his shoulder just to make sure she was still with him. Beyond the stairwell he could hear male voices. Multiple. More than two.

Shit.

He peered around the corner before quickly ducking back. There were four men, all clustered together as they joked about tag-teaming some woman. His mother had been born in the United States but her parents had emigrated from Spain and she’d taught him what she considered pure Spanish. But he understood these fuckers perfectly well even with some of the different pronunciations. Oh yeah, these guys were going to die tonight. Levi took out another explosive and placed it on one of the stairs.

He motioned for the girl to stay put, then handed her his KA-BAR. Under normal circumstances he’d never give up a weapon, but he wanted her to have a way to defend herself. When she just nodded and clutched the knife tightly in her grip, he readied his MP5.

Envisioning the scene, he knew he’d have one chance to take these guys out in a single sweep. Their close proximity gave him a huge advantage. Finger on the trigger, he stepped from his position and opened fire.

Only one of the men managed to reach for his weapon before they all hit the ground, covered in blood, dead or dying. The MP5 was truly a masterpiece of weaponry. Unlike other submachine guns with silencers this beauty used standard ammo and was one of the most accurate of its kind. And he loved it. He tapped his earpiece as he peered back around the corner of the stairwell. As he waved at the girl to move, he said, “Exiting now. Watch for movement.”

“We’ve got eyes on the gate.”

While the girl stepped cautiously into the four-car garage, he quickly scanned for some sort of key holder. A pegged board or—

“They’re in the vehicles,” she said, reading his mind, still clutching his knife like her life depended on it. Not that he blamed her. What he wouldn’t give to kill Jimenez himself.

Nodding, Levi pointed at the biggest SUV. As she hurried toward the passenger side he placed Semtex under the other three vehicles: two cars that cost more than he made in a year and a custom-made ATV.

Moments later he was in the driver’s seat, his adrenaline flashing through him like lightning even though he was rock steady. He wanted to order her into the back, but didn’t bother. They wouldn’t be in the SUV very long. Just as she’d said, the key was in the visor.

“Moving out now,” he said as he started the engine. As it flared to life he pressed the garage door opener, barely waiting until it had cleared the SUV before reversing.

As he tore into the driveway he was surprised they weren’t fired on. But as he whipped around in a one-eighty, he heard shouts then pings against the SUV. Like rain on a tin roof, it splattered over them, but he’d already known the SUV was bulletproof.

“Blow it now,” he ordered as he raced down the long driveway. “And get down,” he said to the girl.

She immediately complied, ducking in her seat.

Less than fifty yards in front of them a giant explosion rent the air, orange flames lighting up the night sky as the heavy gate blew off its hinges, carving them a direct path to freedom.

“Tangos are down, you have a clean exit,” Ortiz, one of his teammates, said. “We’ll cover you. Get Scorpion to safety.”

Levi pulled out a detonator and pressed the button. A multitude of explosions rocked behind them as they flew through the gate.

“Holy crap,” she murmured, sitting up and turning around in her seat. “Do you think Jimenez is dead?” she asked, the hope lacing her voice clawing at him.

What kind of fucker kidnapped a teenager and assaulted her? Unfortunately there were too many men in the world like that and not enough bullets. “If he’s not now he will be in the next ten minutes. Trust me.” An airstrike would be called in as soon as he and the rest of the team were cleared.

A glance in the rearview mirror told him they weren’t being followed as they sped down the quiet road in the jungle. Jimenez’s place was out in the middle of nowhere but according to Levi’s exit plan, they were barely twenty minutes from what had to be the coast of Cartagena.

“All tangos are down and the main target has been eliminated,” Ortiz said.

“The principal is secure. We’ll be at the meet point in less than twenty. Going dark,” Levi responded.

“See you back home. Watch your six,” his teammate said before cutting off communication.

Levi glanced at the girl. “Jimenez and everyone in that compound are dead. You’re safe.”

She swallowed loud enough for him to hear as a shudder racked her entire body. “I wish I could have seen him die.”

Her statement wasn’t surprising. “From here we’re going to get on a small boat.” They’d be piggybacking on a naval special operations craft. Those on board wouldn’t know anything about this op other than he and the girl were to be taken to a drop point and the girl was top priority. “About a mile out to sea, you’ll be getting on a yacht and taken to safety.”

“You’re not coming with me?” she asked quietly.

“No, but you’ll be okay. They used a lot of fucking manpower to save you, so don’t worry.” The words were meaningless considering what she’d likely been through but he wanted to say something to soothe her.

She didn’t respond and by the time they reached the pick-up point, she was full-on trembling. He parked the SUV in a deserted parking lot right off a small public beach. When she nearly stumbled getting out of the SUV, he picked her up, holding her close. “Hang in there—we don’t have much longer,” he murmured.

Curling into him, she wrapped an arm around his shoulder, but didn’t respond. For all he knew she was going into shock. Waves crashed in the distance, the salty scent of the ocean tingeing the air. With sweat rolling down his face, he stuck to the shadows as he passed through a cluster of foliage and onto the soft sand. The beaches here weren’t like back in California. There weren’t any homes or shops around for miles.

The bright moon illuminated the waiting SOC, but he paused, scanning the beach. Two shadows moved near the coastline. When he saw the burst of a blue handheld flare light up, he finally allowed himself a sliver of relief. Holding up one hand, he silently hurried toward the two men as fast as he could move through the sand carrying the girl.

Less than sixty seconds later they were seated on the back of the vessel and though he’d tried to put the girl down, she wouldn’t let go of him. Sitting against the side of the boat, they hummed through the water at an impressive speed.

He held the young woman in his arms, hating how frail she felt. “Did they hurt you?” he murmured loud enough for only her to hear. The hum of the engine drowned out everything in a two-foot radius and the other men—SEALS, he guessed—were standing guard around the perimeter of the boat and armed to the teeth.

“I’ve got a hood over my head—what do you think?” she snapped, her voice shaky and watery sounding. As if she was crying under the hood.

But at least she was talking. He held back a curse, hating that he couldn’t take the thing off her. It just felt so wrong to sit there with her, taking her to safety and not being able to show her that freedom was close. She might be able to see a little, but it was likely difficult on the boat. “I mean . . . do you need special medical attention? Maybe a female doctor?” He wasn’t even sure how he’d get one for her, but he’d be damned if he didn’t try.

“They didn’t rape me if that’s what you mean,” she said so quietly he barely heard her. “Jimenez threatened me with it, but I’m way too valuable for that.”

He didn’t have much experience with fragile females, but he rubbed her back lightly, up and down, hoping the soothing action calmed her.

“What are you doing?” she shouted, sounding panicked as she tensed in his arms.

He immediately stilled but didn’t let go of her, not wanting her to lose her balance if they hit a rough wave. “I was trying to help you calm down.”

“As long as you don’t rub any lower.”

Despite the situation he laughed. “Shit, kid. Not everyone’s a fucking pervert.”

“In my experience they are. You sure like the F word.”

He chuckled again. “Sorry. Comes with the job.” Being a Marine meant he had a degree in cursing.

“What is your job exactly? Do you work for the CIA or NSA?”

He paused, surprised by the question. “Can’t tell you that.”

“Oh. What about your name?”

“Can’t tell you that either.”

She was silent for a long moment and he thought the conversation was over until she said, “Well, thank you for saving me. I wasn’t sure if my message got out.”

He had no clue what she meant by message and he wasn’t going to ask. Sometimes the less he knew, the better. He grunted and to his surprise, she laid her head on his shoulder and finally relaxed enough that his KA-BAR loosened in her grip. He grasped it, not wanting her to hurt herself, and sheathed it.

When the boat started to slow, she jerked against him with a short cry.

“You’re okay. Can you stand or do you need help?” he asked gently. He still couldn’t pinpoint her age with the hood on but he guessed fifteen or sixteen.

“I’m good, I think.” She placed a hand on his shoulder and pushed up, her legs shaky.

Looping an arm around her shoulders, he pulled her close as he took in the two waiting vessels: a huge yacht and a Donzi speedboat. He knew which one he was getting on.

She tensed beside him, so he looked down at her hooded face. “You’re safe now, I promise. They don’t send in guys like me unless the rescue is important, okay?”

She nodded, but didn’t respond.

“Come on, kid. Give me something. You’re going to be okay, right?” He wanted to hear her say it.

She nodded again. “Maybe I’ll feel better if I can have your knife.”

His KA-BAR? His first instinct was to say hell no, but he had no clue what this kid had been through and if it would make her feel safe, he’d do it. He unclipped the sheath and gave the whole thing to her, handle first. “Be careful with it.”

“I will.” Taking him off guard she lunged at him, pulling him into a big hug and sobbing against his chest as she murmured what sounded like “thank you.”

Embarrassed, he glanced around at the other men on the craft. They were looking anywhere but at them. Thank God.

Ah, hell, he tightened his grip around her and kissed the top of her hooded head. Something told him this was one op he’d never forget. He knew it’d be impossible to find out what happened to her after tonight but he really hoped she was going to be okay.

•   •   •

Eighteen hours later Levi rolled out of his warm bed, thankful to be back home on base. He’d gotten only a few hours of sleep but his schedule was all screwed up and he didn’t want to sleep the entire day. He scrubbed a hand over his face and decided not to bother shaving. His stubble was long enough that it was against regulations but, until a few hours ago, he hadn’t slept in almost three days and grooming wasn’t a priority now. He had a week’s leave coming and he planned to take full advantage. Already dreaming of a cold beer and a warm, willing woman, he made his way to the bathroom of his two-bedroom home.

A loud knock at his front door made him pause. He wasn’t expecting anyone, but he headed to the front and didn’t bother asking who it was. Probably a neighbor needing help with a broken lawn mower or something.

His heart rate kicked up a notch when he opened the door to find his commander, Colonel Harkin, standing there with a man in a suit who looked vaguely familiar. It took all of two seconds for him to recognize the other man: Lieutenant General Wesley Burkhart, new head of the NSA.

What. The. Hell.

Levi started to stand at attention until the colonel shook his head. “Lazaro, this is—”

“Lieutenant General Wesley Burkhart, I know. Am I in trouble?” Might as well get to the point. There was no good reason for these two highly decorated men to be standing on his front porch.

The colonel grunted in that dismissive way of his and shook his head. “No. And since you know who this is, I’m going to leave you two alone to talk. You already know he’s got the highest clearance in the country, so you can discuss anything with him.” Taking Levi by surprise, he reached out and shook his hand. “Good luck, son.”

Still waking up, Levi didn’t respond as his commander headed back down the walkway. He nodded inside his home. “I was just about to make some coffee.”

“Sounds good.” Burkhart stepped in after him, shutting the door behind them. The man was maybe fifty, with gray hair and in good shape for any age. And the man moved like a damn predator, each step calculated and efficient as he scanned the interior of Levi’s sparsely furnished home.

After he pulled down two mugs from the cabinet above his coffeemaker, he started filling the glass pot with water. “You might as well start since I have no clue why you’re here,” Levi said. Behind him he heard the slight scraping of one of the kitchen table chairs being moved.

“You did a good job on that last op. Why’d you give the girl your blade?”

The question and tone made him pause. It didn’t surprise him that Burkhart knew about the op, not since he was the new director of the NSA. Levi imagined the man carried more secrets than anyone had a right to know.

Levi finished preparing the pot before turning around and answering. “She was a scared kid and she wanted something to feel safe. Is she all right?”

Burkhart’s mouth curved up the tiniest fraction, almost a micro-expression, as he nodded. “Yeah, she’s good, thanks to you and your team.”

Levi just nodded, not certain if he should respond.

After a long moment, in which Burkhart was almost preternaturally still, watching him like a lion watches its prey, the man spoke. “How’d you know who I was at the door?”

“I read a couple of articles you wrote a few years ago when you were in the Navy.”

His head tilted to the side a fraction, as if he was surprised. “You read the Navy Times?”

Levi nodded. He read most military newspapers online.

“I’m going to cut to the chase then. I’m putting together a team of men and women for black ops stuff. Similar to what the CIA has, but not. Less rules, less bureaucratic tape, and more funding. You’re the first man I’m approaching about this and if you say no, I’ll expect you to forget we ever had this conversation—but I don’t think you’re going to say no. I could give you the whole spiel about how this country needs men like you, but you already know it. I’m asking you to help your country because you have a certain skill set and you’re highly intelligent. You won’t be able to jump out of planes forever and you’ll be doing a lot of good if you work for me.”

Levi watched the man, looking for telltale signs of bullshit, but Burkhart was impossible to read. Which was good considering his job. Levi had read enough on the man to understand his politics—which were middle-of-the-road, thank God; extremists on either side were dangerous—and he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t interested so far.

The coffeemaker whirred quietly behind him as he digested what Burkhart was offering. “I’m skilled and highly trained.” He wasn’t being arrogant, it was just a fact. He wouldn’t be part of MARSOC if he wasn’t good. “But there are a lot of men like me. Why am I your first?”

“I could give you a long answer about your ridiculous number of medals or the fact that you take top honors for every class or training exercise or that every individual who’s ever worked with you has nothing but praise, but . . . you asked how the girl was doing. It was your first question. And you gave her your fucking KA-BAR because she needed to feel safe. You care, Levi.”

Levi rubbed the back of his neck, uncomfortable with the praise, hoping he wasn’t supposed to respond.

Burkhart continued, “I need men and women who give a shit about the people we’re going to help. I will almost always look at the big picture, about what’s best for the country as a whole. I need people working for me who will question my decisions and will remind me that the individual person helps make up our country.” Reaching into his jacket, he pulled out a thin manila folder and laid it on the kitchen table. “If you read this and you’re not interested, we part ways and you never speak of this meeting. But if you are interested, you get an honorable discharge and start your training tomorrow.”

Beyond curious, Levi picked up the file and started reading. By the second paragraph, his decision was made. He’d miss the Marine Corps more than anything, but he couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

Chapter 1

Terrorist: a person who uses extreme violence (terror or terrorism), as a weapon to send a message or for his own gain. Often a political weapon.

Tasev gave a brief nod to the guard standing by the reinforced metal door. Immediately the man moved, quickly averting his gaze to a spot over Tasev’s shoulder as he slid a foot to the side. He was smart not to meet his gaze. No one wanted to appear as if they were challenging him.

Ignoring the man, Tasev put his hand over the biometric scanner, then leaned forward so the retinal scanner could register his left eye. Out of the corner of his right eye he kept focus on the guard, ready for an attack, even though that was unlikely. He paid his men very well and rewarded them with other perks, including willing prostitutes, on a daily basis, but that didn’t mean he could buy their loyalty. No one was truly loyal and it was something he always remembered. A few moments later, the door opened with a soft snick.

As he stepped onto the metal walkway Tasev looked at the floor below where Dr. Claus Schmidt was busy writing letters and symbols on a giant dry-erase board at warp speed. The man used computers when it suited him but for the most part the eccentric genius preferred to write things out by hand.

Tasev didn’t care how the man worked as long as he provided results. For the past two years Schmidt had been making steady progress, using the live subjects Paul Hill—an international businessman who’d been involved in all sorts of illegal activities, including the skin trade—had been providing for him to test different toxins. Now that Hill was in prison for crimes unrelated to Tasev, he had lost his source of live human test subjects.

It was frustrating but at this point not much of a setback. Schmidt was zeroing in on the necessary antitoxin. Tasev could feel it in his bones how close they were. Now, after two years of tireless work, it was almost time to unleash hell on the United States.

Over five years ago he’d retired, knowing it was time to get out of the gun and slave trades. He’d made more than enough money and had two sons who’d stepped up to take over the family business. But after they’d been killed in Afghanistan by American troops, Tasev had come out of retirement with a slow burning rage building inside him every second of every day. His sons had simply been doing business and gotten caught up in the crossfire of a war that hadn’t concerned them.

He didn’t have time for politics or religion, though he found them useful for business. If fools wanted to kill one another in the name of their gods, he’d been happy to provide them with the weapons to do it. But the skin trade had proved much more lucrative. Unfortunately more and more governments had started cracking down. It was why his sons had gone back to reliable weapons trading.

His jaw clenched as he thought of them, of his loss, of the fact that his line wouldn’t continue. Finding the perfect female had been difficult too. Their mother had been British, cultured and while stupid, she hadn’t been a whore. He might fuck prostitutes but he would never procreate with any of them.

He’d wanted his children to be proud of where they came from and his sons’ mother had been good to them, though he’d gotten rid of her influence by the time his boys turned ten. They’d been turning too soft but he’d drilled it out of them by the time they were eleven. After a freak skiing “accident” had killed their mother, it had been easy to guide them.

No distractions made all the difference in the world. He’d thought the same would be true for Dr. Schmidt but the brilliant scientist seemed to be dragging his feet the last couple of weeks. It was nothing Tasev could prove—he barely understood when the man spoke—but he always trusted his gut. Now it was telling him that Schmidt was stalling.

Though he couldn’t figure out why. Tasev paid him well and while he didn’t let him leave the grounds of his Miami home, every need he requested was granted. He lived in opulence and was allowed to use live human subjects, something he would never have been allowed to do in his civilized scientific community. It should have been a dream for the doctor.

Heading down the walkway to the stairs, Tasev was aware of the moment Schmidt finally registered his presence. The man had absolutely no situational awareness. But he wasn’t a soldier so that was to be expected.

Schmidt jerked upright from his crouched position at the bottom of the dry-erase board. He had shadows under his eyes, his plaid button-down shirt was wrinkled under his lab coat, and he smelled as if he hadn’t bathed in days. According to his guards’ reports, the doctor hadn’t. He also hadn’t been eating enough.

“How is your progress?” he asked in English, keeping his voice neutral. Tasev couldn’t yell or make demands with a man like Schmidt. It worked him into such a frenzy that he couldn’t work. Sometimes for days. He’d learned that early on in their working relationship. Luckily Tasev had found the man’s weakness. So far mere threats had worked against the genius but something told Tasev that it would take more than simple words now.

“One month,” he said, not looking at Tasev. Not because he was frightened in the way that his guards were, but because Schmidt didn’t look anyone in the eye. Whether it was a quirk or habit, Tasev wasn’t certain.

And he didn’t care.

“That’s what you told me four and a half weeks ago.” His jaw tightened, but he kept a lid on his rage. He had to play this the right way.

“You want results, you give me one more month.” It was said with absoluteness. And a little arrogance. The doctor knew he was irreplaceable.

“Seven days.”

The doctor shook his head before turning his back on Tasev. A death sentence should anyone else do that to him. Muttering to himself, Schmidt crouched in front of the board again and started back with his scribbling.

Sighing, Tasev pulled out his cell phone and sent off a text. “You leave me with no choice, Doctor.”

The man paused for only a second in his writing, but it was enough to let Tasev know he’d heard. Good.

A moment later the door above opened. Tasev didn’t have to look to see who was entering. Other than himself, only his second in command had the code. Vasily was a beast of a man with a scarred face and body. With tattoos covering the majority of his upper body, he terrified most people. Right now the trembling woman he held by the throat should be scared.

“I told you what would happen if you displeased me,” Tasev said quietly.

Something about his tone must have registered in that giant brain of Schmidt’s because he turned around. When he looked upward, the man paled. It was the second time Tasev had ever seen real fear in his gaze. The first had been when he’d simply threatened to do what he was doing now.

Tasev looked up at Vasily and nodded. The man released the woman’s throat then pinned her to the edge of the metal balcony, bending her over. Eyes wild, the dark-haired beauty screamed and fruitlessly struggled as he tore the back of her skirt from the hem to the top, ripping it completely apart and tossing it away. Her black panties were the only thing covering her bottom half.

“Enough!” Schmidt shouted, rage reverberating through that one word.

Vasily didn’t move until Tasev nodded. The woman continued sobbing and begging them to stop even after Vasily just held her in place. Tasev tuned her out and glanced back at the doctor.

He froze. The man was holding a pen to his carotid artery, the placement perfect for killing himself if he applied enough pressure.

Tasev had killed a man once by ripping into his carotid using his teeth, so he knew how deadly an injury there would be. And he couldn’t let the doctor die. He’d put too much time and money in the man to start over again.

There was a sharp gleam in Schmidt’s eyes as he held Tasev’s gaze for the first time. The intense way he stared was almost jarring. “You do this, I kill myself. Then you lose two years of work. Worse, you have no record of my notes.” He tapped his head with his free hand, a reminder that most of Schmidt’s work resided there, not on paper.

“I’m not letting her go,” Tasev said with resolve.

“I know. I will finish in seven days, but she stays with me the entire time in the lab. Never out of my sight. You or your men will not harm her. She will be fed and taken care of and you will bring her a soft bed to sleep in. And a television and books for her entertainment. One of those e-readers so she can purchase what she wants. If you agree, I do not kill myself and will give you the antitoxin.” As he spoke he glanced away again, as if losing the ability to hold eye contact. But his hand never wavered, the pen placed directly over his artery.

Tasev would never admit it, but the man’s resolve was impressive. He hadn’t thought Schmidt had it in him. He was too far away to stop the doctor and it didn’t matter anyway. Tasev’s threat had worked. Now he would gain what he wanted in the necessary time frame. “We have a deal. If you’d agreed to my time line initially I never would have needed to kidnap your sweet daughter.”

The girl gasped, clearly confused, but didn’t respond.

“Send her down. If you go back on our deal or try to stop me from killing myself it won’t matter. I won’t finish the work if she’s hurt.”

Gritting his teeth, Tasev nodded. He hated anyone ordering him around. It reminded him too much of his youth. But he was backed into a corner. As soon as Schmidt was done he’d be killing the doctor anyway. But first he’d make him watch as Vasily raped his daughter. Feeling better about the situation, he nodded at Vasily and gave a sharp command.

His second in command shoved the girl toward the stairs, grinning as he stared at her barely covered ass. He knew Tasev would give her to him soon. On trembling legs, the girl made her way to the stairs, most of her sobbing subsiding as she clutched the railing. When she was at the bottom of the stairs, Schmidt spoke again, his words so low that Tasev almost didn’t hear them.

“If you kill Vasily right now, I will make it five days.” A promise.

Excitement leaped inside him followed by a thin thread of regret. Vasily was a good commander, but like all of Tasev’s men, he was replaceable. The doctor was not. Withdrawing his gun, he aimed and shot Vasily between the eyes, dropping him on the spot.

•   •   •

“Why did you ask that man to kill the scarred one?” Aliyah asked Claus, the first words she’d spoken since he’d given her one of his lab coats and some of Tasev’s men had come to take away Vasily’s body and clean up the blood. There had been surprisingly little of it.

He looked at his daughter, trying to drink in every inch of her lovely face. He’d seen her only in pictures, her American mother telling him of Aliyah’s existence six years ago. And only because she’d needed to see if his kidney would be a match for Aliyah’s. He’d had a brief affair with Chaya, but she’d been married and had lied to her husband about Aliyah being his. The husband had been dead for a decade, though, so she could have come to Claus before that. She’d chosen not to until their daughter had needed something.

“Because he deserved it,” Claus said, realizing he needed to respond and stop staring at her. “Is that the only question you have?”

She shook her head, her pale green eyes a match to his own glimmering with tears. “You are my father,” she said.

He raised his eyebrows. “Yes.”

“Did you give me your kidney?”

Again he was surprised but perhaps he shouldn’t be. “How did you know?”

“My mother said it was a miracle that we found a donor but I knew she was lying. There was no way we’d gotten such a perfect match and moved up the list so quickly. And the mysterious money she left me when she died—I knew it wasn’t from her. And . . . I knew it was unlikely that my dad was my biological father from a young age.”

Claus frowned, but didn’t ask how she’d known.

She answered anyway and pointed to herself. “Simple genetics. If you’d ever seen him you’d understand. He was very fair-skinned and fair-haired. I’m not stupid and neither was my father. Besides, he said something once, when I was about ten . . .” She shrugged, trailing off. “It doesn’t matter. Why am I here? And what are you doing working for that monster, whoever he is?”

“I’m here because I’m an arrogant fool.” He’d written multiple papers on what could happen if certain toxins were altered. It had been interesting to speculate but he’d just been theorizing. He hadn’t actually planned to test his theories. No one outside his scientific circles paid attention to his ramblings anyway. Or so he’d thought. “I have altered what’s known as foodborne botulism into a stronger, deadlier strain.” And that in itself was a feat considering how deadly it already was. “Right now I’m working to create an antitoxin.” He already knew the formula but hadn’t put it into practice. Or on paper.

She stared at him as if he was a monster, something he’d expected. And something he deserved. But he wouldn’t be less than honest. Before he could continue the door opened again. Instinctively Claus stepped in front of Aliyah, knowing there was little he could do to protect her if Tasev decided Claus’s life wasn’t worth anything anymore.

Two men strode in carrying a mattress. Behind them another of the guards carried two bags. Claus was still as they strode down the stairs and placed the bed in the darker shadowed area underneath the stairs. His lab was huge and he tended to dim the lights only when he dozed on his cot, but he’d have to see about getting his daughter more privacy.

The guard carrying the bags tossed them onto the bed, then looked at Claus. In Russian he told him there were clothes for Aliyah and bedding. Tasev had also given her an iPad loaded with books, but it wasn’t connected to the Internet. When the guard looked past Claus, his gaze heated as he looked at Claus’s daughter. All the rage Claus had been bottling up for two years boiled to the surface.

“Maybe I ask Tasev to kill you too,” he murmured in Russian, not wanting his daughter to understand what he was saying. She was already horrified enough by him, he didn’t need to give her more reasons to hate him.

That snapped the man’s attention back to Claus for a moment. He gave him a look that promised death before turning on his heel and striding after the others.

Once they were gone, he turned to Aliyah to find her standing next to one of his many tables, her arms wrapped around herself. She looked so lost and vulnerable and though Claus had always thought himself a nonviolent man, he knew in that moment he would have no problem putting a bullet in Tasev’s head to save his daughter. For the past two years he’d done nothing but dream of killing the man who held him hostage and forced him to do unspeakable things.

He cleared his throat. “They brought you clothes, bedding, and an iPad. But you won’t have any Internet.” Or so that fool Tasev thought. Claus would have only one chance to contact outside help. For two long years he’d waited for something like this. He’d gotten a message to one of his friends—who worked for the NSA—two years ago but he’d been taken before they could meet up. She was smart but there was no way for anyone to track him when he’d been unable to communicate with the outside world.

Until now.

He was going to have to try again even with the risk. At this point he would risk death if he could just get a message to his friend Meghan Lazaro. If she knew he was still alive she’d help him. He had no doubt.

Chapter 2

FFP: final firing position (sniper term).

Selene Wolfe chewed on a piece of teriyaki beef jerky as she lay flat on her belly, looking through the glass of her Leupold Mark 4 scope. She’d been in position for only five hours waiting for her target to show his face. Ramsey Jurden, a freaking white supremacist terrorist. She hated these guys. Especially ones with a predilection for kids. Yeah, this job wasn’t going to sit heavy on her soul. Not like some of the others.

Normally Wesley didn’t give her anything he didn’t think she could handle anyway. Her specialty was computers, which made her a valuable asset to the NSA. It was the sole reason they’d recruited her at the age of sixteen. But when he’d hired her she’d insisted that he give her any training she asked for. After years spent living on her own she knew what it was to be helpless, and she’d sworn to herself that it would never happen again. Since she couldn’t very well train herself and anyone she hired wouldn’t have been nearly as good as someone Wesley could have recommended, she’d been quite insistent on her terms of employment. So he’d given her everything she wanted—because he’d have done pretty much anything to ensure she worked for him—which meant she’d gotten to train with the very best.

Her weapons mentor, as she liked to think of him, was a retired USMC sniper school instructor. He’d been a hard-ass and hadn’t cared that she was a woman. If anything, she guessed he pushed her harder than normal because of her gender. Which was fine with her. He’d given her a valuable gift, one nobody could ever take away from her.

Knowledge was the ultimate power. Something she never took for granted.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Shattered Duty"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Katie Reus.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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.

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"A fast-paced high-stakes romantic thriller.”—Publishers Weekly

“Romantic and suspenseful, a fast-paced sexy book full of high stakes action.”—Heroes and Heartbreakers

"Fast-paced romantic suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat!"—New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden

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Shattered Duty 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
cntrygirlzroc More than 1 year ago
Two years ago Levi's wife and unborn child were brutally murdered. Now he's out for revenge against the man who ordered their death. Former NSA agent, he runs into another agent Selene. They are after the same man. So they decide to work together to stop him from releasing a toxin in the water supply. Nail biting, sexy, suspense. You have a man who believes he is beyond repair and a super smart woman who shows him he still has a soul and is capable of loving again.
ytcruz More than 1 year ago
Oh, my, every time I finish one of Ms Reus’s books/audiobooks, I tell myself it was the best. Now I stand corrected, this one IS the best. The story is definitely a stand alone, though Levi Lazaro made an appearance in a previous story. Levi was an NSA Special Agent working in a very secret division of the department. When his wife was murdered , he left and now his only goal in life is revenge for her death. Selene Wolfe, is also a Special Agent, who is a wiz on computers and deadly with a weapon . They form an alliance. One of them realizes that her heart might be in danger, and the other feels he is betraying his deceased wife when feelings for another woman shake his existence. The story will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. The danger of a deadly virus being spread, the scientist assigned to develop the virus and an antidote, the evil planner of this horrific plot, the murderers of Levi’s wife and let’s not forget the surprises the author has in store for the reader/listener will keep you on your toes. I love that Ms Reus, gives us men and women that are strong but also very real and imperfect. Life is not black and white but rather many shades of gray. Makes you wonder what would you do if put in a position of not only danger, but of how you deal with the murder of a loved one and if you can ever get over that death and live again a fruitful life. Will Levi and Selene find closure and love in the end? Truly a story worth your time , and one you will remember for a long time. Last but definitely not least, the narrator of the audiobook, Sophie Eastlake, does and excellent job with the narration and the various voices I was gifted this audiobook. The opinions expressed are solely my own.
Kayla_Brianne More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!! Katie Reus does an amazing job with everything she writes and I have loved all of the previous books in this series so I knew I would love this one. I was not disappointed! THANK YOU KATIE FOR WRITING SUCH AMAZING BOOKS!!! Levi and Selene were absolutely perfect for each other. They balanced each other and challenged each other. They left me laughing, crying, and seriously fanning my face in certain steamy scenes. Their chemistry was sensational and once I started reading and did not want to put it down!! I would definitely suggest reading the books in this series in order because they are all just as amazing as the one before it. I can't wait for the next one! 
MelissaPorter32 More than 1 year ago
As always Katie never lets you down. Another one that I kept reading until the end. :) Well worth the wait. I am so glad Levi got his story. He was tormented by the death of his wife and child. Levi went off the grid. He encounters a women that makes him feel again. This is just not any women. Selene had a rough up bringing. But she knows how to take care of herself. She wants to help Levi if only he would trust her. Together they are both working for the same goal. To bring down the bad guys who want to cause harm to others. Can they work together or will they get in each other's way? Can they compromise? This was a great story with great characters. I had a soft spot for Levi from the first few books in the series. Now he really holds a spot in my heart
BooksnKisses More than 1 year ago
NUMBER OF HEARTS: 4 REVIEW:   After the death of Levi’s wife this life spiraled down into a deep dark hole of despair.   His only thought for the past two years was for revenge.   Revenge at any cost, even his life.  As always Ms. Reus writes a story that keeps the pages turning and leaves you wanting to know what will happen next.   I really enjoyed Levi & Selene’s story.  They worked well together, even with the emotional baggage the Levi is carrying.   I can say I was not expecting the ending.   I had to reach for the tissues.     I can’t wait for the next book in the Deadly Ops series.  Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley &  PENGUIN GROUP Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DAW in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review. 
tiffbabe More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. The ending was somewhat unexpected but great. Katie Reus does a great job with this series. So much looking forward to the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mich_Mc More than 1 year ago
This is the third book in the Shattered Duty series and it is the one I have been waiting for! We finally get to know Levi better and discover what is going on in his head since the brutal murder of his wife two years prior when he turned his back on everything and everyone to get revenge. Special Agent Levi Lazaro has had one thing on his mind, vengeance and he is final getting to the bottom of who is responsible. Special Agent Selene Wolfe is on a mission to bring down a terrorist cell when she encounters Levi Lazaro, and they tentatively agree to help each other as they work to achieve their goals. I loved this book, it had everything I have came to expect from Katie and more. The action, twists, tension, suspense and passion where plentiful and I couldn't put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Katie Reus and this book is another great one. It was full of action and nail biting from start to finish. I love a strong and smart heroine and Selene was just that. She knew how to take care of herself but also knew when she needed help. Her relationship with Levi was a little intense in the beginning with them trying to decide if they could trust one another but that just made me want to keep reading. The supporting characters were interesting as well. I can't wait for the book in the series. Katie never disappoints. I received an ARC for my honest review.
gigiluvsbooks More than 1 year ago
When his wife was murdered two years ago, Special Agent Levi Lazaro turned his back on everything he cared about. Ever since, he has thought of nothing but vengeance. Now he's finally uncovered the identities of those who killed his wife—and he's ready to destroy them at any cost. He won’t let anything stand in his way—not even a beautiful NSA agent on a mission of her own. Special Agent Selene Wolfe prides herself on being the best. Her fearlessness and quick-thinking make her the perfect person to take down a deadly terrorist cell. But she needs Levi’s help, and the moment he shows up, Selene knows her objectivity—and her heart—are in trouble. As the two strike an uneasy alliance, Levi finds himself tormented by his desire for Selene—a feeling he thought long dead. But when their mission takes an unexpected turn, he finds himself faced with an impossible choice: either put aside his need for revenge, or save the woman who’s reawakened his soul… Review: Ms. Reus sure can write a mean romantic suspense book! I mean I did not look at the work count/pages and thought this was only a novella because I read it so fast, but nope it was a full-length book.  It was one engrossing story.   Levi, where do I even start?  Loved him and felt so sad and mad for him that his wife and unborn daughter were taken from him.  He is definitely an alpha male, but so much more, he is smart, loyal and caring.  He is also out for revenge and that sometimes clouds his judgement.  Then he meets Selene and all bets are off.  Selene is young but she is one tough cookie and wicked smart, a good match for Levi.  Both he and Selene feel guilty for their attraction and know they should not act on it until after the mission, but love finds a way.  Through all the intrigue and action the relationship and trust grows and makes for a great love story.  This book had one of the most satisfying endings I have read in a book in a while. Another great story in this series, which this is my favorite so far.  The story was fast-paced, full of action and sexy goodness, just what I like. 4.5 Stars *Received a copy of this book from the Author in exchange for a fair and honest review*
AMR0406 More than 1 year ago
Extreme book hangover. Shattered Duty by Katie Reus was absolutely fantastic. I have read a lot of books by Reus so that should tell you that I love her writing, but what I loved so much about Shattered Duty were the characters. Levi rocked and Selene kicked some serious butt. The two of them together were phenomenal. In Shattered Duty, Levi and Selene work together with the same goal in mind yet they don’t always see eye to eye on how things should happen, nor do they completely trust one another. If you have read the other books and know when Lieutenant General of the NSA, Wesley Burkhart, is involved in something, he usually gets his way. Selene is loyal to both Levi and Wesley in very different ways. Something you don’t completely understand until the end of the book with the cool twist that is thrown in there. I adored the way Wesley watched over Selene. She is like a daughter to him and sometimes he breaks the tough guy mode and thinks like a father. It is very heartwarming. Levi is trying very hard to avenge the murder of his pregnant wife, Meghan. He doesn’t know how all the pieces fit together yet, but he has a pretty good idea of who at least issued her murder and he is not going to give up until he is able to take that person out. Selene needs the terrorist for another reason and they work together as much as they can.I really enjoy how the author allows Meghan’s name to come up a lot. It really brings some reality and emotion to the story where she is concerned. It’s like we get to know Meghan even though she is not alive in this book. There is a lot of respect and love for her from both Levi and Selene and that makes their relationship easier to accept. It allows Levi to continue with his quest while having new feelings for Selene, even if he does feel guilty about those feelings at times. The love story between Levi and Selene was quite a treat to watch. Both of them are strong characters and had to decide between duty and their heart several times. I will admit I worried at different times about each of them and what they were doing to one another, but it worked out in the end. The chemistry between the two of them was very palpable. The intimate scenes really fit the characters and the story, which is important to me. They are not forced or thrown in for heat. They play into the story and move it along. One of the reasons I love this series – everything just flows very well from beginning to end. It’s always nice to see characters from previous books and in Shattered Duty, we got a quick glimpse of Jack. I was hoping we would see more of him in the final scene but understood why we didn’t. I found Agent Ortiz to be very intriguing. He played quite a role in this story, so I wonder if he will be next in line for receiving his own story. He is calm, cool, and collected, which to me means something might be brewing under that work persona.  I enjoyed the final action scene. It was different than anticipated, but played out nicely and probably more realistically than anything. It also brought about a very surprise ending that was the icing on this already fabulous story. If you like romantic suspense with engaging characters, explosive action and passionate love scenes, give the Deadly Ops series a try. You can read Shattered Duty as a standalone but it is also great as part of the series.
RoseVAcademyST More than 1 year ago
“You strip away every ounce of civility in me, Selene” - Levi The third book in the Deadly ops series by Katie Reus tells the story of Special Agent Levi and Special Agent Selene Wolfe. After his wife’s brutal murder and his inability to exact revenge through his agency, Levi decides to leave everything behind and uncover the identities of his enemies alone. Now two years later he has finally the names of the people who destroyed his life and he will stop at nothing to get his vengeance.  Special Agent Selene Wolfe is very close at catching the bad guys when Levi interferes with her case. Levi might have the names of his enemies but it’s Selene that has the connections and the means to bring them closer. Levi and Selene will have to work together if they want to bring down their common enemy. Selene knows that Levi wants to punish the man responsible for his wife’s murder. She knows he wants to kill him but first she needs some answers. She doesn’t completely trust him but she’s willing to take a chance with him. Can Selene trust a man with no loyalty not to betray her? This one was my favorite in the series! I loved the previous books but I clicked with this one. Levi was a tortured man. When he lost his wife, he lost not only his best friend but something more. He wanted to find out the reason his wife was targeted and he wanted justice. Levi tried to play by the rules but when it became clear that he would never get what he wanted through the agency, he left and became another man.  Selene owes her life to Levi even if he doesn’t remember why. Levi is aware that his wife had helped a lot of agents with their missions but what he doesn’t know is that the ties that bind them are stronger. She will help him get his revenge and she will make sure that he doesn’t jeopardize her own mission. Thousands of loves depend upon them. A wrong decision could cost them everything. Levi was a great hero. Despite leaving his agency behind and breaking some laws, he never forgot his morals. He thought that he was a different man but deep down he was the same man that Selene met when she was young. Meeting again after all these years neither could anticipate the tension between them. Their first meeting was exploding. As always I loved the secondary characters, in this case, Alexander and Allison. Their scenes were few but they were super amazing. Also, I was truly surprised with the ending. I never saw that coming. Selene and Levi were two incredible main characters. Their story was one full of action, suspense and twists. They had a long and difficult road to follow but with their determination and courage they managed to reach its end. Highly recommended!
weluvdopey More than 1 year ago
LOVED IT! I loved this book; this is the third book in the Deadly Ops series by Katie Reus. This book kept me reading long into the night, because I didn’t want to put it down. This book can be read as a standalone, but you will want to go back and read the other books. Levi is a special agent who lost his wife and unborn child, since then he has thought about nothing other than vengeance. He has left his life behind to hunt down the people and destroy them. Selene is also a special agent and her job is to take down a deadly terrorist. She needs Levi’s help, so they can take down the terrorist together.  The characters in this book are great and you will love them. If you are looking for a great romance, with a lot of action and suspense then you need to read this book. I can’t wait until the next book comes out.  A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.
Lynngrier More than 1 year ago
Shattered Duty is full of emotion, action and suspense. My first read in the series and definitely a hit to make me read more of the series. Levi and Selena are a absolute match and even though they don't trust each other they work well together while their emotions run wild. This book is full of action and will keep you at the edge and turning pages to see what's happening. Don't miss out on this exciting deadly ops book. It's a winner! I was provided with a ARC copy for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was gifted this book for an honest review and it was fabulous! Katie writes soon great work but this was written so well your emotions are all over and your flipping all over following the story you can't turn your attention away. Levi is on a mission for revenge, Selene is both trying to help him and save him so many variables it's crazy! Get your copy now!
TSRBR More than 1 year ago
Overall Rating:  4.5 Rockin Stars Agony, debilitating pain, loss that cannot be described and a thirst for vengeance are a few of the emotions that drive Levi Lazaro.  He has turned his back on everything and everyone from his life before the brutal death of his wife and unborn child.  All Levi lives for now is to find and destroy the animals that killed his family and anyone that stands in his path. But the past has a way of becoming the future and Levi finds that a seed planted in the past may lead to his redemption. In this the third Deadly Ops book by author extraordinaire, Katie Reus you will meet this tortured soul and the woman that leads him home. She was a prodigy discovered and nurtured by a government agency that turned her into the perfect weapon.  Whether it is as a sniper, a hacker or up close and personal, she is deadly. Selene Wolfe is lethal when called on to take out enemies against her country. When she is sent on a job to infiltrate a terrorist group and locate an asset, she was not counting on running into Levi Lazaro. He is a man that fascinates her, while at the same time she can feel his unimaginable pain and need for revenge.    How can the two of them work together? He is filled with hate and vengeance and she is filled with dedication to her mission.  If they cannot find a way then millions of people will suffer and die.  Feelings that neither of them expected run rampant when they are together.  Feelings that Levi thought he would never feel again resurface. The need to be a part of Selene’s life pulls him back into the land of the living.  Sometimes life has to come full circle before the lost can be found. Hero: Levi Lazaro 4.5 stars Heroine: Selene Wolfe 4.5 stars Steam: 4.5 stars  Plot: 4.5 stars  Cliffhanger: No Would I recommend this book: Yes! Take a Hunky Hero filled with torment, add a sexy woman that knows how to get down and dirty and you have a truly amazing read. Include some really torrid sex, non-stop action, mysteries, bad guys that need stopping and you have the complexity of this book. Would I recommend this author: Yes! You will never be disappointed when you choose to read a book by Katie Reus.  Her heroes are unforgettable, her heroines extraordinary and you will be enthralled by the unexpected storylines she weaves within each book that she shares with her readers. ***Received an ARC of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review***
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Special Agent Levi Lazaro lost his wife and their unborn child. He's determined to have his revenge. As he works to track the madman responsible, he meets Selene, an uncover NSA operative, and they join forces. Can they stop this terrorist? Levi is a tortured soul who wants to deliver the fatal blow to the man who tortured and killed his wife. His hate has changed him. He has lost his empathy and his ability to love. Selene is an expert assassin and a brilliant agent. She will fight for her country and her people. She shares a special bond with Levi. The chemistry between them is amazing. When they're together, the atmosphere is electric. This story brought me to tears. I could feel Levi's pain and hate and it broke my heart. I wanted him to find peace and comfort with Selene. He endured so much. This story was a roller coaster ride filled with suspense. Shattered Duty is such a powerful story. The secondary characters were interesting and added to the drama. Katie Reus has outdone herself. The characters are strong and compelling and the ending took my breath away. This book is a powerhouse read that kept me involved from the first page. I loved Shattered Duty.
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars--SHATTERED DUTY is the third full length installment in Katie Reus’s adult, contemporary Deadly Ops military, romantic suspense series. This is former NSA Special Agent Levi Lazaro and Special Agent Selene Wolfe’s storyline. SHATTERED DUTY can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from previous storylines is revealed where necessary. Levi Lazaro has gone rogue. Two years earlier, following the brutal rape and murder of his wife and unborn child, Levi went ‘off reservation’ in the hopes of taking down everyone responsible for the death of his wife. A chance to infiltrate the organization of the man Levi believes is connected to the murder of his wife, finds our hero reluctantly teaming up with special agent Selene Wolfe, as she searches for information regarding a poisonous toxin and the missing scientist associated with a potential biological war. What ensues is the building relationship between two people whose lives are connected by both the past and the present. Selene knows that Levi is a wanted man. The NSA has kept tabs on the former agent knowing that their man is grieving and he has set his sights on the take down and destruction of everyone responsible for destroying his life. Levi has issues of trust and in this, he wars with the guilt about betraying his wife’s memory, and his attraction to Selene. Levi is a man who is unable to let go of the past and is determined to reach his target anyway he can. The $ex scenes are intimate, provocative and erotic; the quick build to love is a foregone conclusion but one never expected by our grieving hero. Several of the previous storyline characters (and agents) play a secondary and supporting role (if only by way of mention) throughout the story including Jack Stone (Targeted book 1) who once again, is present to curtail any potential threat to his men. The people responsible for the murder of Levi’s family know their future is limited; and the requisite evil will die by the hands of the man who has spent two years planning his demise. Deadly Ops is a phenomenal series with action and suspense; romance and love; retribution and revenge. The build up to the final take down follows two paths pitting Selene and Levi in a battle for the ultimate control of their future and their hearts. Katie Reus’s storylines are movies for the mind !
TSRBR More than 1 year ago
Overall Rating:  4.5 Rockin Stars Agony, debilitating pain, loss that cannot be described and a thirst for vengeance are a few of the emotions that drive Levi Lazaro.  He has turned his back on everything and everyone from his life before the brutal death of his wife and unborn child.  All Levi lives for now is to find and destroy the animals that killed his family and anyone that stands in his path. But the past has a way of becoming the future and Levi finds that a seed planted in the past may lead to his redemption. In this the third Deadly Ops book by author extraordinaire, Katie Reus you will meet this tortured soul and the woman that leads him home. She was a prodigy discovered and nurtured by a government agency that turned her into the perfect weapon.  Whether it is as a sniper, a hacker or up close and personal, she is deadly. Selene Wolfe is lethal when called on to take out enemies against her country. When she is sent on a job to infiltrate a terrorist group and locate an asset, she was not counting on running into Levi Lazaro. He is a man that fascinates her, while at the same time she can feel his unimaginable pain and need for revenge.    How can the two of them work together? He is filled with hate and vengeance and she is filled with dedication to her mission.  If they cannot find a way then millions of people will suffer and die.  Feelings that neither of them expected run rampant when they are together.  Feelings that Levi thought he would never feel again resurface. The need to be a part of Selene’s life pulls him back into the land of the living.  Sometimes life has to come full circle before the lost can be found. Hero: Levi Lazaro 4.5 stars Heroine: Selene Wolfe 4.5 stars Steam: 4.5 stars  Plot: 4.5 stars  Cliffhanger: No Would I recommend this book: Yes! Take a Hunky Hero filled with torment, add a sexy woman that knows how to get down and dirty and you have a truly amazing read. Include some really torrid sex, non-stop action, mysteries, bad guys that need stopping and you have the complexity of this book. Would I recommend this author: Yes! You will never be disappointed when you choose to read a book by Katie Reus.  Her heroes are unforgettable, her heroines extraordinary and you will be enthralled by the unexpected storylines she weaves within each book that she shares with her readers. ***Received an ARC of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review***
aprilrenee1976 More than 1 year ago
Full of Suspense, emotion, and action-This is trademark Deadly Ops Highly Recommend Here is another thrill a minute book by Ms. Reus with the third book in the Deadly ops series which is about the story of Special Agent Levi Lazaro and Special Agent Selene Wolfe. After his wife was horribly murdered, and how he was unable to take his revenge thru his agency, Levi ups and leaves everything behind and uncovers the identities of his enemies alone. Finally he has what he needs- the names of those involved, those who destroyed his life and took his loved one away so brutally. Now he will stop at nothing to get those involved and exact his revenge.  Special Agent Selene Wolfe is right at the point of catching the bad guys, those people who killed Former Agent Levi’s wife and other who did bad things when Levi interferes with her case. Selene is considered a prodigy, the perfect weapon. Whether it is as a sniper, a hacker or up close and personal, she is deadly. She is like the deadliest weapon they call on when needed to take out enemies against her country. They call on her to go in against a terrorist group and locate an object; she wasn’t planning on running into Levi. Something about him calls to her soul; he intrigues her and as well overwhelms her . She can feel his pain and she wants to help him with his need for revenge.  Between the two of them, how can they work together ? He is filled with such hate and a need for revenge and wrath, while she is filled with allegiance to her mission that she needs to complete while she is wants to help him. Feelings that neither of them foresaw run rampant when they are together. Deep emotions are running high between the two and there is such sorrow, you feel for Levi because you can tell he is starting to feel strong feelings for Selene while Selene has deep feelings for Levi but she is feeling she will never mean much to him due to how much he loved his wife. There is such action and the emotions run high as they try to round up the bad guys and also determine where their feelings will lead them. This is such a great book in the Deadly Ops series and I loved how the storyline had action as well as romance and the suspense. I didn’t know where everything would lead. So much twists and turns. I really loved it and cant wait for book 4 in the deadly ops series.  ***A gifted copy was provided by the author for my honest review**** My rating: 4.7 stars ****
ZR1000 More than 1 year ago
Lots of emotion, intrigue, action, and suspense… This is the third book in the Deadly Ops series but can be read as a stand-alone. Former NSA Special Agent Levi Lazaro is a strong protector by nature and one that cares about the people that he deals with or he used to. He gave a girl that he saved years before his KA-BAR knife because she needed to feel safe. Marines don’t normally give up any of their weapons. That he cared gave him an edge, landing him a job with the NSA until the unthinkable happened and everything that he was inside died.  Levi’s spent the past two years rogue, chasing down those responsible for the death of his wife and unborn child. He’s done many things in his attempts to find their killers, delved into gray areas for what they did to his wife broke him. Vengeance is all that matters to him and he’s closing in on his objective. Yet he cannot hide from the good man that he is inside for even out for vengeance he’s not willing to let innocents get hurt and he learns that some might for he’s stumbled onto an NSA operation when he runs into one of their agents hunting the same source.  Special Agent Selena Wolfe is beautiful, sassy, intelligent, caring, and young for an agent yet so mature. She was recruited to the NSA as a teenager; she’s a whiz at computers. She hacked the CIA for fun which put her on the radar of government agencies and criminals. A fully trained agent now she’s after a terrorist group targeting US citizens on domestic soil and there is a connection to the dead wife of the agency’s missing rogue agent. She can’t let Levi ruin her mission, there are too many lives at stake, though she feels his pain and understands his need for retribution. Levi and Selena made such a great couple. I liked how they dealt with the attraction that was evident when they met even though it was unwanted and poorly timed. Their chemistry was intense and Levi didn’t understand his feelings even feeling guilt. Selena knew that this man was a danger to her heart but would chance working with him wanting to help him find closure yet needing to complete her mission. Trust was not easy for either of them. Levi had to battle his inner demons. Their volatile relationship was filled with vulnerabilities, deep emotions and also respect for the abilities of the other. The more time they spent together their feelings grew. When you have a man who has not gotten over the death of his wife, where would their feelings lead them? I really loved this story. This book had so much intrigue with great non-stop action and suspense and many twists that I’ve come to expect from this author. The complex storyline kept me so engaged, trying to guess what would happen next. I was definitely invested in the outcome of the characters who felt so real. My heart broke for what Levi had been through and I loved how Selena brought light into the darkness that his soul had fallen into. The ending with the unexpected surprise that Selena hunted down had this reader smiling. I found it interesting how only one of them remembered that they had met briefly once before and the impact that it had on both of them at the time. They came full circle. Sometimes the people you pass along the way you are destined to meet again; you just don’t know it at the time. The epilogue was a much satisfying conclusion. ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Peachey04 More than 1 year ago
This series keeps getting better with each story. It's a fast paced, suspense filled storyline that held me from beginning to end. The characters have fantastic chemistry and I enjoyed the characters from previous books re-appearing throughout. There is intrigue, drama, revenge and love. Levi must make an emotional journey out of the darkness that has become his life to find justice, peace and love again. Received copy for honest review.
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Special Agent Levi Lazaro lost his wife and their unborn child. He's determined to have his revenge. As he works to track the madman responsible, he meets Selene, an uncover NSA operative, and they join forces. Can they stop this terrorist? Levi is a tortured soul who wants to deliver the fatal blow to the man who tortured and killed his wife. His hate has changed him. He has lost his empathy and his ability to love. Selene is an expert assassin and a brilliant agent. She will fight for her country and her people. She shares a special bond with Levi. The chemistry between them is amazing. When they're together, the atmosphere is electric. This story brought me to tears. I could feel Levi's pain and hate and it broke my heart. I wanted him to find peace and comfort with Selene. He endured so much. This story was a roller coaster ride filled with suspense. Shattered Duty is such a powerful story. The secondary characters were interesting and added to the drama. Katie Reus has outdone herself. The characters are strong and compelling and the ending took my breath away. This book is a powerhouse read that kept me involved from the first page. I loved Shattered Duty.
booknooknuts More than 1 year ago
If you have read any of the other Deadly Ops books then you have already met Levi.  Levi and his wife were working agents for the NSA and Wesley Burkhart. Levi’s wife was murdered and Levi has gone through many years of wanting to enact revenge against the murderer. He may finally have the chance but will he take it? To me this was the best so far in the series. I truly enjoyed finally getting more information on Levi and then we get Selene added to the mix and what an explosion of passion and hot between these two damaged souls.  I was gifted a copy of this book for my honest review. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
J: This was a slow story for most of the book. Too much drama but the hint that something good was coming. It finally did get to be pretty good.