Toxic Game (GhostWalker Series #15)

Toxic Game (GhostWalker Series #15)

by Christine Feehan

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781984803498
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/12/2019
Series: GhostWalker Series , #15
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 896
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Christine Feehan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Carpathian series, the GhostWalker series, the Leopard series, the Shadow Riders series, the Torpedo Ink series, and the Sea Haven novels, including the Drake Sisters series and the Sisters of the Heart series.

Read an Excerpt

 

1

"Hot as hell!" Barry Font yelled, wiping the sweat from his face. He looked around him at the crew he was transporting straight into the hot zone. He hadn't meant the strip of land they were setting the helicopters down in. They all knew it was bad. The last rescue attempt had been ambushed. Three dead, two wounded, and the helicopter had barely made it out.

The temperature was at least ninety degrees with 99 percent humidity and gusting winds that took that heat and shoved it right down your throat-and this was at night. His skin felt wet and sticky all the time. He wanted to strip himself bare and lie under the helicopter's rotor blades just to get some relief.

They dropped down out of the mountains, the helicopters running low enough to make his gut tighten as they skimmed along the lowlands heading toward the forest. They were sitting ducks making that run, and this area was infamous for frequent ground-to-air fire. With the Milisi Separatis Sumatra terrorist cell active and firing at anything, every man in the choppers was at risk. Gunners grimly watched out their doors on either side, but that didn't make him feel any less like he had a target painted on his back. Strangely, it wasn't the run that was scaring the crap out of him. He felt like he was trapped in a cage surrounded by predators.

The Air Force pararescue team didn't seem affected by anything as mundane as the heat or terrorists. The crazy thing was, they were mostly officers. Doctors. What the hell? As a rule, Barry thought most officers were a joke. These men had seen combat and looked as tough as nails. He'd never flown them anywhere before and hadn't known what to expect.

His crew had taken men into all sorts of combat situations, but he'd never seen a team like the one he was bringing in. He didn't even know how to explain their difference. It wasn't like he could name one single thing about them that made them stand out in his mind. They just gave off a dangerous vibe. Being with them really did feel as if he were inside a tiger's cage, surrounded by the big cats. They were that still, that menacing, and yet they hadn't said or done anything to warrant his nerves or the shiver of dread creeping down his spine at the sight of them.

They sat stoically while the helicopter swayed and jerked, bumping like it was in the rockiest terrain. They moved with the craft as if seasoned veterans of helicopter travel. Sweat trickled down faces-well, all but one. He looked at the man sitting at the very end of the jump seat. Dr. Draden Freeman, a gifted surgeon, was a fucking model, not a tough-as-nails soldier about to be dropped into the hottest zone in Indonesia.

Freeman had dark brown hair that was thick and wavy. At six-two he was all muscle, without an ounce of fat. His eyes were a dark blue and held an intensity; when he flicked Barry a careless glance at his remark, Barry's gut reacted as if punched. The man had rugged good looks that had catapulted him into stardom in the modeling world. Ordinarily, Barry and the crew would have been making fun of him behind his back, but no one did-especially after one of those smoldering, scary glances. Not one single bead of sweat marred his good looks.

"Five minutes out." The call came from the front via his radio.

Barry held up five fingers and the five men in the helicopter barely reacted. The helicopter was coming in with guns ready, knowing they wouldn't have much time to retrieve the wounded U.S. Rangers, Kopassus or civilians. The gunners were in position and tension mounted.

Members of the WHO, the World Health Organization, had come at the request of the government to examine the remains of the dead at a small village, Lupa Suku, in a remote part of Sumatra. Every man, woman and child had died of what appeared to be a very fast-acting and deadly virus, possibly a dreaded hemorrhagic one. Before they could set up their equipment, the WHO members had been attacked by a small terrorist cell known to the government.

The Milisi Separatis Sumatra, or MSS as the government referred to them, had sprung up in the last few years. They were growing fast and were well funded. Their goal seemed to be similar to that of most other terrorist cells-to take down the government. They were now suspected of having chosen the small village of Lupa Suku to test a hemorrhagic virus, but where it came from and how they got it, no one knew, but they needed to find out fast.

The rain forest of Sumatra was rich in plants and wildlife, although over the years even that had been shrinking significantly. The trees were thick, the taller dipterocarp shooting up to the sky providing shade, vines climbing them and flowers wrapping around them. Mangrove roots pulled sediment from the river leaving large areas of peat swamps with rich nutrients at their edges promoting thicker growth. The village of Lupa Suku was surrounded by the forest and tucked in just far enough from the river to be a perfect target.

The government had sent in their special forces, the Kopassus, to rescue the single WHO representative still alive. The Kopassus were known worldwide as tough soldiers able to stack up against any army. They were well trained and very skilled. They'd been ambushed as they were trying to aid the wounded man. A small force of U.S. Rangers had been called to aid the Kopassus who were pinned down, some reportedly badly wounded. The Rangers were then attacked and pinned down as well.

It began to look as if Lupa Suku had been sacrificed in order to draw the Indonesian soldiers into fighting a guerrilla-style war on the terrorists' home turf. Whatever the rumor, there were wounded men needing aid and six of them were soldiers of the United States. Now, this team was going to try to bring those soldiers out of the hot zone-along with any Kopassus and the remaining single living representative of the WHO.

"Two minutes."

Barry held up two fingers and the team moved, readying themselves for a quick departure.

"Ten minutes is all you've got and then we have to get into the air," Barry reminded them. "If we can't hold our position, we'll come back around for you."

Freeman flicked him a quick glance. It was one of those looks that seemed to burn a hole right through him. Barry shivered, not liking those eyes on him. They were intelligent, focused-almost too focused. They didn't blink, and it felt like death looking at him.

The team leader, Dr. Joe Spagnola, gave him a quick look as well. It pretty much said, "You maggot, if you leave one of my men behind, don't ever go to sleep because I'll be coming for you." At least Barry interpreted the look that way.

Þ

Joe Spagnola ignored the way the helicopter crew was looking at his team. He didn't look at them or his own men, but instead, reached telepathically to his GhostWalker unit. GhostWalkers were enhanced psychically as well as physically. The first they'd signed on for; the last, not so much. Still, they were classified soldiers and they did their jobs, no matter how fucked-up that was.

Each branch of the service had one GhostWalker team consisting of ten members. The first team experimented on had a few major problems. Some needed anchors to drain away the psychic energy that adhered to them like magnets. Others had brain bleeds. Every subsequent team had fewer flaws until Whitney, the doctor performing the experiments, had rolled out his prize group, the Pararescue Team. They might have what Whitney considered fewer flaws, but they also had more genetic enhancements than any of them cared for.

He leaves us, we'll be finding him and his candy-ass crew when we get out of here. Joe's voice slid into their minds.

Þ

DradenÕs gaze shifted, just for one moment to Barry Font and then over to his fellow teammate, Malichai Fortunes.

There's a hundred and fifty volcanoes in Indonesia, Malichai, their fact man, informed them all telepathically. We can shove his ass out of the helicopter right into one of them if he tries leaving any of us behind.

Draden let amusement slide into his eyes for a moment but didn't let it show on his face. Malichai had been spouting all kinds of facts about the rain forest and the wildlife at risk there. That was his way in a dangerous situation, and all members of the team just let him carry on.

The enhancements made them predators any way you looked at it. Hunters. They were very good at their jobs. They looked like soldiers. Doctors. Officers. But they were much more than that and anyone in close confines with them felt that difference sooner rather than later. All of them could smell the fear the helicopter crew were giving off and that fear had nothing to do with flying into a hot zone. No, Barry and the crew were used to that sort of danger-they just didn't like their passengers.

Draden could give a rat's ass if he was liked or not. He had a job to do. They were going into enemy territory to bring out the wounded and make certain they stayed alive until they got them back to the hospitals.

The helicopter set down with a jarring thump and Draden was out fast, running with his fellow teammates in the dark toward the southern tip of the tree line. Deliberately, they'd chosen to fly in at three in the morning, when the enemy was least likely to be at its sharpest. The sound of the rotors was loud in the night, something that couldn't be helped. He knew the noise would draw the enemy. That couldn't be helped either. They just needed a few minutes.

The terrorist cell had set their trap with live bait. They knew the terrain and had chosen it carefully. The MSS had the advantage, especially when the Indonesian government had wounded soldiers waiting for help. They knew the authorities would send their elite, and it was a chance to mow them down.

Draden fanned out to his left while Gino Mazza went right, both flanking the others as Joe went down on one knee and flashed the tiny blue light in each direction three times. They received a response from the west. Instantly, they were up and running again toward the returned signal.

Thirty feet from the thickest brush, they spread out even farther, running in absolute silence as only GhostWalkers could. Joe, Malichai and Diego Campo dropped down, their weapons ready, while Draden and Gino continued forward. Draden slipped into the cover of the brush, a place he was at home.

He found their contact ten feet in, crouched down in the thick buttresses of a dipterocarp tree. "How many wounded?" Draden asked, his voice a thread of sound.

"Fifteen."

Draden gave a mental shake of his head. Fifteen was a lot of wounded. They had room in the three helicopters, but maybe not the time to get them all in. "Anyone besides you can help get them to the choppers?"

"Two others."

That wasn't good either.

"Enemy?"

"No idea of their numbers. They seem to come and go. At least we think they're gone and the moment we move, they open fire."

Draden nodded. "Any of you sick?"

The Ranger shook his head. "The only one to go near the village was Dr. Henderson and he was in full hazmat gear. We stayed out of there. Henderson wants the village burned."

Draden turned and signaled the others in. They came like wraiths, sliding out of the night in complete silence. Draden gave him the number of wounded telepathically while Joe tapped his watch.

Move fast, gentlemen. We don't have time to triage here. Get them into the choppers.

Joe didn't sound alarmed, but Draden felt it nevertheless. They had about eight minutes, and getting to the wounded would eat up another minute or two.

The Ranger was already on his feet, so they followed him through the thick forest to a small dip in the terrain hidden by brush and the buttresses of wide tree trunks. The Kopassus looked grim, two dead, three of them badly wounded, but guns steady as rocks. One was still standing and ready to pack out his teammates, already gathering their weapons. The Rangers were in similar straits, one dead, the others in various states of badly wounded or just broken and bloody. Those with lighter injuries were gathering up their teammates to pack them out. The WHO doctor, clearly in bad shape, staggered as he stood. None of them looked as if they could walk more than a few steps.

The GhostWalkers were all business. Gino took the worst Ranger, slapping field dressings on the wounds to keep him from bleeding out while he ran with the man to the choppers. The Kopassus followed with one of his fellow team members. Joe took a Ranger and Diego a Kopassus. Malichai took the civilian. One of the Rangers staggered to his feet.

"I can walk out."

Draden nodded and waved him after the others. He moved from wounded man to wounded man, giving them water and seeing to the worst of their wounds, all the while listening for any changes in the sounds of the night that would indicate members of the MSS had returned at the sound of the helicopters.

Gino was back, hoisting another Ranger onto his back. The Kopassus soldier returned with him and took another of the wounded. The Indonesian didn't look in good shape, but he wasn't leaving anyone behind. They wanted to pack their dead with them as well, not leave them behind, but the dead had to go last. Joe, Diego and Malichai all had taken the next round of wounded and were gone, disappearing into the darkness, when Draden felt his first prickle of unease.

He crouched low and signaled to the remaining soldiers for absolute silence. The remaining men showed why they were considered elite. In spite of their wounds, they immediately went into survival mode, weapons ready, sliding deeper into the depression for cover. Draden moved away from them, toward the north. There were no sounds of insects. Not even the continual drone of cicadas or loud croaks of tree frogs. For a moment, the forest had gone unnaturally quiet, signaling something was moving into it that didn't belong.

He was part of the forest and could read every sign. He moved fast, slipping through brush without a whisper of sound. Sinking into the thick foliage, he waited. A man emerged from a small group of trees, heading stealthily toward the encampment of wounded. Draden saw another fifteen feet from him, and a third man the same distance out as the terrorists moved in unison toward the small group of soldiers.

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Toxic Game (GhostWalker Series #15) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous 5 days ago
Again a great story loved the action suspence and laughter, Feehan has such a way with words and charaters that you love them laugh with them cry with them this is now one of my favorites of the ghostwalkers
Anonymous 5 days ago
I just love these Ghostwalkers and am always amazed when this author brings of another great read!
Anonymous 5 days ago
love+the+Ghostwalkers+series+++can+not+put+the+book+away+until+finishing+it++++
Susanlibgirl 6 days ago
Christine Feehan is one of my favorite authors and Toxic Game is one of the many reason's I read all of her series and haven't been disappointed.. This GhostWalkers installment is no exception. The author has done many hours of research on Ebola like viruses and it really shows in this book. I had to keep saying to myself, she wouldn't kill off these characters, would she??? I love the connection between Shylah and Draden. The way their romance blooms slowly is a beautiful love story. Both of these characters are contaminated with an Ebola like virus and believe they are dying. While the GhostWalker team feverishly works to find an antidote, Draden and Shylah continue with their mission, while dealing with the reality that they could die a horrible death in a matter of days. They really get to know and respect one another as the novel unfolds. This is a wonderful love story and the reason why Ms. Feehan will continue to be one of the best romance/suspense writers. Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for allowing me to read this enjoyable novel!
Reenie07470 6 days ago
When faced with your own mortality, even if you knew your life would bring it sooner than later, and the sooner happens when you meet the one who made life worth living…what would you do? Christine Feehan does an amazing job showing us how Draden Freeman and Shylah Cosmos deal with this.  This book from the first chapter had me by the heart and my emotions invested in the outcome. From heart-pounding to heart- stopping and every “heart” phrase you can think of this book covers it all. Nothing to lose has these characters open to feelings and sharing life events they would normally hide. Communication is key and recognizing the things, no matter how small, that hold importanceis key to knowing each other. They’re open to love, to accepting what they mean to each other, what others in their lives mean to them, and realize they mean something to those they have come to consider family. Also determined to to save anyone else from their fate, they hunt down the enemy while the GhostWalker pararescue Team fight to save them and vast populations in a Science fiction plot woven with true science had me on edge.  Primary and secondary protagonists you love, hope for. Wonderfully written scenes that show how friendship can be as strong as family bonds. And it can be found in the worst of life circumstances.  The main narcissistic misogynistic antagonist, Dr Whitney, actions had me fuming and oh loving to hate him. Along with more Antagonists surfacing, drawing ire towards them and hope’s the GhostWalkers will deal out karma and save the day.
Anonymous 3 hours ago
I enjoyed Draden and Shyla's story but wanted more. Part of that stems from having read every book that Christine has written over the years. I wanted a stronger storyline. Shyla needed to be developed more. That being said, it was a sweet tale. I was glad of the formal reveal of Cayenne's pregnancy. I love her and Trap.
Anonymous 1 days ago
Another winner
Anonymous 1 days ago
Christine+does+not+disappoint.++I+sigh+with+relief+when+I+read+a+book+she+has+written%2C++no+gaps+in+information%2C+no+frustration+in+following+this+well+written+story+from+start+to+finish%2C+no+cliffhangers%2C++just+total+satisfaction.+You+just+wish+you+could+be+apart+of+this+saga+of+men+and+women.+Thank+you+Christine+for+sharing+your+world+with+us.
Anonymous 2 days ago
Feehan+seems+to+have+gone+back+to+an+actual+story+with+a+plot+in+this+book.+Sexy+scenes+but+not+on+every+other+page+this+time.+It+felt+like+going+back+to+the+best+of+the+Ghost+walker+sceries.+Yes%2C+finally.
Anonymous 2 days ago
This+is+a+great+book%21++I+have+enjoyed+every+book+Ms+Feehan+has+written+so+far%21++The+love+of+family+and+friends+are+so+important+in+her+books.++Keep+writing%21%21
Anonymous 2 days ago
I thought this book i,so one of her best yet I really enjoyed it from beginning to the end. Great Book!!!.
Anonymous 2 days ago
awesome+book+as+always%21+++I%27m+always+sitting+at+the+edge+of+my+seat+and+couldn%27t+put+it+down%21
Anonymous 2 days ago
This+was+one+of%2C+if+not+the+most%2C+tear-jerking+story+in+the+series.+They+went+through+crazy+emotional+turmoil+in+such+a+short+span+of+time+which+is+pretty+typical+for+Feehan%27s+Ghostwalkers+anyway.+However%2C+their+horrible+circumstances+erased+the+usual+reluctance+to+acknowledge+and+express+how+intense+their+feelings+were+for+each+other.++It+drove+home+the+lesson+we+should+never+wait+to+express+our+love+to+friends+and+family+and+to+do+it+often+and+without+reservation.+The+gifts+they+gave+each+other+and+the+reactions+Ms.+Feehan+described+had+me+bawling+my+eyes+out%21+The+action+was+still+there+and+there%27s+more+about+that+mysterious+faction+working+against+Whitney+Feehan+has+been+hinting+about%2C++but+the+emotion+made+Toxic+Game+a+winner.+Well+done%21+
Lifemate56 2 days ago
I enjoyed reading Draden, and Shylah's story, and hated for it to end. We had action, suspense, intrigue, new villains revealed, and updates on other GW characters. Darden was a very romantic leading man, and Shylah's perfect for him. Draden, and Shylah's romance was beautiful considering the pressure they were under to find an antidote to save themselves, and others. This couple understood that life can be short, and bared their souls to each other. No game playing. A beautiful, and refreshing courtship, and a true meeting of the mind before the body. We had the ultimate HEA! My Joe's suffering, and is getting colder, and colder. I hope he gets an HEA soon.
Anonymous 3 days ago
Fast paced wish more about the main charters and less medical
Diane9596 3 days ago
Dr. Draden Freeman and his Ghostwalker team are on a rescue mission in the Indonesian jungle when Draden gets infected with a deadly virus. He forces his team to leave him behind. Shylah Cosmos is on her own mission to track the creators of the virus when she crosses paths with Draden. Draden has set himself with the task of eradicating as many terrorists as possible before the virus ends him. In the process he is shot and Shylah rescues him not knowing he has been infected. Now the two of them are in a fight for their lives. Toxic Game is that perfect mix of action, suspense, humor, sadness, hope, love, happiness and anything else you might be able to think of. You name it, its got it. Draden and Shylah will break your heart and then put it back together. The ups and downs and ups and downs will get you. You will be mentally and physically exhausted, but satisfied when you finish this book. If I was a smoker, I would have lit up when I closed the book for the last time. My kudos go to Christine Feehan for writing as close to a perfect book as I’ve ever come. This is one book that I think I can unhesitatingly recommend to everyone.
Anonymous 3 days ago
As+usual+great+book.+All+the+series+she+writes+are+good.+I+eagerly+wait+the+next+one+of+any+of+her+series.
Anonymous 3 days ago
I'll be buying this book twice bc I love this series so much! Once in ebook bc I can't wait on the paper back to hit the stores! Lol! Loved the sweetness of draeden and shylah! ?? And all the new babies joining our favorite Ghostwalker group!!
Anonymous 3 days ago
Little slow in the transition from overseas to stateside
Anonymous 3 days ago
I+just+loved+this+book.
Anonymous 3 days ago
Ok
Anonymous 3 days ago
Loved this book and series. One of my favorites!
Anonymous 4 days ago
love+this+seris+wish+more+of+it+than+her+dark+series+which+I+tried+once+and+couldnt++finish+So+since+it+appears+thats+her+more+popular+series+they+are+not+more+prevelant++Enjoyed+how+she+is+weaving+a+story+for+every+member+of+the+Bayou+team+there+are+people+in+the+first+team+books+needing+fleshing+out+and+a+little+more+interaction+with+all+the+teams+and+all+the+different+babies+would+be+interesting+
Anonymous 4 days ago
Great plot. Loved that Shyla was s very strong female heroine.
Anonymous 4 days ago
It was great just like all the other books