Special Forces soldier and medic Walter River would give anything to snatch more than a few seconds of down time to see if he can rattle the no-nonsense and incredibly hot Dr. Lloyd he's protecting, but dodging explosions, snipers, and student radicals who've unleashed a lethal bio-engineered microorganism have made that almost impossible. Maybe he'll get a chance-if he can figure out how to keep them both alive.
CDC microbiologist Ava Lloyd races to find a cure for a bio-terrorism organism sweeping El Paso. The few stolen moments with her very hunky bodyguard River have been explosive, but no matter how alluring he is, she can't afford to get distracted. The clock is ticking, people are dying by the hundreds, and once this crisis is solved, they'll both be off on their next assignment, thousands of miles apart.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)|
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Outbreak Task Force Book One
By Julie Rowe, Robin Haseltine
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Julie Rowe
All rights reserved.
5:05 p.m. March 27th
"The only soldier who doesn't carry survival equipment is a dead soldier," Special Forces medic Walter River said to his audience, a room full of men and women in camo. Too full. Fuck the chairs, there wasn't enough floor space left for someone to squat.
The heat inside the room intensified the illusion of claustrophobia and coated his tongue in an acid so corrosive it stabbed at his gag reflex. He fought the pull of his mind as it tried to take him back to another time and place, when heat had rolled across him in waves, and death hung in the air — a moment when his body had known only confused pain, jumbled memory, and bitter betrayal.
Nope, not going back there.
"What do you carry that will keep you alive?" River forced himself to ask his workshop participants.
Several put up their hands and offered the obvious: compass, knife, matches. He was about to ask them to think with their hindbrain, the hypothalamus — also known as the holy shit I'm going to die neural structure — when there was a sharp rap on the door. A young soldier saluted and informed him the base commander wanted to see River in his office.
He glanced at his group. "Put together a complete list before I come back."
When River entered Major Ramsey's office, the officer held out the phone without saying a word.
"Hello," River said into the receiver, frowning.
"Sergeant River, my name is Dr. Rodrigues. I'm with the CDC. You were recommended to me by Colonel Maximillian from the Army's Biological Response Team. I need you on the ground at the University Medical Center of El Paso to assist in a medical emergency."
What the fuck did that mean?
He glanced at the base commander. The man thrust his chin at the door, which meant there was only one thing River could say.
"Transport is being arranged. I'll meet you outside the emergency entrance." She hung up.
"I'm on loan?" River asked the major.
"Take your weapon." It was an order.
Well, shit. He was back in the game.
River was dropped off at the ER entrance for the medical center fifteen minutes later. He didn't have to wait long for a petite older woman, her gray hair pulled back into a bun, striding toward him. "Sergeant River?"
"River is fine, ma'am. Dr. Rodrigues?"
"Yes. Put this on." She handed him a respirator, the kind people wore in zombie apocalypse movies. Not a good sign.
"Could you wait here for a few minutes?" She sighed, just like his mother would have prior to delivering a lecture on male brains and their lack of common sense. "I have a situation to deal with before I fill you in on everything."
She was gone before he got the word out.
He stood there and took in his surroundings. There were three ambulances in front of the entrance already, and the approaching sound of sirens made it clear there was about to be another one.
Five minutes later, another ambulance showed up. A few minutes after that, yet another rolled in, but there was no one left to receive the patient.
Enough standing around. River abandoned his watch position in favor of wading into the fray.
He stepped up to the rear doors of the newly-arrived ambulance, threw them open, and grabbed hold of the end of the gurney inside. He paused, waiting for the paramedic riding in the back to do his bit, but those seconds were more than enough time for the condition of the interior to register.
Holy fuck. The ambulance was splattered with blood, and God only knew what other body fluids. Supplies littered the floor, making it look like a fight had broken out inside the vehicle.
Only there weren't any green rage monsters or kung-fu movie extras to explain the chaos. Just the paramedic and a patient lying unmoving on a gurney.
River waited while the paramedic got to his feet and ensured all the IV lines were untangled before pushing the gurney out. With the majority of his face covered by an air-purifying respirator almost identical to the one River wore, it was hard to tell how the guy felt about the condition of his patient, the situation, or even of his vehicle.
Concern, fear, embarrassment?
Six years in the Special Forces had taught him to compartmentalize emotions and events and his responses to them. The shit going down today had him hanging on to his training by the ends of his fingertips. A cold, painful lump crouched underneath his sternum. Not fear or panic, but close. Alien and unwelcome.
River held his end up as the rolling bed cleared the bumper and its retractable legs stretched toward the ground.
The paramedic gave River's Army uniform a measuring glance. "You work here?"
"No, just got here to help about ten minutes ago." River jerked his head in the direction of the emergency entrance to the University Medical Center of El Paso. "There are nurses inside."
"Thanks." The paramedic pushed his patient toward the wide doors.
Behind the guy's ambulance, another rolled in. That would make a total of six since River arrived.
The pit of his gut wound tighter and tighter until he wasn't sure he could even swallow.
He'd seen this movie — one of those medical thrillers where everyone dies — but he never thought he'd be in the middle of one. Again.
Someone called his name.
He looked away from the ambulances to find his new boss of ten minutes waving at him to join her. Next to her stood a man in a dark suit and a respirator of the same type as his own.
Dr. Rodrigues led the way to a spot where they were out of the way but could observe the foot traffic going in and out of the ER doors.
"Ma'am," River said respectfully. "How can I help?" He nodded at the other man.
"This is Agent John Dozer from Homeland Security. He's their lead agent here."
"I'd shake your hand, Sergeant," Dozer said, "but personal contact of any kind is now prohibited." He tilted his head toward the doctor.
So, even Homeland Security had to listen to her. Good to know.
"I asked for you because you've dealt with outbreak conditions before, yes?" she asked River.
"Middle Eastern refugee camp. Last year." Just thinking about it gave him a headache. He'd been shot and kicked in the head by someone he'd trusted. His injuries had cost him more than nearly a day's worth of memories; they'd cost him the unconscious trust a soldier needed to have in his brothers-in-arms. "Some asshole terrorist decided to test his homemade super rabies on several thousand old men, women, and children. A lot of them died."
He studied the doctor, but aside from the deepening of the angry lines bracketing her face, she didn't react. What was he missing?
A glance at the agent provided no more information.
Two more ambulances pulled up, their lights flashing.
A lot of people were getting sick fast. The situation had too much in common with the one he'd been in before, but with one big difference.
This wasn't the Middle East; this was El Paso, Texas, USA.
He took another look at the doctor. Despite the particle mask respirator she wore over her face, she looked as if she was ready to strangle someone to death with her bare hands. "You think this is manmade?" "Man-made," she agreed, nearly biting off the end of the word.
Now he understood why he was here, when he should have been back on base teaching his class on surviving with minimal equipment.
He was going to get to go asshole hunting.
"At least you've some experience with outbreak conditions," she continued. "Most of the law-enforcement people here have never seen anything like it. They may balk at some of the measures that need to be taken."
She didn't sound happy about it. Nope, Dr. Rodrigues appeared to have about as much patience for bullshit as he did. A characteristic he appreciated in a commander, supervisor, or whatever the hell title she wore.
"I'll be vocal with my support of those measures, then. The punishment for ignoring an expert in this sort of thing is usually lethal." He gave her a respectful nod. "Orders?"
"I'm expecting assistance to arrive from the National Guard in a couple of hours, but until they get here, we're stretched thin. Most of my people are either treating the infected, working on identifying the pathogen, or preparing to decontaminate a list of possible infected places. The infection seems heaviest at the university. But, I've sent in an investigator to collect samples at a coffee shop that may be at the center of this outbreak. The earliest infections appear to be concentrated in that location. I'd like you to keep an eye on her and assist, if she needs it."
"At the site?"
"Please. While Dr. Lloyd is an excellent medical investigator, she's at the location alone and isn't familiar working with local law enforcement. I'd like to avoid any conflict."
Conflict associated with scientists usually meant a lack of communication.
"Is she the absentminded professor sort or more of a you're too stupid to understand type?"
Rodrigues tilted her head to one side, giving his question surprisingly serious consideration. "She's more of a no patience for idiots person. She works fine with anyone who behaves like they have half a brain." She sighed. "Unfortunately, there are far too many people in positions of authority who are lucky if they have more than two brain cells to rub together."
River snorted a laugh. "That I can work with."
"I'll get you set up with our Emergency Crisis Communication system, ECC. It's a Bluetooth cell phone on steroids. We have our own mobile satellite uplink and broadcasting tower. Your earpiece also has a camera and a tiny screen. When it's turned on, you can either see who you're talking to or see what they see." She pointed at her ear.
The device looked very much like a Bluetooth cell phone, only slightly larger, with a screen attached to a short arm positioned just outside of the line of sight.
"You'll have to wear a hazmat suit."
"Why?" He pointed at his respirator. "I thought this was good enough."
"Here, it is, but we don't know how the pathogen was initially introduced. I'm inclined to err on the side of safety."
"I'll give you a ride," Dozer said. "I've got people headed there, too." He motioned toward a black SUV parked outside the ER entrance.
He stopped to look back. "Ma'am?"
"Take your rifle."
He'd only ever seen eyes that grim in combat.
* * *
The hole-in-the-wall café in front of microbiologist Ava Lloyd looked so ordinary, except for the overturned chairs, puddles of spilled coffee on the cement, and yellow police and biohazard tape surrounding the outdoor courtyard serving the café.
Safety and biohazard protocols had been followed and security measures taken. It was time to get to work.
Ava let out a deep breath and strode forward to duck under the tape. The hazmat suit she wore made it awkward. The crowd of Emergency Services personnel standing at either end of the courtyard, watching as if it were reality TV, made her feel like a hippopotamus trying to tap dance.
Dancing had never been one of her strengths.
Reading was. She'd read the case file for this incident in under ten minutes, thirty minutes ago, and her breathing still hadn't returned to normal.
The shop had opened at six o'clock, serving early risers both coffee and breakfast on the go. At eleven in the morning, a half dozen people, mostly students from the University of El Paso, had stumbled into the University Medical Center's ER within fifteen minutes of each other, with the same symptoms. High fever, headache, and confusion. Those symptoms grew rapidly worse. Two of the students were dead by two in the afternoon.
In the three hours since the first patient had entered the ER and the first death, another thirty people had either arrived at the UMC's ER on their own or had been transported there by ambulance, all with high fevers and headaches. For some, the confusion became paranoid hallucinations, and they had to be restrained.
The hospital called the Center for Disease Control. The CDC sent an investigative team to determine the cause and epicenter for the outbreak, and patient zero.
Ava was part of a twelve-person team responsible for determining if there was, in fact, an outbreak, what caused it, and a treatment regimen. Within an hour, her team leader, Dr. Rodrigues, had determined there was an outbreak of some kind and called for additional help, but not enough of it had arrived yet.
It wasn't until the three staff members at the café had collapsed, two with blood coming out of their noses and ears, that the team suspected where the outbreak started. The identity of patient zero, the person who'd brought the disease to the coffee shop as a carrier, or as its first victim, was yet to be determined. There were now too many patients to deal with. This was the best place to start investigating.
Ava expected the café to be disorganized and dirty. Yet, if she ignored the overturned chairs and coffee spilled as panic had taken hold of the customers when the police arrived, it appeared clean and orderly.
The bodies of the two dead university students in the hospital morgue begged to differ.
Ava had been tapped for the job of collecting samples from the restaurant, while the rest of the team continued to deal with the hospitalized victims and identifying the pathogen.
The fatality count wasn't going to stay at two for long.
The area was eerily quiet, and combined with the knowledge that every move she made was being monitored by her CDC boss, the local police, the FBI, and Homeland Security, she found herself shaking harder than a leaf on a tree during a hurricane.
Get it together, idiot. You're on camera.
Dr. Rodrigues spoke calmly despite the view she had via the tiny webcam on the Bluetooth receiver hugging Ava's ear. "Ensure you swab all the tables, as well as all the work surfaces inside the café."
"Yes, ma'am," Ava replied as she adjusted the gloves of her hazmat suit one last time.
"A helicopter will be waiting to take your samples when you're done. Until we know what this is and how it's spread, treat this as a level four pathogen. All decontamination procedures must be strictly enforced."
Fantastic. The first pathogen she got to investigate as a CDC employee showed Anthrax-level lethality.
No pressure there.
"I'm keeping this call open in case you need support," Dr. Rodrigues added.
"Thank you, ma'am," Ava replied, keeping her tone neutral.
Collecting samples wasn't a technically difficult job — she'd been in weirder places and had sampled odder things — she'd just never done it with so many people watching her and evaluating every move she made.
Ava approached the first table and proceeded to swab its surface, then moved on to the next table and the next, working from the outside of the presumed infection zone inward. She'd collected just over twenty samples and was about to enter the work area of the café, when in the corner of her eye, movement caught her attention.
A young man stumbled and weaved toward the café's order counter. Blond, clean cut, and no older than twenty, he was dressed in jeans and a hoodie and had a backpack hanging heavy on his back. Just like every other student at the university.
How the hell had he gotten past the police? No one should be anywhere near this place without wearing a hazmat suit. It was extremely unsafe.
She walked toward the counter, her mouth open to demand he leave at once, but the dazed, blank look on his face stopped her from saying anything. That, and the beads of sweat clinging to his forehead.
Shit. Could he be another ambulatory victim of the pathogen?
"Are you all right?" she asked him very carefully instead.
He blinked, then finally seemed to focus on her as a trickle of perspiration ran down the side of his face.
The temperature was moderate, certainly not high enough to make anyone sweat.
Oh yeah, he had whatever was killing people. Where the heck had he come from? Had he passed out in some corner or closet and just woken up?
"I'm here to deliver a message to the United States government and its citizens," he intoned, as if he were the voice of doom. He lifted his hand into the air, showing off the cell phone in his hand as if it were a detonator.
Maybe it was. The air in her chest froze solid, then broke up into ragged shards, piercing her insides with every breath.
"Something tells me," Ava said quietly, "his backpack isn't full of textbooks."
"Shit." Dr. Rodrigues's horrified voice whispered into her ear.
"Not helpful," she whispered back.
"Our leaders are corrupt," he continued, weaving on his feet, turning in a circle as if expecting a crowd of people was surrounding him. "Responsible for the deaths of thousands of women and ch ... children."
Excerpted from Viable Threat by Julie Rowe, Robin Haseltine. Copyright © 2017 Julie Rowe. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Very well written. Loved the cast of characters. Will be buying more of this series.
But is that the action or the interaction between Ava and River? This story was very hard to put down as the action was nonstop. The romance was more of a subplot(?) compared to many other romantic suspense novels I've read. But the suspense allowed for the character development between 2 people hauling all their own baggage. It was a really good plot line...I don't think you'll be disappointed. In fact, the only disappointment is having to wait for the next story! Oh, but this story is stand alone even though I hope the main characters pop in for updates in follow-up stories. By the way, I did not receive this book in exchange for a review. This is all me! LGM
My first book by this author. Easy flowing read, enough romance and excellent action.
I just could not put it down! It was such a great story
Received an ARC for my fair review for netgalley. This is the first book in this new series and does start out with a bang. Has a lot of action since they are dealing with a deadly virus and terrorist. We have River a alpha male, which we all love, but luckily not a jerk, he listens to people and does what needs to be done. Then we have Ava, strong female lead, who does not back down, and is also take charge, together they are combustible. We do have romance, but not in your face since we are dealing with a lot of chaos, we have a little bit of everything, this book keeps you on your toes, and does not bore you. Enjoy!
Special Forces soldier and medic River “just call me River ma’am” gets a call from the head of the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to come at once to a local hospital. There’s an outbreak of some deadly disease and she commands him to watch over Dr. Ava Lloyd, a microbiologist. He’s armed and ready for anything but one minute in Dr. Floyd’s presence and he’s smitten. She’s hot and smart… a total turn-on. Ava has seen her share of outbreaks but this one doesn’t respond to any antibodies and those who’re responsible are a mystery. It’s chemically altered and as the bodies pile up, every agency from the CDC to Homeland Security is on the case. Is it a terrorist attack or something deadlier? Working with River sets her body aflame but she promised herself she’d never trust her heart to a soldier again. Can he be trusted or is it just a fling? I’m a huge fan of Julie Rowe and this is her best book yet! The stakes couldn’t be higher and the attraction between River and Ava set my tablet aflame. You wouldn’t think that being blown up a few times while wearing hazmat suits would be sexy but you’d be wrong. The action scenes were intense and there were times when I was afraid Ava or River might die. There’s plenty of romance, although since many lives are at stake, Ava and River take it whenever and wherever they can. I connected with both Ava and River immediately and almost cried when it ended. I wanted more! Ripped from the headlines, Viable Threat is an adrenaline-rushing romantic suspense and a must read! The ending left it open for a sequel so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Favorite Character/Quote: Ava. I loved how brilliant she is (hello microbiologist) while being tough as nails and yet, there’s a vulnerability when it comes to the opposite sex and love. She’s all business when she first meets River and bristles at his nickname for her. But the more they work together, her walls come down and we catch a glimpse of the real woman underneath. My Rating: 5+ stars
Whoa--open up this book and hold on tight, because it'll take you on one heck of a ride! Seriously, Viable Threat is pretty much a disaster movie in book form--non-stop action. And the back-and-forth between Ava and River really added to the action-movie feel--their relationship was a whole lot of fun. "Any idiot can go through life without making enemies," River said cheerfully. "Congratulations. It takes character and intelligence to make people want to kill you." Truer words were never spoken, unless you count these: "Just because a girl has an ugly cry doesn't mean she isn't busy plotting to kill you. In fact, if you're the cause of the ugky cry, she probably is plotting to kill you." Okay, so that last one wasn't actually directed at River, but at several points in the book, it certainly could have been! I had so much fun reading this book--the characters, the non-stop action, the fact that I absolutely did not know who was behind it all until the characters figured it out--all good things. I can't wait to see what the next book in the series brings! Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
This book is INTENSE. I LOVED IT. "Romantic Suspense" is sort of a "meh, take it or leave it" genre for me, but THIS book balanced out the "romance" and "suspense" PERFECTLY. It's incredibly well-written with an engaging plot that I absolutely could not get enough of! Right from the beginning, River tuned in to Ava and they seemed to form a connection and sort of symbiotic relationship that held my attention. They each ended up helping each other in several different ways, and I loved reading how their relationship evolved. River may be one of my favorite heroes. He is my idealized "military hero," comprised of total badass and a dash of "boy next door" charm. The protectiveness that he felt for Ava was truly endearing, right from the start. I admired Ava because she kept having these new and downright crazy situations thrown at her but, with River's help, she met these challenges head-on and persevered. Ava was no shrinking violet, but I liked that she relied on River at times. This was just a spectacular story full of gripping, edge-of-your-seat moments that had me eagerly turning the pages from beginning to end. I will DEFINITELY read more romantic suspense books by Julie! (I received a copy of this book in consideration of an honest review)
Viable Threat is the first book in Julie Rowe’s Outbreak Task Force series. The story has to do with a bioterrorist plot that unfolds rapidly in El Paso, Texas. Everything occurs at breakneck speed and it’s a perfect glimpse of what could happen considering the world we live in now. Special Forces Medic Walter River and Microbiologist Ava Lloyd literally meet, disarm a terrorist, and then get blown up. And that’s literally how the entire book plays out. Rarely do I find a book that is both serious and funny at the same time. River may be a soldier that has dealt with many perilous situations but he makes it a point to keep things light by making jokes and being brutally honest. On the other hand, Dr. Lloyd isn’t a fan of soldiers because she was engaged to one who was killed in action. Together, they become a dynamic duo trying to prevent the spread of a deadly virus that seems to have been created locally in El Paso. The action is intense as well as the attraction between River and Ava. There are a lot of law enforcement agencies involved in the chaos which has all of them jockeying for control of the investigation when they should be more concerned with eliminating the threat. In the midst of all of that, River comes across as a superhero. He is fearless and determined to keep Ava safe at any cost. Ava is a brave and strong woman. Although she is a lab rat, she handles herself very well in the field. You can’t help but root for her and River. Be advised that there is a retired Drill Sergeant that steals the show close to the end of the book. Of course, there is a mystery element involved in Viable Threat that adds another dimension to the book. It’s these layers that make the book hard to put down. There’s romance, action, sex, mystery, and a heavy dose of reality so what else is there to ask for. I will gladly read the next book in this series. **Received a copy of the book from the author and voluntarily reviewed.**
Loved it. I could not put it down. A fast paced action packed awesome read.I was provided a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.
I LOVED THIS BOOK! It was so exciting, scary, fun, and sexy. It was exactly what I want my romantic suspense to be! This is my first book by this author, and I want more! Dr. Ava Lloyd is a microbiologist working for the CDC. She investigates infectious diseases, and she's been called to El Paso, Texas for an outbreak of an unknown pathogen. She's brilliant, and great at her job, and the last thing she needs is some military man showing up to tell her what to do. She's worried that's exactly what's about to happen when she's assigned a partner to watch her back while she investigates. Walter River is Army Special Forces. He's a soldier, a medic, a teacher, and a protector. He gets called in to help Ava, since he's dealt with an outbreak during his service in the past. He gets to El Paso and walks into chaos. He is ready to jump in and help wherever he can, as it's obviously needed. When he meets Ava, he's taken with her beauty, and with her intelligence, right away, even inside a hazmat suit. He's determined to keep her alive throughout this mission. River and Ava's chemistry was strong, and I loved their banter, and nicknames. They were really there for each other, in all different ways, throughout the entire story, and I loved that. There was definitely some insta-lust happening, but I am so ok with that! Especially as there was a lot keeping them too busy to act on it for a while, so it was constantly simmering beneath the surface. The suspense plot line was scary and exciting, and so well done. It was even scarier to think how easily something like this could happen in real life. It kept me guessing about what would happen next and who the bad guys were. I can't say much more about that part of the plot without spoilers, but I was so excited to be kept guessing till the end. I also really enjoyed many of the side characters, especially Henry. I'm hoping, as this is to be a series, that he'll be getting his own story soon. This really was a fantastic story, and I had so much fun reading it. I can't wait for more of this series!
Special Forces soldier and medic Walter River would give anything to snatch more than a few seconds of down time to see if he can rattle the no-nonsense and incredibly hot Dr. Lloyd he's protecting, but dodging explosions, snipers, and student radicals who've unleashed a lethal bio-engineered microorganism have made that almost impossible. Maybe he'll get a chance—if he can figure out how to keep them both alive. CDC microbiologist Ava Lloyd races to find a cure for a bio-terrorism organism sweeping El Paso. The few stolen moments with her very hunky bodyguard River have been explosive, but no matter how alluring he is, she can't afford to get distracted. The clock is ticking, people are dying by the hundreds, and once this crisis is solved, they'll both be off on their next assignment, thousands of miles apart. Review: What a great action-packed, fast-paced story! I have not read this Author before, but found she wrote a gripping tale of bio-terrorism and romance. I know those sound kind of funny together, but the story is written so that they were woven together superbly. Writing a romance that happens in the midst of terrorism I thought was very timely and realistic. The terrorism plot and play-out really had me on the edge of my seat. I felt the Author did a great job at her research and made the story really realistic, which is kind of scary knowing that could happen. Though I felt bad and laughed when Ava and River continually get blown up, so there are moments of levity in the middle of chaos. Then there is the blossoming of romance between River and his Mouse (Ava). Loved them together! River is all alpha male, but lets the super smart, Ava do what she needs to do to get the job done all the while looking out for her. This story is not filled with sexy scenes, but the ones that it has are well-done and make sense to the couple and the story. It was interesting that the thing that threw a wrench in their romance was personal issues and not bio-terrorism. The ending is extremely satisfying and I cannot wait to find out what happens in the next book. If you are looking for a thrilling romance, this would be a excellent choice. 4.5Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.*
An excellent book that is action packed and full of suspense. With a deadly virus spreading like wildfire throughout El Paso, Dr. Ava Lloyd needs to be able to do her job. It's clear that someone out there doesn't want her to so she needs protection to get the job done. Walter River is just that protection. A former medic in a special forces unit he knows how important it is that Ava be able to complete what she's doing. There are enough threats out there he needs to keep her safe from, their sizzling attraction has to be put on hold. Easier said than done at times..... This one is very well done. It did get a little too technical for me at times but it was easy enough to get the gist of the story. Overall it is a great read and definitely one I would recommend.
Wow! This book is non stop and had me turning pages just as quickly as possible - it's fast paced action at its best. In it, River, a special forces soldier, is assigned to assist Ava, a CDC physician, investigate a horrible illness sweeping the area. As they investigate, it quickly becomes apparent that the illness is a deliberate action and not a random occurrence. They rush from scene to scene - Reeves providing the security and door "keys" and Ava the microbiology skills. They encounter many people that try to thwart them and some that just want them dead. Despite the serious subject matter, there a bits of humor that made me laugh out loud and a bit of romance. I loved the characters and felt invested in their story. River is swoon-worthy, but imperfect with ghosts of his own, while Ava is haunted by different ghosts from her past. This novel also contained a line that I just loved: "Any idiot can go through life without making enemies...Congratulations. It takes character and intelligence to make people want to kill you." If that quote appeals to you, you will love this book. This is a must read book for fans of the genre. You'll want to put this one at the top of your TBR. I'm adding the author to my must read authors' list.