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Authors: Laura Griffin

Scorched

BOOK: Scorched
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“Gritty, imaginative, sexy! You MUST read Laura Griffin.”

—Cindy Gerard,
New York Times
bestselling author of the Black Ops series

TWISTED

“With a taut storyline, believable characters, and a strong grasp of current forensic practice, Griffin sucks readers into this drama and doesn’t let go. Don’t plan on turning the lights out until you’ve turned the last page.”


RT Book Reviews
(Top Pick)

“Griffin excels at detailing the mystery and the chase, and forensic science junkies will love the in-depth look at intricate technology.”


Publishers Weekly

“Mesmerizing . . . Another fantastic roller-coaster ride.”


Night Owl Reviews


Twisted
is a masterpiece of romantic suspense.”


Joyfully Reviewed

SNAPPED


Snapped
rocks!”


RT Book Reviews
(Top Pick)

“Electric chemistry between two believable and interesting characters coupled with the investigative details make this page-turner especially compelling.”


BookPage
(Top Pick for Romance)

“Laura Griffin mesmerizes. . . . A captivatingly passionate romance where danger is around every turn.”


Single Titles

“If you want a knock-your-socks-off romance, here it is.”


The Reading Frenzy

UNFORGIVABLE

“Features the perfect mix of suspense and romance that make Catherine Coulter, Iris Johansen, and Tami Hoag popular with both women and men.”


Booklist

“The science is fascinating, the sex is sizzling, and the story is top-notch, making this clever, breakneck tale hard to put down.”


Publishers Weekly

“Interweaves frightening murders with a compelling romance.”


Single Titles

UNSPEAKABLE

“Tight suspense with the sexiest of heroes and a protagonist seriously worth rooting for.”


RT Book Reviews
(4
1
/
2
stars)

“A page-turner until the last page, it’s a fabulous read.”


Fresh Fiction

“A strong-willed heroine, a sexy hero, and a gripping suspense plot.”


All About Romance

UNTRACEABLE
Winner of the 2010 Daphne du Maurier Award for Best Romantic Suspense

“Evolves like a thunderstorm on an ominous cloud of evil . . . Intense, wildly unpredictable, and sizzling with sensuality.”

—The Winter Haven
(FL)
News Chief

“Taut drama and constant action . . . The suspense is high and the pace quick.”

—Publishers Weekly
(starred review)

WHISPER OF WARNING
2010 RITA Winner for Best Romantic Suspense

“Irresistible characters and a plot thick with danger . . . sexy and suspenseful.”


Romance Junkies

“A perfectly woven and tense mystery with a . . . compelling love story.”


RT Book Reviews

THREAD OF FEAR

“Catapults you from bone-chilling to heartwarming to too hot to handle.”


The Winter Haven
(FL)
News Chief

“A tantalizing suspense-filled thriller. Enjoy, but lock your doors.”


Romance Reviews Today

ONE WRONG STEP

“The twists and turns of the story leave the LeMans racetrack in the dust.”


The Winter Haven
(FL)
News Chief

“Enjoyable, fast-paced romantic suspense.”

—Publishers Weekly Online

ONE LAST BREATH

“Compelling characters, unexpected twists, and a gripping story.”

—Bestselling romantic suspense author Roxanne St. Claire

“Heart-stopping intrigue and red-hot love scenes!”

—The Winter Haven
(FL)
News Chief

“An action-packed tale filled with passion and revenge.”

—RT Book Reviews

“Fully fleshed characters, dry humor, and tight plotting make a fun read.”


Publishers Weekly

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Contents

Acknowledgments
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
‘Shoot to Kill’ Excerpt
About Laura Griffin

To Kevan

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Each book is an adventure that would not be possible without the help of so many people. I owe a special thank-you to the forensic science and law enforcement professionals who answered my research questions as I wrote this story, including Kyra Stull, Jennifer Rice, D. P. Lyle, and Erik Vasys. Any mistakes here are mine.

Thanks also to the hardworking team at Pocket Books, including Jae Song, Renee Huff, Jean Anne Rose, Parisa Zolfaghari, and my talented editor, Abby Zidle.

Finally, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the readers who have made it possible for me to get up each day and do what I love. Thank you for reading.

CHAPTER 1

Indian Ocean
East of Mombasa, Kenya
0300 hours

The Black Hawk flew well below the radar and Lieutenant Gage Brewer sensed more than saw the water below. Light cloud cover, no moon. Perfect conditions for an op like this, which was exactly what made him itchy. Gage and his teammates had trained long and hard to expect the unexpected, and there wasn’t a SEAL among them who trusted an operation that got off to a perfect start.

“Going black,” came the voice in Gage’s headset. At his CO’s order, the helicopter went dark except for the faint red glow of the control panel.

A ripple of movement as the eight men of Alpha Squad triple-checked gear and prepped for battle. Gage reviewed the mission. Tonight’s landing zone was the size of a driveway—just small enough to make things interesting. He visualized the layout of the vessel they planned to fast-rope onto in a matter of minutes. The
Eclipse
was a handcrafted yacht, custom built in Maine
specifically for this voyage—which had gone horribly wrong when Somali pirates seized the boat. Less than three hours after capturing the yacht, the pirates had used a satellite phone to call in an eight-figure ransom demand.

Gage pictured the captain, the man he was tasked with rescuing: fifty-two-year-old Brad Mason of Sunnyvale, California, who fancied himself an adventurer. According to the intel Gage’s team had received, Mason was some kind of computer genius who had made billions with his software company before taking a year off to sail around the globe with his family.

Gage didn’t doubt that a man who’d made a freaking billion dollars off something he’d invented was smart. But his genius didn’t extend to tactical matters, apparently, because the guy had posted updates about his journey and details of his route on Facebook, making him a prime target for the brazen and surprisingly high-tech pirates who roamed the seas just north of here. But dumb-ass moves aside, the guy was an American citizen under attack on the high seas, and the SEALs had been ordered to get him out of harm’s way.

Along with his daughter.

Avery Mason, seventeen, had taken a year off of high school to go on the expedition. A copy of her varsity soccer photo had been passed around the briefing room a few hours ago. She was a blue-eyed, freckle-faced brunette, and one look at her had set the entire SEAL team’s mood to extra-grim.

Conspicuously absent from the rescue list was forty-eight-year-old Catherine Mason, who had been shot and thrown overboard yesterday, after the pirates’
first deadline passed without a ransom drop. Mason’s extended family had been allotted twenty-four more hours—of which three remained—to come up with the ransom, or else Avery would die.

No one doubted the pirates would make good on their threat. That was the bad news. The good news was the seven Somalis on the yacht were lightly armed—only a half dozen AKs and some handguns among them.

The helicopter swooped lower. Sweat trickled beneath Gage’s flak jacket as he contemplated the battle plan. The sweat was from heat, not fear. After eight years in the teams, there wasn’t much that rattled him anymore. Dodging bullets and IEDs and operating behind enemy lines had taught Gage to be cool under pressure, to take what life threw at him. And whatever shit came down, he and his team would get the mission done and get out, because failure was not an option.

Not usually.

A vision of Kelsey flashed through his mind, and Gage wondered where she was tonight. He shouldn’t think about her now. But even as he commanded himself to focus, he wished for one more moment to tell her . . . what? There was nothing left to say. And yet before every op, he felt a burning need to talk to her.

“Two minutes.”

His CO’s voice snapped him back to the task at hand. Joe Quinn sounded calm, resolute—the way he always did before an operation. There was a determination about him that steeled his team, no matter what the risks in front of them. Just the tone of his voice reminded them of the SEAL creed, which went with them everywhere.

If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.

On the horizon, the faint flicker of the target vessel. The helo dipped lower. As they neared it, the boat was just a lone white speck in the darkness. The pirates had switched off almost all the lights and kept belowdecks so as not to make themselves easy targets. Even the pirates on the mother vessel—a dilapidated shrimping boat being used as a communications headquarters—had kept a low profile. The Somalis had learned their lesson when some of their comrades had been taken out by SEAL snipers a few years back.

“It’s go time.”

Quinn’s words sent a jolt of adrenaline through him. Gage ditched his headset and stood up. Beside him, Derek Vaughn did the same. As the two largest men of Alpha Squad, Gage and the Texan would be working in tandem to get the hostages off the yacht and onto an inflatable boat that would take them to the frigate that had been lurking nearby since the early hours of the crisis.

“Aces, man,” Derek said over the din, his usual way of wishing Gage luck. Behind him, Mike Dietz slapped him on the back while Gage traded insults with Luke Jones—another routine. SEALs were a superstitious bunch.

And that was it. They’d trained. They’d practiced. They were ready.

The door opened and the noise increased, making it difficult to communicate except by hand signal. The
first man kicked the rope out. One by one, the commandos disappeared into the night. The pilot struggled not to suddenly gain altitude each time a three-hundred-pound load of man plus gear came off the rope. Gage waited for his cue, gripping the thick nylon in his hands. Quinn signaled
go
. Gage jumped out and slid down so fast that his gloves smoked.

BOOK: Scorched
9.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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