Dr. Melinda Emerson is still reeling after her escape from Russian mafia terrorists. If she never sees or hears anything Russian again, it’ll be too soon. She’s ready to go back to researching a cure for Alzheimer’s and to begin building a life with her new man, Grady “Buck” McCormick. But the Russians aren’t done with her just yet.
Grady “Buck” McCormick likes to be in charge. But he loves Melinda more. Turns out it’s not so easy for a single alpha male to learn how to be a partner rather than a leader, but he’s determined to do it. That resolve is put to the test when his team gets orders for a new mission where the tables are turned and he must relinquish control, depending on Melinda to protect him.
The Russian mafia is back like a bad penny. They’ve been experimenting on the cognitive enhancing drug Melinda invented. Their version makes users obey orders without question, but it’s also fatal. Melinda is sent along as a civilian consultant with two SEAL teams to infiltrate a secret Siberian lab, secure the head scientist, and retrieve all the research on the drug. But the mission goes sideways when Buck and several of the SEALs are injected, and Melinda is forced to find a cure, or lose the man she loves.
Well it seems I have started to read the second book in a series once again. I didn’t really need to go back to the first, but curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to know the relationship’s beginning. My review of Bang For The Buck posted last Friday.
This book opens with an argument that I think many women have had with their partners at one time or another. The ability to drive and getting where they are going the best way possible.
I really love this developing relationship between Melinda and Buck, and her friend Jayla is a hoot in her relationship with Noah another SEAL.
Fearing what the Russians might do with her accidental discovery Melinda agrees to work with the CIA. Never expecting to actually do more than consult on things.
This is a favorite scene.
“Dr. Emerson will go along on the mission as a consultant to assist in the interrogation of Petrov, and identify and obtain pertinent information,” Moss said.
“Sorry, ma’am, those are your orders.” Commander Gerald “Hard-Ass” Hardigen entered the room through a door at the front corner, and everyone in the room shot up from their seats to attention. “Have a seat, men,” he said.
Buck dropped into his chair, numb that his first mission with his new team had his loyalties divided between the mission itself and protecting Mindy no matter what. Certainly protecting a civilian asset would be part of the mission, but this was the woman he loved who had exactly zero military or covert ops training. She could barely hit a fucking target with a handgun, and she fainted in crowds.
“Sir,” Mindy said. “What’s the purpose of my going? Couldn’t Dr. Franklin go? He seems knowledgeable enough.”
Buck bit back a grin. She managed to drag Franklin for his disrespect simply by adding ‘enough’ to her comment. Good girl. But one look at Franklin and the guy was in no better shape for a mission than Mindy.
“No. You’re going. You have two of the Navy’s finest SEAL teams protecting you. Trust me, you’ll be fine,” the commander said, implying the discussion closed. Buck knew she’d have at least one SEAL stuck to her like glue the whole time. “All right, men. You have your orders. Team Leaders will be given infil, exfil, rendezvous, and mission details, and teams will receive those on the flight. You’re to prep and report for departure at oh-six-hundred tomorrow. Dismissed.”
As the rest of the men filed out of the room, Buck worked against the flow to get to Mindy. She looked stunned, just standing at the front of the room like a lost little girl.
“Mindy,” Buck said. When she saw him she came to life, her eyes welling up with tears.
She threw herself into his arms. “Buck. I don’t want to go.”
“I know. But you work for the CIA now, too, right? I assume when the Commander said you had orders, that’s what he meant?”
She pulled away and swiped at her eyes. “Yes.”
Ice Bates stepped up and cleared his throat. “I assume you two know each other, then?”
If the guy wasn’t his team leader Buck would have shot back with some sarcastic response. “Yes, sir,” he said instead. “Dr. Emerson is my girlfriend.”
“Is that going to be a problem for you on this mission?”
“Because if it is, I can replace you for this one.”
The hell he would. “Having Dr. Emerson on the mission will not compromise my ability to perform my duties, sir.”
“Good to hear.” He turned to Mindy. “Nice to meet you ma’am. You’ll be briefed further in transit. I suggest you go home and pack a small bag, make whatever arrangements you need to for your job, then report back in the morning.”
“Any idea how long we’ll be gone?” Mindy asked.
Ice held her gaze, his expression flat. “No.”
Buck and Mindy followed Ice to the door. Wolf Steele met them near the exit, offering his hand to Ice to shake.
“I’m Wolf Steele, leader for my team. We’ll be working together on this mission.”
“We will,” Ice said, shaking Wolf’s hand.
“You know, my wife’s call sign is Ice,” Wolf said.
Ice paused for a beat then said, “I trust you won’t get us mixed up.”
Buck swallowed a snort, and Mindy covered her mouth to muffle her snicker. Wolf just grinned.
“No chance of that.”
Ice nodded. “See you all in the morning.”
After Ice left, the three of them looked at each other.
“Wow. He needs a sense of humor,” Mindy said.
“Hey, if he’s good at his job, he doesn’t need one,” Buck said.
“I haven’t had a chance yet to welcome you to Coronado,” Wolf said, offering his hand.
Buck accepted the handshake. “Thanks, Wolf. I’m looking forward to working together.”
Wolf turned his attention to Mindy.
“You okay, Melinda?” She smiled, having collected herself enough to do so. “I will be. My experience with the Russian mafia so far hasn’t convinced me I’m any more qualified to deal with them now than I was the first time.”
Wolf rested a hand on her shoulder and squeezed. “We’ve got your back. You’ll have fourteen of the best soldiers the Navy has to offer, protecting you. I promise, it’ll be a breeze. In and out and home before you know it.”
Mindy raised an eyebrow, not buying into the hype. “Thanks, Matthew. I appreciate your confidence. And your protection.”
Wolf smiled and patted her shoulder. “You’re practically part of the family. Besides, Caroline would never let me hear the end of it if I allowed anything happen to you.”
“Oh, that reminds me. I need to talk to her before we leave. You think she’d watch Mr. Wiggles while I’m gone?”
“I’m sure she would.”
Margaret Madigan. BUCK THE SYSTEM (Kindle Locations 481-524). Kindle Edition.
This mission has disaster spelled all over it. The Russians do not give up easily and finding her original kidnappers lived begin the nightmare all over again.There are lots of twists and turns as the SEALs are compromised in the most horrible way and the clock is ticking.
Action, suspense, and plenty of romance! A hold your breath combination.
5 Contented Purrs for Margaret!
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I write romance for Entangled Publishing and Evernight Publishing. I write and indie-publish romance and sci-fi through M&M Publishing.
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