USA Today Bestselling Author
Jager Hannover, a former SEAL, has recovered from the damage done when his squad’s truck drove over an antitank landmine more than two years ago. Six other team-mates were also badly injured, the seventh–Mouse–dead, in what their team leader Badger Horley realized later had to be a trap. On the hunt for answers about Mouse’s history and the one who set up the trap, Jager ends up in Vail, Colorado.
He followed Mouse’s best friend here only to discover he’s already disappeared, leaving a trail of death in his wake. Getting himself to this particular place wasn’t easy as it’s also where his parents died in a tragic accident. While on a cross-country road trip, their motorhome went off a corner of the mountain and plunged them to their deaths. Considering the information he’s found thus far, he fears this was no accident.
Allison Monroe is a police officer in Vail, Colorado. Her husband, who was also a cop, died a couple years ago in a skiing accident. Staying in the place where her dreams were shattered has given her time to sort out her grief and evaluate the direction she wants to go with her life. Getting caught up in Jager’s investigation of someone she knows only as a party animal and womanizer isn’t what she intended, but the attraction between the two of them is instant and undeniable. Passion turns to deadly purpose in a race against time when they follow a killer to Santa Fe, where he’s hunting badgers…
Wow, just WOW! This book, had me gasping in disbelief as this series unwinds its final episode.
The book opens with the entire crew discussing where to go next and who should go. There’s also a little surprise in there for Geir.
Jager doesn’t give the guys a chance to pair him up, he leaves Badger’s home, grabs his go bag and books a flight to Vail. His goal find this latest connection to Mouse and see if he’s the answer they’ve been looking for. In the process he pisses everyone off, because they are a team and they didn’t want him going without backup.
He does find backup in an unusual way once he’s there, as he questions various hotel workers about Freddie Brown. Freddie is supposedly a good friend of Mouse and works at one of the hotels in Vail. He also wants the opportunity to find out more about his parent’s motorhome accident that happened right outside town.
Allison Monroe is contacted by one of her friends after Jager was there questioning her. The evasive way the questions were asked raised flags and since Allison is a police officer, she would be the best person to approach the stranger in town.
This is a favorite scene as Jager is confronted by Allison and essentially gets his backup.
That wasn’t what Allison had expected when she sat down at the table.
Candy, from the hotel, had called to tell her this guy was determined to get answers. There had been something about him. Dangerous, not to her but maybe to Freddie. “Like the guy had an uncut edge to him,” Candy had said. “So I don’t know that there’s anything you can do, Allison, but maybe talk to him? See if you can find out what’s going on. I didn’t tell him that Freddie was missing. I just didn’t know what to say.”
Allison had been happy to talk to him as she was hoping for news on Freddie’s disappearance herself. Instead this guy didn’t appear to know anything. But, when he brought up the car accident, it was all she could do to hold back the tears. Fatalities happened all the time. Death by car accident happened all the time. And she had been at one or two where the person was still alive and had later passed away in the hospital. But, in this case, Emelia had died in her arms. Allison had helped the emergency crew cut her out of the vehicle. She’d been alive then, and Emelia had grabbed Allison’s hand, and they’d stopped the stretcher long enough for her to talk.
“I’m sorry, but she died soon afterward. She didn’t even make it long enough for the ambulance to pull away.”
“They could have done more to save her,” he said, his voice harsh.
She looked at him sadly and shook her head. “No, there was no way. I’m surprised she lived as long as she did. Her chest was badly damaged, and she had a major head injury. She did ask about her husband, but she already knew he was gone. She basically said she wanted to join him.”
The man across from her stared out the window, and she could tell how much the news affected him. “I’m sorry.”
He nodded. “Just when you think you’ve dealt with it, you find out you haven’t dealt with it at all.”
The waitress returned with a cup of coffee for Allison. “How’s my favorite police officer?” she beamed.
Allison chuckled. “I’m doing well. How are you?”
The waitress grinned. “I’m, as always, doing fine. We’re skiing up in the glacier all weekend.”
Allison’s eyebrows rose. “Rich boyfriend again, huh?”
The waitress chuckled. “The only kind to have.” She nodded toward the menu. “Did you make up your mind yet?”
He looked at the menu, and Allison could tell he didn’t give a damn about what he ate at the moment. “What’s the special?” she asked.
“Roast beef sandwiches. And darn good too. Nice sliced beef covered in gravy. Lots of fries on the side. I can add a salad for you too if you want.”
Allison nodded. “Sounds perfect.”
She glanced at Jager. “What about you?” Clearly disinterested and still reeling from the shock of her words, he pulled himself together as she watched him.
A trick she admired. She didn’t think she’d have the presence of mind to do that.
He looked up at the waitress and nodded. “I’ll have that too.”
As if happy that she finally got him to order, she didn’t appear to notice his state and promptly left.
“I guess in a small town like this, she gets to know everybody, particularly in her job?”
Allison nodded. “I think that goes for most small tourist areas. The tourists come and go, but the locals stay behind and reconnect every off-season.”
“I gather you’re here for the skiing?” She laughed. “No, not at all. I’m not much of a skier. I’m also not much of a cold-weather person,” she confessed.
He stared at her. “So what the hell are you doing here?”
She shrugged. “It’s where I landed.”
“Just because a person lands somewhere doesn’t mean they have to stay there.”
She nodded. “But then there are other reasons for staying. One grows attached to the people.” She watched as his gaze went straight to her wedding ring finger. A pale band of skin said a ring used to be there but no longer.
He frowned but refrained from asking.
She appreciated that. It was enough to have his personal issues brought up without bringing up her grief too.
“So there’s nothing you can tell me about Freddie?”
“No, I was hoping you would have something to tell me,” she said.
He nodded. “That’s the problem with missing people. Sometimes they want to go missing, and sometimes they went missing by accident or by someone else’s choice.”
She nodded. “What I don’t know is, which applies in this case?”
“Friends, family here? Anybody report him missing?”
“A friend he was supposed to meet. The friend got pissed when Freddie didn’t show and sent a few texts, then started looking for him, finally coming to the station to file a report.”
“Did he live with anyone?”
She chuckled. “As is very common with a lot of young people, five of them lived in the same house. I was the one to break the news to them after the friend contacted the police. They’d figured Freddie was just off with a new friend because his stuff was still in the house,” she added quickly.
At that, his gaze seemed to pour into hers. “In which case, we have to assume he’s either gone off alone, visiting a friend, or we need to consider his disappearance was under less-than-ideal circumstances.”
“In this case we can’t because none of the stuff he left behind was worth anything.”
“I guess that happens too sometimes.” But his tone was absentminded, as if processing information.
She dropped her gaze back to his hands, wondering how long ago he had had the skin grafts. They’d healed, but, like so many injuries, there would always be that mark that said the repair was never as good as the original.
“Did he have any friends, any family who called in to say he was missing? People out of town?”
“I contacted his next of kin according to his housemates. But it was a wrong number. I checked with his employers, but he hadn’t booked time off. I tried to talk to the girlfriends, but no one knew much at all. He appeared to change girlfriends like he did socks.” She leaned forward. “How important is this?”
“A friend of mine passed away. I’d heard Freddie was a good friend of his. We’re getting to know everybody who was in his life, and this was one of the last links.”
“Why are you looking into his past? And, if he was a friend of yours, didn’t you already know all this?”
That seemed to startle him. “Do you know everything about all your friends?” he asked curiously, that odd gaze shining down on her. “The friend of mine who died was gay. It never mattered to us.”
Dale Mayer. Jager: SEALs of Steel Book 7. (Kindle Locations 321-325). Valley Publishing Ltd.
Jager gets far more than he expected out of Freddie’s roommates leading him to the conclusion that everything would come to a head in Santa Fe.
So much insight from Allison, I loved the way she thought out of the box. I loved all the interactions with the team, this book totally took me off guard as I realized I too had missed the clues.
Hold your breath moments, laughter, tears and some sizzle. Don’t miss this stunning conclusion to SEALs of Steel!
I can’t wait to see what’s next for Dale Mayer, she hasn’t disappointed me yet!
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.