Every action has an equal
and opposite reaction.
Rhea Strathmore creates death. Locked within her laboratory at The Arsenal, she concocts whatever’s necessary to protect those around her. She won’t ever negate her pre-Arsenal deficit, but she’ll try. Her past work now threatens everyone she cares for and exposes secrets she’s kept buried. The mysterious man tasked with keeping her alive is more lethal than anything she’s ever concocted.
Everything has a price.
Fallon Graves defies death with every assignment. He may have traded in his lone operative lifestyle for The Arsenal, but that doesn’t mean he’s a team player. He’s survived his entire life with no one. Why should he change? When Rhea’s past threatens The Arsenal, Fallon is forced to question everything he’s valued. She’s a liability in the field, but he’s not about to let anyone harm the woman who’s more dangerous than any explosive he’s ever created.
Together, Rhea and Fallon are one volatile chemical reaction away from going up in flames.
From almost the very first page I was holding my breath with this one. Rhea doesn’t go on missions, her comfort zone is her lab. Fallon knows this too, and he isn’t pleased when he’s told she has to go in order to identify bio-chemicals that are hazardous. Chemicals that she had created years ago and not with the intent Carlisle has for them.
They have gone over the plan repeatedly and although she’s ready, Fallon’s still skeptical and confronts Edge one more time, to no avail.
Rhea’s nervous, but Bree also has her back. Unknown to the others she has included a few extra items in Rhea’s backpack, just in case.
This is just one of my favorite scenes.
He listened as Zoey and Cord guided Sanchez through steps to secure the van. Sweat dampened Fallon’s skin by the time he’d placed all the charges and returned to Rhea and Donovan. The two, sans hazmat gear, were in the hallway outside the lab. The animals were each on a cart, which was fully contained within a bubble except for its handles. A secondary protective layer was around each of the sleeping animals. Small oxygen tanks sat on the lower level of the cart. The remainder of the second shelf of each was loaded down with paperwork and the computer.
Donovan grunted as he shouldered a second pack.
“You’re clear for exit,” Edge said.
“I should double-check the unsecured area of the lab, make sure I didn’t overlook anything,” Rhea said. She turned and headed toward the lab.
Fallon grabbed her arm. “We’re done.”
“Let’s go.” Relief filled him when she moved behind him and curled her fingers through his belt loop. Donovan maneuvered both of the carts and fell into position behind Fallon and Rhea as they exited the laboratory.
Two large drones hovered in the center of the long corridor. The large, black objects were larger than any The Arsenal used.
“Shit.” Zoey’s curse quickened Fallon’s pulse as two drones he’d dispatched flew forward to intercept the enemy. “Battle Bots time, Arsenal style.”
“Engage,” Jesse barked over the com.
Fallon aimed his weapon as Donovan did the same. The two fired on the black monstrosities as The Arsenal bots moved to intercept the fiery red projectiles shooting toward them. He turned to get Rhea secured, but she was already curled exactly how he’d told her to if trouble hit.
Relieved, he refocused on the drones.
“Donovan, get her out of here,” Fallon said.
“No!” Bree’s voice pierced the coms. “The drones we have aren’t combat. Drugs won’t take those two down. Rhea, get your backpack open. Pull out the black case inside.”
“What did you do?” Edge asked, her voice quiet on the com.
“I packed a few extra things, just in case,” Bree said.
“And didn’t tell us,” Jesse added.
Fallon hauled himself and Rhea into the nearest room as Donovan fired on the drones. Bullets ricocheted off them. “Armored.”
“Of course they are,” Zoey clipped, her anger evident. “What’s in the case, Bree?”
“Move,” Bree ordered.
“You got them, Rhea?” “Yes.” Fallon crouched beside Rhea as she dragged out a black case and unzipped it. Four round balls sat in holders. Two had red streaks while the other two were coated with yellow stripes. “What now?”
“Roll one of the red ones into the hall and take cover. I’ll handle the rest,” Bree said.
“Care to share with the rest of the class?” Zoey asked.
“Is there another way out of this room?” Fallon asked.
“No,” Jesse answered. “Standby.”
Right. He settled into a protective crouch above Rhea. Donovan positioned himself along her other side. Between the two of them, she’d be safe. He looked over and noted the other man had hauled the animals in.
Fiery red beams shot out and pierced the door they’d slammed shut. Donovan rolled one of the balls into the corridor.
“It’s out,” Donovan said. “Any day now. You know, before we’re dead.”
A concussive boom shook the entire area. Bright light filled the area. What the fuck? Fallon’s ears rang. Disoriented, he blinked and shook his head.
What the fuck?
“Status?” Edge asked.
“You okay?” Fallon asked Rhea. His voice sounded distant, as though he’d entered a tunnel. Shit. Hearing damage was the last problem he needed.
He’d suffered from hearing loss for years. The unwanted byproduct of the life he led had proven problematic only a few times. He’d been on enough missions to know what needed to be done. As long as he kept the com turned to high in his “bad ear”— which was at a solid sixty percent hearing at his last checkup with Logan— he’d hear what the bosses ordered. That left his “good ear” to hear everything around him.
Her lips moved, he heard faint words, but nothing distinctive. Her head nodded. Yes. Rhea repeated the words in a non-ending loop as the three of them rose from their crouched positions. Donovan entered the corridor, weapon drawn.
Shock reflected on his face a moment. Lips thinned in a grim expression, he motioned they were clear.
Rhea pushed one cart in front of her and pulled the other behind her. Though he wanted to leave the animals behind and get the hell out while they could, they’d come too far to abandon the new objective now. He snatched the case and Rhea’s backpack and headed out.
Donovan grabbed the remnants of the bots in the carnage. Relieved the man was already two steps ahead, Fallon willed his breathing to slow. That’d been too close.
Cara Carnes. Impact Zone (Kindle Locations 904-945). Heartscape Publishing.
Taking down Carlisle is a complicated move and the planning has to include several different back-ups.
Throughout everything, Fallon has Rhea’s back and to his surprise she has his. She cares about him and it’s evident on every page.
These two are a bit frustrating in their dance even as the danger and suspense ramps up.
I couldn’t put this book down, the hold your breath action, plenty of suspense, laughter, tears and the romance that is both frustrating and perfect as it makes its way to a sizzle.
I can’t wait for the next book in this series!
5 Contented Purrs for Cara!
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Born in small-town Texas, Cara Carnes was a princess, a pirate, fashion model, actress, rock star and Jon Bon Jovi’s wife all before the age of 13. In reality, her fascination for enthralling worlds took seed somewhere amidst a somewhat dull day job and a wonderful life filled with family and friends. When she’s not cemented to her chair, Cara loves traveling, photography and reading.