NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Raine Walters loves her nursing position at the Elton building. Though she hasn’t been on the job long, she’s seen and done some amazing things.
Because the men at the Elton building are not your average military men. They’re elite soldiers that have been tortured and experimented upon with an incredibly dangerous drug. The men are struggling to find balance as they work out their new abilities and recover their vitality.
Unfortunately, Haven, one of their most dangerous residents, leaves the facility behind to rescue a woman Raine isn’t even sure is real.
Noah Cross is settling into his new position at the Silverstone Collaborative as a patient liaison at the Elton building. No more bodyguard work for him. At least he thinks. When one of the patients escapes the recovery building Noah volunteers to go after him. Unfortunately, that means working with the beguiling young nurse he might have kissed recently.
Now they have to work together to find Haven and put out any imaginary fires he creates. But maybe they aren’t so imaginary, and maybe the woman they’re looking for is the catalyst of the entire Spartan program.
As this book opens, Haven is distraught and not responding to Raine as he usually does. She seeks out Noah, who also has a bond with Haven, hoping to make some sense of his ramblings.The two of them together manage to glean some information but most importantly get Haven to take a sedative and relax. Over the next couple of days Haven, while still anxious, begins eating more and regularly. While pleased Raine also worries he might make himself sick.
Raine wakes in the middle of the night and can’t sleep. Deciding to have a snack, she goes to the Hospitality room for some cookies and milk. There she finds Noah also enjoying a treat. As they discuss some of her worries the phone on the wall rings and Raine is informed Haven has gone missing.
This is a favorite scene.
When the phone on the wall rang, they both looked at it in surprise. “I didn’t realize that thing was even there.”
Raine snorted as she crossed the room to the phone. “Hello.”
“Raine? It’s Cassie. Haven is gone.”
For a moment she couldn’t absorb the words. “What do you mean gone? Are you serious?”
“As a heart attack. He’s not in his room, or on this floor. We’re canvassing the other floors, but I knew you’d want to know.”
“Okay. We’ll start up here and work our way down.”
She slammed the receiver into the cradle and turned to Noah, her heart in her throat. He was already moving toward her, gripping her arms. Obviously, he’d heard Cassie over the line.
“You take the North hallways. I’ll take the South. Go down the fire stairs at the end and I’ll meet you at the next floor. He’ll be fine, Raine.”
She nodded, numb. Then she ran for the door, right behind him.
They canvassed three floors before they met up with anyone else. No one had seen him. Noah and Raine went to the security office on the first floor. Jerome Paul was scanning a bank of security cameras. Every floor had them. Hell, every hallway had them. He glanced up when they entered the room, but didn’t say anything. Just continued to scan.
“Cassie said she saw him at about eleven,” Raine said. “She assumed he was going to bed.”
Jerome nodded, operating a mouse over a screen and clicking. “I know. I’ve been scanning every screen since that time, but I’m not seeing anything. Everyone that I’ve spotted had a reason for being where they were when they were.”
“Have you checked the main door?” Noah asked, arms crossed over his chest.
Jerome nodded. “Of course. And I’ve checked with the two guards manning the security post. Nothing unusual.”
Raine clenched her jaw and wrapped her arms around herself. Where had Haven gone?
“I’m going to step outside,” Noah murmured.
Raine glanced at him. Did he mean outside the office or outside the building? She followed along rather than watch Jerome surf the CCTV. The guards on duty were people she knew. They were both competent men and surely no one had slipped by them.
“Have you had anyone come through here tonight?”
Carson, the more senior of the guards, stepped forward. “Oh, yeah. No one unexpected, though. Nine people have left the building, but all of them were regular workers going off shift, most of them kitchen. Three others were nurses who had worked a split shift.”
Noah glanced around, hands on his hips. “Let me out.”
The guard returned behind the desk and pressed the lock release. The door buzzed and Raine followed Noah out into the frigid night. Almost immediately she wished she’d stayed inside, but it was too late now. She watched Noah cock his head to the side, obviously listening. He glanced at her.
“I hear a male’s voice talking to a cab, but I can’t tell if it’s Haven.”
Her heart sank in her chest and she looked around. This part of Arlington was quiet right now, but in the morning it would be positively bustling. If Noah didn’t hear him within the next couple of hours he probably never would.
“Where would he have gone?”
Noah shook his head again, looking as frustrated as she felt. “Go back inside. I’m going to circle the building and see if I see anything.”
Raine nodded, pushing back through the doors of the Elton Building. She waved her wrist at the scanner and the gate buzzed, letting her in. She realized then that they didn’t normally have to scan to get out, just in. The guards opened the doors for them when they left.
And realistically, she didn’t know what mechanism was in place in case a resident wanted to leave the facility. The men here weren’t technically prisoners, but she didn’t think they were free to go either. Most of the men were too ill to go anywhere, so it hadn’t been an issue, but Haven was physically almost a hundred percent. His mind wasn’t perfect but if he was aware enough to get himself outside the building was it their responsibility to stop him? Wouldn’t that make them jailers just like Damon Wilkes’ cronies?
“Can I look at your exit sheet?”
Raine knew the guards kept detailed records of entry and exit logs. It was easier since they’d implemented the watches, but she’d seen the men entering names manually as well. The second, younger guard, pulled up a screen on the computer. Raine spotted the mistake immediate. Snatching the phone from the cradle she called fourth floor.
Cassie answered immediately. “4C.”
“Cassie, is Paul still there?”
“Yes, he’s down the hall. Do you need him? Did you find Haven?”
Raine winced. “Not exactly.”
By the time Noah returned, the security guards had isolated the segment of tape where Paul, Raine’s nurse partner on her floor, had left. But it wasn’t Paul. After watching the segment replay several times she could see some irregularities in the recording. There was a fuzziness to Paul’s shape, and he didn’t move exactly right. Paul was a big, confident guy. This shape moved more carefully.
“Did you know he could do that?” Noah demanded, pointing at the screen.
Raine shook her head. “No idea. I guess we should have expected it though. He manifests apparitions that look completely real to us. Could he have just dropped an apparition over top of himself?”
Noah shook his head, looking a little wild-eyed. “If he walked out of here cloaked, for lack of a better word, we may never be able to find him.”
J.M. Madden. Catalyst (Kindle Locations 1110-1156).
When they see how Haven left the premises, they wonder how they will be able to find him. The security tape revealed a part of Haven’s ability they were unaware of sort of a cloaking effect.
With Wulfe’s help they discover the woman Haven mentioned is Donna Frame and she was definitely with Senator Hall as he abruptly left DC.
All they have to do now is find Haven, find the right resources, get evidence, and take down the senator. Easy right?
What ensues is an edge of your seat tale with plenty of action, as Raine and Noah chase after Haven and find love along the way.
I don’t know exactly what’s next for J.M. but I have a feeling it has to do with the new team we just ran into.
5 Contented Purrs for J.M.
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
J.M. Madden writes compelling romances between ‘combat modified’ military men and the women who love them. J.M. Madden loves any and all good love stories, most particularly her own. She has two beautiful children and a husband who always keeps her on her toes.
J.M. was a Deputy Sheriff in Ohio for nine years, until hubby moved the clan to Kentucky. When not chasing the family around, she’s at the computer, reading and writing, perfecting her craft. She occasionally takes breaks to feed her animal horde and is trying to control her office-supply addiction, but both tasks are uphill battles. Happily, she is writing full-time and always has several projects in the works.
She also dearly loves to hear from readers! So, drop her a line. She’ll respond.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Blog
Goodreads | Amazon Author Page