Do whatever it takes to survive…
Addy Rugers survived a treacherous, brutal upbringing after her parents died. Trained for death and seduction and forced to work for her brother’s covert ops organization, she learned to rely only on herself and chameleon her way through every mission. With him dead and his organization dismantled, she now has a new life at The Arsenal—one where she can shed her personas and be herself. Now, she must immerse herself in the nightmarish world she fled and trust the one man with the power to destroy her.
To slay a monster, you must become one…
Kristof Lavrov sank into the criminal underworld two decades ago with one objective—revenge. The sacrifices made are only outnumbered by the atrocities he’s committed under the banner of vengeance. What little of his humanity remains is now under fire when he agrees to help the one woman that he’d sacrifice anything to protect. Their lives have intersected more than once, and he’s always had the strength to walk away.
They must work together to save those they love, but the real war is one neither of them is prepared to wage.
In this book we learn all about Addy’s past and her relationship with Kristof. A relationship that goes back to childhood and she never discusses. Her cover is Iriana, Kristof’s Enforcer. This is backed up by her underground fighting which really doesn’t make her team happy.
As her team complains she reminds them that the auction where they will acquire the missiles is only a couple of days away. Of course those days are going to be filled with other things that will surprise everyone. Kristof is sort of an unknown at least to the team, for Addy she still remembers the boy he once was and how they met.
Things get even more complicated as human trafficking gets into the mix. Even thought she’s horrified and pissed Addy keeps her cool as she realizes there’s a lot more going on. The conversation between Kristof and Gavriil has some undercurrents they need to unveil.
Then all hell breaks loose.
This is a favorite scene.
“It was less of a gift than you were going to receive. Don’t let it happen again.”
“It won’t.” Gavriil picked up his drink and took a sip. The brunette offered him a pull of the joint she held up. “I trust you’ll handle the cargo without my involvement.”
“I will, like always.”
“Always? How many times have they handled ‘cargo’? Jesus they make me sick,” Zoey said. “Marshall, you’ll likely have visitors soon.”
“They just pulled up,” someone said.
“Tag that vehicle,” Marshall ordered.
“On it,” someone replied.
Addy shifted in her seat and sipped the drink she held. Conversation on the com continued in her ear. The women were being moved. Then what? Would they be returned to whoever they’d been stolen from? What was Kristof’s definition of handling the situation?
“New targets have a tail,” someone said. “Quarter klick back, south.”
“Roger. Drone has the vehicle,” Zoey said.
A tail? Addy narrowed her gaze. As if sensing her concern, Kristof’s eyebrows rose. Addy pulled out her phone and tapped out a message.
Tail on your cargo crew.
Kristof chuckled and pulled out his cell. He cursed and tapped out a message to someone. Addy would kill to know who, but they’d been unsuccessful in cloning his phone so far— much to Zoey’s chagrin.
“Forgive me. We have an issue with the pickup.”
“Oh?” Gavriil asked.
“It seems I wasn’t trusted to handle the situation,” Kristof said. He slid his cell back into his pocket. “Thank you, Iriana. Your attention to detail is appreciated, as always.”
Interesting. He trusted Gavriil with details she’d expected him to keep quiet. Why?
“Brilliant and beautiful. Careful, friend. Those are the dangerous ones,” Gavriil said with a grin.
“You have no idea,” Kristof muttered.
Addy chuckled. Awareness beaded along her skin as she peered into his intense gaze. Although the scantily clad blonde writhed against him, Kristof ignored the woman altogether and kept his attention fully on Addy.
Her pulse quickened as she severed eye contact and took a long pull from the cocktail. She didn’t know what it was, but it was good and filled with more Vodka than mixer. The alcohol burned the back of her throat with just enough sting to snap her out of the hormonally-charged thoughts.
Amusement glimmered on Kristof’s face as he raised his drink and took a sip. “As much as I’m sure you’re enjoying these beautiful women’s company, we have business to discuss.”
“Of course. Give us a moment, ladies,” Gavriil said to the two women at his sides. Addy and Kristof both stood. Silence descended as the two women shimmied out of the booth and disappeared into the club. “Do we have a problem?”
“My men will take them to your safe house,” Kristof said as he and Addy both sat back down. “They’ll remain there and keep them secure until you can have someone take over.”
“That wasn’t our agreement.” Gavriil leaned forward. “I was under the impression all was forgiven with this transaction.”
“Perhaps I’m not the only one with rebel employees.”
“Sounds like there’s trouble brewing,” Zoey said in the com.
No shit. Addy fought the urge to reposition herself between Kristof and Gavriil. Although Kristof was likely just as good a fighter as her, Iriana was his protector.
“You’ll be compensated,” Kristof said.
“You can’t continue bleeding for this endeavor. It’s an impossible task.”
“No more so than yours was.”
“Perhaps.” Gavriil sighed heavily and leaned back in the booth. “I tire of the cat and mouse game. Who is the cat and who is the mouse and why do I feel like the bait?”
“You aren’t the bait. You’re the trap,” Kristof said. “Or the mouse.”
Gavriil laughed. “That doesn’t ease my concern.”
“It should.” Kristof finished his drink and set the glass on the table. “I’m the dog. The cat stands no chance.”
He stood and motioned for Addy to do the same. Surprised, she complied. They were leaving? Where was the money? And what the heck did the cat and mouse and dog and trap bullshit mean?
“He’s hiding something,” Zoey said.
Yes. And Addy would find out exactly what once they were alone. Bastard.
“Take care, comrade. The cat you hunt is a feral tiger.” Gavriil smiled at Iriana. “I hope we meet again.”
Not likely. Addy coiled her arm around Kristof’s waist and settled at his side as they fell in step toward the exit. Chairs scraped when they passed Ivan’s table. The brute took point and the other three fanned out around Addy and Kristof.
Her gaze swept the exterior of the club as they stepped onto the sidewalk. Situated within a busy nightclub district, people milled about nearby. Laughter filled the area. Music drifted from a street performer down the road.
Ivan moved from his position in front of Kristof and stepped off the curb. The vehicle was parked on a neighboring street. The man fell, his head struck the curb. Addy took a step toward him, but voices shouted in the com.
“Sniper! Get down, Red!” Johnny shouted.
“Shit!” Zoey said at the same time.
Addy took Kristof down with a kick to the back of his legs. He grunted with the impact as she covered him with her body. Her heart thudded wildly in her chest as she drew out her gun from her purse.
Blood coated her hand.
What the fuck? She lifted up, peered into Kristof’s shocked gaze.
“Afraid I zigged and should’ve zagged,” he said.
“Lavrov’s hit,” Addy said.
No. No. No. She tugged his suit jacket open. The Kevlar-like lining had stopped the bulk of the damage, but the bullet had still hit. Blood poured from a wound near his left shoulder. “Shoulder wound. Applying pressure. Someone get me a fucking vehicle!”
She screamed the latter at the idiots that’d been with Ivan. One hid behind a trashcan while the other two tried to save Ivan. Since there was very little left of his face, she suspected it was too late.
“Get the car!” she screamed again.
“Where is he, Z?” Johnny asked. “Bullet came from my direction.”
“Across the street, in the same building you’re in Johnny,” Zoey said.
“Sixteenth, maybe fifteenth floor based on the trajectory HERA drones got,” Jesse said. “Cracker and Beast, close off the exits to that building. Shep, cover Addy and Kristof. Stay out of sight. Repeat, stay out of sight.”
“Stay with me,” Addy said as she pressed down on the bullet wound harder.
A group of men surged from the strip club. Gavriil’s angered shouts boomed through the area as he ordered them to fan out and provide cover. He crouched on Kristof’s other side.
“Let’s get him inside,” the man said.
“No.” Addy shook her head. “The car. Someone went to get it.”
“He’s safer inside with me until more of his men can come.” Anger filled the man’s face. “I won’t argue this with you, Iriana.”
“How the fuck do I know this wasn’t you?” She aimed her weapon at him. “Who else knew he was here?”
“That’s what we’ll find out after we tend to his injury.”
Cara Carnes. Hostile Ground (Kindle Locations 777-839). Heartscape Publishing, Inc.
Everything gets far more complicated with Kristof injured. The auction is almost upon them and now there’s even more to the puzzle.
Addy and Kristof have a lot to resolve, not only business wise but also personally. These two are explosive together and secrets that are revealed just bring them closer.
Plenty of suspense and action, with laughter, tears, interesting twists and a kindle melting relationship.
I really 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.