Zack’s Zest – Heroes For Hire Book 24 By Dale Mayer

Zack’s Zest
Heroes For Hire Book 24
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Zack wasn’t someone to focus on his mistakes, but he’d made a big one, and it was hard to move on from it. Still he was determined to work with Levi’s team to find new meaning in his life and to get his head on straight. At least that was the plan. When he ends up part of a two-man team to rescue a kidnapped woman, the daughter of a former politician, Zack doesn’t know how to react—she’s certainly unique. Not the least of which, she didn’t appreciate the rescue. … At least not once she learns the details.

Zadie knew her father was guilty of the crimes he’d been accused of. She was more concerned about her mother, who’d always been the downtrodden and obedient wife. But, as more and more evidence shines a light on their lives and her kidnapping, the issue is no longer as clear.

Heartbroken at the losses that keep mounting, Zadie knows she needs a second rescue—hopefully by her same rescuer. Only it’s not as simple this time, and it’s infinitely more dangerous …

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This book opens with a very interesting conversation between Levi, Ice and Zack. He wasn’t sure if he was in or out, until he was in. Confusing but not, given how Levi hires and the fact that very soon Ice would have her baby so they aren’t going to be chasing the bad guys for a while. The case Zack is given is to find and rescue Zadie Nather. The daughter of a former Turkish politician. His partner will be Bonaparte, a friend and he had served with him in the SEALs. They don’t have a lot of time and there’s little information.

Zadie was grabbed and drugged while she was planning her own getaway. Her parents were under house arrest due to her father’s crimes. She has no doubt about his guilt, but her mother needs to get away too. Now she doesn’t know where she is or what the motives of her kidnappers are.

With some incredible luck, Zack finds Zadie. Now he has to get her away, interrupted she stays put while he hides. They are going to need to get away quickly once the coast is clear.

This is a favorite scene.

“It’s me. Stand back.” He unlocked the door again, standing there like a badass.

She stared at him in shock. “How did they miss you on the search?”

He smiled and said, “Come on. Let’s go.”

“I have no shoes or coat.”

“Grab one blanket,” he said.

She quickly snatched up a blanket, wrapped it around her, and, leaving the door closed, as if locked, followed him silently through the basement, only able to see him in front of her. The rest of the floor was so dark; it was void of light. When they got to another room, he spoke again. “This window is broken and doesn’t have bars. I will lift you up, and you go through the window and wait for me on the other side.”

Before Zadie had a chance to make a sound, he boosted her up and popped her through. She fell out of the small window ledge onto the grass below. Immediately she untangled herself from the blanket. The blanket had stopped her from getting cut; by the time she had the blanket off and on her feet, he stood beside her.

He quickly tossed the blanket back inside and replaced the wood that covered the broken window. “Now,” he said, “we have to be beyond careful.”

She looked at him in surprise.

“We have absolutely no cover from here to the tree line,” he replied to her look. “This is where it gets dicey.”

She whispered in a low voice, “They saw someone outside. That’s how they knew that somebody was probably inside.”

“No,” he corrected. “That’s how they worried somebody might have been inside. Now we have to make sure we get you away from here before they can confirm it.”

She looked back. “I should have brought the blanket with me.”

“No, don’t worry about it. They’ll know soon enough how we got you out.”

She winced at that. “Do we just run as fast as we can?”

“How tired are you?”

“I’m exhausted and terrified,” she said. “However, believe me. When it comes time, I’ll be able to run, just not too far.”

He pointed to a series of trees, about one hundred yards away. “Can you make it there?”

She looked up to see a flashlight shining above. He immediately pulled her flat against the house and held a finger against her lips. He pointed to a cloud moving across the sky. “When the moon goes dark, we will go like bats out of hell,” he murmured.

She nodded, her breath caught at the back of her throat as she watched the clouds drift across the moon. She could hear him counting down beside her.

“Four, three, two, one, go.” And they raced into the night.

Zadie ran as hard and as fast as she could. The cold basement room she had endured over the last few days— plus her lack of food— had already taken a lot of her energy, but the panic she felt at being recaptured lit a fire to her heels. She stumbled several times, but her savior always pulled her forward again until she regained her feet. By the time they reached the trees, her head pounded, and pain seized her chest as it tried to rise and fall. She struggled to catch her breath. Collapsing to the ground, Zadie rolled to her side, pulled her knees against her chest, and gasped for air. “Did we make it?”

“I’m checking,” he said.

She watched as he peered through the trees back at the house. The same house her parents were in. She couldn’t believe she was still here, still in the same damn place. Were they okay? Was her mother okay? From where she lay, it seemed the same. She needed to get out of here, make a new plan, and see how to get her mother out of her prison, possibly with the help of this new guy. Her previous plan would no longer work, what with the house-arrest guards and now this inner element of kidnappers involved, all at the same house.

She understood the two brothers wanted to get their father out of jail, but, according to the one woman, the father was somebody who shouldn’t come out of jail. It made little sense why they kidnapped Zadie when she was already a captive. But, as usual, more than one game plan was happening here, involving different political ideologies, she presumed. She lay on the ground, wondering if her body would ever feel normal again. For all the debilitating cold she experienced inside, a weird numbness now spread up her legs.

Finally her rescuer dropped beside her and asked, “Are you okay? We have to get out of here.”

“I’m okay,” she lied. “Help me to my feet.”

He reached down, she clasped his forearms, and he helped her up. “We will go around the back,” he said. “We can’t risk staying here any longer.”

“I know,” she said. “They have some sentries around, and another two guards were looking after me, but also a woman is with the two jailers. I don’t think she would come outside.”

“They will have more men around. Let’s go.” She did her best, really she did. She thought she was in great shape physically, but he was moving too fast, too steadily ahead of her. Even with her best efforts, she fell behind.

Immediately he corrected his pace, and he whispered, “Come on. You can do this.” He reached out a hand, and she grabbed on, as if it were a lifeline.

“Says you,” she said. “Where the hell are we going anyway?”

“Off this property into a couple estates on the other side. I’m not out here alone. I do have a partner. We have a vehicle not too far away.”

At the sound of a getaway car, she almost cried with relief. Every step was bone jarring. “I’m not feeling too well,” she gasped. The stitch in her side made it difficult to breathe.

He slowed his pace to a walk, and she bent over double, gasping for breath. “It’s hard when you go past the normal pace,” he said. “We have to get your breathing back down, before we can speed up again.”

She just nodded.

He kept walking, nudging her forward, not allowing her to stop longer than a few seconds. She really needed a ten- or a fifteen-minute break, but she understood why she couldn’t have it. She said, “Are we going straight to the vehicle?”

“In a roundabout fashion,” he responded. He pulled out his phone and quickly sent several messages as he kept walking. “Damn it.”

He seemed to be one of those incredibly solid people who could continuously multitask. She knew she texted better when she was stationary or sitting down. She marveled at all those people who could do it while walking or even running. For her, doing such would have caused her to fall.

When his phone vibrated, he nodded with satisfaction. “We are confirmed to meet a couple estates over,” he said. “It’s not far, about two miles.”

“Why can’t they pick us up here?”

“Because the two of us are here on the property,” he said. “We parked the vehicle so it was hidden from view near the house.”

“Two miles is a long way,” she said.

He looked at her, concerned. “Did they beat you?”

“No. Starved, yes. And drugged. I’m still dealing with those aftereffects.”

Understanding whispered across his face. “I’ll see if he can find a closer rendezvous point.” Even as they talked, he quickly sent off a text.

She was grateful and said, “We need probably what? A half hour to go two miles?”

“At least,” he said. “If we were running, we could do it in fifteen minutes, but, if you can’t run, then we’d be hard-pressed to walk it in that time.”

“So let’s go,” she said bravely.

He picked up the pace slightly, and she caught him glancing at her several times in concern. She thought she’d been doing better, keeping up fine.

Then he said, “This isn’t working.” He bent down and picked her up.

She gave out a small shriek as she was suddenly airborne. He was carrying her at a run, and she was no lightweight. She was 130 at least.

He started to jog now.

“Good Lord,” she said. Her arms went around his neck, as she hung on tightly, trying to stop the jostling. For whatever reason, it was killing her. Racking pain ran up and down her body. But she pursed her lips and hung on.

“It’s the only way to get there in time,” he said.

“Nothing closer?”

“Nothing doable,” he murmured. “Just hang on, and this will be over soon.”

“If you say so. How is it you can even do this?” she whispered. She could sense the effort he was putting in, and his body was already streaked with sweat as he carried her. “I’m so sorry,” she said. “I wish I could do more.”

That startled a laugh out of him. “Don’t be,” he said. “If you were on my back, it’d be a different story. Carrying you like this is a little harder.”

“I can go on your back, if that’s easier?”

“Maybe,” he said. “I’ll let you know. In the meantime, I’ll keep going this way.”

“But you can hardly see,” she said. “I can barely see anything.” Indeed, her vision had closed down to a light gray everywhere. She closed her eyes and clenched them tight as she tried to catch her breath. If she could at least do that much, she could regain her feet and run beside him. “I used to run,” she said, “but I haven’t in the last few years.”

“Not an issue,” he said. “Let’s just keep moving.”
Dale Mayer. Zack’s Zest (Kindle Locations 410-485). Valley Publishing Ltd..

By the time Zack makes it to Bonaparte, he realizes Zadie is injured. Now she needs medical care. I have to say I was impressed with the way Levi seems to find what they need from so far away.

This mission is far from over though, Sadie’s mom is in trouble. Her father is dead and she absolutely needs to get her mother. You know that’s not going to be easy, right?

A suspenseful and intriguing tale with a relationship that blossoms in spite of everything going on.

I can’t wait to read Bonaparte’s story.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming Soon!

Bonaparte’s Belle

about-the-author-fall-cornucopia

Dale Mayer

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.


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