Breathe – The Arsenal Book 7.5 – Bridge Short Story by Cara Carnes

The Arsenal Book 7.5
Bridge between Hostile Ground and Lethal Echo
Cara Carnes


This is a short, free read bridging Hostile Ground and Lethal Echo.

I love these free short stories between books. We get to see the whole crew in between operations and what they are dealing with at home.

In this one we have several things, Bree is off on her own for a couple of weeks, they’ve cut off communication with the Secretary of Defense their friend Bob, Riley has her first case and so much more. I’m going to just say a bit about Riley’s case since all this goes down while Kamren is in labor.

This case is cooperation with the local police and it’s gonna get a bit hairy even before Riley gets out of the house.

This is a favorite scene.

Riley ran her finger along the scar on her neck. She’d survived her best friend trying to kill her. She could handle anything— assuming she managed to get out of the house. She had six big brothers and a score of other badass commandoes to get through first. Oh, yeah, and none of them knew what tonight’s case was because she and Jud had been sworn to secrecy by the Nomad police department detective in charge of the case. She wasn’t even sure if Kristof knew yet.

Good times.

She grabbed her purse, triple checked that her pepper spray and small .22 were there, then exited the bathroom and made her way downstairs. The temptation to check in on Kamren first rode her hard, but she’d heard Dallas say just moments ago that she was trying to rest a bit.

She was halfway up the stairs when she heard the first “What the fuck?”

She took a deep breath and steeled her spine for the incoming arguments. If the people downstairs, most especially her brothers, knew what she was about to do, they’d lock her up for eternity. The fact they had an entire floor underneath one of the buildings for precisely that purpose didn’t help the unease pricking the back of her neck.

But she was a Mason same as them and she’d be damned if she backed down from a hard case. Jud trusted her to get the job done, and she trusted him to have her back. Too many people would be hurt if she didn’t.

“What the fuck?” The repeated inquiry forced her attention to the third stair from the bottom. Gage Sanderson’s wide eyes and pissed off expression didn’t bode well for how her brothers would react.


“Go change. Now. There’s not enough eye bleach in the world to undo the damage seeing you in that outfit’s going to do to your brothers.”

“What’s going on?” Cord asked. He turned the corner and froze. “Sis. What the hell?”

“Enough.” Riley continued down the stairs. “I’m only saying this once, so you two lummoxes get the hell out of my way so I can get to it.”

“That’s not happening,” Cord said, stepping in her path.

“Move or I’ll make you,” she warned.

“I’d like to see you try.”

Riley sighed and kicked, slamming her stiletto heel into his thigh. Anything higher seemed like an injustice to her future nieces or nephews. “Sorry. I warned you.”

Gage shook his head but remained against the wall where he’d wisely moved. Yep. He was one smart cookie used to dealing with a headstrong woman. Hell, he was surrounded by them on a daily basis just like Cord.

Riley’s mom was thankfully not in the large living room. Neither was Dallas, which meant one less big brother to have an opinion about what she should or shouldn’t do. Her gaze swept the sofas and the walls, where the extra people had propped themselves as the wait to end all waits commenced.

Her gaze locked with Dom’s a moment. Her pulse quickened when his eyes widened, and he shoved off the wall. Raul snagged his left arm and Levi grabbed the other. Again, smart men. Too bad she already knew most of them wouldn’t be quite so wise.

“Are you ready, Jud?” Riley asked, opting for the easier avoidance option.

“Riley,” Marshall thundered. “What are you wearing?”

Okay, so much for the high road. Let the smartass commence in three… two… one.

“It’s called a dress. I realize it’s been a while since you’ve caroused the tri-county, but I assure you that’s exactly what this is.” She looked at Jud and silently hoped that he had her back for the war that was about to ensue.

“I’m thinking we need a debrief on tonight’s case,” Dylan said. “Jud?”

The man’s jaw twitched as he fisted his hands. “It’s confidential. Trust me, I’ve got her back. Kristof and I both do.”

“It’ll take an army to have her back dressed like that, particularly because there is no back. There’s barely a front,” Zoey commented.

“You aren’t helping,” Riley said.

“Sorry, just saying.” Zoey shrugged. “I’ve always got a sister’s back, but this might be a bit too much.”

“Look, I know what this looks like but it’s a simple, quick in and out case.” Riley crossed her arms.

“Quick only because no one seeing you dressed like that could last for more than a minute,” Dom snarled.

Riley gasped. Nolan growled.

“Honey trap?” Mary asked.

“Not exactly,” Jud answered.

“Okay, every male with the last name Mason is on a verbal time out,” Addy said. “You’ve all trusted Jud to have Riley’s back so far. That’s not changing just because of what she’s wearing. And, to add, you also trust your sister to be smart and handle herself.”

Riley took her first deep breath. She seriously loved Addy. The woman was as kickass as they came. Kristof chuckled. Marshall glared at him.

“What? She’s right.” Kristof shoved his hands into his black trousers and smiled. “If it helps, I don’t even know what the case is tonight. Not yet, at least.”

“That’s not helping either,” Jud commented.

“Okay then.” Mary stood. “Here’s the plan.
Cara Carnes. Breathe: An Arsenal free read bridging Hostile Ground and Lethal Echo (Kindle Locations 483-525). Heartscape Publishing, LLC.

Things get a bit crazy with the assignment and it shows once again how this family always has each others back.

There’s a lot packed into this read and it’s got laughter, tears and so much more!

Thank you Cara this was perfect!

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

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Cara Carnes

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.

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