USA Today Bestselling Author
Deep in the permafrost of the Arctic, a joint task force, comprised of over one dozen countries, comes together to level up their winter skills. A mix of personalities, nationalities, and egos bring out the best—and the worst—as these globally elite men and women work and play together. They rub elbows with hardy locals and a group of scientists gathered close by …
One fatality is almost expected with this training. A second is tough but not a surprise. However, when a third goes missing? It’s hard to not be suspicious. When the missing man is connected to one of the elite Maverick team members and is a special friend of Lieutenant Commander Mason Callister? All hell breaks loose …
We’ve been getting hints on this series for quite a while and it’s finally here!!
What we know so far is that there have been 3 incidents, 2 deaths; one Russian and one from the German SEAL team both deemed accidental. The third incident is Mountain’s brother, Teegan Rode, disappearing. According to Mountain, Teegan had evidence that those deaths weren’t accidental at all. Now they have to get a team into the Artic and attached to this Artic training program without attracting attention to what they are doing outside of the norm.
When Magnus arrives, there are two more men missing, Terrance Billings and a Russian so recently missing they don’t know his name yet. It just makes the question of what’s going on here far more urgent to figure out. Of course, finding Teegan is imperative as well, but he’s been missing three days now and with a blizzard raging and the temperature it’s really not safe to be outside very long.
Mountain is already there, and they’ve worked out how to communicate without drawing suspicion. The first person we sort of meet in this hostile environment is Jesse who’s seems to have been here awhile. Next is Dr. Sydney Jenkins, she is the only doctor on this base and as she inquires as to how he’s feeling having been outside for so long, she also sneaks in a word about missing medications. Just what they need more mystery.
Sydney also has a bug detector that she sweeps the clinic every time she enters. Mountain gave it to her after he found a bug and now she’s wondering what is so important about the clinic that it had been bugged.
We get a look at the sled dog’s enclosure and meet Joe their trainer, handler and owner. Magnus has already made an impression on some of the dogs. I can picture them crowding him for attention.
Mountain is paired with someone he knew under a different name and thought was on medical leave. Seems his name is Salmo but he’d been called Selly previously. We get to see the Scientist’s camp with these two.
As we hear more grumblings about something going on, no one can actually say what it is. It’s more of a feeling than anything else. Then there’s another kitchen fire and two men are brought to the clinic for burns.
This is a favorite scene.
When Sydney woke the next morning, she felt an uncanny sense of wrongness. She bolted up, quickly dressed, and raced to her clinic. Just as she got there, the door slammed open, and somebody barreled out at top speed. She yelled after him, as she chased him down the hallway, but he booked it outside, and she knew better than to go out there.
As she turned around, Magnus stared at her. He was bare-chested, just in his PJ bottoms, a bit of sleeplessness in his eyes. “What happened?”
“He came running out of my clinic,” she cried out in frustration.
Magnus took off and disappeared outside after the culprit, leaving her open-mouthed at his rash actions. Shrugging, she headed back to her clinic, hoping that Joy was there because Sydney had left everything wide open. Only she saw no sign of her nurse.
With that, Sydney decided she would no longer be sleeping in her close quarters but staying in the clinic, whether she had patients there or not. She quickly checked the time and noted it was just 7: 00 a.m. Most of the others would be in the dining area, getting breakfast or at least coffee.
She checked up on the two male burn patients in her clinic. They were both sound asleep. Whoever had come in either didn’t know patients would be here or hadn’t had a chance to do anything.
Checking on the medicine cabinet, she confirmed it was still locked up. Feeling a whole lot better, she glanced around to ensure everything else was okay.
When Magnus strode in ten minutes later, carrying coffee for two, she immediately snatched one and cried out, “Thank God for that.” She looked up at him— the last she’d seen him, he was chasing her intruder half naked, only now he was fully dressed. She shook her head and chastised herself for being so out of it. “Any luck?”
He shook his head. “No, unfortunately,” he replied grumpily. “I’ve got two other men out looking. If your intruder doesn’t show up soon …” Magnus didn’t say anything to follow up.
She winced. “Sounds as if a storm is out there again too?”
“Yeah, it’s pretty much been bad weather since I arrived,” he noted quietly. “Not exactly conducive to escaping though.”
“Unless he knew of somewhere and had a plan.”
“The real question is, … how would he have gotten in?”
“We don’t lock up any of the external doors to the base,” she explained. “I mean, they’re secured for the wind, but we’re not trying to lock people in or out. This is not that type of facility, and, if people run into trouble, they need to know that they can come in here and take shelter.” She frowned. “So, in a way, it’s just an open public place.”
“Did you get a description of him?”
She shrugged. “I can give you what I remember, but it isn’t a whole lot.” She quickly went through what she recalled, realizing it sounded lame. “I’m sorry. That’s not much. It just seems stupid, but he was dressed all in black. He wore not full winter gear but outdoor gear, for sure. He was moving pretty fast for someone geared so heavily,” she added, thinking back. “But then everybody here is fit and in shape, so no handicap to point out.”
Magnus nodded in agreement. “Right, and everybody here is decent at subterfuge too,” he admitted quietly. She winced. “Did you do a check this morning?”
She stared at him, not understanding at first, then it clicked. She quickly put down her coffee. She got up and pulled the device from her top drawer and quickly checked her clinic. To her dismay, almost immediately it started buzzing. She swore, as she looked over at him. He got up and followed her around, as they pinpointed where the latest bug was. He quickly removed it from the light where it was affixed and quickly dismantled it. Neither of her patients woke up; then, their pain medication was intense.
He held it up, his face grim, as he looked at her. “What are the chances that this is what your intruder was doing this morning?”
She shook her head. “I’m not betting on that,” she muttered. “I just don’t understand what they think will happen here, when I don’t have anything to do with it.”
“To do with what?” he asked, looking at her quietly.
“With what’s going on, particularly after the colonel talked to me yesterday.” She gave a quick shrug. “That was beyond bizarre.”
“I won’t say it wasn’t a surprise,” he replied cautiously, “but the brass? … They’re people, just like the rest of us.”
“Sure they are,” she replied, with spirit. “Yet it seems somebody is trying to set me up, is thinking I’m involved, or is convinced that some top secret information is being talked about around here that they’re hoping to get from me, but I don’t know anything about that.” She raised her hands in disgust. “My superiors are expecting a full report today too. Do I tell them about this?” She waved her hand at the bug. “This will raise the roof, if they think their team is in any danger.”
He frowned. “No suggestion on that but your position is one of respect and has a little more expectation of privacy, so, if people talk to you and want that privacy, … they would do that here.”
“Maybe.” She stared at him. “However, it’s not as if anybody here will talk to me about crimes. I’m the doctor. I’m, … you know, fixing coughs and scrapes and burns now.”
“How badly were they hurt?” he asked, turning to look at the two men asleep on the two hospital beds.
She nodded grimly. “One’s got a good-size burn on his arm. He’s shipping out as soon as I can arrange it. So, right now, I’m just managing his and the second man’s pain. Not a whole lot of treatment that anybody can do for burns here. I’m definitely not equipped for it and trying could do far more harm than good.” She glanced back where the one patient was in a drugged stupor. “I’m hoping to get them both out today.”
“That would be good,” Magnus agreed, with a nod. “It would also mean that they could get supplies in.”
She nodded. “That also would be good.”
“Are you leaving with them?”
She turned and frowned at him. “It’s always an option I have, but no.” She shook her head. “I am the only doctor, so to leave would mean the people here would have no one. I’m not sure how quickly I could be replaced.”
“Yet there’s a nurse?” he confirmed questioningly.
“Sure, but she’s not a doctor. So, if some emergency operation or major issues popped up, … she’s not qualified for that.”
“What kind of emergency operation are you thinking?”
She looked at him, shrugged, and explained, “The last time I was in a similar situation, I had to do an emergency appendectomy.” He winced at that, and she nodded. “That’s the thing. You don’t know what will happen from one minute to the next. I can take X-Rays, splint broken bones, and quite a bit more,” she added, with spirit. “Plus, I signed on for the duration.”
“Which was what?”
“Twelve weeks, and then they would rotate me out with another doctor. If they can get one in.”
“And you’ve done how many weeks so far?”
“Two and a half. No, just over three, I guess.” Looking at the desk calendar, she nodded. “Almost three. You lose track of time in here.”
“So just under nine more to go.” She nodded. “Nine more to go. Unless they shut down early. Or …” She stared up at the light. “If they feel they need to extend it. I just don’t have a clue why anything I’m doing is of interest to somebody else.”
“I don’t either, but you need to be extra careful.”
Dale Mayer. Magnus (Kindle Locations 763-711). Valley Publishing Ltd..
There’s also a lot of gossip that revolves around the women here. According to her nurse Joy, Sydney has managed to get a reputation of being standoffish since she doesn’t fraternize with anyone.
All of this and there’s so much more going on in the background as we meet people, investigate the missing drugs and look for missing men.
Not a lot of action, but more than enough intrigue and plenty of suspense as well as a surprise or two. There’s also the friendship that turns romantic with Magnus and Sydney.
I really can’t wait for the next book in this series!
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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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.