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Hostile Ground – The Arsenal Book 7 by Cara Carnes


Hostile Ground
The Arsenal Book 7
By
Cara Carnes

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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.

Until now.

They must work together to save those they love, but the real war is one neither of them is prepared to wage.

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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.”

“It is.”

“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!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Check Out These Free Reads
on Cara’s Website!

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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Justice for Angie – Police and Fire: Operation Alpha – Counterstrike Book 2 By Cara Carnes


Justice for Angie
Police and Fire: Operation Alpha
Counterstrike Book 2
By
Cara Carnes

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She’s never met a fight she couldn’t win…
until now.

After brutally murdering someone in Angie Bierman’s dojo, the killer targets her first and then people she cares about to scare her off the investigation. Determined to prevent further tragedy, she does the one thing she can to keep them safe—run.

Six months and ten cities later, she’s financially destitute, emotionally spent, and desperate for help in the relentless fight for her life. One close call too many brings her into contact with an elite organization. Their offer to help is too good to be true. The ruggedly handsome operative promising to put himself between her and the psychopath hunting her may have no intension of mixing business with pleasure, but he’s a temptation she can’t resist.

There’s no line he won’t cross…

John “Twitch” Stanz spent years serving his country and returned home to help his friends run Counterstrike—an organization created to help individuals caught up in impossible situations. Despite all the lives he’s helped save before, the fearless, beautiful woman now in his charge is a danger he’s never faced. She’s tenacious, passionate, and everything he could ever want, but the beast chasing her won’t stop until she’s dead.

Twitch will use every resource at his disposal to keep Angie alive even if that means taking the bullet for her.

Dojo owner and martial arts expert Angie Beirman has left everything behind to keep the people she cares about safe. She had been attacked several times in a short period of time following the brutal murder of a member of her dojo. Angie was looking for some kind of evidence to point to the real murderer, she doesn’t believe that Hannah’s ex Eric was capable of it. She has a suspicion of a wealthy business man but getting the police to investigate isn’t happening. They have Erik and believe the case is closed.

Unfortunately no matter where she goes she is found and attacked. She’s been in Chicago only two days when hired thugs find her again. They don’t have the answer she needs. Injured, she runs yet again and she’s helped by two women who know just who can help her.

The network Zero D (Zoey from the Arsenal) started is the perfect way to help Angie disappear but there’s a problem they don’t know about yet. Counterstrike is the branch that will start the process and the Arsenal steps in to help when necessary.

This is a favorite scene.

Ben pulled out a cell phone. “I’m going to make a call, put it on speaker. Listen to what he says, then we’ll figure out the next step. Okay? I’ve helped a lot of people in trouble thanks to this crew I’m gonna call. They can help.”

Angie wished it was that simple. Rather than argue, she leaned her head back on the pillow and willed the pain away. Ben took her hand and squeezed as the line rang.

“This is Jade.”

“Hey, man. I’ve got someone here who needs help. Angie’s been shot. Looks like there was an altercation of some sort here. A local thug was killed.” Ben paused. “She has evidence of recent injuries.”

“Angie?” The man’s voice boomed through the cell phone. “I’m Jade. I facilitate entry into a network to help people in trouble. The more information you give me, the safer I can make you.”

Angie swallowed. Remained silent.

“Who’s after you?” Jade asked.

When she made no reply, Ben squeezed her hand. “This network has never failed anyone they’ve helped, Angie.”

“Someone’s hunting me,” Angie admitted. “I can’t prove who, but he hires local thugs to capture me wherever I go. Ten cities now. Six months. I’m sorry. You can’t help me with this.”

Silence descended a few heartbeats. Jade sighed heavily. “The shit you call in isn’t ever easy, Ben.”

The man smirked. “You wouldn’t want the simple problems.”

“True that.” Jade paused. “Zero D’s restructured the network. I’m gonna route the call to Counterstrike. They’re an organization that’s helping run things now. If things are bigger than they can handle, Zero tags in her crew. I’ll be honest. There ain’t much Counterstrike can’t handle.”

“Thanks, man,” Ben said. The line went quiet several moments.

Unease pricked Angie’s skin the longer she waited. Every wasted minute increased the risk someone would find her. Exhaustion demanded she give Ben’s contacts the chance to help. Running had gotten her nowhere.

“Angie? My name is Twitch. I’m going to help you get to a secure location.” The man’s gravelly voice boomed from the speaker. “Ben, I understand she’s not alone with you.”

“No. There are three others here. Several more saw her enter this apartment,” Ben said. “She was shot, too injured to move.”

“She’s stable now?”

“As stable as I can get her,” Ben said.

“Okay, good. Can we trust those around to keep quiet about this?” Twitch asked.

“What the fuck?” Isa’s boyfriend shouted. “I ain’t no snitch.”

“I’m more worried about you talking if whoever is after her puts pressure on you,” the man said. “I determine how best to contain the situation.”

“She killed someone in a local thug’s crew,” Ben said. “At least, that’s what we’re assuming based on police activity near where she was.”

“Angie?” Twitch asked.

“I had no choice. They attacked.” She swallowed the revulsion rolling through her. It’d become too commonplace to justify the blood on her hands, the damage she’d done to stay alive. “This wasn’t the first attack, won’t be the last.”

“It will if I have anything to say about it,” Twitch replied. “Ben, someone will be in contact in a few hours. They’ll want the names of everyone there now and as much information as possible on the altercation.”

“Understood.”

“Angie, are you strong enough to leave on your own, or do I need to send someone to retrieve you?” Concern softened the man’s words. “I need an honest answer.”

“I’ll manage.” Angie sat up. Dizziness overcame her a moment. She eyed her backpack in the corner of the room, near the door.

“She’s lost a lot of blood,” Ben said.

“I’ll manage,” she repeated, her voice stronger than before.

“Very well. We’ll trust her judgment for now, but you can take her the first few steps until she’s out of Chicago, if you’re okay with the risk. You understand what that means.”

“I do.” The man’s lips thinned. “I’ll get her out safe.”

“Get her out of there. Take us off speaker. I’ll give you instructions once that’s done.”

Angie stood, leaned against Ben. “I can’t let him endanger himself any more than he has. I’ll do it alone.”

“Let him help you, girl,” Vani pleaded as she stood.

“Thank you for saving me.” Angie hugged the woman. Then repeated the action with Isa. “I can’t risk any of you more than I have. I wish I could repay your kindness. Please, let me do this alone. You’ve done enough.”

Silence ticked by a few more moments. Twitch sighed heavily into the phone. “Fine. I’m going to trust that you can do this alone. But the first sign of trouble, and I’m sending someone to help you.”

“Fair enough.” Angie gritted her teeth and ignored the achy throb along her injured side.

“Call me if she gets into trouble,” Ben said.

“I will.” Confidence exuded from Twitch. Angie clicked the speaker off when she took the phone.

Determination kept her standing. She looked down, noted someone had changed her shirt. She picked up her backpack and winced as pain lanced her side. The corridor outside the apartment was empty. Thankful for the lack of witnesses, she exited the building.
Cara Carnes. Justice For Angie (Kindle Locations 328-372). Aces Press, LLC. Kindle Edition.

Right from the start of her escape with Twitch on the phone with her she somehow picks up a tail. This is going to be an issue, but ever persistent, Twitch gets her to safety and then finally on a plane to him.

This book is intense, suspenseful, page-turning, action-packed, and romantic with some sizzle too.  It is also filled with so many characters I love. It was great meeting Twitch and Angie and seeing the Arsenal folks as well as Cruz and Quint from Susan Stoker’s crew.

I can’t wait to see what Cara has in store for us next!

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

Click the Cover for Buy Links!

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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Impact Zone – The Arsenal Book 6 by Cara Carnes


Impact Zone
The Arsenal Book 6
By
Cara Carnes

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Every action has an equal
and opposite reaction.

Rhea Strathmore creates death. Locked within her laboratory at The Arsenal, she concocts whatever’s necessary to protect those around her. She won’t ever negate her pre-Arsenal deficit, but she’ll try. Her past work now threatens everyone she cares for and exposes secrets she’s kept buried. The mysterious man tasked with keeping her alive is more lethal than anything she’s ever concocted.

Everything has a price.

Fallon Graves defies death with every assignment. He may have traded in his lone operative lifestyle for The Arsenal, but that doesn’t mean he’s a team player. He’s survived his entire life with no one. Why should he change? When Rhea’s past threatens The Arsenal, Fallon is forced to question everything he’s valued. She’s a liability in the field, but he’s not about to let anyone harm the woman who’s more dangerous than any explosive he’s ever created.

Together, Rhea and Fallon are one volatile chemical reaction away from going up in flames.

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From almost the very first page I was holding my breath with this one. Rhea doesn’t go on missions, her comfort zone is her lab. Fallon knows this too, and he isn’t pleased when he’s told she has to go in order to identify bio-chemicals that are hazardous. Chemicals that she had created years ago and not with the intent Carlisle has for them.

They have gone over the plan repeatedly and although she’s ready, Fallon’s still skeptical and confronts Edge one more time, to no avail.

Rhea’s nervous, but Bree also has her back. Unknown to the others she has included a few extra items in Rhea’s backpack, just in case.

This is just one of my favorite scenes.

He listened as Zoey and Cord guided Sanchez through steps to secure the van. Sweat dampened Fallon’s skin by the time he’d placed all the charges and returned to Rhea and Donovan. The two, sans hazmat gear, were in the hallway outside the lab. The animals were each on a cart, which was fully contained within a bubble except for its handles. A secondary protective layer was around each of the sleeping animals. Small oxygen tanks sat on the lower level of the cart. The remainder of the second shelf of each was loaded down with paperwork and the computer.

Donovan grunted as he shouldered a second pack.

“You’re clear for exit,” Edge said.

“I should double-check the unsecured area of the lab, make sure I didn’t overlook anything,” Rhea said. She turned and headed toward the lab.

Fallon grabbed her arm. “We’re done.”

“But—”

“Let’s go.” Relief filled him when she moved behind him and curled her fingers through his belt loop. Donovan maneuvered both of the carts and fell into position behind Fallon and Rhea as they exited the laboratory.

Two large drones hovered in the center of the long corridor. The large, black objects were larger than any The Arsenal used.

“Shit.” Zoey’s curse quickened Fallon’s pulse as two drones he’d dispatched flew forward to intercept the enemy. “Battle Bots time, Arsenal style.”

“Engage,” Jesse barked over the com.

Fallon aimed his weapon as Donovan did the same. The two fired on the black monstrosities as The Arsenal bots moved to intercept the fiery red projectiles shooting toward them. He turned to get Rhea secured, but she was already curled exactly how he’d told her to if trouble hit.

Relieved, he refocused on the drones.

“Donovan, get her out of here,” Fallon said.

“No!” Bree’s voice pierced the coms. “The drones we have aren’t combat. Drugs won’t take those two down. Rhea, get your backpack open. Pull out the black case inside.”

“What did you do?” Edge asked, her voice quiet on the com.

“I packed a few extra things, just in case,” Bree said.

“And didn’t tell us,” Jesse added.

Fallon hauled himself and Rhea into the nearest room as Donovan fired on the drones. Bullets ricocheted off them. “Armored.”

“Of course they are,” Zoey clipped, her anger evident. “What’s in the case, Bree?”

“Move,” Bree ordered.

“You got them, Rhea?” “Yes.” Fallon crouched beside Rhea as she dragged out a black case and unzipped it. Four round balls sat in holders. Two had red streaks while the other two were coated with yellow stripes. “What now?”

“Roll one of the red ones into the hall and take cover. I’ll handle the rest,” Bree said.

“Care to share with the rest of the class?” Zoey asked.

“Is there another way out of this room?” Fallon asked.

“No,” Jesse answered. “Standby.”

Right. He settled into a protective crouch above Rhea. Donovan positioned himself along her other side. Between the two of them, she’d be safe. He looked over and noted the other man had hauled the animals in.

Fiery red beams shot out and pierced the door they’d slammed shut. Donovan rolled one of the balls into the corridor.

“It’s out,” Donovan said. “Any day now. You know, before we’re dead.”

A concussive boom shook the entire area. Bright light filled the area. What the fuck? Fallon’s ears rang. Disoriented, he blinked and shook his head.

A grenade?

What the fuck?

“Status?” Edge asked.

“You okay?” Fallon asked Rhea. His voice sounded distant, as though he’d entered a tunnel. Shit. Hearing damage was the last problem he needed.

He’d suffered from hearing loss for years. The unwanted byproduct of the life he led had proven problematic only a few times. He’d been on enough missions to know what needed to be done. As long as he kept the com turned to high in his “bad ear”— which was at a solid sixty percent hearing at his last checkup with Logan— he’d hear what the bosses ordered. That left his “good ear” to hear everything around him.

Her lips moved, he heard faint words, but nothing distinctive. Her head nodded. Yes. Rhea repeated the words in a non-ending loop as the three of them rose from their crouched positions. Donovan entered the corridor, weapon drawn.

Shock reflected on his face a moment. Lips thinned in a grim expression, he motioned they were clear.

Rhea pushed one cart in front of her and pulled the other behind her. Though he wanted to leave the animals behind and get the hell out while they could, they’d come too far to abandon the new objective now. He snatched the case and Rhea’s backpack and headed out.

Donovan grabbed the remnants of the bots in the carnage. Relieved the man was already two steps ahead, Fallon willed his breathing to slow. That’d been too close.
Cara Carnes. Impact Zone (Kindle Locations 904-945). Heartscape Publishing.

Taking down Carlisle is a complicated move and the planning has to include several different back-ups.

Throughout everything, Fallon has Rhea’s back and to his surprise she has his. She cares about him and it’s evident on every page.

These two are a bit frustrating in their dance even as the danger and suspense ramps up.

I couldn’t put this book down, the hold your breath action, plenty of suspense, laughter, tears and the romance that is both frustrating and perfect as it makes its way to a sizzle.

I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Check Out These Free Reads
on Cara’s Website!

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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Commando Christmas – The Arsenal Book 4.5 by Cara Carnes


Commando Christmas
The Arsenal Book 4.5
By
Cara Carnes

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This is a short, free read to help bridge events between Zero Trace and the continuing story arc Battle Scars.

This book covers the span between Zero Trace and Battle Scars. It’s a delightful free read. As the crew prepares for Thanksgiving and Mama Mason’s homecoming, everyone has a job to do. Bree had assigned Kamren to get the turkeys to feed the gang.

This is a favorite scene.

Bree’s phone chimed. “Hey. You here?” The blonde paused a moment. “Yeah. There’s plenty of folks around to help. Just pull up by the double doors leading to the mess hall. We’ll meet you there.”

Dallas perked up. He’d returned from taking the boys to their doctor’s appointment in Nomad to find Kamren gone. That was several hours ago.

“Sure, he’s right here.” Bree held out her phone with a shrug. “She wants to talk to you.”

“Hey, sweetheart,” he said into the phone.

“I think I messed up,” Kamren whispered. “Promise not to laugh?”

Dallas tensed. The worry and agitation reflected in her voice. Stepping away from the huddled crowd, he lowered his voice. “What’s up?”

“She said to pull up by the mess hall to unload,” Kamren said. “I think I messed up.”

“Unload what?”

“Turkeys.”

Dallas squeezed his eyes shut and rocked back on his heels as the weight of the lone word filled him. The beautiful and amazing woman he’d kill for had been sent to pick up turkeys. Someone as resourceful as her— used to fending for herself and living off the land— wouldn’t buy turkeys.

Damn.

He caught Marshall’s gaze across the mess hall and signaled for support. “We’ll meet you by the barn, sweetheart. You did good.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah.” Dallas looked around at his brothers, who’d all arrived at his side. “We’ll meet you outside.”

He clicked off as DJ and TJ wrapped their arms around his legs and looked up. Worry reflected in their gazes. They’d carried far too much concern in their eyes the past few weeks. Their grandma’s car accident had rocked the foundation of their new life in a big way.

Hell. It’d rocked everyone’s foundation.

“There’s a problem,” Marshall surmised.

“Misunderstanding,” Dallas answered as he glared at Bree, who held the clipboard in her arms. “You sent Kamren to get turkeys.”

“Well, yeah. Someone had to go. She was the only one without assigned tasks,” Bree said. When everyone started laughing or cursing, she looked around. Eyes wide. “What?”

“Thinking a woman like Kamren wouldn’t go to a store and buy turkeys,” Ramon said as he approached.
Cara Carnes. Commando Christmas (Kindle Locations 82-101). Heartscape Publishing, LLC.

Thanksgiving is a success and there are many little things that tie up loose ends as Christmas approaches. Doubts about motherhood for Mary and Vi, meeting Gage’s family for Zoey, and so much more.

I am really looking forward to the next book in this series!

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Check Out These Free Reads on Cara’s Website!

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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Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads Blog | Amazon Author Page

 

Battle Scars – The Arsenal Book 5 By Cara Carnes



Battle Scars
The Arsenal Book 5
By
Cara Carnes

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Scars don’t always heal…

Jesse Mason chose duty over love and endured the hell of captivity comforted only with thoughts of the woman he left behind. Though the physical damage has healed, the emotional battle continues now that he’s home. He fakes happy and whole until Ellie is thrust back into his life. She’s everything he ever wanted but can never have. Getting wrapped up in her problems is not an option, but neither is leaving her in danger.

Without her he’d be nothing.

Scars aren’t always visible…

Ellie Travers salvaged her scarred heart and landed headfirst in a horrible marriage. Now divorced, broke, and desperate to care for her ailing mother, she accepts the only job offered — Office Manager at The Arsenal. Working for the man who broke her heart should be simple compared to escaping a hellacious marriage. But only she can help Jesse win the final war for his soul, and she’ll do anything to save him—even at the risk of losing herself.

The battle lines have been drawn. Together they must navigate the minefields of love and sacrifice because failure is not an option.

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Cara Carnes has done it again, this book tells us about Jesse’s capture and confinement. The unspeakable things done to him and how the thoughts of Ellie and home kept him alive when mostly he wanted to die.

We also get to understand a bit more about Levi, the man who has Jesse’s back 24/7. He’s  there when the nightmares take Jesse back into the hole.

Ellie’s got more than one problem, the biggest is her ex-husband, the man who stole everything from her and her Mom. The man holds threats over her and is abusive even now.

I adore the Arsenal crew, they pull together for their own and nothing is considered to be unimportant if it affects one of them. The first thing they have to do is get Ellie and her Mom safe, then they can take care of her ex.

This is a favorite scene.

“Mom?”

Rustling from the small bedroom off to the left of the living room drew Ellie’s attention. Her mom shuffled into the living room with more spunk and speed than she normally had, which meant she was still having a good day so far.

Ellie hated to darken a good day with her mess, but if Jesse thought she’d be safer at The Arsenal, she wouldn’t argue. Phil terrified her.

Her mom froze. Her widened gaze settled on Riley first, then Jesse. “What are you doing bringing them here?”

“We need to go and stay at The Arsenal a few days.”

“No.” Her mom’s lips thinned. “You wanna abandon me and go live out there, just say so, Ellie-belly. Don’t drag me into it. I’m perfectly fine here.”

She should’ve called Brant first. The doctor had a way of getting her mom to cooperate when no one else could because he was kind. Patient.

“Someone shot my tire out. Phil showed up, dragged me out of the truck, and threatened me.” Speak straight and leave nothing out. It was the best way to handle Mom on most days. Her mom halted her progression toward the recliner across the small room.

“Phil.” She spat his name like a curse. “You never had any sense when it came to men. Worst taste. I thank God everyday your daddy didn’t live long enough to see the mistakes you’ve made.”

Jesse growled. Riley gasped. Ellie squeezed her eyes closed and willed patience. She and her mom had always had a somewhat strained relationship, but the cancer had made it worse the past few years.

Since the marriage. Then the divorce.

“What’s he want with you now?” The woman sat in her recliner. “I’m not hiding out with those damn Masons ’cause you hooked up with that yellow-bellied weasel.”

“You’ll have a place to yourself. None of us will enter or bother you,” Jesse promised.

“You after my girl again?”

“No, ma’am, but she needs to be protected. We can do that easier at our place.”

The quick reply pained Ellie. She glanced away and gave Jesse the lead because dread cemented her tongue and filled her throat. It’d been years since Jesse and her mom fought. He wasn’t a kid or a young man any longer. He was a battle-hardened warrior. She was a cancer-ravaged woman.

Ellie loved them both.

“It’ll be easier on Ellie having you out there. She’ll be on the road less and out of danger,” Riley said. “She really is in danger, Ms. Travers.”

“Why’s he messing with you? What’d you do this time?” Her mom glared.

“I have no idea, but we’ll find out and get it sorted. Then we can come back here. Please, Mom. I don’t want him coming here while I’m gone and messing with you.”

“I suppose it couldn’t hurt to be closer. Lord knows she spends enough time out there and flitting back and forth,” her mom said. “You’ll keep my girl safe?”

“I will,” Jesse promised.

“I’ve never had much count for you Masons and I’m not gonna turn into one of those Mason-loving locals. But I’ll go.” Concern rushed across her mom’s face as they locked gazes. “Are you okay, Ellie-belly?”

“Yeah, Mom. I’m good.”

“I’ll help you pack,” Riley whispered.

Ellie replied as the woman was already pushing her into the small bedroom.

“We can hear them from here. You have a suitcase?”

Ellie nodded and grabbed it from her closet, along with a duffel. Her mom’s supplies alone would take a lot of room. She ran her hands down her jeans and looked around at the shambled mess of a life— one she’d kept closed off from anyone seeing. Sometimes Brant came into the bedroom to look at Mom, but in typical doctor mode, he never saw anything past his patient.

Or pretended not to.

She couldn’t pack everything up and haul it to The Arsenal compound. Whittling it down was… impossible. Where did she even start? The weariness she battled every day struck hard. Her mind blanked, refusing to process an action plan.

Someone had shot her tire.

Phil threatened her.

“You two should go,” Ellie said. “I’ll get packed. Send someone back for us.”

“We aren’t in any hurry.” Riley touched her arm. “It’s okay, Ellie. Let me help you.”

“There’s too much to pack. I don’t even have enough suitcases. Mom needs her supplies and lots of clothes. Then there’s the other stuff.”

The bedside toilet her mom peed in. The bed, which was more of a cot than a medical bed was against the wall. Boards raised the head of the cot because they couldn’t afford anything expensive but needed something more positionable than a standard bed. Embarrassment crawled through her as she glanced at Riley.

“It’s okay,” the woman said as she studied the bookshelf of supplies. “You have everything so organized.”

“It helps keep Mom…” Ellie halted the excuse. In truth, the carefully placed items were more for her sanity than her mom’s. “It’s the one thing I can control with Mom’s illness.”

“I’ve got an idea.” Riley pulled out her cell and punched a button. “Hey, Logan. It’s Riley. I’m over here at Ellie’s picking up her mom. Could you call Brant and coordinate equipment and supplies with him? I’m thinking we already have most of what we need on hand. I know we have the bed and a few other things.”

The woman listened a minute and smiled, as if the doctor on the other end could see her. “Thanks.”

Ellie blinked. Logan Callister was The Arsenal’s doctor. He was a nice man she’d chatted with a few times, but he tended to keep to himself in the medical ward. “He’s too busy to deal with this.”

“None of us are too busy.” Riley locked gazes with her. “Remember the night of Mom’s first surgery? The day of the accident? Remember when you went into our home and started bossing everyone around? You moved the table out of the dining room and called Burton Construction to alter Mom’s home?”

“I didn’t mean to overstep. I was just helping.”

“Now it’s our turn.” Riley touched Ellie’s shoulder. “You’ve been doing this alone?”

Ellie nodded. “There’s a nurse. Connie. She works a few hours a week.”

“Then you come to work and handle my six brothers, all their team leads, and operatives. The geek squad. The visitors and demanding idiots on the phone. Then you took on teaching DJ and TJ.

“You do all that and then come home to this.” Riley squeezed her shoulder. “You should’ve told us. We could’ve helped.”

“Mom’s private.”

Riley’s lips thinned.

“She’s been hurting a long time. Pain does things to people, makes them meaner than they intend to be.” Ellie slid the defense out from the recesses of her mind where it lived. How many times had she muttered it? Hundreds? Thousands?

“They aren’t going to let her stubbornness put you at risk.”

“It’ll blow over. Phil will move on. He always does.”

“One way or another you need help with her. What if she fell while you were at work? What if she got into her medicines and took too much?” Riley’s gaze softened. “I have a friend whose aunt was really sick. I know it’s hard.”

Ellie nodded. She’d spent many restless nights worrying about her mom. The what-if trail was endless with ten thousand forking paths to even more what-if scenarios. Affordable elder care was impossible to find in Marville. Palliative care? Pft. Impossible times a thousand. Add in her mom’s surly attitude toward everyone in general and it’d been a vicious rollercoaster Ellie couldn’t get off.

“I promise we won’t interfere too much, but you need help. Let us be there for you the way you were for us.”
Cara Carnes. Battle Scars (Kindle Locations 539-603). HeartScape Publishing, LLC.

There is a big can of worms the CD Ellie has opens. Far more reaching and dangerous than Ellie could ever imagine. The unimaginable from the past that extends to the present. All leading to the take down of more than just Ellie’s ex.

More about Dani, her brothers, and so many more. Something to grab you on every page.

A lot of emotion as the Arsenal crew sorts through everything. Jesse and Ellie begin to understand more about the people they have become as they deal with both their pasts.

I had to stop reading a few times to let my eyes clear of the tears that filled them. Love, family, friendship and simmer to sizzle heat.

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

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Check Out These Free Reads on Cara’s Website!

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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Free Book From Cara Carnes! New Dawn – The Arsenal Book 3.5



New Dawn
The Arsenal Book 3.5
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Cara Carnes

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This is a short, free read to help bridge some of the events after book 3, Blood Vows. And the continuing story arc in Zero Trace.

Intertwined with some steamy scenes of the honeymoon being taken by Mary, Dylan, Vi and Judson at a gorgeous tropical island resort, we get a look at the rest of the players in this series.

First we see Kamryn with TJ and DJ, as she encounters their hoarding of food. Reassuring these two and having them believe that sort of thing isn’t necessary is going to take time. I love the interactions between Dallas and Kamryn, and the love they lavish on their boys.

A girls night out gives us a glimpse of Bree, Addy, Riley, more Kamryn but it’s a little confrontation with Zoey and Gage that perks the interest.

This is a favorite scene.

“Uh oh,” Zoey whispered.

“What?” Bree asked. The blonde peered behind Kamren and toward the door.

“Fuck,” Addy cursed. “What did you do?”

“Me? Nothing!” Zoey declared, a bit too loudly for Kamren to believe.

Red rose in the woman’s face and accentuated the wild pink and purple of her hair. Gage Sanderson prowled through the crowded bar and made a beeline for their table. He offered a curt grunt to everyone as he turned Zoey’s stool around to face him. Hands on the table, he leaned into her personal space.

And waited.

“Oh boy,” Riley said. “Someone isn’t happy.”

“No shit,” Addy replied.

“Wow. That’s hot,” Bree whispered.

Kamren chuckled. Gage glared her direction, then returned his focus to Zoey.

“Get out of my face, Sanderson,” Zoey clipped angrily.

“You and I are having a conversation,” he said.

“No. We aren’t.”

“Who were you talking to?” Gage asked.

“You’re loco.”

Zoey tried to turn her stool toward the table, but Gage put a hand on her knee and stepped forward until his legs interlocked with hers. Heat spread through Kamren as she imagined Dallas doing that with her. It was a possessive statement, one which matched the heated expression in the operative’s gaze as he watched Zoey.

“You put me and my team on hold,” he said.

“Oh boy,” Addy said.

“While we were in the middle of a mission,” he added.

“I did not. First, the mission had not started. You were waiting for the green light—one I hadn’t given. Second, my phone calls are none of your business.”

“Everything you do is my business, Little Bit,” he whispered. “Remember what I told you at your apartment the day we met?”

The woman’s gaze widened. She gulped but nodded.

“You ready to tell me what the fuck is going on with you yet?”

The woman shook her head. “You don’t own me, Sanderson. Back off.”

“Secrets have a way of blowing up in people’s faces around here, Little Bit. The sooner you spill, the better it’ll be.”

“You’re loco,” she replied. “Someone I used to work with needed some help. Okay?”

“You put us on hold in the middle of an op.”

“I didn’t.” The woman’s eyes widened. “It wasn’t like you were in a jungle or a desert. You were in Seattle in a coffee shop. That’s so beyond cliché it’s kind of pathetic, to be honest. You didn’t even need me running the op. It was an easy in and out.”

“No op we do is an easy in and out,” he said, his voice husky. “The Edge and Quillery aren’t around to cover your ass, Little Bit. You need to stay focused on the missions.”

“Noted.” She crossed her arms and glared up at him. “Are you done with me?”

“Not by a long shot.” The man turned and left.

Wowza. Kamren took a swig of beer and looked around at the startled expressions of the women around her. Gage was a ghost around The Arsenal. He’d had Dallas’s back while he searched for his sons but remained far more aloof than the other team leaders.

“What was that about?” Bree asked.

“Nothing,” Zoey answered.

Kamren chuckled.

“What?” Zoey asked.

“That’s so far from nothing it isn’t in the same stratosphere,” Kamren commented.

“Someone’s been studying her words,” Rhea said with a smile.

Heat rose in Kamren’s face as she nodded. She wasn’t close to ready for the GED exam, but the studying had become easier. She wanted to set a good example for the boys, who had an equally challenging uphill battle to wage for their education.

“Why were you laughing?” Zoey asked.

“Last time a man came in here with that kind of frustrated attitude was Dallas when he hunted me down.”

Riley and the other women laughed. Red rose in Zoey’s cheeks.

“It’s not like that.”

Right.
Cara Carnes. New Dawn (Kindle Locations 276-311). Heartscape Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.

A wonderful transition between Blood Vows and the continuing story in Zero Trace. It answers some questions and expands on some events.

Lots of heat, it is a honeymoon after all, some fun and I guess you could say some interesting testing.

I am so looking forward to the next book in this series!

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming August 6th!

Check Out These Other Free Reads on Cara’s Website!

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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Another Free Read from Cara Carnes! Double Tap – The Arsenal Book 2.5



Double Tap
The Arsenal Book 2.5
By
Cara Carnes

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This is a short, free read to help bridge some of the events after book 2, Sight Lines. And the continuing story arc in Blood Vows.

Dallas is so frustrated, every lead on finding his son becomes a dead end. As the Team returns home from the latest disappointment, Mary and Vi’s elation at having their men home is overshadowed by the sense of failure.

I love the support all of them have for Dallas, the determination never to give up the hunt.

This is a favorite scene.

But the tri-county didn’t much care about either Vi or her man. Jud had spent his life as an assassin in a covert organization. And her? Well, she’d spent her life holed up in operational theaters keeping good men like him alive for the sake of honor, country, and keeping everyone safe.

So her friends list was limited (though growing) and her family list was do-not-discuss. His was nonexistent, except for his family. They were pretty awesome.

Maybe they’d go to Vegas instead. She smiled at the thought.

“What are you laughing about?”

“Thinking we’ll go to Vegas for ours,” she whispered. “Can you imagine the Jensens in Vegas?”

Mary and Cord laughed. Vi joined in, because really, Jud’s parents would be hysterical in Vegas. She wished they’d stay at The Arsenal a while longer, but they’d be leaving in a few days. They’d planned to leave yesterday but decided another week would be a good idea. Then they could spend a bit more time with their grandson and son-in-law before they left.

Jud’s nephew Jacob was entrenched deep within The Arsenal. He and his dad were going up to Boston for a few weeks to get things sorted for his studies to continue down here while he worked on his dissertation. The nineteen year old was freaking brilliant.

The momentary bask in merriment watching the two moms offered was halted by the voice on the com. “They’re back.”

Without a word she, Mary and Cord rose. An ugly brew of regret, guilt and shame coated her insides now. She regretted not finding the right target zone, felt guilty she’d failed her teams, and she was utterly destroyed with the shame that she had no idea where to look next. She bit her lips and swallowed her dose of nasty.

Dallas Mason didn’t need any of the toxic emotions spoon fed to him, nor did anyone exiting that plane. They’d been through this before, several times. They never questioned her or Mary on targets. They’d trusted her with the where. Every. Single. Time.

And she’d failed.

Doc Sinclair had been working with her and Mary both on letting go, walking away and leading a more normal life outside the theatre. For the first time in a long while, she wanted to. She craved normal down time with Jud. And Mary wanted to nest. She’d mentioned heading up to San Antonio more than once, maybe shopping for baby clothes—not that she knew the sex. She and Dylan wanted to be surprised.

But there’d be no shopping in San Antonio. Not until they found Dallas’s son and had him home where he belonged. There’d be no normal because no one at The Arsenal was normal, nor would they ever be. They all lived to kick bad people’s asses. Hard, like only they could.

Which was why Vi suspected they’d be going wheels up to another target zone again just as soon as HERA spit out new coordinates. The entirety of The Arsenal (except for those missions they had to take) was focused on one mission—find Dallas’s son.

A smile swept across Mary’s face when they arrived at the makeshift tarmac and watched the team exit the plane. To say her best friend had missed her man was an understatement, one Vi understood because she’d missed the hell out of hers as well.

Even though The Arsenal had scores of operatives who could undertake the mission to find Dallas’s kid, there’d never been a discussion as to who’d go. All his brothers. All the team leads. Only Cord had grudgingly remained behind to help their latest employee Zoey guide the secondary missions.

All thoughts of the future missions to find Dallas’s son fled her brain when Jud prowled toward her. Anticipation, desire and love surged her forward, into his arms. Their mouths collided, a hungered union of tongues and lips that promised much more pleasurable activities would commence soon.

He smelled of wilderness, dirt and sweat. She sighed and inhaled the scents.

“Missed you like crazy, Viviana,” he whispered in her ear.

She smiled. Only he called her by her full name. “Missed you too, Jud. Come on, let’s go home.”

Home was a small cottage not too far from the building which housed the operational theatre. In time they’d likely relocate to one of the larger homes currently being constructed by Burton Construction.

The landscape of The Arsenal was changing in a big way. Cattle were in the process of being sold, houses for the Warrior’s Path were under construction.

Dallas was the last to deplane, as if a part of him refused to surrender the fact they’d left another zone without success. Her eyes burned as she made her way too him. Mary was already there, arms wrapped around him.

He’d never know the woman had spent most of the last few days puking into a bucket beside her computer within the operational theatre. Morning sickness sucked, mainly because it didn’t relegate itself simply to mornings. Mary was The Edge, though. She never quit or surrendered.

Neither did Vi.

Until they found Dallas’s son, they wouldn’t rest. Or stop.

“We’ll find him,” Vi said as she took Mary’s place and hugged him tight.
Cara Carnes. Double Tap (Kindle Locations 59-99). Heartscape Publishing. Kindle Edition.

There are other surprises in here as well. Dylan’s Mom and now Judson’s have been planning a plotting. Mary and Dylan were more than happy to surrender their wedding plans to his Mom, but now something is in the works and Vi and Mary can’t figure out what they’re up to.

I love all the little things in this one that form the bridge between Sight Lines and Blood Vows. Lots of emotion, and plenty of heat will have you turning the pages.

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming August 6th!

Check Out These Other Free Reads on Cara’s Website!

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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Did you know, Cara Carnes has free books on her Website? Moving On – The Arsenal Book 1.5 by Cara Carnes



Moving On
The Arsenal Book 1.5
By
Cara Carnes

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Newsletter subscribers only – PDF File

If you haven’t read Jagged Edge, I suggest you wait to read this. It occurs immediately after the end of book 1 in The Arsenal series and bridges its conclusion with the second book, Sight Lines.

If you are a fan of the Arsenal series, you won’t want to miss this book. It’s a novella, short, sweet, sexy and to the point. While you do have to sign up for Cara’s newsletter to get it, who wouldn’t want to know when the next book is coming out?

The girls are going to head to Marville to collect Rachelle and bring her to the compound for her own safety. Dylan would much rather do other things with his fiancé but his sister is quite persistent.

This is a favorite scene.

“We’d agreed to work Marville together,” he whispered.

“Yeah, but after the reaction your brothers got, I’m thinking I’m better off going without a Mason man glowering at everyone.”

“You aren’t doing this alone.” “Of course not. I’ll have my girls.”

“Riley shouldn’t be part of this,” Dylan added.

“I’m thinking the entirety of the US Military couldn’t keep her away,” Mary retorted.

A loud banging on the door startled Mary. Dylan drew her closer as the door rattled.

“Mary? You’d better not be in there doing naughty things with my big brother. You’re supposed to be downstairs, ready to go.”

Damn.

She looked over at the clock and then up at Dylan, who was flashing a not-so-nice-look toward the locked door. “She can wait.”

Mary chuckled. “I’m afraid we’ll have to wait to continue this. Once we get started, I doubt it’ll be quick.”

“Never, not with you,” he promised. He cupped her face. “You get overwhelmed, or need me, you call.”

“I’ll be fine.”

“I know you will be. Just remember it’s okay to step back and focus on you.”

“You’re starting to sound like Doctor Sinclair,” she teased.

“Mary?” Riley pounded on the door again. “Don’t think I won’t kick this thing down. Get your cute, brilliant ass out here. We’ve got a hornet’s nest to stir up, and Addy’s not the patient sort.”

No kidding.

Dylan kissed Mary softly on the lips. “See you later, sweetheart. Text, let me know how it’s going.”

“HERA will have eyes on us.”

The system she and Vi had created was at the root of so many of the problems they’d had lately. It was almost hard to believe something they designed in their dorm room was worth all the effort to secure. But she couldn’t regret it’s creation, not when it’d saved so many lives and done good. That trumped the evil, right?

Mary hoped so.
Cara Carnes. Moving On (Kindle Locations 36-53). Kindle Edition.

More of the friendship between Riley and Rachelle, and we also get to know her brother Chris a bit. Insight into what Kamren is up to and so much more. There’s sizzle between Mary and Dylan, well they are engaged after all. Plus the beginning of wedding plans.Don’t miss this wonderful filler to bridge The Jagged Edge and Sight Lines.

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming August 6th!

Check Out These Other Free Reads on Cara’s Website!

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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Releasing Tomorrow! Zero Trace – The Arsenal Book 4 by Cara Carnes



Zero Trace
The Arsenal Book 4
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Cara Carnes

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blurb-fall-cornucopia

Don’t get noticed.

Zoey “Zero D” Danson thought it was an easy rule to follow. For years she toiled in cubicle 12A of the NSA’s data farm compiling security briefings and Intelligence reports. But she put her neck on the line and burned a dirty government operation to keep a covert ops team alive.

Now she’s “one of them.” She’s not a nameless, faceless civilian anymore. She’s part of The Arsenal—and in way, way over her head.

Trust no one.

Gage Sanderson recognizes a threat when he sees it, and the newest geek in The Arsenal’s back office is trouble. She’s smart, secretive, sexy, and everything he shouldn’t want. They risked their necks to keep her safe, but she’s hiding something and it’s up to him to figure out what.

He’s sworn to never trust another crew at his back, but his team is worth the risk. He won’t make the same mistake twice—even if it means killing the only woman who’s ever made her way past his defenses.

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This book takes over where Blood Vows leaves off. Zoey has helped the Arsenal in several things earning their respect. However, the most recent has unfortunately put a target on her back, a call to the Arsenal has them sending someone to meet her.

Gage stepped in to get her out of a very sticky situation with orders to secure her and get her to the Arsenal.

This is a favorite scene as they collect her things and her cat.

“I don’t trust her,” Gage declared into the com.

Zoey Dansworth may have saved Fallon and his team, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t trouble. The woman skulked into her bathroom and shut the door. They’d been in the small, upper northside apartment for five minutes, and she’d yet to find Dobby—aka the reason they were there.

Gage glowered as something flashed in his peripheral vision. He drew his weapon and eased into the next room, a small dining room. The entire apartment was…

Clean.

Too clean.

Antiseptic, devoid of personal touches. Gage wasn’t the personal touch kind of guy. Give him a pillow and a passable sleeping surface, and he was good to go. But he had three sisters and a mom.

Women nested.

Hell, even Vi and Mary nested in their operational theater at The Arsenal compound—little knickknacks spread here and there, a few more than at first now that they’d both settled in with their men.

“She saved Fallon. I’ve worked with her in the past. She’s solid,” Vi said.

Gage couldn’t think of anyone he’d trust more than Vi and Mary, but that didn’t make them right. He aimed his weapon under the dining room table, where the white tablecloth moved. Something swiped at his leg.

What the ever-loving fuck?

He jumped backward and flicked the safety off his gun. A growl rumbled from beneath the table, followed by a hiss. Some rabid animal maybe? The paw had been small and gray, definitely not a cat.

“What are you doing? Put that away!” Zoey swatted his hand, positioned herself in front of his drawn weapon, and crouched down. “It’s okay, Dobby. The mean, scary commando isn’t going to hurt you. Come on out. It’s okay. Come on.”

Gage clicked the safety on his gun and listened as the woman cooed and whispered nonsensically. A hideous thing crawled from beneath the dining room table.

“That’s a cat?”

No way in hell. The wrinkled animal was half rat-gray and half tan, with bulging, green eyes. A feral-like rumble radiated from it as it swiped at Gage again and offered an opened-mouth hiss.

“Don’t be rude,” Zoey spat angrily as she curled the hairless, big-eared “cat” against her body and glared. “Dobby is a beautiful Sphynx. He takes a while to warm up to people, though. Here, you get to know him while I pack his clothes.”

“Clothes? Cats have clothes?” He stared at the strange woman as she went back toward the bedroom.

Snickering on the other end of the com made Gage growl a low warning in his throat. “Don’t.”

“Oh, you don’t scare me, Gage Sanderson. My man growls way better than that,” Vi said.

She was not wrong. Judson Jensen was one of the few men Gage wouldn’t ever want to take on in a fight. The former assassin had become a hell of an Arsenal asset, one who got a wide berth from everyone—including Gage.

“Here, put Dobby’s sweater on him, and I’ll get the rest of his things.”

The hairless cat growled from his new position in the crook of Gage’s arm. Zoey, aka Zero D, wandered out of the room. He followed.

Her shoulder-length hair was a bright purple with pink tips. She was a short bundle of full curves he couldn’t help but appreciate, especially since she’d changed into curve-hugging leggings with telephone booths which ran down her short legs.

He glanced down at Dobby, who watched with a wary expression. “I don’t like the situation either, but we’d best man the fuck up and get on with this. You gonna let me do this the easy way, or are we going the hard route?”

Dobby growled.

Fair enough.

Zoey’s voice drifted from the other room. Suspicious, he quietly made his way toward the bedroom, but couldn’t hear what she was saying.

“Can you amplify what she’s saying, Vi?”

The earbud he wore went silent a heartbeat, then returned, the volume louder than before. Gage didn’t know how Vi had turned the com into a listening device. He never understood half of what she and Mary did. That’s what made them the Quillery Edge.

“I’m sorry. I know the timing sucks, but I’ve gotta go. I’ll be in touch when I can, but until then I need you locking everything down, just in case. I’m sure it’ll be fine, but we need to be safe.” Zoey’s voice paused. “Okay. Let me know if you see anything or anyone at all suspicious. Don’t try and be a badass. Bye.”

“Find out who she was talking to,” he ordered.

“Already in process,” Vi said. “I started vetting her through HERA before we dispatched you to retrieve her. Her phone records will be dumped soon enough.”

Good.

While a part of Gage was more than willing to eat a bullet because she’d saved Fallon and his team, he wasn’t fully ready to trust her. Not yet.

He’d almost died because of blind trust once before.

He wouldn’t ever let it happen again. The moment she entered the living room, he crowded into her personal space until she backed up against the wall. The flash of fear in her gaze gave him a second’s hesitation, but this needed to be done.

The Arsenal was good people. They didn’t deserve to get mired in whatever shit Zoey Danson was hiding. She’d done Fallon and his team a solid, which meant Gage and everyone else would have her back.

“You’re hiding something,” he said.

“Step back.”

“Whatever you’re hiding had better not surface and affect The Arsenal. If it does, you and I are gonna have problems.” Gage stepped back and handed over the sweater-clad cat. The sooner they got back to The Arsenal, the better.
Cara Carnes. Zero Trace (Kindle Locations 238-284). Heartscape Publishing, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

As Zoey keeps her secret things are about to take a turn. Her former boss Ian Schmidt from the NSA links her to the disappearance of a Congressman’s daughter. Zoey has no choice but to involve the Arsenal in her network that saves women and children in trouble.

Lots of hold your breath moments, suspense and action will keep you turning the pages as you watch not only Zoey’s network but also her and Gage’s relationship. These two are kindle melting hot in more ways than one.

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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Snow and the Shadows – Roteran Shadows Book 1 by Cara Carnes



Snow and the Shadows
Roteran Shadows Book 1
By
Cara Carnes

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Princess Snow Cavell finds herself captured by her evil stepmother and handed over to seven ruthless men known as Shadows—the most feared assassins in the known galaxies. Snow’s link to the Cosmos is a threat, one that can no longer be tolerated if her stepmother intends to win the war and rule the Intergalactic Alliance.

Their orders are clear—either execute her or deposit her on one of the slaver colonies to be sold. But the Shadows have other plans for the beauty, plans that will fracture alliances throughout the galaxies and shift the tide of the Intergalactic War.

No one controls the Shadows. They’d sworn to remain neutral during the War, but all bets are off now that Snow’s life hangs in the balance.

**Author’s Note** This work was originally published in April 2018 as part of the Once Upon a Harem Series.

I have read many adaptations of Snow White but this one is by far my favorite.

Snow is the daughter of a slave and a king. The current Queen, her stepmother, wants her gone, dead in fact. The Shadows of Roteran were not having any of that and helped Snow disguise the fact she can in fact control the energy within the well. Then they claim a boon for their wasted time. Her father came up with the terms. She battles the guards, if she wins, the Shadows get her to use, then kill and send the proof to Queen Vilma.

This is a favorite scene.

I fought the guard as he forced my hand toward the liquid.

No. No. No.

I’d once touched the Summoner’s Well with an index finger the first solar cycle I’d been aboard The Paradox. The fallout had imploded the area and left me knocked out for days. Yora had explained it was because I was part Tezan. My mother’s bloodline was a conduit between the Well and its true commander, the Oracle.

Send the power to me, female. Relax and accept the queen’s will or you will die. Send the power to me.

The voice in my head was deep, husky. Steely like the blade of my sword.

One of the Roteran Shadows. I recalled the history Lazar had offered. When Tezans reigned over the Summoner’s Well, they voiced the Oracle’s Will. Roterans enforced the decisions. Roterans were a noble race who’d chosen to remain neutral in the Intergalactic War. They were fiercely private and feared by all. The purple color denoted the Shadow hierarchy.

Send the power to me, female.

I can’t. It’s too much.

I thought the response, though I was no telepath.

Send the power to me, female.

The psychic push was too much to resist. I succumbed, channeled the power the Well offered, and hurled it toward the voice.

The thick liquid encompassed my hand. My insides burned, my body trembled. Pain coursed through my veins, singed my blood as though my entire body was about to explode.

Send more, female, the second male voice commanded. Too weakened from containing the Well’s power, I obeyed.

The guardsmen’s grip on me slackened. I collapsed beside the column.

“Well, it’s as you suspected. She is a common Tezan whore.” The queen waved her hand. “Do as you wish with her, guardsmen. I tire of her presence.”

The men laughed and jeered as they hauled me away. I punched and kicked. “Touch me and you die.”

I shouted the warning again and again as the men dragged me backward. I knew what guardsmen did with slave whores. I’d heard enough stories, remembered the horrors from my father’s home world.

“I thought you wished her sold at the market.” The stranger’s voice boomed within the room. One of the Shadows stepped forward, his gaze flashing disinterest as he regarded me. “We don’t trade damaged goods, Queen Vilma. You know better than to waste our time.”

“Yes, clearly my information was incorrect. My apologies. I expected the slave to have at least some royal Tezan blood. She’s not worth the effort of hauling to the slave market. My guardsmen will have their fun, then snap her neck. I have no need of your services after all. You shall have another opportunity to prove your loyalty to the new Crunan Skeron Empire.”

“I’m afraid you owe us a boon for traveling here, Queen. I must insist. If you don’t wish to waste credits, give the female to us. I assure you she’ll be taken care of in a manner befitting her station.”

“I’ve heard you Shadows are quite sadistic.” The queen smiled. She raked a long, talon-like nail down the man’s torso. She looked over at my father. “What say you, husband? Do you have a preference for how your slave’s child dies?”

My gut soured. Nausea threatened. I hung between the two guardsmen.

My father’s lip curled. “No, but this bores me. I require entertainment. Choose two of your best guardsmen, my bride. I hear my slave child is trained in weaponry. Let us see what she has learned. If she loses, your guardsmen may have her. If she wins, she will die at the hands of the Shadows.”

“Excellent.” The queen purred the order. “Proceed as my husband commands.”

The two guardsmen released me. Pain rose up my thighs as my knees impacted with the hard cargo deck.

They’d killed Lazar, Evon, and Vellis. And my caregiver Yora. I seethed and molded the anger. The time for a decision was upon me. Truth told, I should be dead already. Had it not been for the Shadows in my head, I would be.

Someone had taken the power I channeled without anyone noticing. How? Why?

Why would Roterans help me?

The questions rolled through my mind.

I took a deep breath and decided to trust my gut instinct.

A wise warrior retreats to fight another day. There is no victory in a certain death.

Lazar always taught me lessons through sayings that were more riddle than anything else. What would he have me do? The answer was swift, the only one.

Warriors did not surrender. They died in battle.

The Shadows. I’d fight to win, align my fate with the seven strangers circling my father and his new bride. Perhaps they’d let me pay for my freedom. I knew so little about the Roterans, but Lazar always portrayed them as a proud, noble species.
Cara Carnes. Snow and the Shadows.Roteran Shadows Book 1. Kindle Locations 152-193. Kindle Edition.

There is far more to the Shadows than anyone knows, and some of that is shown when they honor her fallen guards.

I love the way this story slowly winds it’s twisted tale. The patient way the seven shadows wait for her to realize each piece of them as the attraction builds steadily.

Awesome world building and I loved all the heroes and the couple of heroines. Snow and her Shadows are perfectly matched. I can’t wait to read their next adventure.

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

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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