USA Today Bestselling Author
Hale received an unexpected request to join Marsha McConaughey on a special mission. Only four of them would track a terrorist, with a history of blowing up American citizens. The bomber’s current plot was foiled, but, in the chaos, he escaped across the border into Canada, giving a middle-finger salute to the first set of cameras on the other side.
Marsha has been hunting assholes like this one for years. It’s wearing on her. This is her last job, but she’s determined to walk away on a success. This one means more to her than the others. This man took out several members of her team. She wants this a*****e. Willingly chasing him into Canada is one thing, but into the backwoods of Prince Albert National Park is another thing altogether.
When the killing spree continues in Canada, the team is more determined than ever to stop this guy—before he kills anyone else—particularly the woman hunting him.
Hale Rodney is finishing up a course that includes the history of terrorist bombs. One in particular he recognizes the signature. This catches the eye of the instructor who later informs him he’ll be joining a mission to catch this particular bomber.
Marsha McConaughey has been after this bomber, ‘the ghost’, for years. She came really close once and this time she’s determined to get him. This is going to be her last case and she won’t fail. Everything she had set up had to change when the ghost changed his location. He’s now believed to be in Prince Albert, and Hale makes the observation that it’s a good place to hide out, with the huge National Forest.
As they are traveling, Hale makes arrangements to pick up some camping and outdoor gear from his stepbrother. He wants to be prepared for anything at this point.
Marsha is shocked to find her men dead at the house she arranged for their stay. Hale immediately takes over with a contingency plan she had no idea he had. He grabs the groceries the men had bought and gets everything back into the truck. It’s time to go hunting.
Hale takes them the long way around a popular campground, and they walk about five miles to the site he has in mind.
This is a favorite scene.
Finally he stopped and announced, “We’re here.”
He felt her relief rolling toward him in palpable waves, as he turned, grabbed the pack off her shoulders, and said, “Let’s get that thing off you.”
As soon as the pack was on the ground, she crouched into a squat position, wrapped her arms around her chest, and tried to stretch out the center of her back. He dropped his own pack, walked behind her, then scooped up her arms and spread the muscles from her shoulder blades up and around. Then he gave her a hard two-minute massage and added, “That should help.”
She stood up, rolled her shoulders, and nodded. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Now let’s get set up for the night.” He pitched a small tent the same color of the trees around them.
She stared at it. “One tent?”
“Yep, one tent. Neither of us could carry any more than we did.” And, since she had barely even carried her weight, she surely wouldn’t argue. He tossed her a sleeping bag and suggested, “You might want to collect some leaves or something from around here to lie on.”
She winced. “We’ll sleep on the ground?”
“I have one roll each,” he explained, “but you’ll notice very quickly if you don’t have a pillow. Grab your T-shirt and fill it with leaves so at least you’ll have something. Or, if you don’t want to do that, you can just use your clothes, as packed.”
“I’ll try the clothes tonight,” she replied, and he just nodded. As soon as the tent was up and their gear stowed inside, he walked over and looked at the grocery bags that he’d been carrying in the top of his pack. “Was there much that they bought?” she asked quietly.
“Quite a bit. The question now is, how far can we make it go?”
“How long do you expect to be here?”
“Not long, but you saw how far we had to walk.”
She nodded. “I did, and I’m still not thrilled to be here.”
“Nope, but you’re safe at the moment.”
She frowned at that. “Safe wasn’t the entire plan.”
“No, but neither was getting killed, like the other three.”
She winced at that. “That’s not fair.”
“Maybe not, but it’s true,” he replied quietly.
“What exactly will this location do for us?”
“It’s simple.” He pointed. “A spot about five hundred yards from here is fairly popular with locals, yet wouldn’t be something that too many others would know about. However, if the Ghost’s up here, my guess is that he’ll be close.”
“Because he can drive there.”
She stared at him in shock, and then her tone turned ominous. “We just walked for five miles.”
Hale nodded. “He’s on the other side of the river.”
“What good is that?”
“Because I know how to get across.”
She fell silent. “I suppose you’ll tell me now that he won’t know we’re here?”
“We’re higher up. Now he might smell our fire if a heavy fog rolls in, keeping the air down. However, unless he’s quite as good as he thinks he is, he won’t get to us before I can get to him.”
“I suppose you’ll say that you set up some kind of warnings along the way.”
“No, but I am observant enough, and I will be making regular recon trips to see that nobody has followed us.”
She nodded slowly. “I still don’t understand how we’re supposed to capture him up here.”
“It’s hard to say,” Hale admitted, “but he’s hunting us. So we need to go to ground for a while, until either he figures that we’re not coming or he figures any op has been called off because of the killings.”
“He’ll be hunting us regardless, and he knows I would never call it off.”
“That just means we could be staying here longer then.”
“Why, when that won’t get the job done?”
“Why don’t we get a good night’s sleep and think on it,” he suggested.
She glared at him, and he nodded. “I know you’re pissed now, but maybe things will look different in the morning.”
“We sure as hell didn’t have to walk five miles.”
“Yeah, we did, because not too many people would follow us.” Hard for her to argue with that.
“It’s still a long way here and a long way to get back.”
“It is,” he admitted, “and again there’s a reason for it. Let’s see what we have for food and then call it a night.”
She bent down to the large bags that he had packed. “Is this all the groceries?” she asked in astonishment.
“Yeah, what the guys had picked up.”
She noted, “Steaks, potatoes, … even bacon, eggs, and bread. Lots of sliced deli meats and cheeses. Even peanut butter.”
He nodded. “Yeah, so, in a way, we’re in good shape.” She wanted to argue with him, but she didn’t, and that was good because, right now, he wasn’t in the mood. “I’ll cook these steaks, since they won’t keep and hope they don’t bring in predators.”
He soon got a fire going and, with such ease, that she just stared at him.
“You’ve got to remember,” he told her. “This is what I do.”
She frowned at that. “So, if I had picked somebody who wasn’t an expert in survival, I would be in a hotel right now?”
“If so, you’d be dead,” he stated flatly.
She winced at that. “Great, not exactly how I wanted to view this.”
“Maybe not, but you’ve got to admit the chances of that being the truth are quite clear.”
She hated to admit he was right, but it was a good possibility. “I still don’t know how he knew about the guys.”
“It doesn’t matter. Either he’s paid some locals or has other sources, and I know you don’t want to hear this, but they could potentially be within your own department.”
“Nobody knows where I am,” she replied quietly. “And the only one who knows you are here is Mason. Unless you told anybody?” she asked, searching his gaze.
It was hard to see in the dim light, but he could see her eyes. “Nope. I just knew that I had a job to do, so I came. I don’t bother telling people any details. First off, they’re not allowed to know about most of my jobs to begin with, and you never know when things will change, and you end up having to make clarifications later,” he noted. “I’ve learned that it’s just much easier to keep your mouth shut.”
She smiled at that. “Believe it or not, I agree.”
“Oh, you’re not going to argue with me, huh?” he teased, rolling his eyes. “That’s new.”
“Since when have I argued with you over everything?”
“Since … we met,” he stated, with another eye roll.
“Maybe you deserved it.”
He snorted at that. “You might think I deserved it, but I won’t agree with that assessment.”
She smiled. “Of course not, that would be way too simple. All right, so what can I do to help?”
“For now, just sit there and rest,” he suggested. “You’ll be very stiff and sore, so maybe do some exercises to stretch out your body. You might also want to tend to your feet. You’ve probably got blisters, and, for sure, you need dry socks.”
“I can do all that, but is there anything I can do for dinner?”
“Nope, not at the moment.”
Dale Mayer. Hale (Kindle Locations 710-777). Valley Publishing Ltd.. Kindle Edition.
With each page the suspense rises, and both Marsha and Hale are feeling a bit of an attraction toward each other. Of course, this isn’t the time to take action on that.
More death, the involvement of the RCMPs and plenty of hold your breath action as this tale unfolds.
I was sorry to read that this is likely the end of the SEALs of Honor series, although the author says we’ll see some of our favorite characters in other 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.