Caught in the Crosshair
by Barb Han
Release Date: June 17, 2013
Heat Level: Steamy
Word Count/Length: 60,000 words/244 pages
Lauren James had ignored the recent spate of calls from her brother. After all, he was a big player linked to a major cartel, and he’d been dead to her for nearly a decade. Then she receives the one call she can’t ignore—her brother’s been kidnapped and will be killed if she doesn’t bring money. No matter how far gone her brother is, Lauren can’t turn her back on him completely. Deep down she’s always wanted to save him. Now, she’s forced into action because he’ll die otherwise.
Ex-Special Forces sniper Jaden Dean owns a private security firm and after losing his older brother to gang violence, needs to take down as many scum bags as he can—single-handedly if need be. And he was the best. Until he trusted the wrong woman on his last assignment and ended up nearly dead in the street.
On a tropical island with a hurricane brewing and dangerous men closing in, Lauren and Jaden will need to work together to survive and find her brother. The cartel seems to be one step ahead, and Jaden’s operatives are being killed one-by-one. He will have to use all his specialized training and risk everything, including his heart, to outwit the deadly group and keep Lauren safe. Their magnetic attraction isn't helping matters...because even a slight distraction might just get them both killed.
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
Excerpt:Lauren James had learned the hard way that sometimes the best childhood was a brief one, that there was a direct link between determination and success, and it only took one phone call to unleash hurt and memories she’d spent the past decade trying to suppress.
“H-h-elp me,” a man’s voice choked out. It was strained and cracked, and he gasped for air when he spoke. Even so, his identity was unmistakable.
She drew a breath, forcing air into her lungs.
“L-l-isten.” He made a strangled noise before his mouth must’ve moved away from the receiver. She heard a train and more voices. One...two...three...she counted, identifying at least three men with terse South American accents.
A crack followed by a pained grunt dropped her stomach to the floor, scrambling her nerves.
“Max. Max? Are you there? Are you hurt? Who’s doing this to you?” The words fired off like buckshot.
More muffled noises, and then a tortured scream seared her eardrums.
“Senorita, if you want tu hermano alive, you pay.”
“Pay? Pay what? Pay whom?” Should she call the police? Maybe she could reach her cell phone and dial 911 now while she still had them on the line?
“Pay or we cut him into pieces.”
Icy regret stabbed her chest. Why hadn’t she taken any of his calls in the past six months? Because the last time he called four years ago, he wanted to use her for money.
“No. Don’t hurt him. Tell me what to do,” she said, trying to keep panic out of her voice. Think. Think. Her cell was in her purse in the kitchen. Could she get to it?
“You bring in the cops, lady, we cut him up and mail you the pieces.”
No police. Of course they would have anticipated that. She’d have to go alone. Alone. Panic brought bile to the back of Lauren’s throat. It burned.
Scuffling noises came through the line before another loud crack sounded.
“Then we come looking for you.”
“No. No police. I’ll be there.”
Max screamed in agony, then shouted, “Don’t do it, sis. Don’t listen to them. Go far away and don’t come back. They’ll kill you too. I’m already dead.”
She’d sworn she would never allow herself to be pulled back into Max’s world again, but she couldn’t turn her back on him. Not like this.
“Please. Stop. Don’t hurt him. I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll go wherever you say. Just tell me what to do!”
“You better pay, perra. If you don’t want to glue his body parts back together. One hundred and fifty thousand dollars.”
“Wait! I can’t—”
Another crack sounded, followed by more moaning.
“Please. Stop. I’ll. Do. Anything.” Where she would get that kind of money, she had no clue. It didn’t matter. She had to find a way. A throb ricocheted between her temples.
“Antigua Bay Resort. In two days. On the beach at noon.”
“Oh. God. No.”
Lauren didn’t hang up. Not even when the dial tone sounded.
Think. Think. She had a little money in savings. Her business was doing well. Maybe she could secure a loan for the rest? But how? There was no time. Where on earth would she get that kind of cash?
Knees weak, she sank to the kitchen floor. Her body quaked. A slow ripple that arose deep in her belly moved through her chest, her arms, her hands, her fingers.
Tremors vibrated down her legs, all the way through her feet.
She didn’t move. Or cry. The fight drained from her.
But she shook so hard it felt as though her bones might fracture, splinter through her skin, and explode into a thousand tiny flecks of dust.
About the Author:
Barb Han is the author of romance novels and romantic suspense. Her debut romantic thriller, GONE, was released January, 2013, and features a desperate woman who wakes in a mental institution determined to find the son she's told never existed.
Her novella, Seducing Avery, was released early this year, and has received much acclaim due to her unique storyline that features an Asian hero. Another Asian hero romance, The Billionaire Bargain, released early this summer exclusively for Kindle. The wide release is scheduled for late August. Her romantic suspense, Caught in the Crosshair, features a determined sister and an ex-military sniper on a tropical island with a hurricane brewing and dangerous men closing in. This story is now available exclusively for Kindle.
Barb is under contract with Harlequin Intrigue. Her first book featuring a rancher from North Texas will be published in early 2014.
Barb belongs to Romance Writers of America, DARA, KOD, and NTRWA where she volunteers as often as she can. She graduated from The University of North Texas with a bachelor degree in journalism.
She lives in North Texas with her own Asian-hero husband, has three beautiful children, a spunky Golden Retriever/Standard Poodle mix, and too many books in her 'to read' pile. In her down time, she plays video games and spends much of her time on or around a basketball court. She's passionate about travel, and many of the places she visits end up in her books.
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