by Winter Austin
GENRE: Romantic Suspense/Military Thriller
Five years ago, Josephine “Mockingbird” Caruso belonged to an all-female black-ops military group named Hera Force—a team tasked with bringing down terrorists like the enigma dubbed the Chessmaster, but the faceless criminal mastermind had other plans and single-handedly destroyed the operation, ruining the women’s military careers and their lives.
Ex-Delta Force operative, now Detective Lincoln Sullivan reports to the scene of a mass-murder, learning all too quickly he knows the victims. The killer has left behind a deadly missive just for him: Find the Mockingbird or more will die.
Lincoln flies to New Orleans where Jo lives with her twin brother. Lincoln and Jo had once been co-operatives and lovers. But the fallout from Hera Force’s destruction left what little relationship they had in tatters. Jo has no desire to work with Lincoln again, but the threat to her life and the remaining two operatives, Nadia “Phoenix” Roth and Jade “Dragon” Delacour force her hand. The four former teammates are thrust together once more and on the run. But there are unknown forces moving in the background and an old enemy is about to return with a vengeance.
Tensions between the ex-lovers come to a head when Lincoln learns his partner is an army agent working under Hera Force’s top general, a man who’s not all he seems. Each step the four teammates take they are met with death and destruction. Buried lies and half-truths begin to unravel Jo’s shaky trust in Lincoln until all is brought to light. When the killer strikes, Jo is faced with a hard choice, be the leader she was born to be, or lose Lincoln forever.
The doorbell echoed through the townhouse. Jo glanced at the clock. Noon. With Eric gone, and she having no connections in the city, there was no reason for a visitor. She frowned, turning the volume down on the TV, and waited. The bell rang out again. Insistent. Sighing, she set the remote down and abandoned her work. Upon exiting the office, she turned and partially closed the pocket doors.
A large, dark, solitary figure shifted on the other side of the beveled glass.
Her ballet flats were silent as she crossed the floor. Pressing an electronic button released the security locks for the front door. She grasped the handle and pulled the antique door open. “Yes?”
The man turned. Jo’s gaze landed on his scruffy face and her heart hammered in her chest. “You!”
She swung the door hard, but he’d gotten his hand up, stopping it from shutting and reengaging the lock. Struggling to keep him out of her home, Jo snarled, “You have some nerve coming here.”
“I need to talk to you. Let me in.”
“Go to hell, Lincoln.”
He managed to overpower her—the years hadn’t weakened him any—and he pushed the door open wide enough for him to slip inside. Jo struck with an open palm, but he caught her wrist an inch from his nose.
Peeps, I have found a new author of romantic suspense to stalk and read. Goodness, this book. I’m still coming down from it. Intense from the start, it grips you and doesn’t let go. Seriously, peeps. The bullets fly all the time in the book. Not complaining but I never expected it. I will admit that I don’t read too many military thrillers so I was a little unprepared for that but it made the book that much more realistic for me. Plus, the fact that we are NOT reading about a black ops unit with men. I know, I know…most of the military romantic suspense books are led by men but Ms. Austin makes her lead a woman and it so totally works. I’m not just talking about Jo. Nadia and Jade a completely bad*ss, too. I wouldn’t want to mess around with any of them.
Jo and Lincoln are a great couple. I understood the motivation behind Jo not completely trusting Lincoln. A girl can only take so much but Lincoln was patient with her. Plus, I liked how Lincoln interacted with the other ladies in the book. Each has a specific skill set and it’s great to see them all in action. Plus, Thor. OMG, a dog is the book and I will leave it at that. Ms. Austin does an excellent job of writing each of the women so differently and it works. I won’t spoil who Nadia and Jade are but let’s just say, that I will be pre-ordering their books. Honestly, I couldn’t get enough of all three of them. Separately and together. Add in Lincoln, Thornblade, and Beckhorn and now we are cooking.
I really liked how the romance worked in the book. It’s not forefront but it simmers throughout the book. Ms. Austin doesn’t have to bring it out with Jo and Lincoln. We know their backstory and she doesn’t fall into the same trap that most writers do and bring it up a thousand times in the book. There are more pressing matters at hand than worrying about romance. Bigger stakes are involved. Lots of family issues are explored in the book, too. Most of which, I NEVER saw coming and I will leave it at that. Ms. Austin managed to shock even me and that’s hard to do.
Overall, I loved this book and can’t wait for Nadia’s story next. I will also remember that bullets will fly and to make sure to remember that Ms. Austin never lets up on the action, the plausible plot points, and the overall kick*assery of a woman that can take care of themselves.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Winter Austin perpetually answers the question: “were you born in the winter?” with a flat “nope,” but believe her, there is a story behind her name.
A lifelong Mid-West gal with strong ties to the agriculture world, Winter grew up listening to the captivating stories told by relatives around a table or a campfire. As a published author, she learned her glass half-empty personality makes for a perfect suspense/thriller writer. Taking her ability to verbally spin a vivid and detailed story, Winter translated that into writing deadly romantic suspense, mysteries, and thrillers.
When she’s not slaving away at the computer, you can find Winter supporting her daughter in cattle shows, seeing her three sons off into the wide-wide world, loving on her fur babies, prodding her teacher husband, and nagging at her flock of hens to stay in the coop or the dogs will get them.
She is the author of ten novels, with more on the way.
Find Winter on:
Website – https://www.winteraustin.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/author.winteraustin
Twitter – https://twitter.com/WinterAustin
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/iasuspensewriter/
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/winteraustin/
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Winter Austin will be awarding an e-copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.