Today I'd like to welcome an author who writes some fantastic romantic suspense to Reading Between the Wines, please give a warm welcome to Catherine Mann! Catherine is joining us with her new release of Hot Zone and has a great post that I'm sure you'll enjoy, along with a special excerpt from her upcoming novel, Under Fire (May 2012)! Keep an eye out for my review of Hot Zone coming soon!
“The First Noelle and her Christmas Reindeer Pups!”
By Catherine Mann
Anyone who knows me expects that at some time in our conversation, I will be discussing dogs! I adore my own three and I also foster for the local Humane Society. In fact, this Christmas, I’m fostering a mama beagle and her four pups. We’ve named the mother Noelle, and her pups are named for Santa’s reindeer (Dancer, Prancer, Comet and Rudy!)
My love of animals overflows into many parts of my life, so it’s no surprise that dogs show up in my books. In HOT ZONE (Dec 2011) a secondary character is a search and rescue dog handler. She goes on to be the heroine in book 3 of my “Elite Force” series coming out in May – UNDER FIRE.
Below, is a little more about UNDER FIRE, along with a never before seen excerpt from when we first see the heroine and her dog Disco.
“Elite Force” Book 3
A decorated hero, pararescueman Liam McCabe lives to serve. Six months ago, he and Rachel Flores met in the horrific aftermath of an earthquake in the Bahamas. They were tempted by an explosive attraction, yet parted ways. Still, Liam has thought about Rachel every day—and night—since.
Now, after ignoring all his phone calls for six months, Rachel has turned up on base with a wild story about a high-ranking military traitor. She claims no one but Liam can help her — and she won’t trust anyone else.
With nothing but her word and the testimony of a traumatized military cop to go on, Liam would be insane to risk his career — even his life — to help this woman who left him in the dust.
UNDER FIRE by Catherine Mann
From Chapter One:
Rachel Flores learned to break into cars when her mom rescued animals from locked automobiles. But she’d never expected to use that skill to lock herself and her dog inside a vehicle.
Checking over her shoulder, Rachel searched for military cops or a suspicious passerby around the tan concrete buildings on Patrick Air Force Base. The dozen or so camo-wearing personnel all seemed preoccupied with getting out of the Florida storm and into their cars at the end of the workday. Everyone was in too much of a hurry to spare a glance at her. Or maybe she was just that good at pretending she and her dog belonged here. Even though they totally didn’t.
Death threats offered up a hefty motivator for her to circumvent a few rules.
Raindrops slid down her face, her hair and clothes slicked to her skin. She’d wasted valuable minutes trying to pick the lock, but the car was darn near pickproof. Which was actually a waste of technology, when combined with a vulnerable ragtop.
One way or another, she would get inside Liam McCabe’s vehicle.
How ironic that after six months of fighting the damn-near-crippling urge to return his calls, now she was literally throwing herself in his path. Was that fair to him? No, but God, she was scared to death and Liam was a rock. If it was only her life at risk, she could have fought her own battles. But with other lives at stake, and given the explosive mess she’d landed in… she had nowhere else to turn.
Stifling her conscience and vowing to repay him for the damage, she shielded her hands from view with her body as she slid a penknife along the Jeep’s canvas roof. Not a long slice. Just enough to slip her fingers inside and reach… for…
The lock popped. She secured her hold on her Labrador retriever’s leash and pulled open the door. If all went according to schedule, Liam would finish work within a half hour, according to Wade Rocha’s wife, when Rachel had risked calling to ask.
At least she’d been able to get on base easily, thanks to her work supplying therapy dogs to PTSD patients at military hospitals throughout southern Florida. She’d wanted to drive straight to Liam’s house off base and wait for him there. But once she’d realized she was being followed, her plans had changed. Going on base got rid of the car trailing her.
She could have kept strolling around outside, nonchalantly waiting, except for the rain. She’d already ditched her SUV in another lot on base before walking with Disco over here. She didn’t want to leave her vehicle too near Liam’s workplace. No need to make it easy for people to figure out who she’d gone to for help.
She shifted the front seat forward and gestured inside. “Ride, Disco. Let’s ride.”
Her dog sprung forward like a streak of ebony lightning into the surprisingly clean car. She’d expected to rake aside bachelor chaos. Just two neatly lined-up green canvas bags rested in back alongside her Lab. Still a tight fit. God, hiding in here would be tougher than she’d expected. Rain drizzled down her neck.
Or was that icy perspiration?
She followed Disco inside. First order of business, cracking open a window for air. Hopefully Liam wouldn’t notice, if she opened the passenger side just a little.
Next she pulled out a water bottle and small bowl from her backpack and filled it for Disco. She set it on the floor, the side closest to the open window. Once her dog started lapping away, she hunched back into the seat at an angle where she could monitor the temperature gauge on the rearview mirror, the number dropping, thanks to the rain and the setting sun.
With luck, the dark would offer a shield, along with her brown clothes and her dog’s black coat, if they held still. Fear nearly immobilized her anyway as she thought of the silver sedan that had been following her for over an hour. The threatening phone calls yesterday. The mind-blowing secret she’d uncovered that made even the secured fortress of a military base unsafe for her.
She rested her cheek against her wet dog’s neck. God, this was reckless and insane, but she was out of options. Liam was her last choice, last chance. Her last hope.
He was also the one man she’d been determined to avoid. The only man to truly tempt her since her soldier fiancé died during a deployment ten years ago.
Hell yes, she’d ignored Liam’s voice mail messages once they’d returned from the Bahamas earthquake rescue six months ago. Her feelings for him scared her clear down to her toenails. Not just lust—although there was plenty of that oozing from her pores around him. But if it had been only sexual attraction, she could have resisted or just slept with him and moved on.
Liam made her want… more.
And if she felt herself weakening around Liam now? All she had to do was look at those three frilly garters dangling from his rearview mirror. Three reminders that the man had been married and divorced three frickin’ times. The man might be a rock of support for her crisis, but when it came to relationships…?
He was a hot-as-hell train wreck…
Thanks for joining me here today and throughout the month on my blog tour celebrating the release of HOT ZONE! Today, two lucky commenters will receive a copy of HOT ZONE (U.S. and Canada addresses only.)
Do you recall the name of your first pet? Or a favorite movie animal? My first dog was a beagle named Bo. J
USA Today bestseller and RITA Award winner Catherine Mann writes military romantic suspense for Sourcebooks and Berkley, as well as steamy romances for Harlequin Desire. She, her husband and their four children are active in fostering for their local Humane Society where Catherine serves on the Board of Directors. She can be found online at: Website, Facebook, Twitter
As Catherine mentioned above, two US or Canadian readers will receive a copy of Hot Zone. To enter, just leave a comment on this post answering Catherine's question above and then fill out the rafflecopter below with your name and email address. Additional entries are available but not required.
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