Fiction and the Evolution of the Alpha Male

*Since there seems to be a lot of search terms for “alpha male romances” directing to this blog, I thought I’d feature one of my earlier posts. Jericho Barrons is my ultimate alpha. Of course, for Contemporary Romance I’d have to say it’s my own Viktor Baran.  :)

Jericho Barrons ~ Fever Series. Used with permission from Karen Marie Moning.

Jericho Barrons ~ Fever Series. Used with permission from Karen Marie Moning.

Alpha ~ something that is first (Merriam Webster)

Alpha Male ~ the most dominant, powerful, or assertive man in a particular group. (Dictionary.com)

I’m not sure when Alpha Male became a mainstream term. I started reading romance novels in the mid-80s. There was a pawn shop beside our restaurant that also sold used books. The owner was kind enough to rent me books to read and I devoured book after book of Mills and Boon and Silhouette romances. Some books were really old, probably published in the 70s. I don’t remember any of the stories except that the hero is usually older (a lot older actually) than the heroine and it’s usually at the end of the book when the hero reveals his true feelings. Otherwise, he is a male chauvinistic arrogant pig for most of the novel. The plots were highly repetitive and formulaic.

Gentle Rouge ~ Johanna Lindsey

Gentle Rouge ~ Johanna Lindsey

The 1980‘s was also the era of the bodice ripper novels. The covers of these books were half-naked men reminiscent of Fabio. I think the original Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey had Fabio on the cover. This was the time when Johanna Lindsey was an auto-buy for me, and who can ever forget the beloved Malory saga? It was the time of the rakes, the rogues and the pirates—it was historical romances at its peak. And yes, arrogance is still a typical trait of the male hero.

I’m not sure what happened during the 1990’s, but in early 2000, the term Alpha came on my radar.  A time when I was trying to be the dominant over my dog as a trainer told me dogs are by nature pack animals, and I had to be its Alpha otherwise it would be difficult for me to control him.

A Hunger Like no Other

A Hunger Like no Other

I think the word Alpha male became more prevalent during the explosion of Paranormal/Urban Fantasy novels in the year 2005-2006. This was when The Black Dagger Brotherhood, Psy-Changeling, Immortals after Dark and Mercy Thompson novels had their debut. Specially with werewolf themed books, the term “Alpha” comes naturally and would refer to the most dominant, most cunning and strongest member of a pack.

I had my theories about the rise of the paranormal/urban fantasy genre and I think it stemmed from the Underworld  movie (2003), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), and Angel (1999-2004) TV series.

Before this explosion, we already had Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake (1993), Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Mysteries (2001), Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter Series (2002), and to some degree, Ann Rice’s Interview with a Vampire (1976).

Fangirl hysteria took over with the Twilight trilogy (2008). I have not read these books but was told that they were well-written. Watching the movie first discouraged me from reading the books because I do not want my vampires to sparkle. I think this spawned a genre of teen-paranormal romances. No, I have not read any of these either.

Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey

What I have read was the Twilight Fan Fiction that became a worldwide phenomenon: The 50 shades of Grey trilogy by E.L James. This has spawned another sub-genre of romantic fiction—controlling, possessive, tortured Alpha male. And, should I add billionaire?

Beautiful Disaster

Beautiful Disaster

To some extent, the success of Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire inspired the New Adult phenomenon that has taken over a chunk of book sales. The angst-filled plots are usually between a tattooed bad boy/rockstar and a girl with a dark past college-age romance.

Book Cover trend: still, half-naked men … tattoos required.

The term Alpha Male has now entered the consciousness of the reading populace. After reading over 200 fiction novels this past year and meeting one form of Alpha Male to another, I felt I should give my top five (or six) per genre. Why not lump them all in a Top Ten? Let’s face it: I can’t put Jericho Z. Barrons and Christian Grey in one column can I? I mean, come on.

Paranormal/ Urban Fantasy

Shadow Fever

Shadow Fever

  1. Jericho Z. BarronsFever series. He defines Alpha Male in every sense of the word. What exactly is Jericho Barrons? Highlight spoiler here. He is thousands of years old, cannot die and turns into a 9-foot monster.
  2. Curran – the Beast Lord of Atlanta. Alpha of a pack of Shapeshifters in the Kate Daniels World.
  3. Dragos Cuelebre – Dragon Bound, Elder Races series
  4. Lothaire – The enemy of old, one of the most ancient of vampires. Immortals after Dark series.
  5. Adam Hauptman – Alpha of the Columbian basin pack. Fourth in line for the title of Marrok (leader of the werewolves of North America). Mercy Thompson series.

Contemporary Fiction

Motorcycle Man

Motorcycle Man

  1. Sebastian Stark ~ Surviving Raine /*edited May 31*/ – He is crass, rude, an ass but he can also be needy, possessive and jealous. He needs to be in a psyche ward and I can’t believe he just dislodged my KA alphas, but he did. Something about taking three men apart with his bare hands. I have a serious weakness for badass.
  2. Kane “Tack” AllenMotorcycle Man. The biker boss to end all biker bosses. He put an engagement ring on his woman while she was unconscious in the hospital. {I have a feeling though when the 2nd chaos novel Fire Inside comes out, Hop Kincaid will be my favorite badass biker}
  3. Colorado Mountain Man series ~ Kristen Ashley {Tatum Jackson, Ty Walker  … ’nuff said.}
  4. The Hot Bunch – Kristen Ashley’s Nightingale Investigation boys. Partners to the Rock Chicks.
  5. Jesse Ward - This Man trilogy
  6. Christian Grey – Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy

I realize that some may argue with my choices. I have never really gotten into the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, I’ve read the first three. I haven’t read the Night Huntress series either. Sound off in the comment section. Who is your Ultimate Alpha Male?

Posted in Book Reviews, Contemporary/Historical Romance, New Adult/Young Adult, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Last Breath – Dirty-talking badass alpha

I haven’t posted about books I’ve read in a while. I’ve read mostly 4-star books, some were just missing the final oomph to make it a 5-star read. However, I’d like to introduce my favorite book boyfriend this year. Yes, I’m cheating on my guys Jack, Derek, Viktor and Travis … but I think they’ll like Daniel. Because he’s as badass just as they are . . . and quite the dirty talker. This is the second book of the Hitman series. I didn’t like the first book so much, Last Hit, but Last Breath simply blew me away with the action and badass alpha male.

Last Breath

5-star-rating

Review posted also on Goodreads.

FIVE awesome stars! I wasn’t a fan of the first book which had a great story, but I didn’t like Nick or Daisy much. However I found myself liking Daniel and I was curious with what happened to Regan. I am not a fan of the sex-slave trope because frequently the heroines are so horribly scarred and broken the book becomes a hard read for me. Regan was not broken, she had a lot of fight left in her when Daniel finds her. She has a fear of being left behind, which is understandable because even though they had no choice, that’s why I disliked Nick and Daisy a lot because of their selfishness and Regan got caught in their bullshit. 

But enough about that let’s talk about Daniel. I think he’s my favorite hero of the year. He is perfect: Badass. check. Alpha. check. I would have been fine if he was an asshole in the beginning, but OMG he was sweet and not in the sugary kind of way, but in the hit man kind of way hahaha! He was definitely attracted to Regan, and how he helps Regan overcome her aversion to sex was great. The almost sex was very hot and then when they finally came together, super hot. And can I say that Daniel does the dirty talking very well? :)

The book had a great mix of action and romance and scorching sex scenes. Sigh. Daniel is the man. In love with him. Regan cried a lot, but that didn’t really get on my nerves. It’s really funny when she burst into tears and this big mercenary men don’t know what to do.

“No,” he growls, and he grabs my chin in his hand and forces me to look at him when I avert my eyes. “You think I won’t come after you? You think I’d let that fucker touch one hair on your head while I’ve still got breath in my body? . . .*remove spoiler dialogue*. . . Regan, because I swear I will fucking come and rescue you like some goddamn knight in shining armor. And you don’t believe otherwise until they roll my dead body at your feet, all right?”

 

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The next Guardians book

Thanks to everyone who have read Smoke and Shadows. No, this won’t be the last Guardians book. After I write the first book in the Always series, I’m going to write the next Guardians book, which will most likely be Stan Morgan’s. Hmm…don’t think some of our guys will be too thrilled about it. ;)

Anyway, some readers were not too happy with Marissa with her actions in the end. I wish blog posting will allow me to put spoiler tags, so if you have not read the book and plan to, do not read past this spoiler warning.

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Our dear Marissa suffered from a mild case of PTSD. She recognized the symptoms and had to walk away from the trigger, which was Viktor, in order to fix herself. I did not want to term it as such because that would open a whole can of worms on how to deal with the disorder. So I showed her symptoms through Viktor’s eyes. The CIA have shrinks for this, but I didn’t want to go through all her therapy sessions either. Her one mistake, once she’d dealt with it, she didn’t know how to face Viktor again. These spooks don’t have girlfriends who they can have normal conversations with regarding their own problems. They’re out there making sure the country is safe at the expense of their personal life. So the regular support infrastructure was not there. I know Allison was there, but even Marissa didn’t confide in her that she nearly got raped. She was a team lead, she didn’t want to show weakness.

Luckily, our man Viktor, having been in this kind of life for a long time, recognized the signs of PTSD and gave her time to come to terms with her anger and fears. Then he stepped in and took over as only an alpha male would do. ;)

* I’m learning to straddle the line between giving the readers too much or too little information. I think I wasn’t able to properly convey what exactly happened here. I’m figuring out the ways of showing and telling and I’m learning with each book!

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Smoke and Shadows is live!

Viktor and Marissa are unleashed!

Grab your copy now, 99 cents until March 14.

Amazon:

Smoke and Shadows

Blurb

When someone close to Viktor Baran becomes a target of an assassin, he vows a hellfire of a payback. But the enemy is cunning and avoids the trappings of the digital web, preferring to strike out from the shadows. Drawing on old-fashioned cloak and dagger methods to investigate the enemy’s hatred for the Guardians, he uncovers a link to a past he is reluctant to revisit.

Eight years ago, Marissa Cole walked away from the man she loved. New to CIA black ops then, she was overwhelmed by the intensity of the man who would stop at nothing, no matter how ruthless, to get the job done. “Don’t get involved with the person you work with” has become her motto ever since—until a series of events throws her back into Viktor Baran’s world.

Danger and mayhem are the perfect formula to reignite their passion, and Viktor has decided he’s done fighting his attraction to Marissa. He is determined to make her his. However, their road to a happily ever after is a bumpy one. Years on the job have stripped Viktor of his humanity, and unless he can break down his walls enough to let Marissa into his heart, he could lose her again.

Friendships will be broken. Beliefs will be shaken, and their relationship will be tested. For the stakes are too high, and there is a growing threat, not only to AGS, but also to every government agency critical to the country’s safety.

Is targeting the Guardians merely a distraction or is it the first step to a terrorist attack on the nation’s capital?

SmokeandShadow_500

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Teaser: It’s Always been You (Always #1)

Smoke and Shadows comes out March 7. It’s time for you all to meet Travis and Caitlin. The series is supposed to be a more sedate read than the Guardians, but somehow I can’t stay away from action-packed opening scenes anymore. The planned publication date is September 2014. I know I wish I could write faster, but I find writing only two books a year gives me the right amount of time to ponder the plot and turn out the best work I can offer. So, please be patient. :)

Bullets shattered the rear windshield as their car careened dangerously close to the steep embankment. Their vehicle swerved left, the motion violently throwing Caitlin to the right of the backseat. She lost hold of her gun.
“Are you alright?” Jase yelled from the driver’s seat.
“I will be once you learn how to drive.”
“Stop fucking around, Cat. Did you get hit?”
Caitlin didn’t answer him; instead, she groped through the darkness for her Beretta. Finding the weapon, she resumed her shooting position. With the barrier of the windshield gone, it was now easier to fire from the open window.
Another spray of bullets zinged past their car. If their attackers managed to shoot out their tires, it would be game over.
“Keep the car straight!” Caitlin said as she hunkered down, keeping herself steady by kneeling on a leg and bracing her other foot against the seat in front of her. With two hands gripping the gun, she focused below the glaring headlights of the black SUV pursuing them.
“Steady…” Caitlin muttered to herself.
Deep breath and hold. Focus. Squeeze trigger. 
Almost simultaneously with the recoil of her gun, their attacker’s car listed to the right and then fishtailed before screeching to a halt.
“Fucking A!” Jase shouted, thumping the steering wheel with his fist. “Good job, buttercup!”
Caitlin grunted and shook the shards of glass from her hair. She hadn’t had time to gather her blonde locks in a ponytail. The minute Jase had barged into their apartment and ordered her to get moving, she’d known that there hadn’t been a second to spare.
She scooted in between the front seats and plopped down on the passenger side. After his initial exhilaration, Jase had gone deathly quiet. And he had winced.
“Are you hurt, Jase?”
“It’s nothing.”
“Where?”
“I said it’s nothing!” he snapped.
“Pull over.”
“Are you nuts? You know they hunt in pairs. Their backup won’t be too far behind.”
Caitlin knew he was right. She could feel some glass cuts on her knees and forearms, but they were superficial. If he was shot, he needed attention. Bleeding out was not an option. They couldn’t go to a hospital without attracting attention, and the quicker they attended to the injury, the less likely they’d be to wind up there.
“If it were me—”
“Damn it! Left shoulder blade, OK?”
“Is there—”
“No exit wound.”
“Jase—”
With a muffled curse, he pulled off to the side of the road. They were twenty miles from Berlin on a two-lane country road lined with trees, tall grass, and miles and miles of nothing. This was their eighth escape in three years. They had gotten better at evading whoever wanted them dead. The first time had been challenging because Caitlin had been encumbered by the casts on her leg and arm. She had cried for Jase to leave her, but he had refused, and somehow they had made it out alive.
Caitlin shuddered at the memory as she got out of the car. “The medical kit is in the trunk.”
Just as she reached the back of their vehicle, it shot forward twenty feet.
Her heart leapt into her throat. Was Jase abandoning her? “What the hell?”
A backpack was tossed out; she watched as it tumbled down the ditch.
Caitlin ran toward the car knowing that Jase had already rolled up all the windows. She had a brief image of herself climbing through the broken rear windshield.
She angrily tried the door. Locked.
She banged on his window. He was staring straight ahead, his jaw working convulsively. Finally, he lowered his window an inch.
“What are you doing?” Caitlin screeched.
“I’m a dead man walking, Cat,” Jase said sadly. “They could still leave you alone. But they want me dead.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“There’s a village about two miles up,” he continued without answering her question. “Hide there for two days, and then go to the American Embassy in Berlin.”
Caitlin was confused. “They’ll arrest me.”
Jase sighed, his shoulders slumping. “No, they won’t.”
“I don’t understand.” Fear started clawing up her throat. There was a grim resoluteness on his face—one she had never seen before. “Open the fucking door, Jase.”
“I didn’t mean for it to end this way between us,” he whispered.
“You’re scaring me.”
There was a suspicious sheen in his eyes. He lowered the window, reached out with his good arm, pulled her head down, and kissed her. Just as quickly, he let her go. “It’s time for you to stop running. I’m not the one you love.”
With that cryptic message, the man who had been her rock for three years left her by the side of the road.

*****
Travis Blake stared at the stack of résumés before him and pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. For every ten he received, only one deserved a call. He had been interviewing applicants for the past two days, and only three had made the cut. Blake Security Inc. had made its name by providing high-quality security services. Each client had different needs and their profile was individually assessed by any of his five team managers before they made a recommendation in terms of manpower and equipment requirements. Most of his clients were politicians and foreign dignitaries. He frequently received assignments from the Secret Service, and his deep connections within the CIA and the FBI didn’t hurt either.
In just two short years, he had cultivated a client list of the who’s who in Washington DC. Repeat business and word of mouth had quickly turned his security company into a multimillion-dollar enterprise.
“Will that be all, Travis?” a lilting musical voice spoke from the entrance of his office. Emily was his personal assistant. She was married to Edward Knowles, one of his team managers who was a former Navy SEAL just like he was. Emily did everything from office management to logistics, and Travis was thankful that he had her to take care of the mundane activities that went with running a business. With the rapid growth of BSI, Ed had been grumbling to Travis about hiring an assistant for Emily, who was consistently putting in almost sixty hours a week.
Travis glanced up at Emily, his eyes cutting over to the clock on the wall. It was 8:00 p.m. on Friday night.
“Yes, Em. Thanks. Sorry for keeping you so late.”
“If you need me to stay, Travis, I can.”
“No, I’ll be bugging out soon,” Travis lied. “Go on home. Ed’s arriving tonight, right?”
“His flight arrives at nine, yes.”
“Enjoy your weekend.”
Emily hesitated at the door. A troubled look crossed her face, and it seemed she was about to say something but changed her mind. “You too, Travis. See you Monday.”
After Emily left, Travis leaned back in his chair and sighed, thankful that Emily had not lectured him again about finding a girlfriend. His eyes drifted to the photograph on his desk—a picture of an achingly beautiful woman with long blonde hair and the most amazing hazel eyes. Sarah…
No. He would not allow himself to think about her tonight. He’d done enough of that this morning when he’d booted up his computer at 2:00 a.m. and looked for her. If anyone knew of his predawn habits, he would lose his business and would be committed to an asylum. A man looking for his dead wife—if that didn’t scream of insanity, he didn’t know what would. Three years ago, his mind had buried her. She was in a closed casket. All logic dictated that the DNA result and autopsy hadn’t lied. Yet his heart and soul had refused to accept that the putrid flesh the authorities had recovered, which Travis had banished beneath six feet of earth, was his Sarah.
Travis stood up and walked to the liquor bar to pour himself some Scotch.
Not a single day. For three years, not a single day had passed without him thinking of her. Although the ache in his heart had dulled with the passage of time, it could sometimes still spike to an unbearable pain—like this week, because tomorrow was their wedding anniversary. They would have been married for five years. He’d only had her for two.
But there was method to his madness. About eighteen months ago, while working security for one of the senators, Travis had managed to take down an assassin. The coroner had sent him pictures of all the man’s markings to determine if he belonged to any organization. He had many tattoos, including one on the sole of his foot that looked like the infinity symbol. Sarah had the same mark in the same location. She’d told him that she had done it as a form of teenage rebellion.
He threw back the Scotch and welcomed the burn of the alcohol down his throat. He had no time to do this. He blanked his mind for the next few hours to tackle the résumés in front of him.
At about 11:00 p.m., his cell phone buzzed.
“Nate?”
“Are you sitting down?”
“What’s wrong, buddy? Did something happen to Perot?”
“Our detail wrapped up with no problem. Did you check your e-mail?”
“No. What—”
“Check it.”
Frowning at his best friend’s vagueness, Travis opened his e-mail and clicked on the most recent one from Nathan Reece.
The bottom fell out of his gut at the graphic pictures before him. “What the fuck?”
“The fingerprints threw up alarms in the CIA database,” Nate said grimly. “Luckily, I was working out of their station in Frankfurt. I hauled ass to Berlin. That man is John Cooper…or was.”
“John Cooper died with my wife,” Travis said, his voice turning hoarse. “How can he be alive?”
“Or recently dead?”
Travis stared at the picture of the man he had hated with every fiber of his being. John Cooper’s blood had been found at their house the night Sarah had died. Their bodies had been found together.
“He was killed execution style?”
“That’s the initial report. They’re still doing the autopsy.”
“I’ll take the next flight out.”
“Travis, let me handle this. I’m already here. Use me.”
“No!” Travis snapped. “If Cooper is…was…alive, Sarah—”
“Can you just leave?”
Travis hated the challenge in Nate’s voice because it was true. He had shit to wrap up.
“Give me forty-eight hours. I’ll charter a flight out.”
“There’s something else. I’ll see what I can dig up from here, but Cooper had three passports on him. His American passport says his name is Jase Locke. The other two passports were German and Russian with different names. And Travis?”
“Yeah.”
Nate sighed deeply, twisting the knot in Travis’s gut further.
“What, Nate?”
His friend hesitated another beat before saying, “John Cooper had the same tat on the sole of his foot.”
“Fuck! Are you telling me that—”
“I’m pretty certain now that shadow agents are real.”
“Including Sarah?”
“I’m sorry, man.”
“I couldn’t find a single fucking shred of substantiated evidence of their existence, Nate. They’re fucking urban legends of the CIA.”
“It’s much like the Delta Force, man. The government denies they exist, but we know they do,” Nate said. “You’re tight with Admiral Porter. What does he say?”
Benjamin Porter had been his CO when Travis had been a Navy SEAL. It turned out that the admiral was a top-level recruiter for the CIA Special Activities Division, which was a euphemism for Black Ops.
“He wouldn’t confirm or deny.”
“Son of a bitch,” Nate muttered. “Look, man, I’ll keep you posted.”
“Nate, watch the embassies.”
“I will. Chances are, if Sarah’s alive, she would hold the same passports.”
If Sarah is alive…
Travis ended the call. His mind was in a daze, and he wanted to jump on the next flight out to Berlin. He stared at the stack of résumés in front of him again. Fuck.

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New series: Always

I’m starting a new series called Always about second chance romances. The first one is yet untitled, but here is the blurb:

Ex-Navy SEAL Travis Blake is a rising star in the security business. In two short years, Blake Security Inc. has become highly sought after by the who’s who in Washington DC.

But unbeknownst to many, Travis is haunted by the mysterious death of his wife three years before. He carries with him the guilt of not being there to protect the one person who meant everything to him. He has buried his wife, but his heart refuses to accept that the body six feet under is hers. His obsessive search for her leads him deep into the trenches of covert ops—and everything is not what it seems.

Caitlin Kincaid has been on the run for a while. The sum of her memories began three years ago when she awakened with a broken arm and leg and a severe concussion. Hunted down by a secret group within the US government, her companion persuades her to stay off the grid because of the standing kill order on their heads. One night, while fleeing assassins, she is left on the side of the road with a cryptic message: “It’s time for you to stop running. I’m not the one you love.” Weary, she turns herself in. 

When Travis receives news that the woman who has turned up at the American Embassy in Berlin could be his wife, he wastes no time getting to her. He is unprepared for the devastation that shreds him when Caitlin looks at him with no recognition in her eyes. As the truth unravels, he faces the possibility that Caitlin had married him under false pretenses. 

Love was never the problem. A marriage cannot survive without trust. As sinister forces threaten the bond they are trying to rebuild, trust must come quickly or one of them will die.

 

 

 

 

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Smoke and Shadows preview chapters

Hope you’re all ready for Viktor and Marissa! Coming March 7, 2014!

Smoke Shadow Sml

 

 

Smoke and Shadows, Chapter 1 & 2

Blurb:

When someone close to Viktor Baran becomes a target of an assassin, he vows a hellfire of a payback. But the enemy is cunning and avoids the trappings of the digital web, preferring to strike out from the shadows. Drawing on old-fashioned cloak and dagger methods to investigate the enemy’s hatred for the Guardians, he uncovers a link to a past he is reluctant to revisit.

Eight years ago, Marissa Cole walked away from the man she loved. New to CIA black ops then, she was overwhelmed by the intensity of the man who would stop at nothing, no matter how ruthless, to get the job done. “Don’t get involved with the person you work with” has become her motto ever since—until a series of events throws her back into Viktor Baran’s world.

Danger and mayhem are the perfect formula to reignite their passion, and Viktor has decided he’s done fighting his attraction to Marissa. He is determined to make her his. However, their road to a happily ever after is a bumpy one. Years on the job have stripped Viktor of his humanity, and unless he can break down his walls enough to let Marissa into his heart, he could lose her again.

Friendships will be broken. Beliefs will be shaken, and their relationship will be tested. For the stakes are too high, and there is a growing threat, not only to AGS, but also to every government agency critical to the country’s safety.

Is targeting the Guardians merely a distraction or is it the first step to a terrorist attack on the nation’s capital?

* Strong sexual content and language. Some disturbing situations. Recommended 18-years old and above.

 

 

 

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Cover Reveal: Smoke and Shadows

Here it is! Our book cover for Smoke and Shadows. Design by: Robin Ludwig Designs

 

SmokeandShadow_500

 

Blurb:

When someone close to Viktor Baran becomes a target of an assassin, he vows a hellfire of a payback. But the enemy is cunning and avoids the trappings of the digital web, preferring to strike out from the shadows. So Viktor draws on old-fashioned cloak and dagger methods to investigate the enemy’s hatred for the Guardians and he uncovers a link to a past he is reluctant to revisit.

Eight years ago, Marissa Cole walked away from the man she loved. New to CIA black ops then, she was overwhelmed by the intensity of the man who would stop at nothing, no matter how ruthless, to get the job done. “Don’t get involved with the person you work with” has become her motto ever since—until a series of events throws her back into Viktor Baran’s world.

Danger and mayhem are the perfect formula to reignite their passion, and Viktor has decided he’s done fighting his attraction to Marissa. He is determined to make her his. However, their road to a happily ever after is a bumpy one, because years on the job had stripped Viktor of his humanity and unless he could break down his walls enough to let Marissa into his heart, he could lose her again.

Friendships will be broken, beliefs will be shaken, and their relationship will be tested.

For the stakes are too high, and there is a growing threat, not only to AGS, but to every government agency critical to the country’s safety. Is targeting the Guardians merely a distraction or is it the first step to a looming terrorist attack on the nation’s capital?

 

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