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Incendiary Attraction by @SarahRSWriter is a Mystery/Suspense pick #romanticsuspense #giveaway
Title: Incendiary Attraction (Book Four in the Damaged Heroes series)
Author: Sarah Andre
Genre: Romantic Suspense
FBI Agent Jace Quinn has a massive chip on his shoulder. Held back to an inferior rank because he hasn’t finished his degree, the decorated former SEAL has a problem with authority, especially the female kind. So when his new boss turns out to be the woman he flirted with at a cousin's wedding, he's horrified. Worse, so is she. Assigned to infiltrate a dangerous white supremacist group, Jace seizes the opportunity to prove to her this lone-wolf lawman doesn't need handling.
ATF supervisor Heidi Hall is still reeling from the suicide of an agent under her command, and her quest for redemption means that in this joint task force op she's going to work extra closely with the arrogant hottie who nearly talked her into bed. But in getting past Jace's defenses, every intimate debrief only deepens her desire. And her rookie undercover agent seems headed for disaster—personally and professionally, which will bring down both their careers. When Jace's intel reveals a staggering terror plot is about to go down and Heidi discovers a traitor on her team, the pair race against time to thwart the deadly conspiracy before the city is blown sky high.
Heidi opened the file on Thomas Bradley. Best to dive right in. “Okay, people. Have we received an autopsy on the suspect? Forensics from the scene?”
“Nothing from forensics yet, ma’am, but we expect the autopsy later this morning,” said the young, perky woman sitting beside Alma. “I’m Kelly Morgan, communications analyst, ma’am.”
“Looks like a straightforward suicide,” Bill Fontana added. The chest puffing made his CPD badge glint in the sunlight streaming in from the window. “Gun was found in his hand, no evidence of a struggle.”
He squinted again. This guy was racking up the nonverbal cues. “Nothing so far.”
“Have we found anything linking Bradley to any White Supremacy groups? Or any additional suspects?”
Expressions grew bleak. Kelly tentatively raised her hand again. “So far we haven’t, but we’re still looking into his social media presence.”
“Have you identified any similarities from other bombings with the remnants recovered from the mosque?”
“We collected fifteen pipe bombs, though,” Alma said. “We’re still analyzing them to identify a signature we can link with other crimes.”
Heidi drummed the stack of case files. Something didn’t sound right. “Question: if Bradley’s weapon of choice was pipe bombs, why did we hone our investigation in on him in the first place?” That was the equivalent of using Roman candle fireworks versus an M-80.
“Rental surveillance,” the agent on the other side of Alma said, dipping his chin. “Special Agent Manny Gonzales.” He tapped his iPad a few times and continued. “Bradley rented the sixteen-foot Penske truck at the Home Depot on South Clinton last June the second. He prepaid for one day under the name of Robert Smith.”
“And it took until last week to identify him?” All activity ceased. Heidi took in the frozen expressions. She reviewed the shape of the question and her tone. It hadn’t been accusatory or critical. The collective sensitivity of this team, the sunken morale at the lack of success or slow progress, was a handicap.
Manny cleared his throat. “We identified him almost immediately, ma’am. It’s taken this long to be able to track his whereabouts. We were close several times, but he slipped through our grasp.”
Heidi nodded. It was this reoccurrence that had finally caught the attention and suspicion of the Special Agent in Charge, who in turn had transferred Heidi here to take over. Someone in this room had kept alerting Bradley. She took another long look at the agents and analysts staring back at her. Whoever the leak was, they had great control over their limbic system. All humans learned how to control their face to lie or hide emotions early in life, so trying to interpret expressions was an exercise in futility. But the limbic system, that primitive part of the brain dealing with survival, gave off signals left and right. Fidgeting, rapid blinking, avoiding eye contact, folding arms, crossing legs… These were nervous or closed signals most people had no clue they were emitting. She finished the visual sweep of the room. Not one associate had moved.
“Well then,” she said briskly, “our task is to find out everything about Bradley’s movements and known associates. Volunteers?” Twelve hands shot up, and she took down every name. The leak would be in this dozen. He or she would want to drive away any investigation into Bradley’s background that could implicate him or her.
From that list, Heidi assigned five associates: one each from ATF, CPD, and FBI, and two analysts. “Until further notice, I’d like the task force heads to meet here every morning at eight for updates and brainstorming. To all of you, you’ll find I’m a hands-on, in-your-face leader. I’ll ride your ass until it’s chapped raw, but I’ll also go to my grave sticking up for you to the higher-ups. Trust your instincts. Start thinking outside the box.”
Heidi began shoving her case files in her briefcase. The room erupted in murmuring voices and scraping chairs. Jace was the only one who remained seated, bowed over his phone, texting or jotting notes. How remarkable that he wore the same navy polo as most of the FBI agents striding out, yet his muscular physique molded the fabric in such mouth-watering ways. Enough.
Jerking her attention to the associates filing past, Heidi noted who stopped and shook her hand, introduced themselves, and welcomed her. Josh, unsurprisingly, had a damp palm, weak grip, and ingratiating greeting. Sergeant Bill lumbered past without eye contact.
Once the room emptied of everyone except Jace, she allowed herself a long moment to absorb his stunning good looks. The broad physique, chiseled jaw, and his powerful self-assurance. Their sizzling interaction at the wedding last Saturday had awoken a dark lust in her, which had smoldered long after the reception was through.
But now Jace was a career-ending danger to her. He’d witnessed her other side: the single, middle-aged desperada she’d named the Flirt, who’d have gladly lost herself to an impulsive one-night stand. Being attracted to him was no longer an option—full stop.
“Thank you for pretending you didn’t know me, Jace. For introducing yourself.”
His thumbs stopped moving. He flicked a glance of such dark, sensual heat that her insides began dancing the cha-cha. Holy hell, this was not good. He was so off her team.
“You’d made it sound like you were only in Chicago to consult,” he said mildly.
“I don’t believe I framed it that way at all.” She used her frostiest none-of-your-business tone, and his seductive expression withered. She went on, “After an in-depth discussion with SAC Webb last week, I was offered this position. Will that be an issue?”
“No, ma’am.” He spread his palms in supplication. His smile was brittle. His eyes burned with the knowledge of how her thighs had trembled under his touch.
“Good. See you at four.” Heidi snatched up the briefcase. Seven whole hours to lock the Flirt back where she belonged—far away from Jace.
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Slow burn, forbidden work romance that couldn’t happen at a worse time. Set amongst solving a terrorist attack and embarking on a dangerous undercover assignment, the flawed characters and twisted plot will keep you up all night.
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Sarah Andre writes romantic suspense and is a 2017 RITA® Award finalist, which is Romance Writers of America highest award of distinction.
She lives in serene Southwest FL with her husband and two naughty Pomeranians. When she’s not writing, Sarah is either reading novels or coloring. Yes, you read that right. She’s all over those coloring books for adults.
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Author FB: https://www.facebook.com/SarahAndreNovels