by Elizabeth Goddard
Romantic Suspense from LOVE INSPIRED SUSPENSE
When investigative reporter Casey Wilkes unwittingly stumbles upon a smuggling ring, she jeopardizes Homeland Security Jessie Mitchell's covert and his life, as well as her own.
Secrets Under The Ice
Casey Wilkes didn't realize her simple human-interest story would put her life at risk—again. After fleeing her home and journalism job in Portland, she wanted to live under the radar for a while. But when her interviewee starts dodging her questions, her reporter instincts kick in and she finds herself in over her head…
Homeland security agent Jesse Mitchell has been undercover as an ice sculptor for months, trying to infiltrate a smuggling ring. He wants to avoid trouble, and that's just what Casey brings. Now someone has a target set on Casey. Saving her could blow his cover, but leaving her unprotected endangers him even more—especially his heart.
A quick read, lots of action to keep your attention and a sweet love story to end it all. Definitely a great way to spend an evening!! 4 stars –The Suspense Zone
Jesse finished shoving the last block of dry ice into the back of the specially designed truck—well insulated, yet ventilated to allow for sublimation—the melting that would give off deadly CO2 gas.
The solid form of carbon dioxide would be used to create the snow effect around the ice sculptures along with fog—a mysterious yet stunning display.
He tugged off the gloves used to protect his hands from ice burns or, worse, frostbite. Because his father was a chef and master ice sculptor, Jesse had learned a few techniques of his own, even entering competitions during his college days.
That's what made him the perfect candidate for this covert operation, and the only reason Robert McCoffey, his superior, had pulled Jesse from the desk job and visits to the psychiatrist and put him back into the action. Working as an undercover agent for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Jesse had nearly blown his last assignment and thought he'd never get the chance to restore his reputation and career.
But ICE's bulk cash and smuggling division decided Helms Ice and Trucking Company was hot—laundering money for the Mexican cartel—and they wanted someone on the inside. Since the trucking company also had a catering side business specializing in ice sculptures, Jesse was it.
He shoved his hand through his hair. God had some sense of humor.
Miguel grinned as he assisted Jesse in closing off the back of the truck. He signaled to the driver that the truck was ready to go, and it lumbered away from the loading dock.
"You okay today?" Miguel asked.
"Everything's great," Jesse lied. With his superiors breathing down his neck, he had to come up with something and soon. He'd already been working undercover too long for his own good.
"You'd better get back to your hole. You got another gig in a few days." Miguel strode over to a counter and grabbed a pack of cigarettes.
Though Miguel referred to the ice-sculpture competition that Jesse needed to prepare for, Jesse was concerned about a far different gig, and that's what had him on edge today. He was desperate to get in on what he believed would be the next transport of bulk cash. As the truck departed, Jesse fought the tensing in his gut. Could this truck be driving off with millions in cash tucked away behind or in the ice, and Jesse had somehow missed it?
Carlos returned from his break. "We expecting another truck in a few?"
"You're not going anywhere. Jesse's got his own work. You're lucky he was here to cover for you," Miguel said.
Carlos gave a halfhearted snarl. Jesse didn't like the guy. After years spent working undercover assignments, Jesse had learned there were some people you met while undercover that you grew to care about and others you grew to hate. Carlos was someone to hate. He had no doubt that Carlos was capable of much worse than smuggling cash. He might have committed the murder on the loading dock that occurred several months ago, bringing the police down on this place and the cash smuggling operations to a complete halt for a few weeks.
Jesse had to remain and bide his time until things began moving again. Though he had proof of several small transactions, those crimes had already occurred. His goal was to gather intelligence, figure out all the players and be witness to the movement of a large amount of cash—catching them in the act. This would bring stiffer penalties under federal law.
When Carlos's eyes slid toward him, Jesse turned his back on the man. "Later," he said, and headed for the exit.
He squeezed his eyes closed for a moment. Guys like Carlos were the reason Jesse had grown to loathe working undercover. Memories from his last assignment flooded his mind—a man struggling with the thugs of a drug ring Jesse had infiltrated. He'd lived with the nightmare day and night. Jesse could have stepped into the fray, but that would have been kicking his cover in the teeth. He'd almost cracked under the moral dilemma. If only Jesse had gone a little out of his way, he could have prevented the man from strolling around the corner at that precise moment—the exact wrong moment. He would never allow that to happen again.
He promised himself then that once he got out, he'd never go back. In the end, he'd almost blown the mission and been reprimanded before being returned to a desk job. After months living life undercover as a drug runner, learning to walk and talk like them, to avoid the cops, he'd struggled to fit in with his fellow agents again.
What had the psychiatrist told him? "You 're suffering from anxiety and extreme suspiciousness." That he was near the breaking point.
A shiver swept over him when he passed the room-size freezer that took up a quarter of the loading dock.
At the moment, he felt like he was near the freezing point—if he worked like this for much longer, his heart would turn stone-cold.
Right now, he knew one thing—if he wanted to transfer programs within the agency, he'd have to earn back the respect of his supervisors and the confidence of his fellow agents.
In order to do that he'd have to see this case through and make the bust of these so-called untouchables.
Nothing or no one would stand in his way this time. Nor would he allow anyone to stumble upon Carlos and Miguel on the loading dock. Not again. Not on his watch.
Copyright © 2011 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.
Buy FREEZING POINT now at http://elizabethgoddard.com/StandaloneNovels.html
Read more about Elizabeth Goddard's books at http://elizabethgoddard.com
* * *
By Sharon Hinck
About the book:
Susan Mitchell thought she was an ordinary homemaker.
She was wrong.
Pulled through a portal into another world, she finds a nation waiting for a promised Restorer. Could she be the heroine they are waiting for? She tackles an enemy that is poisoning people's minds, uncovers a corrupt ruling Council, and discovers that God can use her floundering efforts in surprising ways.
This groundbreaking series is now being released in expanded editions, including an in-depth devotion guide, bonus scenes, and other fun extras.
"Because of Sharon Hinck, I have fallen in love with a new genre. The Sword of Lyric series is exactly what Christian fiction should be. Bravo, bravo…and more please!" –Susan May Warren, best-selling author of dozens of CBA novels
"Fresh and compelling. Sharon zigged every time I expected her to zag, and the world she created is full of mystery and suspense and the awe of discovery. But it's the characters who keep you coming back for more".– Robin Parrish, author of Vigilante
From the new back-of-the-book extras:
Bonus Scene after Chapter 4
"She warned me." I tossed back the last swig of clavo and wiped out the mug before tucking it away on a recessed shelf. Not that there was any real need to clean up. The place probably wouldn't see another person for seasons to come. I was stalling, and I knew it.
Kieran leaned against the open doorway, squinting into the distance. "Who warned you of what?"
"My mother. She tried to stop me."
"We all tried to stop you. You did what you had to."
I slung my pack over one shoulder and met Kieran at the door. "She warned me that revenge wouldn't change anything. She begged me to stay in Braide Wood."
Kieran shook his head. "You've got new things to worry about. By the way, she headed toward the center of town."
I sighed. Not the direction I needed to go. "Of course she did." I followed Kieran outside and pulled the door closed.
"I still say you should leave her here and get back to Lyric for some damage control. The Council has probably figured out by now that you aren't where you're supposed to be."
More regret slammed into me. I hadn't cared about what my mother needed, I hadn't cared about the guardians in my command, I hadn't cared about anything but tracking the Rhusican. Every day I'd woken with desperate hope that tore my insides like a rizzid's claws. Hope that confronting the Rhusican would bring me answers. Hope that justice would ease my pain. Hope that I'd be able to talk to the One again without shaking with rage. And now . . . now I just felt empty.
"Hey." Kieran shoved me, a little too hard to be playful. "Stop it. Second guessing makes you weak."
I swatted him aside and tightened my sword belt. "It's not weakness to analyze my choices."
"Choices? You didn't have choices. You told me he attacked you."
"He did. But it was still my sword that took his life. I could have—"
"Let him kill you?" Kieran spit the words out through a clenched jaw.
I took a step back. "What are you so mad at me for?"
"Because you're an idiot. He did more than enough damage, but you insist on making it worse by torturing yourself." Kieran raked a hand through his dark hair, haggard lines deepening on his face.
Another person I hadn't considered. He'd been devastated too. My shoulders slumped. "I wish I could bring her back."
Pain flashed in Kieran's eyes. He turned away and cleared his throat. "Go track down your protégé before she wanders into a clay pit. Although, come to think of it, that would solve a few problems."
With a dry chuckle, he strode down the street, heading toward Hazor. I shook my head, picked up the extra pack I'd assembled, and walked toward the center of town to find Susan. Unlike Kieran, I could dare to hope for a Restorer. After all, what else could explain what we'd both seen? Her crumpled, lifeless body had healed. Still, she seemed awfully small and confused to be of much help. If I were still on speaking terms with the One, I'd ask Him what her appearance meant, but for now I'd hope someone in Braide Wood could figure out what to do with her.
(Copyright Sharon Hinck, 2011. Used with permission. Please do not reproduce.)
For more information about Sharon and her books, visit www.sharonhinck.com
The Restorer-Expanded Edition is available at Marcher Lord Press:
And on Nook:
For more information on this week's books, join the Chapter a Week Chat group!http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CAWChat/