Midnight Pursuits (A Killer Instincts Novel)
Signet / April 1, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital
Soldier-for-hire Ethan Hayes is the youngest member of an elite mercenary team. While he may be affectionately nicknamed the rookie, the skills Ethan honed as a Marine make him seriously dangerous. But when a sudden distress call puts him in close quarters with a rival, he finds more than his field skills being put to the test.
Juliet Mason stands out as the master thief in a covert group of assassins and spies. Her latest mission is personal—and it’s gone horribly wrong. Juliet may prefer to work alone, but when the rookie comes to her aid in snowy Eastern Europe, she can’t deny they make a good team. But even up against a powerful enemy, their most challenging task yet may be fighting the passion between them.
Midnight Pursuits is the fourth installment in Elle Kennedy’s Killer Instincts series, and gives us a deeper look at the youngest member of Morgan’s team, Ethan, and one of Noelle’s assassins for hire, Juliet.
Juliet Mason runs to Belarus after she receives a call that her brother is in the hospital after receiving several gunshot wounds to the abdomen. When she finally gets to Henry’s side, he is able to tell Juliet that he came home early and walked in on a man shooting Henry's girlfriend in the head three times. As a trained assassin, Juliet is well aware of the signature of the “Siberian Wolf,” but who would go to the trouble of hiring a professional to kill Henry, who works for the Red Cross, or his girlfriend Zoya, a simple schoolteacher? But when Henry begs her to find the man that did this to him, Juliet will do what she does best and kill the man who took away the only person who ever loved her and find out why they were targeted.
“Kill him for me,” Henry begged softly. “Leave…leave this room right now Jules, and kill him for me.”
“I can’t leave you.” Tears burned her eyes. “I want to be here with you. I’m staying with you until the very end, little brother.”
“You’ve always been there for me.” His voice getting weaker and weaker. “You…never left my side…when Deke burned my arm with the cigarette…didn’t leave me when they locked me in the closet…you sat outside the door…for hours. But you’re going to leave me now. You have somewhere more important to be.”
The tears spilled over and streamed down her cheeks. She was crying in earnest now, gulping for air.
Jesus Christ. She never cried. She never, ever cried. She was thirty-one years old, but she felt like a child again. A lost little orphan who hadn’t known a shred of kindness until she’d met the equally young and equally lost Henry Albright.
Ethan is just starting his mandatory down time when he intercepts a phone call from an obviously wounded Juliet. Ethan met the assassin last year when their teams crossed paths. It’s one thing to endure the ribbing of his teammates for his young age (he's a twenty-five year old mercenary whose nickname is the Rookie), but Juliet drove him crazy with the sarcastic barbs about his age. With no one else available to go, he heads off to Belarus. Ethan helps Juliet recover from a gunshot wound, but he won’t leave until he understands what would make a cold-blooded killer like Juliet risk her life to get information from someone like the Siberian Wolf.
“I had a run-in with a competitor, okay? Some bullets were exchanged, I got hit, and that's all she wrote.”
His lips twitched as if he were holding back laughter. “You really think I’m going to be satisfied with that half-assed explanation?”
“Frankly, I don’t care if you’re satisfied or not, baby.” She emphasized the word satisfied and threw in the baby just to see if she could make him blush, but he didn’t give her the desired reaction. If anything, he looked annoyed, and, to her dismay, even more determined.
“You can deflect all day long, baby,” he said mockingly, “but I’ll get some answers, one way or another.”
She smirked. “What are you gonna do, beat the story out of me? Or are you planning a different approach? Fucking it out of me, perhaps?”
Annnnnd there it was—-the blush. Except his flushed face was accompanied by a gleam of heat that turned his eyes from hazel to smoky, sensual green.
The idea turned him on.
Jesus. It turned her on too.
Juliet finally confesses that she know who is behind the killing of her brother. She also tells him that there are other targets on the hit list. Ethan refuses to walk away from Juliet and leave her to take on such a dangerous target on her own. Juliet is used to working alone, so she is not excited to be hindered by the Rookie, especially when his inner boy scout emerges and he first wants to protect the other people on the hit list. Juliet is only concerned about getting her revenge no matter what the cost.
Since she can’t shake him off, she agrees to help protect the others as long as Ethan doesn’t get in the way of her ultimate target. As if agreeing to be a babysitter isn’t enough, he want to bring in more members of his team to help with the protection detail, and has she mentioned she likes to work alone?
Sullivan and Liam were equally sexy, equally cocky, and equally deadly. Unlike D, she wouldn’t mind having them around one damn bit.
“What’s that look for?” Ethan demanded.
She grinned when she discerned his visible displeasure. “What look?”
“You got this…look…when I mentioned Sully and Liam.” A dark cloud passed over his handsome face. “Don’t even think about hooking up with one of them.”
She batted her lashes. “And what if I do? What will you do, Rookie—spank me?”
“Again with the goading?”
“You are so touchy,” she told him. “And FYI, the whole possessive thing you’ve got going on? Not a turn on.”
Bullshit, her inner slut taunted.
Juliet knows that the hard life she has lead makes her lifetimes older than just the six calendar years she likes to tease Ethan about, and she can’t imagine his inner boy scout could ever get past the lives she has taken on the job. Yet the more time she spends with him, the more she wants to be worthy of the young, clean-cut ex-marine. Except the need to avenge her brother’s death, might mean the end of any future together.
Can she risk her cold assassin’s heart for a future with the rookie? When she returns with more blood on her hands, will he still want her?
Learn more or order a copy of Midnight Pursuits by Elle Kennedy, out April 1, 2014:
Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog http://ebookobsessed.com. Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.