When Day Breaks (A KGI Novel)
Berkley / June 24, 2014 / $7.99 print, $7.99 digital
Eden is said to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. Her face has graced countless magazines and her body has sold millions of dollars of clothing. But her fame and beauty has earned her more than she ever imagined. Evil is stalking her, determined to extinguish the ethereal beauty forever.
Swanson or “Swanny” as his teammates call him is always up for the next mission. He came back from Afghanistan wounded and scarred. Hardly the kind of man who even belongs in the same room with Eden. And yet there’s something about the quiet beauty that stirs his blood and makes him dream of the impossible. Because Beauty loving the Beast only happens in fairy tales and KGI doesn’t deal in fairy tales. Ever.
In the latest KGI series novel, Maya Banks brings us the story of Daryl “Swanny” Swanson. Nearly two years ago, Swanny, Nathan and their team were captured and tortured for months in Afghanistan. Night terrors aren’t the only souvenirs from that period in his life; the ugly scars that mar Swanny’s face and body are the outward scars he carries now.
Flawed. Far from perfect. Still dealing with the demons of his past and the shame over his weakness during his captivity and how very close he came to giving up. The physical scars were certainly no cakewalk, but worse were the scars no one could see. The ones he could feel, ones that would always be there inside him, a stain on his soul.
Working for KGI has given Swanny a new purpose in his life. The missions he goes on bring the sense of satisfaction in helping someone truly in need. Being able to help someone, save someone, goes a long way in taking him from his own dark places.
Their latest mission is a protection detail. Nathan and Swanny receive a call from their former team member, Ryder Sinclair. His sister’s life is in danger and he needs more than just security to protect her from a decade-old vendetta. Swanny remembers all of the letters Ryker shared from his sister Eden, and the photos of the beautiful woman—a woman who fueled many a fantasy for Swanny on those long dark nights.
Swanny’s eyebrows went up. Eden? She was Ryker’s sister. His very hot sister. Ryker used to share her letters—and photos—with the guys when they were freezing their asses off in the Afghani mountains. She’d fired more than one wet dream. She was fucking gorgeous. And not in a bought-and-paid-for way either. She was a natural beauty through and through and she just sparkled. She had a million-dollar smile and her letters were always filled with love and humor. Her letters had brightened many otherwise shitty days when they were hunkered down with only her pictures—and their fantasies—to keep them warm.
Swanny thought the photos of Eden were beautiful, but meeting her in person fires a deep desire. Yet all he can think about is the beast he must look to this beauty with his disfiguring scar down his face—and that is the only one she can see. What the hell would the world’s most beautiful woman want with a hideous monster like him, when she could have any man in the world?
He was acting like a goddamn teenager with a crush on the cheerleader. Yeah, he’d had his share of fantasies on those long nights in the cold with only his daydreams to occupy his thoughts. Eden wouldn’t give a man like him a second glance. Or maybe she would, but it would be because she was doing a double take at the hideous scar that marred his face. That thought effectively put a damper on his imagining and he got back to the task at hand.
But there is more to this beauty than Swanny gives her credit for; her father and brothers were in the military. She understands the sacrifices made and the amount of courage that Swanny shows in surviving his ordeal and still protecting people, still putting his life on the line to protect others from danger, even some silly model of no real importance. She sees past the scars on his face and his body to the man underneath. A man whose very soul is more beautiful than anything she can show on the outside.
She hadn’t lied or plied him with insincere compliments. He was absolutely beautiful to her.
Yes, scars crisscrossed his body. No area had been left undamaged by his captors when he’d existed in hell. But to her they were a testament to his honor, of his will to live despite impossible odds. That they hadn’t been able to break him. How many men could say the same? How many men would even survive, much less survive with their sanity intact? And yet he continued on, still holding a job that put his life on the line on every single mission his team went on.
A movie title floated through her mind—it was silly, but she was so absorbed in her study of him and her thoughts, her admiration, that she couldn’t help but think of the words Uncommon Valor. It suited him, and all his teammates, to a T. But especially Swanny.
In this beauty and the beast story, there is no doubt that this beast truly has an inner beauty that shines through in his heroism and bravery, which surpasses the scars that mark him on the outside.
Learn more or pre-order a copy of When Day Breaks by Maya Banks, available June 24, 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.