Welcome to the book tour for HelenKay Dimon’s newest release, Stranded, available now from Riptide Publishing! This short winter novel has it all… mercenaries in love, secrets and lies, lots of action, and enough heat to melt even the worst snow storm!
Keep reading for an excerpt from the novel, as well as your chance to win a $25 gift card from either Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice!). See the end of the post for contest details.
Stranded, by HelenKay Dimon
Release Date: November 23, 3015
Buy Link: Riptide Publishing
Stranded is one of Riptide’s 2015 charity titles.
Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.
Cabe got out of the gun-for-hire business the hard way—by nearly dying. Except then his former boss calls in one last favor for one final job. The mission should be simple: get a message to a retired operative in Alaska. But it puts Cabe face-to-face with the one man he doesn’t want to see and can never forget. Not after all the secrets and lies. Not after Brax almost killed him.
Brax Hughes lived hard and retired young to a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Well, that was the plan, but before he can hang up his sniper rifle, he has one last mission: win back Kyle Cabe. Brax wants another chance, wants to come clean, but after months of lying to Cabe, he knows he could face a bullet—or worse—when they meet again. And they will meet. Brax made sure of that.
With a storm moving in and someone lurking outside the cabin, time is running out. Brax needs to talk fast and keep his weapons ready. And his best weapon is the truth.
Excerpt: Chapter One
The blistering cold seeped through Cabe’s insulated jacket as he crested the ridge. He stopped moving long enough to check out the short stretch of open land in front of him. Then he cursed his former boss for calling in a favor and dropping him in the-middle-of-fucking-nowhere, Alaska.
A thin layer of ice crusted over snow. White blanketed the area, hanging off trees in clumps, weighing down branches until they looked ready to snap in half. Bad weather never bothered him before, but he hated everything about this assignment. The rough free climb to get there. The snow. Going in blind. All of it.
This time, the encoded operation briefing file had consisted of only one page. These coordinates, a timeline that had given him three days to get there, and a cryptic message. Not even a contact name or photo of a target. Just a code he needed to memorize and hear from whoever he found out here, then the three words he’d been told to deliver: Holly Trent Clear.
The lack of information made him wonder if he’d been sent on a one-way assignment. Lured in so someone could sneak up behind him and put a bullet in his brain. Possible, but good luck to anyone who tried.
Cabe had no idea what the hell it all meant. Didn’t actually care. He got paid whether he understood the endgame or not. And this operation demanded in-person communication, so whoever waited on the other end for this intel must need it to stay under. Possibly maintain the pretense of being dead. That was the only explanation for the inability to get a message out here any other logical way.
With the help of binoculars, he could make out the cabin in the distance—small, tucked into a round of trees and, like every other thing around here, coated in a layer of drifting snow. If he hadn’t been looking for the place, he might have missed it. Well, he wouldn’t. Others would, but he’d been trained to hunt, track, and eliminate when necessary.
One last scan of the area for signs of life and then he moved. Already dropped into a doubled-over crouch, he traveled inch by slow inch as he listened for any sound that could pinpoint his objective. Watching for a potential attack that could come from any direction, human or even unmanned drone.
His gun never wavered, and he kept his knife close. He’d have to adjust his aim to account for the thin gloves, but without them he’d be risking frostbite and he’d vowed not to go down that road again. Not after the last time almost cost him two fingers. His thumb still ached in the cold.
He crept along the edge of the cleared area and disappeared into the line of trees where the layer of snow was only a few inches, instead of feet, deep. Dodging and sliding, never making a sound as he used one trunk after another as a shield.
When he stood fifty feet out from the cabin, the air grew still. It wasn’t his imagination or a change in weather. He had company. Trained company. Someone who knew how to slink in and stay hidden. He admired the training that led to skills like that but wasn’t really in the mood for a chase.
He mentally flipped through his options and settled on pretending to let his guard down. Nothing lured in prey faster than a signal the attack could end fast. That worked for Cabe. Ease the other person in, letting him think he had the best hand. Or her—Cabe didn’t take women attackers for granted. He might be bigger, but he never discounted a woman’s stamina and ability to gain the advantage.
Ignoring years of training and instincts that rarely misled him, Cabe dropped his hand. Just an inch, but enough to suggest he’d need an extra second to shoot. Never mind the knife in his other hand.
The blade slid down from inside his sleeve, the tip edging against his wrist. When a hand wrapped around his biceps and yanked, Cabe pivoted. The snow made his movements clunky, but momentum worked in his favor.
A blur of black flashed beside him. He heard a grunt as he caught his attacker off-balance and slammed him into the nearest tree trunk. Cabe elbowed the guy in the gut as the blade fully slipped down into his other palm and he grabbed the hilt. He shifted, but the other man was a half step faster.
It all happened in less than three seconds and ended with a weight pressed against the side of Cabe’s skull. He knew the sensation. A gun. His breath rushed in and out as he calculated the pressure he’d need to put into a backward kick to take the attacker’s leg out and shift the gun out of shooting-him-in-the-head range.
“You’re getting old or sloppy. Not sure which.” The deep voice rang out in the late quiet afternoon.
It can’t be. It absolutely can’t be.
About the Author:
HelenKay Dimon is a former divorce attorney turned full-time romance author. She has sold over thirty novels and novellas to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Kensington, Harlequin, Penguin, Carina Press and Riptide Publishing. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and her books have twice been named “Red-Hot Reads” and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.
About the GLBT National Help Center:
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center was founded in 1996, and is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.
To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: http://www.glbthotline.org/
To celebrate the release of Stranded, HelenKay is giving away a $25 Amazon or B&N gift certificate (winners choice)! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 28, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!