Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂
Linda Howard is a long-time favorite author. The blurb for this one has me really excited.The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard
Published by William Morrow
Publication Date: March 6th 2018
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it. She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC. She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.
But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit. The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun...or else be out of a job.
Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina—who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice—making it through the rigors of training. The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation. In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates. What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.
Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria. While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives. Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.
But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for. He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.
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She was the most stubborn little shit he’d ever seen, Levi thought dispassionately as he silently watched her almost fall out of his truck, then limp over to her car. He had to fight for the dispassion, which irritated him to hell and back. Everything about this situation irritated him to hell and back.
If it worked, Mac’s idea was a damn good one—if it worked. Taking raw amateurs and training them to the point where they wouldn’t be a liability was a tall order but not an impossible one. Taking a raw amateur woman who obviously didn’t want to be there and bringing her up to snuff verged on the damn near impossible, so of course Mac had given her to him.
He and the guys had talked it over last night, decided then that if they were going to be saddled with her, they needed to be the ones overseeing her training and the sooner the better, and he’d cleared it with Mac. Then they’d watched her for a while, before approaching, to get an idea of what they were dealing with. Some guy had shoved her, causing her to lose ground in the run, but she’d caught up with him and tripped him. “Good,” Boom had grunted. “Saves me from kicking his ass at the end of the day.”
Levi grunted in return. He wouldn’t have kicked the guy’s ass, but he was glad she’d taken up for herself. The team couldn’t function if they had to deal with a crybaby. But Boom was married and had a couple of kids, the youngest a three-year-old little girl. As the father of a daughter he’d since gone bat-shit crazy, swearing he was going to lock her in a convent when she was six, and he’d geld any dick swinger who got anywhere near her.
“We can’t protect her,” Levi said evenly. “She has to pull her own weight, or this won’t work.”
“I know, damn it, but—”
“No buts. No taking up for her. We have to see what she’s made of.”
And they had. What she was made of was bullheaded stubbornness, mixed with cussedness and a total inability to keep her mouth shut. She’d glared at them, cursed all their villages, called down the ten plagues of Egypt on them—and tried her damnedest to do everything they’d told her to do. She’d gone splat more times than he could count, eaten dirt, plowed headfirst into a mud puddle, blistered her hands and probably her feet, and not once had she asked for help.
Several times today he’d had to stop himself from catching her when he saw she was going to fall, even if “catching her” would have meant grabbing her by the ponytail. Instead he’d let her splat, hoping she’d say, “I quit,” but she never had. She’d muttered, she’d cussed both under and over her breath, she’d called them sadists and told them numerous times how much she hated them all, but each and every time she’d gotten to her feet and kept at it.
How in hell was she still moving? She wasn’t anywhere near being in shape. But she’d set her jaw in an obstinate look he and his guys had quickly become familiar with and kept on plugging. Jelly had made a comment about maybe trying his luck with her, and Levi had had to shut him down fast.
“You don’t fuck with teammates,” he’d said flatly. “That’s the best way I know of to mess up the team. She’s off-limits to all of us. If you’re thinking about her that way, shut it down now.”
Too damn bad he had to include himself in that order. But he, more than any of the others, had to stick to that rule. Doing anything else would tear the team apart and considering their lives all depended on teamwork, he’d do what he had to do.
All the single guys had looked disappointed, except for Voodoo, who hadn’t warmed to her at all, but he was such a surly bastard he didn’t like himself most of the time so he didn’t count.
Levi felt surly about the situation himself, above and beyond having an amateur inserted into their tight-knit group. All of the GO-Teams were tight-knit; they had to be, to get the job done and survive. It was too damn bad she appealed to him, not so much in how she looked—though she was pretty enough, not flashy except for maybe her eyes, which were really blue but with a yellow ring around the pupil. She had boobs and a butt, but not much of them. She had a lot of dark brown hair, shiny like a little kid’s until she got coated in dust. What appealed to him most was that attitude and mouthiness, when common sense should have told her to button her lip. She hadn’t, and he liked that.
Didn’t matter. She was off-limits. He’d cut her no more slack than he did the others, and if she couldn’t do the job . . . well, then, that changed the rules of the game.
He knew where she’d left her car because the bus always picked up the newbies at the same place. He gave a quick grin at how she’d fallen for that bullshit about putting a GPS on her car; sooner or later she’d find out he’d lied, and the team would get a kick out of listening to her bitch at him. He had a thick skin; he could take it. In fact, he looked forward to it.
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About the Author
Linda Howard is the award-winning author of many New York Times bestsellers, including Up Close and Dangerous, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Cover of Night, Killing Time, To Die For, Kiss Me While I Sleep, Cry No More, and Dying to Please. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two golden retrievers.