Book: Full Throttle
Author: Julie Ann Walker
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Abby Thompson didn’t sign up to be the daughter of the President of the United States. The position was forced on her by the small matter of her birth. Preferring a quiet life of study, she’s content to leave the politics and the international intrigue to her father. Unfortunately, the most powerful man on the planet is sure to make enemies. When a group of armed thugs takes her hostage half a world away, demanding the U.S. government release prisoners in exchange for her safe return, she fears her father’s policy of “not negotiating with terrorists” means she’ll never see the shores of the Potomac again. Luckily, there’s one glimmer of hope. His name is Carlos Soto. And though she abruptly ended things with him years ago, she knows now he’s the only man who can save her…
Carlos “Steady” Soto has taken part in his fair share of dangerous missions working at the covert government defense firm of Black Knights Inc. But nothing prepared him for the emotional rollercoaster he faces when he’s tasked with rescuing the only woman he ever loved-who also broke his heart. Racing against time and outmaneuvering a group of trained terrorists will take everything he’s got. Plus there’s the heat simmering between them which is threatening to ignite into an inferno. While ruthless enemies stalk them, they must learn to trust each other again. Even if they do make it out alive, will Abby turn her back on him… for the second time?
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Thinking fast, Abby said the first thing to pop into her head. “Well, so do you. A lot of tattoos. And I’ve been meaning to ask you what they say.”
When Carlos dropped her hair to hold out his wide hands, palms up so that the intricate black scroll on the insides of his flexing forearms was visible, she heaved a sigh of relief. She’d distracted him from asking her about the symbolism of her tattoo. And that was good. Just as now was not the time or place for kisses and hot Latin looks, neither was it the time or place for her confession. When they were home, when they were safe, when he could walk away from her and never look back, that’s when she’d tell him.
And forget the fact that her stomach hollowed out at the mere thought.
“This one”—he pointed to the words in Spanish sketched into his right arm—“says, ‘Mess with the best.’”
“Mess with the best?” She lifted an intrigued eyebrow.
“Sí.” He nodded, his dark, wet hair curling across his forehead. A drop of crystalline water glinted near his temple, and she was tempted to reach up and brush it away. “And this one says, ‘Die like the rest.’”
Mess with the best, die like the rest…
Her jaw unhinged as a shiver of awareness and…wariness…skittered across her nerve endings. When she looked into his eyes, into those deep, black eyes fringed by those thick, dark lashes, she didn’t see the handsome, happy–go–lucky medical student she’d known back in college. Instead she saw the man he’d grown into. The hardened soldier, the…take–no–prisoners, no–guts–no–glory warrior who’d taken his place. And not for the first time since he dropped back into her life, she couldn’t help but feel a bit of remorse. Because he never would have become this man, this hard–assed, battle–scarred man, if not for—-
“It’s an Army Ranger slogan,” he told her, reaching over to give her a friendly nudge. The place where his elbow gently connected with her upper arm was suddenly hypersensitive. “Makes me seem tougher than I really am.”
“I seriously doubt that.” In the last few days, and more specifically, in the last few hours, he’d proved to be the toughest sonofagun she’d ever met, which just made him that much harder to resist. I mean, what woman wouldn’t want to throw herself into the arms of a man who was a real–life doctor turned soldier—-and when the moment called for it—-turned sex god?
Shaking her head to scatter her thoughts, she pointed to the edges of the black tattoo on his back. It peeked from the armholes and the collar of his tank top, giving her intriguing hints of what might lie beneath. “And that one?” she asked.
For a moment he regarded her quietly, his eyes like lasers cutting through the dim light inside the hut. Outside, the rain continued to pound. Inside, her heart did the same, clattering against her ribs like the wooden wind chimes she’d installed in a tree back at the DC Botanic Garden. Something in his face made her eyebrows pinch together.
“You don’t have to show me,” she hastily added, “if you don’t w–w–w…”
Her words stuttered to a stop because he reached over his head, grabbed a handful of wet, army–green cotton in a fist, and whipped his tank top off. Tossing it aside, it landed on the floor of the hut with a gentle splat.
Sweet son of a monkey’s uncle…
The man was just so…pretty. And, no, there was no other way to describe him. Because his skin was impossibly smooth and tan. His shoulders were impossibly wide and muscled. His pecs were impossibly defined around his flat, brown nipples. His stomach was impossibly corded and ripped. And then there was that line of black hair…trailing from his navel down into his camouflage cargo pants.
In short, he should not have wasted time on a medical degree or in Army Ranger training. Instead, he should have been a Calvin Klein underwear model. Either that or the subject for anatomy textbooks.
Even the raised white ridge of scar tissue cutting across his bicep and the jagged red line of skin puckered on his flank didn’t seem to detract from the overall…well…prettiness of him. Although she’d already learned her lesson about using that word in conjunction with any of his body parts.
She bit her tongue when he turned to show her the monster tattoo stretching across his broad back from shoulder to shoulder and from below his neck to the small of his waist. Of course, with the thing clamped between her teeth, it was a wonder she didn’t chew it clean off. Because the ink was equal parts fascinating and terrifying.
Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.
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