Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Beyond Limits By: Laura Griffin ~ The Tracers Series #8 ~ Tasty Virtual Book tour ~ Giveaway


Beyond Limits
The Tracers Series #8
By: Laura Griffin

Laura is giving away Two Print Bundles including SCORCHED and TWISTED during this tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Don't forget to visit the other tour locations to increase your chances of winning. You may find those locations here....

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Blurb

FBI agent Elizabeth LeBlanc is still caught in the aftermath of her last big case when she runs into the one man from her past who is sure to rock her equilibrium even more. Navy SEAL Derek Vaughn is back home from a harrowing rescue mission in which he found evidence of a secret terror cell on US soil. Elizabeth knows he’ll do anything to unravel the plot—including seducing her for information. And despite the risks involved, she’s tempted to let him. . . .

On the surface Derek’s offering a simple deal—Elizabeth provides him with intel, he delivers the terrorist. But he knows nothing about Elizabeth is easy, and now their volatile relationship threatens to distract him from the most important mission of his career. Together with the forensics experts at the Delphi Center, he and Elizabeth are closing in on the truth, but it may not be fast enough to avert a devastating impending attack . . . or stop a ruthless enemy from escaping to kill again.

Releasing January 27th, 2015
Pocket Books 

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Excerpt:

“Vaughn, get over here.”
He followed a narrow corridor and almost stepped on a pair of legs jutting out from the wall. A young man was seated on the floor with his hands zip-cuffed behind him. He wore loose-fitting pants and high-top sneakers and was fifteen, max, but his eyes already had the flat, battle-hardened look of a warrior.
“Found him in the tunnel.” Sean nodded toward a passage that connected the house to who the hell knew what. The tunnel system here was like a rabbit warren.
Derek spotted a workbench littered with electrical wires, nails, several jars of black powder—all bomb components. He scanned the rest of the room, and his gaze came to rest on a large safe in the corner. It was a serious box, definitely imported, and would have been a major pain in the ass to get here.
Now Derek understood why he’d been called over. He glanced at the kid and tried to remember his rudimentary Pashto.
“What’s the number?” Derek asked in Pashto, because he didn’t know the word for “combination.”
The kid didn’t answer.
Derek pointed the stock of his gun at the safe. “Open it.”
The kid looked away, sullen.
“Screw this.” Sean reached for his kit and got out some C-4.
Derek stepped over to check for booby traps. He didn’t see any, but there was only one way to know for sure. Sean set a small charge, and they crossed to the other side of the room. The burst reverberated through the cavern, and they rushed back over.
“Damn, look at all this.” Sean pulled out a stack of papers, singed around the edges and still smoking. He flung it to the ground and stomped the fire out as Derek reached in and pulled out a notebook computer.
“Two minutes,” the CO said over the radio.
Derek cursed. Even with the extra minutes they’d built into the plan, they were running behind.
Sean was already pulling out his mesh bag, which they carried for this purpose. Some of the papers were in English, but Derek didn’t take the time to read them as he jammed everything into the bag. He reached in and snatched a thumb drive as Sean grabbed another batch of papers. Loose pages fluttered to the ground.
His teammate held up a sheet. “Hey, look at this.”
“No time to read. We need to move.”
“It’s a map.”
Derek glanced at it. It was in English, with notes scrawled around the edges. Derek scanned the street names. His blood ran cold. He looked at Sean.
“Guys, move it!” someone yelled down the stairs.
Derek glanced at his watch. They’d been on target way too long. He glanced at the kid. In a matter of hours, this house would be looted and abandoned. In a matter of minutes, this guy would be in the wind.
“On your feet,” Derek ordered.
Sean shouldered his pack. “They said no prisoners.”
“On your feet!”
The kid stood grudgingly, proving he knew at least some English. Sean shot Derek a look before taking the prisoner by the arm and propelling him toward the stairs.
Derek’s mind reeled as he looked at the papers strewn on the floor. He scooped up every scrap and checked the safe again to make sure he hadn’t missed anything, then threw his bag over his shoulder and raced upstairs. All the windows rattled as a Black Hawk swooped overhead en route to the landing zone. He glanced into the courtyard just as their EOD guy ducked out. He’d been setting the charge on the ordnance, and the look on his face told Derek it was about to blow.
“Hey, what are you doing here? Haul ass!”
Boom!
Derek dropped to his knees as the house shook. Chunks of debris rained down from the ceiling.
“Come on!” Derek yelled.
They sprinted outside, where the last member of their team was holding security by the door. A few neighbors’ lights had come on. People peered through windows and leaned out from doorways.
“Vaughn, where the hell are you?”
It was Luke’s voice over the radio, probably already at the LZ, which was a vacant lot at the end of the street.
“We’re half a click away.”
They double-timed it toward the landing zone, pushing the prisoner ahead of them.
“We got company,” Cole said over the radio as a truck screeched around the corner. It was packed with armed men and had a .50-cal machine gun mounted to the roof.
Derek grabbed Sean’s vest and yanked him out of the road. He pushed him down the alley leading to their alternate exfil route.
“Vaughn, report! Where are you?”
“Almost there.”
The street smelled like sewer water. Trash swirled in the rotor wash as they neared the waiting helo.
Rat-tat-tat.
The gunner on the truck let loose with the .50-cal. His buddies with AKs were well out of range, but that didn’t stop them from spraying bullets.
Derek rounded the building just in time to get a mouth full of dust. Mike was lifting the doctor into the chopper. Hailey had a SEAL on each arm, and they were practically carrying her, but she tore away from them and made a sprint for it. She flung herself onto the helo, and about a dozen hands reached out to pull her inside. Luke and Mike jumped in behind her.
Rat-tat-tat.
Derek and Sean ducked and sprinted while several teammates aimed over their heads and returned fire. The prisoner reached the helo first, and Mike pulled him aboard.
Rat-tat-tat-tat.
Sean crashed down behind him. Derek turned and hauled him to his feet. Noise drowned out the words, but Derek could read his friend’s lips and the panicked look in his eyes: I’m hit. Derek heaved him over his shoulder and stumbled forward. Bullets peppered the helo’s sides as Luke jumped down and helped lift Sean inside.
“Go, go, go!”
Derek grabbed the outstretched hands of his teammates as they seized his pack and yanked him aboard. His boots were barely inside when the Black Hawk lurched off the ground and lifted into the sky.
Excerpt #2
It was full-on rush hour by the time Elizabeth reached the city, so she crossed Starbucks off her list, although she sorely needed caffeine. Even without the call-out, she’d had a bad night. Most of it had been spent curled on her sofa, flipping channels and determinedly avoiding CNN as she downed chamomile tea, which was supposedly a natural sleep aid. After weeks of drinking the stuff, she’d discovered it worked great when accompanied by Ambien.
She pulled into the bunker-like parking garage and found a space. Flipping down the vanity mirror, she checked for any telltale signs of fogginess. Her eyes were bloodshot, her skin sallow. She smoothed her ponytail and fluffed her new bangs. She’d had them cut a few months ago in an effort to hide her scar, but she wasn’t crazy about the look. A little too schoolgirl, which wasn’t helpful. As a five-four blonde, she already had enough trouble getting people to take her seriously.
She flipped up the mirror, disgusted. She had more important things to worry about today than her appearance. Such as her boss’s reaction when he heard about the murder of her newly recruited informant.
Elizabeth’s stomach tightened with nerves as she walked into the office and rode up the elevator. The doors slid open. She made her way toward her cubicle and saw Maxwell talking to a pair of agents outside his office. He’d probably heard by now. Would he dress her down at the staff meeting or call her into his office beforehand?
He spotted her, and the grim look on his face told her he’d received the news. Elizabeth changed course, bracing herself for a blast of criticism as she approached.
“Sir, I need to talk to you about—”
“Save it. You’ve got a visitor.” He tipped his head toward one of the men standing nearby.
“Hello, Elizabeth.”
She blinked at him, taken aback. “Gordon. What—”
“Feel free to use my office,” Maxwell told him, then gave her a sharp nod. “We’ll talk later.”
Gordon watched her, his look unreadable. He was based in Washington, but if he’d spent the morning on an airplane, you’d never know it from his immaculate suit and shiny wingtips. Agents who worked for him sometimes called him “Wall Street,” and she hadn’t figured out whether it was because of his clothes or because his all-business demeanor reminded them of Gordon Gecko.
He gestured toward the empty office. “After you.”
Polite as always. She stepped inside and felt a chill down her spine as the door thudded shut. She glanced through the window into the bullpen and caught the baffled looks of her coworkers, who were obviously wondering why the Bureau’s newly promoted assistant director of counterterrorism wanted to see her.
Gordon tucked his hands into his pockets and stepped past Maxwell’s desk. He had an athletic build, good posture. His salt-and-pepper hair was trimmed short, as she remembered it. Despite the demands of his job, he took care of himself.

He turned to look at her. “How have you been?”
She started to say “Fine” but remembered something else she’d learned about him a year ago. He was a human lie detector.
“Busy,” she said.
He lifted an eyebrow, then turned to study Maxwell’s ego wall, which featured his Princeton diplomas, along with several framed photos of him rubbing elbows with VIPs: the FBI director, a few senators, the Texas governor.
“Have you been following the news out of Afghanistan?”
She cleared her throat. “You mean the hostages?”
“Yes.”
“The newspaper said they were rescued by NATO forces.”
The paper hadn’t specified what type of forces. But since meeting a SEAL team last summer, Elizabeth had been paying close attention and had learned to read between the lines. A team of commandos storming a compound and plucking civilians from the hands of Taliban insurgents? The mission had SEAL written all over it.
“Many of the details weren’t made public.” Gordon turned to face her. “The team that conducted the raid recovered some interesting info during their SSE sweep.”
SSE. She racked her brain.
“Sensitive site exploitation,” he provided.
“You mean computers?”
“A laptop, a thumb drive. The information there was surprisingly minimal, but they also collected a cache of papers, including several detailed maps of Houston.”
Houston. Not D.C., not New York, but Houston, Texas. Elizabeth’s palms felt sweaty and she tucked them into her pockets. “What’s in Houston?”
He smiled slightly. “You mean besides six million people? Three major sports venues, a world-renowned medical center, a Christian megachurch.” He sat on the edge of Maxwell’s desk. “Not to mention the corporate headquarters of some of the world’s largest energy companies.”
She clamped her mouth shut. Maybe she’d look less ignorant if she let him talk.
“It was a take-no-prisoners raid,” he continued. “However, when the commandos saw this cache of intel, they grabbed a young man who’d been subdued, hoping some of our CIA guys could persuade him to talk.”
“Did they?”
His mouth tightened. “He’s no longer cooperating.”
What did that mean, exactly?
“And unfortunately, after poring through all the intel, our analysts believe the terrorists planning the attack were not in the compound when the raid went down. As far as we know, they’re still at large.” He paused and watched her. “Homeland Security’s staffed up a joint task force to investigate this potential plot and interrupt it.”
Elizabeth’s mind was reeling. She’d admired Gordon since the day she’d met him, both as an investigator and as a leader. The thought of working with him again made her giddy and nervous and terrified all at the same time.
He stepped closer and gazed down at her.
“Your SAC says you had a rough spring. He thinks you’re not up for this assignment.”
Anger welled in her chest.
“If you join my team, I need to know that you’re one hundred percent. Are you?”
“One hundred and ten. Sir.”
He held her gaze, the human lie detector. Her heart thudded so loudly she could hear it. Time seemed to stretch out. He glanced at his watch. “Be at San Antonio International Airport in two hours. Pack light.”
Relief flooded her. “We’re going to Houston?”
“California. Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, to be precise.” He crossed the room and reached for the door. “We need to interview some SEALs.”

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Author Info:



New York Times and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner (for the books Scorched and Whisper of Warning) as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award (for Untraceable). Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book. Visit Laura at www.LauraGriffin.com or Facebook.com/LauraGriffinAuthor
Author Links:

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