Rogue Soldier (Shadow Unit Book 2)
Shadow Unit may have overturned the illegal arms cartel in Kuala Lumpur, but the harrowing undercover op left emotional scars on Sergeants Shawn Weller and Connor Finley. Slowly, patiently, they piece their partnership back together, closer now than ever before.
Until a new mission threatens to tear them apart.
When Connor accidentally kills a civilian, he questions his job, his abilities, his worth. A timely offer of promotion seems his only way out, even though it means transferring out of Shadow Unit and away from Shawn.
The arrival of Julian Montgomery, Shawn’s former CIA handler and lover, further strains their relationship. Julian knows all of Shawn's secrets as well as the past Shawn has kept hidden from Connor. Now the self-serving Julian wants Shawn back—with the CIA and with him. No one will get in his way. Including Connor.
When the joint Shadow Unit/CIA mission to stop the supplier of a deadly biological weapon goes sideways, Connor is captured, tortured, and used as a human test subject. It’s a race against time to save his life. But who can Shawn trust?
And who has gone rogue?
Missed Shawn and Connor’s earlier adventures? Read BROKEN SOLDIER, available from your favorite retailer.
Connor floated in a haze of pain and unrelenting heat.
As if from a great distance he heard Hamid asking him the same questions again and again, heard himself whisper his name, rank and service number again and again, his throat raw from thirst and screaming.
But Connor wasn’t there, in that room. He was on a beach in California with Shawn, lying on the hot sand, the bright sun shining down on them, turning their skin golden brown. He could smell the salt of the ocean, hear the cries of the seagulls overhead. Their motorcycles were parked up on the road above the secluded, deserted cove they had discovered on their road trip south.
Shawn was kissing him endlessly, his hands roaming over Connor’s warm skin. Connor pulled Shawn closer until his partner’s body blanketed him from head to toe. Eventually they let the kiss gentle and end. Despite the heat, Connor was in no hurry to end their embrace, nowhere he’d rather be than in Shawn’s arms.
He smiled up at Shawn, more content than he’d been in the last month. But his smile slipped slightly when Shawn looked down at him with a serious expression.
"Thank you," Shawn murmured.
"For what?" Connor replied, confused.
"For putting me back together. For saving me."
Connor swallowed hard at Shawn’s heartfelt words. He rubbed a thumb across Shawn’s cheekbone. "That’s what partners do."
Shawn turned his head to the side and kissed Connor’s palm. "And I’ll always be there for you, Finn, whenever you need saving. I swear. Never doubt that and never give up."
Never give up…
Another bucket of ice water hitting his overheated, aching body shocked Connor from the peaceful memory.
He gasped, his right eye opening fully, the left one nearly swollen shut. With effort he lifted his head. Hamid grasped his bruised jaw and squeezed hard. "You may have resisted answering my questions, but you will be unable to resist being my final human test subject," he sneered, shoving Connor’s head to the side.
Hamid turned to his men. "Get him down! I want him in a containment room!"
Kashif released the leather strap holding Connor’s ankles in place as Ahmed disappeared behind him. A moment later the chain suspending him from the ceiling was released, sending Connor’s bruised and battered body crashing down to the floor. Too weak to move any of his limbs to break his fall, Connor couldn't help the groan that escaped his lips as he landed hard on his side. He lay on the concrete like a crumpled rag doll.
Kashif and Ahmed unlocked the wrist restraints before hauling his body up by his arms. Connor cried out, his shoulders in sheer agony. Ignoring Connor’s pain, the two men dragged him from the room, Hamid close behind.
They went down the hallway and turned right, Connor’s legs and bare feet scraping against the floor, trailing behind him. Connor tried to keep his fear in check as they emerged into a larger area with six individual sections. Rooms, actually, but with clear Plexiglas walls, each containing a hospital bed and various pieces of medical equipment. It was difficult to see out of only one eye, but straight ahead and further down, Connor saw what appeared to be the main laboratory area with six or seven men in white lab coats holding test tubes or looking through microscopes.
Ahmed and Kashif pulled Connor into one of the containment rooms, unceremoniously tossing him on the bed. There were restraints attached to the metal frame and the two men quickly secured Connor's throbbing legs and arms. His limbs burned and trembled now as circulation returned, his arms and fingers on fire as the blood rushed back into them.
As Ahmed and Kashif exited, Hamid entered, accompanied by one of the men in the white lab coats. Connor was not surprised to see the scientist was Chinese. Hamid had obviously been recruiting from one of Pakistan's few allies.
Hamid held out his hand. The man gave him a syringe halfway filled with an amber liquid.
"I’ve wasted too much time with him," Hamid told the other man, speaking in English. "We cannot risk discovery. I want everyone informed we are relocating immediately. The neurotoxin and antidote are to be prepped and packaged for transport."
The scientist bowed. "Yes sir, I will see to it." He hurried from the room.
Hamid stepped up beside the bed and looked down at Connor. He held up the syringe for Connor to see, as he pressed the plunger slightly, several drops of the amber liquid running down the needle.
"This is the final, most potent strain of the neurotoxin. As yet untested," Hamid informed him. "So rest assured, your death will not be in vain. You will be providing valuable scientific data," he sneered, pressing the needle against Connor’s skin.
For the first time Connor spoke directly to his captor, his voice raspy but strong. "My death was never going to be in vain. I will gladly give my life to protect my team." He swallowed with difficulty and stared hard at Hamid. "Taking me was the worst thing you could have done. Because they will stop at nothing to find me. And you."
Hamid glared at Connor as he stabbed the needle into Connor’s arm. "Then I shall let them find you. Or at least your corpse."
With a triumphant smile, Hamid pressed the plunger, sending liquid death racing through Connor’s veins.
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review.***
This is Book 2 of the Shadow Unit series. This book seems to start a few months after Book 1 ended. It could be read without reading Book 1, as information shared in the first book is retold in this one but don't skip the first book! Shawn and Connor are worth reading about! In this book, the Shadow Unit group is working in Kuala Lumpur when they are called to another mission. This mission is being led by Shawn's former partner and lover in the CIA and Shawn knows he's not to be trusted. Shawn's focus is torn between the mission and trying to figure out what Julian is up to. Julian plans on getting Shawn back in his life no matter whose life he has to end to make that happen. The Shadow Unit team must face the threats from the new mission, as well as a spy in their midst.
In this book we learn more about Shawn, Connor and the Shadow Unit group. Shawn and Connor's relationship continues to grow and strengthen and they're once against faced with challenges that may result in one or both of their deaths. As with the previous book, it took me a little while to get into the story and you definitely recognize that this is fiction, but once pulled into the story, I couldn't stop reading.
I think what hurts my immersion is that I really don't know Shawn and Connor. They're an established couple and they're able to work through and support each other through any issues but we just find out information about them as it pertains to the missions. I don't feel like I have a firm grip on who they are. But, maybe it's because I need to not look at this as a romance story but more a book about missions, with the MC's being partners in love. But, however you choose to look at it, the series is enjoyable!
Rating: 4 stars
Jamie Lynn Miller has been writing fiction since childhood and decided to take the plunge and go pro in 2008, finding to her amazement that people truly enjoyed her love stories. She’s a romantic at heart, and her tales reflect the desire we all have to find “the one,” persevering through trials and heartache for that happy ending.
Jamie has a degree in fine arts and has spent the last twenty years working as a graphic designer, though she’d much rather be writing. She was born in Chicago and still lives there today with her husband and their two furry, four-footed children, er… cats.
If she’s not brainstorming story ideas, you can find Jamie at a sci-fi convention, in front of a furnace doing glass blowing, or on a mat twisted into a yoga pose.