After a grueling assignment with the black ops force known as the Alliance, Weston Brown is craving downtime. Instead, he's pulled into his deadliest operation, in the one place he never wanted to see again. No-nonsense and so damn hot, Lexi Turner lied to get him to her mountain clinic in Pakistan. But the threat is terrifyingly real.
Lexi has been asking too many questions, drawing the wrong kind of attention. As soon as she lays eyes on West, she can tell he's quiet—yet tough—and has a rescue complex which will come in handy for going up against the world's most ruthless gunrunners.
Cut off from the rest of the Alliance, Lexi and West navigate the brutal terrain and a primal sexual attraction. Sticking around has never been West's way, but now he'll use every resource to keep Lexi by his side, safe from a killer who leaves no loose ends behind.
After spending most of his adult life in the Marines, Weston Brown recognized a shithole when he stepped right in one. He had no one else to blame for this assignment. Just his piss poor decision-making. Next time his team leader told him about an optional operation, he’d take a pass. Wouldn’t kill him to sit one out now and then.
With his gun in his hand and his finger skimming along the side, right off the trigger, he scanned the area, squinting to check his surroundings in the fading light. Skardu, Pakistan. The town served as the launching area for high-altitude climbing expeditions. Dusty and barren, filled with grayish-brown boulders and outlined by a towering mountain range. A few rivers and bursts of green provided by man-made irrigation systems broke through the rough landscape.
This was not his idea of the ideal vacation spot, and that’s what he was supposed to be doing—taking mandatory leave—forced rest between assignments with the Alliance, the elite black ops fighting force put together mostly from the United States’ CIA and MI6, the British intelligence service.
The work suited him since he wasn’t a desk guy, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing to go a week or so without choking or shooting someone. When his eyes locked on the target dead ahead, he knew the no-violence thing wasn’t going to happen today.
He’d done this a million times. Careful steps, slowed breathing. A mental countdown to impact. Calculating the risks and preparing a second option if this one went sideways. He’d been trained to be ready—always. To kill without thinking.
His boot hit the ground right behind the armed unknown leaning against a tree and aiming his weapon at the building in the distance. The guy must have sensed him because he flinched a second before contact. Started to turn. West locked his arm around the guy’s neck before he could call out and bring his friends running.
Flailing and full of panic, he had one last burst of energy. The bottom of the guy’s shoes scraped against the loose pebbles on the ground as he beat his fists against West’s arm. West pressed harder and the guy fell in a heap in the dirt.
West had been using the choke hold since boot camp. Just shy of thirty-four and he could still take a man down in less than four seconds.
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I love a big quiet hero. You know the type. He doesn’t say much. He’s not one to break out into a long speech. If a question can be answered with one or two words, he doesn’t use ten. He’s the tough protector type. He stands there, watching and taking it all in, assessing before he makes a move. It’s as if he thinks he can blend in, but he’s really not the fade-into-the-woodwork type. And that’s why I love him.
In real life this guy might drive me nuts but in a romance novel he becomes intriguing, especially when he’s spending that quiet time watching over the heroine. Think of Tom Hardy. He has that sort of presence. So did Matt Damon in his role as Jason Bourne, though I’m not sure he’s that big of a guy. But you get the point. A hero like this is larger than life in many ways. Clearly this hero type works well in anything with suspense. And just think about how that brooding silence makes a hero more compelling.
My hero in FALLING HARD, West Brown, has that sort of personality. He’s a retired marine and has seen some really bad things. His newest undercover operation takes him right back to the one place that still haunts him….and right into the path of Lexi Palmer. She’s strong and determined, and more than a bit chatty. She sees West this way:
For women who liked their men brawny and quiet while wearing a fierce glare, he’d be a dream candidate. She generally went for the studious, researcher type who never stepped foot inside a gym. Still, there was something about this guy—his demeanor, the way he answered every verbal shot she threw out with either one of his own or a confused frown ... the whole big and hot and protective thing—that had her staring.
I think that’s the secret of the big quiet hero. He needs to find the right woman, the one who makes him get loud and fight. The one who means everything. I think of this as the alpha guy with a squishy melting center. It takes loving the heroine to bring out that squishy side. Because when that big guy falls is there anything better?
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HelenKay Dimon is a former divorce attorney turned full-time romance author. Odd transition, right? She has sold over thirty novels, novellas and shorts to numerous publishers, including Kensington, Harlequin and Penguin, Samhain, Carina Press, and HarperCollins. 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. But the best part of the job is never having to wear pantyhose.
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