**RELEASE BLITZ** ~ Nothing Else Matters by Blair Babylon

Brand-new New Adult Rock Star Romance

from USA Today-Bestselling Author Blair Babylon!

Nothing Else Matters Book Ad

 

The nail-biting conclusion to the Billionaires in Disguise: Georgie and Xan series

Nothing Else Matters

explores the depths of the heart and the healing power of love. 

Release: October 27, 2015

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Georgie broke up with Xan Valentine, the lead singer for the rock band Killer Valentine, the guy that Rolling Stone calls “sex incarnate.” The magazine isn’t wrong, but they don’t know the half of it. He’s the alpha-est male who ever walked onto a stage or into a bedroom and might be crazy, and Georgie is definitely in love with him. Plus, he hired her ex-boyfriend, her first “real” boyfriend, to play in the band, and now she’s stuck between them.

So she tried to leave. That’s what any sane girl would do.

And just as she feared, the Russian mafia kidnapped her.

She prays that Xan won’t try to rescue her because they said they’ll kill him. But she knows he will, even if it costs him everything.

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Nothing Else Matters is the final book in the Georgie and Xan series.

Haven’t read the first one yet?

Get Every Breath You Take (Book 1) Here:

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Excerpt from Nothing Else Matters

Georgie pushed the door open and found Alexandre sitting on the bed, his good arm resting across his bent knees. He was wearing his jeans, but he had on a blue hospital gown instead of a shirt. His hair was escaping his ponytail, blond strands of it glinting in the fading sunlight streaming in the long windows. His hurt arm rested in his lap behind his knees.

He said, “Sorry about making you the fetch-andcarry girl.”

“It’s fine. I don’t mind.” Georgie pulled the drape that cordoned off the door to the private room and scooted onto the foot of his bed, careful not to jostle the mattress too much under her legs.

“Are you going to wear your jeans again?” he asked. His weak smile worried her. “It’s considered déclassé to not change into yet another designer outfit for the reception. Perhaps your black jeans?”

“I have a dress that Flicka brought for me,” she told him. “It’s red.”

“Too bad you don’t have that black dress with the silver chains from their civil wedding. It looked smashing on you.”

“And on your floor.”

“Indeed.” His smile grew a little warmer.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

He didn’t even glance at his hand, but his quiet voice was just slightly breathy. “I don’t think so.”

“Is there anything I can do?”

He shook his head, a slight movement from side to side, but his expression was still so calm.

“Are you sure that you want to go tonight? We don’t have to. We can just stay in Geneva tonight, if that would be better. I’d stay with you.”

“It wouldn’t matter. The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow because the best surgeon in Europe is flying in to do it. Going now wouldn’t change anything. A distraction might be welcome.”

“Well, then. Let’s get this party started,” Georgie said, bracing her arms on her knees to stand and get their clothes.

He lifted his wrapped arm from his lap where it had been hidden behind his legs and the long part of the hospital gown. Elastic bandages wrapped his forearm and hand down to his fingertips where the ends of a foam and silver splint stuck out of the beige cloth. “I don’t know how I’ll get clothes on over this.”

Georgie smiled, cocking her head and looking up from the corner of her eyes like she had been very smart. “I called the concierge at the hotel and got sewing supplies. I have scissors and a needle, and white thread for the shirt and black thread for the jacket. I can sew you into it. If they look closely, it might look like Frankenstein,” she admitted. “But if they don’t, the tux should cover most of that.”

A slow smile grew on his face while she spoke. He said, “That’s amazing.”

She patted his long, bare foot because it was closest to her. “It’s okay, man. I’ll just grab those garment bags.”

Georgie slid off the end of the bed and got the garment bags from Friedhelm, who looked entirely relaxed leaning against the wall, pleasantly hanging out with Paul, except that his brown eyes tracked everyone who moved in the long hospital hallway. He had a resting sweet face.

When she brought the bags back to Alexandre, he was already standing up and was shrugging off the cotton hospital gown, facing her. The cotton slid down his chest and dropped to the floor. She hoisted the bags up and hung them on the curtain track that ran near the ceiling. “Let’s get you dressed first,” she said. “You’ll wrinkle less.”

“You can wait outside,” he said. “I’ll just be a minute. Then we can sew me in.”

“Oh, come on. I’ll just help you button up the shirt.” He unbuttoned his jeans with his one hand and shoved them down his long legs. “I don’t need any help.”

“One last night, okay?”

“I beg your pardon?” he asked as he sat on the bed and yanked the denim off his foot with one hand.

“One last night. I’m going to Atlanta tomorrow. Let me help you.”

“I keep hearing that, but you never leave.”

“Now you’re daring me,” she said. He pulled the other leg of his jeans off his foot and threw them behind himself on the pillow. He wore blue boxer-briefs that hugged his slim hips and rode below the ripples of his abs. Red-gray bruises stained his skin on his ribs and thighs, mostly on his left side.

He said, “I am merely commenting on a trend. One that I like.”

“Well, I’m just saying that you should let me help you because this really is our last night,” she said, trying not to look at the bleeding under his skin. “Don’t push me away, even for a minute, even to just get dressed.”

“Then don’t go to Atlanta,” he said.

She ignored him because she ignored the people on the sidewalks of Southwestern State who hollered that little green men were following her, too. Indulging in fantasies was not something that the Ice Princess did.

She said, “Even now. Even just for a few minutes. Just pretend that I’m helping you so I can stay.”

He blinked, those lush eyelashes blinking over his dark eyes. “All right.”

“So we need to get ready for the reception,” she said.

He nodded, some of his blond hair slipping over his shoulder.

“Do you want to shower?” she asked.

He gestured to the splint and bandages on his left hand and shrugged his strong shoulder, pulling up the ripples of muscle along his torso.

Yeah, his splint and bandages shouldn’t get soggy.

“I can give you a sponge bath,” Georgie said. “Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do in hospitals?”

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**RELEASE BLITZ** ~ Wild Thing, by Blair Babylon (includes excerpt)

Brand-new New Adult Rock Star Romance
from USA Today-Bestselling Author Blair Babylon!

Xan Georgie Ep2 B 500px

The music calls Georgie.

Every night, she stands offstage, watching rock star Xan Valentine and his band, Killer Valentine, set fire to the crowd with music until they would burn down the city for him. His music wraps her until her fingers dance, desperately wanting the piano, but her terrified legs could never walk onto a stage.

Most nights, when Xan Valentine strides off the stage, his dark eyes shift, blurring, and he becomes Alexandre de Valentinois again.

Sometimes, Xan won’t let go.

Some of the other band members, Rade and Grayson, are caught in a death spiral of booze, drugs, and groupies. The drummer, Tryp, is too infatuated with his new wife to do more than show up to play.

Xan is the only one who can compel them onto the stage. He’s holding Killer Valentine together with the force of his will.

This can’t go on.

Something has to break.

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Wild Thing is the second book in the Georgie and Xan series.

Haven’t read the first one yet?

Get Every Breath You Take (Book 1) Here:

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Excerpt from Wild Thing

Riding in the back of the limousine on the way to the sound check, Georgie watched Alex, or Xan, or whoever he was.
He reached over and held her hand. The hard calluses on his fingertips scraped her fingers. The sympathetic interest in Alex’s dark eyes made her feel like the chaos of the world out there had quieted.
As they neared the venue, gliding through the light traffic hours before the arena began to fill, Alex’s body tensed.
First, his far leg began to twitch.
His strong fingers tapped out a complicated rhythm on the armrest on the door.
As the venue came into view—a huge arts complex like a pile of white boxes surrounded by lonely fields of empty parking lots—Alex tugged her hand toward him, and he leaned over for a kiss.
At first, his lips caressed hers, drawing out her response, an intimate and tantalizing kiss that promised more. His lips parted, and Georgie opened hers. His strong arms clamped around her waist and the back of her neck, grabbing a fistful of her long hair. He stroked her tongue with his until she felt a moan shudder in her throat, and he chuckled against her skin as he drew away.
When he lifted his head, his dark eyes held the predatory gleam of a hawk, and his lips were pinker with the blood rushing through him.
He dragged her across the car seat.
His burly arms caged her, and he pinned her against the seat and kissed her again, opening her lips with his and bending her to fit against his hard body.
She flattened her hands against his chest.
He lifted his head, looking down at her. A smile curved one side of his mouth. “We’re almost to the show, anyway.”
She couldn’t quite catch her breath. “Yeah.”
He uncoiled his arms from around her, still keeping one hand resting on her back, and he stared out the window at the arena.
His posture on the seat was wider, more possessive of the space, and his body nearly vibrated with energy.
If she hadn’t seen the change for herself, several times, she might not have believed it. It seemed more like black magic than psychology.

 

**BOOK BLITZ** ~ Every Breath You Take, by Blair Babylon (includes excerpt)

 Brand-new New Adult Rock Star Romance

from USA Today-Bestselling Author Blair Babylon! 

What happens when a Rock Star in Disguise meets a Billionaire in hiding?

Every Breath Blair Babylon 500px

Georgie doesn’t know who she is dating.
 
At a high society wedding, Georgie Johnson is introduced to Alexandre de Valentinois, a hereditary duke of nothing who flies around the world on his private planes and describes himself as “one of those despicable, idle rich men.” Yet, when pressed, he sings at the wedding in a gorgeous, clear tenor that tugs at Georgie’s soul, and miraculously, he calms her paralyzing stage fright so she can accompany him on the piano, even though she thought she had left her classical music career behind when she went into hiding.
 
But Alexandre has a dark side. His name is Xan Valentine, and he’s the rock star front man for Killer Valentine. He’s famous, but his paparazzi-dogged lifestyle might expose Georgie and get her killed.

 

See the book at these retailers:

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Excerpt:

In the elevator, Georgie stood against the back wall while Alex slid a keycard into a slot above the buttons, backed away from her, and stared at the flickering floor display the whole time, which just about drove her insane until she saw the black dome embedded in the ceiling.

Okay, Georgie didn’t want to end up immortalized as a GIF entitled #GetARoom, either. She twirled her purse dangling from her wrist to pass the long, drawn-out, agonizing seconds while the elevator ascended, the increased velocity dragging at her feet.

Far up in the hotel, the elevator doors parted, and Alex seized her hand again and tugged her out of the elevator. Three doors led off the short hallway, and Georgie realized they were up in the suites.

Alex said, “It’s small. The hotel was sold out. Flicka and her wedding party booked the better suites months ago, so I was only able to get a deluxe.”

Georgie’s heart jumped in her chest, and her hands felt empty because she wasn’t touching him. “Just get us in there.”

His grin bore a touch of desperation as he flung open the door and pulled her inside after him.

Georgie caught a glimpse of a blue and white living room and a dining room with a table for six, and the scent of the white rose bundles filled the rooms as Alex pulled her though the suite. In the bedroom, golden silk draped the bed, and a breeze fluttered the white curtains over the window that was open to a view over the skyline of Paris. She tossed her purse on a nightstand.

Alex grabbed her arms, whirling her around, and he pushed her against the closed door and kissed her. The scent of sweet champagne flooded her mouth, and she breathed deeply. His forearms were braced against the door around her head, almost caging her as he bent to her. Georgie wound her arms around his neck, her fingers sliding into his long hair at the back of his neck. Alex groaned against her lips and reared back, then dipped his head to run his teeth over her neck. He shrugged his suit coat off behind himself, the dark blue fabric falling on the carpeting.

She dropped her hand, caressing his side through his shirt. Bulges of muscle rippled under her fingers. Even while his hot mouth blew champagne-scented breath on her neck, Georgie explored his body with her hands. She grabbed fistfuls of his shirt, pulling the fine cloth out of his waistband, and she ducked her hand under his shirt and soft undershirt beneath.

Ridges of muscle met her palm. He panted against her shoulder as she ran her palms and fingers into the furrows between his abdominals and up to the lean bulges of his pecs.

His hands smoothed over her hips, reaching for the zipper down her backside.

This felt tawdry, a quick fuck at a wedding with the guy she had performed a song with, and that was fantastic. Long-term relationships and even repeat sex weren’t on her agenda. Alex probably lived in Europe, and if they ever ran into each other again, they could be amicable and polite, and he would be just another guy that she used to fuck.

Perfect.

Georgie+Xan+AD+with+FINAL+cover+A

 

 

*COVER REVEAL* ~ Every Breath You Take, by Blair Babylon (includes excerpt)

Brand-new New Adult Rock Star Romance

from USA Today-Bestselling Author Blair Babylon! 

What happens when a Rock Star in Disguise meets a Billionaire in hiding?

Every Breath Blair Babylon 500px

 Georgie doesn’t know who she is dating.

At a high society wedding, Georgie Johnson is introduced to Alexandre de Valentinois, a hereditary duke of nothing who flies around the world on his private planes and describes himself as “one of those despicable, idle rich men.” Yet, when pressed, he sings at the wedding in a gorgeous, clear tenor that tugs at Georgie’s soul, and miraculously, he calms her paralyzing stage fright so she can accompany him on the piano, even though she thought she had left her classical music career behind when she went into hiding.

But Alexandre has a dark side. His name is Xan Valentine, and he’s the rock star front man for Killer Valentine. He’s famous, but his paparazzi-dogged lifestyle might expose Georgie and get her killed.

Every Breath Blair Babylon Graphic w date

 

PUBLICATION DATE: February 14 

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY HERE:

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Excerpt: 

Alex said, so quietly, “Play something for me.”

Her hands stretched over the keys, and she tried to push them down to play even a major chord, but as soon as a key neared the break point, just when the hammer inside the piano was poised to strike the string, something in her mind shouted Don’t! and she couldn’t press it.

Alex asked gently, “Does Flicka know you’re worse?”

“I don’t see how she would. We’ve been out of touch for a few years.”

“But she knows that you’ve got—” he paused, obviously considering whether to say the terrible words, “a problem with this.”

“She must have forgotten about it,” rather than that Flicka had decided to punish Georgie in a spectacularly cruel way.

Maybe Georgie deserved to try to face her fears, melt into an incoherent puddle on the floor, and have everyone from her childhood and current best friends laugh at her failure.

It would serve her right.

But she would never be able to walk as far as the piano in front of all those people, so Flicka couldn’t have her poetic justice.

“Anyway,” she said, “I can’t do it.”

“I can help you,” Alex said.

“And how could you do that? Hypnotize me? Doesn’t work. Psychoanalysis? There’s nothing there.”

“Of course not, but I don’t want you to play for them.” He leaned across the piano again, and his hair slid from behind his shoulder and hung, reflected in the black gloss of the piano’s lacquer. “I want you to play for me.”

Georgie stared down at her spidery hands hanging over the black and white piano keys. “I can’t.”

He walked around the piano and stood beside her, his slim hip right beside her cheek. A faint, masculine scent wafted from his clothes, a cologne, something soothing like green herbs. She was acutely aware that she could lean about six inches over and unzip his fly with her teeth.

Alex said, in a low, soft voice, “Play the middle C.”

She laid her thumb on the white key right in front of her waist and held it there, but she didn’t push down.

Alex stroked her arm from her elbow to her wrist with the back of his hand, soothing her. “Play it.”

She told her finger to push down, and she let the weight of her arm fall on her finger that was curled above the keys.

Her finger collapsed and wouldn’t press the key.

Alex shook his head, and his long hair swished over his shoulders. He turned his hand over so that his palm was on her wrist, and then he slid his hand over hers, covering her fingers on the keys with his own. Calluses on pads of his fingers were hard on the tops of her fingers.

He stepped behind her, still not moving his fingers over hers. Warmth from his body drifted out of his suit jacket that opened around them, spreading over her bare back, and his cologne filled her nose like she was walking in the fields around Tanglewood.

He leaned over her, stretching his arms on both sides of her, caging her.

His whisper brushed the skin on her neck. “I’m not forcing you to do something you don’t want to. I’m letting you have what you want most, what you crave, but you dare not admit, even to yourself.”

“I’m afraid,” Georgie admitted, her voice breathy from fear at pressing that note and from his body so close to hers.

“Everyone is, in the beginning,” he said. “It can be terrifying to have an experience so desired, so primal, that you lose yourself. You have to trust me to take you through the place that terrifies you, to keep you safe, and to hold you until you emerge on the other side.”

Georgie couldn’t seem to catch her breath or move away from him. “We’re still talking about the piano here?”

Alex chuckled.

“Just the piano,” she said, but she leaned back, almost imperceptibly, maybe an inch, so that his mouth was so near her skin that his breath was a hot circle on her bare shoulder, and the scent of champagne in his mouth rolled down her skin.

“Let me do it for you, first,” he whispered.

Georgie closed her eyes, and the weight of his finger forced hers down.

A single note, a C, rang out of the piano and jarred against her skin.

 

 

 

 

*RELEASE BLITZ* ~ The Angel of Death, A Thriller, by Blair Babylon (includes excerpt from chapter one)

BRAND NEW THRILLER

FROM BLAIR BABYLON!

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The Angel of Death

(Police Snipers and Hostage Negotiators #1)

An Angel Day Novel

ON SALE NOW FOR JUST 99c!

To protect and to serve, or to save her own brother?

Angel Day, the lead sniper for the Phoenix Police Department, got her nickname “The Angel of Death” the old-fashioned way: she earned it for her ruthless efficiency at stopping crimes with one well-placed bullet. When a massive call-out down by the Mexican Border reveals a terrorist cell and turns into a standoff, Angel’s youngest brother, the lost soul of her family, texts her that he is inside that barricaded house, and her orders are to shoot anything that moves.

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 CHAPTER ONE: THE STASH HOUSE

Angel Day focused the black tunnel of her gun sight and crosshairs on the man holding the shotgun, ready to shoot him.

In the magnified circle of the telescopic sight, under the thin black cross, spring sunlight poured as if from a hot bucket down on the suspect’s head, shining in a white circle on the top of his black hair, which hung loose and past his shoulders. His hair obscured the small sweet-spot where his skull met the rolls of fat on his neck, but she knew right where it was.

Angel pressed the stock of her sniper rifle against her shoulder, raising the crosshairs to touch the suspect’s neck. She was coiled around her gun and ready for the shot, dead calm.

A bullet to the brainstem, where the spinal cord connects to the brain, will drop a man without a twitch or a whimper, which was imperative because that blubbery walrus of a suspect had wrapped a bulbous wad of duct tape around his hand and the stock and trigger of the shotgun, and he had duct-taped the barrel of the gun to the back of a small woman’s neck.

Angel had wedged herself into an improvised sniper hide under a jacked-up pick-up truck. Her thick muscles cushioned her bones from the hot, pebbled asphalt. She felt like a hunting snake down there, perfectly still and ready to stab and kill the suspect.

The suspect yelled something to the police negotiators, who were taking cover behind their cars and trying to negotiate through bullhorns.

Angel could hear the hostage crying and begging, the slow beat of her own heart, and the grating growl of the police vehicles’ diesel engines in the street ringing the target, waiting for the suspect’s next move.

Her field of fire was across three large suburban lawns and a neighborhood street, over two hundred yards. She was lying prone behind a monster-truck tire, aiming around the hot rubber. Her body—her arms, her chest, her shoulder—interlocked around the rifle. The desert sun beat all around her, reflecting off the cement to bake even the undersides of her arms that held the gun. Her helmet was getting hot, and her sweaty hair stuck to her scalp. At least there was shade under the truck, even though the smell of dirty oil stung her nose.

If this were a long shot, like a mile or more, the sun warming the ammunition might make a difference in how fast the propellant in the rounds burned, and she would have to adjust her point of aim accordingly.

Angel waited, just as methodically she had waited during the last four hours of this stand-off. She had been aiming at the affluent house for most of that time, rotating her gun sight over the closed windows and doors until eight minutes ago,when this suspect had exited the McMansion with his hostage. She was always ready to squeeze the trigger and was always relaxed as she didn’t.

Even though the suspect was 209 yards away, through her scope, Angel saw the target as close as if the end of her rifle was resting on his fat neck.

The suspect yanked his shotgun and wheeled his hostage around in front of him like a spaniel on a choke chain. Angel followed him with her gun. The woman’s hands were duct-taped behind her, so she couldn’t catch herself when she tumbled to the sidewalk. Her knees bled through her ripped, pink pants.

Angel inhaled smoothly, then held her breath, and then exhaled smoothly, and held it again, always ready to take the shot. Her finger was taut on the trigger, but not jittery. Her body was trained to not squirt hot adrenaline into her blood.

This standoff was at a stash house, a domicile where human traffickers change the rules of the game. Most illegal immigrants cross the Mexican border into the US with the help of traffickers, called coyotes, who know the better routes. A few, like this woman, end up in the hands of truly evil men, who kidnap them and hold them for ransom, often sending small body parts to their families in Mexico or raping the women and children while their parents listen on the phone to hurry payment.

The evacuated neighbors had been shocked to discover such a travesty in their own neighborhood in North Scottsdale. Sure, this type of atrocity occurred in the Alhambra district, but North Scottsdale was a nice part of town.

Angel hadn’t been surprised. The best neighborhoods harbored the worst crime. There was more money to be made, and the police had to be more circumspect about busts and careful about bystanders. Criminals love that.

The gunman roared something to the encircling police cars and crouching officers. The wind corrupted his voice over the two hundred yards of lawns and asphalt, and Angel could only hear a harsh bellow as his whole body bowed back like he was belting out a high note. The woman cowered, bending forward as far as the shotgun attached to her neck would let her.

Above Angel, flags snapped on another house’s flagpole. The wind had freshened, so she turned the calibration wheel on the turret of her sniper scope. At two hundred yards, a ten mile per hour wind will cause a bullet to drift six and a half inches.

The sniper rifle’s stock was hot against her cheek. “Bravo One to command post,” Angel muttered into her microphone. “I have a bead on the suspect. I can take the shot, cold zero.”

“Hold your fire. Repeat, hold your fire.” Tony’s voice was calm on the radio in her ear. Tony was her cousin and the Phoenix Police Chief. “The rules of engagement are still at compromised authority. The risk is too great for the hostage outside and the hostages still in the house. Let the negotiators do their job.”

Compromised authority rules mean that, if an authority team member is compromised, which means injured, grabbed, or shot at, then everyone—the snipers, the entry team, and the inner perimeter officers—has the authority to take any immediately necessary action to protect the team member, including sniping the bastard.

Angel had to wait until the gunman down there killed the hostage or shot at a police officer.

The hostage negotiators had been doing their job for four hours. When the suspect had been inside the house, he had been allowed to talk to his girlfriend on the negotiator’s phone, and he had told her that he was going to kill a hostage out front where the television cameras would record the splatter. A conservative radio station had interviewed him via another hostage’s cell phone because authorities cannot use cell phone jammers in any situation. Federal laws protect the nationally controlled airwaves. The hostage-taker had told the radio station that he was going to kill a hostage in plain sight and to keep the cameras rolling, evidently not understanding the video limitations of radio.

Since then, the television cameras had arrived and, despite the police’s best efforts, had set up their cameras at the end of the block where their telephoto lenses could capture every shot.

Now, that bastard was going to do it.

Angel’s calloused finger tightened on the trigger to two pounds of pull. At four pounds, the sniper rifle would fire. Angel had fired a thousand rounds a week through her rifle for six years, over three hundred thousand rounds. She knew the feel of her Remington .308 Police DM rifle far better than most people know the feel of their car’s accelerator.

She whispered into her mic, “I can make this shot.”

Through her earpiece, her boss Tony said, “Hold your fire. Rules of engagement are not, repeat not, at shot of opportunity.”

Shot of opportunity rules of engagement are a license to kill the suspect at the first chance, any chance.

“Come on, Tony. I can make this shot with a handgun,” she muttered into her mic.

“Hold your fire.”

The hot wind blew the target’s voice to Angel’s hide under the truck. His voice was tinny and too high. Through her scope, Angel watched the target roar, “Ten!”

Over the radio in her ear, Angel heard police near the scene confirm that the suspect was counting, beginning at ten.

The suspect was counting down. At one, the gunman would fire that shotgun and tear that terrified woman’s head off her neck. He was not negotiating his way out of a bad situation; he was a psychopath performing terror theater.

Angel said, “This is not a hostage situation. This suspect is an active shooter. He will kill her.”

Tony whispered into her ear, “Keep your position. Rules of engagement remain at compromised authority. Hold your fire.”

Angel settled herself and watched the target through her scope.

She breathed in, held it, and out, and held it. Her finger was tensed and strong on the trigger, ready to move it a fraction of an inch more and release the shot.

People think that sniping is sanitary, that the sniper doesn’t feel like a murderer because they’re hundreds of yards away.

Through the scope, Angel could see black hairs waving over the suspect’s neck, as close as if she were sitting on his shoulder with a revolver plugged into his ear, so close that he should be able to feel her breath whispering down his neck like the robe of the Angel of Death was blowing around him.

The gunman grinned, enjoying the spectacle he was making. All those cops were scampering around at his nutcase bidding.

Her own lack of authority to stop this evil act disgusted her. They should shoot him now and end this crime. She could do it. She wanted to.

The target threw back his head and hollered, “Nine!”

From her other radio channel, Jack Jordan’s deep bass voice whispered, “Bravo Three has an unobstructed shot with a stucco wall backstop behind the target. Do we have authorization to take the shot?” Jordan was her side two sniper, meaning he was the third-ranking sniper on her team. As the primary sniper, Angel covered the front of the building. Her number two sniper, Luke Johnson, covered the back.

“Negative,” Angel whispered to Jordan over the radio. “We do not have authorization. Rules of engagement remain at compromised authority. Maintain position.” Jack Jordan was a good sniper who probably wanted to tag this asshole as much as Angel did.

To Tony on her other channel, Angel said, “Bravo three has an unobstructed shot with a stucco wall backstop. If I shoot and have a through-and-through wound, the round will strike the house’s front wall. Other hostages are not in danger. We can take a sync’d shot that will stop him.”

Snipers don’t shoot to kill. Snipers shoot to stop, an important distinction. Police snipers aren’t killers, just highly effective at stopping a crime in progress.

“Negative,” Tony said. “No authorization. Remain at compromised authority.”

Down at street level, the police negotiators squatted behind their cars and held their bullhorns, talking, demanding, and pleading in English and Spanish for the suspect to respond. The long cable of a throw-phone snaked from their van to where the suspect had kicked it away from him.

“Eight!” the target yelled. He jerked the shotgun, and the hostage stumbled aside.

This was the kind of situation Angel had trained for: to save an innocent life by stopping the crime in progress. She thought of herself as a guardian angel for hostages.

She coiled tighter around her rifle, ready to strike. “Bravo One to command post. Bravo Three and One will drop him flat.”

“We can’t risk it,” Tony said.

“Request to elevate the level of engagement to shot of opportunity.” Her sight was dialed in so tight that she squeezed her stock to raise and lower her aim in rhythm with the suspect’s breathing.

“Negative,” Tony said.

Across the clean, green yards, the gunman yelled, “Seven!”

Through her scope, Angel could see the target sweating greasy streaks in the heat. His meaty hands were probably slippery, but the duct-taped one couldn’t slip off the shotgun. No chance of him dropping it.

“Six!”

“Let me put him down, Cuz,” she said to Tony.

Tony whispered through their radio, “There are more people behind him, watching from inside the house. The round might ricochet and hit one of them.”

Angel knew that. She knew it better than her cousin Tony because she was far better trained, but she didn’t wave that red flag in his face.

She also knew she could kill this target and save that woman.

Through her earpiece, another of her snipers, Hunter, said, “This is Bravo Eight, I have an unobstructed line of fire. I can take the shot.”

“Negative,” Angel said. “We are at compromised authority.”

“Goddamn,” Hunter said, and Angel wanted to agree with him but held her aim.

Through the radio, she heard, “Bravo Two, no clear line of fire.” Luke Johnson didn’t have a clear shot from the back of the house.

Angel and Jack could pick this guy off. Four snipers surrounded the house, but only one needed a clear line to stop this guy. They had three with clear lines. That was an heir and two spares.

In the heat of battle, her body didn’t respond with hyped-up adrenaline. She watched the suspect sweat. She might have been meditating, but for her steady stare down the telescopic sight on the rifle.

“Five!” the gunman screamed.

She whispered into the microphone, “Bravo Three has a bead with a stucco wall behind the target. I can make a brainstem shot from here. He won’t twitch. Give us the reins.”

Tony said, “Let the negotiators do their jobs. If you shoot him and that shotgun goes off and she dies, we’re liable.”

“The negotiators aren’t doing shit.”

The suspect screamed, “Four!”

They had been at the siege for over four hours. Angel’s head ached from the sun glaring on the cement and asphalt around her, and her eyes throbbed from peering through the scope. She whispered into her mic, “When are we going to shoot him?”

“We’re not,” Tony said. “Unless he fires at authority personnel, we can’t shoot.”

“Three!”

The bedlam of the negotiators’ voices hollering at the criminal from all sides escalated. Angel kept the crosshairs on the gunman’s neck and steady pressure on the trigger because, after he shot that poor woman, he would doubtlessly open fire on the police officers and then, finally, she could shoot him.

Light glinted off the sidewalk from the overhead sun. “Two!”

The woman hostage wrenched her head to the side, black hair flying in the wind.

The duct tape around her neck tore.

The shotgun blasted, spraying lead shot at the police cars, shattering glass and slamming on steel.

Angel squeezed her trigger the last fraction of an inch, sending the bullet through the rifle and into the gunman’s brainstem.

He dropped straight down as if through a trapdoor and lay in a glutinous heap on the sidewalk in front of the Desert Victorian house.

The woman hostage’s scream wailed high and tinny off the stucco houses and ascended into the clear, blue sky as she ran away. Her hair was a mess of blood, but Angel could see that the shotgun blast had only lightly scalped her. She would be fine.

Other captives, around fifty women and children, ran out of the house and grabbed the woman, crying over her. A small boy clung to her neck and sobbed.

Angel worked the action on the rifle to chamber another round and kept her sights on the gunman, in case the mound of blood and blubber moved.

Angel murmured into her radio, “That counted as firing at authorities, right?”

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Praise for Blair C. Babylon’s other books: 

This is why [Blair C. Babylon] is an author to watch!” ~ Booklist (starred review) 

“I stumbled upon this series a few months ago while searching through e-books for the kindle. Out of all of the books I’ve read, this is by far the best. I have never been the type to read things in installments, but this is the first time I’ve faithfully awaited each new episode release. The story … is great, the characters are believable, and I can never really guess what is going to happen next. What more could you want in a series?” ~Amazon Review 

“This series just takes my breath away. Breathless!!!! That’s how this book made me feel from beginning to end. It was one of those books I just couldn’t put down until some of my questions were answered. I was constantly on the edge of my seat anxiously hoping it would turn out the way I hoped. I had this same sense of anxious excitement from the very first book of this series and it has not left me yet. This is not your typical cliched novel, where you can tell practically from the first page what is going to happen. Oh no! This book has you waiting with bated breath to see what happens next. I cannot wait for the next book. Ms. Babylon is a genius, who proves every skeptic who says all novels are alike, wrong!” ~Amazon Review

USA Today Bestselling Author Blair C. Babylon is the nom de plume of an award-winning author who used to publish literary fiction under another name. Because professional reviews of her literary fiction usually included the caveat that there was too much plot, too many interesting twists, and too much sex, she decided to abandon all literary pretensions, let her freak flag fly, and write intense thrillers and naughty romantic suspense.