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Dead Man's Curve (Harlequin Intrigue) [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Paula Graves

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19. August 2014 Harlequin Intrigue (Buch 1517)
A spy is forced to come in from the cold in the first book in The Gates miniseries by award-winning author Paula Graves 

Coming in from the cold is the only choice for Sinclair Solano, once a fiery young radical turned CIA double agent turned fugitive. Not only must he free his kidnapped sister from the rebels he betrayed, but he also must clear his name. And neither will be easy with beautiful FBI agent Ava Trent dogging his trail. Seeing no other option, Sin uneasily joins forces with Ava to plan an ultradaring guerilla attack and rescue op. But the mission requires trusting Ava, and putting her irresistible body in the line of fire. Being alive has never been so dangerous….


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As a child, Paula Graves's favorite books were Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries and Harlequin Romances. When she realized there were books that featured both romance and mystery, she knew she'd found her calling. Now Paula writes for Harlequin Intrigue, where she gets to play both matchmaker and murderer and has a blast doing it.

Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Special Agent Ava Trent took a slow turn around Room 125 of the Mountain View Motor Lodge, studying everything, even though the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation had already given the place a thorough once-over that morning before the locals had called in the FBI. She doubted there was much they'd missed, but she liked to walk through a crime scene while it was still relatively fresh.

She wasn't going to pretend she could put herself in the head of either the victims or the perpetrator—she'd leave the hocus-pocus to the Investigative Services Unit. She just wanted to get a good look at the setup. Get a picture of it in her head. Most people in law enforcement had their own rituals. Taking a good, long look around a crime scene was hers.

Unmade queen-size bed. Suitcases open, partially unpacked, on the luggage stand helpfully supplied by the Mountain View Motor Lodge. Two toothbrushes in the bathroom.

Blotches of blood on the torn green comforter hanging off the bed.

"Married couple. Gabe and Alicia Cooper." Cade Landry, the agent assigned to investigate the possible kidnapping with her, strode up to her, all broad shoulders, square chin and no nonsense. He was new to the Johnson City, Tennessee, resident agency and, if his gruff demeanor was anything to go by, he wasn't going to turn out to be a favorite among the other agents.

She didn't care herself. She wasn't looking to have her hand held, and if she wanted conversation, she could call up her mother or her sister and get all she could handle. And unlike the female support staff at the resident agency, who all found Landry's rock-hewn features and sweet molasses drawl irresistible, she certainly wasn't in the market for a romantic entanglement, especially not with a fellow agent.

"Plenty of signs of a struggle, but not serious injury," Landry continued. "Blood on the bedspread looks incidental. Bloody nose, maybe. Busted lip in a fight. If the Coopers are deceased, it didn't happen here."

"Why were they here in Poe Creek?" she asked.

"Three-year wedding anniversary, according to the motel staff," Landry answered.

"An anniversary trip to Poe Creek?" She took another look around the motel room and shook her head.

"The husband's a pro fisherman. Seems his idea of an anniversary trip included fishing on Douglas Lake," Landry explained, referring to a lake northeast of Knox-ville, Tennessee. It was a fifteen-minute drive from Poe Creek, depending on where they'd planned to put their boat in the water.

"Where can I get me a romantic man like that?" she murmured.

It might have been her imagination, but she thought she spotted a hint of a smile flicker over Landry's stony features. Just a hint, then it was gone. "Not an angler?" he asked as he followed her on her circuit of the room.

"Actually, I'm a very good angler," she answered. "But I don't reckon scaling fish ranks high on my list of things to do on an anniversary trip." Not that she'd ever had an anniversary to celebrate. Unless you counted six years with the FBI.

"Maybe he does all the fish-cleaning. A woman might find that romantic." Pulling out a pen, Landry nudged a piece of paper lying on the bedside table. It was a note, written in a lazy scrawl. "'225 Mulberry Road.'"

"Locals already checked it out. It's a bait-and-tackle shop on the way to Douglas Lake. They're getting the security video for us, in case the Coopers made it there."

"May have nothing to do with their disappearance." Landry's tone of voice was one big shrug. She was beginning to wonder if anything interested him at all.

But not enough to ask him about it. Taciturn and antisocial was just fine with her. She wasn't exactly Susie Sunshine herself.

"We don't have a lot of time before the family shows up," Landry warned a few minutes later when they emerged from the small motel room into the late afternoon gloom. An early fall storm was rolling in from the west, advancing twilight despite the early hour. Rain would be on them soon, making the drive back to Johnson City a gloomy prospect.

"The family?" she asked.

"The Coopers. As in Cooper Security. Ever heard of it?"

"Oh. Of course." Anyone in law enforcement around these parts had heard of Cooper Security, the private agency that had brought down a major-league global conspiracy involving some of the previous administration's top people. "I thought you said this Cooper was a fisherman, though."

"He was. But Mrs. Cooper works for Cooper Security.

They'd have been informed by now, and they have access to helicopters, hell, maybe even private jets, which means they can be up in these mountains before you can say 'civilian interference in an official investigation.' No way will they stay out of this, not with both an employee and one of their own cousins gone missing."

She tried to gauge whether Landry found the thought disturbing or not. For her part, she didn't like the idea of civilians, however skilled and resourceful they might be, getting up in her business on a case. It cramped her style, if nothing else.

"Why don't we see if we can get a couple of rooms and stay here for the night?" Landry suggested, surprising her. She slanted a sharp look his way. "Territorial rights," he added with another ghost of a smile.

She smiled back. "Stake our claim?"

"Somebody's gotta do it. Might as well be us."

First sign of life she'd seen in Landry since they'd arrived. She wasn't sure if she liked it or not, but at least it suited her own intentions.

She called the resident agency and talked to Pete Chang, the Special Agent in Charge. "Do you think the case will benefit from your staying in town instead of commuting?" he asked.

"I do," she answered with more confidence than she felt.

"Approved. Just do the paperwork."

She hung up and nodded to Landry. "Go take care of getting the rooms."

His eyebrows lifted slightly. "Where are you going?"

"Just want a look around." She wandered across the parking lot, where a crowd had gathered in the deepening gloom. Onlookers were ubiquitous at any crime scene, though in a town this small, the crowd wasn't as large as it might have been in a bigger place.

She let her gaze run across the crowd, just out of habit. It had surely taken more than one person to overpower and abduct two able-bodied people, especially if one of those people was a Cooper and the other one worked for Cooper Security. Not likely they could spare someone to see what was going on at the crime scene.

But it wouldn't hurt to give the onlookers a little extra scrutiny.

Most of the people in the crowd came across as tourists rather than locals, though Ava couldn't put her finger on what, exactly, gave her that impression. She wasn't a local herself, though she was close. Her hometown was Bridal Falls, Kentucky, not far across the state line up near Jel-lico, Tennessee. She knew her way around the mountains.

Some of the people in this crowd weren't dressed for the mountain climate—too many clothes or not enough, depending on where they came from, she supposed. Some wore socks with sandals, which every self-respecting Southerner knew to be a big, flashing sign of an outsider. As she wandered closer to the gathered crowd, she heard a few northeastern and Midwestern accents as well, mingling with the Southern drawls.

Apparently, Landry had followed her, for his deep drawl...


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.6 von 5 Sternen  5 Rezensionen
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen high octane romantic suspense 25. August 2014
Von Harriet Klausner - Veröffentlicht auf
Dead Man’s Curve
Paula Graves
Harlequin Intrigue, Aug 19 2014, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373697847

FBI Agent Ava Trent arrives in Johnson City, Tennessee to investigate the kidnapping of Gabe and Alicia Cooper (see The Man from Gossamer Ridge). The Feds’ interest involves Alicia’s late brother Sinclair Solano, who had been on their Most Wanted List until he died five years ago. At the motel where the abduction occurred, a stunned Ava sees a very alive Sinclair; a man she was falling in love with on Mariposa eight years ago.

Worried for his sister, Sinclair believes someone in Sanselmo realized he did not die in the Tesoro Harbor warehouse explosion that killed several; and that means El Cambio’s lieutenant Cabrera knows he betrayed them, most likely as a federal double agent. His sibling is a pawn to bring him out into the open where terrorists and law enforcement have a bulls-eye on his back. Now he must persuade Alicia to give him time to rescue his sister though the agent sarcastic retort eliminates him telling her the truth.

The first Gates romantic suspense is a high octane thriller with an angry enemy targeting a steadfast Solano as he risks his life to save Alicia while his FBI sidekick devastates his normally singular mission focus. With a connection to the Cooper saga, Dead Man Curve is a terrific tense opening act.

Harriet Klausner
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Another Great Series 6. September 2014
Von DIANNE - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Graves has done it again written another great story. I love the way it's got characters from Cooper series in it. The way she brought them into this series was fantastic. The story has lots of suspense and action and can't wait for the next one which I'm sure will start where this one left off
4.0 von 5 Sternen Love those Coopers! 12. September 2014
Von Jenny_C - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Most of the book is over about a 3-day period in the woods. FBI agent Ava has been called in to investigate the disappearance of Gabe and Alica Cooper (from The Man from Gossamer Ridge). The action starts quickly as Ava thinks she spots a "ghost" from her past in the crowd outside the crime scene. She had met Sinclair "Sin" Solano 8 years earlier in Mariposa and they spent a week together before he blew her off the last day of her vacation. She heard he then became a terrorist, so she keeps tabs on him questioning how the sweet young man she met could become so horrible. Everyone believes he died in an explosion about 3 years ago, including his sister, Alicia Solano Cooper.

Sin was indeed outside the crime scene and realizes Ava saw him so he takes off into the woods. She follows. Danger lurks, they meet up, soon she is wounded and believing he is a bad guy, she tells him he is under arrest. They reluctantly, at first, team up and try to get away from the rebel terrorists in the woods and find a way to save his sister. The Coopers show up in droves to help along with Alexander Quinn who is in Paula's books even before the Cooper series. I loved seeing all those former characters again.

“Who are they?” she whispered as he continued smiling. “Coopers, darling,” Gabe drawled, already moving toward the dark figures gliding through the woods ahead. “Who else?” - Gabe to Ava

I really could have done without all the info dumps about Sanselmo, and the other leaders and the revolution, because it became TMI in my poor head to keep straight. We do finally get some details about Ava & Sin's time together, learn that he became a double agent for the CIA and feel his remorse. They are attracted to each other and finally have some honest discussions about the past. Sin agrees to use himself as bait to get his sister back and the he, Ava, the Coopers and Quinn set up a rescue.

The last couple chapters deal with the fallout of Sin coming in from being on the run. Great action, a bit of romance.

Loved finding out where the name The Gates comes from too. Apparently Adam Brand (from earlier books) suggested it (view spoiler)

“My only relationship policy is, don’t bring your dirty laundry to work, no sex on company furniture and don’t let it affect your work.” - Alexander Quinn to Ava & Sin
5.0 von 5 Sternen Great start to a new series 11. September 2014
Von SGAReadsalot - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
It is always a good day when I get to start reading a new series by Paula Graves. Dead Man's Curve is the start of a new miniseries by Paula Graves called The Gates. In typical Paula Graves style the plot is fast paced, the bad guys are really bad, and the passion between the hero and heroine simmers beneath the surface. I was talking to the book the whole time,"Duck! Get out of there! Kiss her!", which means for me it was a winner. The dialogue is crisp and is funny, though the hero and heroine were hardly in a laughing situation. Loved it. Best part the rest of the series is coming out quickly, and I don't have to wait forever to see what happens next.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Fforgiven 15. September 2014
Von Irene Greenhoe - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Presumed dead, he lives in the shadows. But when his sister is kidnapped, he is joined by her family and Avery special agent in the rescue.
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