Special Feature and Excerpts: Tactical Crime Division

This exciting new series comes with a lot to recommend itself….romance, mystery, and suspense! I am so thrilled to be able to bring you guys some sneak peaks today!

As many of you know, I am a big fan of Harlequin Books and this series sounds so exciting and like an all around feel good read right now. Each of these authors in this mini series brings a lot to the table.

There are four books in the series and today I am bringing you all a sample of each of the four books in the series so keep reading for some exciting things coming out of Harlequin this summer!

Excerpt 1

Excerpt, 48 Hour Lockdown by Carla Cassidy

A new miniseries from Harlequin Intrigue. 

Stopping criminal activity wherever it happens. The agents at the Tactical Crime Division are ready for anything.

More and more, federal law agencies have to mobilize to remote locations to address large-scale crime scenes and criminal activity—terror, hostage situations, kidnappings, shootings and the like. Because of the growing concerns and need for ever increasing response times to these criminal events, the Bureau created a specialized tech and tactical team, combining specialists from several active divisions—weapons, crime scene investigation, protection, negotiation, IT. Because they are a smaller unit, they are more nimble for rapid deployment and assistance to address various situations. This joint team of agents is known as the Tactical Crime Division (TCD).

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Evan Duran—Special Agent Duran is a hostage negotiator for the Tactical Crime Division, a specialized branch of the FBI.

Annalise Taylor—A teacher held hostage at a private school. She’s also Evan’s ex-lover. She’d broken his heart several years before, and now he holds her life in his hands.

Jacob Noble—Is he the leader of a charitable church or the dangerous leader of a cult?

Gretchen Noble—Jacob’s wife, who is not afraid to abuse or kill. Will she kill Annalise before she can be freed?

Hendrick Maynard—Brilliant tech agent for the Tactical Crime Division. Will he be able to get the information Evan needs or will he be destroyed by old painful memories?

Walter Cummings—Chief of police in Asheville. Would his incompetence be the death of the hostages?

***

As he drove he made a few phone calls, and he finally pulled up in front of the nondescript brick building where TCD’s offices were located. He parked, got out of his car and hurried inside. As he strode down the hallway toward the main meeting room, he could hear Director Jill Pembrook apparently still conducting the morning meeting.

The main conference room was the heart of the office. It was where assignments were handed out and situations were brainstormed. The agents sat at a long, highly glossed wooden table. On one wall was an oversize FBI logo, and opposite that was the TCD emblem. A large, digital flat screen was mounted on the far side of the room, and a tablet lay at the head of the table.

Evan burst through the door. Director Jill Pembrook looked at him in surprise. “Agent Duran, how nice of you to join us on your day off.”

The director was an attractive, stylish woman of substance with cropped steel gray hair and a penchant for dark, custom-tailored suits.

She’d been with the FBI for over forty years, and she was definitely a force to be reckoned with. Her blue eyes could be warm and friendly or they could frost a puddle of water into a sheet of ice.

“I just saw the news out of Pearson,” he stated. “I need to get there… It’s Annalise.”

There was a collective groan from some of the other agents. Evan ignored it. “I’ll need you to arrange a plane to be ready for takeoff. Also, I’ll need Hendrick’s help on this. And I’m taking Agents Brennan and Lathrop with me.”

“Call off the SEAL team, Duran is on the case, everyone,” “Agent at Large” Kane Bradshaw murmured as the three men headed for the door.

Evan ignored him. While he liked Kane okay, there were times in the past they had butted heads when Kane could sometimes be a bit of an arrogant jerk. Director Pembrook though tolerated his glib attitude. And while Kane had no official rank as an agent with the bureau, he had an extensive background with deep black ops.

Hendrick Maynard, the tech guru nodded. “You got it,” he answered without hesitation. “Heading to my desk now. I’ll send you any relevant info ASAP.”

The director narrowed her eyes, and Evan felt the frost radiating from her. “Agent Duran, you are way out of line.” She paused and continued to hold his gaze. “Ten minutes ago North Carolina state officials called for federal help…” She paused and he was wondering if he should offer to submit his resignation. “You will also take Special Agent Rogers along with the others. This is an all hands on deck situation. Rowan as usual will accompany you and provide team support.”

Rowan Cooper, an attractive woman with long dark hair who worked as a liaison between the local police departments and the TCD team members, also rose and followed the men out the door. She accompanied any crew that deployed to a different location. Her specialty was smoothing over any personality difference or turf wars among different law enforcement units on scene. But her main responsibility was arranging overnight accommodations and making sure the agents had what they needed in order to remain focused on the task at hand.

“Yes, ma’am,” he replied to the director. He knew he’d overstepped boundaries by barging in, but he’d felt the need to act immediately when he’d heard about the situation… About Annalise…

“Plane leaves in twenty minutes. Now go,” Di-rector Pembrook said. To him she added, “Duran…don’t pull this kind of stunt again.”

Evan would have offered to quit after the assignment if he met any resistance from the director to him heading up the detail due to his personal connection to Annalise. Nothing was going to keep him from negotiating this hostage situation.

“Never,” Evan replied before turning to leave.

***

Excerpt 2

Excerpt, Secret Investigation by Elizabeth Heiter 

A new miniseries from Harlequin Intrigue. 

Welcome to the Tactical Crime Division, a rapid-deployment joint team of FBI agents specializing in hostage negotiation, missing persons, IT, profiling, shootings and terrorism, with Director Jill Pembrook at the head.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Leila Petrov—When defective bulletproof vests cause the deaths of an army unit, Petrov Armor’s CEO is determined to find the person responsible. But her search makes her a liability to a killer, someone who’s closer than she ever expected.

Davis Rogers—The former army ranger thinks going undercover in Petrov Armor is his chance 

to prove himself in the FBI’s elite Tactical Crime Division (TCD). But it’s also deeply personal. One of the soldiers killed was a friend, and Davis won’t stop until he’s gotten justice.

Melinda Larsen—The deeper this profiler digs into the Petrov Armor case, the more unexpected threats she uncovers—putting her directly in the line of fire.

Kane Bradshaw—Ever since his last partner died on the job, the TCD agent prefers to work alone. But as he’s forced to work with Melinda, he fears history will repeat itself.

Eric Ross—Petrov Armor’s head of sales was Leila’s first love. He’s jealous of Leila’s obvious interest in her new “assistant,” Davis, but is there something more sinister behind his constant appearances?

Joel Petrov—Leila’s uncle has been an integral part of the company since Leila was a child. But is his involvement too convenient? 

***

As in the Bureau, dying in the field was a possibility you accepted. You did whatever you could to prevent it, but if it happened, you knew you’d be going out doing something you believed in. But not like this. Not the way Jessica had died, trusting the military, trusting her training, trusting her equipment.

“I want to take the lead on this case,” Davis blurted. Gazes darted to him: from profiler Dr. Melinda Larsen, silently assessing, suspicion in her eyes, as if she somehow knew he had a history with one of the victims. Always buttoned-up Laura Smith was quiet and unreadable, but her Ivy League brain was probably processing every nuance of his words. JC, staring at him with understanding, even though he didn’t realize Davis knew Jessica personally. No one on the team did. “Is your personal investment in this case going to be a hindrance or a help?” Pembrook asked, voice and gaze steady.

Davis’s spine stiffened even more. She was talking about his army background. She had to be. But if she thought he was going to fidget, she underestimated the hell he’d gone through training to be a ranger for the army. “A help. I’m familiar with how the army works. And I’m familiar with the product. I’ve worn Petrov Armor vests.”

Petrov Armor had supplied the body armor Jessica and her team had been wearing during the ambush. That armor—supposedly the newest and best technology—had failed spectacularly, resulting in the deaths of all but three of the soldiers and one of the locals. In his mind it wasn’t the insurgents who had killed Jessica and her team. It was Petrov Armor.

He didn’t mention the rest. He’d more than just worn the vests. He’d had a chance to be an early tester of their body armor, back when he was an elite ranger and Petrov Armor was better known for the pistols they made than their armor. He’d given the thumbs-up, raving about the vest’s bullet-stopping power and comfort in his report. He’d given the army an enthusiastic endorsement to start using Petrov Armor’s products more broadly. And they had.

“I’m not talking about the armor,” Pembrook replied, her gaze still laser-locked on his, even as agent-at-large Kane Bradshaw slipped into the meeting late and leaned against the doorway. “I’m talking about Jessica Carpenter.” Her voice softened. “I’m sorry for your loss.”

The gazes on him seemed to intensify, but Davis didn’t shift his from Pembrook’s. “Thank you. And no, it won’t affect my judgment in the case.”

Pembrook nodded, but he wasn’t sure if she believed him as she looked back at the rest of the group and continued her briefing. “Petrov Armor won a big contract with the military five years ago. The armor this team was wearing is their latest and greatest. It’s not worn widely yet, but their earlier version armor is commonly used. The military is doing a full round of testing across all their branches. They’ve never had a problem with Petrov Armor before, and they don’t intend to have another.

“Meanwhile, they’ve asked us to investigate at home. We got lucky with the news coverage. We’re still not sure how it was leaked, but not all of it got out. Or if it did, the news station only played a small part. And somehow they don’t have the name of the body armor supplier. Not yet,” she said emphatically. “Rowan, we don’t have to worry about PD this time. I’m putting you on the media. Hendrick can lend computer support if you need it.”

Rowan Cooper nodded, looking a little paler than usual, but sitting straighter.

***

Excerpt 3

Excerpt, Midnight Abduction by Nichole Severn

Perfect for fans of Criminal Minds and Blacklist

Uncover the lives and loves of the FBI elite as they take on the toughest assignments. This is a new four-book miniseries featuring an ensemble cast of characters spread across 4 books, featuring 4 urgent cases, with one stellar team of crime solving experts. 

The Tactical Crime Division—TCD—is a specialized unit of the FBI. Because of the growing concerns and need for ever increasing response time to criminal events, the FBI created a specialized tech and tactical team combing specialists from several active divisions that include: weapons, crime scene investigation, protection, negotiation and IT. 

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

Ana Sofia Ramirez—She’s out for redemption. Recruited by the Tactical Crime Division’s director from the Bureau’s missing-persons’ division after her last case ended with a dead victim, she’s more determined than ever to recover Benning Reeves’s son.

Benning Reeves—Single father and small-town building inspector who’s come across evidence of a murder hidden on one of his construction sites; the cost of discovery has led to the kidnapping of his six-year-old twins.

Olivia and Owen Reeves—Benning’s six-year-old twins.

Evan Duran—Tactical Crime Division’s hostage negotiator, who’s fully invested in recovering Benning Reeves’s son due to his own dark past of losing his sister as a child.

JC Cantrell—Tactical Crime Division’s tactical-operations specialist, who’s good at planting bugs, leading surveillance ops or coming up with a ruse to distract someone.

***

“Well, maybe I can give her a tour of TCD head-quarters in Knoxville one day. You know, give her a chance to see what federal agents really do on the job.” Ana stilled, the weight of her attention pressurizing the air in his chest, but he didn’t miss the assumption there would be a one day for them. That she wouldn’t disappear from their lives after Owen came home, and his blood pressure spiked. She cleared her throat as though she’d caught herself making promises she might not be able to keep. Just as she had with Samantha Perry’s family. “You must be proud. She’s going to make a hell of an agent one day.”

“That’s her plan, and probably why she opened up to you the way she did. I can tell she admires you, what you do.” Benning straightened, echoes of their earlier conversation replaying in his head on a nonstop loop. He tossed the paper towel he’d used to clean his foot in the trash beside the island. “So do I, to be honest. The work you and your team do saves lives. I know I already said thank you, but I meant it.”

“Like I said, you don’t have to thank me.” She dropped that mesm erizing gaze to the counter, sweeping the spread of flour into the sink set into the island with one hand, and swiped beneath her nose with the other. Touching her face had always been a nervous habit. “All part of the job.”

“Is that what this is for you, Ana? Just another job? Because this case is definitely a lot more personal to me.” Benning maneuvered around the counter, his bare chest nearly pressed against the exposed skin of her arm. He set his hand over hers on the granite, her quick gasp searing through him. Her warmth penetrated past skin and muscle, deep into his bones. “After what you told me about the Samantha Perry case, I realize now how hard it must’ve been for you to come back here, and you’re standing there as if none of it affects you. But is that how you really feel?”

He wanted—no, needed—to know. Was this going to play out exactly as it had between them the last time? Had he made a mistake requesting her to work this case?

Her mouth parted. “I…”

Skimming his fingers along the back of her hand, he trailed a path up her arm to her jaw, and all of his thoughts burned away. There was only the two of them. The softness of her flawless skin and hardness in her invisible guard. After everything that’d happened, after everything they’d already been through in the short span of time she’d walked back into his life, he’d struggled to keep the uncertainty, the rage, the fear, at bay so he could stay strong for Olivia. To prove that he could protect her from any threat, be the father she and her brother deserved. But Ana…stripped him of all of that. With her, Benning felt raw, exposed, bare. She was real. She was here. Not a memory—a fantasy—anymore, and it took every-thing inside him to pull himself away from her. “You had some cookie dough on your chin.”

She’d left because she believed her emotions clouded her judgment on the Samantha Perry case, and he wasn’t about to complicate anything else be- tween them. Not when it was his son’s life at risk this time. Ana turned her gaze up to his, a small tremor crossing her shoulders, and an invisible anchor set-tled inside his chest in the dark, watery landscape of this case. No matter what happened, Ana would bring his son home alive. He had to believe that. He had to believe in her. Otherwise, he’d have nothing left. “Thanks.”

A soft trill broke the silence spreading between them, but she didn’t move.

“I think your phone is ringing.” He cleared his throat, trying to drown the surge of awareness burning through him, and stepped away. It was for the best. Because anything that happened between them would only take away from their focus on finding his son, and that wasn’t a risk he was willing to take.

***

Excerpt 4

Excerpt, Running Out Of Time by Cindi Myers

***

“We’ve got another tough case on our hands.” Jill Pembroke, director of the FBI’s tactical crime division, surveyed her team from the head of the conference table in the Bureau’s Knoxville headquarters. “One that re-quires a great deal of discretion.”

Something in the director’s tone made Agent Laura Smith sharpen her focus. Pembroke, with her well-cut silver hair and feminine suit, might be mistaken for a high society grandmother, but she was as hard-nosed as they came, and not prone to exaggeration. That she reminded her team of the need for discretion pointed to something out of the ordinary.

The door to the conference room opened and a man slipped in. Tall and rangy, Agent Jace Cantrell moved with the grace of an athlete. He nodded to the director and eased into the empty seat next to Laura. No apology for being late. Typical. Laura slid her chair over a couple of inches. Cantrell was one of those men who always seemed to take up more than his share of the available space.

“We’re going to be investigating product tampering at Stroud Pharmaceuticals in Mayville, West Virginia.”

Director Pembroke stepped aside to reveal a slide showing a squat factory building set well back on landscaped grounds.

“The antacid poisonings.” Agent Ana Ramirez spoke from her seat directly across from Laura. She tucked a strand of dark hair into the twist at the nape of her neck, polished nails glinting in the overhead light. “That story has been all over the news.”

“Do the locals not want the FBI horning in?” Agent Davis Rogers—the only member of the team not wearing the regulation suit—sat back in his chair beside Ramirez, looking every bit the army ranger he had once been. “Is that why the extra discretion?”

“No, the local police are happy to turn this over to us,” Pembroke said. She advanced to the next slide, a listing of the deaths—six so far, with two additional people hospitalized—attributed to Stroud’s Stomach Soothers, a natural, organic remedy that claimed a significant share of the market as an alternative to traditional antacids. “This hasn’t been released to the public, but the poison in the contaminated tablets was ricin.”

Laura would have sworn the temperature in the air-conditioned room dropped five degrees. “Any suggestion of a link to terrorism?” Hostage negotiator Evan Duran, bearded and brooding, spoke from the end of the table. “Anybody claiming credit for the deaths?”

Pembroke shook her head. “At this point, we aren’t assuming anything. Obviously, we want to avoid panicking the public.”

“The public is already panicked,” Rowan Cooper, the team’s local liaison, said. “People have been organizing boycotts of all Stroud products.” She absently twisted a lock of her jet-black hair, brow furrowed. “We’ll need a strategy for managing the public’s response.”

“The facility where the Stomach Soothers were manufactured has been closed for the time being and the product is being pulled from store shelves,” Pembroke said. “But another facility in town, which manufactures other items, remains open, and the company has reduced hours and reassigned as many employees as possible to the single plant. The company, the town, even the state officials, are very anxious to downplay this tragedy and get Stroud up and running full-speed as soon as possible.”

“Why do that?” Kane Bradshaw, Agent-at-Large, said. Laura hadn’t noticed him until now, seated as he was behind her and apart from the rest, almost in the shadows. Kane always looked as if he’d just rushed in from an overnight surveillance, all wind-blown hair and shadowed eyes. The fact that he was here spoke to the gravity of this case. While always on hand when the team needed him, he wasn’t much on office decorum.

“Jobs.” Cantrell’s voice, deep and a little rough, like a man who smoked two packs a day, sent a shiver through Laura. He didn’t smoke, but maybe he once had. “Stroud Pharmaceuticals is one of the biggest employers in Boone County,” he continued. “The coal mines are shutting down, and there isn’t a lot of other industry. Stroud has been a savior to the community. They—and the officials they elected—are going to do everything in their power to keep the company running and redeem its reputation.”

“Even covering up murder?” Laura asked.

Cantrell turned to her, his gaze cool. “I doubt they want to cover it up, but they’ll definitely downplay it and keep it quiet.”

“They want us to help, but they don’t want us to be obvious.” The youngest member of the team, computer specialist Hendrick Maynard, jiggled his knee as he spoke. A genius who looked younger than his twenty-six years, Maynard never sat still.

“Precisely.” Director Pembroke advanced to another slide of a small town—tree-shaded streets lined with modest homes, some worse for wear. A water tower in the distance displayed the word Mayville in faded green paint. “Agents Smith and Cantrell, you are to pose as a married couple and take jobs at the Stroud factory. Investigations so far point to the poisonings having originated from within the plant itself, so your job is to identify possible suspects and investigate. Agent Rogers, you’ll be in town as well…”

Laura didn’t hear the rest of the director’s assignments. She was focused on trying to breathe and holding back her cry of protest. She and Cantrell? As a couple? The idea was ridiculous. He was rough, undisciplined, arrogant, scornful…

“You look like you just ate a bug.” Cantrell leaned to-ward her, bringing with him the disconcerting aroma of cinnamon. His gravelly voice abraded her nerves. “Don’t think I’m any more excited about this than you are.”

***

Book descriptions, author bio’s and purchase links

Book #1: 48 Hour Lockdown by Carla Cassidy (on-sale March 17, 2020)

Book description: The Tactical Crime Division—TCD—is a specialized unit of the FBI.They handle the toughest cases in the most remote locations.

About Carla Cassidy: Carla Cassidy is a New York Times 

Purchase links:

 

Book #2: Secret Investigation by Elizabeth Heiter (on-sale April 21, 2020)

Book description: In the wake of a tragedy, the Tactical Crime Division is the first call. When ironclad body armor inexplicably fails and soldiers perish, the Tactical Crime Division jumps into action. Agent and former ranger Davis Rogers asks to go undercover to find the traitor responsible for the death of one of his friends, and Petrov Armor CEO Leila Petrov is happy to provide access to her company…especially once she discovers she’s being framed. But will their joint efforts be enough to uncover the truth?

About Elizabeth Heiter: Publishers Weekly bestselling and award-winning author ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists and a little romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range. Her novels have been published in more than a dozen countries and translated into eight languages. Visit her at www.elizabethheiter.com

Purchase links:

 

Book #3: Midnight Abduction by Nichole Severn (on-sale May 19, 2020)

Book description: For the Tactical Crime Division, no case is left cold. When Benning Reeves’s twins are kidnapped, the frantic father knows who can help: the Tactical Crime Division and Ana Ramirez. Even though Ana once shattered Benning’s heart, the special agent is the only one he can trust. But Ana is still tormented by the unresolved case that brought them together years before—a case somehow entangled with Benning’s children. It’s up to the TCD and Ana to discover why…before it’s too late.

About Nichole Severn: Nichole Severn writes romantic suspense with strong heroines, heroes who dare challenge them, and a hell of a lot of guns. When she’s not writing, she’s injuring herself running and practicing yoga.

Purchase links:

 

Book #4: Running Out of Time by Cindi Myers (on-sale June 16, 2020)

Book description: When a terrorist is on the loose, the Tactical Crime Division is on the case. To find out who poisoned medications, two of TCD’s agents are tapped to go undercover posing as a married couple and infiltrate the company. But as soon as Jace Cantrell and Laura Smith arrive at Stroud Pharmaceuticals, someone ups the ante by planting explosives in their midst. Turns out that the small-town family business is hiding a million secrets. Could they unknowingly be protecting a vengeful killer?

About Cindi Myers: Cindy Myers became one of the most popular people in eighth grade when she and her best friend wrote a torrid historical romance and passed the manuscript around among friends. Fame was short-lived, alas; the English teacher confiscated the manuscript. Since then, Cindy has written more than 50 published novels. Her historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction have garnered praise from reviewers and readers alike.

Purchase links:

 

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