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Authors: Julie Moffett

No Woman Left Behind

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No Woman Left Behind: A Lexi Carmichael Mystery, Book Six
By Julie Moffett

My mother’s life goal has been to see me, geek extraordinaire Lexi Carmichael, happily married. So bringing my first boyfriend, Slash, home for dinner has me hyperventilating. Things get a lot worse when bullets start flying over our corn chowder.

Now the entire alphabet soup of government agencies want my help finding the man behind the attack—Johannes Broodryk, a cyber mercenary I foiled on my last case. He wants revenge and he’s taken something of mine to ensure I’ll play, so it’s game on. But the government has its own agenda, and Slash is not on board with the plan. Things are a bit bumpy in paradise.

Although I’m more comfortable with computer code than commandos, I’ve been assigned a team of navy SEALs to help bring Broodryk down. The question is, will they survive
me
long enough to solve his cryptic puzzles and save the day?

Don’t miss Lexi’s first adventure in
No One Lives Twice
!

81,400 words

Dear Reader,

This week, my ten-year-old daughter looked woefully at her Kindle and then at me and said, “I have nothing to read!” I asked her about several recent books I’d uploaded for her and if she’d read those yet, and of course the answer was no, but she still had nothing to read. It’s hard for me to get too upset with this sentiment, since I’m a bit of a book hoarder, and I own more books that I haven’t read than I care to admit, but...I’ll get to them someday! As someone pointed out to me, “nothing to read” is much like “nothing to eat” and “nothing to do.” It’s not a statement of literal fact, it’s a statement of mood and feeling. I don’t know if you’re in the same boat as my daughter and feeling as if you have nothing to read, but if so, one of our June 2015 releases should strike just the right note for you.

Lisa Marie Rice thrilled fans and new readers alike when she returned to the world of her popular Midnight Series with
Midnight Vengeance
and
Midnight Promises
. This June, in
Midnight Secrets
, we get to fall in love with her cracktastic and sexy romantic suspense series all over again. Former Navy SEAL Joe Harris nearly died—twice—on a medevac helo after being blown up by an IED. He’s not moving too great these days, but if there was ever a woman designed to jump start a man’s hormones, it would be his new neighbor. Meeting Isabel—loving Isabel—brought Joe back to life, and he’s not going to let anyone take her from him, not even a high-powered politician who needs to keep Isabel from remembering what he’s done.

Julie Moffett is back with her hit mystery series. Geek extraordinaire Lexi Carmichael is more comfortable with computer code than commandos, but in
No Woman Left Behind
, she’s about to undertake her most dangerous case yet with a little help from the Navy SEALs.

We also have several authors in the contemporary romance lineup this month. In Alison Packard’s latest book in her Feeling the Heat series,
Stealing Second
, Tom Morgan and Katherine Whitton, once deeply in love and planning a future together, now work together and are finally forced to confront their long-held belief that each one was betrayed by the other.

Elizabeth Harmon’s
Turning It On
brings us a new stand-alone romance in her Red Hot Russians series. On a steamy reality show, shy book editor Hannah Levinson fights to keep her fiancé from the clutches of a scheming dental hygienist with the help of an unlikely ally, sexy former figure skater turned stripper “Vlad the Bad” Shustov. Can she trust there’s more to Vlad than meets the eye?

Spoiled college student Olivia Christakos experiences the ultimate fall from grace when she’s hit by a car (losing her memory in the process) and catches her family (who she’s supposed to be able to trust at a time like this) lying to her about her past. Find out what happens in
Olivia Christakos and Her Second First Time
by debut author Dani Irons.

If male/male contemporary romance is what you’re looking for, check out previously released
In the Raw
and
In the Fire
from the In the Kitchen series by writing duo Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin. In that duology, we met Ethan and Jamie. In their latest stand-alone romance,
In the Distance
, Trevor Pratt and Tyler Mitchell just might have a shot at love—if, that is, they choose to follow their hearts, instead of letting their ten-year age difference and the three thousand miles separating them keep them apart forever.

Dana Marie Bell gives us paranormal romance
Song of Midnight Embers
, the next book in her Maggie’s Grove series. To prove she’s not a murderer, Mollie Greer will have to turn to the one person she’s been longing for—and avoiding—her whole life: Greer Berkley, the Singer of the Forest.

And last, this June I’m excited to introduce you to a new direction for author Julie Rowe with the first romantic suspense in her new Biological Response Team series.
American Sniper
meets the worldwide Ebola-outbreak response meets romance in
Deadly Strain
. A sniper tries to protect an infectious disease specialist while they combat a deadly new bacterial strain, but he might not be able to stop from her from making the ultimate sacrifice in order to save him.

I hope you find something from Carina Press to help you cure your “nothing to read” mood. And don’t forget our extensive romance, mystery, science fiction and fantasy backlist is also always available where ebooks are sold.

Coming in July: A dragon-shifter romance trilogy from a brand-new author, the next book in Stephanie Tyler’s postapocalyptic motorcycle club world and a new male/male romance from A.M. Arthur.

Until next time, here’s wishing you a wonderful month of books you love, remember and recommend.

Happy reading!

Angela James
Editorial Director, Carina Press

Dedication

“Heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.” ~Unknown

No Woman Left Behind
is dedicated to my family, nearly all of which are part of the U.S. military. May your sacrifices, and those of your families, never be forgotten. Much love to all of you.

Colonel William F. Moffett (Ret.)
Major Willie B. Craig (Ret.)
Lt. Colonel Bradley L. Moffett (Ret.)
Colonel Scott E. Parks (Ret.)
Captain William Parks
Captain Christopher Parks
Captain Katy Moffett

Acknowledgments

One of my favorite parts of writing about Lexi and the gang is working with my fantabulous Carina Press editor, Alissa Davis. She has remarkable talent and knows just how to motivate me to push even harder to make the story just right. I greatly value her thoughts and insight on the story arcs and character development. Her understanding of all that is Lexi is especially unique and valued because she’s been with me since
No One Lives Twice
, the first book in the series. Her efforts on this book, and the series in general, cannot be understated. I’m so glad we’re a team, Alissa!

I would also be remiss if I did not mention the extraordinary assistance given to me on this book by my older brother Brad. He brainstormed, helped me plan the military missions, and reviewed the text and dialogue to make sure I got every detail just right. He was not only extremely supportive and gracious in sharing his knowledge, but brilliant with his critiques and observations as an excellent writer himself.

My father, Colonel William F. Moffett (Lexi’s biggest fan!), also read the manuscript, offering suggestions to make the action tighter and more exciting. My mother, Donna B. Moffett, and sister, Sandy Parks, gave me additional emotional insights from a military family perspective (to add to my own experiences as a military brat), and also reviewed the novel for consistency and plot threads. They are absolutely the best beta readers EVER!

As much as I appreciate their assistance, any mistakes in the novel are on me alone. Hope you enjoy the story!

~Julie

Also available from Julie Moffett
and Carina Press

The Lexi Carmichael Mystery series
No One Lives Twice
(Book 1)
No One To Trust
(Book 2)
No Money Down
(Book 2.5)
No Place Like Rome
(Book 3)
No Biz Like Showbiz
(Book 4)
No Test For the Wicked
(Book 5)
No Woman Left Behind
(Book 6)

No Room For Error
, coming December 2015

The Thorn & The Thistle
Her Kilt-Clad Rogue

Chapter One

For a geek girl like me, having a boyfriend is a lot like texting. They both require precise input and appropriate response. Unfortunately, I’m not good at properly expressing my feelings in person, let alone in a text message. Emoticons scare me. I mean, what exactly is a pig in high heels or a smiling cactus supposed to signify? It’s totally outside the scope of a geek girl’s knowledge. Plus, no matter how hard I try, it all seems to go south anyway because I usually end up in autocorrect hell.

Not that I’ve ever had to worry about texting, or a boyfriend, or texting a boyfriend, until now. My name is Lexi Carmichael and my teen crush was a comic book figure. Computer genius and circuit engineer Ace Argento (aka Code Man) was the absolute best. He didn’t count on guns or bombs to save the day, but relied on his superior intellect to outwit Byte Bandit and stop his fictional computer virus from infecting the internet. Given that Ace was perpetually unavailable, not to mention fictional, I figured I’d never have to worry about navigating relationship dynamics. So, instead of hanging out at the mall with girlfriends and talking about guys, I hung out in chat rooms and discussed the latest SDN controllers and bypass protocols. My social life was completely virtual, and I preferred it that way.

Then, somehow, at the age of twenty-five, I stumbled into my first real relationship. In a series of events that surprised everyone—but especially me—I finally graduated from a comic book crush to a flesh-and-blood boyfriend. It turns out there are significant perks to having a real boyfriend, including delicious home-cooked Italian food, a guy who doesn’t fall asleep when I start talking about enterprise-level security metrics and some totally excellent I-didn’t-know-you-could-do-that-on-the-dining-room-table sex. Yep, being a girlfriend does have its rewards. Except now that my parents have caught wind of the fact I’m no longer single, they’re pressuring me to bring said boyfriend over for an evening of dinner and conversation.

That’s worrisome because my father is an attorney for an exclusive, high-priced firm in Georgetown. His masterful interrogation skills could make the leader of North Korea confess to wearing woman’s underwear...even if he didn’t. My mother is a former Virginia beauty queen who sits on the boards of several national charities. She has long despaired at my lack of social skills and, to my dismay, has appointed herself the task of finding me a husband. They’re pretty good parents, and they’re both proud of my position as the Director of Information Security at a cyberintelligence firm, but they haven’t ever been quite sure how to handle me.

My childhood love of Code Man and disdain for dolls and the color pink might not have been that big of a deal, except I’m the only girl in our family. I have two older brothers—Rock, who is an investigative reporter for the
Washington Post
, and Beau, who is a detective with the Baltimore PD. As a result, my mom somewhat desperately pinned all her girly hopes and dreams on me. It didn’t happen the way she envisioned, but we’re trying to work things out.

Naturally all of that worried me in terms of bringing home my very first boyfriend. In addition to the statistically high chance my parents would make embarrassing comments and drag out pictures of me sitting naked in front of a keyboard when I was two, I worried my mother might start planning the wedding right away. For ten years or so she has despaired over my lack of male attention. Now that I actually
have
a boyfriend, she has spent the last couple of weeks in a full-court press to meet him. I know what she wants—she wants to get to know him really well. Problem is,
I’m
still getting to know him, and I haven’t made much progress.

See, Slash, my boyfriend, is not an ordinary guy. He’s a hacker, a super-secret agent for the NSA, and a possible member of the Vatican’s secret service, which technically doesn’t even exist. He’s Italian-American, speaks multiple languages, and, in addition to his gig with the NSA, has a business on the side running simulation-based training for the government. There are lots of things I don’t know about him, including how
he
will react to my parents, but at least he has made it abundantly clear how he feels about me.

After careful consultation with Slash, a date for a dinner meeting at my parents’ house was agreed upon. Although I’d had several days to prepare, I was still a mental wreck by the time Slash knocked on my door.

I opened it, and Slash stood there, looking amazing and smiling at me like there was nothing in the world he’d rather be doing than picking me up to go meet my parents. He was dressed in a light blue dress shirt, a gray sports coat and black slacks and shoes. His dark shoulder-length hair had been slicked behind his ears. I predicted Dad would approve of the clothes, but loathe the long hair. I just hoped he wouldn’t say so aloud.

Before I could greet Slash, he’d swept me into his arms, kissing me lightly on the mouth.

“You look beautiful,
cara
. Royal blue is a lovely color on you.”

I pulled away, then tucked a strand of loose brown hair behind my ear. “I wasn’t sure about the color. Basia sent me a photo of the dress and I ordered it online.”

Basia is my best friend and, in my opinion, an expert on all things to do with social interaction and fashion. She was currently in Hollywood taking my place on a reality TV show I’d gotten involved with while on another case, but she was never too busy to help me pick out any piece of clothing that wasn’t a T-shirt.

“It’s perfect. Are you ready?”

Was that a trick question? Of course I wasn’t ready. I’d never be ready.

“Actually, I think I might throw up.”

He stepped into my apartment and leaned against the wall, watching me with amused brown eyes.

He thought this was funny, but he had no idea what he was up against. “Look, Slash, I don’t know if I can go through with this.”

He reached out and touched my cheek. “There is absolutely nothing they can say or do that will change my feelings for you.”

“You say that now, but you haven’t met my parents.”

“I’m pretty sure I can handle whatever happens. Trust me, I’ve survived a lot of dangerous situations. I feel like I can make it through dinner without spilling soup on your mother.”

He smiled, waiting for me to share in the joke. When I couldn’t muster a smile, he drew me into his arms and held me close, stroking my hair. “You’re truly worried about this evening—even more so than I’d anticipated. Can you tell me what’s wrong?”

“It’s just that you meeting my parents...it seems so significant.”

He released me, searching my expression. “How?”

“Well, it makes us official.”

“You wish for our relationship to remain unofficial?”

“No. That’s not what I mean. It’s just that introducing you to my parents is scarier than I expected. Once my mother meets you and confirms you’re real, the whole world will know.”

He spread his hands. “So?”

“So, there will be a hundred questions. Relatives will call to congratulate me. My brothers will bug me. My grandparents will want to fly out to meet you. It will be a national Carmichael holiday because Lexi brought a boyfriend home, and I’m not sure I’m ready for that. I don’t even know what to tell my parents about you. They’ll want actual details. What can I tell them?”

“Just keep it simple.”


Simple
is not in my parents’ vocabulary.”

“You can tell them I work at the NSA.”

“I already told them that.”

“I was born in Italy.”

“Not helpful. What if my father makes a Godfather connection?”

He laughed. “Relax,
cara
. Every nuance doesn’t have to be explored.”

“You don’t know my family.”

He reached out and touched my shoulder, and I could feel the heat of his hand through my dress. “We can cancel if you want. I don’t want you to feel rushed.”

I appreciated that he cared enough to say it. “No, it’s not that. I don’t feel rushed. It’s just another big emotional step for me, dealing with all the inevitable questions from family and friends. I’ve been taking a lot of steps in that direction lately and it’s all shaky ground for me.”

“Are you sure it’s not something else?”

“Well, okay.” I fidgeted anxiously. “I wasn’t going to say it, but you have a right to know. There’s something else that’s worrying me.”

“And that might be?” He kept his eyes on me as he leaned against the wall again and crossed his arms over his chest.

I hesitated, then blurted it out. “Sex.”

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