Cherry Adair Night Shadow: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780345499738

Night Shadow: A Novel

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9780345499738: Night Shadow: A Novel
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The passion and suspense of Cherry Adair’s latest killer trilogy, begun in Night Fall and continued in Night Secrets, now reaches its explosive conclusion in Night Shadow, as mismatched international agents take on evil head-to-head–and each other heart-to-heart.

Aside from working for the international anti-terrorism agency T-FLAC (and having the same last name), Lexi Stone and Alex Stone are polar opposites, right down to Lexi’s mere mortality and Alex’s paranormal powers. While straight-arrow Lexi pushes paper at an Internal Affairs desk, renegade Alex is busy pushing the envelope as he pursues the most dangerous global criminals. And though Lexi disdains his rule-breaking bravado and cowboy tactics, she can’t deny Alex’s skills when it comes to getting his man (not to mention any number of women)–just as she can’t ignore how his roguish charm makes her heart race and her temperature rise.

But Lexi’s secret desires clash head-on with her duties when suspicions arise that Alex is poised to switch sides–and join forces with a European terrorist cell. Tapped for her first field mission, Lexi finds herself assigned to shadow Alex’s every move, and if necessary, terminate him. Despite her feelings, Lexi’s willing and able to carry out her orders, as long there’s proof that Alex is a traitor. But getting the goods–and the drop–on her superagent quarry becomes an even tougher task when Lexi and Alex suddenly find themselves partners on an emergency mission in Russia.

When terrorists seize a busy Moscow railway station for ransom, then abruptly massacre their hostages and vanish into thin air, the agents realize they’re facing adversaries possessing of the same paranormal abilities as Alex’s elite T-FLAC/psi unit. But after Lexi kills an armed suspect during a breathless rooftop chase, she makes a series of shocking discoveries about the enemy T-FLAC is facing, the troubling truth Alex has been concealing, and the terrifying plot of a treacherous mastermind that could spell the downfall of T-FLAC’s most powerful and valued operatives. To save precious lives and stop the rise of a superhuman terrorist threat, Lexi and Alex must work as a well-oiled team in a race across the globe–and against time–with lethal shadows looming behind them, and no one to trust but each other.

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About the Author:

Cherry Adair has garnered numerous awards for her innovative action-adventure novels, which include Night Secrets, Night Fall, White Heat, Hot Ice, On Thin Ice, Out of Sight, In Too Deep, Hide and Seek, and Kiss and Tell, as well as her thrilling Edge trilogy: Edge of Danger, Edge of Fear, and Edge of Darkness. A favorite of reviewers and fans alike, she lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is at work writing the next T-FLAC mission.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One


MOSCOW
 55 45 08 37 36 56 02 10 08 
1800 HOURS 

Blinking snowflakes off her lashes, T-FLAC operative Alexis Stone shot a quick glance down at the toes of her brand-new, size-eight combat boots as she teetered on the edge of the snow- encrusted roof. The excruciating headache that had plagued her for the last several minutes intensified. A headache was going to be the least of her damned problems if she didn’t move. 

Jump. Get it over with. Quick and painless. 


What the . . . ? 

Jump across, she told herself. Not down. Across. Between the buildings. A relatively easy jump, yet she hesitated. Terminal velocity wouldn’t be in effect in such a short drop. She’d only fall about a hundred and fifty feet, not the four hundred necessary to pick up the hundred and thirty- five miles an hour to achieve terminal speed. 

What was she thinking? Mouth dry, heart pounding, Lexi shook her head to clear it. 

Mathematically, a falling object—her—increased its velocity by thirty- two feet per second as it fell. Acceleration to gravity— 

Over.
Not down. 

She’d be on the ground in less than two seconds— 

Over.
Not down. 

Jump.
Do it now. 

Hallucinations? 


Crap. She blinked white out of her eyes, her breath coming hot and fast. The training simulations hadn’t aptly portrayed what it felt like to be out in the field under hostile conditions. Not the cold, not the pressure, not the frantic tattoo of her heart. Not the irrational thoughts clouding her mind. One word summed up the experience. 

Terrifying. 

Focus.
Fortunately, she was a pragmatic woman. Flights of fancy weren’t in her DNA. Or hadn’t been before to night. She’d trained with the best of the best. Now she just had to put it into action. She could do this. Do not imagine being shot in the back. 

Do
not picture falling. 

Do not look down. 


Her mouth was too dry to even attempt swallowing. She started counting, silently, to slow the rushing thud of her pulse, which made it hard to hear and intensified the headache. 

Her gaze climbed upward incrementally until she focused on the hotel across the alley. Only eight feet separated the two buildings. 

Fifteen stories to the snowy ground below. 

She’d never been afraid of heights before. Lights popped on in some of the dark windows as dusk fell like an unwelcome blanket over Moscow. 

They’d followed her. She knew they had. Jump! her brain screamed. 

Despite the bone- chilling cold, sweat beaded her face. Her entire body was damp and clammy beneath her black civilian clothing. The familiar weight of the Glock, all seven ounces of firepower, felt as heavy as a boulder in her numb fingers. 

Running footsteps, crossing the roof behind her, sounded like a freaking herd of crazed wildebeests charging. Her galloping heart jumped into her throat. Too late. Her hesitation was going to cost her. She glanced down at the shadowy drop just beyond the tips of her boots, then back at the dark footprints just behind her. Easy to follow her trail when her steps were clear in the snow blanketing the rooftop. 

She’d had a five- minute, eleven- second head start. They’d caught up. The men following her had scaled that blasted metal fire escape in record time. And probably without being terrified the thing would pull away from the crumbling brick wall as they scrabbled for purchase. 

The high- pitched whine- piiiing and yellow sparks of a bullet ricocheting off metal just a few feet away made her flinch. Close. Too close. Do it, Lexi. Just freaking jump. 

No.
Return fire. Then jump. 

Cautiously, but as fast as she could manage, she walked backward in her own footprints. As soon as she felt the heated metal of a four- foot- wide exhaust flue against her back, she spun and dropped into a crouch behind the only cover for a hundred feet of flat white rooftop. 

A dozen indistinguishable exhaust fans dotted the roof, belching unsynchronized clouds of foul- smelling steam. The steam and stink collided with the rapidly falling snow, making visibility nearly non ex is tent in the pseudo fog the mix created. If she couldn’t see them, they couldn’t see her. She hoped. 

Crouching to below their eye level, Lexi squeezed off a half dozen textbook- perfect shots. Night was falling as fast as the snow now, and the spare illumination was a thick, barely transparent charcoal. She knew exactly how to get to where she needed to be. Like a lodestone, she had ID’d the black shutters against the whitewashed walls of the safe house seven buildings southeast. 

Five men had chased her all the way from Belorussky Railway Station on Tverskaya Zastava Ploshchad, through the alleys and up onto this rooftop half a dozen blocks away. 

Piiingpiingpiing.
They weren’t messing around. 

Sparks shot out like fireworks as a hail of bullets struck metal. The men were firing blind. A waste of ammunition, but pretty much a guarantee that one of the stray bullets would hit their target. Her. 

Six.
There’d been six of them, she corrected, seeing them come out of nowhere in her mind’s eye. A mathematical mistake could very well bite her in the ass. 

One guy was way ahead of the pack, moving fast and low, closing the gap between them. 

Shifting her trigger finger off the frame of the Glock, Lexi squeezed off a shot. The impact of the bullet hitting him square in the chest knocked the guy off his feet. With a brief look of annoyance he went down soundlessly. 

Went down . . . and dissipated into nothingness before his body hit the ground. 

Ducking out of sight, back flat against the warmth of the pipe, Lexi sucked in a startled breath. Shit. My first kill shot. A wizard? Her heart beat hard enough to block out the sound of running footsteps. She felt the vibration through the soles of her boots and took a chance, angling her head so she could see them coming. And there they were. Thirty yards and closing. 

Five men, dressed in black, their shadowy forms barely visible. 

Narrow- eyed, she watched a second guy break from the pack, coming at her flat- out, long legs closing the gap between them. Weapon raised, he stopped, head shifting as he searched the rooftop for her. 

Two other men joined him, snow veiling them where they stood, warm breath thick in the air around their heads. 

“Did she jump across?” the middle guy asked the other two in his native Rus sian, glaring down at the gap between the buildings. Lexi followed their gazes. Her footprints teetered right on the edge. Visibility was iffy, and unless they looked closely, they wouldn’t notice the faint blurring of her double steps. She hoped. 

She held her breath as two more men caught up, the murmur of the voices blending. One man indicated they separate, and they spread out on the roof. 

Her pulse shot into overdrive, and her mouth went dry as a metronome ticked off the seconds in her head. They’d find her in moments. And there was no wondering what they’d do to her if they got their hands on her. She freaking knew. She’d seen too much. And she was as good as dead unless she could make that jump. 

As much as she wanted to plot things out to the last variable, as much as she wanted to calculate the exact trajectory necessary to leap the gap and how she should fall on the other side, Lexi literally took a running leap of faith. 

The run, followed by an ungraceful jump had her body suspended over nothing but air for what felt like an eternity. Rapid fire, followed by shouts, accompanied her leap across the abyss. Too pumped up on terror and adrenaline to feel any pain, she landed hard on the other, slightly lower, roof, and stumbled into a low run. 

Go. Go. Go. 


Her breath led the way as she found the extra speed necessary to leap between the next two buildings, a jump of at least twelve feet this time. One foot skidded out from under her as she landed in wet snow on the other side. Sheer willpower pulled her upright and she kept running. 

Go. Go. Go. 


Chunks of cement exploded inches from her feet, sending bits of it stinging into her skin through her pants. She spun, returning fire. She knew she wasn’t going to hit anyone; her aim was too wild, and she couldn’t see a damn thing now that it was fully dark. Numb with cold, the snow was a soft menace as it landed soundlessly on any exposed skin. A stark blackand- white movie with her frantic heartbeats and sawing breath as theme music. 

The whine and the hot slice of a bullet as it cut through her coat and into her shoulder made her curse under her breath. It would probably hurt like hell later. Well, no probably about it, but right now she didn’t feel a thing. Lexi ducked behind the ...

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