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Outbreak Task Force, Book #5

Romantic Suspense

Date Published: 9/21/2020

Publisher: Entangled Publishing


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Racing to lock down the CDC’s deadly virus samples from terrorists,
ex-Special Forces medic Henry Lee partners with Ruby Toth on the Outbreak
Task Force. But the terrorists always seem one step ahead. As they work side
by side, Henry’s taken with how Ruby accepts and respects him, instead of
pitying him for all he lost overseas, including his leg. Ruby’s hiding
something, though, and Henry fears she’s been leaking sensitive information.
Terrorists have kidnapped her brother, and now microbiologist Ruby Toth
faces a horrible choice. If she doesn’t give them a vial of Small Pox as
ransom, her brother will die. She knows her prickly—yet very
hot—boss, Henry, could provide the help she needs. But she joined the
CDC to root out insiders plotting to unleash a bio-engineered pandemic, and
she can’t trust anyone. Not even Henry.


 About time he called her. Where the hell was he?

She answered the phone with, “Where have you been?”

“Your brother is with us, Miss Toth,” a distorted voice said. “If you don’t do everything we tell you to do, you’ll never see him in one piece again.”

A cold fist punched her in the stomach, and she was standing without recalling how she got there. The cold pushed its way through her body, weakening her knees until she collapsed back onto the chair she’d been sitting on.

“Who is this?”

“You know who we are.” The distortion made it impossible to discern if the voice was male or female. “Your brother is healthy. For the moment.”

Assholes. Anger freed her diaphragm from its icy cage. She harnessed the energy and rode it, breaking it down into something useful. Patience.

Watch, wait, listen, then act. She’d learned the hard way not to let her emotions hijack her mouth. To get along with difficult people, you had to figure out what they wanted and what they didn’t before you spoke.

What kind of response would a bunch of terrorists who’d kidnapped her brother want from her? Defeat, not defiance. Compliance, not confidence. She needed to make them believe she’d do whatever they told her to do.

“Please don’t hurt him. Wh-what do you want?” There was enough adrenaline surging through her system it wasn’t hard to stutter and breathe a little too hard. To sound like she was on the edge of panic.

“A live sample of smallpox.” Despite the distortion, the voice sounded self-satisfied. Arrogant. Superior. For a moment, she couldn’t quite believe what she heard.

“You can’t be serious.”

“Get it or your brother dies.”

“How do I know he’s not already dead?” Her voice broke on the last word.

NICUnurse’s Review of Hell & Back by Julie Rowe

Hell & Back is book number five in this author’s Outbreak Task Force series. The books are marketed as standalone titles. I’m a romantic suspense junkie and always on the hunt for new-to-me authors that I can add to my list of authors I enjoy, so I thought I’d give Hell & Back a try. 

What I Liked Most About the Book: The fast pace of the action. If you’re looking for not a lot of backstory or slow build-up and heart-pounding action from the get-go, this book is going to be right up your alley. The mystery literally begins on the first page.

NICUnurse’s Rating: The books in this series are marketed as standalone titles, but there were many times throughout the story where I felt I was really missing out on a small but valuable piece of information. With that said, what I felt I was missing wasn’t so much that I couldn’t keep up with the story or the characters, so I can’t say this book wasn’t worth the time I spent in it. The writing was good, the suspense kept me turning the pages, and I was surprised by the whodunnit at the end. For me, those are all the elements I look for in a satisfying romantic suspense read. Not everyone can write good suspense, but Julie Rowe certainly did with Hell & Back, and she did it well enough that I want to check out more of her books. I’m a series junkie, so at some point, I’ll most likely start with book one and read the entire Outbreak Task Force series for a better experience with this book. Bottom line: I’d start with book one.

I give Hell & Back by Julie Rowe 4 out of 5 Propellers!

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About the Author

Full-time author and workshop facilitator, Julie Rowe’s first career
as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West
Territories and Fort McMurray, Alberta, where she still resides. Her most
recent titles include Search & Destroy book #4 of the Outbreak Taskforce
series and Trapped with the Secret Agent book #1 of the Trapped with Him
series. Julie’s articles have appeared in magazines, such as Romantic
Times Magazine, Today’s Parent magazine and Canadian Living. Julie
facilitates communication workshops at Keyano College in Fort McMurray, and
has presented writing workshops at conferences in the United States and
Canada. You can find her at http://www.julieroweauthor.com , on Twitter
@julieroweauthor or at her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/JulieRoweAuthor.

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