Here it is — the sexy new cover for my sexy COBRA ELITE series. Yes, I’m back to writing romantic suspense, and HARD TARGET is the first book in my new I-Team spinoff.
The hero of the story is Derek Tower, who first made his appearance in the I-Team series in Striking Distance as the owner of a black-ops company that had gone into bankruptcy after the kidnapping of Laura Nilsson. He was a JERK — at first. As the story moved on, he discovers that Laura isn’t to blame for her kidnapping and the deaths of his men and does all he can to make up for the way he intimidated her.
We see him again in Seduction Game when the new black-ops company he and Javier Corbray (Striking Distance) have created get involved to recover Holly Bradshaw after a rogue CIA agent abducts her. Here’s the logo of Cobra International Security.
Basically, if you’re a terrorist or drug smuggler or asshole and you see this, you are probably well on your way to being trussed up in the back of a truck or dead.
Hard Target is Derek’s story. A former Green Beret, he is compelled to accept an assignment that lands him in Afghanistan’s Balkh Province playing bodyguard to the younger sister of special forces buddy who gave his life to save Derek’s.
Jenna Hamilton, the heroine, is a nurse midwife. She’s gone over as an aid worker to help save the lives of women and babies in a country where women have a 1-in-8 risk of dying of pregnancy-related causes in their lifetimes. That part is not fiction, sadly. Neither is the fact that the Taliban, which forbids the education of women, deliberately targets and executes midwives. Last year, they attacked the city of Ghazni, occupied a midwifery school, and murdered one of the midwives while the others hid in a safe room.
Caught in political the political machinations of militias, warlords, and Talibs, they find themselves on the run, relying on Derek’s skills (and at times Jenna’s) to survive.
Derek has no intention of getting involved with Jenna. He owes her brother a life debt, something he can’t repay by getting in bed with her. But sometimes adrenaline and primal attraction can overcome even the strongest will.
Where did I get the idea for this story? I’m so glad you asked.
The groundwork for aspects of it was laid in Striking Distance and Seduction Game. Javier and Derek’s company — Cobra International Security — was already established.
But the setting and especially the heroine come from a story I reported on long ago when I was a journalist. I’d heard of a local midwife who had set up a midwifery school and hospital out of her living room in Boulder County. She went over to Bamiyan and worked with the Afghan government to develop a curriculum to train one of the first groups of midwives in the new Afghanistan. She saved lives every day. She had the honor—I think it IS an honor—of receiving death threats from the Taliban, which promised to put a bullet in her head.
Screw those guys. (Or not.)
The organization she founded is a nonprofit that now operates in Afghanistan, Uganda, and Haiti, helping local women give birth safely. Through her efforts and those of others who joined in to help, these clinics have surpassed UN goals for maternal and infant safety. The organization is one I am proud to support — International Midwife Assistance. You can read about their work at www.midwifeassist.org.
She and I met over coffee a few weeks ago, and I told her that I’m working on a story with an American midwife working in Afghanistan—and she literally squealed. Immediately, she began making suggestions for how to make the story real, offering me a wealth of first-hand experience that I couldn’t have unless I, too, worked as a midwife in Afghanistan.
The Cobra Elite series is going to be a fast-paced, action-packed romantic suspense series with all the realism of the I-Team series. At this point, I’m planning for a trilogy, all of which will be published in 2019. So hang onto your panties — if you can.
Hard Target will be out in mid-April. Watch for an excerpt with pre-order links soon! If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, click here. It’s the best way to stay on top of new releases. I won‘t spam you or share your email information. Just be sure to check your inbox for a confirmation email.