Check out this #CSSundays book – Leap of Faith. Love the cover & the premise!
Author: Jackie Keswick
Release Date: April 5, 2017
Close friends and partners at FireWorks Security, Joel Weston and Kieran Ross know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They have each other’s backs, make a formidable team, and carefully ignore their volatile chemistry.
When Kieran struggles with the aftermath of an assignment gone wrong, Joel is there to help. When Joel is caught in an explosion, Kieran jumps into a burning marina to rescue the man who means so much to him. But they never discuss what’s closest to their hearts, not prepared to risk their friendship for the mere possibility of something more.
Faced with bombs, assassins, and old ghosts, Joel and Kieran must find out why they’re targets, who is coming after them, and—most of all—how each would feel if he lost the other. Should they continue as best friends, or is it time to take a leap of faith?
“This isn’t a suicide watch. It’s not.” The bells of the nearby church chimed midnight. Joel had turned off the lights, drawn the blinds, and left only two wall sconces to illuminate the far end of his loft apartment.
The soft light didn’t reach far. It lit a path to the bathroom door and picked out the antique nail-studded chest that served as Joel’s bedside table. An alarm clock and Joel’s phone charger sat on the ancient wood, beside two heavy-bottomed old-fashioned crystal tumblers and the bottle of Jack Daniel’s Joel had bought earlier that day.
Joel had settled himself cross-legged on his bed. He leaned against a stack of pillows, the taste of peat and malt on his lips, and repeated the words like a prayer someone, somewhere, might hear. “This isn’t a suicide watch.”
Beside him Kieran had finally succumbed to sleep with the help of the whiskey. Joel counted it a small victory. He didn’t like to solve problems with alcohol, but they’d tried everything short of sleeping pills or a knockout punch. After a week of little rest, Kieran’s cheeks were drawn. The dull gray cast to his deep tan proclaimed exhaustion, and purple smudges ringed Kieran’s eyes, dark enough to make strangers think he’d lost a fight.
The tension hadn’t left him even as he slept. He lay curled on his side on top of the sunset-patterned quilt, his arms crossed tightly over his chest. Both hands were clenched in fists and a deep furrow creased the skin between his brows. He hadn’t drunk enough of the whiskey to wake with a hangover, but given the tense coil he’d settled in, he wouldn’t wake at all refreshed.
Joel watched over his partner as he slept and wished he could help. He racked his brain for something he could say or do even as he fought not to card his fingers through the ink-dark mess of choppy strands Kieran called a hairstyle.
The previous week had been harrowing for the whole team. It was never a laugh fest when they lost a client, and was worse when innocent bystanders were caught in the crossfire. The man they’d hunted had broken free mid-arrest and had taken a hostage. Cornered on the roof of an apartment building and maybe hoping to slip away in the resulting chaos, he’d not hesitated to push the woman over the edge of the parapet. Kieran, who’d stood nearest when Lillian Carter died and had yet been unable to prevent her death, took it the hardest. He had barely slept since the incident, and his responses were so far outside his normal parameters that Joel’s father, FireWorks Security’s president, had ordered Joel to keep a close eye on his partner.
“This isn’t a suicide watch.”
Joel believed it with every breath and heartbeat, and yet he guarded Kieran’s sleeping form with an archangel’s determination.
Kieran Ross wasn’t a man who broke easily. He was a former college football star who’d earned a degree in computer forensics. He’d served with distinction in the DEA and had come to FireWorks Security after falling out with his bosses.
Joel had watched Kieran’s job interview on the big screen in his father’s office. There’d been no posturing or showing off, just straightforward answers to straightforward questions. Kieran disclosed as much as he was able to of the long undercover stint, which had ended with three dead hostages and one dead DEA agent. He was equally frank about the aftermath of the mission. How his partner’s death and the injuries Kieran sustained had sent him into a spell of drug abuse—prescription painkillers and sleeping pills—that hastened the end of his DEA career. How he had drifted north from Miami with a vague idea of maybe making Boston. And how he’d stopped two hours short of his goal in Lissand, Connecticut.
Joel had never asked what had drawn Kieran to the sleepy city filled with quirky artisan workshops and the faded remnants of grandiose architecture. Once one of the busiest trading hubs along the East Coast, Lissand now resembled the home of an eccentric maiden aunt—a little dusty and gone to seed but filled with unexpected quixotic treasures if one but took the time to look. Joel knew that Lissand appeared unassuming and out of the way. That it cleverly disguised the fact it was close to two airports, had a port and a connection to the interstate highway. That it made a perfect base for FireWorks Security, whose operatives dealt with kidnappings, extortion, and hostage situations all over the country. And that it had enticed Kieran to rent a small row house a couple of blocks south of Joel’s spacious loft, because after growing up in apartments, Kieran found it charming that he had to trudge up a flight of stairs to reach his living room. Then climb another flight to go to bed.
Settled in his new abode, Kieran had straightened himself out. He’d explored the area and finally applied to FireWorks for a job. All without help from anyone.
No, Kieran wasn’t a man who broke easily. Nor did he take his responsibilities lightly. He didn’t brush off failure as if it were nothing and move on. It was a trait they shared, one of the things that made them the tight unit they’d become over the last four years.
Understanding why Kieran took Lillian Carter’s death so hard didn’t mean Joel knew how to help. He was uneasily aware of the old adage of straws and camels’ backs, and since he didn’t want to contemplate that particular scenario, Joel had ignored Kieran’s protests that he could look after himself.
He had dragged Kieran from his small house up to his own loft and shut the doors against the world. They’d shared pizza and listened to music, and Joel had nixed Kieran’s idea to sleep on the couch so he wouldn’t disturb Joel with his tossing and turning. He’d broken out the bottle of Jack instead and helped Kieran find a tiny bit of rest. Now Joel leaned against the headboard and guarded his friend’s sleep, hoping against hope it would be just as easy to guard Kieran’s dreams.
About the Author:
Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.
Jackie loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.
And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.
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