Book Showcase: HOSTILE PURSUIT by Juno Rushdan



Hostile Pursuit

A Hard Core Justice Thriller Book 1

by Juno Rushdan

Genre: Romantic Thriller




When ruthless killers target them, even a safe house isn’t safe.

Only twenty-four hours remain until marshal Nick McKenna’s informant, Lori Carpenter, will testify against a powerful drug cartel. Nick has kept her safe for an entire year, but now all hell is breaking loose. With a team of cold-blooded assassins closing in, the by-the-book lawman decides to go rogue. He’ll risk his life for duty…and put it all on the line for his irresistible witness.




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Nick had kept Lori safe for three hundred and eighty-six days. What could possibly go wrong in the next twenty-seven hours?

They reached the women’s clothing store. As they walked inside, a chime dinged from a motion-activated PIR sensor he spotted.

An employee behind the register, wearing a blazer and sporting a curly bob, made eye contact and gave a perky smile. One female customer perusing a row of blouses didn’t glance their way.

“Hello,” the young sales associate said, her warm voice rich with enthusiasm. “Let me know if you need help finding anything.”

“Thank you,” Lori said.

“You’ve got twenty minutes.” Nick looked at his watch while Ted swept the rest of the store. “We’re in and out, okay?”

Lori went to a rack of suits. “You don’t give a gal much time.”

“One hour away from the property,” he said, reminding her of the US Marshal Service rules that kept witnesses alive. “Not a minute more.”

Nick’s attention flickered to the other customer.

The woman was in her early forties, petite, olive complexion, coal-black hair pulled in a tight bun. No jewelry, wore slacks and a blousy top and carried a leather purse. She reached up, taking a shirt from the upper rack, and the frilly bell sleeve of her blouse dropped an inch, revealing a tattoo of a black rose on the back of her hand. The ink fit her. Beautiful. Elegant. Dark.

Reflexively, Nick pressed his arm against the Glock 22 in his shoulder rig.

“This is a big deal.” Lori checked the size on a navy suit. “Forgive me for not wanting to rush.” 

Tomorrow she was testifying in federal court against her in-laws’ financial firm for laundering millions. He could tell she was doing her best to hold it together and not let nerves derail her. If he could give her more time, he would.

The low chime at the front rang. Another woman entered the store. Bottled-bleach-blonde. Tall and thin. Jeans and a buttoned shirt. Sneakers that squelched lightly against the tile floor.

“I’m sorry. Eighteen minutes,” Nick said, telegraphing with his tone this was nonnegotiable.

Lori picked a navy two-piece from the rack. “This should work. I better go try it on. Tick-tock.”

Nick looked to Ted, where his partner stood at the entrance of the dressing rooms. Ted nodded, signaling the stalls were empty and he’d make sure no one followed Lori inside.

Blondie headed straight to some dresses hanging in the rear of the store, grabbed one almost mindlessly, or perhaps she’d been in before and knew what she was looking for, flicked a glance at a tag and made a beeline for the dressing rooms.

Ted lifted a palm, not letting the blonde in after Lori. The woman huffed and protested, raising a loud stink, but his partner held firm.

Show her your badge, Ted, and be done with it. Flashing the Eagle Top five-pointed star had a way of shutting down any complaints lickety-split.

“Who do you think you are?” Blondie asked with a fist on her hip.

“A US Deputy Marshal, ma’am,” Ted said. “Sorry for the inconvenience and the wait.”

“Listen, jerk. I need to get in there now.”

Ted laughed in his self-deprecating way. “Sorry. Not going to happen.”

The sales associate went over to the scene unfolding. “Hi,” she said brightly, her sunny disposition almost disarming. “Is there a problem?”

Nick maintained his position, monitoring the rest of the shop and the entrance.

Black Rose circled silent as a fox around to an ornate display of scarves and ran her fingers across the silk. Not once since they’d entered had she acknowledged their presence in the slightest. Until now.

Her gaze lifted, meeting his, her face an expressionless mask, but her sharp eyes were those of a merciless predator.

Prior experience as an army ranger in Afghanistan before becoming a marshal had taught him the hard way never to underestimate a woman with a slight build, or even a child for that matter, and the deep scar under his chin was a testament.

For a chilling instant they stared at one another, sizing the other up. Not from a physical perspective. It was an assessment of will. And what Nick saw in her was fathomless.

Blondie threw the dress at Ted, dividing Nick’s attention, and stormed out of the store.

The bell chimed. Black Rose’s steely eyes narrowed before she turned and strode unhurriedly toward the door—as if she had all the time in the world.

Then he saw it. Her low-heeled boots that didn’t make a sound.

His neck prickled the way it did when he was on a hunt for big game with his siblings. Nick followed. He had no reason to detain or question her, but something about that woman was wrong. From the tattoo, those rubber-soled shoes, to how she’d looked at him. As if she’d wanted to slice through him like a hot knife through butter.

None of it was evidence of anything and not cause for more than suspicion, but training and years of experience had taught him not to dismiss either.

The woman strolled away, lengthening the distance between them with each store she passed. One, two, three. But the tightening in his gut didn’t ease.

Black Rose glimpsed back at him over her shoulder, caught his fixed stare and stopped in her tracks. Pivoting, she turned and faced him, leveling her icy gaze his way. The look she sent him was full of loathing and in a blink it changed. Her lips hitched in an ominous half grin and she winked. Almost daring him to pursue.

Old ranger instincts urged him to take up the chase, confirm what his gut screamed about the woman, shake something that made sense out of her, but his training overruled recklessness.

He looked back in the quiet clothing store, checking on things.

Ted no longer stood stationed at the entrance of the dressing rooms.

Nick touched his Bluetooth earpiece. “Ted? What’s your position? Do you have eyes on Hummingbird?” he asked, using the codename for Lori.

Deafening silence.

Nick’s pulse spiked, but he remained calm—never one to succumb to panic. He stepped past displays and racks, his gaze scanning, his mind assessing.

No sign of Ted. Or the sales associate.

Drawing his gun, Nick hustled toward the dressing rooms.

Anticipation coiled in his chest, adrenaline roaring through him. The weight of his backup piece strapped to his ankle was a small comfort. Nick’s fingers tightened on his Glock. He reached the threshold, scanned left, then right.

Ted lay on the floor beyond the entrance in a corner. Blood soaked his white hair at the base of his skull.

Son of a— Ted was down.

There was no time to check if his partner was unconscious or dead. A commotion deeper in the dressing room drew him forward. Two people struggled inside the second stall.

The horror in Lori’s terrified whimper jolted his heart.


Excerpt from Hostile Pursuit by June Rushdan. Copyright © 2020 by Juno Rushdan. Published by Harlequin. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.






Juno is a veteran Air Force Intelligence Officer who writes romantic thrillers with sizzle, pulse-pounding suspense, and plenty of action. Her stories are about strong heroes and gutsy heroines fighting for their lives as well as their happily-ever-after. Expect an intense emotional journey and a thrill ride to keep you turning the pages.

A native New Yorker, she currently lives in the Washington, DC area with her patient husband, two vivacious kids, and a spoiled rescue dog. Juno loves hanging out with readers and anyone friendly over a great glass of wine.

The Final Hour series features a covert, off-the-books unit sanctioned to operate beyond the black and white constraints of other intelligence agencies. They work in the shadows safeguarding national security. When a horrifying conspiracy hits too close to home, they’re the last line of defense. They’ll do anything to keep their country safe and sacrifice everything for the ones they love.


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2019 Book 251: NOTHING TO FEAR by Juno Rushdan

Nothing To Fear Final Hour #2 by Juno Rushdan 
ISBN: 9781492661573 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781492661580 (ebook)
ASIN: B07NRSHHWF (Kindle edition)
Publication date: August 27, 2019 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca


The clock is ticking

Fearsome Gray Box operative Gideon Stone is devoted to his work and his team. He’s never given reason to doubt his loyalty…until he’s tasked with investigating Willow Harper, a beguiling cryptologist suspected of selling deadly bio-agents on the black market.

He knows she’s innocent. He knows she’s being framed. And he knows that without him, Willow will be dead before sunrise.

Thrust into the crossfire of an insidious international conspiracy, Gideon will do anything to keep Willow safe…even if that means waging war against his own. With time running out, an unlikely bond pushes limits―and forges loyalties. Every move they make counts. And the real traitor is always watching…




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We were introduced to the Black Ops group, Gray Box in book one of the Final Hour series, Every Last Breath by Juno Rushdan. This group is comprised of super intelligent, highly skilled, and well trained analysts and operatives. Willow Harper became somewhat suspicious in the last Gray Box mission when she took a break and missed tagging the bad guy at a crucial moment. It didn’t seem to matter to some people that she had been working for over 20 hours, hadn’t had any sleep, and had only taken a mandated 15 minute break, it was still suspicious. Adding insult to injury, when the suspect was apprehended and brought into custody, Willow’s pin code was used in an effort to murder the suspect. Now a million dollars has been found in an off-shore account in her name and it doesn’t seem to matter that she was almost killed in a recent car accident. A car accident caused by tampering. Fortunately, one of the Gray Box operatives, Gideon “Reaper” Stone, knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Willow is innocent and is willing to do whatever it takes to protect her. One key question is will it be enough considering there is a traitor hidden deep at Gray Box? An even bigger question is can he trust his emotions with Willow in this dangerous situation?

Nothing to Fear is the second book in the Final Hour series by Juno Rushdan. This is a fast-paced and engaging thriller that incorporates international intrigue, kidnapping, espionage, murder, romance, and more. I enjoyed the main characters primarily because Willow isn’t your average female lead character. Yes, she’s smart, intelligent, and pretty, but she’s also on the spectrum and used to a highly regimented life. I did have difficulties accepting how well she adjusted to having this regimented life disrupted given the fact she talked (and thought) about needing to adhere to a schedule, etc. It seemed as if she was on the spectrum for a few pages and then all of sudden she wasn’t, but that’s just my perspective. Gideon initially comes across as the super-strong alpha male, and although he is definitely an alpha-male, he also has his fair share of issues he’s dealing with in terms of his first marriage and the death of his first wife. There’s a lot of action crammed into Nothing to Fear and if you’ve read Every Last Breath, I strongly encourage you to grab a copy to read as soon as it releases (even with the issues I had with Willow being on-and-off the autism spectrum). For those of you that haven’t read Every Last Breath, if you enjoy reading romantic-suspense, then I encourage you to grab a copy and read that first so you’ll understand the story arc, then get yourself a copy of Nothing to Fear. Yes, I had some issues with some facets of this story, but I still found it to be an enjoyable read. How enjoyable? I had a moderately-severe migraine and the story kept me turning the pages! I look forward to reading the next installment in this series.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”