by Stella Barcelona
A cryptic, urgent text message turns the peaceful life Skye Barrows has created for herself and her sister into chaos. She must follow her father’s instructions to the letter, but Sebastian Connelly is blocking her way. Telling Sebastian what she must do is not an option.
What He Doesn’t Know Will Get Them All Killed
When a prison break in the midst of a security system upgrade threatens to destroy the reputation of Sebastian’s company, Black Raven Private Security Contractors, he goes on the hunt for escaped prisoner Richard Barrows – a delusional and paranoid computer software genius.
Sebastian’s mission: find Richard Barrows and return him to prison, but stonewalled by Skye, who refuses to give him answers, and with the added complication of her special needs sister, Sebastian finds himself always a step or two behind vicious killers.
Nothing About This Case is Normal
For Sebastian, it should be simple, but this case will test him in ways he never imagined. As probing interrogation becomes urgent protection, the search for Barrows forces Sebastian and Skye into a murky world of shadows and illusions.
The number stream, the one and only communication she’d received on the phone that was dedicated solely to transmission of such a message, jolted the last sleep-induced blur from Chloe’s brain. Her hands shook as she mentally translated numbers to letters.
She gripped the phone tighter, checking her translation. Same result. It was the message she’d been hoping would never come. Maybe she’d made a mistake. Kicking aside the sheet and blanket, she turned on the lamp, opened the top drawer of the nightstand, pushed her revolver to the side, and pulled out a pen and paper. Drawing a deep breath, she started over, writing as she assigned letters to numbers.
Cataclysm. Now. Run.
Adrenaline surged through her veins, but as she stood, hope glimmered – maybe the message itself was a mistake. No. Not possible. A wrong-number text message would have made sense in a simple, uncomplicated life, rather than in her father’s private code. As her father’s daughter, her life was neither simple, nor her own. And despite her father’s propensity for paranoia, the cataclysm part of his secret code galvanized her into action.
‘Normal’ wasn't part of her father’s vocabulary. He wasn’t normal, but he was her father. While a majority of the world now ridiculed him, Chloe didn’t. Cataclysm wasn’t supposed to happen. The word meant only one thing in her father’s world, and she had instructions to follow. Without question. Well, maybe with questions. A train car full of questions, starting with how her father, who was imprisoned in a federal penitentiary, had managed to send her a text and why this particular message now. Yet she knew if he had a few minutes with a computer–any computer–he could do anything. Other questions bombarded her, but now was not the time to entertain them. Even with doubt, she’d follow the pre-arranged steps of his cataclysm scenario as though her life, and a whole lot more, depended on it.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Stella Barcelona has always had an active imagination, a tendency to daydream, and a passion for reading romance, mysteries, and thrillers. She has found an outlet for all of these aspects of herself by writing romantic thrillers.
In her day-to-day life, Stella is a lawyer and works for a court in New Orleans. She lives minutes from the French Quarter, with her husband of seventeen years and two adorable papillons who believe they are princesses. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Her first novel, DECEIVED, was inspired by New Orleans, its unique citizens, and the city’s World War II-era history.
Her third novel, JIGSAW, a Black Raven novel, will be released in 2016.
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Shadows by Stella Barcelona is the first novel in the ‘Black Ravens’ series and centers around a pair of remarkable sisters, Skye and Spring Barrows, who have come to the attention of Sebastian Connelly. Sebastian’s company, Black Raven, is implicated in the escape of their father, Richard, and Sebastian is determined to recapture the man who is either a crackpot or a scarily powerful genius. The sisters are each pivotal to Sebastian’s investigation but he’s got to find a way to get past the distrust and skepticism, on both sides, if they are going to survive long enough to discover the truth and what it means to their futures as well as that of the country.
This fantastic and thrilling romantic suspense tale is a pulse-pounding adventure ride that starts with a bang and just keeps escalating. The uncanny twists and turns combined with the very pertinent scenarios that are revealed keep one mesmerized and a little uneasy about the possibility of the reality of the concepts being depicted. This is a wonderful start to a series that will be well worth watching for if this initial story is any indication.
The characters are complex and have hidden depths that are gradually revealed, the secondary characters are also strongly charismatic and definitely add to the richness of the story. Those who are squeamish should be forewarned that there is a LOT of violence and death but there are also fascinating quirks that leaven the intensity.
One should make sure that there is plenty of time available to read, because once you start this exciting roller-coaster of a story, you will not want to put it down. It is my understanding that this is the start of the series but that there is a story that predates this one and connects to it, and despite my massive TBR list, I am anxious to read that one as well! I look forward to learning more about the sexy and capable males who comprise the Black Raven team and am delighted to have found a new author to add to my ‘must read’ list.
A copy of this delicious title was provided to me for review.