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Before Nightfall by Rachel Amphlett (plus a book GIVEAWAY!)

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Many thanks to author Rachel Amphlett for introducing me to this book!

It’s a fast paced action/romance about an executive who must undergo a hostage survival course before she can take a new job. The course leaves her a little scared, but confident that she will survive…..and who really wants to kidnap her, anyway? As the course draws to an end she finds herself developing feelings for one  of the instructors. Finn is the quintessential man: hunky, brooding, strong, confident; but seemingly not that interested in Kate. She is whisked off to Istanbul before they can say a proper goodbye, and that ends any opportunity for a romance.

However, her boss is involved in some shady weapons dealing, and that proves to be trouble. One day she is taken in broad daylight, as an accident is staged and blood is shed. She must struggle to remember her training and stay alive, for her captors only care about one thing: obtaining parts for a massive weapon that is intended to be used in a terrorist attack.

Kate blinked rapidly, a loud noise rousing her from unconsciousness.

She raised a hand to her head, a sticky warmth giving way to a steady trickle above her eyebrow. She looked at her fingers, at the blood, and then groaned.

She’d fallen into the recess between the front and back seats, her legs twisted awkwardly under her body. The car’s engine was silent except for a ticking sound. It took Kate a few seconds to realise that the noise came from the radiator as it cooled down, its contents dripping out through the engine block. She raised her head between the seats and gasped at the devastation to the car.

The front of the vehicle had crumpled under the force of the impact – she could see now that it had careened off the narrow street, stopping abruptly when it had slammed into the far wall of a building. A laundry line had fallen onto the windshield, coloured fabrics now strewn across the glass, shading the interior of the car and obliterating her view.

She frowned. The driver’s door was wedged open on its hinges, and there was no sign of Mick. Traces of blood covered the seat and windscreen.

She sensed movement behind her before the back door was wrenched open. Broken glass rained onto her shoulders. Rough hands grabbed her, pulling her upright, before they hauled her backwards.

Kate thrashed out with her hands and feet, knowing something was desperately wrong with the situation.

Voices, in the rough patois of the city, became urgent, their meaning apparent as another set of hands joined the first and wrenched her from the vehicle.

Kate cried out as her ankle caught and twisted against the door frame. Someone behind her cursed, and then leaned forward and jerked her foot until it was freed, before she was dragged from the vehicle.

She screamed as they passed the driver’s door of the vehicle. Mick had been dragged from the car, his body lying prone on the surface of the road, a bullet wound to his head. Blood and splinters of bone stained the pavement. Kate realised now what the sound had been that had woken her from unconsciousness.

‘Someone! Help me!’ she screamed. ‘Imdat! Imdat! Help!’

A hand clamped over her mouth, and a voice hissed in her ear. She only understood the inference – to stay quiet. The surface of the man’s hand scratched her skin while the scent of motor oil and salty water penetrated her senses.

She began to struggle, kicking out and wriggling in the man’s arms, twisting her head to check the windows and balconies that overlooked the courtyard. There had to be someone, anyone, at a window, wondering what all the commotion was about.

The courtyard remained silent, save for her muffled cries, the urgent conversation between her two captors and the sound of their feet scuffing the road.

Kate’s head snapped to the left at the sound of another vehicle travelling at speed. As it came closer, she bit down on her captor’s hand. He cried out, loosened his grip on her, and she broke free.

Moving as fast as she could with a twisted ankle, she limped towards the entrance of the courtyard and the sound of the oncoming vehicle. She ignored the shouts of protest from behind her and concentrated on putting as much distance as possible between herself and the two men.

The approaching vehicle changed down a gear, then appeared at the courtyard entrance – a silver people carrier with tinted windows. It slid to a halt, the rear of the vehicle filling the small lane and blocking Kate’s escape.

‘Oh no,’ she groaned, realising her mistake.

The side door began to slide open, the inside of the vehicle dark against the bright sunlight. Kate squinted, holding her hand over her eyes, then ran towards the back of the vehicle.

She began to squeeze her body through a small gap between the van and the wall of the building, using the vehicle’s fender to climb up. She turned her head at the sound of a shout, and her heart fell as two men climbed out the other side of the people carrier, rounded the back of the vehicle and smiled at her. She turned and checked over her shoulder, but it was too late – the other two men had caught up with her.

Hands encircled her waist, lifting her backwards.

Kate kicked out and screamed.

One of her captors cursed as her elbow connected with his cheek. He spun her around in his arms and slapped her across the face before pushing her through the side door of the van.

Kate blinked, shocked, and then screamed as a hood was lifted in front of her face before it was shoved over her head.

This can’t be happening.

She began to hyperventilate as rough hands gathered her wrists together, and she felt plastic loops push over her fingers, tightening around her skin.

She felt something soft over her mouth and nose and realised too late what was happening. She struggled one final time as the chemicals consumed her senses.

Her brain registered movement before she slipped into unconsciousness and the van accelerated away.

Finn is called to help rescue Kate, and while he is secretly hoping to see her again and be her hero, he is also haunted by the memory of a previous rescue situation: one where he lost the hostage.  He must put his feelings of self doubt aside and get the job done.  There are surprises and double crosses he didn’t count on, and all the while the clock is ticking on Kate’s life.

I don’t usually read books that have to do with terrorism/kidnapping/Middle East/weaponry; so I did some thinking before I accepted this for review. I’m really glad I did! The emphasis is more on the relationships and the intrigue than heavy political drama. The atmosphere is gritty and authentic, with detail so vivid I felt as if I were chained to the wall alongside Kate. The plot twists kept me riveted and I felt invested in the whole Finn/Kate romance. Each character had sufficient backstory, and the suspense was perfectly created–I was drawn in and could not wait to see what was happening on the next page.  Reading this was well worth my time.

Rachel Amphlett_web_4322

 

Amphlett has written other books in the thriller genre as well; be sure to visit her website and see if any will interest you.

Want your own copy? We are offering a GIVEAWAY just in time to mitigate those post holiday blues! The author is offering TWO copies, either in e-book form, or a signed hard copy. Click below to enter.

If you are not one of the two lucky winners, click [easyazon_link asin=”B00KOAMTRS” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″ add_to_cart=”yes” cloaking=”default” localization=”yes” popups=”yes”]here[/easyazon_link] to purchase it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2 Comments

  1. The excerpt from Before Nightfall is a great hook. I’d love to win this book.

  2. This book sounds intense, hostage training, manager has shady dealings…count me in!

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