Monday, August 27, 2018

Showcase -Don't Look Back Interview with Dawn Ryder

I interviewed Dawn when she premiered her Unbroken Heroes series so I knew I had to interview her with her series finale.

ISBN-13: 9781250132741
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 8-28-2018
Length: 320pp
Unbroken Heroes #6
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/Kobo/IndieBound



In DON'T LOOK BACK by Dawn Ryder, she is the only woman worth fighting - or dying - for...

Shadow Ops Agent Thais Sinclair has sworn off falling in love for good. It’s what’s kept her calculated, steady, and on-task in a world dominated by men. She needs nothing and no one but her own wits and strength to guide her. But when she’s slated to shadow the one man who could reveal their entire operation, all bets are off.

Dunn Bateson, illegitimate son of a Southern debutante, has always had to fight harder than the rest to get what he wants. Now, the last thing he needs is Thais following his every move. She is so strong, sly, seductive. . . No woman has ever captivated him so completely. Thais may only have room for her mission in her heart, but is Dunn up to the challenge of showing her that she’s worth every risk he is willing to take?

Read an excerpt:


“You’re doing it wrong, brother,” Saxon Hale said as he slapped Vitus Hale on the shoulder.
Vitus sent Saxon a hard look. “Fuck off.”
Saxon only grinned at Vitus’s response, but there was a snort from Damascus Hale. She sent her husband a stern look designed to reprimand him. “Don’t teach our daughter profanity.”
“She’s a little young to pick up words, princess,” Vitus replied as he tried to adjust the way he was cradling his newborn daughter. The infant let out a little sound, earning a frown from Vitus. The assembled family members laughed at his expense.
“Babies absorb far more language than you realize,” Damascus informed Vitus.
Miranda Delacroix cooed to the baby as she lifted her from Vitus’s arms. “She’s perfect…,” the new grandmother gushed.
* * *
It was a private gathering.
Pullman looked through the scope of his rifle, lining up the crosshairs on Miranda Delacroix Ryland.
It would be easy to drop the Congress hopeful right there among her kin. Which was fortuitous, considering he’d been paid a lot of money to put a bullet through her head, and there was even a bonus if he got the job done quickly.
He lifted his head though and relaxed his hand, removing his finger from the trigger. It wasn’t that he had any remorse about hitting his target while she was attending a christening for her grandchild.
He was a hitman; it was what he did.
A lack of concern went with the job. It was sort of a requirement.
But in this case, he settled for lifting up a camera and snapping pictures of the location. Saxon Hale and his team of Shadow Ops agents had been off the grid for over a year now. The top-secret location was referred to as the “nest.”
The intel might have value on the black market.
It wasn’t the job he was on, but a wise man never lets an opportunity go untried. Pullman indulged in a grin as he watched the family group. Sure, they looked pretty normal, until the high-powered lens on his camera started catching sight of chest harnesses and rifles stored on the sides of the buildings. There was a cute little vintage house, surrounded by a graveyard of cars and trucks rusting away. The twisted mass of metal was a smokescreen for the Cold War–era missile silo being refurbished two hundred yards behind the house.
Patience was key to success. The right time and the right place, essential to performance. At least the sort of performance Pullman was interested in being known for. A clean kill, no evidence for law enforcement to find and follow back to the person who had paid for the hit.
Pullman lowered his camera, watching as the christening ceremony got started. Vitus and Damascus Hale handed their infant daughter over to the selected godparents. Saxon Hale and Ginger Hale stood in their places as Colonel Bryan Magnus officiated.
Miranda stood off to one side, smiling like the proud grandmother she was.
Carl Davis would want Pullman to put a slug in Miranda right there.
But Carl Davis was an idiot. A vindictive one, too. Pullman avoided adding the word “evil” because he was working for the guy and couldn’t get too picky about the way he made his income.
Pullman grunted and looked forward to finishing his job for the presidential hopeful Carl Davis because when the job was done, he would be free to have a beer. Pullman never drank while on a job. Being a hitman was becoming more challenging as the modern age made staying faceless far harder than it had ever been before.
There was no way Pullman would be stupid enough to drop Miranda Ryland while she was standing on a Shadow Ops location. Sure, it looked like a mess. A construction site just underway. Only a fool would buy that story.
Saxon and Vitus Hale were ex-SEALs. And they weren’t the only seasoned operators attending the christening.
Colonel Bryan Magnus had an impressive service record, too, and there were other Shadow Ops agents as well.
Nope. No way was Pullman going to drop her there, even if he suspected Carl Davis just might want him to compromise the nest location as a nice added bonus.
Carl wasn’t paying for that service, and Pullman never worked for free. If Carl wanted the Shadow Ops teams uprooted because they felt they were compromised, he’d have to shell out the cash.
So far, Carl had only paid for Miranda Delacroix to be dropped.
He’d do the job. But when the timing was right. He couldn’t spend the money if he were in prison or dead. And Carl wouldn’t mind a bit if he were killed trying to escape. Not that Pullman held it against Carl—the guy was paying a hitman to take out a rival, so expecting morality would be foolish.
Pullman shouldered his rifle and began trekking his way back through the forest that surrounded the area. He pulled a hat down on his head, looking like any of a dozen locals who were out hunting.
He’d get Miranda a little later. When she was away from the secret location. It would preserve his ability to sell the pictures of the site. If the Congress hopeful went down too close to it, the Shadow Ops team would abandon it and set up another location.
Planning was always key.
* * *
Vitus Hale had two places he called home.
He grinned for a moment as he watched the people on the sidewalk in Washington, D.C.
Only two—boy, marriage had domesticated him.
His wife, Damascus, would give him a look if she heard his sarcasm, but then again, she’d known what he was when they fell in love.
You mean you made the ultimate mistake of falling in love with your package 
He had, and he still wasn’t sorry, either. Sure, there had been a year when he’d thought Damascus had chosen her rich father’s lifestyle over him, but that was history now.
Not that falling in love meant he was going to start reporting to a cubical every day.
Vitus caught sight of his section leader. Kagan didn’t make it too easy. Vitus caught a glimpse of him in his peripheral vision. He held himself steady for a moment, making sure no one was watching him, before he moved off to where Kagan was settling down on a park bench.
Vitus moved slowly, stopping a few other places before sitting beside Kagan.
“It’s too quiet,” Kagan began.
Vitus gave his section leader a single nod but held silent. Kagan wasn’t just his superior because someone had promoted him. No, Kagan was a man Vitus followed because he’d earned it. Kagan didn’t talk often, and he didn’t give away his motive, either. In short, Kagan was worth listening to, especially when he’d called Vitus for a meeting.
“Carl should have put his people on dealing with us threatening him,” Kagan continued.
“My bet is, he has,” Vitus responded. “This aide of his, Eric Geyer, seems to know how to keep a lid on what he’s doing.”
“That’s what I’m concerned about,” Kagan said with a hard look toward Vitus. “Tyler Martin might have been one of us, but his failing was his need to be recognized for his work.”
Vitus’s lips twitched. “Tyler liked to wear his I-was-there ribbons, sure enough.”
Kagan’s expression cracked for a second at Vitus’s description of military medals. In the world of Shadow Ops teams, Vitus fit right in because he didn’t care what people thought of him. He didn’t need a medal to prove his worth, and he didn’t flash the ones he’d earned around. No, he found his confidence deep inside himself, where he damn well knew the value of the service he’d done for his country and mankind.
Tyler Martin had been weak enough to need confirmation from the people around him.
“I assigned Dare Servant to a new location in case we need a plan B,” Kagan continued. “My guess is, Carl won’t be wise enough to take our warning.”
Vitus enjoyed a flashback. They’d replaced Carl Davis’s personal security and faced him down inside one of his plush presidential hotel suites. He’d been scared. In fact, Vitus doubted Carl had ever tasted fear quite that intense before. They could have killed him; they’d had plenty of reason to. Carl had charged Tyler Martin with killing Vitus and his brother, Saxon, as well as members of their teams.
More than once they’d overcome the odds.
Vitus savored the knowledge. But he wasn’t foolish enough to overlook the fact that his victories were salt in Carl Davis’s wounds.
“Miranda took a chance in giving us that tape she made,” Kagan added. “Carl will want his pound of flesh. This campaign is the perfect cover for him to have a hitman take her out.”
“I’ve been watching her,” Vitus said.
“I know,” Kagan offered dryly. “Officially, I don’t have a reason to assign a team to her.”
“Unless you want to confess that we threatened Carl Davis,” Vitus said, offering his section leader a smirk.
“A warning,” Kagan corrected him. “One none of us expects him to take…”
“But we made the effort,” Vitus said. Yeah, they’d made the effort because they were men of honor. People used the word lightly too often for his peace of mind, but he’d found the sort of men and women who understood the true meaning in it among the SEALs and Shadow Ops. Kagan was a hard man who’d made tough choices, but Vitus followed his command because he knew without a shred of doubt that his section leader was motivated by integrity.
That was why they hadn’t killed Carl Davis when they’d had the chance.
“Stay sharp,” Kagan advised him with a knowing look. “It’s going to hit the fan. Soon. Leave your family underground.”
Vitus nodded, acknowledging the warning. “They’re back under Colonel Magnus’s command.”
Kagan drew in a deep breath. “Bryan Magnus knows what to do if Carl takes us out.”
Vitus felt his body shift. It was a slight tensing of the muscles with a tingle rippling along his spine. He was no stranger to the sensation, the only thing new to the situation was the fact that now he had a wife and daughter. On over a hundred missions with the SEALs, he’d taken the ultimate risk with his life. It had been his drug of choice, the need to put boot to ass for justice. Damascus might accept who he was, but there was still a little hollow feeling settling into the pit of his stomach as he saw the look on Kagan’s face.
They were going to war. Only this time, it was on home soil.
At least his section leader thought so, and Vitus couldn’t fault his logic.
“Shadow Miranda,” Kagan said. “I’ve got Sinclair off grid in case we need her as a resource.”
“Am I officially on a case?”
“At the moment there is no case,” Kagan said, giving him a tilt of his head. “Officially, you’re waiting for assignment.” Kagan shot him a hard look. “Be ready for the call.”
“Yes, sir.”
They parted ways. Vitus moved through the crowded streets of the capital before ducking into a doorway and disappearing into an underground network of tunnels few civilians knew about. Hell, there were plenty of FBI and CIA agents who didn’t know what lay beneath the pavement. Deep below the traffic-clogged streets, Vitus pressed his palm and let his retina be scanned before entering a facility that contained some of the most dangerous viruses on the planet. His wife worked daily in an effort to make sure they were prepared to deal with bio-attacks. It meant working with the viruses, and that was done where an accident could never leak out into the population.
Damascus had signed on in an effort to escape her father’s plans to have her marry Carl Davis. Underground, Vitus was free to allow his lips to curve up. He’d enjoyed stealing his princess away by winning her heart. Her father hadn’t made it easy, but, hell, Vitus had never been a fan of taking the easy path in life.
He made his way to the small center where his daughter was being cared for. She had her fist in her mouth, sucking on it, as he nodded to the day care personnel before gently scooping the infant up.
Life was a precious thing.
And a magical one.
He’d never realized how amazing it might be to hold his child.
Carl Davis had better heed their warning, because the next time Carl made a play against them, Vitus was going to kill him. The stakes were too high now.
Which meant he was going to have to step outside the lines of protocol.
“Be ready for the call.”
There was a mountain of meaning in Kagan’s words. Vitus held on to his daughter for a few more precious seconds before he forced himself into action. Being ready meant making sure he had every assist he could manage.
It also meant doing right by family.
He made his way into the small suite he shared with his wife and pulled a prepaid phone out of his pocket. Miranda Delacroix was his mother-in-law.
She was also Dunn Bateson’s natural mother.
Vitus didn’t know the man well. Of course, no one really did from what Vitus could tell. Dunn was a recluse who seemed to enjoy casting his aura of mystery. He certainly invested a lot of cash in keeping the paparazzi guessing on just where he was.
But Vitus had a number to reach him.
Vitus hesitated for a long moment. In the end, though, it was the lingering feeling of having his daughter in his hands that made him push the dial button on the phone.
Family was worth everything a man had in him to give. Not every man lived by that code, but Vitus knew Dunn did.
Miranda was his mother.
“Vitus Hale,” Dunn answered on the third ring. “How can I bail your Shadow Ops team out today?”
There was a hint of a smirk coming through the line. Vitus enjoyed the brassy humor the Scotsman seemed to have an endless supply of.
“It’s payback time,” Vitus began. “I’m calling to give you a heads-up. Unofficially.”
There was silence for a moment. “I’m listening,” Dunn replied, all hints of teasing gone.
Dunn didn’t disappoint him by drawing out the conversation. Vitus was left looking at his phone after Dunn ended the call just three minutes later.
No, Dunn wasn’t going to waste time chatting. Miranda might have been forced to give birth to him in secret by her powerful political family because they wouldn’t have the scandal of her having a child with a man they didn’t approve of, but Dunn wasn’t going to stand by idly while his mother might be on a hitman’s list.
Was that what Kagan had meant by making sure Vitus had his resources in line?
Actually, Vitus did think Kagan had wanted him to call Dunn. His section leader couldn’t do it. No, there were too many eyes on him.
But what Vitus did when he wasn’t on a case, well, that was no one’s business. It was the unspoken element that kept their Shadow Ops teams as effective as they were. It was also the thing so many hopeful recruits tried to get a grasp on but failed.
You either understood or you didn’t, and that comprehension was a must for the men and women Kagan put Shadow Ops badges into the hands of. They took the cases no one wanted. Dealt with the criminals who won too damn often.
Dunn wasn’t one of them.
And yet, he was by way of stepping up when he’d been needed. The guy liked his privacy though, living as a recluse, and he had enough money to help him pull it off well enough to have Vitus admiring him.
Dunn was the sort of ace in the hole they needed. The asset Carl Davis wouldn’t see in play on the board. He’d been involved in operations before, but he was also a master of the art of being a recluse. He’d never left a trail, which meant Carl and his people wouldn’t be looking for him.
* * *
Dunn Bateson stood gazing out of his office windows. Vitus Hale wasn’t a man given to hype.
Dunn heard Vitus’s words ringing in his ears. There was also a strange tingle going down his spine. Edinburgh was a place known for spirits and supernatural happenings. Tonight, Dunn found himself caught in a moment of contemplation that just might have been crafted by the hands of fate.
Miranda was his mother. Vitus had pegged him perfectly. Something Dunn would give the American full credit for achieving. Not many men could read him so well.
Maybe it was the connection of Vitus being married to his half sister, Damascus.
Dunn looked down at his phone and realized he was hesitating. Miranda’s number was illuminated on the screen, waiting for him to push the dial function key.
He hated that he was still wondering if he should reach out to her.
“Yer mother loved you, son … never doubt it…”
His father’s words rose from his memory.
“She loved me…
Duncan Bateson had insisted his son should know the truth once he was old enough.
“Miranda wanted to marry me, ran away with me, but her family, they vowed to destroy everything I had if she didn’t return to them. I could have lived without money, but what sort of son would I be to allow such a thing to happen to my father?”
His father’s crusty face had twisted with a grief Dunn hadn’t imagined his sire could ever feel. Not Duncan Miles Bateson, the icon of Bateson Industries.
And yet, Dunn recalled in vivid detail the way his father’s eyes had actually turned glassy with unshed tears.
He’d loved her until the day he died.
And Miranda? She’d come to see Dunn the moment her husband was dead.
Dunn pressed the button and held the phone up to his ear.
“Dunn?” Miranda’s voice came across the line, the happiness undiminished by the miles between them. “It’s so … wonderful to have you calling me…”
The joy in her tone made him hesitate.
There was another first. Miranda seemed to have a talent for giving the men in the Bateson family pause.
“Dunn?” Miranda asked softly.
“I’m here,” he replied, battling a very unexpected reluctance to speak his mind. The empire he’d inherited from his father and grandfather was his to command. Yet Miranda was managing to tongue-tie him. It was a novel feeling, one he’d thought himself immune to. “I know you feel the need to do the right thing. But there are some men you should avoid crossing.”
“You’ve had a call from my son-in-law, it would seem.” Miranda’s voice gained intensity. There was now a core of strength in her tone that made Dunn’s lips twitch. It would seem his father hadn’t been the only parent to pass a solid spine on to him.
“Miranda—” Dunn began.
“I am not a coward,” Miranda informed him sternly. But her tone softened as she explained. “I realize you have good reason to doubt me on the matter. Believe me, Dunn, I would have stood up to my father if I was the only one he could lash out at. But he would have destroyed your father and grandfather. I couldn’t allow it to happen to your grandfather. I simply couldn’t stand by and see him become what he considered a failure. My family had the power to strangle your grandfather’s business.”
“That was a long time ago,” Dunn answered her, enjoying the confidence of knowing he’d built up his business to something Miranda’s family wasn’t big enough to impact. “And I called to talk about you taking your safety lightly.”
“There was nothing light about it,” Miranda replied. “Carl Davis had your sister kidnapped … even had part of her ear cut off. I will not look the other way when I have the opportunity to show his true colors to the world.”
“And here I thought my stubbornness came from my Scottish blood,” Dunn grumbled.
Miranda offered him a peal of laughter that made him smile. Until two years ago, when Miranda’s husband had died, Dunn had had no contact with her. Their relationship was something only spoken of in hushed whispers behind the very tightly closed door of his father’s study.
Now? He could call her. See her. And honestly, Dunn found himself uncertain how to proceed with their relationship. The only thing he seemed sure of was the fact that Vitus’s call had unsettled him, and there was no way he wasn’t getting involved in the matter.
“I understand your feelings, Miranda, but Carl Davis is a dangerous man.”
He heard Miranda draw in a deep breath on the other side of their connection.
“I can’t tell you how much it means to me to have you call, Dunn,” Miranda said.
Dunn felt his jaw tighten. Oh, yes, his mother had passed on a fair amount of stubbornness to him.
“You mustn’t worry,” Miranda told him firmly. “I am running for Congress, and one advantage of that is, I have wonderful security.”
“Carl can cut through it and you know it,” Dunn countered, trying to kill her argument.
His mother surprised him by replying in a steady and sure tone.
“Yes, well, I am not nineteen anymore. Carl appears to keep forgetting that. In fact, I am running for Congress to ensure he knows he will have to contend with me. I will not allow that villain to claim victory, not while I have breath left in my body.”
“That’s what I’m worried about,” Dunn cut back. “Vitus isn’t a man who gets rattled over little things. He called me. You need to stop making a target of yourself.”
“What I did,” Miranda responded, “was to refuse to look the other way. It’s what more people should do in order to make this world a better place. Carl was so very foolish to have that conversation at an event I was hosting.”
Dunn grunted. “No argument there. I don’t see how he can be leading in the polls.”
“Well, that lead is waning now that he doesn’t have Kirkland Grog using his media empire to push Carl’s ads in the faces of the plugged-in generation. If I hadn’t turned that recording over to Kagan and his teams, Tom Hilliard wouldn’t be closing in on Carl. This election isn’t over yet.”
And she wasn’t going to back down. Dunn admitted to admiring her grit. “Promise me you will stay with your security escort.”
“I shall,” Miranda assured him.
Dunn ended the call and stood for a long moment with the phone in his hand. He wasn’t a man who lingered on calls, but there was an unmistakable twinge of reluctance in him to sever the connection. Beyond the windows of his office, he could see the restaurants and lounges lit up. It was late in the evening, the nightlife flourishing as the nip of fall was in the air.
It wasn’t the first time he’d stayed and worked while the rest of the world loosened their ties and unwound. He had the success to prove it, too. But money wasn’t everything.
No, he’d never called his mother “Mom.”
He hid inside his empire, where the control rested firmly in his hands. He ended up letting out a little scoff as he turned and pulled his jacket off the coatrack.
He hadn’t been in control of the conversation with Miranda.
No, she’d gently deflected his warnings and left him admiring her for her integrity.
Carl Davis had better leave her alone, because Dunn wasn’t planning on letting anyone touch his family.
Secret family or not.
* * *
Her son had called her.
Miranda wanted to twirl around in pure joy.
She settled for laughing until tears eased from the corners of her eyes and her security men cast her questioning looks.
Well, Dunn would enjoy knowing she was surrounded, even if she found it a bit oppressive from time to time.
Of course, she knew he was speaking the truth. Carl Davis had sold his soul in his bid for power. It wasn’t her first encounter with his sort though. Her grandfather could have given Carl lessons on dirty dealing and getting ahead by underhanded tactics.
She was going to show her family there were other ways to get votes. In the era of connectivity, it was her firm belief there was a market for someone who spoke the truth and refused to make deals behind closed doors.
Her father would have laughed.
Her late husband, too.
But she was more concerned with how her granddaughter would look at her. Carl Davis had played the Washington game, played it hard and without a shred of remorse for those he trampled on his way to the top.
Was it dangerous to give evidence against him? She wasn’t a fool; Miranda knew the stakes. She’d lived too long beneath the thumb of her husband, Jeb Ryland. Kept her mouth shut for the sake of her daughter. Jeb hadn’t shown his true colors until after she’d conceived. It had been a different time, when a powerful man like Jeb could make it impossible for Miranda to see her daughter. So she’d played the loving wife, learned her role, performed as expertly as any Oscar-winning actress.
Jeb was gone now. Miranda leaned forward to check her lipstick as her assistant signaled it was time to go out and make an appearance.
No, she wasn’t a coward, and she’d take what fate handed to her.
* * *
There was a challenge in making a clean hit.
One Pullman enjoyed the rush of.
He spent a lot of time studying his targets, learning their habits so he’d be able to hit them like a ghost reaching up from the grave. No one would see it coming until it was far too late to stop him from claiming his victim.
Political figures were hard though.
Of course, that was why it paid so well.
Miranda Ryland was actually a little easier than most. She had a soft heart and an affection for charity projects. Pullman watched her as she got out of her black-windowed town car and walked straight into the mass of people waiting for her to join them at an outdoor festival. Her security escort was doing their best, but Miranda was too naive to realize she’d set them an impossible task by stepping so far out into the open.
Pullman had a camera on his shoulder. The press pass swinging from a lanyard around his neck was stolen from a guy no one would find in the trunk of his car until it was too late. Pullman put his eye to the lens of the camera, seeing the crosshairs of a scope inside the very cleverly disguised camera. The gun didn’t have the range his rifle did, but in the crowd, he’d have plenty of opportunity to escape when the blood hit the pavement and everyone panicked.
Miranda was going full speed into the crowd, her security men turning to look both ways as they tried to maintain position. The excited crowd was pressing in, reaching for their candidate as Miranda smiled and tried to shake every hand extended.
He lined up the shot and pulled the trigger.
The noise was soft, the bullet flying toward the target. The seconds between pulling a trigger and impact were always the longest. Pullman was still exhaling when Miranda jerked, her body drawing tight and then falling out of sight.
The screaming started.
A wall of people came at the press. Pullman turned and ran because that was the only thing to do in a stampede.
Run or be trampled.
Of course, he wanted to run and didn’t stop until he was around the corner. He ducked into an alley to rip off the press pass and tuck it into a pocket. He’d dispose of it later, somewhere far away from where the investigation would be happening. Pulling a hat from another pocket, he put it on and stuffed the camera into a backpack he’d had in the other pocket.
When he emerged onto the street, the security camera wouldn’t connect him with the man who had gone into the alley. People were running past him, coming down the alley from the festival. He looked around, doing his part to appear flustered by the alarm.
In truth, he was perfectly at ease. Moving across a few city blocks before disappearing into traffic.
Power struggles were always bloody. From the Vikings to the White House. Pullman didn’t feel sorry for any of those who made a grab for control, and the reason was simple. No matter how brightly they smiled, their hands were dirty, because there was only one path to the top.
Over the bodies of your competition.
* * *
Her husband wasn’t always with her.
Damascus had known who Vitus Hale was when she married him, and he’d understood that she was attached to a classified underground lab complex where she studied infectious diseases. As a result, they were often separated by their work.
Damascus enjoyed the time she had with Vitus in her bed. He moved back and forth between their home and the nest where his brother, Saxon, was transforming a Cold War–era missile silo into a state-of-the-art communications hub. Somehow, they carved out enough time for one another, and she was grateful for the life they’d built in spite of the odds.
He shifted beside her, making her open her eyes and squint at the bedside clock. “Is Cassy fussing? It’s not time to feed her yet.”
Not that her breasts seemed to care. Just thinking about her baby was enough to start the milk moving. Damascus let out a sound of frustration because even if her baby wasn’t hungry, she was getting up.
Vitus was taking a phone call. Damascus didn’t give it too much of her attention because he worked with Shadow Ops. Which loosely translated into a cloak-and-dagger sort of life she was used to.
“Your mother is alive,” Vitus muttered in his low tone.
Damascus froze, turning around from where she was looking at their sleeping daughter while trying to decide if the baby was hungry or not.
“Told you that up front, princess, so you know the important stuff first,” he continued. “Miranda was shot a little more than an hour ago during an arts festival on the West Coast. She’s in surgery.”
Damascus felt the blood draining from her face. Vitus caught her by the bicep, taking her weight as she dragged in a ragged breath. “How … how badly was she hurt?”
Vitus didn’t want to tell her. Damascus could see the way his expression tensed up. She knew him too well, had seen him when he was working a mission and understood the way he distanced himself from the harsh realities of the world he worked in.
She drew in a hard breath and turned toward her baby. “I have to go … to California and be there…”
Vitus caught her, clamping her against his hard body. She struggled, trying to push free. “Don’t tell me I can’t, Vitus. She’s my mother!”
“The gunman is still at large,” he said, his tone hard.
“But—” Damascus argued.
“She’d never forgive me if I allowed you to go near her with Cassy while whoever shot her is still out there. Miranda would want you and Cassy safe more than she’d want you with her.”
Tears were escaping from her eyes, wetting the thin T-shirt her husband wore. He was right, and she hated it so very much at that moment.
But she didn’t hate him. Vitus held her tightly as she broke down.

Copyright © 2018 by Dawn Ryder

My Interview with Dawn: 

Dawn hi! Welcome back to The Reading Frenzy.
Tell us a bit about you latest release, Don’t Look Back.

Well, it’s here. The final book in the Unbroken Saga. When I started these, I had a clear plan on where it was all going to end. However, my characters had a different idea! LOL. It’s all part of the adventure though, one I really enjoyed writing. I hope my readers enjoy it as well.
This is the last of your Unbroken Hero series.
As a reader I’m sometimes sad to see a series end.
As a writer of said series, are you sad to see it go or are you ready to move on?

It’s a little sad, true. But part of life is knowing the best moments, are the ones which take your breath away. If there were too many of those, they wouldn’t be amazing. Besides, if it didn’t end, there wouldn’t be a wonderful happy ever after for all my characters to settle down into.
What decided this series end for you?
My main villain was always going to drive the action of the Unbroken Heroes. In this book, you’ll see who ends up on top…no spoilers!
When I google your name it says erotic romance writer next to your name.
Would you consider this series erotic?

It’s interesting how the term erotic has changed over the years I’ve been writing. I think now it might be considered a bit of a light weight in the erotic category but it is steamy and hot.
Do you think erotic means the same thing it did a decade ago?
No.  I began Dawn Ryder in the erotic category because I wanted to stretch my wings beyond what I was writing under my other name.
What’s next for you, will it be another series or a stand-alone?
Publishing is going through an interesting time, scary too. For the moment, I have been writing a fantasy novel.
Between Dawn and your alter ego Mary Wine how many books a year do you publish?
Between three and five. I’ve had the most amazing opportunity in publishing to share my stories with Readers. I’m truly grateful.
Tell us about Dawn the reader.
What do you like to read?

Just about everything. I’ve been reading a lot of Fantasy this year.
What’s the last book you read that was better than the hype?
Okay…To Kill a Mockingbird. I’d never read this classic, so I decided I should.
Dawn thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. Good Luck with this book and all your future endeavors and I hope to have you back again visiting soon!

The Series

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Meet Dawn:
Dawn Ryder is the contemporary romance pen name of a bestselling author of historical romances—her official naughty inner child. The author of Dangerous to Know, she is commercially published in mass market and trade paper, and digi-first published with trade paper releases. She is hugely committed to her career as an author, as well as to other authors and to her readership. She lives in Southern California.