April 10th, 2021
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Exclusive Excerpt – HELL & BACK by Julie Rowe


Hell & Back
Julie Rowe

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Outbreak Task Force #5

October 2020
On Sale: September 21, 2020
Featuring: Henry Lee; Ruby Toth
252 pages
ISBN: 1649370539
EAN: 9781649370532
Kindle: B08GJR6LWD
e-Book
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Also by Julie Rowe:
Hell & Back, October 2020
Trapped with the Secret Agent, June 2020
Search & Destroy, September 2019
Sleight of Hand, February 2019

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“Stop sniveling and do it,” she said to herself. “If you don’t, they’ll kill Nate.”

After taking in a couple of deep breaths, she walked to the four liquid nitrogen–only freezers.

She opened the one containing the smallpox and searched for the correct storage slot. It was there, just like it was supposed to be, along with 138 other biological samples.

The vial was so small. About the size of her pinkie finger. Huh. She really could put it in her bra.

No. No, she couldn’t do it. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people would die.

She very carefully put it back. Her brother would die if she didn’t do this. She reached out, then hesitated. Did she truly have no choice?

Her mind conjured up the images of millions of people infected with smallpox. All the bodies in body bags piled in heaps and being buried in massive mass graves.

The image of her brother, his body riddled with bullet holes and blood, fought for air time in her head.

There was really only one choice she could make.

She plucked out the vial, double-checked the label, then closed the freezer. She turned, half expecting to see Henry standing behind her, but the room was empty. Relief stole some of the energy out of her muscles, and she had to force herself to keep moving.

She stood under the disinfectant spray, the vial clutched in her fist until her suit was thoroughly washed clean. The sample went inside a clean rubber glove as she went through the disinfectant process, then she opened the door leading to the hallway and elevator.

Arms crossed over his chest, Henry stood in the doorway, his face a mask of rage and disgust.

Rage and disgust aimed at her.

Ice froze her in place. She couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t breathe.

Nausea rose in a hot, bitter wave and threatened to hijack her entire body. She fought it down with several convulsive swallows, her muscles so tense her bones threatened to break.

She was dead.

Her brother was dead.

Henry advanced—one step, two.

She backed up. Going around him was impossible—he took up too much space in the doorway. She had no doubt he’d squish her flat as a tank rolling over an ant hill.

Only after the door swung shut did he speak.

“What. The. Fuck.” The words came out of his mouth like bullets out of a gun. Each one physically rocked her back as pain blossomed across her chest.

What was there to say? She’d betrayed everything she believed in when she’d grabbed that vial. Her actions weren’t defensible. Not really. Anyone else would insist there was no negotiating with terrorists. They played with no rules of engagement.

“Why?” he barked out.

“D-do-does it matter?” Her whole body was shortcircuiting, including her mouth. “I d-did it.”

 

 

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