As commander of the nation’s most elite FBI counterterrorism unit, agent Max Bhagat leads by hard-driving example: pushing himself to the limit and beyond, taking no excuses, and putting absolutely nothing ahead of his work. That includes his deep feelings for Gina Vitagliano, the woman who won his admiration and his heart with her courage under fire. But when the shocking news reaches him that Gina has been killed in a terrorist bombing, nothing can keep Max from making a full investigation -- and retribution -- his top priority.
At the scene of the attack, however, Max gets an even bigger shock. Gina is still very much alive -- but facing a fate even worse than death. Along with Molly Anderson, a fellow overseas relief worker, Gina has fallen into the hands of a killer who is bent on using both women to bait a deadly trap. His quarry? Grady Morant, a.k.a "Jones," a notorious ex-Special Forces operative turned smuggler who made some very deadly enemies in the jungles of Southeast Asia . . . and has been running ever since. But with Molly’s life on the line, Jones is willing to forfeit his own to save the woman he loves.
Together with Max’s top agent Jules Cassidy as their only backup, the unlikely allies plunge into a global hot zone of violence and corruption to make a deal with the devil. Not even Jones knows which ghosts from his past want him dead. But there’s one thing he’s sure of -- there’s very little his bloodthirsty enemies aren’t willing to do.
Count on the intense action and raw honesty that Suzanne Brockmann consistently delivers, as she goes for broke in Breaking Point -- and never looks back.
About the Author
After childhood plans to become the captain of a starship didn’t pan out, Suzanne Brockmann took her fascination with military history, her respect for the men and women who serve, her reverence for diversity, and her love of storytelling and explored brave new worlds as a New York Times bestselling romance author. Over the past twenty years, she has written more than fifty novels, including her award-winning Troubleshooters series about Navy SEAL heroes and the women—and sometimes men—who win their hearts. In addition to writing books, Suzanne Brockmann has co-produced a feature-length movie, the award-winning romantic comedy The Perfect Wedding, which she co-wrote with her husband, Ed Gaffney, and their son, Jason. She has also co-written a YA novel, set in the world of her paranormal Fighting Destiny series, with her daughter, Melanie. Find Suzanne Brockmann on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and visit her website to find out more about upcoming releases and appearances.
Date of Birth:1960
Education:Attended Boston University
Read an Excerpt
By Suzanne Brockmann
Random HouseSuzanne Brockmann
All right reserved.
FBI Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
June 20, 2005
It was a fabulous day. Blue sky. Low humidity. Not a lot of traffic this time of morning. Green lights at every intersection. A parking spot within javelin-throwing distance of the office building.
The elevator opened at the touch of the button and he rode it, express, all the way up to his floor. The doors opened again, and he got a good look at himself in the foyer mirror.
Dressed to shine in his favorite black suit, with a new shirt he'd bought himself as a present, Jules Cassidy was not your average, run-of-the-mill FBI agent, that was for sure. He pocketed his sunglasses and adjusted his tie, then headed down the hallway with a spring in his step.
When you look good, you feel good. No doubt about them apples.
Laronda's reception desk sat empty, but Max Bhagat's office door was tightly closed.
As early as Jules had come in today, his boss, the legendary FBI team leader known as "the Max" to his younger, more irreverent, and slightly less original junior subordinates--but never, ever called that to his face--had come in even earlier.
Although, to be honest, it was equally likely that Max had merely stayed extremely late.
Not that anyone would ever be able to tell the difference. Max didn't do rumpled, even when staying up for seventy-two hours straight. In fact, he could be sat on by a hippopotamus in a bizarre zookeeping accident and the first thing he would say after regaining consciousness would be, "Somebody get me a clean shirt."
The man kept at least two complete changes of clothing in his office, not to mention a series of electric razors in his desk drawer, his briefcase, his car's glove compartment, and probably one or two places Jules didn't know about.
Hey now, ho now! Max wasn't the only one in early today. That was definitely gourmet coffee that Jules smelled brewing. Max may have been a brilliant negotiator, but the man was severely coffee-making challenged.
French vanilla. Lordy, lordy, Jules loved the French vanilla. Even though he hadn't gotten into the office before Max or the mysterious
coffee brewer, it remained, indeed, a glorious, promise-filled day.
Jules stopped at the kitchen cubby and--thank you, baby Jesus!--found his favorite mug already squeaky clean in the drying rack. The container that held the ground coffee beans was empty, but there was enough for one more generous cup in the pot on the warmer.
The TV was set to CNN Headline News, but the volume was muted. As Jules filled his Mighty Mouse mug with the last of the coffee, the
too-handsome anchor smiled sunnily at him, as if to say, "Good morning, sweetie-cakes! Something very good is coming your way today!"
At which point the station cut to a commercial break.
An olive-drab and sepia-tinted World War II battle scene--no doubt an ad for the History Channel--filled the screen. But then the fighting dissolved into a full color close-up of a helmeted young man, his perfect cheekbones streaked with dirt.
Holy GI! Those were Robin Chadwick's perfect cheekbones. This was no History Channel ad, Batman, it was a movie trailer. Shit, it was the movie trailer.
In his haste to reach the remote control, Jules damn near scalded
his hand, and the mug slipped with a crash into the sink. The coffee splashed--no!--right up onto his new shirt.
He ran his burned fingers under the cool water as he used his other hand to turn up the volume on the TV. He knew he shouldn't. He absolutely should've turned the damn thing off but he couldn't help himself.
Thundering choral music played while the picture dissolved again, this time to a close-up of another young actor as darkly handsome as Robin was fair.
It was Adam Wyndham.
Jules's lying, cheating, son-of-a-bitch ex.
God, he looked good.
As an actor.
He looked good on film, with the flattering lights and makeup. That's what Jules had meant. That was not some kind of masochistic, longing-for-reconciliation, he-looked-good thought that had popped into his head.
No, no, no, he was securely in the been-there-done-that phase as far as Adam was concerned.
But as Jules continued to cool his fingers, the picture dissolved again, this time to both actors as they sat shoulder to shoulder, dressed in World War II battle gear, gorgeous and giddy with silent laughter as the thunderous music played on--movie trailer code signaling that this was a meaningful epic drama.
Then a cut to another scene as, still side by side, the two men ran, weapons locked and loaded, up a beach into battle.
The picture froze with them both midstride, and faded back to that same earlier sepia tone as the voiceover announced, "American Hero. The war is within . . . Starts Friday in select theaters."
Jules's expensive new shirt was stained, his favorite mug had cracked, the French vanilla coffee was gone, and the movie starring his cheating ex--significant other, the movie he'd stayed out of theaters for the past two months to avoid seeing, the movie that had made him toss his subscription copies of Entertainment Weekly to avoid reading about, didn't even open until this Friday.
Fuck a duck.
But okay. That sky outside the window was still blue. And Deb Erlanger, one of his fellow FBI teammates, appeared like an angel of mercy bringing tidings of hope and caffeine. "Hey, Jules. We're going to Starbucks. Want something?"
Her partner, Joe Hirabayashi, was right behind her. What was this? National Come-In-Early day?
Jules muted the TV's volume again. "Any chance they've started selling business attire?" Like Max, he kept an extra shirt in his office. But unlike Max, he'd used his two days ago and had forgotten to replace it.
Yashi surveyed the damage and summed it up concisely, as was his zenlike way. "Shit, man. That shirt's ruined."
"Aren't you having some kind of review today?" Deb asked. "With Peggy Ryan?"
Yes, Deb. Yes, he was. In fact, his review today wasn't merely "some kind of." Instead, it fell into the subcategory of "review, comma, extremely important."
Jules was up for a promotion. So far he'd sat down with all of the team leaders--except for Peggy Ryan, to whom he was going to talk today.
Peggy was one of those people who dealt with her homophobia by pretending Jules simply didn't exist. In the past, Jules had cooperated by staying out of Peggy's way as much as possible.
But this was one meeting neither of them could avoid. It was going to make for an interesting afternoon, that was for durn sure.
"Maybe that's a good thing," Yashi said, gesturing with his chin toward the dark blotch that Jules was now half-heartedly blotting with a paper towel. "Coffee stain on your shirt. Kinda makes you look straight." He scrunched up his face. "If, you know, you squint . . ."
"You definitely need a gingerbread latte, extra whipped cream," Deb decided for Jules. "We'll be right back."
But it was then that George Faulkner appeared, blocking their route. He was out of breath, which was somewhat novel. Jules hadn't been aware that George even knew how to run.
"Where's Laronda?" George asked, his tone broadcasting all kinds of grim.
"She's not coming in," Deb told him.
"What? Why not?" Jules hadn't known it was a Laronda-less day.
Laronda was Max's administrative assistant. A day without Laronda was about as productive and as much fun as a day spent hitting one's thumb with a hammer. Over and over and over. Ouch, ouch, ouch.
"Her son's debate club made it to the national finals," Deb explained. "Just out of the blue--total long shot. The Max told her to take a few days and go to Boston with the kid. She won't be back until Friday."
"Max needs to see this." George was ultrafocused and one-track this morning, holding up some sort of e-mail that he'd printed out.
"Temp should be here in an hour," Yashi said. "Put it on Laronda's desk, let her deal."
"No," Jules said. "Nuh-uh." Last time a temp came in to replace Laronda, it was twice as awful. "We want to get anything done today, we need to take shifts."
Deb and Yashi both started making noise, but Jules stopped them.
"An hour at a time at Laronda's desk," he said, in his take-no-arguments voice. "We can all survive being Max's AA for one hour at a time. You know we can." But, shit, shit, shit. So much for running out to get a new shirt before his meeting with Peggy Ryan. "I'll go first, then Yashi, then George, then you, Deb . . ."
"I'll get lots of extra coffee," Deb decided.
"Good. Yash, call Fran and Manny, give them a heads up," Jules ordered. "Tell them to get in, ASAP."
"George, what do you want from Starbucks?" Deb asked.
"Max really needs to see this," George persisted, talking directly to Jules now. "Right away."
Shit. Jules took the e-mail and skimmed it, while Deb leaned in and read over his shoulder. It was a list of names under the morbid heading Civilians Killed in Hamburg Cafe Blast. This latest terrorist attack had occurred in Germany just yesterday morning, and the focus of most of the media's reporting had been on the fact that the casualties had been low--that the car bombing could have been much more devastating.
Seeing these names in a list, however, brought home the fact that quite a few people had died.
"We aren't handling this," Jules reminded George. "Frisk's team is.
I know Max wants to keep in the loop, but there's no urgency to this
"Oh, yes, there is," George interrupted.
"Aw shit," Deb breathed, pointing at the very bottom of the list. Yashi leaned closer to look, too, and . . .
Jules followed her finger, and saw two words that made his heart stop.
He double-checked the heading. Civilians Killed . . .
"Oh, God, no," he said. Not Gina Vitagliano.
The only woman who had ever truly captured Max Bhagat's teflon-coated heart. A woman Max had not only let get away, but a woman he had pushed and shoved until she'd finally up and left.
Which didn't mean he hadn't loved her; that he didn't love her still.
Dear sweet Jesus . . .
"Someone's got to tell him," Deb whispered.
Jules looked up to find them all watching him. As if he were their team leader or something. No fair--he hadn't been promoted yet.
"Yeah, I'll do it," he said, in a voice that he couldn't quite make sound like his own. "Gina was my friend, too." Jesus--Gina was. He hated having to say that. God, how could this have happened?
Outside the window, the cloudless sky now seemed mockingly blue. Jules wished he could jump back in time to earlier this morning, when his clock radio had first burst into song. This time around he'd shut it off, turn over, and go back to sleep.
But really, that would've just put off the inevitable.
Somehow, someway, they were all going to make it through this awful, terrible day.
Jules cleared his aching throat. "Yashi, find out what Gina was doing in Germany. Last I knew, she was still in Kenya with . . ." Damn it, what was it? He pulled it out of his ass. "AAI--AIDS Awareness International. Get in touch with them--find out what you can. George, contact Walter Frisk. We'll want to know everything he knows about the blast, and we'll want to know it now." He turned to Deb. "Get that coffee, then assist George. Go."
When Max saw this e-mail, he was going to have a crapload of questions, none of which Jules could answer.
At least not yet.
Jules wiped his eyes, straightened his tie, and with a heavy heart beneath a ruined shirt that so didn't matter anymore, he began the long walk to Max's office.
January 12, 2004
Seventeen Months Ago
Max forced himself to relax. He kept his shoulders from tightening, his fists from clenching, and--hardest of all--the muscles in his jaw from jumping as he made certain he didn't grind his teeth.
He managed to cross his legs and slightly raise one eyebrow. He knew that this, in combination with the half-smile that he let flicker about the edges of his lips, made him look friendly and open to any and all conversation.
He'd been an FBI negotiator--no, he'd been the FBI negotiator--for more years than he could count on all his fingers and the toes of one foot. He'd worked his magic on hardened criminals and desperate terrorists--men and women who far too often were ready and willing to die.
This should be a cakewalk, this civil discussion between three rational, clear-thinking adults. Max. Gina. And Rita Hennimen, the couples counselor Gina had found in the Yellow Pages.
No doubt under the heading, "Max's Worst Nightmare."
Max had never been so terrified in his entire life.
Gina was watching him from the other side of the sofa. She'd purposely dressed like a teenager today in a snug-fitting T-shirt that didn't meet the low-cut waistband of her jeans. It was impossible to look at her and not think about sex, about her wrapping her legs around him and sending him into outer space.
Max cleared his throat, shifting in his seat--which made him lift his left arm just a little too high--zinging himself in the process.
Christ, would the pain in his shoulder ever go away? He'd been shot in the chest. There'd been a freaking hole in his lung, but it was the end result of that bullet ricocheting up and smashing his collarbone that continued to bother him the most.
As Rita finished reading through the forms they'd both filled out in the waiting room, Gina leaned closer. "You okay?" she asked Max.
"I'm fine," he lied.
She gazed at him for a moment before she spoke again. "One of the important rules of therapy is that you have to be honest.
Excerpted from Breaking Point by Suzanne Brockmann Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In 2003, FBI hostage negotiator Chief Max Bhagat saved the life of Gina Vitagliano during a terrorist incident, but he was injured. Over the next few months he went through rehab and she was there. They fell in love, but by January 2004, a desperate Gina forced her beloved to see a relationship counselor; he still hid behind his rationalizations why she needed to find someone else. Not long afterwards, she gives up at least for now and takes a medical aid assignment in Kenya. In June 2005, Jules Cassidy informs his boss Max that Gina was killed in a terrorist incident in Hamburg, Germany. --- Max informs Gina¿s family and accompanied by an unwelcome Jules flies to Hamburg to bring the corpse home. However, at the morgue, the woman identified as Gina is not her. No clue locally gives them much to go on, but for some unknown reason Gina had flown from Kenya to Germany along with fellow aid worker Molly Anderson who has ties to former operative Jones. He is the link and bait to extract Gina from the terrorists who Max feels abducted her; now to find Jones. --- The legendary Max is at THE BREAKING POINT as he feels more pain with Gina¿s abduction than he did during rehab when he thought death would be kinder. The multifaceted story line is more complex and tense than previous tales as it switches time frames back and forth between the events summarized in the first paragraph above, but is also a bit difficult to follow at times. The return of the openly gay Jules will please Suzanne Brockmann¿s fans, who wonder when he will star in a future romantic suspense.--- Harriet Klausner
Suzanne Brockmann developes her characters and and stays true to them for three-four books in a raw. That is not an easy task expecially when you're dealing with complex characters like Max or a character that was subjected to a truly traumatic experience like Gina. All the doubts, all the trebulations, as real as life. The book is excellent.
I love Suzanne Brockmann's books. They're a great escape read. A few thoughts... I find it funny that so many negative reviews center around subplots. This book only has ONE, and yet the complaints still come. Yes, this book takes place in two periods of time, present day, and seventeen months ago. Yes, I too was a bit confused at first, but I just looked at the last line of each chapter header and that told me all I needed to know. If it said 'present day' that's what it was--conversely, if it said 'seventeen months ago'... you get the point. I thought the jumping was quite an effective way to keep from having all the exciting stuff packed into the end. Honestly, if the whole first part of the book was what happened in the past, no one would have gotten through, because it would be too sad and boring. Anyway, I think this book is getting a bad rap for trying something new (for Ms. Brockmann, anyway) and if you decide to pick it up please keep an open mind about the breakup of the plot. It really does work.
When you team up Max and Jules.. now in charge.. add in Grady aka Jones you have a good start especially going to save Gina who was thought dead but not and in peril again but with Molly, Morant's love. The back and forth thing is a bit harder to get thru but you also see other sides of Max which I love and of Gina and the rest. I am glad it worked out well and of course if not for Jules, the best gay FBI agent around it would not have been quite as interesting or well thought out. Now that Max and Gina are about settled ... it is time for JULES sweetcakes to find his own once and for all. I do not want it to end there but am sure it won't. Definitely a must read though even though some readers quit partway thru I did it in 1 day haha and the hardback I gave up waiting on the paperback to come out.
Breaking Point by Suzanne Brockmann is a tension packed, moving novel. I really enjoyed all the aspects of Max and Gina¿s story. It really was worth the wait and it delivered all the elements. ______ Max Bhagat had finally pushed Gina Vitagliano out of his life. Gina had dogged him for years, professing her feelings but Max kept his heart at a distance. When news of Gina¿s death reaches Max he is devastated and vows to find her killers. Jules Cassidy, fellow FBI agent joins Max to claim Gina¿s body. Once in Europe, they realize Gina is alive and her and Molly Anderson are kidnapped. ______ Max is forced to team up with Grady Morant aka Jones to save the women they love. _____ This book is told in flashbacks and was very easy to follow the flow of the story. The time line and back-story really set the groundwork for the stunning story in the present time. Suzanne Brockmann is a gifted storyteller and each book is unique. I was glued to my seat from page one and didn¿t want to put this book down. I would certainly hope everyone would give this book a read._____
I just started reading Ms. Brockman's books and this one was my fourth. While I think she's a great writer and I love that her characters are so real, I have one criticism with her. I do not like that she adds other side characters in her books. I think that it takes away from the main characters. For example, in Out of Control, as much as I liked Karmody and Savannah who were the main characters, I enjoyed Molly and Jones's story better. Same with Gone too far, I preferred Max and Gina's story over Sam and Alyssa. Anyway I enjoyed this book, Although I didn't like all the flashbacks in the beginning. I totally enjoyed Molly and Jones. I was happy that they finally got back together and he was able to come back home to the US. Jules was great and funny. Overall pretty good.
MAX AND GINA MAKE A GREAT COUPLE. SO DO JONES AND MOLLY. GREAT TO SEE THEM AGAIN. KEPT YOUR INTEREST ALL THE WAY THROUGH.
Fantastic Characterizations make for a wonderfully imaginative super thriller novel that will keep you on your toes wanting more.
For a Suz Brockmann fan the long awaited story of Max and Gina was everything I wanted. Max Bhagat the FBI counterterrorism leader met Gina Vitagliano when her plane 4 years ago was hijacked by terrorist. They formed a bond at that time and Gina's love for Max has grown since than. Max has been fighting his feelings for Gina since, because of their age difference and the horrible beating and raping Gina experienced by the terrorist while on that plane. After years of trying to get Max to open up to her without much success, Gina finally walks out on Max and joins a group that teaches AIDs awareness in Kenya. Which brings us to the present day when Max receives news that Gina has been killed in a bombing in Germany. He races to Germany with another agent Jules Cassidy. Max and Jules gets a shock when they discover that Gina is not dead, but was instead kidnapped along with a fellow volunteer Molly Anderson. Max teams up with Jules and Grady Morant an expat who is Mollys lover to find the ladies. The book is filled with alot of heartwarming moments, laughter and adventure. Suz readers will not be disappointed. I could not put the book down. The journey that these two make and the support cast of Jules, Grady, and Molly makes a great story.
This book was good. I just started reading S. Brockmann's books and I like this one better than the other two I have read. I didn't particular like the flashbacks in the beginning - I got bored with it at times. But overall it was fun, exciting and I like the romance.
I've waited YEARS for this book (okay, since, like 2001, but that's still forever) but I am so pleased with it that I know now it was worth the wait. Max and Gina, Molly and Jones, Jules...two PERFECT HEAs...I couldn't have asked for more! Suzanne Brockmann is a genius!!!
love this series, she is great at writing conflict and romance. Read this series if you enjoy romance and intrigue mixed well.
keeps jumping chronologically interspersing some romantic not fully developed figures. gave up by pg75
I was disappointed in this book. I gave it 3 1/2 stars because I was already vested in the Max and Gina characters from the previous books in the series and I couldn't wait to read their story. It jumped around chronologically so much for the first half of the book that it really became annoying. And the passion between Max and Gina just wasn't there. You'd think after waiting all this time to be together that it would be great, but it really wasn't.
I read this because I had stumbled across an interview with the author on the web. She had dedicated one of her books to her son with these words: One night, you took a deep breath and said to me, 'Mom, I think I'm gay.' 'I know that,' I told you, giving you a hug and a kiss. 'I love you I'll always love you. Where did you put your dirty socks?' She is is apparently well known in the romantic fiction field with several awards for her tales about seriously hunky Special Operatives, Marines and Policemen latterly often with a gay subplot. Unfortunately it was not a credible story lacking all realism.
Setting: Washington D.C., Kenya, Germany, and Indonesia / Timeframe: Summer 2005 / Main Characters: Max and Gina / Secondary Romance: Molly and Jones / Secondary Relationship: Friendship between Max and JulesStory Arc Alert: Max and Gina¿s story arc concludes, as does Molly and Jones¿s. Jules Cassidy¿s story arc continues.POINT OF VIEW CHARACTERS: Max Bhagat (legendary FBI counterterrorist team leader) / Gina Vitagliano (AIDS Awareness International volunteer) Jules Cassidy (FBI Agent) Molly Anderson (Gina¿s tent-mate in Kenya) Jones, aka Grady Morant (American ex pat, former Special Forces)
Wow! Talk about emotional overload! Breaking Point is aptly titled on so many different levels. Bearing witness to the emotional breakdown of Max Bhagat delivered a knockout punch straight to my heart. Just when I think this series can't possibly get any better, it proves me wrong. As always, I love the multiple story lines, flawlessly woven into one beautiful, yet immensely tense read. What surprised me most about this one is that I loved it even though the entire Troubleshooters team did not come riding in to save the day. This rescue is left entirely up to Max, Jules, and Grady aka Jones, and the stakes have never been higher. Breaking Point is the book where we finally get Max & Gina's story - with an added bonus of also getting Grady aka Jones & Molly's story. The icing on the cake is a good, healthy dose of Jules Cassidy is included! Did I mention I love Jules? His role in this book is the "glue" that holds it all together - makes it work. His developing relationship with Max as both a FBI agent and a friend is nothing short of awesome to watch - brilliant writing as usual. Jules plays an intimate part in bringing Max around - first by being there when Max needed his support most, and then by being the kind of friend that will get in your face and tell it like it is. Jules humorous banter brings some much needed relief to this heart-stopping, agonizing story. Early on, the story plays out by alternating back & forth between the past and the present. Eighteen months ago, with a heavy, bruised heart, Gina finally admitted defeat, giving up on Max, and leaving him to go volunteer in Kenya, along side of Molly Anderson. What Gina didn't realize at the time is that Max set her up to leave him, as he continually struggled with guilt, anger, and regret over the rape & torture suffered by Gina at the hands of terrorists - the one he had to watch & listen to while powerless to stop it. Giving up control is not something Max does easily, but he couldn't control the situation then and he can't live with it now. He believes Gina deserves something more than he can give her, and so he pushes her away. Now, he's having to live in a world without her, and it's killing him every single day. Just when he thinks things can't get any worse, they do. Max is forced to swallow a huge dose of reality as the world as he knows it crumbles around him. Breaking Point is one intense, suspenseful, heartfelt read. The trio of Max, Jules, & Grady make up one bad*ss, formidable team of "don't mess with me" alpha males on a mission where failure is not an option. Gina & Molly prove they are not wilting violets as they hold their own in the age old battle between the sexes, as well as the battle for survival. With the inclusion of some great Jules Cassidy facetime, this book becomes another Must Read! A Page Burner!
Great book all the series i really love reading
She was just on...
"Sorry, I just don't like dragons very much...... or reptiles in general." Candy- "I have't seen her for two months........so yeah......her Nook doesn't work anymore." :("
*kisses him gently* u better get used to her. Riding her is the only way i travel. She wont hurt u.
Do I know u?