Into the Fire (Troubleshooters Series #13)

Into the Fire (Troubleshooters Series #13)

by Suzanne Brockmann

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Overview

Suspense doesn’t burn any brighter and desire doesn’t run any deeper than when Suzanne Brockmann takes the helm, opens the throttle, and takes readers along for a breathless ride as she breaks the thrill barrier–again and again. With Into the Fire, Brockmann lights the fuse on her most explosive story yet.

Vinh Murphy–ex-Marine and onetime operative for the elite security firm Troubleshooters Incorporated–has been MIA ever since his wife, Angelina, was caught in a crossfire and killed during what should have been a routine bodyguard assignment. Overcome with grief, Murphy blames the neo-Nazi group known as the Freedom Network for her death. Now, years later, Freedom Network leader Tim Ebersole has been murdered–and the FBI suspects Murphy may have pulled the trigger. To prevent further bloodshed, Murphy’s friends at Troubleshooters scramble to find him and convince him to surrender peacefully.

Murphy himself can’t be sure what he did or didn’t do during the years he spent mourning and lost in an alcohol-induced fog. He does know he occasionally sought solace from Hannah Whitfield, a former police officer and the very friend who’d introduced him to his beloved late wife.

But Hannah, still grappling with the deafness that resulted from an injury sustained while on duty, was fighting her own battles. For years Hannah had feelings for Murphy, and one painful night their suffering brought them together in a way neither expected–and both regretted.

Murphy is ready to rejoin the living. As always, he finds himself knocking on Hannah’s door, and as always, his longtime friend welcomes him back into her home. Yet even as Murphy slowly rebuilds his splintered life, he continues to fight his growing feelings for Hannah.

Then he learns of Ebersole’s murder and comes to believe that the Freedom Network has targeted him–and Hannah–to avenge their leader’s death to violence. Now Murphy must face the terrifying prospect of losing another woman he loves.

As the Troubleshooters desperately search for him, Murphy races toward a deadly confrontation with the Freedom Network and ultimate choice: surrender his life in hopes that Hannah will be spared, or risk everything to salvage whatever future they may have together.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345501547
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/27/2009
Series: Troubleshooters Series , #13
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 608
Sales rank: 426,140
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.00(d)

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.

Hometown:

Boston, MA

Date of Birth:

1960

Education:

Attended Boston University

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

January 2008 Dalton, California

Hannah Whitfield woke up alone in her bed. Which wasn’t that unusual. In fact, this had been her only opportunity to not wake up alone for the first time in years– due to the still somewhat unbelievable fact that she’d actually had sex last night.

Hannah swept her hair out of her eyes as she reached to turn on the lamp that sat on her bedside table, trying–not as successfully–to push away her feelings of imminent dread. Her head was pounding and her ankle was on fire so she took a pull from the nearly empty bottle of Johnny W. she’d left next to her bed. Hair of the dog, was the age-old excuse. She knew better, but right now she needed the drumming pain in both her head and her ankle to back the hell off.

Last night had been far from fairy-tale-inducing material, with no impending happily-ever-after in sight. True, she’d wanted to get with this particular man ever since their very first encounter–since he’d knocked her off that Alaskan pier, a hundred years ago.

A hundred years? No. It felt more like a solid thousand since the tall, dark and handsome man with the laughing brown eyes had held out an enormous hand and helped Hannah out of the icy water. It felt like an eternity since either of them had so much as smiled. And maybe it had been. Maybe tragedy had its own rules in the time-space continuum. The year following the death of a murdered wife and best friend passed at the speed of five hundred years in normal, happy, human time, with all of the previous years of laughter and joy instantly fading to ancient-seeming, sepia-toned distant memories.

So, yeah. Last night had been grimly moonbeam- and fairy-dust-free. Once upon a time, Hannah had let herself get laid–except, no, that wasn’t quite right. She’d been the layee. It was Vinh Murphy who’d gotten laid–for the first time since Angelina had died.

Last night, like most nights these days, Hannah had been somewhat anesthetized, but she was nowhere near as shit-faced as Murph. They’d had an argument about the same old same old–the keys to his truck. Hannah had swiftly adiosed them when he’d shown up at the cabin at 0100, already wasted. That was his MO–she wouldn’t see him for months, and then he’d appear. Usually in the dead of night, flashing his headlights in the driveway, stinking of gin, his brain damn near fried from whatever else he’d ingested in his attempt to forget that his wife–the love of his life, as he called Angelina–was forever gone.

They’d argued–no, I will not give back your keys–and Murphy had tripped over the leather ottoman and fallen. He’d hit his head on the arm of the sofa, and Hannah had thought he was down for the night, so after she’d helped him up, she’d dragged him over to her bed. Her intention had been–as always–to let him sleep it off in her room here downstairs, while she pulled herself up the ladder to the mattress in the loft.

But as she’d toppled him onto her bed, her bad ankle had bent the wrong way and the sudden surge of pain had made her lose her balance. She tried to straighten up, but Murphy’d held on to her, the expression in his dark brown eyes far different from anything she’d ever seen there before.

“Hannah,” he’d said. “I’m so fucked up.” And then he’d kissed her.

Yeah, Murphy had kissed her, and she should have scrambled away, but she hadn’t. Instead, she’d pulled up her nightshirt and opened her legs for him and he’d pushed himself inside of her, which, God, had felt so good, even though she knew it was the worst kind of mistake–not just flat-out stupid but incredibly, insanely wrong for too many reasons to count.

And no, sex with Murph hadn’t been the romantic, passionate ecstasy she’d dreamed about all those years ago when he’d laughed and pulled her back onto the pier alongside Patrick’s boat, but rather a fumbled, clumsy, silent, joyless rutting. Murphy didn’t kiss her again. He just kept his eyes shut and his head down as his body strained, as Hannah clung to him, not allowing herself to wish or hope for anything–not even her own physical relief–as he filled her, as she felt his heart pounding alongside of hers. But she came right away because it had been close to forever for her, too, and he was right behind her, shuddering his release.

And then, there they were, mere seconds after it had started. In Hannah’s bed with most of their clothes still on. Bonus moron points went to both of them for failing to use protection of any kind.

It was then that Murphy started to cry–which he’d never done in front of her, not even at his toasted worst, not even at Angelina’s horror-show of a memorial service. And so Hannah had cried, too, just holding on to him.

He’d finally fallen asleep in her arms, here in her bed, but now he was gone.

A light was on in the living room.

Hannah moved as quietly as she could out of the bedroom, considering she’d misplaced her cane and...

“What are you doing?” Her shock and volume apparently startled him and he turned, guilt on his grim face, her keys in one giant hand as he held the lock to the gun case in the other. He didn’t try to explain–he didn’t need to. He just went back to trying the next key.

It was possible Hannah was going to throw up. “What’s your plan, Murph?” she asked instead. “You gonna kill yourself–right here in my living room?”

He didn’t answer. Or maybe he did, but his back was to her as he fumbled with the key ring. He was still drunk or high or whatever he’d been when he’d first appeared at her door nearly four hours ago.

“Stop,” she said, her heart in her throat. He swayed slightly, but he didn’t even slow down. “The key’s not on there–I don’t even have a key.” It was a lie. She did have a key, even though the weapons weren’t hers. They belonged to her uncle–everything in this cabin did. A former Marine and Vietnam vet, Pat had a similar glass-fronted case at his place up in Juneau, and she had the key for that one, too. He trusted her, Pat did. Semper fi and hoo-yah and all that, even though she’d never actually been a Marine.

Murphy had, however. He knew Pat well. And he knew Hannah. Drunk or not, he didn’t need to do more than glance at her to know the truth. The key was on that ring he was holding.

“Please stop,” she said again, begging him this time.

And this time Murphy did. And he turned and looked right at her. “Why?” How am I going to live without her? He didn’t need to say the words for Hannah to know what he was thinking. God knows he’d said it enough since Angelina had died.

“Jesus, Murph.” Hannah felt her voice shake. “I lost her, too. It’s time to stop the bullshit. It’s time to start dealing–”

He turned to face her again. “Dealing? You’re gonna to talk to me about dealing, while you hide away here–”

“I’m not the one who wants to kill myself!”

“Yeah,” Murphy said, making sure she understood, speaking carefully so that his words didn’t slur together. “Because you’re already dead and buried.”

Hannah felt herself bristle and the retort was out of her mouth before she could stop it. “Fuck you!”

“Tried that,” he said, his eyes filled with such hatred. It took her aback until she realized it was self-loathing that she saw there. “Didn’t help.” He turned back to the keys, but even as he tried the next one, he sank to his knees, his shoulders shaking as he began to sob.

And all of Hannah’s hurt and anger and fear morphed into near-blinding grief. “Vinh,” she said as she crossed to him.

“I wanted her,” he told her through his tears, his words even more blurred. “Not you.”

“I know,” she said, as she held on to him, rocking him, her heart breaking for him, and herself, too. “I know that.”

“I’m so sorry, Hannah...”

“Shhh,” she said. “Murph, it’s okay. I was trying to help. I thought...” She’d thought she could at least give him what he seemed to want–a chance for relief, release. Yeah, right, like it had been all about Murphy and what he’d needed.

“God, I’m sorry, too.”

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Into the Fire (Troubleshooters Series #13) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 86 reviews.
christmas_baby More than 1 year ago
I'm usually prefer mysteries to romance novels, but I'm a fan of Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooter series. I like her style, her characters, and the way that she ties multiple subplots together. I also like that the secondary romance doesn't always have a happy ending until a later book. I was disappointed in this book, though. I had recently reread all the previous books in the series so the weaknesses were even more apparent. I didn't care about the main two characters, Vingh and Harriet. In the earlier books I felt that I got to know the characters. I didn't get that with these two. You find out the details of how Harriet, Vingh, and Angelina met and a little bit about Harriet but not to the depth that existed in previous books. SB did a great job with Annie/Ric in Force of Nature so it's not because Harriet's new and Vingh was a minor character in earlier books. The Izzy/Eden story was "icky". The Max/Gina relationship shows that SB knows how to handle a large age difference romance. That develops over a period of a few years, and Max resists the attraction because she's so much younger than him. Also, Gina's always portrayed as mature for her age. Here, in their initial encounter, Izzy ends up having extremely intimate contact with his teammate's barely 18 year old sister after she kisses him even though he know it's wrong. Does he really have such poor impulse control? Also, Eden is described several times as looking younger than her age, and she's definitely immature. All in all, it just gave me the creeps. The Decker/Sophia saga finally resolves itself. I was OK with how it turned out, but I think SB let it drag on for too long. It began 6 books ago with little development in the meantime. There were also two minor things that I didn't like. I kept getting Dave and Decker confused because their names are so similar. Decker's usually referred to as Deck in this book. Maybe it says something about my reading style, but two 4 letter names beginning with D threw me. I also didn't like how flat Jules' dialog was. I know his role is minor but he is normally such a vibrant character. The first 2/3 of the book were really slow, and I would have given this book 1 1/2-2 stars if that was all I'd read. However, it did improve in the last part. Also, I missed this book when it first came out so I was able to read Dark of Night immediately afterwards. This left me with a slightly better impression of this book since DON begins right at the end of ITF and ties up some of the loose ends. All in all, you need to read this book if you're going to continue reading the series, but it's not that great.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Vinh Murphy lived the Marine value of never leaving behind a brother or sister in arms. He took that ethic with him when he left the military and joined Troubleshooters Incorporated as a top gun operative. However, on what was an alleged simple and safe mission, his beloved wife Angelina died in a crossfire. Filled with grief and guilt over her death, he simply vanishes, but holds culpable the neo-Nazi Freedom Network especially its leader Tim Ebersole everyone who knows him knows he deeply blames Ebersole.---------- When someone cleverly kills Ebersole, the FBI and even his associates at Troubleshooters assume Murphy is the prime suspect as he has a gut wrenching motive and his skills give him means and opportunities few could achieve to murder the highly protected Ebersole. Fearing a lethal shootout his Troubleshooter friends search for Murphy to persuade him to come in peacefully. Angelina¿s best friend former police officer Hannah Whitfield has always loved Vinh, but hid her deep regard from him and from Angelina when she was alive. He seeks her help as he is unsure whether he pulled the trigger or not as he was in an alcoholic stupor they seek the truth by going INTO THE FIRE of the Freedom Network.------------ Hannah and Vinh are an interesting pairing because both grieve the loss of Angelina and the guilt of one night of solace together after the woman died. In some ways Hannah is the more complete character as she was forced to retire due to an on the job injury leading to deafness and has hid her love for Vinh whereas Murphy remains grief stricken although the murder has awakened him from his drunken stupor. With other subplots also in the fire, fans will appreciate this action-packed romantic suspense thriller starring two walking wounded and the rest of the troubleshooters willingly going INTO THE FIRE to prove the innocence of one of them for once you join this team you remain part of them even after you leave.-------------- Harriet Klausner
lrobe190 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brockmann continues her Troubleshooters series with the story of Vinh Murphy who lost his wife in a shootout in a previous book in the series. Vinh blames his wife's death on a terrorist group called the Freedom Network and now the leader of the network, Tim Ebersole is dead. The problem is, Vinh isn't sure whether or not he killed Ebersole. A secondary relationship features Izzy Zanella.This book features many characters from previous Troubleshooter novels and sometimes I got lost trying to remember which character was which. I had a hard time getting into this one, but once I got into it, I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to the next installment.
SusiB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is one of Brockmann's Troubleshooters series. As always in these books, there are several storylines which are treated more or less with the same attention by the author. This time, the first one is about Vinh Murphy, a former Navy SEAL whom the Police and FBI want to find because they think he has killed his wife's murderer. Vinh himself isn't sure if he did that, since he is an alcoholic and was drunk at the time. His best friend, Hannah, wants to help him find out what happened. Another storyline deals with Eden Gillman, the pregnant 18 year old sister of Navy SEAL Danny Gillman. His colleague Izzy Zanella marries her, even though he knows he's not the baby's father. The third storyline is about several Troubleshooters characters known from previous books - all of them are deeply traumatized in one or another way. All of these characters meet in an action-packed finale.I'll have to say that I enjoyed reading this book. It's certainly not the best in the series (these are Out of Control and Gone to Far), but it isn't the worst either. The characters are interesting and as always, it's well written. Brockmann is really good at writing action scenes. But there's something that bothers me a bit. Nearly every Navy SEAL-character from Brockmann's previous books gets a job at Troubleshooters, a California-based security firm. Their partners, too, if they happen to be unemployed. All of them are so damaged and traumatized in one way ore another that they need therapy. This makes Troubleshooters seem more like a charity than an enterprise. I am aware this is fiction, but some of these things require me - the reader - to suspend disbelief more than I can, and that's not an entirely good thing.
stephenskel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought it was great. A lot of the reviewers on Amazon were disappointed because they were led to believe in the last few books that certain couples were going to end up together, but didn't. But with this series, just give it time. You never know what's going to happen. And even when you think a couple's story is over, it's not. I now consider this series to be like a soap opera. Therefore, it would be hard to read as a stand alone novel. There are just so many characters that if you haven't read the series, you would be lost. It just makes more sense to you and means more to you when you know the back story on everybody. Supposedly, the next book in the series starts the day this one ends, so I'm really looking forward to it now. I hope she gets back into SEAL or Troubleshooter missions in the next one.
phyllis2779 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent. Have liked other Brockmann books better but this one is very good. In particular, I liked the Zanella and Eden Gillman characters. All of the characters are interesting and well-drawn -- no cardboard cut-outs. The plot has suspense although not much mystery. At a few points, things slow down a little but then they pick up again.
kayceel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I adore this series - Brockmann's characters are so clearly drawn, that even when meeting characters that were introduced ages ago (5, 6 books back), they're still so easily recognized. She also writes about gut-wrenching danger and falling in love in such away, I feel like *I'm* one of the characters. Yes, some of the "I've always loved you" stuff can get a teeny bit cheesy, but her characters don't necessarily get the cheesy romance novel happily ever after - they all work at it, and as the series moves on, it's nice to see characters from past novels working hard at their relationships...
sswisher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very good read. Brockmann introduces a couple of new characters, includes a lot of the previous characters. If you enjoyed the book about Jimmy and Tess, they have a big part in this too.
la_librarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
You've got to make sure that when you sit down to read a troubleshooters novel that you've got at least an hour to devote. As usual there are several plots, several couples, and several time periods involved; however, this is the reason I love this series. This particular novel is primarily the story of Vinh Murphy and Hannah Whitfield. Vinh is basically a man out of control with grief over the death of his wife Angelina, who was killed in Hot Target (Troubleshooters, Book 8); Hannah was Angelina's AND Vinh's best friend and the person who introduced them to each other. The characters all have some type of issue going on and I truly love how the people in this series are so flawed yet strong. I highly recommend people reading this series in order.
Archieve on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dave Malkoff and Sophia Ghaffari is the only reason why I have checked out this book. A buddy of mine knows that I am a big fan of Dave Malkoff and that I think that he and Sophia would make a cute couple. In my circle. I was the only one seeing Sophia and Dave as a couple. My buddies were seeing Sophia and Decker. I honestly can't see Sophia with Decker. He doesn't love her. Yet, everyone sees things differently. The book will get three stars. Dave and Sophia is the only reason why I am giving 5 stars. The rating doesn't have anything to do with the book per say.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't like this book as much as the other trouble shooter books, because, except for Eden and Izzy the characters were just not that likable. I had a hard time with the Murph character and Becker started to irritate me. Hannah seemed like too much of a martyr and door mat. I am still a big fan of Me. Brockmann just not this book.
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So Happy Murphy Could Find Love Again With His Longtime Friend. Hannah Found Out Good Things Come To Those Who Wait.
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