It is time to check in with the Hell Squad gang again! Today I have the cover of Hell Squad: Manu to show you.
This time, the oldest Rahia brother, Manu, is going head to head with the Enclave’s head of security, Captain Kate Scott. Manu is big, muscled, and knows what he wants…and what he wants is Kate!
Of course I have a giveaway to celebrate the cover reveal. I have some super cute plush rexes to give away along with some signed Hell Squad paperbacks and trading cards. Scroll down to the bottom to enter the giveaway.
Hell Squad #16
Release Date: Tuesday May 8th
Cover art by the awesome Melody Simmons
Excerpt from Levi featuring Manu and Kate
Manu finished setting the last batch of charges under some stacked crates. Swiveling, he jogged back toward the pickup point, trusting his armor’s illusion system and the darkness to keep him hidden from the nearby raptors.
He pushed for more speed. He was almost as fast as he’d been before his prosthetic leg. It was state-of-the-art, stolen by Hemi and Tane when they’d snuck into the city to find it for him. They’d been more upset when he’d lost his leg than he had.
Manu had trained hard on the treadmill to adjust to his different balance, and it had paid off. He lengthened his stride, enjoying being outside.
He lifted his head and saw the Gizzida mothership looming above.
Okay, maybe he wasn’t enjoying being outside as much as he could. Anger—sharp and visceral—cut through his gut.
These motherfuckers had come here to take and destroy. Manu had no idea if his family—his beloved mother—in New Zealand had made it. The Rahia clan had been sprawling and close, and he knew in his heart that not all of them would have made it.
And the bastards had taken his leg. He might have adjusted to life without it, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t lay the blame where it was deserved.
The Gizzida had thought Earth was going to be an easy target. Manu smiled grimly. They’d been wrong.
Ahead, he saw a sagging wire fence and a row of warehouses beyond it.
“Incoming,” he murmured.
“We see you,” the cool female voice in his earpiece replied.
He wondered if that voice ever heated. Did she get angry? Did that voice turn husky when she was turned on?
Not now, Manu.
He quickly scaled the fence, cursing when his prosthetic foot slipped. He paused, adjusted, and kept moving. He dropped down on the other side and ran.
His practiced eye spotted the shimmer that he knew was the camouflaged Hawk. They’d taken a huge fucking risk parking themselves practically on top of the alien mothership, but they’d had no choice.
As he approached, the side door slid open. He saw Captain Kate Scott waving him aboard.
Manu took two steps and jumped. He landed inside the Hawk, wincing when he felt a pain flare up his thigh, where his prosthetic was attached.
Kate slammed the door closed. “Let’s go.”
Manu nodded his thanks, and then turned to the rest of his makeshift team. “Jacob, you ready to set those charges off?”
The young man nodded. “Yes, sir.”
Damn, the boy made Manu feel old. With a small lurch, the Hawk lifted off.
“Then do it,” Manu ordered.
The man lifted his small detonator and thumbed the control. The first explosion made the Hawk rock as they rose higher in the air. Manu leaned against the side door, looking out the small window. Below, he saw the explosion had the raptors scrambling.
A second explosion followed, moments later.
“Bring us around,” Manu called out to the pilot.
The Hawk wheeled around to the left.
Below, the ground rumbled and flared with more explosions, but Manu knew there weren’t many left. It wasn’t enough.
He palmed the specially modified grenades clipped to his belt. They were his own creations. Running the firing range at the Enclave kept him busy, but he always had time on his hands to play. Especially with things that made aliens go boom.
He pulled the door open, the wind rushing into his face.
“What are you doing?” Kate called out.
He lifted a grenade. “Making more of a mess.” He activated the explosive and tossed it over the side.
Manu watched it fall until it was out of sight. One. Two. Three. Four.
“Wow.” A young female soldier leaned in from behind Manu. “Those things pack a punch.”
“Sure do. Maddy, fly closer to the mothership.”
The female pilot yelled back, “On it, Manu.”
God, he’d missed this. He thought about his brothers, out there risking their lives. He hoped to hell they were okay, and that he could buy them enough time.
“Berserkers are tough.”
Kate’s voice made him glance up. She wasn’t even looking at him, but she’d clearly read his mood. She was sitting on the cannon beside him, her hands light on the controls.
“They’ll make it,” she said, matter-of-factly. “So, let’s keep these aliens busy so your brothers can get away.”
Hell, yeah. Manu yanked more grenades off his belt, handing one to the soldier hovering behind him. The woman’s eyes lit up as she took it.
They dropped several more and were doing another pass, when projectiles peppered the side of the Hawk.
Fuck. Manu ducked back, cursing under his breath. “Shit, can they see us?”
Kate shook her head. “They’re guessing from the trajectory of the bombs. Sniper.”
Manu had one more grenade in his hand. He leaned out again and tossed it.
More bone-like projectiles slammed into the Hawk. Kate swiveled her cannon, her face intent. “I see him.”
She opened fire. Manu watched the laser arc through the sky seconds before a small building below went up in rubble and flames. He saw the body of a raptor get tossed into the air. Smoke billowed upward. Hell, she was good.
“You got him!” Manu turned his head, looking into cool, blue eyes. “Nice shooting.”
She gave one short nod.
“Oh, God, surface-to-air missiles incoming!” Maddy’s panicked shout from the cockpit. “Everyone hold on!”
The young pilot threw the Hawk into evasive maneuvers. Manu grabbed the side of the door, holding tight. He needed to get the door closed. He reached for the latch, but a second later, the Hawk jerked wildly.
“One rotor’s hit!” Kate yelled.
The Hawk shuddered, tilting to the side.
Manu lost his grip, sliding toward the open door.
Shit. He reached out, trying to grab onto something to stop his slide.
Suddenly, a body slammed into him, knocking him in the opposite direction and back into the Hawk. They hit the floor, Manu on the bottom and Kate on top.
The Hawk leveled out.
“Jacob, get that door closed,” Kate ordered.
Kate looked down at Manu. “Are you all right?”
“I am. Thanks to you.”
“Don’t mention it.” Her hands flexed on his chest, like she was about to push off him. Her gaze dropped down, skating down his body.
Manu was suddenly aware of the compact, curvy body under her fatigues. Strong legs were straddling his hips. Manu was a big man, and he’d always liked strength in a woman.
Her gaze lifted and met his. For the briefest second, he saw a flash of heat in the blue before she hid it.
She quickly climbed off him. “Maddy, report?”
“We’re okay,” the pilot called back. “We can make it back to base. And I just got an update from the Enclave. Squad Three made it! They’re on their way back.”
Manu sat up, releasing a breath. Thank God.
His gaze drifted back to the oh-so-capable Captain Scott. That small glimpse of heat had intrigued him.
He’d noticed her before. She was about his age, fit and athletic, and spent a lot of time in the firing range. But she was serious, worked a lot, and kept to herself. She was contained. Usually, Manu had always been attracted to outgoing women with a healthy sense of humor.
But something about the composed captain got to him. And he’d always been a man who liked getting to the bottom of things.
“Let’s go home,” he called out. “We’ve all earned the right to get back and celebrate.”
The volunteers cheered, and the captain studiously avoided looking at him.
Hell Squad Giveaway
Congratulations to the winners (who have all been emailed): Maria M, Shannon, and Tracy H.
To celebrate the Manu cover reveal, I am giving away THREE plush rex toys plus either a signed Hell Squad paperback or a set of Hell Squad trading cards to three lucky winners. Open internationally!
You DON’T need to do all the options below to enter. Just do the ones you’d like.
Hell Squad in Audio
Hell Squad: Devlin has just gone live! Narrators Jeffrey and Samantha do an amazing job bringing the Hell Squad gang to life. To listen to a sample, just visit my audio page.