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Hush [Mass Market Paperback]

Cherry Adair
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 26 2011
National bestselling author Cherry Adair introduces an edgy, sexy new suspense series with this exhilarating international tale of hide and seek.

A reckless adventure in a deadly paradise.

Thrill seekers Zakary and Gideon Stark travel the globe in search of extreme adventure, but a trip to Venezuela to jump off the world’s highest falls catapults them into a perilous game of life or death—where they don’t know the rules.

A one-night stand that will change his life forever.

Kidnapped with a woman Zak knows nothing about, the brothers are held prisoner deep in the jungle. A risky, deathdefying escape separates them and nearly claims Zak’s life . . . until his recovery reveals a baffling new sixth sense.

An unexpected diversion with lethal consequences.

Now, to find his missing brother, Zak and the mysterious Acadia Gray will have to out-smart, out-gun, and out-maneuver not just the brutal kidnappers but also a new player who joins the adrenaline game: a ruthless opponent who wants the Stark brothers dead—at any cost.

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About the Author

Cherry Adair has garnered numerous awards for her innovative action-adventure novels, which include White Heat, Hot Ice, On Thin Ice, Out of Sight, In Too Deep, Hide and Seek, and Kiss and Tell, as well as her thrilling Edge trilogy: Edge of Danger, Edge of Fear, and Edge of Darkness, and her bestselling Lodestone series. A favorite of reviewers and fans alike, she lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

ONE

Venezuela
Tuesday
5:33 A.M.


Three things happened simultaneously: the soft, warm curve of a woman’s bare ass tucked enticingly against Zakary Stark’s good-morning-happy-to-feel-you erection, the familiar gut-wrenching realization that she was the wrong woman, and the cold hard metal of a gun barrel pressed to his temple.

The tantalizing fragrance of fresh, jasmine-scented female, coupled with the erotic base note of last night’s sex, was obliterated by the sour stench of stale male sweat.

Fuckit. Hell of a way to start the day.

Zak’s heartbeat ratcheted up a notch, and his entire body stiffened in reaction to the threat.

“¡No te muevas!” Pure menace infused the instruction to remain still; the words, spoken in the local dialect and punctuated by another motivational jab a millimeter from his eye, got Zak’s head back in the game.

Zak spoke fluent Spanish, but he wasn’t going to show his hand until he knew what the guy wanted. His gut urged him to get the hell off the swaybacked mattress. Fast. But he wasn’t going to be speedy enough to beat the man’s finger on that trigger.

He processed the situation. While he was all for taking crazy risks in an attempt at kick-starting a spark of giving a shit about life in general, he wasn’t alone. He might not give a flying fuck if he died one way or the other, but Zak suspected the woman probably didn’t hold the same disregard for her life as he did for his.

He was no goddamn hero. Pissed him off to be put in a position where he had to accept that he was going to be responsible either for another woman’s death or, worse, for ensuring that she stayed alive.

Hero or coward. It was a toss-up which would kill him quicker.

The bed was shoved against the wall, and she lay between him and the man with the gun. God damn it. He hated guns. Kathy? Christy? … the American he’d met in the bar the night before went from limp to tense between one heartbeat and the next as she realized they weren’t alone.

Zak cracked open the eye not pressed into the fragrant curve of her neck and looked through a mass of corn silk blond hair. Fuckit. Not just one intruder. In the murky light of dawn he made out three silhouettes, and heard the shuffle of several more pairs of boots out of his line of sight.

Fatigues. Boots. Weapons. More than an audience. A whole fucking predawn party.

Military? Locals? Guerrillas?

Three crappy choices.

Lips against the woman’s ear, Zak whispered, “Stay still,” and felt the uneven thud of her accelerated heartbeat beneath the hand cupped around her breast. She let out a small shuddering breath and froze as he spoke more loudly to the guy with the gun. “I’m unarmed.”

She unfroze. “¡Él no tener una arma!” she translated urgently in bad Spanish.

Jesus. “He got it the first time,” Zak snarled. “Don’t move, don’t talk.” Don’t be so fucking conspicuous. Impossible. Her lush body was displayed like a delectable smorgasbord, ripe for the taking and within easy reach, on the sex-tangled sheet. Christ, there was nothing more than a sheen of sweat gluing their entwined limbs together.

Hardly bulletproof.

As if determined to be the independent woman he damned well didn’t need her to be right now, she turned her head so their lips were mere inches apart and said in a furious undertone, “I don’t want to get shot because he doesn’t unders—”

The barrel of the gun gouged a deeper dent in Zak’s temple. “Lady,” he managed between gritted teeth, “shut the fuck up.” He squeezed her breast in warning.

Her entire body bristled. “How dare y—”

“Six of them. Six weapons. Us? Naked. Worth it to you to make a point?”

Zak could practically hear her brain turning over in the brief pause before she whispered tightly, “Fine,” and faced forward again, body rigid.

Callate.” The guy standing beside the bed was wearing some sort of pseudomilitary uniform, camo pants tucked into heavy boots. A man of few words, clearly, willing to let his gun do the talking. Zak recognized a Russian-made Uzi when he saw one. In full-auto mode, the weapon was designed to put a lot of lead into a small area very quickly. It also had a strip of electrical tape over the grip safety to prevent a sweaty hand from sliding off the rear of the grip assembly and leaving the shooter with a locked piece. The language the weapon spoke was universal: Obey or die.

Despite the erratic thwap-thwap … thwap of the ancient ceiling fan, the room was hothouse stuffy from the jungle heat of the previous day, and ominously quiet. Everyone staying at the small, seedy hostel-type hotel was probably asleep at this hour. Frankly, he doubted anyone other than his brother would respond to gunfire or yelling. Small-town people in this neck of Venezuela’s woods tended to mind their own business for good reason. No one would come running to aid a couple of gringos and risk getting killed. Chances were they were waiting for their own payout from the takedown.

He carefully uncurled his fingers from the smooth, warm globe cupped in his palm, then slowly raised his hand to show that he was unarmed and compliant. He whispered close to her ear, “Stay quiet, and wait for me to tell you what to do. Then fucking do it. Got it?”

Fine tremors shook her body, but she gave a small nod, which dragged a filament of jasmine-scented silk across his cheek.

Zak suspected he was the one who’d endangered them both, but his task would be a hell of a lot easier and less complicated if she weren’t sex appeal personified—weren’t there in the goddamned hotel room with him.

As far as he knew, there were only three Americans staying in this fleabag hotel just inside Canaima National Park. Himself; his brother, Gideon; and the blonde.

Her bad luck.

Wrong place. Wrong time. Wrong man.

The men had been in the room for approximately two minutes. Long enough to kill them, take them, or rob them. None of which had happened. Yet.

This was too organized to be random. There were more extremely-well-armed men than they’d need if their objective were merely to rob him. No, not a robbery. And he and the woman weren’t dead yet, so, not a homicide either. They weren’t here for the blonde, no matter how good she was at stripping or whatever her dance of choice was. They were here for the Stark brothers. He wondered if Gideon was in the same predicament right now. Zak considered another option.

Kidnapping.

Big business in Venezuela.

The fact that they wanted him lying down indicated they felt safer with him flat on his back. Naked was a bonus, meant he was even more vulnerable.

The fact that he was still alive told him that they didn’t want to kill him, at least not now; always reassuring.

The fact that they weren’t doing much of anything meant they were waiting for someone else to arrive. He had to act fast. He knew the odds now. Any second those odds would change. And he’d bet his Rolex they wouldn’t improve any.

Hell, might as well kiss his Rolex good-bye.

He heard the shuffle of booted feet changing position out of his line of sight. The ultimate goal was to get himself and the woman away from those weapons alive. He was at a distinct disadvantage, though, lying there with an armful of fragrant, interfering, naked female blocking his exit from the bed. First things first.

The plan of action was to be on his feet for whatever was coming down the pike. “Look,” he said in a reasonable tone, addressing the man’s groin, since it filled his field of vision. “Whatever you want, we can work it out. Let the woman go. She’s got nothing to do with this.” The gun barrel drilled harder into his temple.

Que te calles, coño,” the man growled. Loosely translated, “Shut the fuck up.”

Think faster.

What the hell could he do with her that wouldn’t get them both killed in the next minute? Zak was used to thinking on his feet. He was a risk taker, a daredevil, a master thrill-seeker. But that was him. Now he had another life to consider. Been there, failed at that.

What else you got, Stark?

“You want money?” He eased his leg from between hers very slowly, and inexplicably felt his dick respond to the silky glide of her firm, smooth thighs clasped around his. Jesus fucking hell, not now. “I’ll give it to you. Just back off. Let me grab my clothe-”

“¡Date prisa, cabrón!” the guerrilla shouted, no longer bothering to keep his voice down. Not a good sign in the quiet of the small hotel. The Uzi never wavered in his grip as he stepped far enough away from the bed for Zak to see greasy perspiration glistening on his upper lip and in the creases of his thick neck. Big barrel of a guy. Buzzed black hair. Camo gear. Handgun in holster on utility belt. KA-BAR knife strapped to his thigh. Not military.

Not officially, anyway.

Guerrillas. Well-funded.

Christ, what a clusterfuck. The Uzi was pointed at Zak, but it was the woman who had the man’s avid attention. “Hey, buddy”—he got the guy’s eyes back on him—“plenty of dollars and bolos in my wallet. Over there, in my pants.” Which he’d practically ripped off before tumbling the blonde onto the...

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! May 5 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Hush is book one in Cherry Adair's thrilling new Lodestone series. A one night stand leads to being kidnapped by guerillas. It was definitely not what Acadia Gray had planned when she decided to hook up with Zakary Stark after meeting him in a Venezuelan bar. Along with his brother Gideon, Zak and Acadia fight to escape the people who are determined to see them dead. Hush takes you on a journey of danger, passion, heartbreak and a new sense of perception that will leave you wondering what's next.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  64 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hush April 23 2011
By A. Schreiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've read a few of Cherry Adair's T-Flac series and most recently really enjoyed Undertow. When Hush came in my mailbox I became intrigued. Romantic suspense in the jungles of South America? I like the sound of it.

Zakary and his brother Gideon are rich beyond their wildest dreams after creating the biggest search engine in the world, ZAG. This leaves them lots of time to seek extreme thrills, which is why they find themselves in the jungles of Venezuela preparing to jump the falls. But before they do that, Zak finds a pretty American and has a one night stand with her.

Acadia has won the $500,000 lottery in Kansas where she works for a sporting goods store. Her friends convinced the very "boring" Acadia to take her money and go on the adventure of her life. So when she wakes up after her steamy night of sex with Zak with an Uzi in her face and numerous guerillas surrounding them, her adventure isn't quite what she expected.

The guerillas kidnap Zak, Acadia and Gideon (who was sleeping in the other room) and drive them deep into the jungle. Zak suspects they are after his and his brother's vast fortune. And now he must get his injured brother and this girl he just met to safety.

Hush is book one in the Lodestone trilogy. In true Cherry Adair fashion, there is a lot of action in this book. From page one these three are dragged, beaten, and must outwit the bad guys until the very last page. This is one of the reasons I enjoyed the book - the action literally never stops. Zak is a super sexy hero who fights his attraction to Acadia as hard as he can. He lost his wife in a car bombing a few years past, and feels like he is lacking when it comes to protecting women. Acadia is way out of her comfort zone on this trip even before she gets kidnapped. She has lived a pretty quiet life. She has cute moments when she first meets Zak - she can't help but lie or embellish the truth about her life to make her come across more of a tough girl.

There are a few moments in this book that made me roll my eyes a little. First, all the bad guys smelled absolutely rank, while Zak and Acadia, who have been running around the jungle for days smell earthy, and like sunshine. But okay, it's a romance book. We can't have hot sex when we smell bad. Because Acadia works in a sporting goods store, she brings with her a vest that has 28 secret pockets in it. Of course she stuffs this with everything you can imagine (18 pounds worth) so this definitely helps them when they are kidnapped. She even has a tent shoved down her pant leg. This seems a little too convenient for a girl who has never traveled like this before. I also thought Zak (and even Acadia at times) are very familiar with weapons and physically and mentally outsmarting their kidnappers.

My big beef with this book is this "sixth sense" Zak discovers after a near death experience. Now, this sixth sense is mentioned in the blurb, so I don't consider it a spoiler to talk about, but for me - it just didn't fit in the story. It doesn't necessarily play a huge role, I just wasn't expecting it and it felt out of place. I would have much preferred this book to stay a romantic-suspense and leave out the paranormal aspect. Or make the paranormal aspect more of a big deal.

Otherwise, Hush is a very action-packed, sexy book. It kept my interest from page one and I kind of fell in love with Zak and his surly attitude. Looking forward to book two!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderul romantic suspense! April 23 2011
By Nikki B - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Let me start by saying I loved this book! It had gorgeous scenery, a thrill ride adventure, a smart and useful woman and a drop dead sexy man.

I enjoyed Acadia's character simply because she was witty, tougher then she looked and she had this amazing outfit full of hidden pockets that seemed to carry everything. Seriously...everything. At one point a tent comes out of her pants. Acadia wasn't planning on being stuck in the jungle by any means, but she's nothing if not prepared..."just in case". When her one night stand turns into much more when they are kidnapped, things spiral out of her tightly gripped control very quickly.

Zachary Stark is a playboy. He has made his money with his brother and business partner setting up a mega popular online search engine, and now he just wants to play. Take death defying risks in the name of adventure and seduce willing women. Getting the sexy woman he met in a bar back to her hotel room in the Venezuelan countyside isn't hard. Their night of passion quickly becomes a nightmare when they are kidnapped along with Zak's brother Gideon.

Cherry's writing in very descriptive without feeling overly so. I tend to shy away from page upon page of description but Cherry finds a comfortable medium that shares the lushness of the jungle without making me feel like she's trying too hard to get me to envision the surroundings. And what awesome surroundings it is. The jungle leaps off the page! She has a knack for involving characters from her T-Flac series flawlessly as well. They fit right into the story as if they belong there. I love books with crossover characters so her ability to do that in her new series is great for me. It's nice to get bits and pieces of past hero's in her new works.

Acadia and Zak's relationship takes time to evolve and I enjoyed that as well. Zak is carrying a lot of guilt over a past relationship and it takes Acadia quite a while to break through his concrete walls. The sex scenes are spicy hot and just the right *cough* length to keep me drooling over Zak. Even though there are many times in the book I wanted to smack the attitude right out of him. And he definitely had attitude in spades.

The twists and turns the story took kept me on edge until the last page. I really never saw the ending coming and it definitely left me wanting more. I also quite enjoyed a character with my name. She was in the book but never actually there, more like she was talked about...so that leaves hope that she might turn up again later...hehehe.

There is a slight "6th sense" for one of the characters in Hush. Those that aren't used to paranormal-ish aspects might have a hard time with this, but I enjoyed it. Though I can understand if some don't quite know what to make of it. I think because I read so much paranormal romance it really didn't faze me. No one has horns or a tale or wings. No one drinks blood or turns into an animal. The aspect in Hush is more subtle. So while it may bother some readers, this reader was fine with it.

Cherry Adair starts her Lodestone series with a jungle adventure you won't soon forget. Her fast paced, skillful storytelling will leave you guessing and wishing the thrill ride never had to end!

Nikki- Ramblings From A Chaotic Mind
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOWZA.....Twist ending! May 1 2011
By Kolacka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am a long time fan of Cherry Adair so expectations were high. Of course she delivered with delicious Zac and adorable Cady. I really fell in love with the main characters (as always....she truly has a skill for making the heroine characters likeable). Especially the way that Cady came to realize her independence and confidence.

Its humorous that a few reviewers suggested the story was far fetched....hello romance novels? But I like the element of suspense and mystery woven in.
I think some readers will appreciate that the story has a somewhat unpredictable ending....at least for me, I didn't see the scene with Gideon coming at all.

Without spoiling the story I was a little disappointed with some plot twists but I wouldn't put it past Adair to shock me in an upcoming read. Part of my love/hate relationship with this story is that it pulled so much empathy for me I was really caring what happened in the end.

Finally...this story was J U I C Y HOT~ ! I HIGHLY recommend Cherry Adair and to be honest I cant believe she hasn't reached mega star author status yet!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Characters, Disappointing Plot/Ending May 25 2011
By Sarah - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I loved the characters and the dialogue between the two, but the ending was so disappointing. Cherry Adair seemed to take her "betrayal" theme a bit too far, it reminded me of other books and it ruined the book for me. I understand the whole "tortured hero" thing, but I don't understand how he can recover from what happened!

Read with caution :)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shout out loud--Adair has created a great adventure/romance story. May 14 2011
By Deborah Verlen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hush is the writing of the Cherry Adair I love. I've been disappointed in the last few books due to, in my opinion, poorly executed plots (Black Magic), over-the-top coincidences (Undertow)and characters who have little chemistry or likeability (TFLAC/psi).

In Hush, Zakary Stark and his brother Gideon are in Venezuela to jump the falls and Acadia Gray from Kansas is there for an adventure after winning a small lottery that will enable her to start a new life as an architect. The night before Zak and Gideon are due to jump the falls, Zak picks Arcadia up at bar where she pretends to be an experienced pole dancer. When Acadia decides to leave her dull life behind, she had no idea what her hook up with Zak is going to bring. The book opens the morning after their interlude when all three are kidnapped and brought deep into the jungles of Canaima National Park.

What follows is a rip roaring adventure coupled with Zak and Acadia's romance. Zak, who's wife died and he harbors guilt for not being able to save her, is a dare devil who tries every adventure that comes along--with Gideon worrying he has a death wish. Acadia has always taken the safe route, she is organized, methodical, and well, safe--until she makes the fateful decision to have one hot encounter with Zak before going back to her dull life!

Adair has managed to take the implausible premise she develops and make it seem like it could be real. She has managed to take two very different characters and construct a very believable solid love affair. I just did not want this book to end. There is a twist at the end, but I have a feeling Adair has a surprise in store for us since this appears to be a series.

Everything gels in this book--the mystery, the romance and the little of bit of the paranormal that Adair loves to incorporate in her later books. This is going to be a "keeper" for me, one that I'll want to reread! It will go on the shelf with the series about the Wright Brothers!
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