Copyright © 2008, Karen
Reviews For Incognito Series Book 6: RENEGADE'S ROSE by Karen Wiesner
Best Book! "Reading RENEGADE’S ROSE was an exercise in tugged heartstrings, bitten nails from intense suspense, dry mouth from tension and excited elation at the best darned happily-ever-after (HEA) Karen's written yet in this series.
“Hunter Savage is a man determined to be his namesake. He wants to be the most dangerous man in the world , yet Karen gave me a view into his heart and the dreams he dares not reveal. Despite his intentions, his intensive Network training and his duty, he has always had a bright fire burning in his heart that never died, that the Network could never douse; his love for his sister Celine. In this story, I learned about Hunter’s background and it was chilling, sad, and at times I felt a need to comfort the boy who became a man; never knowing love, the comfort of a loving mother’s touch nor ever being told he mattered—that he was loved for himself. How could you not feel for this man? How could you not connect with this character? Karen had me all but crying at the injustice that befell him at such a tender age. That background is intrinsic for understanding the driving force behind his pursuit of the bad guys. In this installment, Kovac figures heavily as the leader of R.E.D., a terrorist group that has plagued The Network all throughout the series and has done something that aims a spike in Hunter’s heart—Kovac kidnaps Celine. Can you imagine losing the one person who helped keep you from losing your soul to The Network's duty machine?
“Hunter is led to Tanya, another person who has had choices taken from her and who is forced to live a different kind of duty. Tanya is a character that I liked. When you first meet her, you have certain expectations, as does Hunter. As the story unfolds, you begin to marvel at how Karen’s mind works because Tanya’s duty is similar in nature to Hunter’s. They both have to save someone whose love keeps them human, keeps them sane when everything and everyone around them wants to break them. Karen gives us little teases and hints along the way until a major light bulb pops on and your jaw drops. I had NO idea that…. Darn, if I say anything else about Tanya, it’ll be a spoiler and I don’t want to do that. I was floored when a major portion of The Network’s chess game was revealed which affects her and Hunter’s sister. Suffice to say that, as with other people who have become, either inadvertently or purposefully, aware of The Network, they too cannot escape its tentacles. On [one of the last pages of the story] there is a line, a phrase that refers to #2, Shannon McKee, and I wanted to give Karen a High Five for writing that. I'm all excited. Finally a character that says in the book exactly how I feel about Ms. McKee. Yes!
“BTW, there is a part that might squick a reader out. It's a courageous and physically challenging moment that, had it not been done, would have altered the story’s path. Still, just the visual thought of Tanya doing what she had to do, makes me shudder. Just saying …
“Now, let’s talk romance. [Hunter and Tanya’s] relationship is touching and really awesome. It was passionate, desperate and an emotional roller-coaster. If you've read any of the previous books in the series, you know that Karen has their relationships working within the parameters of the world she set up. As much as us readers would have it different, it would lose its integrity if she messed with the rules. That being said, you, the reader, are in for a treat! If anyone can find a loophole, it's Angelo. Bless his chess master’s heart, he produces a scenario that Ms. Shannon McKee is NOT happy about but could do nothing to gainsay. I am absolutely thrilled and I bet you will be too.
“You know what else I liked? Karen has Hunter, Celine, Angelo and even McKee talking about Roan Emory [from DEAD DROP, Book 4 of the Incognito Series]. It confirms for me that the HEA of Roan’s story is intact and healthy. I appreciated that touch. Heck, even Justine’s [from UNDER THE SPELL, Book 5 of the Incognito Series] HEA is intact. What a wonderful and masterful handling of this series. I feel like these people are real and most certainly these books read better than any soap opera I ever suffered through.
“In my opinion, RENEGADE’S ROSE is the most romantic of the series and a sure fire pleaser for all those adrenaline lovers out there. Who needs coffee when you have the Incognito Series?" ~ Xeranthemum for The Long and Short Of It Reviews
“Award-winning author Karen Wiesner is a master at her craft. As the Incognito Series unfolds, I am drawn deeper and deeper into the lives of the men and women of the Network. Hunter and Tanya’s story is more than just a covert operation. It is the love story of two damaged souls that find each other. As the dynamic story ends, Hunter is shown to be a man of distinction and honor. The ending to RENEGADE’S ROSE was unexpected and a complete surprise. I am anxious to see how Ms. Wiesner weaves the new philosophy at the Network into her future novels.”~reviewed by Dawn Myers for Writers Unlimited
“The sixth Incognito Series romantic suspense thriller stars an obsessed hero struggling to prove his worth as he has misgivings about his skills and a desperate woman in peril whose qualms about his ability to save her and her children lead to increased self doubts. The action is front and center as the attraction takes a back seat to the failed mission and the aftermath to rescue Celine, bring Tanya and her children to safety, and take down the malevolent Black Pope. Fans of suspense thrillers will fully appreciate the latest Network escapades as Karen Wiesner takes a page from Maslow’s Hierarchy as safety comes before love.”~Harriet Klausner
4 Hearts! "Karen Wiesner is a talented storyteller. This tale was full of unexpected twist and turns. Her characters were multi-faceted and yet well defined. An enjoyable read I would recommend this for those who like a little intrigue mixed with their romance." ~Rita for Night Owl Romance
"Award-winning author Karen Wiesner is a master at her craft. As the Incognito Series unfolds, I am drawn deeper and deeper into the lives of the men and women of the Network. Hunter and Tanya's story is more than just a covert operation. It is the love story of two damaged souls that find each other. As the dynamic story ends, Hunter is shown to be a man of distinction and honor. The ending to RENEGADE'S ROSE was unexpected and a complete surprise. I am anxious to see how Ms. Wiesner weaves the new philosophy at the Network into her future novels." ~reviewed by Dawn Myers for Writers Unlimited
5 stars! "Karen Wiesner is a talented author. Her Incognito Series demonstrates that talent. She has formed a fictitious organization and totally persuaded me that it could be real. Her characters are strong and yet vulnerable. Wiesner weaves characters from previous books in this series into this book. Hunter and Tanya's love story is superb reading. Fans of romance and suspense will enjoy RENEGADE'S ROSE." ~Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com
“A fast-paced novel that takes a romance and fills it with mystery, suspense and intrigue. Another great read from Karen Wiesner.” - Robyn, Once Upon A Romance Reviews
"This story was full of twists and turns and was non stop excitement. I loved every minute of it and loved all the characters. Hunter meets Tanya, Kovac's wife (leader of the terrorist group), and realizes that he needs to kidnap her in order to barter with Kovac for his sister. More twists and turns take place, and Hunter realizes that Tanya is more than meets the eye. He falls head over heels in love with her; she somehow gets through all of his barriers. His newfound love for her does not make it easy for what he knows he needs to do. I don't want to give away the second half of the story because there are so many amazing surprises. Karen Wiesner does a great job keeping her readers at the edge of their seat and makes it impossible to figure out what is going to happen next. Nothing in this story is predictable. I recommend this story to everyone. It can be read on its own, or with the rest of the books in her series." ~reviewed by Ashley Merrill for Front Street Reviews
5 Hearts! "Ms. Wiesner makes this an excellent suspense with some surprising twists that seem to be the trademark of this series. All are stand alone books with a well done diagram of where Network players fit in the hierarchy. She keeps me wanting more of these heroic men and women, so I can’t wait for the next in the series." ~Dee Dailey for The Romance Studio
Sample Chapter For Incognito Series Book 6: RENEGADE'S ROSE by Karen Wiesner
No one who lived in Chechnya possessed any food. Alex knew that. But the soldiers would have some.
A pack of them suddenly filled the street, shouting, and he ducked into the building closest to him. Inside, sound seemed muted. He heard water dripping overhead somewhere. Then a voice came. The words were spoken in Spanish.
“I have searched for this for much time. My time is precious, and now I will not allow it to be wasted any more.”
Frowning, Alex moved closer, not making a sound on the hard-packed earth. He crept up to a steel barrel and dared to peek around it. But the sound of something small and heavy hitting the steel cover of the barrel he hid behind jolted him. He shrunk down into himself, praying that he wouldn’t be found. Then the voice, still in that maliciously soft tone, moved away again.
Alex waited an instant, then rose slightly to see what covered the barrel lid. Rings. One in particular caught his eye. It was gold, embellished with some sort of black rock. A black crow was carved into rock, with an emerald sparkling as a menacing eye.
Thoughtlessly, he reached for it. Then another voice came. A voice he knew. His mother. But he’d never heard her speak in the way she was now. She begged for her life.
Though it was the last thing he wanted to do, he looked around the barrel and saw his parents, each held ruthlessly by a soldier. The two had been beaten and could barely stand. Blood covered their faces.
“Spare her. You only need me. You have what you want,” his father begged.
The memory of his mother putting her newborn baby in his arms, her cruel, exhausted words telling him that his sister was his responsibility, came to Alex. The urge to say, “It’s your responsibility to keep her safe, Papa,” came and went.
His mother screamed, but it ended on a wet gurgle and the sound of a body hitting the ground His father cried out in agony.
“Did you love her so very much, hombre?” that silky, lethal voice came again. “Does it pain you to see her life’s blood drain at your feet? If only I could leave you to your grief. But you know that is not possible. You knew that when you willingly chose to betray me.”
“Híbrido!” his father cried. Bastard! But a moment later his body joined his wife’s, his blood mingling with hers.
“Poetry,” their killer murmured tenderly.
Alex didn’t move fast enough. The killer turned, and their gazes met in the semi-darkness. Surprise filled the killer’s eyes. Alex didn’t wait for the shout that came. He turned and ran back the way he came with all his strength. Gunfire followed him, but the killer’s voice stopped that. “It’s a local brat. Wrong place at the wrong time.”
Alex ran for a moment, but as soon as he saw cover, he dove for it. He couldn’t get too far from his sister. A metallic taste filled his mouth.
His parents were dead. He and his sister were completely alone.
His fingers closed around the ring he’d taken, and he eased it from his pocket. The crow carved in obsidian looked as evil as the man who’d worn it. That man had removed his jewelry so as to avoid getting it bloody…
The thought of his sister, waiting for him, brought Alex back to his feet. He inched around the truck he was hiding behind until he reached the cab. For long minutes, he waited to hear any sign that it was occupied. Then he climbed up, found it empty save for food and a water canister on the seat next to a gun. He grabbed everything, climbed down and stuffed it all into the sack he’d found in another place, years ago. From somewhere nearby, but not close enough to see, he heard voices and understood pieces of what was being said. The soldiers would move out tonight. He and his sister would be hiding in their truck when they went. It was dangerous, but it was the only way to escape the city.
He ran, keeping out of sight. When he was across the street from the hovel he’d left his sister to hide in, he waited, searching for any danger. For so many years, he’d believed there could be no escape for them. He’d come to hate his parents, hate them for the part they made him and his sister play in their crimes. Grooming them for when they would take over the family business.
No more. They were dead.
He started across the road.
A family ran out into the street. Soldiers followed. Though he ducked behind barrels, he wasn’t quick enough. One of the shots caught him. He blacked out.
* * * *
Searing pain made him open his eyes to see blonde hair, lavender blue eyes. The agony was almost more than he could bear.
“I found it in the street,” his sister said. Again, she poured the alcohol on his side from the mostly empty bottle. The flare of pain made him rise up slightly, crying out. He saw the bullet hole in his lower right side. Sweat broke out on his body, enough to drench him despite his shivering.
“I saw it. I saw you fall. I dragged you in when they went away.”
“I was shot. Caught in the crossfire,” he said, his throat so dry he could barely form the words.
“I took out the bullet.”
“The backpack. Your backpack.”
It contained a first aid kit, he realized. He’d never used it. His sister had taken it, instinctively, ministering to him. Saving his life…
A man stepped out of the shadows behind them. Alex was only a boy, but he rose despite his wound and pushed his sister behind him.
“It’s okay. He told me what to do,” she said. “Angelo promised he wouldn’t hurt us.”
The man spoke. “We have to go. Now.”
Alex lifted his chin. “We’re not going anywhere, híbrido.”
“Angelo” smiled without amusement. “The man who killed your parents is a paid assassin, one of the most dangerous alive. And he’ll know by now that your parents left the two of you behind…”
How did the man know this? Alex wondered. “Mama and Papa…” his sister murmured.
“Shh,” Alex hushed her. “What is his name?”
“He doesn’t have one, at least not a real one. He’ll come for you, Alex,” the man continued. “He and his men are on their way as we speak. The two of you will be hunted forever. This hunter will never stop until you’re both dead. I can help you. If you want to live, if you want to be safe, if you want to learn to serve justice, you must come with me now. I can make you a hunter, too. There’s no time to debate.”
Alex had been afraid to trust, but then he’d heard that voice nearby. That malicious voice belonging to the killer who had also owned the evil-eyed crow ring. He’d agreed. The day Mama and Papa were gunned down, the day enemies turned on them, was a day of freedom.