V-Day, page 1
Long before revolution will tear Vistaria apart,
Nicolas Escobedo discovers the first hint
of the Insurrectos’ existence.
Arctic Ambush is a prequel origins novelette setting up the events in the Vistaria Has Fallen series:
Sign up for Tracy’s newsletter and get your copy of Arctic Ambush, part of the Vistaria Has Fallen romantic suspense series reviewers are calling “original”, “compelling” and “a rollercoaster ride.”
Arctic Ambush is not available for sale at any retail outlet.
See the download link at the end of this book, once you have enjoyed V-Day.
Table of Contents
Praise for the Vistaria Has Fallen series
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More Romantic Suspense by Tracy Cooper-Posey.
About the Author
Other books by Tracy Cooper-Posey
They have known and loved each other for years, but they have never met…until now.
When Cristián Peña and the entire town of Pascuallita vanish, Chloe Masters, former hacker and free spirit, races to the war-torn island to find the man who saved her life years ago. She has never met Cristián in person, yet she loves him, anyway.
There’s a drone carrying a dirty bomb, heading for the Whitehouse. No one knows who is controlling the drone. Cristián and Chloe, with their extraordinary talents, just might be able to stop it.
Cristián lives under the shadow of his famous older brother Duardo, which makes him doubt everything, including his feelings for Chloe. Cristián must find a way to step out of that shadow, if he is to save his family, the people of Pascuallita, Vistaria…and Chloe.
Get your copy now of the sixth and final book in the Vistaria Has Fallen romantic suspense series reviewers are calling “original”, “compelling” and “a rollercoaster ride.”
1.0: Vistaria Has Fallen
2.0: Prisoner of War
3.0: Hostage Crisis
4.0: Freedom Fighters
5.0: Casualties of War
[Reader Note: The first four books of this series were previously published as erotic romance titles in the Vistaria Affair series, now rewritten for a general audience. The last two books are original, new releases to complete the series.]
Praise for the Vistaria Has Fallen series
Am looking forward to seeing what happens in future installments.
I look forward to reading more of this series in the future. I want to know what happens now.
Another brilliant series begins.
Cooper-Posey has packed in love, action, mystery, and intrigue, all in this novel. I can’t wait to read the next installment!
Other brilliant read from Tracy that captivates you from the very beginning as we look at the potential of a rebel uprising in a fictitious Latin American country.
Passion, action, horror, tragedy and adventure are all beautifully and masterfully woven by Tracy to provide maximum reading entertainment.
The characters are fantastic and the story line, well let's just say it is very new and fresh. Lots of intrigue, excitement, mystery, and, of course, some romance as well.
Truthfully I cannot wait for the next book in the series to find out what is happening in Vistaria.
HER CELLPHONE BATTERY WAS TOO close to dead for Chloe to risk checking her location often. Without it, she felt as though she was going in circles in the night. She couldn’t be, because the slope of the mountain did not change. It felt like it, though.
Chloe looked up at the lowering moon. It was getting late. She should stop for the night and find a softer piece of dirt to sleep on, only she was too close to where X marked the spot. Her adrenaline had been spiking for an hour or more. No way would she sleep now.
Cristián was somewhere ahead. If she checked her phone, she would know how far. Google Maps could place her within two meters. Her own app was even more accurate. One of these days, she would have to come up with a cute name for the app. She had thrown the app together over the last few weeks at the big house, in between staring at satellite photos, to relieve the tedium.
It was coming in useful now.
A tree branch swiped at her unexpectedly as she clambered up the slope. She hadn’t noticed the low hanging fir branch. It brushed across her arm, startling her.
Chloe paused with one foot planted on the up-slope, catching her breath. She resettled her backpack and considered. She was missing things, like the branch. The adrenaline told her she was wide awake, yet failing to notice details meant she was too tired to push much farther.
She weighed the pros and cons.
It wasn’t guaranteed Cristián was still at his last location. She had taken coordinates from the satellite images of fires laid out to represent Morse code, forming the letters C.P.S. It had been a personal signal to her—he knew she was scanning satellite imagery of Vistaria. Cristián had been trying to tell her where he was.
If he pointed to his location, then leaving it made no sense. She must assume he was still there.
Unless he had been forced to abandon the location.
She still did not know why he and everyone in Pascuallita had deserted the town. The image of a dog trotting carelessly down the middle of the empty street reinserted itself into her mind. That was Pascuallita, now—a ghost town. Whatever had made Cristián leave the town so abruptly might also have forced him to move on from the place where he laid out the Morse code fires. She couldn’t guess how likely it might be because she didn’t know what he was running from.
So. He was either a few hundred yards away…or miles from here.
It was tantalizing to think he was just ahead, although her hope was probably a product of her tiredness, too.
Chloe looked around. The night wasn’t really dark. Out here with no city lights to compete against, the moon and the stars provided enough illumination for her to see her way through the trees and place her feet. The monochromatic landscape gave her no clues, except to tell her she was high enough in the mountains for there to be more pine trees than deciduous sycamores and whatever the trees were called with the multiple trunks and gnarly roots.
She should sleep, she decided. Only…
Make a decision! She railed at herself. Then, with a curse, she pulled out her phone and switched it on. The light would destroy her night vision, but she had to know where she was.
Her app loaded quickly. The compass swung around, coordinating with her geo-position. Then it turned green. Dots flowed from the point of the needle, giving her a direction and encouraging her to move forward.
The compass didn’t point north. Instead, it pointed to the target location she had set as Nick rowed the little dinghy into the beach, two days ago. At the top of the screen, white letters glowed.
She was almost on top of the place. There had to be a shelf or glen somewhere ahead. No way would Cristián have laid out fires on this forty-degree slope.
Chloe looked at the battery read-out. Thirteen percent. She shut the phone down, her heart beating hard, and waited for the complete dark to thin and
Absolutely, she should sleep, she decided.
Instead, she pushed the toe of her sneaker into the slope and hauled herself upward. Inwardly, she jeered at her lack of discipline.
Cristián was less than half a kilometer away. A quarter mile, maybe. No way could she lie down and sleep. Not now. She wanted to see him. For the first time, she wanted to stand in front of him and look at him with her own eyes, without a screen between them.
What would he say? Would he look different? Or would he feel as familiar to her in person as he felt when she looked at him on her laptop?
Would he like what he saw when he beheld her?
Her heart thudding way too hard even for this sharp slope, Chloe kept climbing. Her breath was fast and heavy. Vistaria’s mountains and forests tested anyone’s fitness.
When the darker shadows rose on either side of her, Chloe had no breath left to scream her shock. She gasped raggedly as a hand slapped over her mouth. An arm came around her middle and she was hauled backward, off her feet.
As her backpack was yanked from her shoulders, the second shadow stepped in front of her. The moon was behind him—definitely a him, she decided. She couldn’t see his face.
He shone a flashlight in her face briefly. The bright light left her vision dazzled with orange stars. “It’s her,” the shadow said gruffly and softly, in Spanish.
It wasn’t Cristián’s voice.
“Who are you?” she demanded. “You know who I—”
The hand slapped over her mouth once more, cutting her off.
The shadow in front of her moved closer. He bent his head. “Quietly,” he breathed, in distorted English. “The hills are crawling with Insurrectos. You understand? Nod if you do.”
The hand dropped from her mouth. “Your name?” The question was breathed.
“You already know who I am. You said so.”
“Why are you here?”
She took in another deep breath. She was recovering from the exertion and from her fright, too. “I’m looking for someone.”
“You are American.”
“And you’re Vistarian,” she shot back.
“Who are you looking for?”
“Who do you think I’m looking for?” she said cautiously.
“We’re wasting time,” the man holding her arms said, in Spanish. “She’s the one. The name is right. Her face is right. If she isn’t her, we can deal with her back at the camp better than we can here. Let’s go back.”
The man in front of her didn’t speak for a moment. Then, his voice still quiet, he said in English, “Tell me, quickly. The name. Or we cut your throat and leave you for the monkeys.”
Deadlock. They were clearly out looking for her. The mention of a camp gave her hope. Had Cristián laid out sentries to wait for her? Had he expected her to come to him, after all? No one other than Nicolás Escobedo knew she was on Vistaria, or why, and Nick would never tell anyone else.
She had to risk it. “Cristián Peña,” she told them.
The man behind her relaxed. The grip on her arms slackened.
“Come with us,” the man before her said gruffly.
“Where do you think?” He turned and walked up the slope as if it were a flat city sidewalk.
The man behind her pushed at the back of her shoulder. He didn’t return her backpack, which was fine by her. He could carry it for her if he insisted.
With her muscles protesting, Chloe forced herself to follow. Her heart leapt about in her chest.
IT TOOK ANOTHER TWO HOURS, by her estimation. The duration meant Cristián had left the area where he laid the fires. Only he’d left sentries waiting for her and that gave her hope.
The camp where the two silent men led her was on the other side of a narrow gulley she would not have found stumbling around in the dark by herself. The ground here was nearly horizontal, which gave her shrieking thigh muscles some relief. Walking normally also told her exactly how tired she was. Everything ached.
On the other end of the gully a single campfire burned, which destroyed her vision, so she could not see beyond it. Had it been laid there deliberately, just for this reason? She wouldn’t put it beyond Cristián. He didn’t like camping and he had never been in the military, yet he had a mind like no other. He had likely read somewhere—perhaps years ago, too—about blinding newcomers temporarily with a bright fire. Now he had put it into practice.
She stumbled around the fire, following the two men. In the better light, she could see them now. They were both typical Vistarians with olive skin, black eyes and hair and rangy figures. The leader of the two was in his forties and his chin was dark with growth. The other was closer to Chloe’s age—late twenties, she guessed. Neither appeared to be armed but then, neither did she.
The older man took her arm. “This way.” He spoke at normal volume.
He led her between boxy, regular shadows that were likely supplies or packs. Darker shadows in the last of the moonlight hung overhead. Tarpaulins as shelter against rain.
All around them, Chloe could hear soft sounds of people sleeping, their breath slow and heavy. Some snoring. How many people were here with Cristián? The whole town? It had emptied out…
The sides of the gully opened into what she had presumed was a valley of some sort. A short one, for the sides swept in to meet each other, the rocky crest forming a dark line in the night sky.
The younger of the two escorts brushed past her and ducked under a flat, taut plane. A tarpaulin or cloth, suspended just above man-height. The Vistarian bent and murmured something.
Another shadow stirred.
Chloe’s heart slammed against her chest.
The shadow sat up, then stood, bending a little to avoid brushing the tarpaulin. He moved out from beneath it and straightened. “Chloe…”
She swallowed. “I can’t see a damn thing. Cristián?”
“Who else would it be?” the shadow said.
Cristián. He was here, although this was nothing like she had thought their first meeting would go. She trembled.
The sound of a muffled gunshot was softer than the pinging sound the bullet made as it ricocheted off the rocky ground.
Everyone flinched. The men holding her crouched, bringing her down to the ground in a low duck. Chloe turned, looking for Cristián’s silhouette. It was gone—back into the deeper shadow beneath the tarp, she presumed.
Another shot sounded, also muffled. The bullet tore through the tarpaulin.
“Up on top, there. Do you see it?” the younger Vistarian said.
Chloe looked in the direction the younger man pointed. A higher lump of shadow sat atop the rocky edge of the gully.
“Stay out of sight, Cristián,” the older man said in a louder voice. “They’re aiming for you.”
There was no response.
The sleepers in the little gully stirred. Soft mutters sounded, voices rising in question.
The older man twisted around on the ground and looked at the younger. “Up the other side and around…come up on them from behind. Fast, now.” His Spanish was almost too quick for Chloe to follow, although her understanding of Spanish had improved considerably in the last ten days.
“Wait. What the fuck is that?” the younger breathed.
Chloe jerked her chin up to look at the lump of shadow above. A second shadow came up behind it and merged with it. There was a soft grunt and heavy exhalation. Then the second shadow rose back to its feet, while the first dropped flat.
Another choked cry sounded from behind them. Chloe whirled. At the top of the cliff, another shadow straightened, a second lump on the ground at its feet.
“There!” the younger Vistarian breathed, pointing.
A third attacker stood up, halfway between the first two, near the entr
The camp stirred to life now, alarm filtering through sleep-hazed grogginess.
A piercing, two-note whistle drew Chloe’s attention back to the first shadow. The figure raised both hands above its head, a heavy combat gun held in one. With deliberate, slow movements, the figure bent and put the gun on the ground then straightened, their hands still in the air.
They stepped over the edge of the gully and slide-walked down the sandy sides, like someone descending a down-escalator. The soil shifted and gave way, while they stayed on their feet.
When they reached the rocky floor of the gully and moved among other campers, Chloe could see the figure was smaller than she’d first thought.
“Turn on some lights!” Cristián called, from somewhere under the tarpaulin. “Let’s see what is going on.”
Campers grouped around the figure as it moved through them. They headed for where Chloe and the others picked themselves up off the ground.
Someone hit a switch and light from a lamp on a pole blazed, illuminating most of the gully, as Cristián stepped out from under the tarpaulin.
Chloe took in random details about him—the unshaved chin, the lines around his eyes, his black hair standing at odd angles—and mentally whispered, he’s tired. The assessment was secondary, though, and barely registered because she was busy dealing with the fact that he was taller than she had expected. Tall and solid and…was he pissed?
His shoulders squared themselves. He crossed his arms, his gaze on the soldier in camouflage fatigues moving through the camp toward him.
The soldier was a woman. Chloe was surprised and was irked at her surprise. The evidence had been there. She had just not processed it correctly because of her own biases.
The woman reached up to pull away the chin strap of her helmet. She lifted the helmet from her head and tucked it under her elbow. She was a red-head and Caucasian. Not a Vistarian, not Insurrecto. She wore rank insignia but nothing which indicated a nationality.
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