Monday, June 27, 2022

Blog Tour and Book Review: PHOENIX'S ASCENT (Hera Forces #2) by Winter Austin

Changing things up a bit with a romantic suspense today...


A maniac developing a fantastical drug wants one more thing to finalize the project—a test subject who fits all the parameters. But that test subject is as elusive as her namesake. 

Ex-SAS operative Mitch Edwards has been on the run since the moment he was framed for treason by someone in the British government. But he’s never forgotten the flamboyant and seductive CIA operative with the tongue of a thousand languages. In a bar in Cancun, Mexico, Mitch comes face to face with her once more, and with her comes the full force of her enemies. 

Reinstated Hera Force linguist and assassin, Nadia Roth, code named Phoenix, has no memory of Mitch Edwards, or of their affair before her team’s disastrous mission. Her traumatic brain injury is tricky that way. But something about this man sets her on fire and tickles the back of her mind. Her Hera teammates remember him, so why can’t she? 

Mitch partners up with Hera, with the sole intent of locating those hell-bent on killing him and all who are associated with him. Yet more is at stake than their lives. A traitor hides among their ranks, one who has been revealing all their secrets to an enemy determined to procure this special drug and Nadia for his scheme. 

Hera goes into operation mode, doing what they were created to do, but someone is watching, and the team finds themselves trapped behind enemy lines with no way out. 

Will Nadia ever remember the man she once loved, or will they perish with the secret between them? Review FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way. FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.


The story is well-plotted with Phoenix's injury and her attempt to find the Chessmaster on her own leading to problems. Only, all the problems may be the manipulations of the Chessmaster. While Phoenix's head injury prevents her from remembering Mitch, she still has feelings for him. The rest of her black ops group (Hera) search for her, concerned about her safety. As the story progresses, Phoenix's early years when she was trained to be a warrior - before she ran away - are revealed, as well as the plans her "mother" and the Chessmaster have for her. 

This was my first read of Winter Austin's writing, though this is the second in the series. It was easily read as a standalone with characters well-developed. There is lots of action and the pace is fast. The downside? I had to force myself to put the book down to get some sleep. The upside? I've added the first in the series to my TBR list. I hope there will be a third one coming.

A note to my cozy mystery followers - this isn't a cozy mystery. 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Read an excerpt:

Another cooling breeze blew through the door, bringing with it the succulent scent of coconut oil, pineapple, and sea spray. His attention strayed to the door. He stiffened at the sight of the beauty leaning on the bamboo frame. The lavender haired woman pushed off the smoothed wood and sauntered, barefooted, across the sand-dusted floor. Mitch came to attention, his hand slipping away from the Sig. 

She swayed to the flamenco guitar music piped through the sound system, her turquoise sundress flowing around her golden legs. Strappy silver sandals, hanging from a crooked finger, bumped against her leg as she sauntered up to the bar. She flung her sandals over her shoulder and leaned an elbow on the top. 

“Holá, guapo.” Her sultry voice skirted along his spine and curled around his chest. 

He gulped down a sudden feathering of desire. “Holá,” he croaked. 

Her gaze flicked upward and the full force of those crystal-blue eyes hit him. She smiled. 

Mitch’s stomach clenched. Those eyes. God, he could drown in them. He blinked. He knew those eyes. Had spent years trying to forget them and what they did to him every time she had looked at him. It was her? The hair color was different, but … 

She shifted to peer over her sandal-bearing shoulder at the bar patrons, then brought those stunning blue eyes back to him. “What do you have that a gal like myself could quench her thirst with?” 

A zap of awareness struck him. Bloody hell, she knew how to wield her words and her voice to bring about arousal. 

A bejeweled hand slipped between Mitch and the woman. Manicured fingers lightly danced up her bare arm. Instead of pulling away, the lavender haired beauty turned to meet Dapper Man. She smiled seductively, setting her sandals on the bar top. 

“Such a beautiful woman. What brings you to a bar like this?” Dapper Man asked in Spanish. 

“It must be you.” She leaned in closer, giving Dapper Man a good view of what was hidden beneath the folds of her gauzy dress. “Looks like it’s my lucky day.” 

It was a part of her job, but her shameless flirting always left a bad taste in Mitch’s mouth. He backed from his spot and reached for a bottle of sparkling water. He twisted off the cap and brought the bottle to his lips, then hesitated. 

As the woman’s fingers danced up Dapper Man’s sleeve, she tilted her head to the side. Her thick hair shifted away from her neck, exposing a tiny tattoo of a yellow/red flaming bird right behind her ear lobe. 

It was her! That tattoo confirmed it. The Phoenix had risen. 

Movement behind Dapper Man caught Mitch’s eye. The bodyguards horseshoed their man and the other three lingered on the fringes. Hit once again with the sensation something was horribly off about these men, Mitch inched closer to his Sig.

Excerpt from XXXX. Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

About the Author:

Winter Austin perpetually answers the question: “were you born in the winter?” with a flat “nope,” but believe her, there is a story behind her name. 

A lifelong Mid-West gal with strong ties to the agriculture world, Winter grew up listening to the captivating stories told by relatives around a table or a campfire. As a published author, she learned her glass half-empty personality makes for a perfect suspense/thriller writer. Taking her ability to verbally spin a vivid and detailed story, Winter translated that into writing deadly romantic suspense, mysteries, and thrillers. 

When she’s not slaving away at the computer, you can find Winter supporting her daughter in cattle shows, seeing her three sons off into the wide-wide world, loving on her fur babies, prodding her teacher husband, and nagging at her flock of hens to stay in the coop or the dogs will get them. 

She is the author of ten novels, with more on the way. You can find Winter on: 

Website            Facebook          Twitter          Instagram  
Pinterest           Goodreads  

Buy Links:


Austin will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 


  1. Currently reading...we share the same thoughts!

  2. Looks like its going to be a interesting book.

  3. Christa, Thanks for hosting. Enjoyed your thoughts on my book. Hope book 1 is just as good for you. And yes, there will be a 3rd and a 4th, maybe more.

  4. Replies
    1. Things I've seen, the happenings in the world.

  5. Good review. Sounds like an interesting book.

    1. It was a great read - interesting and unique in many ways.