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Countdown to Zero Hour

(Black Ops: Automatik #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  155 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Ex–Special Forces agent Artem "Art" Diaz is tatooed, muscular and undeniably dangerous. He's also deep undercover, posing as mob muscle for a deadly bratva boss. His mission: gain the Russians' trust. Then lead the strike team that will kill them all.

Chef Hayley Baskov knows better than to get involved with someone with such close mafia ties, but the handsome bodyguard who
ebook, 221 pages
Published February 22nd 2016 by Carina Press
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3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  155 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Duchess Nicole
I didn't even know until the end, but a dude wrote this book! I love it. It almost changes my perspective on things, makes me want to reread some parts. As it is, this was a wholly satisfying, sexy, intriguing romantic suspense. Most of the book takes place with the hero and heroine holed up in a desert stronghold, pretending to serve the bad guys. While trying to stay under the radar, they gravitate toward each other, which only draws attention. Slow burning, believable romance. Action packed e ...more
Feb 27, 2016 rated it liked it
There were a couple of instances in which you could tell this was a dude writing. For example when he says that Haley has to resist the urge to "swivel" her hips in a "tight, needy grind" because she thinks Art is so hot -.- No... Just. No. Lol Anyways, aside from a few of those eye-rolling moments, it was a pretty entertaining read. Lots and lots of action. I got a little lost in it sometimes, but recovered pretty quick. Good pacing. The characters were interesting. Even the bad guys sparked an ...more
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I gotta admit, the cover for Countdown to Zero Hour is what initially drew me to this book, and having never really connected with books written by male authors before I was a little wary, but Nico Rosso surpassed my expectations and then some. I mean this book... This is romantic suspense at it's finest! Danger, suspense, steamy romance... This book had it all!!

After her dreams of opening a restaurant crash and burn, Hayley resorts to selling food out of a food cart in front of a night club. It
Lady Heather
Publication Date: February 22, 2016

"A copy of this book has been provided by Carina Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review"

Loved this story!
Full review will be posted closer to release date.
Fiery, out of work chef, Hayley, is forcefully enlisted by the Russian mafia to become the chef for a clandestine meeting of all the families.

Art is deep undercover, entrenched in the Russian mafia, trying to break the organization from the inside when Hayley stumbles her way into a no win situation.

Arts goal to destroy the Russian families is side tracked by his desire to save Hayley and just flat out his desire for Hayley.

This had all the makings of an incredible spicy romantic suspense. For
Ivy Deluca
Nov 12, 2015 rated it liked it
[2.75 stars]
Ok, so I fell for the cover. What can I say? I’m easy.

Art Diaz works for a Russian mobster and meets Hayley, who’s a chef making ends meet running a food cart in front of said mobster’s nightclub. Sparks fly, but Hayley’s concerned about getting together with a mobster and Art’s busy hiding his double life as part of Automatik, an organization trying to bring down the Russian mobster. Eventually, romance happens.

The Good: The setup is intriguing and I’m all for diversity in my romanc
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
4 Stars – 3 Flames

I’m a complete and total sucker for any Military, so of course when I saw “Black Ops” in the title, I was trigger happy to so speak. But then I saw that it was written by a man and started to worry. I’ve read other novels written by men and have had a really hard time enjoying it. Mainly because of the way they’d been written. I’m really happy I gave this one a chance. In fact, this is the VERY FIRST novel I’ve read appreciating it being written by a man. Although it was subtl
Feb 06, 2016 rated it liked it
3 intriguing but not completely enthralling stars.


The cover, title and overview drew me in like a moth to a flame only to kind of have the read fall a bit flat. There was a lot of tactical power plays, a lot of action and some passion but I just kind of felt like I wanted a bit more relationship growth which might mean that some of the action and stuff needed to be toned down or more pages needed to be added to the story. I'm not really sure which would solve the issue but that's what I noticed
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Nico Rosso is a completely new to me author and I believe the first male romantic suspense author I've read.  To be honest, I wasn't really sure how it would all play out but part of the reason I read it in the first place was to experience a new voice.  The cover hooked me initially and was the main reason I was drawn to it, then I read the synopsis and I was REALLY interested.

Rosso connects Art and Hailey immediately upon meeting each other, kind of a lust at first sight thing.  Don't
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this to see how big a difference there is in a romance novel written by a man versus a woman. This was not bad. Action and plot were well placed. I'm just not sure I liked the characters. It just didn't click for me. I didn't feel the chemistry. I'm not sure he'll be a go to author for me, but this was an enjoyable read.
Janet Robel
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A refreshing change from some of the other thrillers I've read lately. Our protagonists Art and Hayley are thrust among ruthless killers that make this a page-turner.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the action

This was great. I've never read a romantic suspense book by a man before the action was terrific and the romance hot. I love Art and Hailey as characters. I ready enjoyed this book more than I thought I w as going to. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
THIS is how romantic suspense should be done! Tight storyline, likable characters and constant suspense make COUNTDOWN TO ZERO HOUR one of my favorite books of 2015!

Saving to open her own restaurant would've been so much easier if Hayley Baskov's stupid ex hadn't run off with her money. Now slinging Russian pelmeni from a food cart outside of nightclubs to raise some income, Hayley meets the club's dangerously handsome security detail Art Diaz. She cuts a deal with the club owner to allow her t


I'm beginning to wonder why I haven't enjoyed the past two male-written romantic suspense novels. Is this a trend? Is it just a coincidence? I don't know. Ugh. I hate doing reviews like this ... the ones where I just didn't get the book but it's all about honesty, right? Let's get down to business, I guess.

The book started off okay, I enjoyed the characters and the beginning scenes of the book but I soon found myself about 20% into the novel and I still felt like I didn't really GET the characte
Outside a popular Russian nightclub Hayley Baskov was selling simple food from a steam cart when undercover bodyguard Artem "Art" Diaz came to try it and stayed to enjoy an escalating flirt. As Art's 'boss' came to join the conversation, two men started a knife fight. As Hayley huddled with a utensil for a weapon, Art made short work of the interlopers but the moment was gone and she was afraid.

Though they were interested in each other, Art's on an undercover assignment about to bear fruit and
Lightning review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

I love foodie characters, so if an author has a chef or a bartender, I’ll automatically give the book another once over.

The descriptions of the food were amazing and I made the mistake of starting this book late at night. I have a strict “no eating after 10pm” rule and I’m pretty sure I could feel my stomach eating itself. I also loved Hayley’s passion for food. You could tell that she loved cooking and feeing people, which I get. There’s something
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
An action movie in book form. If Bruce Willis were 30 years younger, he'd be the hero in the movie version of this story. Liked the tension. Liked the high stakes to the suspense storyline. I tend to be lukewarm on Black Ops plots - but thought this one was good. I also thought the romance was written in a sensual way while not dissipating the tension to the story at large. Well done.
Ang -PNR Book Lover Reviews
DNF 30%

Just couldn’t connect with the characters or story. These things happen!!!
Lassarina Aoibhell
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked the details of Hayley's food, and the layers of trust and wariness between teh two of them. I liked the confined setting and the way the bratva members were drawn: some better than others, some worse, and all very individual and real.
This book had real potential and I felt like the action scenes were well done; however, there was a lot of repetition and telling not showing. Something would happen and then there would be description as to what just happened. I had to skim.
Feb 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Originally published at The Book Pushers

I picked this up because I usually like Nico Rosso’s work, especially his contributions to The Ether Chronicles (see review at Library Journal) and his Demon Rock series, reviewed at Reading Reality (start with Heavy Metal Heart reviewed here)

However, I found Countdown to Zero Hour to be a bit slow going. The setup of the story seemed to take forever, while the action, fast and furious as it was, seemed to be over in a heartbeat. And oddly enough, even tho
Smut Matters
Jun 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Heather's review from Smut MattersI think that if I hadn't known ahead of time this was written by a dude, I'd have been looking around by the halfway point to find out. That's not to say it was bad or horribly written or anything else. But there was something definitely dude-like about it.

So Haley Baskov is a chef. Importantly for this story, she's Russian, and was taught all of the authentic Russian recipes that have been passed down through the generations. Which brings her to the attention o
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
****I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review****

I have to say that I really enjoyed this book and hope that there will be more books in the series. For a guy, Nico Rosso, really wrote a fantastic story that had the reader hooked from the the first page to the epilogue. Well done, Mr. Rosso, for a great story and you have gained a new fan of this series.

Hayley is a chef without a restaurant, and is selling Pelmeni, pork dumplings, from a steam cart outside a
Erica Paythress
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Art Diaz works for a Russian mobster and meets Hayley, who’s a chef making ends meet running a food cart in front of said mobster’s nightclub. Sparks fly, but Hayley’s concerned about getting together with a mobster and Art’s busy hiding his double life as part of Automatik, an organization trying to bring down the Russian mobster. Eventually, romance happens.
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

I have to say, I wasn't really sure about this book for some reason but I totally loved it! It was one of those 'one more page" books.

Art is a bodyguard for a Russian mob boss. Hayley runs a food cart that she has been parking out in front of his bosses club on the weekends to take advantage of the crowds and the kine waiting to get into the club.

One night Art comes over for some of her food and this is where their story begins. It is Russian f
Liz Donatelli
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I could NOT put this book down.

Rosso's COUNTDOWN TO ZERO HOUR (BLACK-OPS: AUTOMATIK, #1) is the ultimate military romantic suspense - smoldering stares, deft knife fighting, impassioned lovemaking, and a badass plan to bring the villains to justice.

*The love story between Art, an Automatik operative/undercover Russian mob goon, and Hayley, a chef hired to feed the Russian mobsters attending a desert "retreat," doesn't feel forced or lust-based. Art and Hayley share a genuine connection, which is
Mindy Bigham
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
*I received this book free from Netgalley on behalf of Carina Press in exchange for an honest review*

Artem Diaz is a former Special Forces now working deep undercover for Automatik. His mission is to gain the trust of the Russians and lead his team to a major take down. Art also has a personal reason for wanting this done. Getting revenge for his father’s death.

Chef Hayley Baskov has been working her tail end off to get ahead in life and in her career. Having her ex take everything from her has
Amy R
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Nico Rosso is a new to me author and I went in not knowing what to expect. I found that I enjoyed Rosso's writing and his original story plot. Countdown to Zero Hour had a bit darker feel to it then I anticipated. It was a good story and I found myself interested, yet my emotions stayed the same throughout. Maybe because I took on those of the Hayley, the heroine of the story. She was a guarded just about the entire time. I felt the pace of the book was a little slower than I was hoping for, as ...more
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Perfect! Tons of detailed action. some romance, a kickass team and loyalty. A perfect combination for me in a book and anyone else who likes romantic action.

Art is undercover on a mission for personal reasons and it just so happens that it will also hopefully takedown the Russian Mob. Hayley is selling Russian food from a cart in front of Art's boss' place when she catches their eye and is brought into the middle of the worst week of her life without a choice.

Art is determined to keep her safe
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Sadly, this book just went on and on and on with way too many unnecessary details. It was also incredibly slow. If all of the padded material had been taken out, this book probably would have ranked 4 stars because the concept was interesting, just poorly executed.
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Nico Rosso was a writer in search of a genre until his wife, Zoë Archer, brought romance into his life in more ways than one. He’s created sci-fi and post-apocalyptic romance worlds, as well as working with his wife on the steampunk Ether Chronicles series. His paranormal Demon Rock series brought you satyr rock stars and the Muses who fed them. With the romantic suspense Black Ops: Automatik seri ...more

Other books in the series

Black Ops: Automatik (3 books)
  • One Minute to Midnight (Black Ops: Automatik #2)
  • Seconds to Sunrise (Black Ops: Automatik #3)