On June 22nd, CHASE releases! It’s book #4 in the Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT series—an offshoot of my Montana Bounty Hunters series. I’m still writing the story! Gah! I hate running it up to the wire, but I’ll get there. In the meantime, have you pre-ordered your copy? Read an excerpt below to get a hint of the fun I have in store for you!
Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT—CHASE
From the opening of Chase…
Chase Kudrow flipped down his visor to shut out the bright morning sun beaming through his windshield. He was parked on Main Street in Dead Horse, congratulating himself on his good sense in accepting the job with Montana Bounty Hunters’ Dead Horse office because he was here, hunting a skip, and not living out of his truck in bumfuck Colorado…or Wyoming…or Idaho. Sure, Cage Morgan, his new boss, had said they’d be looking for the richest bounties in a multi-state area when he’d offered him the job, but as luck would have it, today’s hunt was right in their own backyard.
Chase would never admit it to any of his new bounty hunter brothers, but he’d been ready to settle down and stop living out of a suitcase. He needed to put down roots and prove he could provide a stable home—to himself and to the caseworker handling his niece’s situation. No way in hell was he letting his blood relative, his little sister’s orphaned daughter, be raised by strangers.
The job offer had come at just the right moment. Although he’d feigned resistance to joining the hunters as part of their newly formed satellite agency, inside, he’d been jubilant. He’d hemmed and hawed for days, and he’d done his homework, reaching out to hunter friends in the Kalispell office to make sure this gig was legit, and that he could trust the people he’d be working with. The more he’d learned, the more certain he was that his accepting the job was meant to be.
Yes, there was a lot left to iron out. He had yet to find a house. Work had been pretty busy, but he’d be asking Cage for some time off to find a home and fill it with furniture and the things an eight-year-old might need or want, and for him to meet with local school officials to talk about what he’d need to get Mikayla enrolled. Then the hard work would begin to get Miss Tight-ass Bradshaw at Child and Family Services in Billings to sign off.
The last time she’d seen him, she’d shaken her head. “How do you think you can care for a little girl? You live like a gypsy, Mr. Kudrow. All your past mailing addresses have been forwarding services because you’re never in one place longer than a month. How are you going to be a father to Mikayla?”
He’d shifted in his chair, knowing his petition looked bad, but this was Audra’s girl. He hadn’t been there for her mother, hadn’t even had any idea how much trouble she’d been in. His mama, had she been alive, would have been so disappointed in him for his neglect while he’d been out living his life.
No more. He’d lived like a nomad since his days in the military. He’d liked seeing the world, but when he’d gotten fed up with the rigor and the rules he’d had to abide by in the Army, he’d left and found the one job ideally suited to his wandering ways. Even now, working from a home base in Dead Horse, bounty hunting allowed him to roam just far enough to keep from feeling that itch to pull up stakes and move, and it gave him the occasional adrenaline rush he craved. The targets were varied, and hunting them down never got boring. Except when he was on stakeouts, like this one.
Today’s target was Billy Calloway, one of the Calloway brothers who ran a junkyard east of town, who’d been busted with a shit-ton of stolen catalytic converters. He’d refused to give the DA the names of his suppliers so he was facing multiple charges for receiving stolen goods. Since he was a three-time offender, the judge had set his bail at $100,000—high for the crime, but Judge Hodges was setting an example for the other Calloways.
Then the dumbass skipped his court date…
Chase picked up the manila folder Fredericka “Fig” Newton, their office manager and tech guru, had prepared for all the hunters combing their hometown for this skip. Billy was a scrawny fucker, with greasy brown hair, a scruffy beard, and one eye that permanently looked down his nose. He’d be easy to spot.
The passenger door beside him opened, and Dylan “Preacher” Priestley, his new partner, climbed into the seat beside him holding a small pink box in his hand.
“Took your damn time,” Chase groused, not really concerned, but he and Preacher enjoyed that kind of relationship, always griping at each other but quick to jump into action when the situation called for it. Three weeks in, and Chase wondered how he’d ever gone it alone as a bounty hunter. Having a partner made things like boring-ass stakeouts kind of fun.
“They’re straight out of the oven,” Preacher said, opening the box to reveal two big donuts. Preacher’s hand hovered over them.
“Don’t even think about takin’ the one with the sprinkles,” Chase said, giving him a glare.
Preacher shrugged. “Sprinkles taste like chalky sugar anyway.” He plucked the pink glazed donut from the box and left the cream-colored one with sprinkles for Chase.
Chase plucked his from the box, took a bite, and groaned. “Don’t know how you aren’t fat.”
Preacher waggled his eyebrows. “She makes me work for them.”
“TMI, man,” Chase said, holding up a hand.
Preacher grinned. “Sorry it took so long. I had to taste wedding cakes when I was in there.”
Chase wrinkled his nose. “Way to kill my appetite, man. Weddings!” He gave a mock shudder.
Preacher chuckled. “Laura and Rhonda have this huge notebook. It takes up an entire table when they open it. It has polaroids of cakes and things to decorate the tables with, flower arrangements—”
Chase narrowed his eyes and looked out the windshield. “Rhonda’s in there?”
“Yeah, why?” Preacher shot him a sly sideways glance.
“Just wonderin’. Haven’t seen much of her lately. Her sister’s behind the counter at the Dem Bones Package Store every time I stop to buy beer.”
Preacher arched an eyebrow. “You crushing on Rhonda?”
Chase gave him a deadpan look. “I don’t crush on women. Just sayin’. She seems pretty busy with all that wedding shit.”
“She’s been a huge help to Laura. Says she loved planning her wedding more than she loved her ex-husband. Said it should have told her something.”
“Didn’t know she’s been married…”
“Yeah, for five years, until her husband up and left town with a massage therapist.”
“Must have been rubbing more than his back.”
Preacher shrugged. “Laura doesn’t talk much about him. Guess he left her the store and a pile of debt. She’s been digging herself out of that mess for years.”
Chase finished off his donut and followed it with a gargle of coffee straight from his thermos. When he screwed the lid back on, he glanced down the street. His attention was snagged by two men stepping out of Dead Center Guns & Pawn, both holding handguns and wearing camouflage masks pulled over their chins and noses. They were running toward a beat-up pickup parked alongside the curb.
“Think we got trouble,” he said to Preacher, tapping his ignition button and glancing up and down the street before punching the gas pedal and pulling out of his parking space.
“Damn.” Preacher hit the button on his radio. “Hey, Fig!”
“Yeah, Preacher. What’s up?”
“I think we’ve got a robbery in progress on Main Street. Saw two armed individuals coming out of the pawn shop. Call 9-1-1.”
The tailpipe of the beat-up pickup belched smoke, and then the truck jumped the curb and careened down the street.
“We’re in pursuit,” Preacher said over his radio.
“You aren’t the cops,” Fig muttered back.
“We can tell them where these bastards land.”