UPDATE: The winner is Beckie!
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, let me know who this weekend’s book boyfriend will be!
If you’re looking for something to read this weekend, I have a suggestion. Pick up a Montana Bounty Hunters story, either one of the original nine stories, or one from among the four stories in the Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT, series.
Each story is unique. Each hero and heroine is unique. I worked hard to give each character their own story with their own issues and adventures.
If you’d like a taste of one of the stories, here’s Hardman, who more than lives up to his name, as does his partner and, soon, love interest, Martika Mills….
Excerpt from the opening of Hardman
“His GPS is pinging just ahead,” Martika Mills said, raising her gaze from her handheld tracking device to point ahead toward the bend in the river.
Pierce Hardman took his attention off scanning the banks and slowed their boat in the center of the shallow river. They’d need to gear up before approaching their target, Matthew Harper, who’d skipped his date with the judge the previous week. The once-convicted felon had been set to appear on charges stemming from a string of home burglaries. Just another dumbass who thought the rules didn’t apply to him and didn’t want to work for his money.
“Finally, it’s cold as shit on this water,” Preacher’s voice came over the comms. He was in the jon boat behind Hardman and Marti’s little two-seater sneak boat and was accompanied by Dagger and Lacey. They hadn’t really needed so many hunters for this takedown, but since healthy bounties had been a bit scarce the last few weeks, and everyone was bored, they’d decided to move on Harper together.
When they’d planned this river grab, they hadn’t taken into account maneuvering on the chilly water. They wore shorts with sweatshirts or hoodies on top. Nothing other than the thin padding atop Hardman’s aluminum seat kept his balls from freezing.
He twisted the handle on the outboard motor to put it into neutral, slowing the boat further. While the boat drifted, he and Marti removed their life vests and donned the gear they’d brought in a duffle—their Kevlar vests, their badges, and lastly, they strapped holstered weapons to their thighs.
“We look ridiculous,” Lacey said with a laugh. “Who wears shorts and boat shoes to a takedown?”
Marti rolled her eyes. Hardman smirked. Lacey could always be counted on for fashion commentary. The curvy blonde was the only hunter sporting pink and grey camouflaged attire.
“Hardman, you got our new toy?” Preacher asked.
Hardman bent to the duffle and removed the new “Spiderman” bolo gun, which he clipped to his vest. “Got it.”
“Has he moved?” Dagger asked.
Again, Marti bent to look at the tracker. “Nope. He’s sitting still.”
Hardman hoped that meant he was busy fishing.
“Hope he didn’t ditch the ankle monitor,” Marti mumbled. “Or we rented these boats for nothing.”
“We ready?” Dagger asked.
“We’re a go,” Hardman said and twisted the outboard motor’s handle again to move slowly toward the bend.
As they rounded the curve, they spotted a small boat beached against a steep bank, a rope tied around a fallen tree to keep it there, but no sign of Harper.
Hardman aimed the boat at the bank, gave the motor a bit of juice then set it into neutral. They drifted into the bank, and he jumped off the side into shallow water. “You stay with the boat,” he said to Marti. “We don’t need it floating away.”
“Why do you get all the fun?” she asked, her eyebrows lowering.
“Because I was in the water first,” he said, grinning.
Dagger slid his boat beside the sneaker boat and tossed his mooring line to Marti. “Make sure it doesn’t go anywhere.”
Marti’s glower darkened.
Hardman chuckled as he climbed the bank, glancing around to look for any signs of where their quarry might have gone.
“He’s pinging from up there,” Marti said in a hushed tone from below. When he glanced back, she was pointing toward the top of the steep bank. “Maybe twenty feet in.” She held up the tracker. “Sure you don’t need me?”
“We’ll manage,” he said. “Just give us a shout if he moves.”
Hardman reached for branches, knotty roots, and grass to pull himself up the bank.
Beside him, Dagger pushed on Lacey’s butt to get her up the side, and Preacher dug his toes into loose dirt to “step” his way up. Once they all stood on the top of the embankment, they spread out to commence their search. As well, they didn’t need to be bunched together since they didn’t know for sure whether Harper was armed. Not that his file indicated he was dangerous, but a cornered dog might bite.
Hardman studied the ground and brush around him, looking for tracks.
“Got him,” Dagger said quietly.
Hardman glanced his way. Dagger pointed to footprints and touched a broken branch. Signaling that he’d take point, he aimed a glare at Lacey, who frowned but let Hardman and Preacher trail behind him before falling in at the end of the line.
They went maybe fifteen feet into the brush when Dagger squatted and held up a closed fist. They all took a knee. Dagger pointed at his eyes then raised two fingers. Harper had company.
Then they heard noise up ahead. Soft groans, a thready moan. The distinctive slap of flesh on flesh. Matthew Harper was getting busy in the grass.
Dagger pointed to Preacher and then to his left.
Keeping low, Preacher moved quietly to the left of the couple.
Following Dagger’s hand signals, Hardman moved to the right. When he reached his position, he low-crawled through tall grass until he saw glimpses of pink flesh between the waving blades. A man’s ass was flexing, driving downward. Pale, plump legs encircled his hips.
By the speed of his movements, he was getting close.
“Ready?” Dagger whispered.
“Ah, let him finish,” Lacey said. “It’ll be a long time before he gets to knock against someone with breasts again.”
Marti snickered in his ear.
“We even sure he’s our guy?” Preacher grumbled.
“Can’t tell. I’ve got the rear view, and his ankles are hidden in the grass,” Hardman whispered, grimacing, because he really didn’t want to take a closer look.
“I’m getting closer,” Lacey said.
“Stay the fuck where you are,” Dagger bit out.
“Oh. He’s got a shaved head,” Lacey said.
Which could be a problem. Harper had had long, frizzy hair in his booking photo.
“Gotta wait until they get up to ID him,” Dagger said.
The couple on the ground rolled until the female sat atop the male. She was a well-rounded woman with large breasts and a generous behind.
“She’s certainly energetic,” Lacey said as the woman bounced over the man’s hips.
At last, the woman’s head fell back, and a series of “Oh-oh-ohs” echoed in the clearing.
The man gripped her hips and rutted upward before letting out a loud shout.
“Satisfied, Lace?” Dagger drawled.
“Nope, but they sure are.”
The hunters stood, drawing their weapons.
“Fugitive Recovery Agents!” Dagger shouted.
The couple froze. Then the man tossed the woman to the side and bolted up from the ground. Nude, he barreled past Lacey, knocking her to the ground, and headed straight toward the river.
“Got a runner,” Hardman said, following close on the man’s heels.
“I’ll keep my eyes peeled,” Marti said.
As his feet pounded the dirt, Hardman noted the black ankle monitor the naked man wore. “It’s our guy.”
“I’m staying with the woman,” Lacey said. “I’ll help her find her clothes.”
“Hardman, get the lead out,” Dagger bit out. “Don’t let him get to that boat.”
When Harper approached the edge of the bank, Hardman expected the man to slow down, but he didn’t. Hardman reached out, grabbing for his shoulder, but Harper leapt into the air then bumped on his naked ass down the side of the embankment.
“He’s over the edge,” Hardman said, skidding on his own backside over rocks and exposed roots.
“I see him,” Marti shouted.
Hardman heard a splash.
“Marti, don’t let those boats get away,” Dagger said. “It’s my credit card on the deposit!”
At the bottom of the embankment, Hardman pushed off the ground and ran behind Harper, who was nearing his beached skiff. Hardman would never catch the skip before he was inside it, so he unclipped the Spiderman bolo gun and aimed for the man’s thighs.
He struck Harper at the back of his knees just as he entered the water—and just as Marti jumped in front of him to prevent him getting into his boat.
The bolo deployed and wrapped around his knees. Harper fell forward—on top of Marti—and they both sank into the water.
Hardman rushed toward them and pulled on Harper’s shoulders.
Marti sat in the water and gulped in air with Harper still pinning her hips to the bottom of the river. “You did this on purpose!” she said, glaring at Hardman. “Get him off me.”
“Sorry, ma’am,” Matthew Harper said, sounding miserable. “But water’s so cold I can’t get it up anyway.”
Marti smacked his chest. “No one better have a camera!”
“Too late,” Dagger quipped.
Hardman glanced over his shoulders at Dagger who held out his iPhone. He was bent at the waist laughing.
Hardman wrapped an arm around Harper’s middle and lifted him off Marti who scooted backward then slowly stood. She looked down at her wet clothing and gear and her lips curled in disgust. When her gaze met Hardman’s, it narrowed. “Not a word. Ever.”
“I did tell you to stay with the boat,” he said, his tone cheerful.