Bestselling Author Delilah Devlin
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Wednesday, July 5th, 2023

I love writing my bounty hunters. They have the best adventures with criminals who could all compete for top honors in the Darwin Awards. I love finding out who my heroes are while they are in the midst of a new hunt. Jackson is no different. If you’ve enjoyed the stories so far, you’ll love this one, too. If you’d like a peek inside Jackson’s adventure, read on!


The games begin when a lone bounty hunter, who likes working alone, clashes with a cable TV showrunner who’s determined to make him a part of her show…

Long Excerpt from Jackson…

Jackson Black crept closer to the encampment, going to his belly as he neared the clearing where the group was partying. Light from a fire penetrated the foliage, giving him enough illumination that he could clearly see the occupants of the campsite.

Pulling his miniature binoculars from a pocket on his vest, he peered around the group ringing the open fire. They were all drinking beer and passing a blunt, person-to-person, around the loop. They were laughing, mostly looking droopy-eyed and chill. They made enough noise that it masked the sounds of him crawling toward their clearing.

Sweeping the group with his lenses, he paused when he found her. Christine Pollack. Mud-colored, curly hair cut chin-length. Pale eyes. Slim. Not bad-looking, just generally unkempt. She wore a tank top, cutoff jeans, and short hiking boots with slouchy socks. A tattoo of a spider’s web trailed from her right shoulder up the side of her neck. Another of a dragon snaked up her left thigh.

His target was seated on the ground between the spread knees of a male who sat on a camp stool. The male was scrawny but hard-faced. A long scar stretched from one eyebrow down his cheek and disappeared into his beard. He was the boyfriend Chrissy’s mother had described. The one who’d led her “down a fool’s path, straight to the devil.”

Jackson didn’t believe in devils or righteous paths—or following the rules. Certainly, neither Chrissy nor Nate Stritch liked following rules. However, they’d bent them until they’d broken, robbing a gas station outside Butte before joining this group of losers squatting inside the Bitterroot National Forest on the Montana side of the park.

What looked like a tiny deer was roasting on a spit over the fire. The scent of roasting meat and marijuana burning was what had given Jackson his first break of the day. After slipping a hundred to a friend of Chrissy’s who’d known they were heading toward the forest and getting the approximate area they’d be camped, he’d been looking for a needle in a haystack until he’d smelled the roasted meat and sagey weed.

Jackson had plenty of paper on Chrissy. How she’d been granted bail when she’d already had a date for another charge was beyond him. Nate, he’d leave for another day when the bondsman who’d handled his bail got really worried. Chrissy had a prior charge for taking a joyride in a stolen front loader. The two-time loser was worth more to him. Although getting them both would’ve been nice, he knew taking Chrissy, when he was working alone, was the smart thing to do.

He placed his binoculars back into his vest and then pulled out his camera to film the rest of the group. He was sure he’d see them again, and it was good to remember faces and the places folks like this thought were safe to hide out. Now, he just had to wait until she headed into the shadows to take a piss. He’d take her then.

Rustling sounded to his side, and he lowered his head, peering under the brush to see whether it was more of Chrissy’s friends or an animal approaching.

Instead, he caught the silhouette of a man and the glint of something shiny on his belt.

Fuck, had the law found them, too? Or was someone here to scoop his bounty out from under him?

He remained still, waiting to see what would unfold while keeping his eye on Chrissy because she was his target, and no one was getting to her first. He got to his knees, ready to spring into the clearing.

“Stand down,” came a whisper to his left.

Jackson swore softly and darted a glance toward a woman who placed a finger over her lips.

“We have them surrounded,” she said.

“Hunters?” he hissed.

She nodded.

More rustling sounded behind him, but he didn’t look back. His gaze went to his target. “Chrissy’s mine,” he said.

“We’ll see. Looks like there’s plenty to go around,” she said, her teeth flashing white from the shadows.

“When shit goes down, I’m heading for her.”

The woman blinked. “You hear that, Hard-man?” Then she smiled at Jackson. “She’s yours. Just don’t get in the way.”

“Are there more than two of you?” he asked.

“Four for the takedown,” she whispered. “Plus, some looky-loos. Sit tight. Cowboy’s going in.”

And that’s when he knew who the hunters were—and who the looky-loos likely were. And likely who the female hunter beside him was—Marti Mills of naked-body-shop fame. Fucking shit.

Suddenly, a tall figure strode into the clearing, and the men and women sitting around the fire shot to their feet. Chrissy’s gaze shot sideways, and Jackson put his knuckles in the dirt, leaning forward, ready to follow should she run.

“Name’s Cowboy,” the tall man said as he moved closer. He held out his hands. “Before you reach for any weapons, you might want to listen to what I have to say first.”

“Who the fuck are you?” Nate shouted, shoving Chrissy forward as he backed away a foot or two, his hand already sliding down his side to the scabbard strapped to his thigh.

“I’m a Fugitive Recovery Agent.”

“A what?” another man said, his thick dark eyebrows nearly meeting over his nose.

“A fucking bounty hunter,” another man said.

“I know you,” said yet another. “You’re one of those hunters out of Dead Horse.”

“Seeing as you know me,” Cowboy said, giving the man a hard smile, “you’ll know some of my friends, too. You’re gonna meet ’em all. We’ve got you surrounded.”

“The hell you do,” Nate said, backing up another foot and glancing behind him.

Chrissy darted another glance toward the side, and Jackson pushed up to his feet. The second she decided to run, he dashed into the clearing, unwilling to let her leave his sight.

Around him, coolers crashed while bodies fled in different directions. He didn’t care. The Dead Horse team could handle the rest. He wasn’t letting Chrissy go. He followed her into the darkness, catching glimpses of pale legs and a white tank, hearing her choppy breaths as she ran.

Behind him, he heard more footsteps in pursuit, but he wasn’t letting them get ahead of him. They weren’t touching his bounty.

“Don’t lose him,” a female’s voice said behind him.

Him? Were they thinking he’d lead them to Chrissy and then insert themselves between him and his quarry? “Like hell,” he muttered to himself.

Moonlight barely pierced the canopy above him, but Chrissy’s footsteps were slowing. She sounded winded and wouldn’t last much longer. He slowed his steps, ignoring the sounds behind him, all his focus on the woman ahead of him. He wanted to take her down but didn’t necessarily want to do her any harm. It was against his code to rough up a bounty even though, legally, he had more rights than cops to do so—or at least fewer consequences.

Ahead, he heard a cry and a dull thud. Likely, Chrissy had tripped and fallen. He slowed, whipped out his flashlight, and approached slowly.

She was lying on her belly, pushing up from the damp leaves and dirt, her hair looking wild with leaves and small branches sticking out around her head.

“Jesus…fuck,” she muttered breathlessly, and then her shoulders began shaking.

“Christine Pollack,” he said, keeping his voice calm as he approached, “I’m taking you to jail.” He moved the flashlight to his left hand and unsnapped his taser from his vest as he crouched a bit, ready to act but wanting to see whether she was ready to comply or would pull a weapon from a pocket of her cutoffs. He kept an ear tuned to whoever was behind him, but as long as they kept their distance and didn’t interfere, he’d ignore them.

“Why don’t you just walk away?” she said in a small, surprisingly girlish voice.

“Because I have a job to do, Chrissy,” he said, taking another step. “You blew off your date with the judge. I have to bring you in.”

“I didn’t do nothing,” she said, pushing up from the ground to her knees but not turning toward him. “I don’t deserve this.”

“The police would beg to differ, sweetheart,” he said, keeping his voice calm and hoping it worked to calm her nerves. Sometimes, you had to talk to a skip like they were a feral animal and hope you could get in close enough to put a collar on them for their own good.

“If you’re right,” he continued, “and you did nothing, you’ll get your chance to tell the judge what really happened.” Again, he stepped closer until he was only a foot away from her.

She jerked her head to look back at him. Tears streamed down her cheeks, leaving dirty tracks. “I didn’t rob that gas station. Nate did it.”

“That’s good to know,” he said, raising his flashlight high enough that she could see his face and hands, too. “But not why I’m here. It’s about that joyride you took in the front loader.”

Her eyebrows lowered. “I only borrowed it. Just for kicks. Leonard Marx, the son of the man who owns it, was there with me, but he ran off into the woods and lied when the police asked him about it. Said I lied. He’s just afraid his old man will kick his ass.”

“Sounds like you’ll have plenty to say to the judge. But right now, I need you to lie back down and put your hands behind you. I’m taking you in.”

Her gaze flickered over him. Likely, she thought she might be able to take him. Jackson knew his appearance didn’t intimidate. His body was trim rather than weighed down with bulky muscle. His hair was long, reaching his shoulders, and his mustache and goatee made him look more like a musician or artist rather than a bounty hunter. But she’d be underestimating his strength. Most skips did.

When her gaze flicked quickly to the side, a tell, he darted that way and took her to the ground before she had a chance to rush forward more than a step. Jackson dropped his taser and his flashlight and wrestled with the woman. Whether it was adrenaline, the drugs racing around her system, or just plain meanness, he didn’t know, but she surprised him, flipping him onto his back and then punching his face.

Jackson didn’t want to strike her back, and he certainly didn’t want to give the hunters hovering in the woods around him an excuse to intercede. He was not sharing this bounty. But he had to do something to take back control without harming her.

So, he wrapped his arms around her middle, trapping her arms at her sides, and pulled her against his chest.

“What are you doing?” she growled, wriggling inside his embrace.

“Waiting for you to give up,” he said calmly, a little grin playing at the sides of his mouth, although he grimaced when she pinched his side. When she leaned back her head and opened her mouth, he knew she intended to bite whatever she could reach, so he loosened one hand and pushed her head so that her cheek was smashed against his chest.

“Argh!” she shouted, still fighting, likely still thinking she could slip free, but when she figured out she still had her legs loose, he quickly looped one calf over the backs of her knees and kept her immobile.

All she could do now was jerk and wiggle. Her body was fiery hot from her exertions, and her breaths came quicker than when she’d been running. It wouldn’t be long now.

“Shhh,” he said, “easy. You’re not going anywhere, and I’m not gonna hurt you,” he crooned.

“Think he’s gonna hug her into submission?” came a lazy drawl.

“That’s a new move,” came an even lazier drawl.

He glanced in the direction of the voices and squinted as a bright light flashed in his eyes. The flashlight moved to reveal the face of the person who’d spoken, and he groaned. “You’re Chase Kudrow.”

Chase’s white teeth gleamed extra bright against his dark skin. “My partner Cowboy is here, too,” he said, swinging his light toward Cowboy, who raised an arm to keep from being blinded by the light.

Footsteps crunched on the forest floor, and more people moved in to encircle him on the ground—a man carrying a camera on his shoulder and a woman wearing headphones and grinning broadly.

“Ah shit,” he said and let his head drop to the ground.

“I hope like hell you’re another hunter,” the woman said. “That, or the park rangers making their way here now, might want to have a long conversation with you, too.”

“I’m a hunter,” he muttered. “I tracked Chrissy here.”

“We tracked you,” she said, her eyebrows jogging up and down.

“Since you made a beeline here to their campsite, we weren’t sure if you were with this bunch of losers or trackin’ ’em like we were,” Cowboy said.

“Do you need some help gettin’ up?” Chase asked. He held up his hands. “We’re not hornin’ in on your skip. We got Nate Stritch, so she’s yours, free and clear.”

Chrissy let out a deep breath and deflated like a balloon against his chest. “Shit.”

Chase held up a zip tie and raised his eyebrows.

“I’d appreciate it if you could help her up,” Jackson said, annoyed but resigned. When Chase and Cowboy zip-tied her wrists and hauled her up between them, he rolled to his knees and stood. He swatted at brambles and the dirt on his clothes, then gave the cameraman, who had yet to lower his device, a glare. “Did you follow me all the way here?”

“We’ve gotten really good at moving quietly through the woods,” a woman standing beside the cameraman said. She smiled and stepped closer, holding out a hand. “Rachel Cabot. I’m the showrunner for Bounty Hunters of the Northwest – We’re Dead Horse.”

Jackson frowned but shook her hand. “I’m Jackson Black.”

Her eyebrows shot up. “Jack Black? For real?”

“Jack-son,” he repeated, narrowing his eyes.

“Well, it’s very nice to meet you, Jack-son.” She gazed around at the other hunters. “Guess we should head back to the campsite. Fred, here,” she said, tilting her head toward the cameraman, “will be needed when the rangers arrive. There will be so much happening, it’ll take all of us to capture everything. This is so exciting.” She turned on a heel, flicked on a flashlight, and headed into the forest.

“You’re goin’ the wrong way,” Jackson called after her. When she turned back, he pointed in the opposite direction.

She laughed and turned around. “I don’t have the internal compass gene. I guess I’ll just follow you out so I don’t get lost.”

Jackson rolled his eyes and gave the other hunters a glare which had the two men grinning back at him. He paused to retrieve his taser, which he slid back into its holster on his vest, and his flashlight, which he tucked into a pocket.

When he stepped forward to take Chrissy’s elbow and then headed in the right direction, back toward the campsite, he heard Chase say, “Can’t wait for Cage to meet Jack Black.”

2 comments to “COMING NEXT TUESDAY! Read the opening of JACKSON!”

  1. kerry pruett
    · July 5th, 2023 at 4:50 pm · Link

    can’t wait to read Jackson. I sure wish that we could get each series in a set. Maybe one day.

  2. Delilah
    · July 5th, 2023 at 8:12 pm · Link

    As in a box set? It would be pretty darn big. 🙂

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