If you didn’t already know, I’m fast at work on my next Montana Bounty Hunter story, Mica. It’s scheduled for release on February 28th.
I’m having fun with the story, I hope you will too. Naturally, we meet our hero in the middle of a takedown of a skip. I love dropping my heroes and heroines in the middle of the action. Action scenes fly by fast, and there are so many things that can go wrong. I hope you enjoy meeting Mica. He hasn’t met his love interest yet, but she will make a big impression. 🙂
Be sure to get to the end of this post. I have a big ole list of contests you still have time to enter!
Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, Montana — Mica
MONTANA BOUNTY HUNTERS:
DEAD HORSE, MT Authentic Men… Real Adventures…
Mica Ford wasn’t one to hold grudges. At least not these days. Grudges required fury and bile, and he’d had his fill of pointless anger and heartburn.
However, he was beginning to get a bit perturbed by the crew of bounty hunters working out of an office in Dead Horse, Montana. This was the third time they’d crept into one of his stakeouts. Twice now, he’d had to withdraw from a takedown and let them score his target. There were just too many of them, and again, he hadn’t wanted a dustup, wasn’t looking for a fight. But this time, he’d be damned if he let them scoop a third bounty right from under his nose.
This time, his target was one Norman P. Rudd. The bounty was high enough that Mica could live off the proceeds for a good four months. According to the bail bond company’s description, Norman had failed to appear before the judge to begin his trial for numerous charges stemming from an incident where Norman had gone “postal” on a neighbor whose political campaign posters didn’t share his flavor of affiliation.
Norman hadn’t stopped at simply pulling up the neighbor’s signs and burning them in a bonfire in the middle of the man’s front yard. No, he’d taken a tree branch, set the end on fire, and then torched his neighbor’s house and RV and then set wood he’d stacked beside a propane tank on fire. The explosion from the tank had rattled and broken windows throughout the neighborhood, including Norman’s. Even before the firetrucks and police arrived, the neighbor had pulled in front of his house, jumped out of his pickup, and the two men had entered into a brawl. The neighbor had been horrified by the damage to his home and belongings, but worse, his favorite blue tick hound had been locked inside the house when it was set on fire.
The house and RV? Mica wouldn’t have bothered to do more than shake his head and collect the insurance—belongings didn’t matter much, and you couldn’t take them with you when you left this world, but he could understand someone goin’ loco over the murder of a four-legged best friend. For that alone, Norman was a piece of shit who deserved to spend the rest of his days in jail. However, since he’d lost his mind and fired up his neighbor’s property, Norman had proven himself to be a bit smarter, evading police and bounty hunters while hiding out in the Absaroka Range. Mica couldn’t guess his intentions, but he suspected Norman thought he could hopscotch through mountains and forests to hide out there for a while until he lost some weight and grew a beard—something to disguise his ugly, memorable features. His mistake had been coming in for a night to shower and sleep in a soft bed.
Mica had tracked him to a motel in Belgrade, Montana. The night manager had just confirmed that someone of Norman’s broad build had indeed rented a room at the end of the building. He’d asked for menus from restaurants that offered delivery, then he’d kept quiet, not budging from his room.
Mica had already walked the perimeter of the building and tried peeking into the room, but the curtains were pulled closed and the frosted glaze on the bathroom window behind the building didn’t allow him to make out anything other than the fact there was a light turned on inside the room.
Before he could bust in the door, he had to know that Norman was inside. So, he’d hunkered down in his truck, waiting for his break, hoping Norman ordered food before the last restaurant closed for the night.
He watched through his tinted windows as another SUV and a truck pulled into the lot. He groaned when he saw the female hunter, Marti of naked-body-shop-video fame, enter the motel office. When she’d come out, she’d scanned the parking lot, and her gaze had locked on his vehicle.
So, she knew someone else was on Norman’s trail. Mica snorted. They might have the advantage of more hunters to enter the chase, but he had the better vantage, parked right in front of Norman’s room while they had to park farther down the row.
A small compact sedan entered the lot. It had a lighted sign on top of it, advertising Papa Ralph’s Pizza. So, Norman wasn’t starting his diet anytime soon. The sedan moved slowly down the row of parking spaces, then stopped right behind Mica’s vehicle. A car door slammed, and a lanky teenager ran toward the door, carrying an insulated pizza delivery bag that looked like it held two pizza boxes. Mica partially lowered his driver’s side window so he could listen as he watched the kid knock on the motel room door.
The lights inside doused. The kid stiffened and backed away a step, his head turning side to side like he was unsure of his safety. Read the rest of this entry »
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Sometimes a hero and heroine chatter in a writer’s ear. I’ve had several over the course of my career who won’t go away once their story is written. Emmy from vampire series was talkative for many years and insisted on being included in nearly every story in that series. Lacey Jones from my original Montana Bounty Hunters series is my latest muse. When we first meet her in Dagger, we’re sure she seems flighty and vain, but as you get to know her, there’s more to this ditzy blonde than meets the eye.
For the next few days, I’ve dropped the price of Dagger because I want you to meet Lacey. I think you’ll love her! It’s a $3 savings, so be sure to get your copy now! As well, I have the first book, Reaper, available for the permanent sale price of $0.99!
Daniel “Dagger” Renfrew had been a lot of things—an Army Ranger, until he’d mouthed off one too many times to his CO and decided mustering out was better for his long-term aspirations than spending time in Leavenworth; a Seattle beat cop, until he’d gotten bored spending his nights sitting in a squad car in front of corner gas stations; a PI, until he’d informed the wife of the man who’d hired him that hubby was looking for the goods to violate their pre-nup, so she better sue for divorce first; and now, a bounty hunter, which, so far, suited his ADD proclivities. And, in his job, he didn’t look for the easy takedowns. He liked lying in mud or snow with his binoculars trained on a window, hoping for a glimpse of the dirtbag whose mugshot he carried in his hip pocket. If they were badasses—all the better. Dagger preferred when assholes tried to run, because then he’d have an excuse to mix it up, get physical, and blow off steam in an all-out brawl—when the situation warranted, of course.
However, he hadn’t had a job like that in a while. So, in his off-hours, he looked for cheap thrills—sweet-talking easy women out of their clothes or taking repo jobs from the local car dealership.
This morning, he was “reacquiring” a 2014 silver Nissan Altima with a fluffy steering wheel and pom-poms hanging from the rear-view mirror. After verifying the make and model, he strolled as nonchalantly as a man in black tactical pants and boots and a black GORE-TEX jacket could toward the vehicle parked in a condo driveway. Once past the driveway, he ducked low, out of sight of the bay windows in the front of the unit, and sidled up to the Nissan, close enough he could dart up, clear snow from the front windshield, and read the VIN number etched into the corner of the dashboard. After checking with the VIN in the cryptic text message from the dealership’s finance department, he ducked again and reached into his pocket for the key fob he’d picked up from Stuey Higginbotham, who’d called him about the job. He pressed the button, wincing when he accidently hit it twice, beeping the car alarm loud enough a dog in the distance began barking.
So now, stealth was out the door. Dagger cussed, hoping the woman who owned the car didn’t have a boyfriend with a shotgun beside the bed. He straightened, opened the car door, and shoved a small suitcase from the front seat to the passenger side and slid quickly into the car. Not a good move, because the woman who drove the car was obviously short, and his knees banged the dash as he felt for the sliding button to move back the seat and lower it. Seconds ticked by, and he riveted his gaze on the condo’s front door.
A curtain shifted in the window next to the door. A woman’s face, framed by something, maybe a towel, peered through the glass.
“Sorry, sweetheart.” He grinned and punched the ignition.
The door slammed open.
He pushed the gear shift into reverse, but not before he noted she wore a bathrobe that parted as she ran down the front steps, exposing well-toned legs clothed in skin-tight black leggings. Brown and cream polka dots spotted her face in a pattern. Her large blue eyes delivered a glacier glare.
Something about her…
His eyes narrowed, and his foot remained on the brake a second too long.
She slapped the hood of the car then came up beside the driver’s side window, her hands clapping against the glass. “No, you don’t, you bastard. That’s my car!”
He took a second. The towel around her head masked her long blonde hair. The creamy polka dots distracted from her lovely cheekbones and stubborn chin, but those eyes and those legs…? He hit the button to lower the window. He knew the moment she recognized him.
Her jaw sagged. “Dag? What the hell are you doing in my car?”
“Not your car anymore, Cupcake.”
She rolled her eyes. “Don’t call me that. And what do you mean it’s not my car?”
“It’s the dealership’s. Or the finance company’s. Don’t care which.”
“But it’s my car, Dag. You can’t take my car.” Her eyes widened.
Dag saw the shimmer of tears. But he knew that tactic. Knew how often she’d gotten out of speeding tickets and detention hall throughout high school, just flashing those big baby blues and adding a chin wobble that made most men turn to mush.
The wobble started.
At the sight, he nearly groaned. “Take it up with Stuey at Higginbotham Used Cars.”
Her hands fisted on her hips. “And just how the hell am I supposed to get there?”
He shrugged. “Not my problem.” He broke from her glare and adjusted the rearview mirror, any excuse to avoid looking at the woman who’d been the Prom Queen to his Prom King. Back then, they’d had the world at their feet.
She clutched the edge of his window in a white-knuckled grip. “Stop, you can’t leave without me. I have to talk to Stuey. Give me a minute to change.”
“No can do. I have to drop off the car then head to the day job.”
Her eyebrows rose. “This is your side gig?”
Giving a shrug, he let his foot off the brake, and the car inched backward. “Have to go, Lace.”
Her hands curled into fists, and she ran around the front of the car, circling to the passenger-side door.
Afraid he’d run over her pretty heeled boots, he stopped. She tugged on the door handle, but he stared through the glass, schooling his expression, careful not to give her a clue what he was thinking. Certainly not the fact he was enjoying the heck out of seeing her this rattled.
Again, she tried the handle, and then slapped the glass. “Let me inside!”
Maybe she saw that he wasn’t giving an inch. Again, she ran—this time to the back of the car. She spread her arms wide and leaned over the trunk, her tiny frame so short only the top of her face appeared in the rear window.
Exasperated now, Dagger glanced around the quiet street. Doors were opening.
This post is just a shout-out to my loyal readers so you know what’s in the works. I love all the covers here, especially this one for Guarding Hannah, which will be my next new release! I’ve had a blast working with a special authors group inside my sister Elle James’s Brotherhood Protectors world. I’ve written Defending Evangeline and Victoria’s Six. Next up is Guarding Hannah! It’s part of the special Team Wolf series. Check out all the stories in that short series here: Team Wolf.
Let me know what you think of this lineup!
Guarding Hannah Book #2 of Brotherhood Protectors, Team Wolf Coming October 18
Nate “The Edge” Edgerton prefers dogs to humans, like Pierce, the retired war dog who saved his life in Afghanistan, because he prizes loyalty above all else. He trusts his team and his dog but has learned to be cautious trusting women. After Pierce rushes to the rescue of a nature photographer being threatened by wolf poachers, Nate earns his first assignment as a Brotherhood Protector. He’ll keep her safe but keeping his heart secure will prove to be the hardest part of the job.
Hannah Mackey, a nature photographer tracking wolves, photographs poachers in the act of killing a wolf and she’s a second away from being shot herself when a large black dog rushes to her rescue, followed by a very handsome and angry man.
When Nate brings her to the Brotherhood Protectors, she’s dismayed that they’re insistent on providing her protection from retaliation by the well-organized poachers, especially when they assign Nate as her protector. She has a job to do, and she’s not going to let the threat from a criminal gang stop her from doing it. She also doesn’t need the big, brooding man following her around. His dog, she’ll take, but Nate? Hell, no. Been there, burned the wedding dress.
My dd complained when making this little meme for me. She said there are too many covers. “It’s crowded.” Like that’s a bad thing. 🤷
My problem is…and I don’t consider it a problem…is that I don’t want to leave Dead Horse, MT. I don’t want to leave behind my team or the townspeople. I did that with the Bear Lodge hunters, but also found ways to bring them into this series, because I don’t want to let go. I’ll have to admit, I’ve never had so much fun writing a series. So much so, that I’m trying to figure out ways to stay in Dead Horse, MT, even after I’ve completely filled the agency with hunters. Proof? Hard Knox will be a spin-off, featuring the townsfolk!
And it’s not like I had the Dead Horse hunters’ stories planned out ahead of time. No master plan. I just wrote, and as characters popped up, I had my next hero. Not so with the next stories I’ll be writing, Mica and Jackson. With those two, I’m starting with just these images. I don’t know how they’ll meet and join my merry band of bounty hunters. Not yet, anyway.
I hope you enjoy reading about Eli falling in love and finding his “fated mate”. Yes, it’s a contemporary romance, but sometimes, a guy really does have just one woman who can reach inside his chest and squeeze the hell out of his heart. Eli finds her in this story.
I’m six books into this series, and I’m still having a blast writing about bounty hunters, but, as I’ve said before, the secret has been making sure I have unique characters every time. No cookie cutters. This time around, my hero is a very reserved man. Someone accustomed to experiencing life at a distance. He’s a former sniper for the SEALs and has closed off his emotions and his ability to connect with the people around him. That is, until he meets his perfect match—a fiercely independent sheriff’s deputy, who with the arch of an eyebrow and a direct, unwavering stare captures his attention. He’s the first “silver fox” of the series, so I enjoyed that aspect as well. In the meantime, there are lots of sexy times, lots of funny shit happening, and of course, we have the Dead Horse crew and townsfolk to add dimension to the excitement.
I hope you enjoy reading about my silver fox! And if you have time, I’d really appreciate it if you’d leave a review. Reviews aren’t for me, they’re for other readers who need to know about your experience with the story. I can say it’s sexy and fun, but readers believe other readers.
An ex-SEAL sniper, who has spent his life experiencing everything from a distance, finds his self-imposed solitude challenged by the one woman in the world who might have been made just for him.
Eli Pope left the SEALs when he feared that he was losing his humanity. Now, he’s the latest new hire at the Dead Horse branch of the Montana Bounty Hunters. However, working with the tight-knit hunters hasn’t broken through his reserve. He’s still the man on the outside looking in.
Then a chance meeting with Sheriff’s Deputy Kira Ennis sets him on a new path, leaving him hopeful for a brighter future. She’s unlike any woman he’s ever met—independent, smart, brave, and strong in her own right. He begins to believe that she’s the one person in the world meant to end his loneliness, but he hesitates, wondering if it’s right to pursue her when she’s so much younger than he is.
UPDATE: The winners are…Delaine, Elaine Swinney, and Margaret!
Another update! Delaine has all the MBH books, so she’s passing the win to Sue Payton!
I love my Montana Bounty Hunters. I really try hard to make each of them individual rather than cookie-cutter characters with different names. I also love to dream up unique takedowns for your reading pleasure and to showcase who these men are. One of my favorite scenes was “Animal chasing the bear”, which is part of the Montana Bounty Hunters’ cable TV series lore now. You know what I mean if you’ve read the books! Anyway, I’m sharing that scene today. It’s not long. Enjoy!
MONTANA BOUNTY HUNTERS: Authentic Men… Real Adventures…
A rough-around-the-edges bounty hunter takes a nature photographer on a wild ride.
Former SEAL, Russell “Animal” Hathcoat, retreated to a remote mountain cabin after leaving the Navy. Haunted by horrific images that replay in his nightmares of his last mission with his SEAL brothers, he intends to renovate the dilapidated cabin as penance and therapy, and to avoid rejoining the world around him. But then, someone who understands what he needs better than he does arrives to offer him a job.
Allie Travers loves the freedom and solitude of being a nature photographer and journalist—until the day she stares through her lens at a charging black bear. With her heart in her throat, she can only stand watching in horror, knowing she’ll never escape in time. But rescue comes in the form of a wild man who risks his life to frighten away the animal.
Once the danger is past, she’s told by his team of bounty hunters that she has more to fear than any animal in the woods. A felon is on the loose, and she has to accompany them to safety. Seeing an opportunity, Allie shadows the team as they hunt their prey deep in a national forest. Much to Animal’s dismay, more than just his protective instincts are aroused by the pretty photojournalist.
Are you all caught up reading the Montana Bounty Hunters?
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What profession other than bounty hunters would you like to see in future Montana Bounty Hunters—Dead Horse branch, and beyond—stories?
Here are all the Bear Lodge Montana Bounty Hunters!
The moment Taco lowered his nose to the ground, following Tibbets’s trail from the camper’s metal steps, they’d realized the man had headed straight into the woods, afoot, rather than driving out.
They’d left Dagger, Lacey, and Cochise behind to watch for any movement in town, and to keep an eye out for any of his relatives who looked ready to head north with supplies to help him out. The rest of the team members grabbed their gear from their vehicles and began tracking Tibbets into Flathead National Forest.
Animal didn’t mind the rough conditions. He was accustomed to long marches and sleeping on the ground. None of the hunters, even Carly Stenberg, complained about the conditions, even after they’d endured a chilly rain the previous day. They’d dried their clothes beside a fire last night, reasonably assured they were still a day’s hike from catching up to Tibbets. Conversation had flowed around him, but he hadn’t felt the need to try to contribute.
This was a tight, well-trained crew, and they knew each other well. But they seemed to understand he wasn’t the chatty type. He rather liked the fact they let him be.
They came to the edge of the woods. A large meadow stretched before them, mountains in the background. The meadow was broken on one side by ridges of exposed rock.
“We got company,” Reaper said quietly. They all held back, remaining hidden in the brush. Reaper lifted an arm and pointed.
Animal pulled out his tactical telescope and followed Reaper’s direction, at last spotting a slender figure standing beside an outcropping. Not their mark. A woman. She stood in front of a tripod and peered into a camera. She had wheat-colored hair drawn back into a messy braid. She wore a red plaid shirt and a khaki vest over blue jeans and boots.
Suddenly, she jerked back her head, giving him a glimpse of her profile. Her eyebrows were lowered, her mouth dropping as she stared down the hill.
He turned his telescope toward whatever had caught her attention and immediately understood her concern.
A baby black bear ambled into the clearing, heading upward toward her location.
“Where’s mama?” he whispered.
As though answering his question, a loud bellow sounded from the forest farther down the tree line. A large bear ran out, huffing and bellowing, heading toward the woman.
He didn’t have even a millisecond to think through a better plan. Animal dumped his pack and ran into the clearing, tearing at his shirt. When he’d ripped off the buttons down the front, he flapped the edges, trying to make himself look bigger. “Ha! Ha!” he yelled as loud as he could to draw the bear’s attention away from the woman.
Mama bear bounced on her front paws and spun toward him.
“Don’t shoot unless you have to!” Animal tossed over his shoulder to Reaper.
“Don’t get in my line of fire!” Reaper shouted back.
“Don’t shoot her!” the woman screamed.
“You shut up!” Animal yelled, still running, still flapping. Didn’t she realize he was trying to draw the bear’s attention away from her?
The bear’s head moved from Animal, to Reaper behind him, and again to the woman, likely trying to decide who was the biggest danger to her cub.
Animal roared and flapped and moved a little closer.
The baby bear squalled and changed direction, running for his mama.
Just when Animal feared the bear would charge, she spun and ran into the woods, her cub running right behind her.
Animal halted, breathing hard. He gave another flap of his shirt. “Ha! Ha!” he shouted, hoping she’d been startled bad enough not to turn around.
Then he heard a whirring sound, coming from up the rise. He turned his head toward the woman. The sound came from her camera. Animal gave her a fierce glare then began to stalk up the rise.
When he reached her, she straightened and flashed him a wide smile. “Thanks for that. Thought for a second there I was going to be lunch.”
“What the hell!” he bellowed, anger shot through him. Didn’t she have a clue how close to being “lunch” he’d been, trying to rescue her? And all she’d thought about was taking her damn pictures?
Her eyebrows shot upward, and she stood still.
Behind him, he heard more of his team stomping up the hill. He should have turned and walked away. Should have let Reaper handle getting her packed up and off the mountain. Away from him.
Instead, anger vibrated through him. He glanced at the gear strewn around her feet. “Who the hell comes out to the wilderness without a goddamn gun?”
“The only shots I plan to take are with my camera,” she said icily, lifting her chin.
He ground his teeth as his face heated.
“Wish I’d been shooting video though,” she said. “The footage would’ve gone viral. Do you chase bears often?”