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Archive for 'action-adventure'



Have you pre-ordered your copy of TYSON’S MISSION?
Friday, April 19th, 2024

This book releases next Tuesday—and I can hardly wait for you to read it! The second wave of TEAM EAGLE guys are all there, as well as Gunn from Gunn’s Mission. There’s action, humor, romance, alpha-male yumminess, a kick-ass heroine—everything you’d expect from me and from a Brotherhood Protectors story!

Tyson’s Mission

Tyson's Mission

A former Navy SEAL is tapped to provide security for a team of archeologists working to uncover Mayan ruins deep in a Mexican jungle that a local drug cartel is targeting.

After surviving a catastrophic helicopter accident, former Navy SEAL Tyson Quigley is taking well to his new life with the Brotherhood Protectors in the Yellowstone, Montana, office. Life’s looking up. He’s working with old teammates and feeling stronger and more himself every day.

Then he gets a call from his university professor brother, who is worried about a colleague working on an archeological dig in southern Mexico. The team has had problems with thefts of equipment and supplies. Now, one of the dig team members has been kidnapped and held for ransom, but they quickly figure out the finger they were sent in the package demanding payment is from an already dead person. Now, they have no idea whether their team member is alive or dead and worry that the attacks on the site aren’t over. After a quick conference with his Brotherhood Protector teammates, Ty heads down to Mexico to pose as his brother’s friend’s boyfriend to provide her protection for the remainder of the dig.

Cara Woodward doesn’t need a babysitter. Sure, things have gotten scary since a team member was abducted, but she thinks having a bodyguard is overkill. Their sponsors are pulling the plug on the excavation due to the kidnapping, so they’re working furiously to close the site for the season. Tyson’s everywhere she is, and it’s getting on her nerves. His looming presence is distracting, to say the least. He’s too handsome, too intense.

As the dig team continues documenting their work before they pack up and leave, they suffer a series of attacks—this time, too close to Cara for Ty’s comfort. He’s locking her down, with no daylight between them for the duration.

Releases 4/23
Read an Excerpt

Pre-order now!
Order the paperback now!

MALCOLM releases tonight, but let’s not forget those who came before him… (Contest)
Monday, February 12th, 2024

UPDATE: The winner is…Jennifer Beyer!
*~*~*

Tonight, just after midnight, my latest Dead Horse, Montana, story releases! I can’t believe I’ve reached story #10! I’m thinking about what I want to do next, and yes, there will be a new group, along with some familiar faces who will be there initially to help set up the West Yellowstone office, and then off I’ll go again. Yellowstone will be my third bounty hunter series.

Just as a reminder of what you may have missed in this series, here’s the list…

Every MBH: Dead Horse, MT

Cage

Book #1
A former SEAL and MMA fighter, and now newly minted bounty hunter, has to hunt down his first skip…his ex-wife!
Read more about Cage!
***

Preacher

Book #2
An ex-Delta Force soldier, now Montana Bounty Hunter, finds himself slipping naturally into protector-mode when a small-town dessert chef is threatened by mysterious attacks.
Read more about Preacher!
***

Hardman

Book #3
This former SEAL thought BUD/S training was the challenge of a lifetime until he faced his biggest challenge, teaching a woman who’d never learned trust to trust in them…
Read more about Hardman!
***

Chase (Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT Book 4)

Book #4
The happily single owner of the only liquor store in Dead Horse, MT needs the biggest, baddest man around, and a certain former Green Beret seems made to order…
Read more about Chase!
***

Cowboy

Book #5
A lonely, bounty-hunting cowboy looking for one last great adventure may have found it in a girl with serious curves…
Read more about Cowboy!
***

Eli (Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT Book 6)

Book #6
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.
Read more about Eli!
***

Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse

Book #7
An ex-Special Forces bounty hunter has to find a way to repair his friendship with the agency’s prickly tech guru while not falling in love with her…
Read more about Gabriel!
***

Mica

Book #8
An ex-Special Forces bounty hunter, who likes working alone, accepts the challenge of teaching a feisty young woman how to hunt…
Read more about Mica!
***

Jackson

Book #9
The games begin when a bounty hunter, who likes working alone, clashes with a cable TV showrunner who’s determined to make him a part of her show…
Read more about Jackson!
***

Malcolm

Book #10
Two fiercely independent bounty hunters, newly hired by the Montana Bounty Hunters, must learn to trust each other’s abilities as they work together to bring in a dangerous skip.
Read more about Malcolm!

Contest

For a chance to win your choice of one of the stories listed above, let me know whether you’d like to see one more MBH: Dead Horse, MT, story. If so, should it be a Christmas story, including all our hunters? Or should it be an entirely new hunter’s story?

Coming Next Tuesday — Pre-order Malcolm Now! (Contest & Excerpt)
Friday, February 9th, 2024

UPDATE: The winner is…Katherine Horvath!
*~*~*

I hate running up to a deadline and losing sleep over whether I’ll get to “The End” of a book on time, but it happens more often than I’d like. I finished yesterday! Not today, so I actually had a day to spare. That’s only because I looked at today’s forecast and saw a bunch of rain and thunderstorms heading our way, and I was worried about there being a power outage in the middle of my run to the finish line! There’s nothing like adrenaline to fuel the race to the finish. 🙂

Anyway, I made it. The book is locked in. If you pre-order the bitch, er, book, you’ll have it sometime late Monday night.

I love my bounty hunters in Dead Horse, Montana. I’m not sure, but Malcolm may be the last unless I miss my cast of characters so much that I have to revisit them. That could definitely happen. For sure, we’ll see them now and then popping in to help out at the new MBH office in West Yellowstone. I like my MONTANA bounty hunters but after Yellowstone…? I may have to rebrand and set up an office in Wyoming or Texas or somewhere else I can build myself a crazy little town like Dead Horse. It’s been a ride. The one bright spot is that I do have my We Are Dead Horse, MT series to satisfy my need to see more of Nadine (my crotchety waitress in the Dead Man Walk-in Diner).

You can “meet” the hero, Malcolm, here.  It’s a fun excerpt at the opening of the story. Below, I’ve included an excerpt that showcases my heroine, who’s also a bounty hunter. The book talks about the new office in Yellowstone that they’re getting ready to open. You also get hints about who might be hired to join them. Their first hire is someone who’s appeared in a couple of the Dead Horse stories.

Malcolm

MONTANA BOUNTY HUNTERS: DEAD HORSE, MT
Authentic Men… Real Adventures…

Two fiercely independent bounty hunters, newly hired by the Montana Bounty Hunters, must learn to trust each other’s abilities as they work together to bring in a dangerous skip.

Former SEAL Malcolm Winslow was looking for a change. He’s been bounty hunting on his own since leaving the teams and has missed the camaraderie of fellow warriors, so he accepts a job with the Montana Bounty Hunters. His first hunt takes a turn when the MBH team discovers that another lone hunter has found their target first. Not wanting to infringe, they stand by just in case their competition needs help.

Darleen Crockett has things well in hand. Sure, she’s alone, without a weapon (because where would she hide it in her skimpy outfit?), and the skip she’s determined to take down is one mean MF, but Darleen likes to ride that dangerous edge between victory and disaster. She’s an admitted adrenaline junkie.

When her skip attacks, she has things well in hand but is suddenly rescued by a rugged, tattooed man who makes her heart pitter-patter. What’s up with that? She’s quickly recruited by Malcolm’s agency and finds herself on the biggest hunt of her career. Denying her attraction to her temporary new partner isn’t possible when they spend so many hours alone, but what she doesn’t expect is finding something more with the equally footloose and independent Malcolm. Things get thorny between them when Malcolm can’t seem to get past the fact she’s a woman to trust that she can handle herself.

When the agency prepares to track an old adversary preparing to flee justice, Malcolm and Darleen are quickly folded into the team heading to Lander, Wyoming, to find their dangerous skip.

Pre-order your copy here!

 

Excerpt from Malcolm

Our heroine, Darleen, is inside an isolated cabin with her target, his girlfriend, and the skip’s best friend, waiting for the right moment to take Cameron Kitchens into custody. She saw someone peek into the window and suspects another hunter is trying to scoop (steal) her skip…

“Where you goin’?” Cam growled.

“Too much beer,” she said, rubbing her belly. “Thought I’d use your bathroom.”

He grunted but sat back in his chair, his glare moving to Paulie.

She crossed the kitchen to the bedroom and beyond it to the bathroom. Once inside, she turned on the faucet to mask the sound of her sliding up the small window. Then she climbed on the toilet and went headfirst out of the window, breaking her fall with her hands. When she stood and shook leaves from her hair, she found herself staring into the dark, curious eyes of none other than Chase Kudrow. She’d have known him anywhere because she’d laughed herself silly at his and Cowboy’s antics whenever she’d had time to catch their cable TV show.

She groaned softly as he raised a single eyebrow.

“Our little hunter snuck out the window,” he whispered, no doubt signaling to the bearded man she’d seen in the window.

She leaned close to speak into his earpiece. “I snuck out because some knucklehead let himself be seen. I came out here to tell you guys to back off.”

Chase chuckled softly. “We’re just here in case you need us. Cameron Kitchens has a short temper and hard fists.”

“You think I can’t handle him?”

Chase looked her up and down. “Just where are you hiding your piece, sweetheart?”

“I’m heading to my car to get it now,” she said. “I’ll stash it close by.”

Chase bent, pushed up the leg of his jeans, then slid a small handgun from a holster he had strapped to his ankle. “You don’t have time now. How long do you think you have before he gets curious about why it’s taking you so long to pee?” Chase froze, tilted his head, and his eyes narrowed. “Malcolm says Kitchens just headed to the bedroom. You’re about to be busted.” His eyebrows rose. “You want our help?”

She grimaced. “Have your Malcolm go through the front door after you boost me back inside.”

He gave her a nod. “You hear that, Malcolm?” he said as he bent and cupped his hands together. When she stepped onto his laced fingers, he lifted her easily to the windowsill, and she climbed back inside, turned off the water, and stuffed the gun into the waistband of her shorts at her back.

When she swung open the door, Cam rushed her, one hand going to her throat and the other gripping her hip. “Why the hell are you really here?”

She wrinkled her nose and stretched her neck. “Let go, and I’ll tell you, asshole.”

Beyond the bathroom, a loud crash sounded from the living room, and heavy footsteps thudded inside. The cavalry had arrived, and none too soon. Still, she wasn’t going to let them get her skip. She might have to share the bounty, but Cameron Kitchens was hers.

With his hand tightening on her throat, her vision was narrowing. She reached behind her for the weapon tucked into her waistband, then shoved the nozzle against his side.

He froze for a moment, and his eyes narrowed to terrifying slits like he was pondering whether he could outlast her or whether she’d have the guts to pull the trigger.

But the pounding through the living room was getting louder and closer. He snarled, released her throat and hip, and raised his hands a second before a large, bearded man, Malcolm, she assumed, threw an arm around his neck and torso and dragged him into the bedroom.

She tried to tell him she already had it handled, but her throat wasn’t cooperating. She couldn’t get out more than a croak. So, she waved her handgun, or rather Chase’s, just so he’d know she hadn’t been defenseless.

Malcolm shook his head and took Cameron to the ground with a heavy whomp that shook the floorboards. Then he drove a fist into the man’s side. “You don’t choke ladies.”

“She ain’t a fucking lady,” Cam said, his voice tight and little breathless.

Darleen had to admit that seeing the big guy with his knee on Cameron’s ass after he’d flipped him to get his wrists into cuffs was a satisfying sight.

Contest

Comment for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card. Let me know if you’ve read any of my Montana Bounty Hunter stories, and whether you’d like to read more stories set in West Yellowstone, Montana!

Sometimes, a minor character steals the show… (Contest)
Tuesday, July 18th, 2023

UPDATE: The winner is…flchen!
*~*~*

Have you ever read a book where a minor character just steals the scene? I love when it happens, but then I can’t seem to let that character fade into the background.

In my latest release, Jackson, that character was a skip Jackson was hunting named Chrissy Pollack. She featured in the first scene, and I had so much fun with her that I wrote her into another scene where the actual heroine grows more than a little irritated with her. I liked her ballsy attitude so much I’m still thinking about her.

Let me share some snippets from the book, so maybe you’ll get why I love her so much…

Chrissy excerpts…

#1 This is where we first meet her. Jackson tracked her into the woods where’s she partying with friends. The MBH hunters are there, too.

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.

*~*~*

#2 This is after Chrissy is brought back to the campsite. She just can’t help being “Chrissy.”

“Catch that all on film, did you?” he murmured.

“We did. We’re pretty good at keeping out of the way when takedowns are underway.”

“Too bad,” he said.

“Why’s that?” she asked, blinking at him while trying to maintain her smile despite his indifference.

“Because you won’t be able to use the footage. I’m not signing a waiver.”

“Oh, but you don’t understand. We’d pay you for the rights.”

He shook his head. “Don’t care. Not signing.”

Rachel’s smile slipped. “We’d pay you for tonight’s footage, plus royalties if your clip is used for the sho—”

“Uh-huh. Not interested.”

Rachel drew a deep breath. While she’d love to have this wrapped up with a pretty bow right now, she knew when to back off. Right now, he was likely still a bit angry over the fact the Dead Horse hunters had tracked him to find their skip. Hunters could be territorial. The fact they’d followed him so easily likely stung his pride a bit. She reached into a pocket of her hiking vest and drew out a card. “If you change your mind, you can email or call me here.”

He took the card without looking at it and tucked it into a vest pocket.

She cleared her throat and gave him a pointed stare. “Do you have a card?” His dead-eye glare didn’t intimidate her. She gave him a steady look of her own.

“Pushy much?” Chrissy said from her seat on a camp stool.

When Rachel glanced down at her, the woman gave her a toothy grin. “Don’t think he’s interested.”

Rachel felt heat fill her cheeks.

“At least I’ll have his faithful attention all the way to jail,” the woman said, giving Rachel a wink.

There were many things Rachel could’ve said, but she wasn’t getting into a pissing match with a woman who, an hour ago, had been crying on the forest floor with twigs in her hair.

*~*~*

#3 The last one I’ll share, although I haven’t shared ALL of Chrissy’s antics, is after her attempted escape from Jackson’s custody. Rachel has finagled her way into the front seat of his SUV using some pretty underhanded tactics. Chrissy is restrained in the back seat. 

Rachel had an epic headache.

It didn’t help that Chrissy sat in the back seat singing Chris Isaak’s “Baby did a bad bad thing” from the moment they left the rest stop. The fact that the woman’s voice was really pretty good irritated her even more.

Good Lord, what had she done? She’d blackmailed a man into signing a contract. Okay, so he hadn’t actually signed it yet, but she had him by the shorthairs. Fuck. She was a professional showrunner. What would the network say if they got wind of this? She’d be toast. She’d never ever work again.

She drew a deep breath and pinched the bridge of her nose. As soon as they got rid of the demon in the backseat, she’d apologize to Jackson. As much as she wanted his footage, she wasn’t this person.

Why had she done it? Why had it given her such a rush?

“Baby did a bad bad—”

“Yeah, yeah,” she said, aiming a glare over her shoulder at the woman whose cuffs were attached to a chain in the floorboard. “Got another song?”

When Chrissy began “Sweet but Psycho” by Ava Max, Rachel groaned.

Beside her, Jackson’s lips pursed.

Was he laughing at her?

*~*~*

Chrissy even managed to get a mention in the last chapter of the book—again, because I couldn’t let her go.

My question to you is whether Chrissy deserves her own Dead Horse or MBH story? Answer for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift certificate! If you’ve read Jackson, do you have any suggestions for what she might get up to?

My latest MONTANA BOUNTY HUNTERS: DEAD HORSE, MT — JACKSON is out now! FREE in KU!!
Tuesday, July 11th, 2023

I’m so excited! If you pre-ordered Jackson, you should already have it! It’s a fun, sexy read, and you’ll see the other hunters and folks from around Dead Horse “peopling” the story, too. I love writing in this world. I hope you enjoy their latest adventure. If you have the time and the inclination, please leave a review!

MONTANA BOUNTY HUNTERS:
DEAD HORSE, MT
Authentic Men… Real Adventures…

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

Jackson Black’s life is just fine. He is free to work when he wants, as much as he wants. He has the freedom of the open road, nothing and nobody weighing him down—until he crosses paths with a group of bounty hunters deep in a national forest, who are trying to steal his skip from under him. Worse, the hunters have a film crew with them, led by a woman who won’t take no when he refuses to sign a contract for the use of the footage her crew has filmed. After giving her his firm no thank you, he loads his skip into his vehicle and drives away.

Rachel Cabot didn’t get where she is, the showrunner for her network’s two highest-rated cable shows, without being committed to her job. She’ll do whatever it takes. If it means following Jackson Brown then catching him on tape doing something sketchy to “convince” him to do what she wants, so be it. However, she suffers immediate remorse and decides to apologize to Jackson but can never find the right moment to do so. What she doesn’t know is that Jackson has turned the tables on her.

When Jackson is invited to join the hunters on a high-value takedown, with Rachel’s crew accompanying them, their personal stakes just get higher.

Get your copy now!
Word Search Puzzle: Jackson (Contest)
Thursday, July 6th, 2023

UPDATE: The winner is…BN!
*~*~*

Jackson I haven’t been this close to a deadline in forever, but here I am, typing my little fingers to the bone this week to make sure Jackson is ready to load tomorrow afternoon! Wish me luck! I’ll be sprinting to the finish!

It’s a good thing I’m having fun with the story or this would be torture. My hero and heroine, Jackson and Rachel, have been a joy to “get inside.” And whoo-ee, the story’s hot!

I thought it might be fun for you to get ready for the release next Tuesday, too. So, as part of my countdown, here’s a puzzle with some words related to the story. I’m a word nerd and love crosswords and word searches. If you’re anything like me, these little challenges are a great way to keep your mind sharp. Calisthenics for the brain! (I’m using a lot of exclamation points so I can “use them all up” before I head back into the story. 🙂 )

Word Search Puzzle: Jackson

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon GC, let me know whether you’ve read some of my bounty hunter stories, and where you might like to see hunters hunt in the future! Do you have any ideas for adventures? Have fun!

COMING NEXT TUESDAY! Read the opening of JACKSON!
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!

Jackson

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. Read the rest of this entry »