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 »
Last year wasn’t my most prolific writing year—that’s for sure. However, I did have several releases. Some were re-edited, re-released titles (the Dark Realm stories), but most were new series books, including two Brotherhood Protectors books! Today, I just wanted to provide the list and release dates of the titles in case you missed one. If you’re interested in one of the stories, click on the covers to check them out!
01/07/22 – AFTER DARK, Dark Realm series, short story
01/25/22 – ELI, Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT series
02/15/22 – HUNK OF BURNING LOVE, Cowboys on the Edge, short story
03/22/22 – NO TENDER MERCY, Texas Vampires series
04/26/22 – DARK SEDUCTION, Dark Realm series
06/21/22 – VICTORIA’S SIX, Brotherhood Protectors: Colorado series
07/26/22 – GABRIEL, Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT series
08/12/22 – WHAT A WOLF WANTS, Dark Realm series, short story,
10/11/22 – GUARDING HANNAH, Brotherhood Protectors: Team Wolf series
2022 Short Stories
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell whether you’ve read any of these stories or which titles might interest you now! Easy, right?
I have lots of bad habits. I’m sure you do, too. The one that causes me the most stress is the one where I think I have to conquer one mountain at a time. By that, I mean if I have a huge edit job, I have to work through it to the exclusion of writing. Which causes me to go down to the wire when it comes to finishing a book. I wrote Guarding Hannah in a ridiculously short time. Yeah, I’m really happy with the story. In fact, I think it’s one of the best I’ve ever written, but that isn’t the point. I need to destress, not run on adrenaline.
That’s my big goal this year. Destress the work. Get little bites done in an orderly fashion as I march toward completion. I know how to do this. I was a program manager in a past life. I used to work on multiple story projects at one time using some advanced planning techniques, but I’m not going for that now. I don’t want to write MORE. I want to write in such a way that I have time to devote to something that gives me greater joy—like painting.
Yes, doodling things like these makes me happy.
I want more time to sit with paint and paper. I want more time to take some classes and learn how to do it well. I feel like I did when I started writing—I want to know everything, try everything, right now! Not that I’m looking to make it another gig for money. I just want to explore an artistic path for passion’s sake.
But to get there, I have to rope in my chaotic work habits. I’ve begun this year anew. So far, so good. I’m making progress on my new story, Mica, and I’m working on a set of edits I’ll finish this week. In the meantime, I’ve been painting in the evenings and organizing my studio space (does that ever end?). I’ll get there…in incremental steps rather than putting all my energy into fits of activity. That’s so exhausting, isn’t it?
So, I’d love to give away one of these postcards. Winner’s choice. Tell me what bad habit you’d like to tackle this year.
I’m still working on the big plan, but I’m pretty sure about the stories I’m aiming to release this next year.
A few you already know about:
From Montana Bounty Hunters, Mica, which is set to release on February 28 and Jackson on June 16.
Then there are also a couple I’ll write for a new connected series, We are Dead Horse, MT: Hard Knox, which I hope to release in March, and Cold Hard Cash, set to release April 25.
Then there are some I don’t have covers or titles for yet, but I know you’ll be there when I do get them up, two new group-related projects in my sister’s Brotherhood Protectors world to join my previous efforts:
Beyond these? I’m not sure. I have a romantic comedy I started years ago that I’d like to finish called Little Green Dreams, and it’s about, you guessed it, aliens. Maybe another Cowboys on the Edge series story. We’ll see how ambitious I get. This year I slowed way down so far as the number of titles I released. I may not have published a ton of stories, but I’m very happy with the ones I did, so there’s that.
I need to light a fire under my butt. Or have someone give it swift kick every now and then to “motivate” me.
As for other promises? I’ll try to figure out some more fun things to do here on this blog. More guests, more contests, more puzzles? More free reads? A serialized story? More behind the scenes of a writer’s life? You tell me what you’d like to see here and be entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card!
UPDATE: The winners are…Jennifer Beyer, Debra Guyette, and ButtonsMom2003!
I love my Montana Bounty Hunters. I’ve said it before, but I 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 the sexiest characters I’ve written is Cochise.
MONTANA BOUNTY HUNTERS: Authentic Men… Real Adventures…
Former Army sniper, Cochise Mercier, left Denver SWAT under a cloud of controversy, which was why he ended up back home in Montana, and where he heard about the Montana Bounty Hunters. The “cloud” didn’t seem to bother his new boss, so he’s “all in” and finding he enjoys hunting down fugitives for bounties, encumbered by fewer rules.
Sammy McCallister is a by-the-book sheriff’s deputy, who has a beef with bounty hunters. Forced to stand by with her gun in her holster, while hunters take down scumbags, she’s particularly irked by the new guy in town. Cochise, with his long black hair and thousand-yard-stare, makes her uncomfortable, itchy in ways she’s never felt before. When she finds herself needing his help late one night, the reason for her irritation becomes all too clear. She wants him. But first, they have to make it out of the mountains alive…
Are you all caught up reading the original Montana Bounty Hunters series?
For a chance to win a download of one of the stories you may have missed
(I’ll pick three winners!), tell me this: What profession other than bounty hunters would you like to see in my Montana Bounty Hunters—Dead Horse branch, and beyond—stories?
Here are all the Bear Lodge Montana Bounty Hunters! Yes, it’s an old meme and Brian’s been out a while, but do you really care? 🙂
Cochise Mercier, the new hire at Montana Bounty Hunters, took a deep breath to force his heart to slow its pace. A trick he’d learned as an Army sniper to make sure a jerking breath didn’t mess up a shot. The trick worked in most situations when he needed his mind to slow and for his focus to home in on a target or a situation. Clearing his mind meant he was able to take in more of what was happening around him and enabled him to discard the things that weren’t important—like the way the wind beat a tree branch against the side of the house, a steady thump that sounded almost like clomping footsteps. Instead, he concentrated on the way the light, beaming through the tall arched windows at the front of the house, flickered whenever his target paced left or right, telling him where their mark was. An important fact, because in minutes, he’d have to breach the oak front door and be ready to take him down—with his weapon or his body, depending on whether Randy Pinter was armed. A fact Cochise would have to ascertain in a split second.
“Can’t see any movement in the back rooms,” came Jamie Burke’s voice through his earpiece. “I think he’s alone.”
He still wasn’t used to hearing a woman’s voice on the comms. He’d never had a female as part of any of his missions on the ground with the Army, and Denver’s SWAT had, at the time, been all male. That voice interrupted his calm. His instinct was to protect women and children, but she was a part of this team—and his boss—so again, he drew a deep breath, pushed aside his concern, and concentrated on his target. Pinter was pacing in front of the window to the right of the front door.
“Girlfriend’s car isn’t in the garage,” came Sky Reynold’s deep voice. “Must have gone for takeout. I’m moving around to the front.”
“Deputies just arrived,” Lacey Jones’s too perky voice sounded. “I’ll go brief them about what’s about to go down. Make sure they know we have the owner’s permission to be here.”
Cochise could hear the excitement in her higher pitch. Thank God, she was back at the road with the vehicles. The thought of her cotton-candy sweetness being anywhere near Pinter made him shudder. The girl might have qualified with her weapon and might be doing well with her self-defense classes, but she had no real experience going head-on with bad dudes. He didn’t want to be around the first time she was truly tested.
“You call it, Cochise,” Jamie said.
With his heart as slow as when he slept, he felt the familiar ice-water chill flow over him. “Ready,” he whispered and then stepped away from the bushes beside the porch. “Moving toward the door… On three. One…two…three.”
He pounded three times on the door. “Federal Recovery Agent! Get down on the floor!”
Then, just as they’d rehearsed, Sky popped up, used a short cudgel to break the right front window, and tossed a flashbang grenade through the opening he’d made.
Cochise turned his back and crouched beside the door. A split second later, he heard the explosion and a muffled shout. He stood and swung the battering ram against the thick front door. The frame around the door splintered. He tossed the ram and kicked the thick oak, waiting as it slammed forward against dark wood flooring. Then pulling his weapon from its holster, he stepped onto the door into the foyer. Read the rest of this entry »
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, let me know who your weekend book boyfriend will be!
If you haven’t already chosen your boyfriend, here’s a suggestion. 🙂
(This book is available for only $0.99 for a limited time only!)
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.
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.