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Tonight, just after midnight… LITTLE GREEN DREAMS!
Monday, December 11th, 2023

Tonight, my story releases! I’m excited. I hope you all love it. It’s as close to me and where I live as a story can be. The characters are fun and quirky—as they should be. Gurdon’s just down the road, and my father’s family has deep roots there.

Anyway, I hope you pick up a copy. If you like my sense of humor, you should enjoy this book. I’m crossing my fingers you love it. 🙂

A tabloid reporter seeks the truth behind an alien abduction claim made by a woman whose husband disappeared, although the truth may destroy his chances to woo her beautiful daughter…

Pre-order your copy!

Excerpt from Little Green Dreams

Here’s when Sandy realizes Joe’s there as a reporter. She’s sitting at his table in the diner where she works, watching him eat pie. Loy and Coy Nolan are locals and enjoy watching Sandy and Joe’s instant attraction…

Joe Franchetti… With her back to the two Nolans, Sandy tried his name out on her lips while Joe’s attention returned to his pie. Joe Franchetti… The name sounded as dark and exotic as the man looked.

Her gaze flicked over his bent head with avid attraction. Perhaps it was pre-programmed in her DNA, but something about his darkness captivated her. Deep, olive complexion. Dreamy, brown eyes. Dark, wavy, close-cropped hair. Even the hairs on his broad, long-fingered hands and arms fascinated her.

Her eyes crept to the collar of his shirt and the black hair that sprang from the open neck, then journeyed up the strong column of his throat to the wide, firm jaw speckled with the shadow of his afternoon beard.

Definitely not from around here. Too bad he was only passing through.

She wondered at her fascination. Perhaps it was the hint of mystery surrounding him, an air of something dangerous and starkly male. Or maybe she was just bored. But right now, looking at him was a joy. She shivered deliciously.

“You comin’ down with somethin’, Sandy?”

“I’m just fine, Coy, but thanks for askin’,” Sandy said, irritation making her voice a little sharp. That nosy man had probably counted the seconds she’d stared shamelessly at Joe.

With a sigh, Joe pushed away his plate. He looked up and seemed surprised to find her staring, then his gaze shifted beyond her shoulder. The two Nolans must have been staring, too.

Sandy cringed. He must think he’s so far back in the sticks that we don’t have a television to watch for entertainment.

“Sandy, did you know Joe here’s a writer?”

A writer? She stiffened, suspicion pushing away all the melty, mushy feelings she’d had. Sandy’s glance whipped to Joe.

His eyes shuttered. “I’m a science writer,” he said a little too quickly for her liking.

“Oh, yeah?” She folded her arms across her chest. “Which publication?”

“Scientific American,” he countered, not missing a beat. He was a slick operator if she ever saw one.

“See there, Sandy? A patriotic boy,” Coy said.

“He’s here to write an article about the Light,” Loy interjected cheerfully.

“And you just happened to stop at Dee’s Diner as soon as you hit town?” Eyes narrowed, she waited to see whether he’d squirm.

“Dee’s pies are famous,” Coy reminded her.

Sandy’s gaze didn’t waver—she was as patient as a cat waiting for a mouse to show itself. Only Joe Franchetti was a larger, more dangerous sort of rodent. “He’d never even heard about them.”

“Really,” Joe said, raising one hand in the air. “The pie was great.”

Sandy couldn’t help thinking God would strike him dead if he went any further with this charade.

He shrugged and gave her a boyishly sheepish grin. “I’ve been assigned to look into the history and folklore surrounding The Gurdon Light.”

She didn’t believe him for a minute. His handsome face and flirty ways had been trained on her ever since he’d stepped into the diner. “And is there one particular theory that you’re more interested in?” she asked, knowing her tone was downright belligerent but not giving a damn.

“Ah, Sandy, give the man a break,” the younger Loy chided. “Aren’t you bein’ a little hyper-sensitive?”

She shot him a scowl. “Hyper-what? You shouldn’t use such big words, Loy. You’ll get a headache.”

Coy gave a suspicious cough. “Sandy, maybe it’s fate—kismet.”

She looked over her shoulder to glare at Coy. “Kismet, my a—”

“Now, now,” Coy said. “Don’t go losin’ that temper of yours.”

Joe removed a twenty from his wallet and laid it on the table. “Keep the change. Look, I can see you aren’t happy with my being here.” He scooted across the vinyl bench, preparing to leave. “If I could get those directions to the bed and breakfast, I’ll be out of your hair.”

“Find your own damn bed,” she said, glaring. Reporters didn’t deserve civility.

Joe raised an eyebrow, but the corners of his sexy mouth quirked. The man was amused by her rage. Grrr.

“Now, hush up, Sandy,” Coy said, his words clipped. “Or I’ll tell your mother how rude you’ve been to a stranger to our town.” He smiled at Joe. “I better draw you a map, Joe. I’ll walk out with you.”

Sandy kept her face averted as Coy slid from his seat. A knot of tension built in her belly. She hated acting like a bitch with anyone. That Coy had felt the need to dress her down made her ashamed.

“I appreciate it, Coy,” Joe said. “Well, it was nice meeting you folks.”

She snorted.

Then, the slithering snake had the gall to include her in the smile he flashed.

Sandy jutted her chin higher and bristled when he chuckled.

“Nice meetin’ you, Joe,” Loy chimed in. “I’ll be seein’ you around. I can point you to the folks you need to talk to about that Light.”

“That’s very kind of you, Loy. I’ll see you soon, Sandy,” Joe said the last softly and then walked away.

Damn, if his voice saying her name didn’t make her toes curl.

“Ooo-wee!” Loy howled once the two men exited the restaurant. “I can see the steam risin’ from your ears. I’m thinkin’ you have an admirer, Sandy-girl.”

Sandy swatted him on the shoulder. “Do us both a favor—don’t think!”

Loy laughed. “I’m outta here. Say goodbye to Dee.”

Sandy stood, starch in her backbone, and began to clear the dishes from the two tables. She refused to give Joe Franchetti the benefit of a single glance as he left the parking lot. Strange, but she knew he was staring at her through the glass. Why else would her clothes suddenly feel tight and her skin flushed?

Of all the rotten luck. Sandy knew just about every man around Clark County, and not a single one had ever left her breathless with just a smile.

Sandy had been pleased when Joe’s gaze had lingered as she’d waited on his table. Her gullibility angered her. At least now, she understood the danger in the air. She just wished she’d used a little more caution and paid attention to the niggling suspicion at the back of her mind.

She’d have to give Joe Franchetti a wide berth, however handsome and fascinating he was—and that was going to be nigh on impossible to do now.

She could just kick herself for suggesting Oralia’s place. All he’d done was smile, and she’d looked into those doe-brown eyes and melted into a puddle of goo. When he’d mentioned needing a hotel, her first instinct had been to blurt out Oralia’s Bed and Breakfast.

The thought raised her temper another notch as she stomped over to the sink with the dishes. That reporter had seduced her with his shiny hair and shiny teeth.

He’d even felt her up when she’d brought him Dee’s special pie—gliding his big, hairy fingers along her arm, making her think how delicious it would feel for his hand to glide along her skin…well, elsewhere. And he’d done it right there in front of God and the two Nolans!

In a heartbeat, Sandra’s anger turned to panic. Sending Joe Franchetti to Oralia’s was a big mistake because her mother was at home—right next door. She had to keep a distance between the two of them. There was no telling what her mother might say.

The last time she’d spoken to a reporter, he’d made her look like a nut. And worse, he’d cast suspicion on her over Bobby’s disappearance.

Pushing through the kitchen door, she spied Dee glossing the tops of a batch of fried pies with a stick of butter.

“Dee, I have to leave early.” Sandra reached for her purse hanging on a hook beside the bathroom. “Something’s come up.”

“It wouldn’t have anything to do with that young man who was just here, would it?” Dee’s eyes teased. “I saw him. Had to get myself a look at whatever had your cheeks glowin’ like ripe peaches. Don’t say as I blame you; he’s a mighty handsome man.”

“I didn’t notice.” Never good at lying, she felt her cheeks burn. “I need to check on Mama,” Sandy said, pretending disinterest while searching her purse for her keys.

“Of course you do.” Dee grinned. “Say hello to Amelia for me.”

“I will. Thanks, Dee. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Sandy hurried to her car, muttering to herself. “Great. Why couldn’t I have a normal mother? Why couldn’t she just be waiting for the Lord to call her home? No, not my mama. She’s waitin’ for a phone call from E.T.”

Word Search: LITTLE GREEN DREAMS Story Elements (Contest)
Tuesday, November 21st, 2023

UPDATE: The winner is…Beth!

I can’t wait to share the story I just finished writing!

It’s one of those projects of the heart that writers seldom get to do. I’d put it on my schedule so many times, but knowing what actually sells had me pushing it aside year after year. This year, I used my determination to complete the NaNoWriMo challenge to finish the darn story.

I hope you’ll read it. It was soooo much fun to write, and it made me cry at the end. If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy, just click on the cover! It’s a cute cover, right?

Little Green Dreams

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, solve the puzzle then tell me which of these LGD story elements I listed for the puzzle intrigues you!

I have a cover!
Friday, November 17th, 2023

Pre-order here!

My daughter found the image, and I love it! And yes, it doesn’t look like any other cover I have, and I guess that’s the point. This story isn’t about an ex-military man keen to protect a woman. It’s about a reporter going after a story, who happens to fall for a small-town girl who’s trying to protect her crazy mother. And it’s a setting and a legend I’m well-familiar with while I’m poking fun at it and twisting it all out of recognition. So, while you might think this cover makes it look like it’s out of the 1950s or 60s, it’s quirky enough to suit the story.

So, tell me, does this cover catch your eye?

Thursday, November 16th, 2023

UPDATE: The winner is…Pansy Petal!

I’m busy working on a book this NaNoWriMo! It’s one I’ve been wanting to write for forever. Seriously. I shaped the opening of the story back in 2002—twenty-one years ago, and those first chapters were sent to many, many writer’s contests, and gained awards, but something happened that pushed this project to the back of the line—I got published. And then I got published again, and again, and again.

I learned what I could write that would sell, and every time I saw Little Green Dreams in my “Future Projects” folder, I’d sigh because I knew (know) it would be a hard sale.

So, why now? I love this story for a whole lot of reasons I’ll try to explain here.

#1 — It’s the only story I’ve set in Arkansas, where I currently live, and where I spent my high school and college years.

#2 — My father, who passed in 2019, led me down the train tracks in his hometown of Gurdon, Arkansas, so that I could get “the lay of the land” when I wrote about the Gurdon Light. He was delighted I thought the legend was “worthy” of a book.

#3 — Many of the characters I write about in the story are modelled after real people I’ve met. If you read the story, you may think I’ve written some over-the-top characters, but yes, they’re that funny and odd.

#4 — It’s a story that’s hard to pin into one genre. It’s contemporary, a romantic comedy, and it’s both a sci-fi and paranormal tale. So, there!

Despite all the reasons I know I should concentrate on something you’ll be eager to read, I’m stubbornly, finally, writing this story—a strange little homage to my roots and my dad.

Little Green Dreams

Little Green Dreams

Still no official cover, but I’m working on it!

Sometimes, Joe Franchetti hates his job at the National Informer, especially when he’s sent on assignment to cover a story involving aliens from another world. When he is sent to investigate the story of a woman in rural Arkansas who claims her husband was abducted by aliens, he vows to debunk her story, no matter how much the truth might hurt her attractive daughter.

Sandra Billingsley has a problem. Her stepfather is missing, and her mother is the prime suspect in his disappearance. In addition to protecting her eccentric mother from a possible murder investigation, now she must contend with a national tabloid reporter set on exposing her mother as a murderess or a madwoman.

While the investigation turns up more suspects and the local townspeople scheme to profit from the “alien invasion”, Joe and Sandra work together to unravel the mystery, knowing their attraction is doomed to end in pain when the truth is revealed.

Pre-order your copy now!
Read an excerpt here!


I’m a huge fan of Sci-Fi movies and TV. My favorites include ALL THE STAR TREKS, Arrival, Aliens, Farscape, and Firefly.

For a chance to win your choice of story from among my backlisted books, tell me which science fictions movies or television shows you would recommend!

Upcoming Books! Ready for Pre-Order Now!
Thursday, November 2nd, 2023

Little Green Dreams

Little Green Dreams

(I don’t have the final cover yet!)

Coming December 19th!

Sometimes, Joe Franchetti hates his job at the National Informer. Especially, when he’s sent on assignment to cover a UFO story. When he is sent to investigate the story of a woman in rural Arkansas who claims her husband was abducted by aliens, he vows to debunk her story, no matter how much the truth might hurt her attractive daughter.

Sandra Billingsley has a problem. Her stepfather is missing and her mother is the prime suspect in his disappearance. In addition to protecting her eccentric mother from a possible murder investigation, now she must contend with a national tabloid reporter set on exposing her mother as a murderess or a madwoman.

While the investigation turns up more suspects and the local townspeople scheme to profit from the “alien invasion”, Joe and Sandra work together to unravel the mystery, knowing their attraction is doomed to end in pain when the truth is revealed.

Pre-order now!


Malcolm (Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT Book 10)

Coming January 16th!

I know very little about what’s going to happen in Malcolm’s book, but I do know things are shaking up in the Dead Horse office. Some folks are moving to Yellowstone soon, so Malcolm will be a newer addition to backfill the Dead Horse agency. What happens after that? Who knows? I won’t until I put my fingers on the keys, but you know it’s going to be fun!

Pre-order now!

What Happens in Bozeman

What Happens in Bozeman

Coming February 20th!

All I know about this story is that it takes place in Bozeman, Montana, in the middle of a snowstorm, when two people, who never expect to see each other again, go for it. Only, they see each all too soon back in Dead Horse, MT. He’s the fireman daddy of a kid in her brand-new classroom…

Pre-order now!

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?

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. Read the rest of this entry »