Title: My Brother’s Sins
Author: C.B. Clark
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Tag line: A perilous mission of danger and desire sends them into the clutches of a ruthless killer.
Ryan Marshall’s kid brother had always been trouble. Now, his brother wants Ryan, ex-DEA agent, to protect the woman he loves from a notorious, Mexican drug cartel.
The second Ryan lays eyes on Hallie Harkins, he knows he’s made a mistake. Hallie’s blonde beauty and stubborn grit tempt him like no woman ever has. It’s all he can do to keep his hands off her…and his heart intact.
Hallie’s worst fears are realized when the man she expects to meet, vanishes. In his place, a disturbingly attractive stranger appears, claiming he’s been sent to protect her. Can she trust him? Or is he working with her pursuers?
Following an attempt on Hallie’s life, she and Ryan join forces, embarking on a perilous mission of danger and desire taking them from rural Montana to the sunny shores of Acapulco Bay, and into the clutches of a ruthless killer.
Will they survive the mission together and find love in each other’s arms?
Ryan Marshall shoved open the battered door of the Rusty Nail Bar ’n Grill in Antler Springs, Montana, and stepped into a wall of odor reeking of sweat, stale beer and the sweet tang of marijuana. He squinted in the smoke-filled gloom, searching the shadows. Payday on a Saturday night, and a crowd jammed the only bar in the town of 362 residents. Every ranch hand and oil well roughneck in the county was doing his best to spend his paycheck on booze and losing at pool.
On the far side of the crowded room, a band played off-key country music on a rickety stage. A couple swayed on the tiny dance floor, their bodies welded together. Drunken male admirers, hoping to get lucky, surrounded the few women in the bar like packs of hungry wolves.
He studied the women and sighed. She wasn’t one of them. Well, he’d tried. He’d already spent too much time on this fool’s errand. He shook his head and turned to leave, when the crowd shifted. Even if Geordie hadn’t described her, he knew she was the one.
She sat alone at a small, round, green plastic laminated table amid the drunken revelers. Her thick fall of golden hair gleamed under the flickering lights, a perfect complement to the creamy paleness of her skin. She perched on the edge of her seat, her body strung tight, her gaze swinging to the door each time someone entered the noisy bar.
His gut tightened, and he blew out a breath. No wonder Geordie was so taken with her.
A burly cowboy swaggered over to her. Staggering, the man leaned close and spoke.
Ryan was too far away to hear what was said, but a reluctant grin of admiration tugged at his mouth when the cowboy’s ruddy complexion turned bright red and he scuttled away, a hangdog expression on his blunt features.
The blonde lifted her glass, her full red lips pursing as she drank.
He swallowed, his mouth arid dry.
She turned toward him, and their gazes met. Cool blue eyes assessed him.
He sucked in a gulp of air. Easy, boy.She’s offlimits. Man, was she off limits. The thought acted like a splash of cold water, and he jerked away. She was trouble. He didn’t doubt it for a minute, but he’d promised Geordie, and he intended to fulfill his promise no matter what. Taking a deep breath, he shouldered his way through the crowd toward her. “Excuse me, ma’am.”
Her mouth tightened. “Get lost, cowboy,” she said, her gaze fixed on her drink. “I’m not interested.”
“No need to be rude, lady. I only want to talk.”
“Nice, but I don’t want to talk to you.”
Who the hell did she think she was brushing him off as if he were a pesky mosquito? He’d spent a lot of time looking for her. Too much time. Time he didn’t have, not with so much work waiting for him at the ranch; especially now since his foreman had up and quit on him leaving him shorthanded with a thousand acres of land and six hundred head of Black Angus cattle.
He turned away, but he recalled the fear in Geordie’s voice as he’d begged him to help her, and he blew out a breath. Who was he kidding? He’d promised. Tonight’s adventure was as simple and as complicated as keeping a promise. Her studied nonchalance didn’t fool him for a minute.
Her hand trembled, her drink almost spilling when she lifted her glass.
She was afraid. Of what?
He glanced around the crowded room. Countless pairs of hungry, male eyes were fixed on her. With her snug blue blouse, tight white jeans, and ripe beauty, she was a prime target for any male with any sense, and especially those without any.
As if to prove the truth to his thoughts, a heavy-set, bearded man, who wore a ball cap with the words “Truckers Make the Best Lovers” written across the stained, peaked front, drained his drink, stood and ambled over.
Without thinking what he was doing, Ryan stepped forward and placed his body between the man and his target.
The trucker glared at Ryan through bleary, red-veined eyes and puffed out his already considerable stomach.
Ryan held his ground, fixing him with a steely look. “The lady doesn’t want company,” he said.
The man cursed, spit a gob of yellow phlegm on the beer-stained floor, and slowly retreated to his seat.
Ryan wasn’t surprised the burly trucker had backed down. He was a good three inches taller, and the other man’s weight was all in his belly. He glanced at the blonde and caught her watching him. He gulped, his breath caught in his throat as if she’d sucker punched him. If he had any brains, he’d walk, hell, he’d run away. But his father had always told him he hadn’t the sense he’d been born with, and so, he turned and strode back to her side. “All right. Enough games. We need to talk.”
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