RISKY RESEARCH SERIES by Kim McMahill
Title: A Dose of Danger (Risky Research Series Book 1)
Author: Kim McMahill
Genre: Suspense/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Pelican Book Group https://www.PelicanBookGroup.com
Book Series Trailer:
When researcher Grace Talbot and her team discover a possible solution for weight loss they are targeted by a group dedicated to controlling a diet product industry worth billions. Her unsanctioned testing methods bring tragedy to the family ranch and the attention of the local sheriff’s deputy. With her colleagues either dead, missing, or on the run she soon realizes she must trust the deputy with her life, but can she trust him with her heart?
The unmistakable haze of smoke filled the valley below. Snow covered the ground and weighed heavily on the pine boughs lining the highway, ruling out a forest fire as the source of the dark billows. The old rancher rolled down his window, despite the bitter cold, and inhaled deeply. The air smelled of fire, destruction, and death.
With the last switchback navigated, he shifted up and pressed the accelerator down as far as he dared while driving on icy roads. He tried not to let his imagination get the best of him, but couldn’t help but fear the worst. Someone, maybe even him, was suffering a loss.
As he approached the turnoff to his ranch, he realized immediately the nightmare was indeed his. Gunning the one-ton’s motor, he churned down the snow-covered dirt lane at such a rate of speed he didn’t even notice the fresh set of tire tracks cutting through the white powder — new tracks, since he’d left for town just hours before.
The large truck skidded to a stop. The rancher leapt out and raced toward the burning building, praying there were no animals inside. The real terror came as he realized his ranch manager was nowhere in sight. Hoses remained coiled up, hanging on a fence post, not connected to the spigot, as would be expected if anyone were attempting to control the blaze.
Flames and smoke poured out of the second-story loft, sucking the oxygen out of the air as he approached the now fully engulfed building. Grasping the handle on one of the barn doors, he yanked back with all his might. It didn’t budge. He could hear the crashing of timbers collapsing onto the floor and the crackling and popping of fire eating away the interior of the building. Throwing his shoulder into the solid wood, he could feel the intense heat through the door and his heavy winter coat.
The situation made no sense. The large double doors had no lock, and could, in fact, swing inward or outward. Glancing at the ranch manager’s house, he prayed his longtime friend and employee was sleeping through the chaos, but he knew better. If the startled cry of hens harassed by raccoons in the middle of the night could stir him, the fire would have drawn him out instantly.
Yelling at the top of his lungs, the old man got no response, but inhaled a choking dose of smoke in the process. He doubled over as he tried to expel the smoke from his lungs and gather his strength. His eyes burned, and his lungs ached as he backed up, giving himself a running start. He threw his body against the door, but the strong timbers held fast. After several more attempts to break through, he realized the futility in his efforts. As the heat, flames, and smoke intensified, he knew he had to act quickly. If anyone were inside, it might already be too late.
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Kim McMahill grew up in Wyoming which is where she developed her sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. She started out writing non-fiction, but her passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew her into a world of romantic suspense and adventure fiction. Along with writing novels Kim has also published over eighty travel and geographic articles, and contributed to a travel story anthology. She has had the opportunity to live in Hawaii, New Mexico, South Dakota, Iowa, and Colorado, but has finally returned home to Wyoming. When not writing she enjoys gardening, traveling, hiking, puzzles, games, and spending time with family.
Social Media Links:
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Title: A Taste of Tragedy (book 2)
Morgan Hunter sacrificed everything for her career. She had yet to encounter anything she wasn’t willing to do to succeed...until now. When she uncovers evidence that the healthy foods she’s been hired to promote may be dangerous she must reevaluate her priorities. As questions mount and the body count rises, she finds herself caught in the crosshairs of an organization that will stop at nothing to hide its secrets and protect its profits. With no one else to trust, Morgan is forced to seek help from the man she drove away, but whom she never stopped loving.
“Here, let me help you,” Morgan said as she draped Devyn’s arm around her shoulders.
Morgan tried to relieve as much weight as she could from Devyn as she helped her hobble to the waiting vehicle. Once Devyn was seated in the cramped back seat, Morgan dug out her emergency supply bag. She handed Devyn a blanket and a bottle of water. “I have a first aid kit, but I think you need something a little more than a bandage.”
“It’s just a few scratches. I’ll live.”
Morgan could see why Nick trusted Devyn with his back. As she looked at the battered and bruised woman, who had taken off into the desert in the middle of the night in bare feet to prevent a criminal from getting away, she had to admire her. Devyn had to be in extreme pain, yet not a complaint escaped her lips.
“Make room in the back,” Nick huffed.
Morgan looked up to see Nick trudging toward her with an inert man slung over his shoulder. She raced to the tiny back cargo area and moved a few items around so Nick could squeeze the body in the vehicle.
“Is he dead?” Morgan whispered.
“Not quite, but we need to get him medical help A.S.A.P. The bullet didn’t hit any vital organs, but I’m not sure how much damage he suffered from the knock to the head.”
Morgan watched as Nick set the man down in the vehicle, and then she joined Devyn in the back seat. Turning around and kneeling, she was able to lean over the seat and assess his injuries. She folded up a handkerchief and placed it over the gunshot wound and applied pressure. She wasn’t sure which was bleeding more, the bullet hole or the bump and cut to the head, but she had to try and slow the blood loss any way she could.
“That’s all we can do for now,” Nick said. “Just keep the pressure on the best you can.”
Morgan nodded as Nick secured the back and then got behind the wheel.
“You okay?” Nick asked as he turned to face Devyn.
“I’ve had better days, but sadly, I’ve had worse.”
Title: A Foundation of Fear (book 3)
FBI Special Agent Devyn Nash is obsessed with taking down Coterie, a deadly group out to control the multi-billion-dollar diet product industry. The FBI’s plan to expose Coterie places Devyn’s best friend and her partner’s fiancé in the crosshairs of this ruthless organization. Can Devyn protect her friend and bring the coldblooded killers to justice before they strike again while distracted by injury, a sexist bully, and a long-distance relationship with a handsome Wyoming sheriff?
Lobbyist and Coterie assassin Sofia Wilks wants nothing more than to regain control of her life. Sofia knows Agent Nash is nipping at her heels, but the FBI agent isn’t the worst of her fears. She is drawn to a man who has the power to destroy her.
Focused on her fumbling attempt to reinsert the earbud to get the music flowing, she almost collided with the person who stepped out of the brush hugging the trail. She tried to dodge the man, whom she was certain by his attire was the same one she had been following earlier, but he grabbed her upper arm and yanked her toward him. She dropped her earbud and cell phone as pain shot toward her wrist. She struggled to think clearly, knowing she needed a plan, but the fear of dying pushed all ideas from her mind.
He spun her around so her back was pressed tight against his hard chest. With one of his arms firmly across her neck, she couldn’t see his face. The increasing pressure on her windpipe made it difficult to breathe or to scream out for help.
She tried to kick backward at his shin, but he was too close for her to inflict much damage, and the futile attempts only made her lose her balance. Squirming and struggling, she tried to pry his arm away from her throat with her free hand, but his grip was like a vise.
His stranglehold tightened. Desperation and lack of oxygen clouded her thoughts. A vision flashed through her mind of all the things she had yet to do and all the people who would miss her, encouraging her to keep fighting to free herself from the man. She didn’t want to die. Not this way. Not in the prime of her life.
She scratched frantically at his bare skin, but doubted her stubby fingernails were doing any damage to his thick-muscled bicep. The attack didn’t seem like an opportunistic random act of violence. Her assailant clearly knew what he was doing. He held her in a position that limited her options at self-defense, and his arm across her throat made it impossible to scream for help or plead for her life. If she did manage to get away, she had yet to see his face, so would be unable to identify him.
The more she fought, the more her strength waned. As darkness threatened to overtake her, the sensation of being dragged off of the paved pathway pushed its way into her barely conscious mind. She vaguely registered the need for a weapon. Her vision blurred. She reached for a low hanging tree branch. Her hand missed its target, and all went black.
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Title: A Measure of Madness (book 4)
FBI agent Devyn Nash's pursuit of a deadly organization heats up in this fourth installment of the Risky Research series.
The FBI locates the mastermind behind Coterie, but attempts to bring him in result in a shootout that sends Coterie’s members scrambling for cover. When Devyn’s partner is left fighting for his life in a Puerto Rican hospital, she becomes more determined than ever to bring them to justice.
Devyn’s decision to ignore her orders and pursue the head of Coterie to Brazil puts her job and her relationship with Sheriff Gage Harris in jeopardy, but she is unwilling to allow those responsible for so much death to live out their lives in paradise.
Devyn wanted to call Gage again, but it was 6:00 a.m. in Arlington, Virginia, which meant it was only 4:00 a.m. in Wyoming. They had talked briefly the night before, but she could tell he was exhausted, so she hadn’t kept him on the line for long.
Gage and his deputy had ridden horses to the location the hiker had identified with GPS coordinates. After locating the body and conducting an investigation of the area, Gage and his deputy bundled up the remains in a body bag, secured it across the back of a very agitated pack horse, and rode straight out of the backcountry, knowing the quicker they moved the less likely it would be for a predator to track them down.
“Good morning.” Nick took a seat across from Devyn at a small table by the window in the hotel restaurant. “You don’t look too happy, weren’t you able to catch up with Gage?”
“We talked for a few minutes last night, but he’s had so little sleep, he was a little loopy, so I kept it brief.”
“Did they find their guy?”
“If you mean the corpse, yes. It took eight hours of hard riding over rough terrain. They investigated the scene, loaded the body onto a pack horse, and rode out of the mountains without stopping to rest.”
“Yikes, that would wipe most people out, but I’m surprised your tough western lawman wore down. Surely they could have flown the body out?”
“No, it was too rough of country and the trees were too dense in the area to land a helicopter.”
“So, was it foul play or bear kill?”
“All signs point to the bear, but they’ll perform a thorough autopsy to be sure,” Devyn said.
“I can see why they booked it out of there. The smell had to be bad enough to attract scavengers and predators for miles.”
“Can we change the subject? I was very worried about him until he got back. I don’t even want to think about how dangerous it could have been. Besides, I’m starving, and this conversation isn’t very appetizing.”
Nick laughed as he slid one of the menus the waitress had left on the corner of the table toward Devyn.
“What’s so funny?” Devyn asked.
“You’re worried about your big strong sheriff retrieving a body from the wilderness while you’re chasing after a deadly group of criminals through deserts, urban streets, and city parks. To top it off, we can only assume tracking down Coterie is likely to get even more dangerous before we can put them out of business for good.”
“At least I understand what I’m up against when dealing with humans. Mean hungry bears are really not my area of expertise and way outside my comfort zone.”
“I see your point. I guess I’d rather be hunting Coterie than being tracked by something stronger and faster with big claws and fangs while dragging bear bait through remote country with no help for miles.”
“Thanks, that makes me feel much better.” Devyn opened her menu even though she already knew what she’d order.
Title: A Formidable Foe (Series prequel novelette)
University student Devyn Nash is frustrated. No one believes her theory that two unrelated off-campus student deaths are the product of a serial killer. Authorities disregard her concerns and dire predictions, but her gut tells her not to give up. Will she convince them to heed her warnings before the killer strikes again or will she be the next victim?
The sound of laughter jolted him out of his reverie. He looked up in time to see four dark-haired women walk by. Despite being fall and cool enough for a light jacket, all four wore tank tops to make sure everyone could see their tattoo-covered arms. He shook his head, not what he was looking for. He was in the mood for a clean-cut all-American girl. His last two victims were brunettes and a tad rough around the edges. This time he wanted to mix it up a bit.
As the laughter faded, two blondes approached. One was dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt sporting the school’s mascot. Her straight dishwater-blonde hair was gathered in a high ponytail. She was tall, but not too tall; thin, but not too thin. She carried her athletic build with confidence, and her expression revealed a no-nonsense personality. Something about her intimidated him a little. She didn’t seem like the type to go down without a fight.
The other woman was perfect, just what he’d been looking for. Her hair was a blonde color that can only be obtained out of a box. She was of average height and weight. Her round cheeks were rosy, and her smile warm and captivating—just the kind of girl you’d want to take home to Mama, if you had a mama who didn’t bring low-lifes into the apartment who would ogle the girl and try to grope her.
As the women passed by, he slowly stood and fell in behind them. After several minutes, the taller one turned and glared at him. Had she realized he was following them? He veered off the path and headed toward the nearest building, but continued to watch from behind the cover of a thick tree. They headed toward the student housing area. A smile eased across his lips. They lived on campus. He had found the one.
If he watched this path at this time of day and the housing area, it would be only a matter of time before he caught her alone.
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Title: Midnight in Montana (Series prequel micro-read)
FBI agent Devyn Nash is committed to tracking down those who are producing counterfeit currency and distributing it across western states. With help from her partner, colleagues, and a handsome Wyoming sheriff she identifies suspects and a source of distribution. When she tries to execute the search warrant a real western shoot out erupts, and she must resort to drastic measures to bring them to justice.
“Stand back.” Devyn fired at the knob and the door swung open. She peeked in the room, but nothing stood out.
“Give it a closer look while I check upstairs,” she said as she darted up the stairs.
She had to force her way into the second story room as well. When she entered, she had no doubt she had found what the Bureau had been after for years. She was thrilled to be the one who finally solved the case, but she pushed the thoughts out of her mind, not knowing how things were going with the deputies and agents outside.
“The evidence is here,” she stated into the mic. “Everything any counterfeiter could possibly need. Keep them penned for a few more minutes so I can take a closer look, and then we’ll be out to help flush them out and arrest them.” Devyn took out her phone and started snapping photos.
“We don’t have a few minutes,” Ecker screamed. “This place is wired to blow. Get out.”
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