Author: Beverley Bateman
Genre: Contemporary Western Romantic Suspense
After an eleven year absence Janna Kincaid inherits a ranch and is forced to return to a town she only remembers with unhappiness, a man to whom she was briefly married and never wants to see again, and someone is trying to kill her.
Kye Hawkins has loved Janna since he first met her. They were married but a few weeks later she ran away, without an explanation. He still hasn’t figured out why. Now she’s coming back. Does she still love him? Can he rekindle the romance and also prevent her from being killed?
Janna doesn’t want Kye’s help in anyway, yet he always seems to be there when she’s in trouble. Can they work together to find a killer, save the Native burial ground and home of the spirits, and find romance again?
Overhead the sun appeared to be a small white ball, overpowered by the clear, azure blue sky that stretched for miles in all directions. You never got a sky like this is Seattle. This was special to Montana.
Janna realized how much she’d missed the rugged beauty of the country--not that she’d ever want to live out here in the desolation. Winters were the worst.
The vehicle listed to the left. Janna grabbed the steering wheel and pulled hard to the right.
She heard another ping. What the hell? Someone had shot her back tire. Janna gripped the wheel to keep the vehicle on the road. She debated whether to try and outrun the shooter, wherever he was, or find cover. The windshield shattered as a third bullet entered the passenger side.
So much for outrunning the shooter.
She scanned the area and spotted an outcropping of rocks a few feet ahead on her right. She aimed the vehicle in that direction.
Two more shots, and both the back tires went down.
Definitely find cover.
Janna ducked low behind the steering wheel until the vehicle reached the rocks. When the car stopped, she grabbed the keys from the ignition and her purse and dove out the door. Bullets bounced off the rocks behind her as she scrambled for cover. Whoever was doing the shooting was serous. Anyone of the shots could have hit her.
She reached the rocks, keeping low until she got to the middle where she curled up as tightly as possible, her back against a rock. Her heart pounded in her ears, her breathing came in gasps. This was getting to be a habit. First someone tried to kill her in Seattle, and now, out in this god-forsaken country.
What the hell is going on? Why are they shooting at me? Was it the same person who shot at me in Seattle? That doesn’t seem likely, but who even knew I was coming here? Maybe it’s someone just trying to rob a stranger.
Yeah right, be honest, Janna, does this road look like many strangers came this way? And if they did, would they have a lot to steal? You really think this person selected a spot in the rocks where he would have a good shot at my vehicle. Coincidence? Not damn likely.
At least she’d worn boots and jeans—even if they were designer jeans. Now they were filthy, and so was her red sweater and jean jacket.
Another shot hit the rock behind her. She rolled over onto her stomach, shaded her eyes, and squinted into the sun. He must be up on the cliffs straight ahead. She wasn’t sure, but she thought she might have glimpsed a light, maybe a reflection off his scope.
Terrific! Now what? My gun is in my purse. I could fire back, but that would be a waste of bullets at this distance.
She yanked out her cell and punched in 9-1-1.
A pounding pulsed through the ground and came closer. Janna could feel the vibrations. It felt like horses. She glanced around, without raising her head, to see what was coming.
Suddenly there was a hand in front of her face.
“Grab it and jump on.”
The deep, rumbling voice was not asking. It was an order.
Janna grabbed the strong hand. In one smooth motion, she swung up behind a man on his horse. Seconds later, she had her hands wrapped around his well-developed, muscular chest, as the big chestnut thundered across the ground, out of the bullets’ range.
The man wore a leather jacket over a sweater. Her hands slid under the jacket for better grip. Even through the sweater she could feel sinewy muscles. She laid her head against his back and his braid. She took a breath in, inhaling the rich scent of leather, trying to calm her racing heart rate.
She glanced behind her. The cliffs were fading into the distance. The muscles of his well-developed shoulders bunched and relaxed as he led the horse at a gallop across the field. She felt safe for some unfathomable reason.
He had a familiar woodsy scent that made her think of sex under pine trees, not that she’d ever made love there. In fact, her sex life was pretty negligible these days.
They’d been riding for several minutes when Janna leaned forward. “You can put me down any place. I can manage now.”
“Really? And just what are you going to do out here, miles from town, by yourself, with someone shooting at you?”
The voice was deep, but soft, and rolled over her like warmed brandy. It triggered something in the back of her memory. The earthy scent, the sinewy body, the braid, the voice… She knew this person who had ridden up out of nowhere to save her.
“I have my cell. I’ve already called 9-1-1,” she snapped.
“And did you get an answer?”
Janna yanked her cell phone up where she could see the screen again and re-tapped in 9-1-1. And then there was that famous phrase—No Service.
There was a deep chuckle. “That’s what I thought. There’s no service in this area. The mountains block it.”
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Beverley Bateman now lives in Medicine Hat, Alberta, exchanging the Okanagan vineyards and orchards for ranches and farms. She lives there with her husband and a Bichon-poodle rescue dog. Winters she heads south. She writes her latest romantic suspense in both places. Hunted, Missing and the newest – Targeted are part of her Montana, Hawkins Ranch series. She also has her Holly Devine series; A Cruise to Remember, and a Murder to Forget. Don’t Go is her darker romantic suspense. Death Southern Style is her latest.
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