A knock on the door interrupted Mollyâs perusal of the
Colorado criminal statutes. Completely caught up in the sentencing guidelines that may be her
momâs future, she jumped at the sound. Warrant, on the other hand, didnât even lift his head
off the floor where he was sprawled out over an air-conditioning vent. Instead, his tail
thumped lazily a few times before he fell back asleep. The dogâs reaction made Molly fairly
certain of who was at the door.
As she stood up, she swallowed a groan at the feel of her
spine popping back into place. Glancing at the clock, she saw that sheâd been hunched over
her laptop for most of the afternoon. It was no wonder her body was protesting.
After peeking through the peephole in the front door, she
unlocked it and swung it open. âThis is becoming a habit.â
âWhat is?â John slipped past her, striding into the house as
if he owned the place.
Making a face and pretending that she wasnât glad to see
him, she closed and relocked the door. âYou showing up on our doorstep uninvited.â
âIf you want me to leave, I can take this very valuable
information and go.â His voice was muffled. As Molly entered the kitchen, she saw that heâd
crouched down next to Warrant and was rubbing the delighted dogâs belly.
âNo, itâs fine. I needed a break anyway.â Even though they
were most likely going to be talking about Jane, John was still a good distraction from the
mess her mom had made. âI take it you talked to your contact?â
âI did.â After a final pat, John straightened to his significant
height. Having him here in her kitchen, taking up most of the space and a good portion of the
oxygenâespecially without her sisters there as a bufferâmade Molly feel overheated. She
couldnât decide whether it was in a good way or a bad way. Shaking off her errant thoughts,
she refocused on the important thing.
âWhatâd they say?â Her knees wobbled slightly from a
mixture of exhaustion and anxiety, but she refused to sit down in the chair sheâd abandoned
when sheâd answered the door. The only other seat in the room was too close to hers, and it
was hard enough having this conversation without the prospect of John being pressed against
her from knee to shoulder. She braced her palms on the table behind her and steeled herself
for bad news.
âBarneyâs technically right, but Zorahâmy lawyer
contactâsaid she doubted a judge would rule that Jane had violated her bail conditions if she
hadnât missed a court date yet.â
The tight knot of Mollyâs stomach eased ever so slightly, and
she had to lean back more heavily against the table. John mustâve caught the slight
movement, since he took a step closer, his hands reaching toward her as if he was prepared to
catch her before she fell. Luckily for her presence of mind, he stopped before he was close
enough to touch.
âMaybe you should sit down.â
Ignoring the suggestion, she stiffened her spine so she
could remove her hands from the table behind her and stand unsupported. Now was not the
time for her to get literally weak in the knees. She could collapse laterâmuch laterâonce
theyâd figured out the situation and their house was safe from Barneyâs clutches. âIâm fine. So,
weâre good until her arraignment, then?â
âPreliminary hearing.â The correction sounded oddly gentle,
but she still winced at the reminder.
âRight. She gets a preliminary hearing, since she committed
a felony.â She paused as she fought off an overwhelming surge of anger and anxiety. âSeveral
felonies. SoâŚwe have thirty days, then?â
âThirty to forty-five, yeah.â He was watching her closely
from his spot just a few steps away. She didnât like him treating her as if she might break. It
made her want to collapse into his arms and bawl, which wouldnât solve anything. She was the
oldest of her sisters, and they were counting on her to lead them through this, just like sheâd
done during the many, many other messes Jane had thrown them into.
âOkay.â Taking a deep breath, she held it until her brain spun
a little, and then released it in a long, silent exhalation. âThis is good news. It gives us
A heavy knock on the front door made her jerk back. For an
irrational moment, she felt a gut-deep fear that Barney was there to toss them out of their
home, but then logic reasserted itself. Sheâd just learned that they had at least a month to
figure a way out of this. Whoever was at the door wasnât there to evict themâŚyet.
She belatedly started moving through the living room, but
John was there first, putting his significant bulk between her and the door. As she stared at
his broad back, she blinked, more baffled than annoyed by his protective action.
âWhat are you doing?â she asked quietly as the knocking
âLet me see who it is first.â His voice was just a low rumble,
and she wanted to laugh at their whispers. As far as she knew, there was no reason to hide
from their latest visitor, but they were both muttering quietly at each other.
âNo. Itâs my house, dum-dum.â Slipping around him, she
hurried to the door, knowing that it had taken her long enough that whoever it was might have
ââDum-dumâ?â he repeated, although he kept his words
quiet. âAre you five?â
âMost people say Iâm a solid ten, but beauty is in the eye of
the beholder, I suppose.â When she went up onto her tiptoes to peer through the peephole,
there was a scratchy, clicking sound. She froze, her gaze dropping to the doorknob, watching
in shocked disbelief as the deadbolt thumped open. It felt surreal. Someone had picked the
lockâwas breaking inâright in front of them.
(C) Katie Ruggle, Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2019
Rocky Mountain Bounty
Five bounty-hunting sisters
Deep in the heart of the Rockies
Fighting to save each other
...and the men who steal their hearts
Bounty hunter Molly Pax fought hard for everything she has,
turning the bail recovery business she shares with her
sisters into an unqualified success. So when their
sticky-fingered mother jumps bail and puts the childhood
home up as collateral, Molly's horrified. To make matters
worse, every two-bit criminal in the Rockies now sees her
family's misfortune as their next big break.
She needs help, stat.
Enter rival bounty hunter John Carmondy: six feet of pure
trouble, with a cocky grin to match. John's the most
cheerfully, annoyingly gorgeous frenemy Molly's ever had the
pleasure of defeating...and he may be her only hope of
making it out of this mess alive.
Romance Suspense [Sourcebooks
Casablanca, On Sale: March 26, 2019, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN:
9781492662495 / eISBN: 9781492662501]
A fan of the old adage âwrite what you knowâ, Katie Ruggle
lived in an off-grid, solar-
and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains until her family lured her back to Minnesota.
When sheâs not writing, Katie rides horses, shoots guns (not while riding, although that would
be awesome), cross-country skis (badly) and travels to warm places where she can scuba
dive. A graduate of the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can
attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. A fan of anything that
makes her feel like a bad-ass, she has trained in Krav Maga, boxing and gymnastics.
19 comments posted.
My heart began to beat a little faster while reading about the plot of this book. It sounds really exciting. Thanks for the contest.
(Anna Speed 1:59am March 26, 2019)