What happens when the very men—trained to make the hard decisions—come up against the rules and regulations that hold them back from doing what needs to be done? They either stay and work within the constraints given to them or they walk away. Only now, for a select few, they have another option:
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Aiden has high hopes for his own mission, but Las Vegas and a woman accused of killing her own husband wasn’t it. Then he finds out it’s a special request from a man he’s long respected and that the woman in question was his cousin. Even more confusing is the series of other murders that, according to the local law enforcement, are linked to her as well.
Toby’s life has been one long nightmare, and, just when a light shines in to save her, and she hopes she will survive this after all, the cops decide she’s the one who murdered her husband. Hardly … but, if she’d had the guts and the lack of concern for spending the rest of her life in jail for getting justice, then she’d have done it.
But, as it was, if they can’t figure out who and what is going on, she’ll be spending her life in prison regardless. And that would be a shame, considering she’d just met Aiden, one of the most interesting men to cross her path. Now if only he’d been here years ago, before her world went off the rails …
Aiden Bronte has had a couple of relaxing days and was able to visit with family. Now it’s his turn to a job for the Mavericks. His partner for this will be Mountain Bear Rode, the difference between most Maverick cases is that Corbin has no intel to provide. Mountain has that and he wants Aiden to hear it from his cousin.
Mountain’s cousin Toby has been charged with the murder of her husband, Moscow and the police are trying to pin more murders on her. Toby’s relationship with Moscow goes back to high school and now, years later, he came back. Toby really wanted nothing to do with him and told him so. However, he knew how close she was to his mentally disabled sister, Michelle and used threats against her to coerce Toby into marrying him.
Aiden and Mountain’s job will be to prove her innocence. Something that’s not going to be easy with her already charged and the police not looking at anything else. A big problem is more bodies are showing up and they want to charge Toby with those too.
Aiden and Mountain immediately hire her a lawyer, and start their own investigation. One that leads them to Moscow’s apartment. There are many surprises in store there as Aiden almost gets caught.
The three of them go back and empty out all the important things and then make arrangements to meet with the detective Corbin found for them.
This is a favorite scene.
Aiden hopped up, grabbed his keys, looked over at Mountain and Toby, and asked, “Are you coming?”
“Hell yes.” She smiled. “You won’t keep me away from this one.”
Mountain nodded. “Absolutely. Never know when this will blow up, get even worse for Toby.”
“We’ve got to get Toby out of this murder rap, safe and sound, and have the charges dropped,” Aiden said, staring at Toby as he spoke. “But Mountain and I both know you won’t have a life, Toby, particularly here, if we don’t get the killer.” He looked at her and nodded. “Let’s go.”
Mountain took care of transferring the files and the gun into the vehicle.
Aiden wrapped an arm around her shoulders and walked out with her, nuzzling her neck for the first time.
“Is that just for appearances?” she asked.
“In what way?” he asked, a hint of laughter in his voice.
“Ah, so you think somebody out here will be watching this?”
“I’ll always assume somebody’s watching you,” he confirmed, with a smile. “The trick is to not let anybody else know that you know that.”
She shook her head. “Everything is some sort of joke to you.”
“None of this is a joke.” He turned her face to look at him. “But I want people to know that you aren’t alone and that you do have friends, who will help to look after you.”
“And I appreciate that,” she replied. “It never occurred to me how alone anybody could feel, until something like this happens, and it’s like all the rats desert the ship.”
“That’s another reason why I was wondering if you were really dedicated to staying here,” he added, “because a whole wide world is out there. You wouldn’t have to be looking at those stares from everybody who may be wondering if you really did kill your husband.”
“God, they will be saying and thinking that, won’t they?”
“Probably for quite a while. At least until the court case, whenever we get this guy who is killing these people.”
“And yet my cousin has to leave soon.”
“Mountain has to leave as soon as he gets the call. But I’m not sure when that’ll be just yet, and we won’t have a whole lot of notice.” “And then you’ll leave too, won’t you?” An odd tone filled her voice. They were almost at the vehicle. With Mountain loading the boxes, Aiden turned her in his arms and said, “I’m here for as long as I’m needed.”
“And then you’ll leave,” she said, with a definitive nod. “Got it.”
He looked at her with a quirk of his lips and added, “Unless something keeps me here.”
Her eyes widened. “Oh, gee, I wonder what that would be.”
“A friend,” he replied, tossing her another cheeky grin.
“Yeah. Like I have so many of those.”
“You have me,” he said. “You have your cousin.” She nodded. “And I can’t mistake that because you guys have been a godsend so far. I can’t even imagine what would have happened if we hadn’t found all that blackmail stuff.”
“None of it is for sure yet either, remember? And, if anybody is watching, let’s give them a real good snapshot moment.”
He drew her into his arms unprotestingly and kissed her gently at first, but her reaction surprised him. And when she suddenly threw her arms around his neck, he was caught by the surge of passion that overtook them both. When he finally pulled back, he was breathing hard. He stared down at her. “Jesus, I wasn’t expecting that.”
“Oh, you mean, it’s just you who gets to play make believe?” she teased, batting her eyes at him. Appearing completely unconcerned, she walked over to the vehicle and got in the front passenger’s side.
He stared at her and shook his head. “If that was acting, you’re a hell of an actress.”
“I am,” she stated, with a broad smile.
At that, Mountain chuckled. “You guys, I keep telling you that you’re perfect together.”
“You never once told me that,” she protested.
“I’ve been telling him, but he has this thing about you’re a part of my family and that he’s on a mission so …”
“All he’s been doing is pushing you as being a great choice,” she told Aiden, then added an eye roll. “It’s a little bit hard to handle, actually.”
“Why?” Aiden asked. “I am a good choice. But what are we choosing me for?”
“She shouldn’t be alone anymore,” Mountain declared in a strong voice.
“Jeez, now don’t you get started on it,” she complained. “All my girlfriends at work have been telling me that I need to hook up with somebody. And they didn’t even know about my relationship with Moscow.”
“Well, you certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable telling them about him, would you?” Aiden asked.
“No,” she agreed, “yet he was always around. Somehow they were jealous that I could nab him. They just didn’t understand that there was no nabbing. I was already caught. All I was trying to do was get free of that damn hook.”
“Well, you’re free now.”
“And the trouble with that is,” she added in a gloomy voice, “that’s exactly why everybody thinks I killed him.”
Aiden climbed into the driver’s seat, while Mountain took the back seat. When they got to the detective’s address, Aiden looked up at it and said, “Well, here goes nothing.”
Dale Mayer. Aiden (Kindle Locations 1818-1863). Valley Publishing Ltd..
Things start heating up in many ways from here. Aiden and Toby definitely have chemistry and that’s not going to be denied.
Plenty of intrigue, suspense, surprises, romance and some sizzle too.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.