USA Today Bestselling Author
At Levi’s request, Dante, with misgivings, returns to the one place he swore he never would come back to—Billings, Montana. The place where he lost his wife and daughter many years ago. If returning gives him a sense of peace or at least a way to reconcile what happened so he can move on, then fine. As it is, he finds more surprises in that department than he expected.
Laura needed a job. She had rent to pay and a teenager to feed. After being summarily ejected from her government-sensitive position, she was forced into teaching. But, when she sees something beyond odd in the high school website code, she knows someone has found her. Even worse, it’s likely to be the same person who messed up her life the last time.
Maybe Dante can help her out, but it seems like he has bigger problems than she has, … until her world flips completely out of control, and she needs him more than ever.
When Levi calls Dante to see if he’ll take on a job, he doesn’t mention where until the end of the call. The thing that convinced Dante was that the schoolteacher is a friend of Tesla, Mason’s wife. Now he heads to the one place he vowed never to return to, Billings, Montana.
His partner for this case is Tyson, he’s been through much of what Dante has and really is the one person who may be able to help Dante break through his grief and guilt. Although Tyson puts most of that part of healing on his wife Kai.
Laura Thompson is now a schoolteacher. As a talented hacker, she once worked for the government but was set up and after being threatened walked away. Her brother has been following in her footsteps and she’s had to get him out of trouble more than a couple of times. She just can’t seem to get through to him the severity of things if he gets caught.
When Dante and Tyson arrive, she’s already doubting her decision to ask for help and Dante’s demeaner only seems to strengthen that opinion. She does go through what is happening, starting with some of the past and then the appearance of the code on the school website. Getting into more detail regarding the initial issue that had her leaving the government and staying far away from things that could bring her further trouble. However, she feels the code is a threat and she’s had an uneasy feeling of being followed. That plus the fact a coworker she once had a relationship with has died has her scared. Not only for herself but for her brother as well.
There’s a big surprise here, and also closure for Dante, all at the beginning. None of that solves the current problem and things ramp up on that end.
This is a favorite scene.
When the phone rang twenty minutes later, she smiled. “There you are. I was getting worried.”
“I’m on my way back,” Dante said, “but I’m exhausted and need food. Should I pick something up or have you got something there?”
She was nonplussed for a moment. “I can always make an omelet or something. But, if you’d rather pick up fast food, you can do that too.”
“I’d rather have an omelet,” he said, and, with that, he clicked off.
She looked over at Tyson. “I guess he’s in rough shape and looking for some sustenance.”
“That’s to be expected, since he’s been on the go for quite a while,” Tyson noted.
She bounced to her feet. “So much is happening and yet nothing at the same time.”
“It will all come together at the end,” Tyson stated, walking toward her.
“Maybe, maybe not,” she muttered. “Will the fact that Tesla is pulling information like this be likely to trigger somebody?”
“You mean, trigger somebody who may be watching to see who is looking into it?”
“Yeah,” she replied. “Was your relationship with Tesla well-known?”
“It wasn’t a secret by any means. But only those fairly close to me would have known who my friends were,” she stated. “This will put her in danger, won’t it?”
“I’m pretty sure she’s been staying out of the action, especially during her pregnancy. She is safe, legit, and has both Mason’s and Levi’s organizations in her corner. Don’t worry about her. Besides, just how bad could this scenario get?” he asked. “I wouldn’t worry about it.”
“I always worry about her,” Laura said. “She’s so selfless, and she always goes out of her way to give anybody a hand. It’s one of the reasons I avoided calling her for so long.”
“That doesn’t make sense. It might not have been such a big deal until now.”
“Yeah, and honestly, if it wasn’t for the vehicle that kept following me home, I wouldn’t have been so sure.”
At that, Tyson’s phone buzzed, and he looked down at the screen. “I have a text from Dante. … Shit.”
“What’s the matter?” she asked, as Tyson bolted to his feet and turned around, as if considering what to do first.
“He’s being followed. And that’s not what we want to happen.”
“Are you sure?” she asked, “I kind of feel like Dante might say, This is perfect. Like, lead the asshole into a trap and take him out all at once.”
Tyson looked at her and then grinned. “My, my. You are truly coloring outside the lines today, and you know what? That’s not a bad way to play it, but I want you to stay inside, away from the windows, and lights out.”
She stared at him. “I was going to make an omelet.”
“You’ll be making an omelet when Dante’s in the house and safe,” he warned. “Remember that.”
She nodded. “Fine, but what about my son?” It even sounded weird to her to say that word, but she reveled in it. “He came home early tonight from his friend’s house, while we were still out. He left a note that his friend is okay.”
“Go up and tell him to stay in his room, lights out, and away from the windows.”
“Got it,” she replied, and, as Tyson headed outside, she bolted upstairs to Peter’s room. As soon as she knocked and there was no answer, she opened the door a bit to stick her head in and said, “Hey, a warning from the guys—” She stopped dead in her tracks as she was looking at an empty room.
“Peter, where are you?” she muttered, looking around. His window was open, and there was no sign of him. She raced down the stairs, opened the front door, calling out to Tyson, “Peter’s not in his room, and it looks like he went out the window.”
He shook his head and bolted. She slowly went back inside, but this time she sat down on the couch and wrapped her arms around her chest. She picked up her phone and quickly started sending messages to her son. Frantic ones about getting his ass home, before things blew up and he got caught in the middle. When no answer came on any of them, nothing she could do but wait. She sat here with tears rolling down her face, as she waited for the worst to happen.
But this asshole sure wouldn’t get a second chance.
Dale Mayer. Dante’s Decision (Kindle Locations 1183-1212). Valley Publishing Ltd..
Dante and Laura may not have started off on the right foot but these two definitely have an attraction.
This story gets pretty intense as they try to figure out who is targeting Laura and her son.
Plenty of intrigue and suspense as this tale winds to it’s conclusion.
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.