- Available in: Ebook, Paperback
- Published: May 1, 2017
Malloy Family, Book 1
A fierce bounty hunter. An outlaw on the run. A love that transcends it all.
After three years on the run, the notorious bounty hunter Tyler Calhoun catches up with the elusive lady outlaw, Nicky Malloy. The intensity of their dislike for each other is only matched by the burgeoning passion they can’t control.
A loner by nature, a cold hard hunter by choice, Tyler fights his feelings for his prisoner the only way he knows how — by ignoring them. He’s not prepared for the depth of his feelings, or how hard it will be to hold her prisoner–so close and so far away. Pursued and hunted themselves, Nicky and Tyler are forced to turn to each other for aid, trust, and comfort as their journey progresses to an inevitable end.
Caught in a murky world of lies, they hold on to each other as they travel to Wyoming to confront the man that brought them together. Tyler has to decide if his love for Nicky is worth more than the bounty he was sent to find.
It was dark when Tyler woke. Someone was crouched beside him, silently watching. Without moving, he opened his eyes to narrow slits to see the stranger. It could have been a child, a woman, or a man for all he saw. A cloud had spread its wings over the moon.
“I know you’re awake. I’ve done my share of playing possum, mister, so don’t keep it up on my account.” The soft whisper floated across the night air.
It sounded like a young boy, an American boy in a bandito hideout in Texas.
“What do you want, kid?” he ground out through parched lips.
“I’ll set you free, mister, but you’ve gotta tell me something first.”
Tyler was instantly, completely awake. He struggled to his feet and willed away the spots dancing in front of his eyes and the agonizing shafts of pain blossoming in his arms and shoulders. “What?”
“I need to know if you’re looking for somebody in particular.” The boy stood and lifted a skin of water to Tyler’s mouth.
After lapping greedily at the cool liquid, Tyler felt like a baby denied his mother’s breast when the stranger took it away almost immediately. It was near agony.
“All right, who?” he snarled, desperate for the water.
“Are you looking for a woman?”
At the boy’s question, Tyler forgot his thirst completely. Who was this boy? And why would he ask a question like that?
“I don’t need to get laid, kid, so peddle your sister’s skirts somewhere else.”
With an impatient huff, the dark form stood. His head reached past Tyler’s shoulder, so he wasn’t short, but he didn’t look like there was much to him from what Tyler could see.
“Don’t play games with me, mister,” he hissed. “You know what I meant. Are you looking for Nicky Malloy?”
Nicky was good, but Tyler Calhoun was better. He’d tracked her to Hermano’s hideout and then had stupidly gotten himself strung up like a Christmas goose.
“What’s it to you? Is this Hermano’s latest trick?”
The dark figure shook its head. “Hermano doesn’t know I’m here. Let’s just say that Nicky and I look out for each other. I need to know if Owen Hoffman is still sending bounty hunters after her. You sure look like a bounty hunter to me, and Hermano is convinced that’s who you are. So, I’m asking you again, are you looking for Nicky?”
Tyler weighed his options. If he said yes, would the kid let him go? Or would he let the banditos finish him off in the morning?
“Yeah, kid, I’m looking for Nicole Malloy. For nearly three months now.”
The boy let out a sigh that sounded desperately sad. “That’s what I thought.”
“You gonna let me go?”
“You’ve got to tell Hoffman that you couldn’t find her. Promise me that you’ll do that and I’ll cut you free,” came the boy’s ragged whisper.
Was he kidding? Did this boy actually believe a bounty hunter would follow through with a promise made in the middle of the night to a faceless, nameless stranger? And how in the hell did he know who had hired him?
“I can’t promise you that, kid.”
The boy turned and took a few steps away. For a moment, Tyler thought he was going to keep walking.
“Your horse is over by the trees, saddled and ready. There’s some food, and you can have this water.” He dropped the skin to the dusty ground by Tyler’s feet.
The moonlight burst through the cloud as the boy stepped next to him. Tyler was completely captured by the young, agonized face illuminated by the moon. He would recognize it anywhere. The faded tintype he’d studied for the past three months didn’t do her justice. She was dressed as a man, with dirty cheeks and shapeless clothes, but it couldn’t hide her. It was Nicky. He leaned toward her to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating, but she stepped back quickly. The moonlight glinted off the knife, a well-used looking instrument, which sat comfortably in her hand. It had a beautiful pearl handle with intricate detailing. He wondered where she’d stolen it from.
Her eyes widened. “Don’t come looking for me.”
“You know I will.”
“You won’t find me, bounty hunter.”