Targeted is the third book in the series. I was at a conference In Victoria, BC, Canada, up on the mezzanine overlooking the expensive lobby with marble floors. I sorted of squatted down and peeked through the carved posts and had this image of a cowboy in spurs striding through the lobby. I then became the heroine, watching him arrive with mixed feelings. And that was the start of Hunted, the first book in the series. I love ranches and cowboys, and I developed this small town in Montana.
After an eleven-year absence Janna Kincaid inherits a ranch and must return to a town she remembers with unhappiness, a man she briefly married and never wants to see again, and someone is trying to kill her.
Kye Hawkins has loved Janna since they met. They were married, but right after she left without an explanation. He hasn’t figured out why. Now she’s coming back. Can he rekindle the romance, and prevent her from being killed?
Janna doesn’t want Kye’s help, yet he’s always there when she’s in trouble. Can they work together to stop a killer, and find romance again?
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.”
Beverley Bateman exchanged the Okanagan vineyards and orchards for the ranches and farms of Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she lives with her Shiba Inu dogs. Winters she snowbirds and continues to write her latest romantic suspense books. Hunted, Missing and Targeted are part of her Hawkins Ranch series.