About the Book
Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue #4
by Katie Ruggle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
He was her hero,
But one wrong move ended their future before it could begin.
Now he'll do whatever it takes to keep her safe,
Even if that means turning against one of his own.
As a member of the Field County Sheriff's Department, Chris Jennings is used to having it rough. The Colorado Rockies aren't for the weak-of-spirit, but he's devoted his life to upholding the law—and to protecting the one woman he knows he can never have. He'll do whatever it takes to keep her safe.
Daisy Little has lived in agoraphobic terror for over eight years. Trapped within a prison of her own making, she watches time pass through her bedroom window. Daisy knows she'll never be a part of the world...until the day she becomes the sole witness of a terrible crime that may finally tear the Search & Rescue brotherhood apart for good.
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Daisy tried to figure out why uneasiness was simmering in her belly. Everything was so quiet and still, with everyone sleeping—everyone except for her, at least. The squad vehicle just didn’t fit with that peace. In her experience, cop cars brought action and noise and movement—or at least a visit from Chris. That must’ve been why the empty SUV seemed so eerie.
She shivered and blamed it on her sweaty, quickly drying tank top. Darting across the room, she grabbed the hoodie draped over her desk chair and pulled it on as fast as possible so she wouldn’t miss anything that might happen outside. As she was about to rush back to the window, her cell caught her eye, and she reached for it, sliding the phone into her hoodie pocket.
Daisy curled up on the window seat again. She knew from experience that she wouldn’t sleep if she tried to go back to bed after exercising, plus that odd, uneasy feeling hadn’t gone away. Resting her chin on her up-drawn knee, she watched, waiting for the deputy’s return.
The wind picked up, rushing past her window and making the pine tree branches scratch against the side of Daisy’s house. She pulled the hoodie more tightly around her and tucked her fingers under her arms to keep them warm. Clouds crept over the moon, darkening the shadows surrounding the house.
“No,” Daisy groaned. The streetlights mostly just lit the narrow circle of space around their poles, so it was much more difficult to see anything with the moonlight gone. The encroaching darkness sent her imagination into overdrive, making it too easy to picture all sorts of things hiding in the shadows. She leaned toward the glass, trying to make up for the dim lighting by getting as close as she could to the action—or lack of action.
She’d resisted getting binoculars in the past, since that always seemed like it would’ve pushed her neighborhood-watch activities out of “quirky” and right into “creepy.” Now, she regretted having qualms. In fact, a pair of night-vision binoculars would’ve been even better. So what if that shoved her squarely into creeperhood? At least she’d be able to see what was happening.
A break in the clouds revealed someone walking along the side of the empty house. Sucking in a startled breath, Daisy rose to her knees and pressed her forehead against the cold glass. She stared hard at the furtive figure.
The person’s shape was wrong. It wasn’t just the distortion of the shadows. Either an ogre was walking next to the empty house, or… Wishing once again for binoculars, she shifted, trying to find a better angle.
Then the wind cleared the clouds away from the moon, and she could see more clearly. The misshapen form was actually someone with a large bundle over his or her shoulder. Peering at the person, she decided from his size and the way he moved that he was definitely male.
After a half step of hesitation, he walked into the puddle of light circling one of the streetlamps. The lights on the SUV flashed, and the back hatch door lifted. Balancing the burden over his shoulder with one hand, he reached with the other to move something around, maybe making room.
“What?” Daisy muttered, confused. The man next to the sheriff’s department vehicle wasn’t wearing a uniform. He was dressed head to toe in black, rather than the tan deputy uniform. Even their department-issued winter coats were tan. The wrapped bundle over his shoulder caught the glow of the streetlight, gleaming a familiar, semiglossy blue. Whatever the guy was carrying was wrapped in a tarp.
Closing her fingers around her phone, she pulled it out and tapped on the video app. The scene was strange enough that she felt like she needed to record it, even if it was just so she could watch it in the morning. In the light of day, the ominous feeling would be gone, and she could laugh at the way her overactive imagination had turned something innocuous into a nebulous threat.
No matter how she shifted, raising up or dropping low, Daisy couldn’t find the right angle to get a glimpse of the man in black’s face. Even if she had gotten a clear view, though, she probably wouldn’t have been able to identify him. She only knew Chris’s coworkers through his work anecdotes. She zoomed in her phone camera, but the image just got darker and grainer, rather than clearer.
Leaning forward, the man half-dropped, half-shoved the large bundle into the back of the SUV. The rear of the vehicle sagged a little, which meant the object must be heavy. There was an unsettling familiarity in the way the tarp-wrapped item fell, bulky and weighted, that sent a shiver across the back of her neck.
The black-clad man shoved at the bottom of the bundle. He’d managed to tuck the majority of it into the SUV when something dark fell from the bottom of the rolled tarp, tumbled over the rear bumper, and fell to the ground.
Daisy sucked in a breath hard enough to scrape her throat. From her vantage point, that dropped item looked very much like a boot.