We're SO excited for the first book in Katie Ruggle's upcoming Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters series, In Her Sights, that we wanted to share an excerpt and some love for the cover! In Her Sights hits shelves March 26, 2019!
“Pax. Pax, wake up.”
She tried burrowing deeper into her pillow, tugging her covers up around her ears in a futile attempt to block the voice invading her dreams. Unfortunately, John didn’t stop. “Pax, get up!”
She groaned into her pillow. It was still dark, for Pete’s sake. Was this her punishment for being a bad person? Was karma going to send him to her every morning to rudely wake her at an ungodly hour until she’d made amends for whatever horrible thing she’d done? What could her sin have been to be bad enough to call for this miserable a penance?
“Someone’s trying to break in,” John whispered. All traces of her lingering sleepy haze immediately evaporated. She was out of bed in an instant, moving so quickly that she almost crashed into John. Turning, she pulled a Taser out of the nightstand. As she bent to grab the weapon, she heard John make an indistinct sound, but his expression was bland by the time she’d straightened and turned to face him.
“Let’s go,” she said, ignoring his weirdness for now. There’d be time enough to try to solve the puzzle that was John Carmondy when they didn’t have a burglar at their door. Without waiting for a response, she charged for the hallway.
John followed her, but when they reached the top of the stairs, he moved in front of her. Making a barely audible sound of protest, she poked him in the back. He ignored it and moved silently down the stairs. Although she could see the readiness in his movements, his hands were by his sides, empty of any kind of weapon, and she frowned, wishing she’d grabbed the second Taser. Tapping his hand lightly, she offered him the one she did have. Giving it a surprised glance, he waved it off with a smile of thanks. She withdrew, determined to do her best to save the crazy, unprepared man from any danger.
When they reached the bottom of the stairs, he slipped through the living room, a silent shadow. She was amazed again how agile and coordinated he was for such a big man. Molly was pretty sure she was klutzier than he was, and she was half his size. As he made his way toward the front door, she realized that she was following behind him like a scared kid, rather than acting like the badass she was—a badass with a Taser, at that. Rolling her eyes at herself, she peeled off, heading for the kitchen.
Before she managed to get a few steps away from John, he caught her wrist, tugging her gently back into place behind him. Knowing that she couldn’t win a tug-of-war between them, she acquiesced…at least until he released her and refocused in front of him. As soon as her wrist was free, she slipped away, moving quickly, expecting and dodging his grab for her. Ignoring his low growl of annoyance, she headed for the kitchen, planning the lecture she was going to give him when they didn’t have to be quiet anymore.
In the kitchen, shadows draped over the familiar room, turning the innocent appliances and counters into menacing shapes. Attempting to ignore the unease creeping into her mind, she briskly moved past the threshold, telling herself she was being ridiculous. There was no reason to be scared of her own kitchen.
As she passed the pantry, the door flew open, hitting the wall with a bang that made her jump into the air like a startled cat. A shadow detached itself from the darkness of the small room and lunged for her. Her arm started to rise so that she could deploy the Taser, but it was too late. The attacker was already on her.
Strong arms wrapped around her as they both toppled to the floor. Molly hit first with a grunt, the Taser flying out of her grip. The weight of the burglar knocked the air out of her lungs, preventing her from calling out to John. She could only hope that he heard them struggling. After a split second of shock, she started to fight.
With the heavy form on her, her range of motion was limited, but she managed to get her right arm free. Craning her neck, she tried to make out who was on top of her, but all she could see was the bulky chest and jowly neck of the man who had her pinned. Making a fist, she punched him in the upper chest.
With her target so close, the hit was weak and off-center, but it did its job. The intruder reared back, lifting off enough for her to take aim at his throat. That punch was strong enough to make him choke. Grabbing his injured neck with both hands, he rolled to the side and wheezed for air.
Scrambling to her feet, Molly backed up several steps so she wasn’t within reach. Her foot hit something, sending it sliding across the floor. A quick glance showed that it was her Taser, and she grabbed it, pointing it toward the intruder just as John charged into the kitchen, dragging a cuffed man behind him.
“Hit the lights, would you?” Although Molly strove for a conversational tone, her breath was still coming in short gasps.
John obliged, flicking the switch to turn on the overhead fixture. The brightness made Molly blink rapidly until her eyes adjusted. As soon as they did, she recognized the man lying on the floor, still clutching his throat.
“Sanders, you opportunistic slug.” She resisted the urge to kick him, mostly because she knew it would hurt her bare foot more. “What do you think you’re doing?” Even as she asked, she knew exactly what he was doing.
“Not doing anything.” Sanders’s voice was hoarse, and Molly could not find it in her to be at all sorry she’d punched him in the throat. “Jane told us to stop by whenever we want.”
“An open invitation,” the cuffed man John had a grip on added.
Molly eyed him. “Of course. Eddie Cord. Why am I not surprised to see you following Sanders around like a fuzzy little duckling?”
Cord narrowed his eyes at her, but his glare was just about as scary as the aforementioned baby duck. “I don’t follow him around. We’re partners.”
“Partners in what? Dumbassery?” John asked.
Molly grinned at him, raising her hand not holding the Taser in the air. “Nice one.”
Although he wasn’t in reaching distance, he gave her an air high-five. “Thanks.”
Ignoring the warm feeling that hummed through her, she lowered her hand and focused on the intruders. “This is not Jane’s house anymore, so consider that ‘open invitation’ revoked.”
Sanders’s lips drew back in a sneer. “Can’t just say it’s your house and make it so. I’m going to have to hear it straight from Jane.”
Cord sniggered, and Molly fought the urge to tase them both. “Nope. It’s my house because it is. The cops will agree with me.” She’d expected that the mention of the police would make Sanders and Cord fall into line, but they just exchanged a smirk. She had the random thought that John was the only person who could make that expression look good.
“Not what I heard,” Sanders said mockingly. “I heard they let the last guy who broke in walk.”
Stuart. The name was a growl in her head. Molly wished the blabby weasel was here, so that she could tase him, too. She mentally added punching Stuart in his smug, burglarizing face onto her mental bucket list.
“You should be less concerned with what the cops did then,” John said, his bass voice rumbling a warning, “and more concerned about what we’re going to do now.”
The two intruders stopped smirking as fear flashed in their eyes.
Molly was perfectly happy to play bad cop and badder cop with John. “That’s better. Now tell us what you’re doing here.”
“Told you,” Sanders muttered, his gaze darting away from her. “Jane asked us to pick up something.”
“Yeah.” Cord jumped in, nodding in such an exaggerated way that he looked like a bobblehead doll. “Jane asked us to come here and get…something.”
Meeting John’s exasperated gaze, Molly made a Can you believe these guys? face. Although his snort was amused, she noticed that John didn’t loosen his grip on Cord. Her gaze fell to the smaller man’s wrists, and she frowned, wondering where John had gotten the handcuffs. She glanced at his bare torso and down to the pants he must’ve yanked on in a hurry. Like hers, they had bunches of pockets. Shifting her gaze to meet his eyes, not allowing herself to linger on an expanse of brown, bare, obnoxiously beautiful chest on the way, she raised her eyebrows.
“You just happened to have cuffs on you?”
The corners of his mouth tucked in as he held back a smile, his dimple revealing his true amusement. “Never leave home without them.”
“Always prepared, Boy Scout?”
“If you two are going to flirt, can we leave?” Sanders asked.