Risk It All by Katie Ruggle – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Katie Ruggle who is celebrating the recent release of Risk It All. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of In Her Sights.

When bounty hunter falls for bounty, they’ll risk it all to save the one they love.

Cara Pax never wanted to be a bounty hunter—she’s happy to leave chasing criminals to her more adventurous sisters. But if she wants her dream of escaping the family business to come true, she’s got one last job to finish.

Too bad she doesn’t think her latest bounty is actually guilty.

Henry Kavenski is a man with innocence to prove. But when his enemies target Cara in an attempt to force his hand, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe. Deep in the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by danger on all sides, Henry and Cara will have to learn to trust their unexpected partnership if they want to make it out together—and alive.

Enjoy an Excerpt

When the woman stopped the stroller next to the bus-stop bench and took a seat next to Kavenski, Cara knew something was up. For one, she would eat her phone if that woman would ever set foot on a public bus. Also, Kavenski, for all his hotness, was a big and intimidating guy. No one would casually plop themselves down next to a dangerous-looking stranger, especially with her baby right there.

With both Kavenski and the woman facing forward, it was impossible for Cara to see if they were talking. She was tempted to move closer to the pair to see if she could eavesdrop, but Kavenski had known she’d been following him earlier, and that made her hesitate. It was one thing for her to follow as he skulked around town, but this meeting seemed very shady and purposeful. He’d let her go once, but who knew what he’d do if she had incriminating information on him.

The woman turned her head toward Kavenski for just a few seconds, and Cara hurried to take a few pictures. With the oversize sunglasses, hat, and scarf, it was hard to get an idea of what the woman actually looked like, especially from a distance. The only things Cara was sure of were that she was white, tall, and fashion-conscious.

To Cara’s frustration, she saw that the woman’s lips were indeed moving. Once again resisting the urge to get close enough to listen to their conversation, Cara watched as the woman reached into the stroller and appeared to adjust the baby’s blanket. When she withdrew her hand, however, she was holding something white and rectangular.

Almost bursting with curiosity, even as her heart pounded from fear of discovery, Cara found herself leaning forward, straining to see what the woman had taken from the stroller. In just the split second it took her to pass the item to Kavenski, Cara was pretty sure it was a legal-sized envelope. Before she could see any other details or even take a few steps closer, he slipped the item into his jacket pocket.

The woman stood and pushed the stroller past Kavenski, and Cara realized that she would be passing right by. After a frozen second, she forced her gaze to her phone screen. Her hair fell in heavy curtains on either side of her face, hiding her profile from the woman’s view, and Cara was intensely grateful that she hadn’t pulled it back that morning.

The seconds seemed to tick by agonizingly slowly as the burr of stroller wheels and the sharp click of the woman’s bootheels drew closer. Cara didn’t breathe as the woman passed just five feet away, and her pounding heart was so loud it made it hard to hear if the footsteps were slowing.

When she couldn’t hold her breath any longer, she dared a pseudo-casual glance and saw the back of the woman a half block away. Sucking in a much-needed breath, Cara returned her attention to Kavenski, just in time to see him rocket off the bench right into rush-hour traffic. The movement was so sudden and unexpected that Cara jerked back a step, startled.

“What is he doing?” Without considering the wisdom of what she was doing, Cara bolted toward him, her eyes locked on his big, surprisingly nimble form as he played a terrifying game of Frogger with oncoming cars. Brakes squealed and drivers laid on their horns as Kavenski shot across the road to the far lane. Turning to face the SUV heading toward him, he raised both hands, palms out, like a traffic cop.

He faced down the oncoming vehicle barreling toward him. The tires squealed as the wheels locked, and Cara instinctively reached toward him as if she could somehow snatch him to safety. His huge frame actually looked small as the five-thousand-pound vehicle bore down on him.

Cara reached the curb, a useless shout of warning building in her chest. Kavenski stared down the SUV, not even flinching as it rocketed closer. Just inches from Kavenski, the vehicle lurched to a halt, rocking back from the force of the stop. Cara’s breath escaped her in a rush. She stopped abruptly, realizing that she had been about to run right out into traffic. She’d been so focused on Kavenski’s near death that she hadn’t even thought about her own safety.

As the driver of the SUV rolled his window down and screamed invectives, Kavenski turned and strode over to a small dog huddled in the center of the lane. Scooping up the tiny furball, Kavenski stepped out of the street, waving casually at the still-yelling driver to continue on his way.

Cara gave a small gasping laugh at Kavenski’s nonchalance. He was acting as if risking his life to save a tiny dog was no big deal, while Cara’s heart was still trying to pound out of her chest and her hands shook with an overdose of adrenaline. As if he’d heard her slightly panicked laughter, Kavenski met her gaze across the four lanes of traffic. They stared at each other for an eternal moment before the corner of his mouth kicked up in more of a grimace than a smile.


Excerpted from Risk It All by Katie Ruggle. © 2019 by Katie Ruggle. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author: When she’s not writing, Katie Ruggle rides horses, trains her three dogs, and travels to warm places to scuba dive. A police academy graduate, Katie readily admits she’s a forensics nerd.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, IndieBound, or BAM.

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In Her Sights by Katie Ruggle – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Katie Ruggle who is celebrating the upcoming release of in Her Sights the first book in her Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters series. Enter the Rafflecopters below for a chance to win two different prizes: Giveaway 1 is a big prize pack (over $200 of awesome stuff) and runs until 11:59 p.m. on 3/26 (launch day). Giveaway 2 is copies of the book and runs until 4/12.

Five bounty-hunting sisters
Deep in the heart of the Rockies
Fighting to save each other
…and the men who steal their hearts

Bounty hunter Molly Pax fought hard for everything she has, turning the bail recovery business she shares with her sisters into an unqualified success. So when their sticky-fingered mother jumps bail and puts the childhood home up as collateral, Molly’s horrified. To make matters worse, every two-bit criminal in the Rockies now sees her family’s misfortune as their next big break.

She needs help, stat.

Enter rival bounty hunter John Carmondy: six feet of pure trouble, with a cocky grin to match. John’s the most cheerfully, annoyingly gorgeous frenemy Molly’s ever had the pleasure of defeating…and he may be her only hope of making it out of this mess alive.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Why would someone break into your house?”

“Isn’t that a question for Stuart?” Molly shot back, making the detective frown deeply.

“Why are you refusing to answer?”

“Oh, for God’s sake…” Charlie muttered, drawing Mill’s sharp attention.

“Were you going to add something?” he demanded, and Molly resisted rolling her eyes. Charlie didn’t bother holding back her scorn.

“Why would I bother, when you’ve already made up your mind?” Crossing her arms over her chest, Charlie leaned back against the door frame. Normally, she tended to play up her innocent, girl-next-door look, using her dimples and wide Bambi eyes as a tool to get skips and sources to let down their guards and confide in her. Right now, however, her full lips were drawn into a tight frown, and her eyes were narrowed to slits. Molly knew just looking at her sister that she was pissed.

“Don’t act like you’re the innocent victims.” Mill’s lip was raised in a slight sneer as he gestured at all of them. “When you sleep with dogs and wake up with fleas, don’t blame me when you’re itching.”

Molly blinked, torn between fury and laughter. She tightened her jaw so that neither escaped. Mill must’ve had some self-preservation, because he was moving away from the porch toward the pair by the squad car. “Stay here,” he said, as if it weren’t their house and they hadn’t been the ones to call the police. Molly noticed that both the Villaneaus and Mr. P were on their porches now, peering at the scene with a mixture of disdain and patronizing glee.

As they watched Mill join his partner and Stuart, John muttered something under his breath, the sound so low it came out as a rumbling growl.

Molly raised her eyebrows at him before turning back to the scene by the cop car. “Chill, papa bear,” she said absently, trying to read Mill’s lips as he spoke to Bastien.

At Charlie’s choked laugh and Felicity’s snort, Molly glanced over to see all of her sisters smirking at her. Even Cara looked to be fighting a smile.

“What?” she asked as her face got hot.

“Nothing.” Of course it was Charlie who said it, in a tone that made it obvious that nothing meant the very opposite. “Whatever sex games you like to play are between the two of you. I don’t want to know.”

“Speak for yourself.” Felicity was obviously fighting—and failing—to keep a straight face. “I’m interested.”

“Not me, especially since we should be concentrating on how they’re letting Stuart go.” Cara’s tone went from wryly amused to flat, and Molly turned to see that her sister was right. Stuart was walking away from the squad car—no cuffs or even a ticket in evidence—heading toward a bright-green Jeep parked a half block away. When he saw them watching, he gave a jaunty wave. John swore under his breath, but Molly kept her comments to herself that time.

“Of course he drives a Jeep,” Felicity said with tones of heavy loathing.

“What?” Charlie asked.

“I hate Jeeps.”


“I just do. They’re…gross.”

“That’s weird.”

“It’s logical and right.”

“You’re so strange.”

Molly ignored her sisters’ argument, concentrating on the two detectives as they headed for opposite sides of the squad car. “Is that it?” she called, unable to keep the sharp edge from her voice. “You’re just letting him go after he broke into our home?”

“You really want to drag this out?” Mill yelled back, his words a challenge. “If you do, we can talk about the penalties for making a false statement to police.”

From his spot next to his Jeep, Stuart let out a mocking laugh, and it was Molly’s turn to growl as she charged toward the car. She wasn’t sure if she was planning on tackling Mill or Stuart, and she wasn’t able to find out, since John grabbed her and swung around, putting himself between her and both of her targets.

“Carmondy,” she gritted out between clenched teeth, “move.”

“You won’t win this one, Pax.” His tone was surprisingly gentle, considering she was basically snarling at him. “Sometimes head-on doesn’t work. We need to retreat and come at them from the side.”

“Okay, Sun Tzu.” Despite her mocking words, the initial flash of rage had faded, and she shifted back a half step so she wasn’t right in John’s face. “What’s the battle plan, then?” He gave the slightest wince, and she narrowed her eyes at him. “You don’t have one, do you?”

“Not yet. Genius takes time.”

Even with all the bad things that were happening, that drew a short—but honestly amused—laugh from her. “Fine.” She let out a long breath, expelling the last of her frustrated anger at the cops’ mishandling of the situation. Turning to her sisters, she said, “I’ll text Norah and tell her to come home. Time for another family meeting.”

About the Author:A fan of the old adage “write what you know”, Katie Ruggle lived in an off-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains until her family lured her back to Minnesota. When she’s not writing, Katie rides horses, shoots guns (not while riding, although that would be awesome), cross-country skis (badly) and travels to warm places where she can scuba dive. A graduate of the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. A fan of anything that makes her feel like a bad-ass, she has trained in Krav Maga, boxing and gymnastics.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, or IndieBound.

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Through the Fire by Katie Ruggles – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Katie Ruggle who is visiting with us to celebrate the upcoming release of Through the Fire, part of the Rocky Mountain K9 Unit series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a Katie Ruggles prize pack.

He’s tall.
He’s dark.
He’s brutally handsome…
And he may be her only hope.

Kit Jernigan despairs of ever fitting in with her new tight-knit K9 unit—they’ve been through too much to welcome a stranger. So when a killer strikes, it’s a fight to convince her fellow officers to trust her long enough to catch the woman she knows is responsible.

She can’t do it on her own. What she needs most is a partner: local fire spotter Wesley March.

Wes knows in his heart that Kit is right, and he’s willing to leave his lonely tower to help her prove it. But the more time they spend together, the hotter the fire smolders…and the more danger they’re in. A member of the K9 unit’s inner circle is determined to have her revenge—no matter who gets burned in the process.

This time, it’s personal.

Wes couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t uncommon for him to have insomnia, but it usually happened when he was working on a project or was trying to sort out an especially tricky problem. This time, it felt different. Excitement was running through him, making him feel like he’d downed a half-dozen espressos in the fifteen minutes before he’d gone to bed.

He couldn’t blame caffeine for his sleepless state, though. No, it was all the fault of a beautiful woman who’d almost gotten shot by Rufus. The memory made him frown, hating the idea that she’d been in danger. After seven years working in his tower and living year-round in the small, adjacent cabin, Wes had earned the wary respect of his neighbors. He wouldn’t call them friends, but he’d be able to knock on their doors without getting his head shot off.


Giving up on attempting sleep, Wes climbed out of bed and tossed his winter coat over his drawstring pants and T-shirt. Stuffing his feet into his boots, he clumped outside. He glanced at his watch. It was close to four, but the world was as dark as if it were the middle of the night. The stars were bright, though, giving the snow an eerie, blue-white glow. One of his favorite things about his home was how quiet it was, especially at night in the winter. In the small city where he’d grown up, there’d always been noise, sounds overlapping other sounds until it was impossible for him to concentrate on anything. Here, it was just the slight thud and brush of his boots connecting with the snowy ground, then the quiet beep and click of the tower door unlocking and opening.

Once upstairs, there were more distractions—the crackling of the fire in the woodstove and the whir and beep of various electronics he’d hooked to the motion sensor—but everything was familiar and expected. Usually, the sameness of his tower was comforting, but tonight he was restless. He’d gotten a taste of the heady excitement he’d felt in Kit’s company, and he wanted more. For the first time, the tower felt empty.

“Radio on,” he commanded, needing to hear human voices other than his own. After he heard the beep indicating that the digital radio had powered up, there was still silence, and he almost laughed. Why had he thought anyone would be communicating at this hour? It was tiny Monroe after all. “Radio scan.” Although he still didn’t have high hopes of hearing any communications, even with all the channels open, that at least increased the odds. Walking over to the bank of windows, Wes peered into the darkness, not seeing anything except his reflection.

“Dispatch, Unit 2242. I’m about to make a traffic stop on the 200 block of Main Street. Plates when you’re ready.”

The voice belonged to one of Wes’s more sane neighbors, Otto Gunnersen. The cop and his new wife, Sarah, lived a few miles away.

2242, go ahead.” The dispatcher sounded sleepy. As Otto rattled off the license plate number, Wes wondered if Otto’s transmission had woken her up.

It wasn’t long before the dispatcher spoke again, sounding wide awake this time. “That plate comes back to a blue Honda Accord, registered to a William Kyle Yarden. He has a warrant.”

Copy.” Otto didn’t sound fazed by the information, which wasn’t surprising. Although Wes didn’t know Otto well, he got the impression that it took a lot to rattle the big cop.

2268.” Wes’s stomach jumped with excitement when he recognized Kit’s voice. “Need some help, Otto?

I’ve got this, thanks,” Otto answered. “Bill never gives us any trouble.”

Copy. Let me know if you can use a hand. I’m just around the corner, so I could be there in five minutes.” Kit sounded a little disappointed, and Wes wondered if she was having just as much trouble sleeping as he was. He liked that idea. It made the early-morning hours seem less lonely when he knew that she was awake as well.

On impulse, he switched the radio to a seldom-used channel and picked up the wireless mic. “3537 to 2268 on eighteen.”

There was a pause long enough to make Wes wonder if she was scanning channel eighteen or if his attempt to reach out had been lost to empty air. “2268 to 3537. Wes, is that you?

He smiled. “Yes, it’s me.”

What are you doing up so late?” she asked. Her voice was warm, and it made his blood feel carbonated again, all those fizzy bubbles swirling through him. He couldn’t stay still, so he paced over to the windows, peering through the glass even though he knew he couldn’t see her house without the binoculars.

“I couldn’t sleep. How about you? Are you working nights now?” He hoped not. There would be fewer chances to see her if their sleep schedules were reversed.

Nope to both. Can’t sleep, but I’m not on nights. Too bad. At least then I’d be paid for staying up.

He moved from Window 1 to Window 12 and then back again, needing to move so his brain didn’t freeze with the pressure of talking to Kit. “Why can’t you sleep?”

Although he’d only met her a few times, the sound she made was already familiar, and he could picture her doing a half shrug as she made it. “I’m not sure. New place or too much excitement yesterday or something. Who knows. My brain does what it does, giving no explanations.

“Yes.” Her words resonated inside him. “Mine, too. Our brains match in that way.”

Please.” Amusement filled her voice, and it made his throat tighten with anxiety at the thought of her laughing at him. “As if my brain could even hope to match yours. I’ve seen your tower. You’re a stinking genius.”

The words ran through his mind a few times before he was reassured that she was complimenting him, and he ducked his chin, his face heating from pleasure and relief. As he lifted his head, his reflection in the window caught his attention, and he was glad Kit couldn’t see his flushed cheeks. Realizing that his pause had probably stretched too long, he scrambled to come up with an answer. “You’re just as smart. I think your brain could hold its own.”

Now I’m picturing our brains battling it out.” Her words were filled with laughter, and he was pleased that he was actually managing to banter with her.

At least, he was pretty sure that they were bantering. He made a mental note to call his sister, Leila, later and ask.

“Are they using swords or light sabers?”

Neither. They’re bouncing off each other like lumpy, armless sumo wrestlers.”

His own laughter took him by surprise, and he felt a rush of affection for Kit. It had been a long time since he’d been able to talk to anyone so easily. “Of course. That’s the only battle that makes sense.”

About the Author: A fan of the old adage “write what you know”, Katie Ruggle lived in an off-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains until her family lured her back to Minnesota. When she’s not writing, Katie rides horses, shoots guns (not while riding, although that would be awesome), cross-country skis (badly) and travels to warm places where she can scuba dive. A graduate of the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. A fan of anything that makes her feel like a bad-ass, she has trained in Krav Maga, boxing and gymnastics.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iBooks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Katie Ruggle, who is celebrating the upcoming release of Survive the Night. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a Katie Ruggle prize pack.

He’s always been a haven:
For the lost. The sick. The injured.
But when a hunted woman takes shelter in his arms, this gentle giant swears he’ll do more than heal her battered spirit—he’ll defend her with his life.

K9 Officer Otto Gunnersen always had a soft spot for anyone in need. As Monroe’s very own Dr. Doolittle, he dedicates himself to rehabilitating the injured souls that cross his path—but for all his big heart, he’s never been in love.

Until he meets Sarah Clifton’s haunted eyes. Until he realizes he’ll do anything to save her.

All Sarah wants is to escape a life caught between ambitious crime families, but there’s no outrunning her past. Her power-mad brother would hunt her to the ends of the earth…but he’d never expect Sarah to fight back. With Otto and the whole of Monroe, Colorado by her side, Sarah’s finally ready to face whatever comes her way.

It’s time to take a stand.

Enjoy an Excerpt

A car turned onto the street, and her heart sank even further when she saw the light bar on top of the vehicle. Logan was a police officer. Had Aaron sent him after her? During that horrible dinner, Judd had mentioned that Logan had contacts. Did they include anyone at the Monroe Police Department?

As her brain raced, she’d frozen for a few seconds, long enough for the squad car to pull up to the curb in front of the carport. It was too late to run and pointless to hide. As close as the squad car was, the cop had to have seen her on the carport. A strong gust of wind pushed her off-balance, and Sarah sat abruptly. There might be no escaping him, but at least she wouldn’t be blown off the roof.

As the police officer swung open the driver’s door and got out, unfolding his large frame, Sarah felt her throat tightening. It was the tall, burly cop she’d met after she’d just arrived, the one who was so terrifyingly handsome that it was a struggle to look at him—like a cross between a Viking and a lumberjack. The one who’d watched her steadily and silently with light-blue eyes until he’d quietly left her room. The way he’d looked at her made her illogically worried that he could read all of her secrets and was just waiting for her to confess.

Once Grace had introduced him as a cop, Sarah had sealed her lips together, afraid that something incriminating would tumble out of her mouth. It didn’t matter that she’d done nothing wrong, that she was an adult and legally couldn’t be forced to stay with her brother—much less marry creepy Logan. There was something about him that still made her…not nervous, but jittery. No, she thought, jittery isn’t right, either. He made her feel too aware of him.

He immediately looked up at her, confirming her suspicion that he’d known she was on the roof even before he pulled up. As he walked closer, he held her gaze, silently as he had before. Rather than ordering her off the roof or yelling at her to get down, as she’d expected, he circled around to the side of the carport. Instead of climbing on the car, as she had, he reached up and grasped the edge of the roof and hauled himself up with an ease that Sarah envied. Once he was up, he sat a few feet away from her.

She eyed his profile as he looked out over the street. What was he doing? If he was going to arrest her, to take her into custody and hand her over to Logan, she wished he’d just get it over with. Sitting next to him, waiting for him to do something, was making her muscles painfully tight.

When he hadn’t said anything for several minutes, Sarah knew she had to break the silence. If one of them didn’t talk, her head was going to pop like an overinflated tire.

“Sorry.” The word came out too softly, and it squeaked in the middle. “There were elk.”

He turned his head to look at her.

“They were fighting?” Clearing her throat, she tried to make her words sound more definite. It was hard, though. His continued silence was freaking her out. “I was afraid of getting caught in the middle, so I climbed up here. Did someone call you?”
His chin dipped down in a nod. Even though he hadn’t actually said anything out loud, the gesture was a huge relief.

“I was going to get down, but I was worried they’d come back. Then I heard your car engine, and…well, you arrived.”

It was a weak finish, she knew, but there was no way to explain her terror at hearing a car, not without telling him too much about her former life. After all, she still didn’t know if he was one of Logan’s contacts. Even if he wasn’t, if a fellow cop arrived and said something awful—like that she wasn’t mentally sound or that she’d committed a crime—Otto would believe the police officer over some woman he’d just met. Sarah had been sheltered, but she’d read books and watched TV. She knew that cops were loyal to each other.

“Is it strange?” Now that she’d started talking, she didn’t want to return to that unnerving silence, the one that made her think he was reading her thoughts with some magical, gorgeous-cop superpower. He cocked his head slightly, as if in question. “Strange that the elk are in town, fighting in the middle of the street? I’m new to the mountains, but it seems weird to me. I mean, squirrels can hang out in town, or rabbits, but elk right here next to all these houses? That seems wrong.”

His lips twitched in something that might have been a start of a smile. There was another pause, long enough for Sarah to think he wasn’t going to answer. Was this some strange interrogation technique? He refused to talk until she spilled all of her secrets? If so, it was surprisingly effective. His silence made her want to open her mouth and let everything inside her head spill out. Quickly, she sealed her lips together. Sharing her thoughts with this cop would be dangerous—very, very dangerous.

He cleared his throat and she jumped. “It’s not strange. Not here, at least.” His voice was a bass rumble, not loud but big and full. It fit him.

“Oh.” Relief flowed through her when he finally spoke. For some reason, hearing his voice made her warm and brought that same not-quite-jittery feeling she’d experienced before. Not able to hold his gaze, she glanced down at his car. “I probably should’ve just stayed where I was, then. If it’s normal and all. Those antlers crashing together was just very…loud.”

There was another pause, although it wasn’t quite so long this time. “You were smart to move out of the way.”

“Good. I mean, thank you.” Silence settled over them again. “Why are you here, then?”

“We got a call that you were up here.” He met her gaze, and she couldn’t manage to look away. “I, ah, wanted to make sure you were okay.”

It wasn’t what she’d expected, and it wasn’t what she was used to. No one ever worried that she was okay. His concern sparked a warm glow in her belly. She smiled, and his gaze dropped to her mouth. “Thank you. I’m okay.”

His eyes snapped back to hers. “Good.” There was a short silence. “Do you need help down?”

“Yes, please.” She glanced at the ground below. Now that the scare was over, she wouldn’t feel right climbing onto the car, and it was a long drop for her five-foot-nothing self. “Just a hand down, though. Don’t call the fire department or anything. That could be embarrassing.”

His mouth quirked again. “I won’t.”

Moving over to the edge of the roof, he swung his legs off the side and lowered himself down. Once again, he made it look so effortless that Sarah felt a little silly for asking for help. She followed, turning onto her belly and letting her legs slide over the edge. His hands steadied her, sliding from her calves to her thighs and then gripping her waist. It was a strange sensation, his firm grip both comforting and slightly dizzying, and it made her pause.

“I’ve got you,” he said in his low, steady way, his fingers wrapped almost all the way around her middle.

It was crazy to trust this stranger—this cop—but Sarah couldn’t help herself. Just from their short conversation, her gut told her that he was nothing like Aaron or Logan or any of the petty, vicious people who had populated her previous life. Maybe he was conning her, but Sarah suspected he was honestly good.

Closing her eyes, she let go of the roof. Just as he’d promised, Otto carefully lowered her down. Even after her feet were securely on the ground and he’d released her, Sarah could still feel the warm impression of his hands pressing into her skin.
“Would you like a ride home?” he asked, and she realized that she’d been staring at him.

Ripping her gaze from his face, she glanced around. “I think I’ll finish my walk. It looks like the road is elk-free. They probably went to the diner for breakfast.”

That almost-smile came and went quickly, but it still gave Sarah a charge that she’d caused it. As she started to walk back toward Jules’s driveway, she expected to hear the squad car engine roar to life, but the morning stayed quiet. The wind had dropped to a gentle breeze, and the rising sun warmed her. When she reached the turnoff for her driveway, she couldn’t resist—she glanced behind her.

Otto was still parked by the carport. She wondered if he was watching to make sure that she made it home safely. The thought gave her a warm thrill, but she quickly quashed it. Monroe was just a temporary stop on her road to freedom. She needed to focus on building her new life, not on a Viking-lumberjack cop with steady blue eyes and huge, warm hands.

At the memory of his firm grip, another frisson of excitement whirled through her. This time, she let it stay. She’d enjoy it for a few moments, she promised herself, but then she would do her best to avoid Officer Otto Gunnersen. With a final glance at the surprisingly intriguing man behind her, she strode up the rutted dirt driveway, smiling.

About the Author: A graduate of the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. A fan of anything that makes her feel like a bad-ass, she has trained in Krav Maga, boxing and gymnastics, has lived in an off-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains, rides horses, shoots guns, cross-country skis and travels to warm places to scuba dive. In addition to her romantic suspense books, she also writes spicer romances under the pen name Katie Allen.

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