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Tight pacing and real danger glue all of this together into a package that’s uniquely Lanyon. When it comes to creating men who seem like they could walk and talk in the real world as well as the page, she stands tall in a very elite group.

Book Utopia Mom blog
The first five Dangerous Ground novellas collected in digital (and audio) for the first time! PLUS, in the digital version you get two fan exclusives: an interview with “David Bradley” and an interview with Will and Taylor.
Includes Dangerous Ground, Old Poison, Blood Heat, Dead Run and Kick Start.

There were three of them. Two men and a woman—although it took Taylor a moment to identify her as such beneath the shapeless clothing. They wore hunting caps, heavy plaid jackets, and they carried rifles. Taylor didn’t know much about it, but he was pretty sure hunting was not allowed in a national park.

He barely caught himself from reaching for his missing shoulder holster, instead throwing Will a look, and what he read in Will’s face confirmed that they were in trouble—even before the trio moved across the open space of the campsite, cutting him off from his partner.

“Evening,” said one of the men. He was older than his companions, sixty or so, but he looked trim and fit—and very alert. “We saw your campfire.”

The second man was tall, six-three, maybe six-four. Big. He had long blond curls beneath the duck-billed hunting cap. He stepped toward Taylor, staring at his boots.

“It’s him. I’m bettin’ it’s him.”

“You mind?” the older man said to Taylor.

“Do I mind what?” Taylor asked warily.

“The sole of your boot. Let’s see it.”

Taylor thought of the .357 SIG lying on his sleeping bag in the tent. Three short steps away.

But they’d still be outgunned. Will’s 9mm was probably in his backpack, and although these were close quarters for rifles, all three were handling their weapons with the ease of long practice. Taylor counted two suppressed .22 rifles and one semiautomatic with a scope.

He lifted his leg, offering them a gander at the mountain grip outsole of his Adidas Badpak GTX, balancing for a moment in a way that felt way too Karate Kid for comfort.

“It’s him!” the younger man exclaimed. “That’s the boot that made the tracks around the plane.”

“Nice job, Cinderella,” Will said calmly, and Taylor understood that Will was letting him know that he understood the situation as Taylor did, that he was ready and waiting for opportunity to present itself.

“Hands on the back of your head, son,” instructed the older man—clearly the leader—to Taylor. Taylor clasped his hands behind his head. “Search him, Stitch.”

The woman kept her rifle trained on Will while the younger man yanked Taylor around, searching him roughly.

“We’ve been tracking you two most of the day,” the older man said, watching this procedure closely. “You were making pretty good time until you decided to go skinny-dipping.”

The woman laughed.

At that moment Taylor was glad he couldn’t see Will’s face.

“It’s not on him,” Stitch said, and he emphasized his disappointment by shoving Taylor down.

Taylor rolled with it, coming up on his knee. Ready, but too far away to do anything—especially with a rifle trained on Will.

“Well, well,” the older man said, observing this. “What circus did you escape from?”

“Where’s the money?” Stitch yelled, and he kicked at Taylor, who grabbed his foot and twisted, throwing the other man flat. He didn’t have opportunity to follow up, though, because the other two rifles cocked simultaneously—one pointed at him and one pointed at Will’s head.

“Stitch, would you stop fooling around,” the older man said wearily. “Is he carrying any ID?”

“Nothin’,” Stitch said, climbing to his feet. “Not a damn thing.” He reached down, fastening his massive hands in Taylor’s coat, dragging him up and punching him in the belly.

Taylor doubled over, beef stew and bile rising in his throat. He managed to stay on his feet, although that was partly because Stitch still had hold of his jacket.

Through the pain he heard the older man saying, “Here’s the problem. We believe you two have something that belongs to us.”