Run Wild

Run Wild

3.7 9
by Lorie O'Clare
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Run Wild

Lorie O'Clare

Hot on the trail of a cold-blooded killer, a small-town sheriff risks his life—and his heart—with one sexy partner…

Raised in a family of professional bounty hunters, Natasha King knows the dangers of tracking down fugitives—especially when they're wanted for murder. But this is

…  See more details below

Overview

Run Wild

Lorie O'Clare

Hot on the trail of a cold-blooded killer, a small-town sheriff risks his life—and his heart—with one sexy partner…

Raised in a family of professional bounty hunters, Natasha King knows the dangers of tracking down fugitives—especially when they're wanted for murder. But this is no ordinary mission. This time, it's personal. The suspect is her own long-lost father—and the lawman hunting him down is dangerously close to catching her off-guard…

In all his years as sheriff, Trent Oakley has never seen a woman as strong-willed—or as scorching hot—as Natasha. With her big-city experience and black-belt training, she's his best chance for tracking down the Trinity Ranch killer. Problem is: Can he trust her? As the trail gets hotter, their attraction burns wilder, and soon Trent's not sure who's hunting who. But one thing's for sure: Natasha is one woman who always gets her man…

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“O'Clare's latest novel will capture readers from the start. With a tough-as-nails yet vulnerable hero and a fast paced plot that is equal parts danger, mystery, passion and romance, this story makes for one riveting read.” —RT Book Reviews on Run Wild

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466801394
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
03/27/2012
Series:
Bounty Hunters Series , #4
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
378,063
File size:
371 KB

Read an Excerpt

Run Wild


By Lorie O'Clare

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2012 Lorie O'Clare
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-0139-4


CHAPTER 1

"Natasha?" Greg King glanced up from the file in his hand. "Natasha, the phone?"

"Got it." Natasha grabbed the phone from her desk, ignoring Uncle Greg's disapproving frown.

Patricia Barton, Patty, hurried into the office. "Here's the file you were looking for," she announced, handing the file to Greg before giving Natasha a winning smile.

KFA, King Fugitive Apprehension, had recently hired on two new bounty hunters. Two weeks ago Uncle Greg also had hired a new office assistant. Natasha appreciated the help in the office, but Patty was intent on showing Natasha up, making their daily jobs more of a competition than a team effort. It sucked. Natasha was competitive, and if the prissy little girl wanted to be shown who was the better woman, Natasha would take her down. She had created this job Patty was determined to show her, and everyone else, she could do better.

There was no way Natasha would give Patty the satisfaction of knowing how much she affected her. She returned an indifferent nod and looked away, staring outside through the large windows as she answered the phone.

"KFA," she said quietly, calmly. "How may I help you?"

"I need to speak with Natasha King," a deep, male voice demanded.

Natasha blinked. She'd been answering KFA's phones for seven years, since her uncle opened up shop, and couldn't remember when anyone last called this number for her. She had her own cell, and if anyone wanted to reach her, they called her number, not KFA's. Yet this was the second time today someone had called and asked to speak to her. The first call had distracted her. Now her nerves were on edge.

"This is Natasha." She turned her back on Uncle Greg and Patty and walked around her desk. "May I help you?"

"This is Natasha Nadine King?"

Natasha's heart stopped and she froze. Then her teeth clamped shut when she plopped into her office chair behind her desk, which faced the rest of the office. Natasha didn't use her middle name. Sure, it was on her birth certificate, but Nadine was her mother's name, the woman who'd left Natasha and her father when she'd been four years old. "Nadine" wasn't even on her driver's license. Not even the middle initial.

"Who wants to know?" she demanded, keeping her voice low as she shot a furtive glance toward her uncle. For once she was glad Patty was kissing up to him. It was keeping him busy. Otherwise he'd be towering over Natasha wanting to know who was harassing her.

"This is a personal matter between Natasha King and her family."

Her family? Her family, for the most part, was standing five feet from her. There were her two cousins, Marc and Jake, but both of them had moved out and weren't working for KFA anymore. And Aunt Haley, of course, who didn't like Patty any more than Natasha did, was probably either in the kitchen or somewhere else in the King house, which was attached to the KFA office. The office had once been a screened-in front porch, but Uncle Greg had converted it over shortly after he'd opened his doors for business.

"This is Natasha," she said hurriedly. "What can I do for you?"

"Natasha." There was no emotion in the man's tone. "Where's your father?"

"My —" Natasha bit off the word "father." Who the hell would be asking her about her father? Obviously no one who knew her. She was the last person to ask if anyone wanted to find George King.

"Yes, your father, Natasha," the man said crisply. "Tell me where he is." He was rather demanding.

"I have no idea," she drawled, her heart beating once again as she leaned back in her chair and examined her fingernails. It was the second time today. The first caller had been more polite, more conversational, but the question had been the same. Why did they want to know where her father was? What had he done?

She waited out the silence, curiosity besting her. At the same time she straightened her hand and stared at her short nails and the recent manicure she'd given herself. After her last breakup and Bill Sanders' informing her he couldn't be in a relationship when he wasn't sure who wore the pants between them, Natasha had decided to confiscate some of Aunt Haley's nail polish and paint her nails and her toes. They even matched. There was a first.

"Miss King."

Natasha wasn't in the mood to offer the caller a more informal title.

"I need you to come to Weaverville."

"Weaverville?"

"Yes, Weaverville, California."

She ran her fingers through her long black hair, immediately tangling them when she neared the ends, then yanked her hand free and stared at the tousled ends with casual indifference. Somewhere in her desk drawer was a hair stick she could wrap her hair around and pin to the back of her head.

Natasha opened the drawer and spotted it immediately. At the same time she glanced up, which was a mistake. Uncle Greg was watching her, raising an eyebrow. He was listening. Patty had returned to her smaller desk along the adjacent wall and was tapping away at her keyboard, probably blogging. The stupid twit seemed to forget anyone could read it. Natasha would check Patty's blog later and read all the hateful things she wrote about her.

"Where is Weaverville, California?"

"We're in the Trinity Alps."

"I'm in L.A. That's eight or nine hours from here."

This time her caller waited out the silence.

"You can come here, fax, or mail any information." Natasha wasn't in the mood for nutcases. What was her father up to now?

"Your father is in serious trouble. You're needed in Weaverville if you have any intention of helping him."

She blew out a breath. Answering the phone for KFA all these years didn't make dealing with people like this any easier. Everyone thought their world was coming to an end and KFA needed to drop everything and run to their assistance immediately. All she could do was slow the caller down and gather information. "Sir, I'm sorry. I didn't get your name."

"Trent, Trent Oakley. Does Monday work for you, around two P.M.?"

"Why are you asking where my father is and demanding to see me?" she asked. "I've already told you I don't know where he is and no, Monday at two P.M. doesn't work for me at all."

She pictured Trent Oakley to be some bulging-gut mountain man, wearing a cowboy hat and plaid shirt and spitting chew after every other sentence. If he called her "little woman" she would hang up on him.

"This needs to be discussed in person." Trent allowed another pause.

Maybe he didn't realize what Natasha did for a living. He'd have to do a hell of a lot more than that to persuade her into doing what he wanted.

"Natasha," Trent said, lowering his voice. Apparently, he felt they'd spoken long enough to address her by her first name. "I'm extending you a courtesy. I'm giving you the opportunity to meet with me before any charges are officially made."

Natasha sighed. "Give me your number and I'll call you back," she said, resigned. "We're a busy office. Don't count on me being there."

He merely grunted, gave her his number, and hung up without saying good-bye. She pulled her phone away from her ear slowly, trying to digest everything he'd just said or, better yet, what he hadn't said.

This was two calls now. The first caller hadn't identified himself but had simply asked if she were related to George King. They'd asked where he was. She'd said she didn't know and they'd hung up. Now this caller, this Trent Oakley, had taken the conversation a bit further. It was all too bizarre. It had been years since she'd last seen her father.

Even if she did take off from work, which wasn't an option, drive clear up to Northern California, which she couldn't do, it made absolutely no sense at all why anyone would want to talk to her before pressing charges against her father. She had no say in her father's life and never had.

"What was that all about?"

Natasha jumped and stared at her uncle, who loomed over her desk, watching her carefully. "Is something wrong with George?"

Patty hopped around her desk and sidled in next to Greg, her bright brown eyes wide with curiosity. "Is there something I can help with?" Which was her way of snooping into a conversation.

"No," Natasha and Greg said at the same time.

"Oh." Others might be offended by the snub, but Patty rocked up on her heels, spinning around with the files she held in her hands, and disappeared from Natasha's line of vision. Uncle Greg was a large man and initially Patty's not cowering around him had impressed Natasha.

Most people took one look at her uncle, who was six feet, four inches tall and built like one of those professional wrestlers on the WWE shows, and forgot what they were going to say. He could be intimidating as hell, and he did have a temper. But he was also the man who practically raised her and was more of a father than her real father had ever been.

Natasha saw the concern in his eyes, and although she hated talking about either of her parents with anyone, she and her uncle were also talking about his brother. She'd overheard more than once what her uncle thought of Natasha's father, not only for willingly dropping Natasha off at Uncle Greg and Aunt Haley's house several times a week throughout her childhood, but for eventually leaving her with them permanently. They didn't care for George's self-focused lifestyle and indifference for anyone but himself.

Her father was a gambler, a con artist, and a lady's man. Natasha had overheard him telling Uncle Greg that his world was no place for an adorable little girl. At the time, Natasha had hung on to the words "adorable little girl." She'd adored her dad, and truth be told, she didn't hate him now. George King wasn't a bad man, just a bad father, which made the conversation she'd just had with Trent Oakley even more mysterious, if not just plain weird.

"I don't know if he's in trouble, or not," she said, and gathered her hair behind her head, twisted it into a knot, then slid her hair stick through it to hold.

"What was that phone call about?"

Uncle Greg had been a cop for twenty years before becoming a bounty hunter and had taught Natasha to focus on details and on how to read people. The look on his face suggested he believed his brother had done something wrong. Greg's large stature suddenly appeared harder than stone and he crossed his thick arms against his chest as he stared down at her. He'd already drawn his conclusions and wasn't happy.

Natasha felt a wave of defensiveness as she looked up at him.

"I need a drink." Natasha pushed her way out from behind her desk. "Patty, can you handle the phones for a few minutes?"

"I can handle them all day." Patty waved over her shoulder, suddenly no longer acting interested in Natasha's conversation. She jumped on the opportunity to show Greg she was quite capable of handling the office without Natasha's help.

Greg followed Natasha out of the KFA office and into his home. Once Natasha had loved it here but with her cousins off doing their own thing, and new bounty hunters and an annoying office assistant on staff, there were days when she dreaded coming to work. It never used to be like that.

Natasha walked through the spacious living room, down the hall, and into the kitchen. It still smelled of bacon and maple syrup from breakfast. In spite of the house being an empty nest, more or less, Haley King still didn't know how to make a small breakfast. Natasha wouldn't be the one to point it out to Haley. There were days when bacon, toast, and juice grabbed from the kitchen was all she ate all day. She really should be more grateful for her new assistant, in spite of Patty's prying methods and competitive nature. It was nice not wearing a Bluetooth all the time and being able to have a conversation without continual interruption. Or at least it should feel nice.

Natasha entered the empty kitchen, wondering what was wrong with her. She loved her job. She'd always loved this job. Or was it being needed that made her truly happy? She sighed heavily. That was just plain stupid. She was needed around here as much as she'd always been. It was just these strange phone calls about her father that had her upset.

"What's going on?" Greg didn't waste time the moment they were in the kitchen. He stood in the doorway and crossed his arms, resuming the stance he'd held at her desk, and watched her walk around the island to the refrigerator.

Natasha helped herself to a cold bottle of water. "This morning someone called about Dad." She might as well start at the beginning. That phone call had bothered her, but she'd done her best to put it out of her head and not worry about it. Her father was a grown man, and he'd never sought her out for help. It didn't appear he would this time, either. If he was in a jam, there wasn't anyone on the planet better at getting themselves out of trouble than her dad.

"Oh? Why didn't you tell me?" Greg cared about his brother, which was why he treated Natasha as a daughter. Greg was all about family. Her father didn't get any of those qualities.

She'd always been grateful to her aunt and uncle. Natasha was always included in their family vacations. They had made sure she got to school every morning, and even during college her aunt and uncle were always there to help out financially and sing her praises when she did well.

Unscrewing the bottle, she put the lid on the counter and stared at the perspiration dripping onto her hand. "You were still out in the field working the Murry case." It wasn't a good answer, or even accurate. There had been times she could have mentioned it. Talking about her father made her feel awkward for some reason. "A man called asking questions about him."

"What questions?"

"He asked if we were related and if I knew where he was." She glanced up. "That was it."

"Where was he from?"

She frowned. That should have been something she remembered foremost about the first phone call. Natasha might not be a private investigator, cop, or bounty hunter. But she'd been surrounded by law enforcement all her life. There were a few things she'd picked up along the way.

"His number was blocked." She shook her head. "Uncle Greg, I guess it upset me a little."

"You've been distracted all day."

"And I'm sorry." She wasn't worried about her job being on the line. There was an unwritten clause in her job description: She would never be fired. As long as she kept up her work performance. She could do this job in her sleep, and had a few times. "The first phone call struck me as odd, although I couldn't put my finger on why," she admitted. "But this second caller was a bit more blunt. Dad's in some kind of trouble, Uncle Greg."

Her uncle didn't bat an eye. "Tell me about the second call."

"He was annoying." She began pacing the length of the island. Downing more of the water before she put the bottle on the counter, she then pulled out the stick she'd just wrapped her hair around and began combing through her hair with her fingers. "Obviously, whoever these people are who are looking for Dad, they don't know a lot about him. If they did, they sure as hell wouldn't be calling me asking about him. Or demanding I drive up to Weaverville," she explained, throwing her hands in the air.

"Weaverville?" Greg frowned. "Isn't that up in the Trinity Alps?"

"Yup. Whoever called this morning wasn't the same man who called me just now. The caller just now had a deeper, gravelly voice." She gathered her hair at her nape and scowled ahead of her, staring at a bowl of fruit on the counter. "The first guy who called was gruff, almost mean sounding. He wanted to know if I was related to George King. I said I was. He wanted to know where Dad was. I said I didn't know. He hung up. That was it."

Natasha grabbed one of the apricots, took a bite, and looked at her uncle. He was watching her, waiting to hear the rest.

"The second guy, the call just now, was more conversational, I guess." He had annoyed the hell out of her. She took another big bite of the fruit and began pacing. "I didn't like the way he demanded I drop everything and come talk to him in person. Like he thought I would be able to give him more information about Dad if I saw him than over the phone."

"Which you couldn't do."

"Which I couldn't do," she repeated. "I told him I didn't know where Dad was, and although he seemed a bit surprised by that, he accepted my answer."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Run Wild by Lorie O'Clare. Copyright © 2012 Lorie O'Clare. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More

Meet the Author

Lorie O'Clare is an award-winning erotic romance writer with more than 50 books published. Her stories range from the wild lives of werewolves to the passionate and thrilling world of romantic suspense. An EPPIE and Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award winner, she lives in Kansas with her three boys and two dogs, a Boston Terrier and a beagle.


Lorie O’Clare is an award-winning erotic romance author of more than 40 books, including Tall, Dark and Deadly; Strong, Sleek and Sinful; Long, Lean, and Lethal; Get Lucky and Play Dirty. Her stories range from the wild lives of werewolves to the passionate and thrilling world of romantic suspense. An EPPIE and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award winner, she lives in Kansas with her three boys and two dogs, a Boston terrier and a beagle.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Run Wild 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
## UGH! I'm on page 200 and the "hero" (a term i don't like using in this case) is still such a complete ass that i can't stand to read any more. All these two characters do is argue. There have to be some good times to fall for each other. He has to have some redeeming qualities for a beautiful, strong, inteligent woman to fall for him. I dont recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All I can say is what a pile of garbage. Poorly written, weakly plotted drivel...if I had to read about how hot the main characters THOUGHT each other was one more time, I was going to get sick. I read a lot, 4 or 5 books a week, and this is one of the WORST Ive read in a long time. I quit reading on page 56.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between the lead characters. Pushing each others buttons, establishing ground rules, and fighting for control made this story a great read.
The_Reading_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
What are the rules for this game we are playing? Natasha King is great at the details of being a bounty hunter and can work the case as proficiently as the rest of her family. She knows to do the job and not get personally involved, which keeps your head clear of distractions. When the case becomes her father, who has been accused of murder there is nothing but emotional attachment involved. He may have been a parent that was out of her life more than in but he is her family and she will find out what is going on. Trent Oakley is the small town sheriff who is trying to capture Natasha’s father but seems to be trying to snag her attention as well. She is a firecracker who has stirred up more intense feelings than anyone has ever before and staying focused is turning out to be difficult with her around. But Trent, like his father before him knows how to get solve the crime and close the case and that is what he is going to do. Natasha is front and center everywhere he looks and he does allot of looking in her direction because for the first time long-term plans with a woman sound like something else he might like. As the details of the gruesome murder and all the possible suspects, starts to unfold there are more questions than answers. Natasha’s father is well liked and no one believes he could have done this crime but all signs point right at him. Trent and Natasha together are beginning to see that someone is leading them in this direction, but the question is who. Throw in some folk lore and superstition and you have yourself more trouble mixing than you can ever imagine. Hold on for a great ride through the mystery and complications of love when two people want the same thing just not the same way. Lorie O’Clare writes characters that show both their strength and weakness making the reader feel as though they are people they know and respect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book, loved it! Can't wait for the next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Marissa Book provided by the publisher for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book Run Wild is the fourth installment in the Bounty Hunters series, and WOW! I have really missed something in not reading the first three books. Don’t get me wrong – this story stands on its own very well. But I can’t help but wonder what all I missed in the first three books. Believe me, I’ll be finding out! For me, this book was also a breath of fresh air. I’ve read some real stinkers lately so to pick up a book that is well-written, typo-free, and has a tight story-line that kept me turning the pages was wonderfully exhilarating. The plot moved cleverly from a strange phone call to an unscheduled visit and strangers eying each other up to purposely antagonizing each other in an attempt to avoid the inevitable. A relationship. The characters were human although less flawed than I typically like – Natasha is gloriously beautiful and Trent is devastatingly handsome – but they are tediously human in every other regard. Both are afraid of (or at least wary of) relationships, both had been emotionally wounded by an absentee parent while growing up, and both are determined to be the best in their respective professions. Even more, they each question their motives and movements as they attempt to track down Natasha’s father, a possible murder suspect. In one regard, this is a typical mystery-slash-suspense-slash-romance. In every other regard, it is more. Run Wild is my choice for July’s Book of the Month. Pick it up. Read it. Enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago