Trace Davidson is determined to protect Christie from her ex-husband who has ordered a hit on her from his jail cell. Trace will do anything it takes, including putting his own life on the line, to make sure Christie survives.
Salvatore Reyes of the Jimenez Cartel intends to make sure his ex-wife never makes it to the witness stand to testify against him. Christie is the only one with enough damning evidence to send him to prison for life. If he’s convicted, he’s as good as dead—the drug cartel will kill Salvatore if he doesn’t kill Christie first. Salvatore isn’t going to let her live another day.
Trace and Christie end up on the run. They must keep moving to avoid Salvatore and the cartel’s men. In the midst of danger, Trace and Christie find love—but first they have to make it out alive.
About the Author
Cheyenne McCray is an award winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who loves to torture characters—whether they’re misbehaving or not—and kill off deserving individuals. She also totally gets off on blowing things up. All fictionally, of course. She’d rather chew glass than write sweet and sugary. Give her a hideous demon or particularly nasty villain to slay any day.
Cheyenne enjoys creating stories of love, suspense, and redemption. She loves building worlds her readers can get lost in. If you would like to find out what odd and unusual things Cheyenne is up to these days, cruise her website any time, take a look at the bizarrely normal yet strange FAQs, and even drop her a line or two.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Cheyenne McCray 2017. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
Trace Davidson sighted his weapon on his target and tried not to think about Sarah’s email. A jagged blade of anger had ripped through his gut when he’d read the message. Flames of fury engulfed his body even now.
Brody Danson’s image appeared in front of Trace and he blinked to regain his focus. Sweat rolled down the side of his face as his finger twitched with his urge to pull the trigger. He should put a bullet between the bastard’s eyes and be done with it.
Trace slowed his breathing, holding back the raw rage threatening to overpower him. Nerves of steel and an almost unearthly calm had kept his hands steady and his mind clear in the past.
Now he barely kept hold of the reins of his self-control.
Dallas, Trace’s retired K-9 and off-duty partner, stood beside him. Tension vibrated from the German Shepherd. The dog’s extensive training prohibited him from moving a muscle, but his desire to help Trace was palpable.
In a matter-of-fact manner, Sarah’s email had spelled out everything Uncle Brody had done to Aunt Barb. Trace had read his cousin’s tears in between the lines. Sarah had practiced hiding her emotions from a young age, thanks to a home life filled with the pain of having a physically abusive father.
Trace worked to relax his grip as he braced his assault rifle against his shoulder and prepared to shoot. If he didn’t better control his fury, he might miss the target. And he rarely missed with the first shot, much less any subsequent rounds.
He squeezed his eyelids shut and counted to ten, then another ten and another until his muscles relaxed enough he could breathe easily.
Still, his mind went over the email. Uncle Brody had shattered Aunt Barb’s wrist, broken two of her ribs, and smashed her knee. He had left her vomiting blood on the kitchen tile and gone to play poker with the boys.
Heat swamped Trace and he had to do his best to calm down all over again. Not that he had been able relax since reading Sarah’s email.
When he’d unhinged his jaw enough to speak, he had picked his cell phone off the desk and called her. Sarah had held it together, but she’d clearly had to struggle to keep from falling apart.
Trace tried not to picture Barb with a bruised face, swollen jaw, bandaged ribs, and her wrist in a cast. It proved impossible to chase the images from his mind.
Adrenaline pumped through his veins. To hell with it. Screw being calm. Trace moved his finger to the trigger and squeezed.
His earplugs muffled the rifle’s retort as he placed one bullet after another in a near perfect circle, center mass. He lowered the rifle. Decimating the paper target held no satisfaction for him.
If Brody hadn’t been in jail right that very moment, Trace would have traveled home to Texas to pummel the son of a bitch who had beaten Aunt Barb. If Trace didn’t have a badge, he’d take care of Brody. Permanently.
Maybe this time Aunt Barb would leave Brody. Maybe this time she wouldn’t drop charges against the man who had beaten her for the past thirty-plus years.
Maybe this time will be different.
But he knew it wouldn’t.
Eventually, Barb would forgive her bastard husband and the cycle would start over. He would give her flowers, dinners out and lots and lots of promises.
Then he’d start beating her again.
No, things weren’t likely to change. Even if Trace made the trip home to Texas and confronted Brody, as he had done multiple times before, Barb would defend him even while damaged, bandaged, and broken. And from there things would escalate.
Trace’s own mother had died long ago, thanks to domestic violence. If only he had been older, stronger, she would have still been here.
He dragged his Ranger shooting glasses from his face as he stared at the target and slid the pair into his pocket. He pulled off the ear muffs and gripped them in one hand, the rifle in his other and punched the button to bring in the target.
“Nice shootin’, Tex,” Dare Lancaster said from behind Trace.
Trace glanced over his shoulder at his friend. “Your turn, Lancaster.”
Dare studied Trace with an appraising gaze. “You appear to be a man with a problem,” Dare said.
Trace tossed his glasses on a nearby bench. “I’ll deal with it.” He grasped the target and pulled it from the clip before crumpling the paper.
“Something you need to get off your chest?” The former police officer turned Department of Homeland Security Agent turned PI was one hell of a man and a good friend. Dare and Trace had done everything from shooting the breeze to working out a problem or three.
Trace shook his head. Hell no, he didn’t want to talk about it. “Maybe later.” He didn’t think he could speak calmly much less discuss what had happened with anyone, no matter how good a friend. “Got chores to take care of at the ranch. See you at Dylan’s for the Super Bowl party tomorrow?”
“You bet.” Dare gave a nod.
When Trace had packed up his weapon and his gear, he headed to his Ford Explorer with Dallas at his side. The K-9 had worked for the United States Border Patrol with his handler, Trace’s good friend, Steve Abrahams. After human traffickers had killed Steve and injured Dallas during a raid, Trace had adopted the German Shepherd.
Trace’s skin cooled in the chilly February air but his temper had not. He felt so damned helpless being so far from Texas and his family. He’d transferred to the DHS’s Immigrations and Customs Enforcement office in Arizona some time ago. He liked working for the Department of Homeland Security while living in the Grand Canyon State and had decided to make Bisbee his home. Times like this made him feel like maybe he should return to his place of birth where what family he had remained.
He opened his Explorer’s door and Dallas jumped in on his hand signal. No, it wouldn’t do any good to be in Houston, not yet. He’d just want to kill Brody, but he didn’t intend to land in prison because of that sniveling bastard. Still, what could he do to help Aunt Barb and Sarah?
He swung up into the cab and gripped the steering wheel, staring out at nothing. He thought of another woman who’d been emotionally and verbally abused, and opened then closed his fist. Christie Reyes had narrowly escaped a terrible fate—but not until she’d endured more than any one person should have to face in a lifetime.
Most people had a difficult time spotting non-physical abuse because there were no bruises or broken bones. At least on the outside. On the inside, both the heart and soul of the person could be bruised and broken so deeply it might as well have been a knife twisting in one’s chest. Like in his own family.
He’d seen that kind of pain and more in Christie.
The thought of Salvatore Reyes abusing Christie nearly sent Trace back to the shooting range to destroy more targets. Instead, he’d go a few rounds with his weight-lifting equipment at home.
Trace sucked in a deep breath then let it out. When it came to women being mistreated in any way, Trace had a tough time holding in his fury. He had to harness that anger and put it to good use.
His thoughts settled on Christie. He didn’t know her well—the first time he’d seen her had been when her husband—now ex-husband—had nearly killed her a year ago.
Trace had managed to exchange a few words with her at Dylan and Belle’s wedding, but then Christie had once again been whisked away into a hiding place, God knew where. She had refused to go into the Witness Security Program to await Salvatore Reyes’ trial. But the FBI had been keeping her safe in the meantime.
At least he hoped so.
Dallas sat in the passenger seat. The K-9 studied him with dark eyes that seemed to understand Trace’s emotions at that moment.
“Let’s get home, boy.” Trace started the Explorer and drove out of the parking lot. “We’ve got horses and cattle to feed, dinner to cook and clothes to wash. Just a couple of bachelors with a mile-long list of chores.”
Dallas barked his agreement. He turned his attention to the scenery that started to move past as Trace pulled the SUV onto the highway.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
You will want to read book 2 before this one to know what in the world is going on. I liked both of these books very much. I accidentally skipped book one but it doesn't really seem to matter. I wasn't lost at all starting on book 2.
Taking Fire is the third book in the Deadly Intent series and I seriously hope she continues on with it. While each book is a standalone, they are best read in order to understand what has been going on in the complete storyline arc. This book is about agent Trace Davidson and Christie Reyes. Who, if you remember, was taken hostage by her cartel husband at Bella and Dylan’s wedding. Trace is pretty much in love with Christie and hasn’t stopped thinking about her since the last time he saw her. He knows that she’s now divorced from Salvatore, who abused her. Trace has no tolerance for men who abuse women, especially since it happens in his own family with his uncle, and in the past with his mother. Now, Christie has decided to come see Bella give birth, and no one is going to stop her. An informant lets Trace know that Salvatore has ordered a hit on Christie for as soon as she steps off the plane. From there, it’s a race against time to keep her safe from Salvatore and the cartel until she can testify against Sal at his trial. Lots of great action and suspense here, the story runs smoothly and quickly as Trace tries to keep Christie safe while fighting his feelings for her. Just an awesome book, and I’m happily awaiting the next book in the series!