Prodigal Son

Tor Books
October 1, 2013
ISBN: 978-0765336866

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Bounty hunter Rafe Montana is a Seer who uses his powers to find criminals no matter where they are hiding, anywhere in the world. His latest case: track down Danny Cangialosi, who disappeared with a stolen car...but for the first time in his life, when Rafe goes looking, he is unable to "see" his target. Instead, his search leads him to Danny's stubborn, meddling, and very cute stepsister, Cara McGaffigan.

Cara's looking for Danny, too, but not to turn him in. He is her brother, after all, and she's convinced that if she can find him before the cops do, she'll figure out a way to get him out of trouble. But Cara didn't count on a scorching-hot bounty hunter getting in her way.

Despite instant chemistry, Rafe and Cara know they're never going to see eye to eye when it comes to Danny. What they don't know is that Danny didn't just steal a car--he stole a precious stone, a stone right out of the legends of Atlantis. It holds undreamed-of powers...and its owner wants it back.

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AWARDS AND REVIEWS

First place winner Book Buyer's Best Award, Paranormal Category

"Mullins weaves a believable, spicy tapestry of love, intrigue, and family ties in this splendid paranormal romance." - Publisher's Weekly

Top Pick! "This is the book you want to read if you are looking for the perfect mix of romance, paranormal, and of course action!" - Night Owl Reviews

 

 

Excerpt from Prodigal Son

Walking towards the door, Cara dug in her pocket for the key the landlord had given her just now when she’d paid Danny’s overdue rent. She hadn’t counted on spending that much money—this trip was supposed to be on a shoestring budget—but she couldn’t let Danny’s place get rented out from under him, even if he had skipped bail and left her own living space in jeopardy. She’d give him an earful when he came back. She could hear the conversation now; she’d try to scold and he would thank her for helping him, giving her those puppy-dog eyes and that lop-sided smile. Probably swear to pay her back, too, though she doubted she would ever see a dime. Still, whenever he said he wanted to pay her back, she knew he meant it. It just never seemed to happen.

But he was family, and family looked out for one another.

She started to slide the key in the lock, then paused. The door wasn’t quite closed. It stood open a crack.

Had Danny come home? She nearly bolted through the door, then paused. What if it was someone else? Someone who was after Danny? As quietly as she could, she reached into her purse and pulled out the pepper spray that she had shoved in the bag before heading over. Fingers trembling, she eased open the door and silently stepped into the living room.

A man stood by the answering machine listening to Danny’s messages. Half of them were from her, and it was weird hearing her own voice pleading with Danny to pick up the phone, to call. Luckily the intruder was busy listening, fast forwarding, listening again, so the hushed whisper of her approach appeared to escape him. He had his back to her, a tall guy with powerful shoulders in a khaki colored shirt. His sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, exposing tanned, solid forearms. His hair was dark brown, and he wore jeans and black boots. From the trim rear end and the flex of his back muscles beneath the shirt, he looked to be in really great shape. Which meant he might be fast, might be strong. She made a note to stay out of arm’s reach as she lifted the little can and pointed it at him.

“That’s not necessary,” he said without turning his head.

She blinked in surprise, then steadied. “Turn around.”

He obeyed slowly, hands spread at mid-chest. “Cara, right?”

She didn’t know what surprised her more, that he knew her name or the jolt of stark attraction that nearly knocked her off her feet when she caught sight of his face.

Piercing cobalt eyes, sharp with intelligence, seemed to look right through her. Strong nose, blade-like cheekbones—Native American in there somewhere, she decided—and a mouth that swept into a wicked grin à la Dennis Quaid. He had a great tan, so he either lived in a tanning salon or was a Vegas native.

“Who are you?” she demanded. “What are you doing here?”

“My name is Rafe Montana. I’m looking for Danny. I’m a bail enforcement agent.” At her blank look, he qualified, “A bounty hunter.”

She frowned. “You don’t look like a bounty hunter.”

“Maybe if you took those sunglasses off, you would see me better.”

She’d forgotten she had them on. No wonder it was so darned dark in the house. Then he took a step forward, and she came to attention. “Bounty hunter, huh? Like a guy who chases down bail jumpers? Who’s going to bail you out when I have you arrested for breaking and entering?”

He halted and reached toward his back jeans pocket. “I can show you my license.”

“Hey, hey—hold it right there. Hands out of the pockets.” She gestured with the pepper spray and hoped he didn’t notice her trembling. “Maybe I should just call the cops and let them sort this out.”

“Go ahead.” Dropping his hands to his sides, he took another step. “They know I’m here. It’s all legal.”

“Hey! Stay right there and I won’t have to use this.”

“Calm down. I’m not going to hurt you. When’s the last time you heard from Danny?”

“None of your business.”

He sighed. “Didn’t you hear what I said? I find people for a living.”

“Maybe.” Her heart pounded, her mouth dry. “All I know is that you broke into my stepbrother’s place.”

“I could hand you the phone, and you could call the police. Clear this up.”

“Or you could stay right there and I could use my cell.” Trying to hold the pepper spray steady with one hand, she rummaged in her purse with the other, keeping her eye on him. Just as her fingers closed around the phone, he moved.

Anticipating a blow, she tried to fire the pepper spray, but he ducked beneath her outstretched arm and grabbed her from behind, pinning her arms. He jerked her right off her feet, her back against his chest. Her purse and phone went flying. So did the pepper spray.

“Hey!” She struggled to pull her arms free. Damn, he was strong. And powerful. And determined, if his unrelenting grip was anything to go by.

“Easy,” he said. “I told you I wouldn’t hurt you, but with you waving that pepper spray around, I couldn’t be sure you wouldn’t hurt me.”

“So you just picked me up off the floor? Great way to make me trust you.”

“If I wanted to do something to you, Cara, I could have done it at any time. The pepper spray wouldn’t have stopped me.”

His voice lowered at the end, almost sexy, triggering a curling warmth between her legs. Holy Hannah, was she getting turned on by the bad guy?

Unnerved by the unexpected—unwanted—attraction, she jerked her head backwards and connected with what felt like his chin. She saw stars but was rewarded when he grunted, and his grip around her arms loosened for a second. She jerked free, but he grabbed her shirt and they both went down.

As soon as she hit the carpet, she scrambled forward on her hands and knees. Where was the pepper spray? Had it slid under the coffee table? But he caught her ankle and yanked her flat on her belly. Before she could right herself, he was looming over her on all fours, trapping her. For an instant his hips pressed against her rear. Her stomach did a little flip at the intimate position, muscles trembling with a sudden burst of arousal. He flipped her onto her back, then pinned her down in a primitive move that male had used on female since the beginning of time.

His face looked like stone, his body a cage of lean, hard muscle. He smelled of citrus and sandalwood and fabric softener. Heat swept through her limbs, warmed her belly.

No way. She wasn’t going there. She didn’t care how good he smelled.

“Let me up.” She bucked her hips, trying to dislodge him, and shoved at his shoulders. Her palms tingled at the contact.

“No.” He grabbed her hands and pinned them to the floor above her head, then shifted to manacle one hand around both her wrists. “You’re not playing nice, Cara.”

“Miss McGaffigan to you.” The position arched her back, giving her way more cleavage than she had ever intended in her yellow V-neck shirt. He didn’t even glance down.

“You can call me Rafe.” He yanked off the sunglasses that sat crookedly on her face and tossed them aside. “Let’s see what’s going on with you.”

Rafe tried to ignore the soft female body beneath his. Tried to pretend he didn’t notice how her hips cradled him. Or the way the neckline of her shirt pulled down to reveal a glimpse of really nice breasts and a peek of white lace bra. How her feminine scents called to him, cinnamon and vanilla and something elusive—something her—that teased him with possibilities.

The Hunter stirred, lured by the presence of female. Hungry after the most recent burnout. Curious after the vision he’d had of her at Sal’s office.

No. This is business.

He shoved the beast back. Once he had regained control, he tilted up her chin with one hand and gazed long and hard into her face.

Her eyes were amber brown and full of annoyance and fear. For a moment he got lost there, lured into warm, sweet caramel. The promise of sex shimmered on the edges of his mind.  Then the vision slammed into him like a bullet.

Murder. Death.

Cara’s broken body lying at the side of a desert road, her eyes staring sightlessly at the sky as a vehicle burned nearby—he couldn’t tell what make or color. There was too much smoke, too much destruction. And the vision was in black and white.

The pain, the grief, slammed him in the gut as the emotions of the future rushed over him. Death. Murder. No, no, no. Not Cara. An innocent pawn in an evil game. Used and discarded. A bright light extinguished for greed and power.

The tinny notes of her cell phone broke the spell.

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Debra Mullins
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