Compostela Ranch, Texas Hill Country, Present day
Steve brought her big Ford Expedition to a decorous stop before the impassive gates, gravel shifting under her tires like the butterflies flitting around her stomach. If she’d had any other choice, she wouldn’t have come.
Posada would have her up on charges if he knew she was here. Especially if he even suspected she’d brought copies of the case files to a fortress which would probably need every tank at Fort Hood to break down.
To be viewed by the A Number One suspect in a string of unsolved murders.
No, she was supposed to have sauntered up with another Ranger or, even better, a gorgeous, blessed-by-a-judge subpoena to haul her suspect’s ass into town for questioning. . .
No way. Not him. Even if he was the only Texan she knew who could have put those bite marks on a woman’s neck – a vampiro’s M.O.
She slapped the button and sent the window skidding down.
“May I help you, ma’am?” A very smooth voice came from extremely high quality speakers, not the usual distorted tones. He’d cleaned up all the details, including putting money into stuff that didn’t show, of course.
Or should she say they’d put money into? And just how many men did he surround himself with – and how well could he vouch for every one of them?
One Ranger, one riot. The riot’s size didn’t matter, since a Ranger could handle any number of bad guys. Every Texan knew that.
Even more, she had to believe Ethan’s friends were all good guys – just the way she knew he was.
The real killer had to come from someplace else. Somehow.
Would her stomach ever stop playing volleyball with that last slice of pizza?
“Ranger Steve Reynolds to see Ethan Templeton. Please.”
She kept her face impassive and waited, without glancing at the four – no, five! – cameras watching her. Her hands stayed relaxed, easily visible, far away from her pistol. Her shoulders remained square, aligned forward, never twisting toward the back and all her tactical gear, including her assault rifle and shotgun. Guns wouldn’t do her shit good against Ethan, anyway, given his speed.
She knew – God dammit, she knew every one of those girls’ marks from personal experience because she’d begged him to leave the same ones on her. Before she left today, if she left alive, he had to explain exactly what had happened to those victims.
Fifteen years of being his lover, off and on, said he couldn’t have done it. She was betting her career and possibly her life on being right.
He had to tell her who’d actually killed those women.
Please, God. . .
Machinery whispered into life like ghosts gathering around a grave. The gate began to slide open.
“He’ll see you now.”
She gunned the engine into full roaring life.