HUNTED is the first in the series about the Hawkins ranch and the Hawkins men. It’s a romantic suspense set in Duster, a fictional, small town in Montana.
Staying alive wasn’t Maggie McGonagall’s first concern.
Could she convince the man she hadn’t planned on ever seeing again, to accept and protect, a son he didn’t know about? Once she managed that, she’d figure out how to keep herself from getting killed.
Cody Hawkins came running when the woman he wanted to forget called him for help. Could he help her, and walk away?
The Hawkins ranch was Maggie’s second home growing up. She’d been in love with Cody ever since she met him when she was ten years old. Until her late teens Cody never showed interest in her as a person.
One night, caught in a cabin in a thunder storm they had made love. Maggie thought Cody finally realized he loved her. He had to leave on a cattle drive the next day and was gone for several weeks.
While he was gone Maggie found out she was pregnant. She planned to tell cod, but when he returned home she found him in the arms of another woman. To prevent embarrassing her family as an unwed mother she left Duster.
Moving to Chicago she worked as a receptionist in an accountant’s office. One night she forgot a book she’d been reading. Returning to the office she opened the door just as shots were fired and the accountant fell to the floor. Two men trained their guns on her. She ran and escaped.
It had been a mafia contract killing. The FBI found her and Maggie testified, sending everyone involved to prison.
After delivering a healthy baby boy, they are both put into the witness protection plan. She’s been living in Seattle, under an assumed name, with her son ever since.
Cody returned from the cattle drive after a disastrous mistake on his part, expecting to find Maggie waiting for him. Instead, she had left town. No one would tell him where she went. He tracked her to Great Falls but then she completely disappeared off the face of the earth. He’s been angry with her for running out on him, ever since.
After seven years someone is trying to kill Maggie. She’s convinced the mafia has finally found her. She contacts Cody. She wants him to protect their son.
Cody felt like he’d been sucker punched.
Clutching his Stetson in front of him he glanced from Maggie to the bathroom. “What the hell are you talking about?”
This dark haired boy with intense blue eyes, a missing front tooth and an infectious grin looked like a nice enough kid, but… “You want me to what?”
Maggie lowered her voice. “Shh, not so loud, I need you to take Matt back to the ranch and keep him safe.”
“Have you lost your mind? Why would you want me to do that?”
“Because I need someone I trust to keep him safe. If Matt stays with me, he’s in danger and could be killed.”
“You don’t just send your kid away with a stranger.”
“Sometimes you do, but you’re not a stranger. You protected me growing up. I just need you to protect him, now. I’m sure my parents will help look after him.”
“Protect him from what?”
“Here, Mommy.” Matt handed her a glass. The water sloshed onto Maggie’s shoes and the carpet.
“Thank you, honey.” She took the glass and gave him a squeeze. “Why don’t you turn the TV on? You can watch cartoons for a few minutes.”
“Yippee.” He raced across the room to the bed, bouncing onto it.
Cody stared at her as she watched Matt grab the remote and turn on the TV. When the TV screen came into focus, Matt flopped down on his stomach and clicked until he found a cartoon channel. His chin on his hands, he stared intently on the program.
“Okay, Maggie, give. What the hell is this all about?” Cody lowered his voice.
She sipped the water. “Can I get you a drink? There’s a mini bar.”
Placing her glass on the dresser, she bent down and opened the door, exposing her well-formed butt.
He jammed his hands into his jean pockets to keep from placing them on her provocative posterior. She was driving him crazy with her sexy body and her refusal to explain why she wanted him to take her son back to the ranch. Protect him from what?
“Have a seat.” She indicated one of the antique chairs with arms and she handed him the beer.
He continued to stand, downed half the can in one swallow and wiped his mouth.
God, she looked terrific. When he’d finally noticed her in her late teens, she’d always looked exactly like a woman should look; great smile, slim figure with nice breasts and butt, and long sexy legs. She’d gained a few pounds in all the right places, which only made her sexier. Her jeans emphasized her adorable bottom, and the low-cut t-shirt showed off the tops of well-rounded breasts. She looked more sensuous and desirable with clothes on than that last time he’d seen her lying naked on his bed with all that red hair fanned out on his pillow.
And she wanted him to take her kid. What part of this wasn’t he getting?
“So spill it. Why do you want me to take your son back to the ranch?”
“You want the long version or the short one.” She sat. The sunlight that shafted through the window made the highlights in her hair light up like fire.
“Don’t be cute. Just cut to the bottom line.”
“Someone is trying to kill me. I don’t want Matt to get hurt, or maybe killed, because he’s with me.”
Cody felt like he’d been thrown by a horse and then stomped on. In the last few minutes, this woman had sent him reeling in all directions. He had no idea what she was talking about.
Killers were after her and Matt?