Home > Bounty (Colorado Mountain #7)(11)

Bounty (Colorado Mountain #7)(11)
Author: Kristen Ashley

I was blinking rapidly at all her words, but Krys didn’t notice.

She was still talking.

“Thought we hit enough extreme to last a lifetime, then we had those lunatics who lost their shit thinkin’ it’d be exposed and buryin’ Faye alive. Bigger lunatic church lady holdin’ those two poor kids hostage in her basement for years. And if that wasn’t bad enough, then came those fuckin’ crazy teachers brainwashing kids into robbin’ houses. All a’ that goin’ down, no one wants near Carnal, Gnaw Bone or Chantelle. It’s the fuckin’ Bermuda Triangle of the Rockies.”

I’d thankfully stopped blinking but I knew I had my mouth hanging open, I just didn’t have it in me to close it.

Real estate agent Joni hadn’t shared any of that with me.

That house didn’t sell for ten months because it was over-priced and incomplete.

Serial killers? Hired hits? Brainwashed kids?

A woman buried alive?

What the fuck?

At least it brought to mind how I knew that Tate guy. He’d been on the news about that serial killer.

I just didn’t recall that all happened in Carnal.

Until now.

“Don’t worry, girl,” Bubba said, leaning himself and Krys toward me. “Been least a year since any of that kinda shit’s gone down.”

It would need to be two years. Better, three. Even better, twenty.

“I’m Bubba,” he stated, jerking a beefy mitt my way.

I took it and shook it and let go.

“This here’s Krystal, regulars call her Krys,” Bubba went on.

“And you’ll be a regular ’cause unless you wanna drive twenty miles to Gnaw Bone, only place to get beer and bourbon is Bubba’s. You with me?” Krys shared her invitation in a way that was more a command that I be a customer.

I nodded since that was the only thing I thought prudent to do.

“Man gave you the glass, he’s Tate Jackson.” Bubba jerked his head Tate’s (and Deke’s) way. “End of the bar, you’ll always find company with Jim-Billy. Spirit moves him, you’ll also find it with Deke.”

I suppressed my intake of breath.

“Happy to introduce you around,” Bubba offered.

I didn’t want him to introduce me around seeing as that round of introductions would include Deke.

“I’ll take you up on that offer,” I said, wrapping my hand around my glass and lifting it. “After I get a little of this in me.”

“You got it, darlin’,” Bubba replied on a smile, gave Krystal a squeeze and then moved down the bar.

Krystal kept staring at me.

“Didn’t say your name,” she noted.

I wondered if she’d figured out who I was with the way she was now staring at me. Some people did. Most people, luckily, didn’t.

“Jus—” I cut myself off.

“Jus?” she asked when I didn’t continue.

I nodded since that was true. Lots of folks shortened my name to Jus and friends and family called me Jussy.

“Jus,” she stated like she wanted it confirmed.

“It’s short for something, nickname. Prefer it.” That last was a lie.

But new house, new town, new bar, new life.

And if they knew my real name, they’d put two and two together a lot faster. There’d be time enough for that to come out.

Now was just not that time.

Now was the time for me to just be Jus.

And anyway, if they mentioned me to Deke, he might remember me (maybe).

I didn’t want that anymore. I wanted to go my way and do my best not to see Deke at all.

I did want to know older guy with a ball cap. And Krystal and Bubba were seriously crazy, but I’d known crazier and at least they weren’t boring and Bubba was very friendly. Not to mention, he didn’t hang around long, but Tate seemed to be a good guy. Strangely watchful, but when you’d run down a serial killer that worked at your bar, I figured that shit happened.

And I’d closed on my house. It was time to find my peace, my privacy, my place, my less that’s more than I needed.

But in that less is more, I’d need people. Everyone needed at least some people and I was part of that everyone.

And these people resided in my peace, my place, my less that’s more.

So I’d take them.

Chapter Two

No Big Deal


My phone ringing woke me, and blurry-eyed and clumsy, I reached out to grab it from the nightstand, bring it to my face and stare at the display.

No name, so not programmed in, but the number was local.

I looked at the time on my phone.

Quarter past eight.

Jesus, who called this early?

Since the number was local, and therefore not someone I was avoiding, I took the call.

“’Lo,” I answered in a mumble.

“Justice?” a gravelly-voiced man asked.

The voice was familiar, and if I was more awake, I could call it up.

Unfortunately, it was way too early so I couldn’t call it up.

“Yes, sorry, you are?” I asked, pushing up to a forearm in the bed.

“Max. Holden Maxwell. You’ve got a deposit down on some construction work with me,” he answered.

Shit. Max. Holden Maxwell. Hot guy number one I’d met in these Colorado mountains.

And that number was quickly growing. It was like there was something in the water or a local secret where, if you journeyed out, you had to vow not to share their bounty and sign that contract in blood or they could hunt you down and kill you. Even with serial killers, kidnappers and people being buried alive, the hot guy quotient would negate that and women would be flocking to those tall, rocky hills.

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