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On the Run with the Lawman

Written by Delores Fossen

Chapter Seventeen

Pete felt as if someone had punched him in the gut. Hell. He prayed this was a hoax, but judging from the sob that tore from Cassie's mouth, it was the real deal.

"That's Anna," Cassie said, her words and body trembling.

"Yeah, it is," Everett verified.

"Oh, God. Don't hurt her," Cassie demanded. Despite the obvious fear, the rage came through in her voice, too.

Pete tried to use some reason here. Hard to do with Cassie falling apart right next to him. "How do I know you really have Cassie's sister?" he asked Everett. "You're not exactly trustworthy, and that voice could have been some kind of recording."

He saw the hope creep into Cassie's eyes, and she pulled in her breath, waiting.

"First things first," Everett said. "Tell the dispatcher to get off the line. I'll know if she's still there, and if she stays on or tries to record this, I hang up."

Everett didn't fill in the last part of that threat, but Pete knew what it was. If he didn't comply, Everett would hurt Anna. Or worse.

"Get off the line," Pete told the dispatcher, and even though she hesitated, he heard the click to let him know the dispatcher was no longer listening.

Everett must have heard it, too, because he growled, "Tell her to talk."

The moments crawled by. "It's me," the woman said.

Pete didn't have to ask Cassie if that was indeed her sister's voice. Judging from the way Cassie staggered back, it was.

"Some men found us," Anna added, her breath broken and rushed. "They shot Frank. I think he's okay, but he needs an ambulance."

Of course, Everett would have neutralized the bodyguard, but that didn't explain how he'd found them in the first place. But Pete had a general idea of how it'd happened.

"Did you somehow manage to follow Anna to the second safe house?" Pete asked the man.

"Guilty," Everett readily admitted. "All I had to do was get them on the run. People on the run aren't always as vigilant as they should be."

Pete was betting the bodyguard had been plenty vigilant, but he also figured Everett had lots of hired guns watching the roads so he would know exactly where Anna and Frank were going.

Now, here's how this will work," Everett said. "We're on one of the old ranch trails on Sweetwater Ranch. Follow the road east to the back fence, and you'll find us. A word of caution though—if you bring any of your lawmen buddies, Anna will be the one who pays for that."

Pete doubted he'd kill Anna. Not right off anyway. Still, Cassie's sister was in grave danger and so was Frank.

Even though Pete was about a thousand percent sure he didn't want to hear the answer, he had to ask the question anyway. "What exactly is it you want Cassie and me to do?"

"It's simple. I'll trade Anna for Cassie. You've got fifteen minutes. For every second after that, I start putting bullets in Anna." Everett hung up.

Pete cursed and tried to clear his head to come up with the best way to handle this. But Cassie didn't hesitate.

She grabbed her gun. "Let's go," she insisted.

He caught onto her arm to try to reason with her, but the point of reasoning was long gone.

Cassie stormed out the door.

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About the author

When I was a child, I used to sneak around collecting fingerprints, ha...

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Delores Fossen

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