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Unbound Pursuit
 


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Unbound Pursuit


  Unbound Pursuit

  Lindsay McKenna

  Praise for Lindsay McKenna

  “A treasure of a book . . . highly recommended reading that everyone will enjoy and learn from.”

  —Chief Michael Jaco, US Navy SEAL, retired, on Breaking Point

  “Readers will root for this complex heroine, scarred both inside and out, and hope she finds peace with her steadfast and loving hero. Rife with realistic conflict and spiced with danger, this is a worthy page-turner.”

  —BookPage.com on Taking Fire

  March 2015 Top Pick in Romance

  “. . . is fast-paced romantic suspense that renders a beautiful love story, start to finish. McKenna’s writing is flawless, and her story line fully absorbing. More, please.”

  —Annalisa Pesek, Library Journal on Taking Fire

  “Ms. McKenna masterfully blends the two different paces to convey a beautiful saga about love, trust, patience and having faith in each other.”

  —Fresh Fiction on Never Surrender

  “Genuine and moving, this romantic story set in the complex world of military ops grabs at the heart.”

  —RT Book Reviews on Risk Taker

  “McKenna does a beautiful job of illustrating difficult topics through the development of well-formed, sympathetic characters.”

  —Publisher’s Weekly (starred review) on Wolf Haven

  One of the Best Books of 2014, Publisher’s Weekly

  “McKenna delivers a story that is raw and heartfelt. The relationship between Kell and Leah is both passionate and tender. Kell is the hero every woman wants, and McKenna employs skill and s empathy to craft a physically and emotionally abused character in Leah. Using tension and steady pacing, McKenna is adept at expressing growing, tender love in the midst of high stakes danger.”

  —RT Book Reviews on Taking Fire

  “Her military background lends authenticity to this outstanding tale, and readers will fall in love with the upstanding hero and his fierce determination to save the woman he loves.

  —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Never Surrender

  One of the Best Books of 2014, Publisher’s Weekly

  “Readers will find this addition to the Shadow Warriors series full of intensity and action-packed romance. There is great chemistry between the characters and tremendous realism, making Breaking Point a great read.”

  —RT Book Reviews

  “This sequel to Risk Taker is an action-packed, compelling story, and the sizzling chemistry between Ethan and Sarah makes this a good read.”

  —RT Book Reviews on Degree of Risk

  “McKenna elicits tears, laughter, fist-pumping triumph, and most all, a desire for the next tale in this powerful series.”

  —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Running Fire

  “McKenna’s military experience shines through in this moving tale . . . McKenna (High Country Rebel) skillfully takes readers on an emotional journey into modern warfare and two people’s hearts.”

  —Publisher’s Weekly on Down Range

  “Lindsay McKenna has proven that she knows what she’s doing when it comes to these military action/romance books.”

  —Terry Lynn, Amazon on Zone of Fire.

  “At no time do you want to put your book down and come back to it later! Last Chance is a well written, fast paced, short (remember that) story that will please any military romance reader!”

  —LBDDiaries, Amazon on Last Chance.

  Also available from

  Lindsay McKenna

  Blue Turtle Publishing

  DELOS

  Last Chance, prologue novella to Nowhere to Hide

  Nowhere To Hide, Book 1

  Tangled Pursuit, Book 2

  Forged in Fire, Book 3

  2016

  Broken Dreams, Book 4

  Cowboy Justice Bundle/Blind Sided, Bundle 2, novella

  Blind Sided, BN2

  Secret Dream, B1B novella, epilogue to Nowhere to Hide

  Hold On, Book 5

  Hold me, 5B1, sequel to Hold On

  Unbound Pursuit, 2B1 novella, epilogue to Tangled Pursuit

  Dog Tags for Christmas Bundle/Snowflake’s Gift, Bundle 3, novella

  Secrets, 2B2 novella, sequel to Unbound Pursuit, 2B1

  2017

  Snowflake’s Gift, Book 6

  Never Enough, 3B, novella, epilogue to Forged in Fire

  Dream of Me novella, epilogue to Broken Dreams

  Trapped Book 7

  Taking a Chance, Book 8, sequel to Trapped

  Harlequin/HQN/Harlequin Romantic Suspense

  SHADOW WARRIORS

  Danger Close

  Down Range

  Risk Taker

  Degree of Risk

  Breaking Point

  Never Surrender

  Zone of Fire

  Taking Fire

  On Fire

  Running Fire

  THE WYOMING SERIES

  Shadows From The Past

  Deadly Identity

  Deadly Silence

  The Last Cowboy

  The Wrangler

  The Defender

  The Loner

  High Country Rebel

  Wolf Haven

  Night Hawk

  Out Rider

  WIND RIVER VALLEY SERIES, Kensington

  2016

  Wind River Wrangler

  2017

  Wind River Rancher

  Wind River Cowboy

  Wind River Wrangler’s Challenge

  Unbound Pursuit

  Copyright © 2016 by Nauman Living Trust

  ISBN: 978-1-929977-20-8

  Kobo Edition

  Excerpt from Hold On

  Copyright © 2016 by Nauman Living Trust

  All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher, Blue Turtle Publishing, PO Box 2513, Cottonwood, AZ 86326 USA

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

  This edition published by arrangement with Blue Turtle Publishing

  www.lindsaymckenna.com

  Dear Reader,

  Welcome to Unbound Pursuit, the epilogue to Tangled Pursuit. Readers get to follow Tal and Wyatt’s story after they’ve met and fallen in love.

  Wyatt is dogged about bringing Tal home to his Texas ranch family so they can meet her. Hank and Daisy Lockwood, Wyatt’s parents, run a huge cattle ranch north of Van Horn, Texas. The Rocking L Ranch has been in existence for over one hundred years, passed down to the next family members.

  He’s just proposed to her and he’s anxious for his family to love her as much as he does. Besides, he tells her this will be a mini-vacation shortly after Christmas, for them, which they deserve. Tal finds herself not only in a loving Texas-size family; she meets Mattie, Cathy and Jake, his siblings.

  No one is prepared for Mark Reuss, whose father owns the ranch next to the Lockwood’s, to show up at Mattie’s kindergarten class in Van Horn one afternoon. He was once the Lockwood’s childhood friend, along with his sister, Sage Reuss. But after being in the Marine Corps, he got out and became a Mexican drug cartel soldier. Mattie never stopped loving Mark, childhood friends forever until he walked into illegal activities. Mark warns Mattie and Tal to not go out on the northeast corner of the Rocking L two nights later. And the
n he disappears.

  Tal and Wyatt quickly become embroiled not only in a highly emotional family drama with Mattie, but also the possibility of real danger that Mark has warned them about. The Cardona Drug Cartel is moving their drugs to another area: The Lockwood ranch. Suddenly, a vacation becomes an unraveling nightmare that has real consequences to all of the Lockwood family.

  Let me hear from you about the Delos series. Happy Reading!

  Dedication

  To all my readers who loved the Morgan’s Mercenary saga-series! Now there is a new one! Delos series. May you enjoy this vibrant, exciting global family!

  And to my my Facebook readers who join me daily on social media, Pamela Johnson, Teresa Rhodes, Holly Fiecke, Aleta Haas, Suzanne Phillips, CydMarie Ortega, Kim Lowe, Hilary Jane Bond, Margaret Motheral, J.M. Madden, J.C. Cliff, Sandy Parr Hughes, CydMarie Ortega, Kim Lowe, Hilary Jane Bond, Margaret Motheral, Simera King, Mufti Mukarromi, Amelia Autin, Cary Liisa, Ann Tripp, Gini Hendrix, Susan Stoker, Laura Mucci, Julia Richards Cochran, Jessica Scott, Marlan Menefee, Lynn Brooks, Vesna Ajic, Kathrine Eldridge, Kathleen Cogan, Angela Taylor MacIntyre, Lelala Michael, Linda Layton Townsend, and Sheila South.

  Table of Contents

  Cover

  Title Page

  Praise for Lindsay McKenna

  Also available from Lindsay McKenna

  Copyright Page

  Dear Reader

  Dedication

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Excerpt from Hold On

  The Books of Delos

  Everything Delos!

  CHAPTER 1

  “There they are, darlin’—my family is waiting for you,” Wyatt Lockwood said, his hand resting lightly against the small of Tal Culver’s back. It was the day after Christmas, and the bright blue December sky was a wide vault above them, showing the flat, arid Texas landscape below it. The Culberson County Airport was located three miles outside of Van Horn, Texas. It had just a couple of runways; as airports went, it wasn’t much to write home about.

  Tal smiled, taking her time because her broken ankle was in a special supportive boot and she refused to use her cane in front of his family. That was just beneath her Marine Corps pride. She might limp a little, but she’d be damned if she were meeting her fiancé’s family with a cane in her hand.

  Wyatt, six feet tall, his shoulders as broad as the state he was born in, was a former SEAL and the man she loved. She felt his large hand on the small of her back, monitoring her movement, the depth of her limp, and he cut his stride to remain at her side. As an ex-SEAL and a naturally badass Texan, he was protective of her whether she needed it or not, even more so lately because she wasn’t fully mobile. She was a bit like a bird with a broken wing right now, but Tal was working hard on a daily basis in the gym at Artemis Security to strengthen that shattered ankle of hers.

  Tal saw a whole passel of people behind the cyclone fence between the control tower building and the asphalt apron where the Delos Gulfstream jet had just landed. The copilot was out the door, opening up a side panel to retrieve their luggage. “Your family looks nice,” she murmured to Wyatt, catching his glinting gray gaze. The man was impossibly, ruggedly handsome, his brown hair cut military-short and topped by a gray Stetson.

  “They’re much nicer than I am,” he drawled, winking at her, his hand moving more surely against her back. “Take your time. You can’t hit your normal stride with that boot on, Ms. Culver. They’ll wait patiently for us to get to the gate.”

  She snorted softly, glad that she’d worn a black wool pantsuit and a white angora turtleneck sweater beneath it. The temperature was in the forties, the wind sharp and gusting at times. “You’re right. I hate being like this, Wyatt. I wish my ankle would get over itself so I could be a hundred percent again.”

  Wyatt gave her a sympathetic glance. Tal looked good enough to eat, her black hair curling down below her shoulders, the sun sparking blue highlights here and there in it as she walked. “You’ll get there,” he told her gruffly. Tal was the CEO of Artemis, the Delos charities’ in-house security company. He worked with her as the head of mission planning at Artemis. As a captain in the Marine Corps, she’d run one of the two sniper units out of Bagram in Afghanistan for five years. And she’d been damn good at it. He’d chased her for three of those years while he was stationed there with his SEAL team, trying to get the time of day from her.

  “I feel like whining,” Tal admitted, ashamed, holding his gaze for a moment. “And I’m no whiner, Lockwood. You know that.”

  He moved his hand comfortingly up and down her straight back. She would always be a Marine Corps officer, whether she was in or out of uniform. Tal was tall, medium build, and in terrific athletic shape for being thirty years old. “I know, it’s no fun for you, but we’re getting that ankle stronger a day at a time.” The corners of his eyes creased, his mouth curving upward. “For being a sniper all those years, you sure don’t have patience with your little ol’ hurt body. It’s doing the best it can, the fastest that it can.” He chuckled as she frowned. Tal had no idea how sexy she looked when she did pout, that full lower lip one of the many delicious assets of hers that he craved daily. Wyatt liked to kiss and mold her lips against his mouth. The woman kept him in a perpetual state of heat and burning. She wasn’t a flirt. Far from it. She was all business, conservative, didn’t say much, and was a damned good leader. All attributes of Tal’s that he’d fallen helplessly in love with.

  “Ohh,” she muttered, shaking her head, “I know you’re right, Wyatt. I just hate . . . well, we’re meeting your family for the first time, and I’m not whole, not my real self.”

  So there was the deeper truth. Wyatt knew Tal had a lot of pride even though she didn’t often show it, so he was glad to hear why she was so uncomfortable with, and upset about, her still-healing ankle. “You could never be less than whole to me, even if you lost your foot,” he rasped, kissing her temple, inhaling her female scent, which always made his cock thicken with want of her again. “And this less-than-whole state of mind, Tal? Get rid of it. You know better.” And she did. But it served to tell Wyatt how important it was to her that she was meeting his family and how badly she wanted to make a good impression. He felt a lot of emotions growing in his chest over that realization. To the outside world, Tal Culver was a prototype of the modern-day woman warrior who didn’t take shit from anyone. And she didn’t. She’d blown that glass ceiling all to hell years earlier. Another reason he loved her. Now she was worried about what his family might think of her limping along, not looking whole or competent. He moved his hand to her shoulders, which were drawn back with natural pride. “They are gonna love you whether you limp or not, darlin’. Have I forsaken you just because you’ve got an itty-bitty limp for a while?” He saw his drawl and teasing erase some of the tension in her face. The anxiety was banked in Tal’s incredible forest-green eyes. They were slightly tilted, thanks to her mother Dilara’s Turkish and Greek ancestry. Dilara had passed her exotic, sultry looks on to her elder daughter.

  “Oh,” she fumed under her breath as the approached the gate where Wyatt’s family stood, all smiles. “I know you’re right.”

  Wyatt gently squeezed her shoulders. “I think it’s kinda nice that you’re worried about what my Texas-sized family might think about you.” He leaned close, her hair tickling his nose as he whispered, “I love you. They’ll love you too.”

  He felt the rest of the tension bleed out of her then, and she gave him a look of gratitude. Tal was a type A go-getter like he was. They were ex-military, black ops, and very good at what they did for the years they’d spent in the service. Now they were civilians but still running a black ops company, which suited their nature, experience, and passion. He lifted his chin and drew her to a halt
near the gate. He saw his father, Hank Lockwood, a giant of a man wearing a dark tan Stetson on his head, open the gate for them.

  “Son, good to see you home,” he drawled, offering his large, callused hand to Wyatt.

  Wyatt shook it. “Dad, good to see y’all.” He took Tal from beneath his arm, smiling at his family, who were grinning ear-to-ear back at him. “I want you to meet the woman I’m gonna marry next June, Tal Culver. Tal, this is the brood I came out of.” He gestured to his father. “This is my dad, Hank. My mother, Daisy. And these three younguns, beginning with the oldest after me, are Mattie, Cathy, and the baby of the family, Jake.”

  Tal smiled. “Hi, everyone. It’s great to finally meet all of you.”

  Daisy Lockwood stepped forward, dressed in a brown corduroy pantsuit, wearing sensible black leather shoes, a purse over her shoulder in the same color. She was fifty-seven years old, her red hair streaked with gray up in a topknot, her green eyes warm with welcome. Daisy hugged Tal gently. “Nice to meet you, Tal. We’ve been so excited about meeting the woman that finally caught Wyatt’s attention.” She smiled up at her, releasing her.

  “Thanks, Mrs. Lockwood—”

  “Oh, call me Daisy,” she insisted.

  “Do,” Wyatt said, grinning. “My family doesn’t much stand on PC or protocols unless they’re really forced to.”

  Tal laughed and immediately loved the nurturing warmth of Daisy, who was very short and petite. But she didn’t look weak to Tal. She was darkly suntanned, even in December, and that told Tal that Daisy was outdoors a lot of the time. “Okay, good enough. Daisy it is.”

  Hank came forward, took off his hat, and said, “We’re mighty grateful, Tal, that you finally roped this wild cayuse of an oldest son of ours. Daisy and I were wondering when he’d finally settle down.” He offered his hand to her.

 
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