Atonement (Beartooth, Montana Series, Book 4) by B.J. Daniels
Paperback/eBook, 384 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Harlequin HQN (first published January 1st 2014)
Just how far are people willing to go to keep their secrets?
Protecting the citizens of Beartooth, Montana, is never an easy job. It's been one year, and Sheriff Dillon Lawson still feels guilty that he couldn't save his twin brother, Ethan. But the biggest test of his bravery comes when Tessa Winters arrives, claiming to be pregnant…with Ethan's baby. At first, Dillon can't decide if this beautiful woman is a con artist or a victim. If Ethan didn't die in that car crash, then where is he—and why is he hiding?
Now, Dillon is prepared to do anything to uncover the truth—anything except admit his growing feelings for Tessa. But with violence threatening, Tessa and Dillon must trust in each other to save not only themselves…but also Tessa's unborn child.
So this is how it ends.
It was his first thought when he opened his eyes and found himself tied to the steering wheel of a speeding car, reeking of alcohol, worse, dead drunk with it, and about to die.
Through the windshield he saw that he was barreling along a rutted desert road lined with cactus bathed in moonlight. Sobered by the realization, he slammed his foot down on the brake. Nothing. Panic washed over him like an ice shower.
He stomped on the accelerator only to find it tied down as well. With his hands roped to the steering wheel, he couldn’t turn the car off the dirt track he was now bumping along. Nor could he grab the emergency brake – let alone open the door and bail out.
Bailing was the one thing he’d excelled at in life. That, however, was no more than a fleeting thought as he hit a jarring rut in the road, the speedometer wavering just this side of eighty.
He thought of all the mistakes he’d made, the people he shouldn’t have double-crossed and the few he’d actually cared about. He didn’t have long to mourn his misspent youth though. Ahead the dirt road made a ninety-degree turn to the left to avoid a deep rocky ravine. It was a turn he realized he wouldn’t be making.
That’s when he realized he wasn’t alone. He knew the smell of death, would have noticed it sooner had it not been for his fear the moment he opened his eyes and realized what was happening.
As the car hit another rut in the road, the body in the back seat rose with it. He saw the man’s face and swore. Buck Morgan. The body dropped with a sickening thud as the car came down hard.
He felt something give. The ropes that bound his wrists suddenly felt looser. He freed one hand, but still couldn’t reach the emergency brake or the gear shift. He remembered the small knife he always kept in his left front pocket. Even if they hadn’t taken it, what were the chances he could get it out of his pocket before…
His knife. In an instant, it was in his hand, the blade open. He frantically sawed at the rope around the steering wheel as he sped toward the cliff.
The wheels bounced out of the road ruts and wiped out several large cacti before the dark chasm opened up before him. A scream tore up out of his throat as the knife tore through the last of the rope.
Seconds later the car left the road and soared out through the moonlit night. He watched in a kind of sick awe as the vehicle seemed to hang suspended in midair over the abyss. He felt a laugh bubble up, but not for long. He was a fool if he thought he could cheat death the way he had everyone in his life.
About the author:
B.J. DANIELS, a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, wrote her first book after a career as an award-winning newspaper journalist and author of 37 published short stories. That first book, ODD MAN OUT, received a 4 ½ star review from Romantic Times magazine and went on to be nominated for Best Intrigue for that year. Since then she has won numerous awards including a career achievement award for romantic suspense and numerous nominations and awards for best book. Daniels lives in Montana with her husband, Parker, and two Springer Spaniels, Spot and Jem. When she isn’t writing, she snowboards, camps, boats and plays tennis. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Thriller Writers, Kiss of Death and Romance Writers of America.