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Boots and Bullets

Cover of Boots and Bullets

Boots and Bullets

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Cyrus Winchester's last attempt at helping a damsel in distress led to a coma and a stay in the Whitehorse hospital. But the Montana private investigator can't seem to shake his protective instincts, especially when it comes to local shop owner Kate Landon. While unconscious, he had dreamed of her brutal murder--or was it a dream?

With her girl-next-door good looks and adventurous spirit, Kate doesn't see herself as a victim--but Cyrus is sure that she's in danger. And this cowboy at heart isn't about to take a risk with her life. All he knows is that his investigation is bringing old secrets to life, secrets that point to Kate being a target of a merciless killer. Driven to keep her safe, he'd give his all to protect the woman he loves...but will it be enough?



Cyrus Winchester's last attempt at helping a damsel in distress led to a coma and a stay in the Whitehorse hospital. But the Montana private investigator can't seem to shake his protective instincts, especially when it comes to local shop owner Kate Landon. While unconscious, he had dreamed of her brutal murder--or was it a dream?

With her girl-next-door good looks and adventurous spirit, Kate doesn't see herself as a victim--but Cyrus is sure that she's in danger. And this cowboy at heart isn't about to take a risk with her life. All he knows is that his investigation is bringing old secrets to life, secrets that point to Kate being a target of a merciless killer. Driven to keep her safe, he'd give his all to protect the woman he loves...but will it be enough?

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    Cyrus Winchester opened his eyes and blinked in confusion. He appeared to be in a hospital room. From down the hall came the sound of a television advertisement for an end-of-season fall sale.

    He told himself he must be dreaming. The last thing he remembered was heading to Montana to spend the Fourth of July with the grandmother he hadn't seen in twenty-seven years.

    Glancing toward the window, he saw a gap in the drapes. His heart began to pound. The leaves were gone off the trees and several inches of fresh snow covered the ground.

    A nurse entered the room, but she didn't look in his direction as she went over to the window and opened the curtains. He closed his eyes again, blinded by the brightness.

    As he tried to make sense of this, Cyrus could hear her moving around the room. She came over to the bed, tucking and straightening, humming to herself a tune he didn't recognize. She smelled of citrus, a light, sweet scent that reminded him of summer and driving to Montana with the windows down on his pickup, the radio blaring.

    With a start, he realized that wasn't the last thing he remembered!

    His hand shot out, grabbing the nurse's wrist. She screamed, drawing back in surprise, eyes widening in shock. What was wrong with her?

    He opened his mouth, his lips working, but nothing came out.

    "Don't try to talk," she said and pushed the call button with her free hand. "The doctor will be glad to see that you're back with us, cowboy."

    Back with us?

    Cyrus tried again to speak, desperate to tell her what he remembered, but the only sound that came out was a shh.

    The nurse gently removed her wrist from his grasp to pour him a glass of water. "Here, drink a little of this."

    Gratefully he took the cup from her and raised his head enough to take a sip. He couldn't believe how weak he felt or how confused he was. But one thought remained clear and that was what he urgently needed to tell someone.

    He took another swallow of water, feeling as if he hadn't had a drink in months.

    "Sheriff." The word came out in a hoarse whisper. "Get. The. Sheriff. I saw it. The nurse. Murdered. In the hospital nursery."

    Cyrus tried to make sense of what his twin brother was telling him. "No, Cordell," he said when his brother finished. "I know what I saw last night."

    His brother's earlier relief at seeing him awake had now turned to concern. "Cyrus, you've been in a coma for three months. You just woke up. You wouldn't have seen a murder unless it happened in the last twenty minutes."

    "I'm telling you. I saw her. A nurse or a nurse's aide, I don't know, she was wearing a uniform and she was lying on the floor with a bloody scalpel next to her just inside the nursery door." He saw his brother frown. "What?"

    "You're in a special rehabilitation center in Denver and have been for the last two months. There is no nursery here."

    Cyrus lay back against the pillows, looking past his identical twin to the snow covering the landscape outside. "The hospital was a brick building. Old. The tiles on the floor were worn." Out of the corner of his eye, he caught his brother's surprised expression. "There is such a place, isn't there?"

    "You just described the old hospital in Whitehorse, Montana, but you haven't been there for months," Cordell said.

    "But I was there, right?"

    "Yes, for only one night. They were in the process of moving you to the new hospital the night you were..."

    "You're eventually going to have to tell me what happened to me," Cyrus said.

    "What's important is that you're conscious. The doctor said everything looks...

About the Author-
  • B.J. Daniels was born in Houston, Texas, to parents who loved to travel. The first time her father saw Montana, he sold their home in Houston and moved them to the Big Sky state.

    Her parents also loved to eat and brought Tex Mex and Texas barbecue to Montana back in a time when you couldn't buy Dr. Pepper or tortillas in the state. That love of food definitely has ended up in her books. Her characters, especially her heroines, all have healthy appetites — and of course the hero loves it!

    "My father built us a cabin in the Gallatin Canyon," she recalls. "My brother and I had the great outdoors to play in. As a child, I made up stories in my head and Montana was such a perfect place to daydream."

    Most of her books are set in Montana. "It's a place I know and love. I grew up listening to stories around the campfire. It always made me want to write."

    B.J. lives with her husband, Parker, and their two springer spaniels, Zoey and Scout, and a temperamental tomcat named Jeff, in a house that looks out at the mountains. "The landscape always inspires me."

    When not at her desk writing, B.J. and her husband take their fishing boat to the lake and camp. "That is my favorite thing to do. My husband is a great cook. He is sexiest over the Coleman stove," she jokes. In the winter, B.J. snowboards. "It's true you don't have to be a kid to snowboard. It is an amazing, freeing sport. It is great fun."

    Her first love, though, is writing and always has been. Writing is in her blood. "My grandmother wrote poetry and my father tried his hand at it, as well. He was also a builder. He started out building boats, then houses. He loved to create. I think that's what I inherited from him."

    She set her first Harlequin Intrigue novel, Odd Man Out, on Hebgen Lake, where she grew up, near West Yellowstone. The book was nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for best first book and best Harlequin Intrigue.

    Before that, she was an editor and features writer at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. She also had 34 short stories published in Woman's World magazine under the name Barbara Johnson Smith. B.J. is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Bozeman Writers Group. She loves to hear from her readers at P.O. Box 183, Bozeman, Montana 59771.

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