Rendezvous With Yesterday

By: Dianne Duvall

Chapter One

Houston, Texas—Present Day

Bethany Bennett flipped through the CDs piled at her feet. “Seriously, Josh, we need to scrape together enough money to put a new stereo in this piece of crap.”

Without taking his gaze from the highway, her brother laughed. “What’s wrong? Can’t find anything you want to listen to?”

“No.” Most of the CDs had belonged to their parents and featured music from the seventies and eighties. Beth was in more of a Disturbed kind of mood, but couldn’t play her MP3s on the car’s outdated system.

Josh reached down and retrieved another stack of CDs from beneath the driver’s seat. “How about some Hendrix?”

Her mood lightened. “Okay.” As she slipped a CD into the player, the air conditioner began to screech again.

She grimaced. Even with the AC on full blast, dragging wisps of hair from her long brown braid and tickling her bangs, the heat stifled Beth, raising beads of moisture on her skin and making breathing difficult.

Of course, the bulletproof vest she wore didn’t help. Though the Type II wasn’t as bulky as the higher classification vests Josh had tried to talk her into getting, she still found it uncomfortable. The white tank top beneath it clung damply to full breasts mashed flat. Her snug blue jeans made her wish she could have worn breezy shorts. And her feet, encased in heavy boots, felt as though they roasted in a barbecue pit.

She shifted uncomfortably. The shoulder holster encasing the Glock 9mm beneath her left arm pinched a bit as she adjusted the holster on her left hip that carried the Ruger 9mm.

She glanced at Josh to see if he was equally uncomfortable and smiled.

His short, wavy brown hair gleamed in the sunlight as he bobbed his head to the music. Pretty much every female friend Beth had had since middle school had deemed him hot and driven her crazy, drooling over him. Today his strong jaw bore dark stubble that lent him a rugged look. And his trim, athletic body was clad in blue jeans, a black T-shirt and his own Type II bulletproof vest.

Once they left the city behind them, Josh orchestrated a series of turns that landed them on a barely discernible dirt road.

When that road abruptly ended in a dense forest, he slowed the car to a stop and cut the engine. “Are you ready?”

Heart pounding, she nodded. “I’m ready.”

He studied her carefully as he removed his sunglasses. “You look nervous.”

“Maybe a little,” she admitted.

He swore. “I wish Grant could’ve come instead.”

“Grant is in San Antonio, so you’re stuck with me,” Beth countered. “Besides, you said this was a long, long shot.”

“Long, long shot or not, I don’t want you here if there’s even the slightest chance we may run into Kingsley or Vergoma.”

Both Kingsley and Vergoma faced murder charges and had jumped bail. Rumors of violence against women swirled around the duo as well, but such charges had yet to be brought against them.

Josh had done his damnedest to limit Beth’s role in the family bounty hunting business to skip tracing—ferreting out information on the Internet and over the phone that could lead to the criminals’ capture. Beth was particularly skilled at such. But with their partner Grant gone, Josh had had no choice but to extend her participation in his search for Kingsley and Vergoma and let her back him up on this jaunt.

After much digging, Beth had uncovered the name of a little-known ex-girlfriend of Kingsley’s. A very bitter and vindictive ex, she had learned when she had tracked down the woman’s phone number and contacted her. It had taken surprisingly little effort to weasel out the location of an old hunting shack Kingsley had used when they were together. That woman really wanted Kingsley to go down.

Though authorities believed the two men had either headed to San Antonio to seek shelter with known associates or fled to Mexico, Josh had thought the tip worth pursuing. Bail jumpers almost always returned to their comfort zones. And—according to Kingsley’s ex—this hunting shack was his hidden comfort zone.

Beth raised one eyebrow. “Are we going to do this or what?”

Muttering beneath his breath, Josh exited the car and stuffed the keys into his back pocket.

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