Outside the Law

By: Carsen Taite

Acknowledgments





Tackling a series is a big undertaking for both the author and the reader. While the author works behind the scenes to weave several sets of plotlines and join lovers looking for mates, the reader is forced to wait upwards of a year for their questions to be answered and mysteries to be solved. A Texas-sized THANK YOU to all of my loyal readers who made the commitment to these characters and their stories. I hope you enjoy this, the finale of the Lone Star Law series.



When it comes to the finished product, a whole bunch of other folks make me look good. Thanks to:



Sheri for another amazing cover design.



Cindy Cresap for fierce edits delivered with a side of humor.



Len Barot and Sandy Lowe for making Bold Strokes Books a nurturing home where authors can thrive.



VK Powell and Ashley Bartlett for their steadfast friendship and keen editorial eyes.



Love and thanks to my wife, Lainey, who takes care of all the things while I’m holed up in my office writing or traveling to literary events around the country. None of my success would be possible without you.



And to all of my readers—your support fuels my inspiration and daily word counts. Thanks for taking this journey with me.





To Lainey. I love you—beginning, middle, and end





Chapter One





Special Agent Tanner Cohen blinked several times, but her eyes weren’t the problem. Sydney Braswell, the love of her life—make that former love, former life—had just strolled into the briefing and slipped into a seat at the back of the room.

Ducking her head to keep from staring, Tanner stole a few glances at Syd, drinking in the sight of her long legs, trim figure, and the waves of auburn hair that used to fan out on the pillow next to hers. Damn, she’d aged well. Tanner shook her head to scatter the memories bubbling to the surface. She hadn’t seen Syd in forever, but staring at her now, the years slipped away.

Tanner felt a sharp jab in her side and Assistant US Attorney Bianca Cruz shot her a quizzical expression. She looked from Bianca to the front of the room at AUSA Peyton Davis, who was running the briefing, and back again, slowly realizing everyone was waiting on her, but she didn’t have a clue why. “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?”

Peyton looked deferentially at her boss, US Attorney Herschel Gellar, and then at Syd. “Agent Cohen, would you like to fill us in on the recovery of Queen’s Ransom?”

Tanner felt like she’d missed something. She and the rest of the rogue task force had been contacted by Gellar’s secretary over the weekend and told to meet at the US attorney’s office first thing Monday. Tanner had reached out to Bianca, who didn’t know much more than she did about the purpose for the meeting, but the consensus was that their activities the week before, although putting them within striking distance of arresting the fugitive drug lord Sergio Vargas, had also exposed that they’d been running an operation they’d been told to shut down weeks ago.

She figured they’d been called in for a dressing down, but that didn’t explain what Syd was doing here and why had no one said anything when Syd, a total stranger to everyone but her, had walked into the room acting like she owned the place.

Filing away the slew of questions for later, Tanner cleared her throat and focused on a bare-bones recitation of the facts. “The horse, Queen’s Ransom, was exactly where Razor, uh, Enrique Garza, said he’d be, in a stable on a piece of property about an hour west of Denton. Like the barn where Lindsey Ryan was held when she was kidnapped, the property was listed for sale and the owners haven’t been there in months.” She paused before offering up the piece of information she knew everyone wanted to know. “There was no sign of Sergio Vargas anywhere on the property.”

Gellar pushed up from his seat and strode over to edge Peyton from the podium. “And I’m hearing you people offered Mr. Garza witness protection in exchange for Sergio Vargas’s location? Looks like you screwed us over.”

Tanner started to object, but Peyton beat her to it. “Giving us the location of the horse was his good faith overture. The next step is ours. We give him immunity and protection, and he delivers Sergio.”