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Authors: Trista Ann Michaels

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Crime & Punishment 3: Theirs to Share

BOOK: Crime & Punishment 3: Theirs to Share
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Epilogue

Loose Id Titles by Trista Ann Michaels

Trista Ann Michaels

Crime & Punishment 3:

THEIRS TO SHARE

 

Trista Ann Michaels

 

 

 

www.loose-id.com

Crime & Punishment 3: Theirs to Share

Copyright © July 2014 by Trista Ann Michaels

All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the original purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

 

Image/art disclaimer: Licensed material is being used for illustrative purposes only. Any person depicted in the licensed material is a model.

 

eISBN 9781623002787

Editor: Jana Armstrong

Cover Artist: April Martinez

Published in the United States of America

 

Loose Id LLC

PO Box 806

San Francisco CA 94104-0806

www.loose-id.com

 

This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the 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.

Warning

This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language and may be considered offensive to some readers. Loose Id LLC’s e-books are for sale to adults ONLY, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

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Chapter One

Dark, starless nights. They brought about thoughts of despair and loneliness, as though nothing in the world existed outside her field of vision, as though the world was covered in a sheath of black velvet.

Even the blinking lights of the airplane she heard roaring overhead were obscured. Nothing could penetrate the thick cloud cover. With a huff of frustration, she decided to just throw up her hands and pack it in for the time being. Any night shots she got wouldn’t look right anyway without the stars as a backdrop.

She should’ve paid closer attention to the weather before hiking all the way up here, but hadn’t her e-mail alert said clear skies?

“When will you learn, Cheyenne? Weathermen hardly ever get it right,” she mumbled to herself.

Maybe tomorrow morning would make for some great sunrise pics, especially if a few of the clouds hung around. The muggy night was thick with the smell of pine and wood smoke, but no fires were visible from their spot high above the valley below.

“Everyone else was probably smart enough to watch the weather,” she grumbled.

“Talking to yourself again?”

Cheyenne Willis turned and smiled at her best friend, Steve Franklin. He’d graciously agreed to tag along on this little camping trip, but she’d known he would. He loved to camp almost as much as she did. At the mere mention of camping, his brown eyes lit up like it was Christmas.

“I’m just bitching. I was really hoping to get a night shot of that waterfall and the valley, but…” She lifted her shoulders in a dismissive shrug as she pulled her camera off the tripod and set it back into the leather case.

“We can always stay another night. We brought plenty of supplies.”

Cheyenne gave a nod without turning around. Steve always overpacked for camping. In his mind, a person could never bring too much. She was amazed they’d fit it all on the four-wheelers they’d used to traverse the trails.

“We’ll see how tomorrow goes.”

Steve glanced up toward the dark night sky. “All those clouds will make for a gorgeous sunrise,” he said.

“Half those clouds would be better,” she replied with a grin. “The sun has to be able to get through if you want to see the color.”

“Good thing at least one of us knows what they’re doing.” Steve gave her a teasing smile before turning to drop the twigs he’d been holding. “Want a fire?” he asked.

“Yeah, let’s do a small one. Can’t camp without a fire, right?”

“Absolutely,” he countered, his attention on the armload of wood.

Cheyenne watched Steve as he stacked sticks and searched his pocket for the lighter. He’d been her best friend since junior high—ever since he’d moved in to the small house across the road from hers. His dad had been an ass, and Steve had spent most of his time at her house. His summers were spent working her parents’ ranch. It had earned him some money and had gotten him away from his verbally abusive father.

He’d often said if it hadn’t been for her and her parents, he would’ve never made it as far as he had. Her family had always expected them to marry. She’d cheered him on at high school football games. He’d tutored her in Latin while in college. They’d cried on each other’s shoulders over breakups and disappointments and celebrated even the smallest accomplishments.

Unfortunately, she’d never felt any sexual attraction toward him. He hadn’t for her either, or if he had, he’d never said anything. To be honest, she was glad he hadn’t. She would hate it if he loved her but she didn’t feel that way about him. It would be like losing her other half.

“You okay?” Steve asked.

Cheyenne blinked and noticed her friend watched her with a worried frown. “What? I’m sorry,” she said with a shake of her head. “I was thinking about that meeting I have on Monday with the hospital board.”

“Are they still wanting you to increase your patient load?”

She rolled her eyes. “Of course. They give me so little time now per patient. How am I supposed to figure out what’s wrong with them if the board doesn’t give me enough time to examine them properly? I’m repairing heart defects, for crying out loud, not playing a timed game.”

“That’s what happens when insurance companies are allowed to buy hospitals. It becomes all about the bottom line.”

She sighed and kicked at a few twigs in frustration. “I think I’ve fought them on this long enough. They’re going to put their foot down this time.”

“You can always start your own independent practice,” Steve offered.

“I can’t afford it right now. The hospital owns the testing equipment I use, and I can’t afford to buy all new yet. I figure another year and I’ll have enough.”

“Get a loan, Cheyenne, like everyone else.”

She shook her head stubbornly. “Loans for medical bills because of my mom’s cancer are what caused all those financial troubles for my dad and the ranch. I don’t want to get a loan unless I don’t have any other choice. And even then I’d think twice.”

Steve chuckled. “You’re probably the only person in the world I know who pays cash for everything.”

She smiled. “I’m not the only one. Besides, how comfortable are you in that huge house with that huge mortgage?”

Steve gave her a sheepish grin. “Yeah, okay. I overindulged a little, but I’ve done well, and I wanted something nice. For once in my life.”

“Hey, you have me, and I’m nice,” she said as she swapped out her Nikon for her special Canon that allowed her to shoot at night without a flash or a long shutter delay. The firelight would cast interesting shadows on the trees.

“Nice, huh? Is that what you call yourself?”

She scrunched her nose at him. “Very funny.”

Steve chuckled and added a little more wood to the fire. She could understand him wanting something nice. His father destroyed everything nice he had growing up. College was paid for by football scholarships, certainly not because of anything his father did. Steve had worked his ass off to become a pediatrician. He deserved to have what he wanted.

During med school, when he’d come to her and told her he wanted to work with kids, she hadn’t been surprised. Steve was good with them.

A gunshot sounded in the woods a few yards below them, followed by a painfully loud yell.

Steve pushed from his squatted position to stand straight up. “What the hell was that?”

“Someone hunting illegally? Do you think they fell and accidentally shot themselves?” she asked, then took off toward the trail.

“Cheyenne,” Steve snarled before taking off after her. He caught up with her and grabbed her arm. “Are you insane?” he asked.

“What if he’s hurt?” she asked. “We can’t just ignore it.”

Steven sighed. “Fine.”

In the distance, they could hear shouting. “It’s coming from this way,” she said and headed through the brush.

“I have a bad feeling about this,” Steve mumbled as he chased after her.

Cheyenne ignored him. Steve was much more cautious than she was. His wariness of people knew no bounds. He didn’t trust easily, and he was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. She was sure a lot of that had to do with his childhood.

The light from a flashlight broke through the trees a few yards below them, and Cheyenne headed toward it. Steve grabbed her elbow and kept her back. “Wait,” he said softly. “Something’s not right. Listen.”

“Who’s the other one?” someone asked, his voice deep and gravelly.

Cheyenne frowned as four men came into a view, all of them with guns. A fifth man lay curled on the ground, one hand over his bleeding thigh. Why weren’t the others helping him?

“I know there are two of you,” the same man said again as he towered over the man lying on the ground and pointed a pistol at him.

“There was just me,” the man said as he held his hand up in a pathetic attempt to stop another bullet from hitting him. “I swear.”

“You’re lying,” the man with the gun snarled.

He fired off another shot, hitting the man in the side. The wounded man yelled in agonizing pain and gripped his side. Cheyenne gasped, and tears sprang to her eyes. She wanted to help him, but how did she and Steve go up against four men with guns?

“Oh, God,” she whispered.

Steve clamped his hand over her mouth. “Shh,” he said. “What the hell have we walked into, Shy?”

Chapter Two

Grayson Marx turned in a circle, staring up at the woods in growing anxiety. The FBI agent had gotten word to them that his cover had been blown. The GPS tracking chip they’d implanted in the agent’s wrist pinpointed his location within a mile of the trail entrance. Unfortunately, his signal had cut out. There were too many damn trees obscuring the line of sight between his chip and the satellite.

The anxious feeling in his gut only grew as he stared at the dark trail. There was no way in hell he and the other agents would find him. Grayson had seen too many lost over the years. He hated to lose this one as well.

BOOK: Crime & Punishment 3: Theirs to Share
3.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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