UNDERCOVER K-9 COWBOY
by Addison Fox
Harlequin Romantic Suspense
A by-the-book Fed goes rogue for justice. To stop the drug epidemic ravaging Midnight Pass, FBI agent Ryder Durant reluctantly takes matters into his own hands. Poised to set a trap at Reynolds Station, he has to contend with Arden Reynolds—who prefers Ryder's K-9 to the Fed protecting her family. As Ryder and Arden spar, embers spring into flame. And those flames are as dangerous as the crime ring lurking too close to home…
“You want answers?”
“I do.” Arden said.
“Then I want a few of my own first.”
Although she didn’t say anything, anticipation lit her blue eyes. It surprised him how that struck somewhere low in his gut. Like he was enjoying getting a reaction—any reaction—from her.
“You don’t like me very much, and I’d like to know why.”
That small light winked out, fading away as if it had never been. “I have nothing against you.”
“I’d say you do. You have since the first time we met.” Ryder tilted his head toward the wide-open window beside them. “Right out there on Main Street.”
He remembered the moment well. It had been a pretty fall day and he’d tied Murphy up outside the coffee shop to bask in the sun for a few minutes while he ran in to snag a quick cup. The night before, he’d run his first op since coming to Midnight Pass and was pretty much subsisting on fumes. He’d come back out to find Arden, expectantly waiting for him, full of barely veiled insult and clear irritation that he’d left his dog outside.
“I wasn’t aware that Murphy was a working dog that day. I may have been a bit terse.”
“And the other night? At your place?”
“I—” She stopped, clearly considering her words. He was surprised to find that he had the patience to wait for whatever it was she had to say. “I don’t appreciate cocky arrogance.”
“You live on a ranch full of testosterone-fueled cowboys. And in a town full of the same. Surely you come up against a bit of cocky banter now and again?”
“That’s an excuse for it?”
“It’s a fact. I’d have thought you’d be used to it by now.”
“It doesn’t mean I have to like it.” Her tone was prim and her already strong, fit posture stiffened a few more degrees north.
Ryder was good at his job because he knew how to read people. It was also what made him a good K-9 handler. He paid attention and he read situations before reacting. And every instinct he possessed read this one as arising from something that had specifically happened to her.
With someone who had hurt her.
Someone, Ryder suspected, who had been cocky and arrogant and likely unkind to her.