Detective Abby Ryals goes behind the sheriff's back to accept a risky undercover assignment with another agency to avenge the murder of the man she loves -- a fellow detective who is actually very much alive and in witness protection.
Together, they are forced to race the clock to defeat one of the Deep South's most notorious drug lord before he discovers their true identities.
The unrelenting volleys of the twenty-one-gun salute reverberated inside Abby Ryal's head. With each shot fired, her heart skipped another beat. She tried to breathe, to draw in the cool fall air and clear her muddled senses, but she couldn't. The ache inside her only intensified, and she worried she might throw up right here in front of C.J.'s polished mahogany casket.
C.J. Bowman. Fellow Keller County detective. Her best friend, and former lover.
Her stomach heaved. She wrapped her arms around her middle and dropped her head onto her knees. The ancient folding chair creaked as she released a shuddering breath.
Don't throw up. Don't throw up. Not here. C.J. will laugh his fool head off if you toss your cookies on the funeral wreaths. Their too-sweet smell is bad enough, and if you...
She sat up and smothered a laugh.
Oh, God. I can just picture him sauntering through the cemetery with that trademark smirk on his face, making fun of me. He gets off on that. He's always so--
The idea that she would never see him again curdled her stomach.
"You self-centered bastard," she whispered to herself, cringing as the line of uniformed policemen fired yet another round. Leave it to C.J. to go down in dramatic fashion, waging a one-man gun battle with one of the Deep South's most infamous drug cartels.
Tears filled her eyes as she murmured, "Always playing the hero. Only, this time it got you killed, didn't it?"
"Abby, you okay?" Jonah McKee, the detective who'd mentored her since she first got her gold shield six months ago, leaned over and asked with concern.
She nodded stiffly, unable to voice her pain, and aimed her gaze at the shimmering red and gold leaves on the trees bordering the tiny country cemetery. The brisk November breeze iced her heart. C.J. had loved this time of year. He loved to hunt, loved the contest of man against beast. Why, oh why had he chosen to challenge the most frightening beast on the planet -- Salvador Salazar, better known as Sal-Sal -- instead of climbing into his deer stand and scouring the wooded terrain for a prime ten-point buck?