Home > Bullard's Best (Bullard's Battle #8.5)

Bullard's Best (Bullard's Battle #8.5)
Author: Dale Mayer

 


About This Book

 


Welcome to a new stand-alone but interconnected series from Dale Mayer. This is Bullard’s story—and that of his team’s. All raw, rough, incredibly capable men who have one goal: to find out who was behind the attack on their leader, before the attacker, or attackers, return to finish the job.

Stay tuned for more nonstop action as the men narrow down their suspects … and find a way to let love back into their own empty lives.

After finding the killer who’d tried to take out the entire team, and now with Bullard safe, the crew heads back to the island where he recovered. Leia wants to get married there, so Dave has gone ahead with Katie, Bullard’s caterer, to set things up.

Dave has a new lease on life, now that Bullard is safely back home, and fixes his sights on an old friend he’s always kept slightly distant. Katie has been in Dave’s orbit for a long time; she’s not sure what’s changed in their relationship, but something certainly has, and she couldn’t be happier.

Except for one loose thread from that same island. After all, someone let the outside world know Bullard was alive. Someone they had yet to find. So a week in paradise might start with some time in hell first.

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Chapter 1

 

 

Dave Montgomery arrived separately at the island two days ahead of the rest of the team. He walked through the tiny village, stopping specifically to see the medicine woman to pay his respects.

The old lady looked up at him, her face a plethora of wrinkles, layered on top of each other in every direction. But that gaze of hers was deep, dark, and direct. She smiled. “She’s okay now, isn’t she?”

“She is, indeed. They’ll be back here in a couple days.” He added, “Not to stay but for a visit.”

“Visits are good.” The old woman nodded. “She can’t stay here anymore.”

He looked at her in surprise.

She shook her head. “It’s another stage of her life. She needs to move on.”

“I think she’s ready to move on now too,” Dave agreed, but that didn’t mean he thought anybody else would. “I wanted to thank you for all the help that you gave her over the years.”

The old woman looked at him and cackled. “She’s been good for us. She’s a healer. There are never enough.”

He nodded, looked around. “Somebody here betrayed her and told the outside world and the men hunting her.”

The old woman nodded. “Somebody, but I don’t know who.”

He didn’t know whether he should believe her or not. At the same time, Dave wanted to make sure no ugliness surfaced during the visit for the upcoming wedding ceremony. “I want to make sure she’s safe when she comes back here.”

“I have no issues with her. She’s been good to us here.” The medicine woman stopped and thought for a moment, then frowned. “Did Terk find her with her kidnapper?”

“Terk sent us in the right direction to locate her.”

The medicine woman craned her neck, her gaze studying his face. He felt almost like a probe was searching his brain to make sure he had told the truth. Then she nodded. “Good. Terk is very strong, but he will need help.”

“In what way?” Dave asked cautiously. Terk was one of those guys who never asked for any help, and you never quite knew when he needed anything—other than to have people heed his warnings. But he always seemed to know when any of the team needed help.

She looked up at him, still prodding Dave with her gaze.

He frowned, hating the uneasiness that coursed down his back. “Terk knows he can call us if he needs something.”

She nodded. “You look after her now.”

“We will,” he replied. “They’re coming here to get married.”

At that, her face blew up into a beautiful smile. The layers of wrinkles were rearranged somehow, and the weariness of her face now became radiant.

“I wanted to invite all of you to her wedding. She became very close to you over the years that she was here.”

The medicine woman nodded and smiled. “We will be there.” Then she started to laugh. “It will be a big wedding.”

“I don’t know about that.” Yet his mind prepared to add to what some of the guys had planned.

“Oh, it will be.” She continued to smile. “You just don’t know it yet.”

“I do know of some ideas and plans in play, but I don’t know that anything will come of it.”

She just smiled and waved him off.

“We also need to know, when she leaves her island home, that it will be safe and ready for her, when she wants to return.”

“We are not thieves,” she stated. “We appreciate all she’s done for our people here, and she is more than welcome to return, whenever she so desires.”

“Thank you.” As he turned, he looked around, not yet leaving. “I have a friend coming in to help with the cooking and the setup.”

“She’s not just a friend, I see.”

Dave heard her but continued past that remark, not sure the old woman was speaking of Katie. “We’ll park a yacht just off Leia’s place.”

She nodded. “Good. You will be bringing lots of people then.”

“We will try not to interfere with your way of life.”

She laughed. “You already have.” Then she smiled again. “It’s good. For the town and for Leia. Now you must focus on Katie.”

Dave frowned. He had never mentioned her name to the medicine woman.

But she smiled and repeated, “Yes, Katie is good for you.”

With that, Dave turned and headed over to Leia’s place, thinking about the old woman and her remarks about Katie. Leia’s place was about a forty-minute walk from the main part of the village, where the old medicine woman lived. Leia was far enough away to be alone, and far enough away that, when something went wrong, she was in trouble. Still, she’d survived a lot of years here on her own.

But Katie would arrive before Leia did. Dave picked up the pace to be sure to be there for her, when she reached land.

As he walked toward the waterfront, where Bullard had spent those months recovering, Dave remembered what Leia had said about building a bed and a shelter around Bullard because he was too big to move. As Dave stood here and stared, he realized how true it was, and now that he knew, he could envision it. He just whistled because, without Leia telling him, Dave had already figured that Leia had gone to ingenious lengths in order to save Bullard. He was a huge man. Dave himself wasn’t small, by any measure, but to move someone, when they were injured and a dead weight like that, was almost impossible. How Leia, as small as she was, had moved Bullard, even as much as she did, was an amazing feat.

Dave and Bullard went back years, decades. Bullard had been with Dave when he lost his leg. Nothing Bullard could have done about that, given that a blast had been involved in severing his limb, but Bullard did save Dave’s life. And, when Dave lost his wife and daughter, Bullard had been there for Dave too. For the initial shock of that dual loss and for each of the many days thereafter. Dave now wondered if Bullard had put his life on pause because of Ice … and because of Dave. He sure hoped not. Having a wingman all these years, as both men remained resolutely single and unattached, yet loving people out of their reach, had been a balm to Dave.

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