Christmas Countdown. Jan Hambright

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Christmas Countdown - Jan Hambright

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      Jan Hambright

      MILLS & BOON

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      Table of Contents


       Title Page


       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


      JAN HAMBRIGHT penned her first novel at seventeen, but claims it was pure rubbish. However, it did open the door on her love for storytelling. Born in Idaho, she resides there with her husband, three of their five children, a three-legged watchdog and a spoiled horse named Texas, who always has time to listen to her next story idea while they gallop along.

      A self-described adrenaline junkie, Jan spent ten years as a volunteer EMT in rural Idaho, and jumped out of an airplane at ten thousand feet attached to a man with a parachute, just to celebrate turning forty. Now she hopes to make your adrenaline level rise along with that of her danger-seeking characters. She would like to hear from her readers and hopes you enjoy the story world she has created for you. Jan can be reached at PO Box 2537, McCall, Idaho 83638, USA.

      I have it on good authority that there are horses in heaven. So to all of the equine I’ve had the humble pleasure of saddling up to ride, and brush, and love, this one’s for each of you: Smokey, Peggy, Whiskey, Moccasin, Brownie, Mid-Bar Dandy, Honey, Starr, Ophelia Mine, and Texas.

      Mac Titus raced for the horse barn with the echo of a woman’s scream still reverberating inside his head. He was two hours late, thanks to an accident on the freeway from Louisville.

      Was it Emma Clareborn, the woman he’d been hired as a bodyguard to protect? If it was, he’d already blown his assignment.

      He ran through the massive doorway into the stable and slid to a stop, prepared for a fight.

      The familiar smell of fresh shavings raked his senses, but didn’t dull the blade of caution sawing back and forth across his nerves.

      All these years he’d wanted to see Firehill Farm again, but not like this. Not with the grip of caution squeezing deep in his chest.

      The cavernous stable was dark, the only light emanating from the open door of the tack room in the right-hand corner.

      Was she there?

      He started to turn for it, but saw a flash of movement to his left.

      Pivoting, he saw a man sprint out of the shadows and head for the exit. He was wearing a bandanna to disguise his face and a stocking cap pulled low on his forehead.

      Mac bolted and tackled him three feet from the door.

      The thug fought hard, rolled over and chucked a handful of sawdust into Mac’s face.

      Blinded for an instant, Mac snagged the thug around the ankles on the way down and pulled him to the floor.

      His captive kicked like a mule, wrenching a single booted foot free from his grasp, and slammed it into Mac’s face.

      A gash opened. Hot liquid streamed across his cheekbone.

      He let go, hoping for another chance to apprehend the thug from a standing position.

      Scrambling to his feet, he made another lunge for the bandanna-wearing perpetrator, but the other man beat him by a second, dodged left and ran out the barn door into the night.

      Mac shook off the mental annoyance at being a step behind. That’s why he was here. That’s why he’d been relegated to this detail. To refine his skills again.

      Wiping a hand across his face, he cleaned some of the debris out of his eyes and turned

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