Spirit of a Hunter





The Seekers, Book 5
Harlequin Intrigue
July 2007
ISBN 0-373-69271-4


When Nora Camden’s son was kidnapped, Sabriel Mercer was the one man she could depend on. The valuable Seeker had lost his way, but rescuing Scotty Camden renewed his purpose, and would lead him deep into the White Mountains. He had become a man on its trails long ago, and again he found himself pursued by the tyrannical Colonel.

The Colonel would do anything for sole custody of his heir. The men he’d dispatched to track Nora and Sabriel were even more dangerous than the unforgiving terrain. Sabriel would have to put his Rangers skills to the test if mother and son were to be reunited, but could even that put his restless soul at ease?


Chapter One

Sabriel Mercer guarded the church’s arched doorway, nodding curtly at each arriving guest, wishing he were anywhere but there. He rolled his shoulder against the starched stiffness of the rented tux and tugged at the noose-tight shirt collar with a finger. Only for a fellow Seeker would he endure such torture.

Church bells pealed, echoing with joy in Wintergreen’s Currier-and-Ives town square. Indian summer spiked the air with warmth on this first weekend of October. With their explosion of gold and red, even the trees got in to the celebration.

A perfect day. His hands itched to plane the maple planks he’d joined for the kitchen cabinets of the cabin he was building. Instead, there he was holding a basket with a big cranberry bow. He wasn’t sure what he’d done to deserve this public emasculation.

“Cell phone.” Sabriel shoved the basket at Hale Harper, straggling in late, as usual. Rumor was Harper was Falconer’s cousin, which would explain the slack Falconer cut him.

“It’s off.” Harper held the device up so Sabriel could verify his claim.

“Orders from the boss. Hand it over.”

Harper glowered, his dark brows and eyes pinching much like Falconer’s did when he wasn’t pleased. “Falconer?”


Without another word Harper dropped his cell phone with the dozen already in the basket and made his way into the nave. There was no point arguing with Liv. Even the newest Seeker understood that Sebastian Falconer’s wife always got her way.

Standing in the refuge of the vestibule, Sabriel scanned the crowd seated in the wooden pews. Most were strangers, people from the bride and groom’s hometown in Massachusetts. With no desire to join the crush, he melded deeper into the shadows.

The organ overhead in the loft stopped its nasal whine midbar, then burst into “The Wedding March.” The notes plucked at memories he’d thought he’d reconciled. But was there ever a way to explain a senseless death?

His jaw knotted. Eyes ahead.

On the arm of her former WITSEC inspector, Abrielle Holbrook glided down the aisle. She glowed in champagne silk. Sabriel knuckled the tender spot at his breastbone, grinding down until the serrated pain dulled. His wife had done that, too—chosen an off-white dress because she’d wanted to shine on her wedding day. She’d said that pure white made her look dead.

If only he’d known…. He shook his head and forced himself to concentrate on Reed and Abbie’s moment of happiness.

Grayson Reed looked as if he’d swallowed the sun as his bride made her way up the crimson carpet.

Noah Kingsley, Seekers, Inc.’s computer wiz, stood at Reed’s side, red suspenders visible under the black tux that fit his compact body as if it had been made for him—and probably had.

Falconer and Liv, wrapped arm in arm, beamed at the bride.

The newly engaged Dominic Skyralov held hands, fingers twined with Luci Taylor. His other arm looped around her son’s shoulders. There was a settled air about the blond cowboy that had been missing before he’d found Luci and Brendan. The corner of Sabriel’s mouth twitched. Watching Skyralov play Mr. Mom when Luci started at the police academy next month was going to be a kick.

Sabriel squeezed his nape and the portrait of joy before him turned into mist. Had he ever been that happy? He couldn’t remember. He’d thought so once. But his few months with Anna were nothing more than a dream, eclipsed by the nightmare that had followed. He’d barely survived the Colonel’s revenge. But he’d kept Anna’s secret.

A phone warbled a tinny melody. His? He frowned down at the pocket of his tuxedo jacket. Other than the Seekers gathered in this church, only his mother and Tommy had this number.

And neither would dial it unless he was their last recourse.