U.S. Marshal Wyatt Tanning has been on the hunt for a killer on the run in Turks and Caicos. A week into the investigation, he has absolutely nothing to show for his efforts. Feeling defeated, he returns to the Castillo Resort to drown his frustrations. There he meets UFC fighter, Rye Daniels, the resort’s bartender. Rye recognizes a man who has been beaten down, but he also senses a shared attraction that’s hard to ignore. Wyatt might not be ready to step out from behind the shadow of lies, but Rye will stop at nothing to unleash the beast within.
Wyatt stretched in the leather seat of his rented truck. A week of chasing Katrina Whittaker had brought nothing but dead ends. His team of U.S. Marshals were strategically positioned at different hotspots in Turks and Caicos, yet the search resulted in them running in circles. She’d proven to be smart and didn’t stay in one place long.
A murder in Houston, Texas resulted in a warrant for her arrest, and it was Wyatt’s job as Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal to bring Katrina home. Unfortunately, he couldn’t locate her. She had family in Turks and Caicos, and Wyatt’s team got word she’d fled the day her warrant had been issued. Wyatt still tried to understand how she’d made it to the Caribbean island without her passport or the ability to board an airplane, but he’d been in this game long enough to know anything was possible.
Releasing a long deep sigh, Wyatt ran his hand over his tired face. Katrina had gotten under his skin and he couldn’t wait to slap handcuffs on her. Day and night, they’d set up surveillance and staked out possible leads. The damn woman wasn’t anywhere to be found. He glanced at the clock on the dashboard. Ten o’clock. Where had the day gone? He’d sat in this seat for well over twelve hours. His ass hurt, his legs tingled with pins and needles, and he needed sleep. More than ready for this to be over, he grabbed his cell phone from the cup holder and held the button on the side to initiate a radio single. “Wyatt to Taryn.”
“Whatcha got, Chief?” Taryn Kincaid, his right hand woman, responded. Always ready and eager for the hunt ahead, he’d promoted her to Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal not long ago because of her exemplary work.
“Jackshit,” he grumbled. “You?”
“Nothing here either, Sir.”
Wyatt scanned the area, the luxurious condominiums located on the beachfront known to be Katrina’s grandmother’s house. Nothing stirred, except a cat or two crossing the street on a hunt for dinner.
His team, Taryn plus the four other deputies she resided over, had slept in their trucks only about ten hours the whole week and he felt the weight of it. He pushed hard in the beginning of the investigation to put heat on Katrina, leaving her nowhere to hide. The idea flopped. His team needed rest, as did he. “Go back to the hotel, check in, and we’ll gather back up at seven hundred hours and start again.”
The hum of the radio cut off to silence. Starting the engine, Wyatt shot a final look toward the condominium, nothing to indicate Katrina had been there. He put the truck in drive and drove off, spying lush greenery around him.
Turks and Caicos was a quiet island and Wyatt expected as much. Most along the stunning beachfront properties were tourists looking for some peace. He wouldn’t mind some time off himself. He loved his job, lived for the hunt, but a vacation sounded all too good. Long hours with little fun and he longed for more excitement than his present non-existent love life. So much in fact, he enlisted the services of 1NightStand, a match-making service out of Las Vegas, a few months back. He hoped Madame Eve would find a woman to fulfill his dreams since he’d yet to find one the traditional way.
Turning onto Grace Bay, Wyatt entered the main district of the island. Only a few minutes down the road, Castillo Hotels and Resorts appeared and he sighed in relief. The resort, like nothing he’d ever seen before with its Greek architecture, white textured walls and large pillars out the front. Spotlights beamed up from the ground to bask the building in a warm glow. Palm trees decorated the landscape, among many other tropical plants Wyatt couldn’t identify.
At the main entrance, he stopped and put the truck in park as the valet attendant approached. Stepping out, Wyatt handed the keys to the attendant and in turn took a numbered ticket. “Let me grab my stuff before you head off.” Turning on his heel, he strode toward the cab of the truck and grabbed his duffel bag.
He placed it on the ground to reach into his pocket, took out some cash and handed it to the attendant, who smiled in thanks before jumping into the driver’s seat. As the truck pulled away, Wyatt made his way toward the resort, marveling at the structure. When he entered, the size of the building left him in awe. High ceilings, marble floors—owner Jackson Castillo hadn’t held back when he built the resort. Once at the counter, Wyatt dropped his duffel bag and reached back to grab his wallet from his pocket to show his identification.
“Welcome to the Castillo Resort,” the greeter said, happy as a clam. Her big brown eyes twinkled. Wyatt understood why she’d been chosen for the job. Her kind face made him feel welcome.
He read her name tag, Susanne, before glancing back up to her face. “Wyatt Tanning, checking in.”
Susanne examined his ID for a moment before she glanced away and typed on her computer. “Ah, Mr. Castillo has given you the presidential suite for your stay.”
Nice of him, but not needed. “That isn’t necessary, any room will suffice.”
“No, no,” Susanne retorted. “Mr. Castillo’s orders, I’m not given the liberty to disobey them.” She handed him a key card. “We hope you have a wonderful stay here, Mr. Tanning. If you need anything at all, just pick up your phone and it will direct you to the front desk.”
Wyatt took the card, placed it in his wallet and returned it to his back pocket. “As long as I have a bed, I’ll be happy.” He said it more to himself than to Susanne, and she didn’t bother with his remark, instead moving on to the couple who approached the desk.
Newlyweds. The assumption not hard to come by, the pair couldn’t keep their hands off each other, plus the gleaming new rings on their fingers were a dead giveaway. Wyatt wondered what such intense love would feel like, never having it, he had nothing to compare it to. He sighed away his pity and considered going up to his room to crash, but decided to get a drink first to wash away the frustrations of the hunt that went nowhere.