Novels

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NINE DAYS

She's short, round, and pushing forty, but Julia Kalas is a damned good criminal. For seventeen years she renovated historic California buildings as a laundry front for her husband's illegal arms business. Then the Aryan Brotherhood made her a widow, and witness protection shipped her off to the tiny town of Azula, Texas. Also known as the Middle of Nowhere.

The Lone Star sticks are lousy with vintage architecture begging to be rehabbed, so Julia figures she'll just pick up where she left off, but she's got a federal watchdog now: Azula's hard-nosed police chief Teresa Hallstedt, who is none too happy to have another felon in her jurisdiction. Teresa wants Julia where she can keep an eye on her, which turns out to be behind the bar at the local watering hole. The bar's owner, retired fighter Hector Guerra, catches Julia's eye, so she takes the job. Before he can catch any more of her, they find a dead body on the bar's roof.

Enter taciturn county sheriff John Maines, who begins trying to pin the murder on Hector for reasons that Julia soon discovers are both personal and nefarious. Unfortunately, the evidence cooperates, but Julia's finely-honed bullshit detector tells her Hector isn't a killer. She risks reconnecting with the outlaw underground to prove it, and learns the hard way that she's not nearly as tough -- or as right -- as she thinks she is.
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SOUTH OF NOWHERE

The dead body stuffed into the upstairs closet at Julia Kalas' fixer-upper ranch house has been there too long to be related to her pre-WITSEC past, but that doesn't stop the local cops from giving her the hairy eyeball. Not up for another game of pin the tail on the murder suspect, Julia heads for the Texas-Mexico border with John Maines, county sheriff-turned-private detective, who's dangling a fat check with her name on it as a reward for helping him with a missing-persons case. It's enough to set her up in a comfortable Mexican retirement, which strikes Julia as way more tolerable than mouldering around the tiny Texas backwater where the feds sent her, trying to get a construction business up and running.

Fate, as usual, has other ideas. She and Maines locate their quarry, but it quickly becomes apparent that the woman isn't who they think she is. A near-fatal attack on Maines and the reappearance of Hector Guerra, Julia's erstwhile lover, persuade her to stick to the case despite a gut feeling that it's going to get worse before it gets better.
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