A Thin Disguise

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About

COMING JULY 06, 2021
A former gun for hire and a federal agent find themselves on the right side of love but the wrong end of a bullet.

On a fateful night in Las Vegas, FBI agent Leo Grant is working on a critical detail in a high-profile child prostitution trial when a beautiful woman jumps into the path of a bullet meant for him. Little does Leo know that the woman is Olivia, an ex-assassin who is seeking redemption one good deed at a time.

One minute, Olivia is lunging in front of Leo on the Vegas Strip. The next, she’s waking up in the hospital in a haze of pain with no memory of her past, her enemies, or even her own name.

With Olivia suffering from memory loss and completely unaware of the danger she is in, it’s up to Leo and Neil MacBain’s team of operatives to keep her safe. With Olivia and Leo both unaware of her past crimes, the two have little reason to avoid their growing attraction. Slowly her past seeps in through the cracks as she struggles to find the answers of who she is. When the veil is lifted and her dark past is staring her down, Olivia must turn her back on Leo and the love she can never allow herself to have, and race to find her would-be killer.

Excerpt

Inside the eye of a scope, there is a spot where two lines come together. If that scope is mounted on top of a high-powered rifle and is in the hands of someone who understands the mathematical calculation of how much the projectile will descend before it reaches its target, that spot becomes deadly.

Olivia noted three snipers positioned south, east, and west of the entrance to the courthouse. SWAT…all of them. While she had no doubt they’d do their job well if put to the task, the fact that none of them had noticed her pissed her off.

She positioned a camera behind her sope and snapped photos of the uniformed men.

Once she was satisfied with what she had, she wrapped up her location and moved to the next. It took ten minutes to change her appearance, and ten more to get in position.

The familiar thump of her heart pounded blood up to her brain. The first time she’d ever squeezed the trigger, she’d pictured a video of red blood cells pushing through veins. With each beat, her blood pushed forward and stopped as valves closed off behind them only to be pushed forward again with another beat of her heart.

After pulling the trigger…the imaginary blood in her mind manifested into real puddles on the pavement.

The images he’d put in her head were nothing next to the real thing.

Nothing had prepared her for what followed.

Not one of the classes she’d been forced to take at Richter equipped her for what she needed to survive.

And yet here she was.

Heart still beating.

Soul still bleeding.

She refocused on her position and searched.

“Don’t disappoint me,” she muttered as her scope scanned the places she would have used.

Her lens narrowed in and found one solo player.

From the outside, it appeared as if the back door to the courthouse would not be in use, although Olivia’s sources said it would. So instead of moving to the front of the building, she flatted on her hidden perch and waited.

A buzz on her watch told her the time had come.

Her body tensed and her eyes kept in constant motion.

The door opened and several men and women in black suits merged. Although Olivia knew the target, the team did a damn good job of blending her in.

They moved in a herd, alert but swift as they climbed into two SUVs. Once the doors shut and the cars were in motion, Olivia scanned the area again.

The lone sniper still had aim and didn’t move until the cars were out of sign. Once he did, Olivia snapped a photograph of the man to add to the others.

She waited until the felt before disassembling her tools and packing them away.

An hour passed, her appearance changed once again, and Olivia vacated her position. Once on the ground floor, she blended into the overrun street of the Vegas Strip. The hot September sun hadn’t even considered letting up as the temperatures hovered in the triple digits.

The heat under Olivia’s wig was enough to give her a stroke, but she moved along, dodging the Nevada visitors that had no need for sobriety even on a Tuesday. Young women with long hair and short shorts laughed and stumbled around while young men urged them to have one more drink.

Innocent fun…until it wasn’t.

Like Marie Nickerson. The girl hidden in a black suit sliding into the back of an SUV. Marie had a bounty on her head that would disappear only with her death. But once the hearing was over, and the protection program did its job, she’d never be seen again.

Even though Marie had no idea who Olivia was, she’d been Marie’s shadow for nearly a year. Much as Olivia would have loved to say, even to herself, that she had no interest in the girl, that would be a lie.

Olivia knew Marie’s crimes, and more importantly, the atrocities that had been committed against her. The girl had been forced into childhood prostitution, sold like chattel to the highest bidder, and nearly lost her life when she’d tried to break free. Olivia understood all to well what it meant to belong to someone who only wanted to use you for their personal gain. While Marie didn’t have the skills or access to shoot the man responsible, the girl did have testimony that was in the process of putting that man deep inside a federal penitentiary.

Olivia’s job was to keep Marie alive so she could do just that.

She knew where the girl was right then, knew the federal marshals who were guarding her. Marie deserved to live the rest of her life in some kind of peace. She was young enough to put this behind her, so long as the system could keep her alive.

Olivia wandered off the Strip on foot until she was far enough away from the courthouse and anyone who’d seen her in her current disguise. Inside a smoke-filled casino, one that didn’t depend on the glitz of the Strip but the desire of old-school gamblers for its income, she found a public bathroom and eased into the appearance that had rented a room a few blocks away.

She hoisted her bag over her shoulder and checked the feeds to the surveillance system on her phone. Once she knew it was safe, she left the smoky casino.

Inside her room, Olivia dead bolted the door, did a sweep, and then finally sat down.

Her right hand reached for her head and pulled the third wig of the day off. With it gone, she removed the cap that held her natural hair out of the way and shook it loose.

She sniffed…twice.

Her hair stunk.

She flopped back on the mattress, arms wide, and closed her eyes.

Thirty minutes elapsed, giving her brain enough time to tune out and her body a chance to soak in the cool air of the air-conditioned room.

A few more days and she could disappear…

Again.

Maybe this time she’d leave and stay that way. Find that beach, that mountaintop…that salutary that allowed her to forget.

Olivia pushed herself into a sitting position and placed both hands on her thighs.

Once the trial was over and Marie was in the hands of the good guys, Olivia could walk away. The promised money would go far so long as she relocated outside of North America.

Dismissing the thoughts of her future—any future—she pushed off the bed and took a few steps to the bathroom.

The water out of the shower was hot, even on its coldest setting.

Adjusting the water temperature was a simple thing when considering life’s pleasures. But cheap hotels in Nevada as summertime winded down didn’t always have the ability to do such a minimal task.

Hard, hot water washed the grime of the day and refreshed her enough for round two.

The Book

A Thin Disguise
The Richter Series, Book Two
A First Wives Spin-Off
July 2021, First Edition
eBook & Print

Reviews

“Bybee delivers plenty of twists and turns on the way to a shocking ending while keeping forgiveness, love, and redemption at the story’s heart. The result is an emotional page-turner.”
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“This turned out to be quite the exciting read. I loved seeing these incredibly strong and resilient women from the Richter Academy find a new life, and still be able to use the skills they learned at the school. Add in an amnesia trope and I really couldn’t put this book down. ”
—MINDY LOU’S BOOK REVIEW

“There are twists and turns that one will never guess. And every one is superbly and intelligently penned. It is edge-of-your-seat reading that is also real and riveting!”
—TJ MACKAY, PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF AT IND’TALE MAGAZINE

I am loving this series, it is filled with suspense, intrigue, action, and maybe a HEA if Olivia can find who is trying to kill her. If you are looking for a romantic suspense, then this series is for you.
—WICKED READS

serious twists and turns catching the reader by surprise in the climax and in a perfect ending!
—OUR READING JOURNEY

Catherine Bybee has the perfect formula of suspense and romance.
—LIVE READ BREATHE REVIEWS

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Reading Order

BOOK ONE

BOOK TWO

BOOK THREE