On A Knife’s Edge

On A Knife’s Edge

She was once his sweet salvation…

Lynch Callan has been a dead man walking most of his life—nothing out of the ordinary for a member of the 5th Street biker gang. There was a brief period, though, when she made him believe he could be more. That he could be worthy of her, and her love. To protect her, and keep their relationship from being discovered, he went to prison. Except now the Streeters are in danger. But in order to save his crew, he must first betray them. If caught, he’ll end up dead for sure. It’ll be the mother of all balancing acts—especially with her in the picture. But Lynch will do whatever is necessary to protect the people he loves.

 He was once her deepest desire…

Shasta Albright doesn’t break the rules. Not anymore. As an unruly teenager, she defied her family at every turn…even secretly befriending, then dating, then falling in love with a bad boy Streeter. Finally her recklessness caught up with her—with lasting and even dire consequences. Now she leads a pristine existence, always staying within the lines and keeping her secrets hidden. That is until he gets released from prison. Can Shasta hold her perfect world together, or will everything get hurled into chaos?

With young girls going missing, the sleepy town of Stardust, Nevada becomes an unlikely epicenter for an illicit slave trade—with Shasta and Lynch caught in the middle. Amidst the rising body count, they fight to keep their loved ones—and each other—safe. A single slipup could have deadly repercussions. It’s an untenable and treacherous position. Much like walking On a Knife’s Edge…

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About the Book


Beginning of Chapter Four

LYNCH MARCHED ACROSS the lower exercise yard, Officer Morgan right at his elbow.

Nearby convicts paused in their workout routines to stare. The weight of their gazes pricked Lynch’s skin. He focused on placing one foot in front of the other to keep from tripping. He still couldn’t fathom he was actually being released.

Since the visit from Jarvis and Newman three days ago, Lynch half expected to get shanked in the shower. He definitely didn’t expect to be making this walk. The only way he figured he’d leave this place would be feet first.

In the control room, the checkout procedure passed in a blur. He stood where told and signed on dotted lines. Garbled words filled his ears. Morgan ushered him through a set of mechanical doors, and Lynch found himself in the building’s lobby.

He blinked at the sunshine streaming through the glass of the barless windows. This sunlight seemed different than what it had been just moments ago in the yard. This seemed brighter. Cleaner. Freer.

Morgan pulled open the front door and waited for Lynch to step over the sill.

Seventy feet of dirt lay before Lynch. No Man’s Land. He never thought he’d live to see it from this angle.

“Let’s go, Callan,” Morgan prodded. “Up to the red line.”

The red line was at the base of Tower One, and where Lynch stopped. Morgan handed the documents to the tower officer who verified everything one last time.

On the other side of the wire mesh fence, Jarvis and Newman loitered next to a sedan. Newman sported a gray polo shirt and black pants while Jarvis wore a light-colored blouse and khaki slacks with her hair down. Both agents wore sunglasses, but stared in his direction.

Lynch kept his eyes straight, his face devoid of expression. Sweat trickled down his back and beaded on his upper lip. Finally, the immense steel gate rumbled open.

Commanding his legs to move forward, soon the fifteen-foot tall, electrified fence stood behind Lynch. Stars clouded his vision. He hadn’t realized he’d been holding his breath – probably since he exited his cell.

He inhaled slowly, savoring his first taste of non-incarcerated air in seven long years.


The word reverberated through Lynch’s head. He was free.

Or was he? The reason behind his release crashed down on him. He had to inform on the Streeters. His crew. His brothers. His gut soured at that thought.

It’s like the old saying went…freedom was never free. Seemed like he’d substituted one prison for another, minus the bars.

A car door opened. “Come on,” Jarvis said. “We’ve got a long drive ahead of us.”

Lynch grasped the backseat passenger handle and slid into the upholstered seat. A fake pine scent itched his nose. He buckled his seatbelt. Newman sat in front of him with Jarvis behind the wheel.

Newman twisted around to look at him, two flip-style phones in his hand, one black and the other silver. The agent held out the silver. “This is a burner and it doesn’t leave your person. It’s got GPS so we’ll have a fix on you at all times.”

Lynch took it. “GPS? As in military tracking shit?”

Newman’s mouth kicked up. “As in military tracking shit.”

With a shrug, Lynch wormed it into the back pocket of his Levis.

“Jarvis and I also have burners,” Newman continued. “The numbers are programmed into your phone. When we call, we’ll ask for Darren. If it’s not safe to talk just say you’ve got the wrong number then get back to us within thirty minutes. Do not, under any circumstances, call anyone but Jarvis or myself on that phone.” He handed over the black one. “This one’s for general use.”

Lynch rolled his eyes. “Two phones? Tracking me? Is this cloak and dagger shit really necessary?” He turned the second phone over in his hand.

“In a word, yes,” Jarvis replied. “I’ve been working to bring down Blackwell and Fuentes’s human trafficking operation for over five years. When Jerry…Agent Olsen…got into the Streeters, it looked like the opening we’d been waiting for. But it wasn’t, and a good man paid the ultimate price. This time I’m not leaving anything to chance, especially something preventable like our burner phones getting traced.”

Lynch chuckled. “Secret spy shit. I suppose the entire FBI’s on speed dial too, huh?”

Jarvis and Newman shared a look, but said nothing.

Distrust narrowed Lynch’s eyes. “What?”

Jarvis squirmed in her seat. “No one from the Reno office knows anything about this op.”

“Why the hell not?”

“Because the last time we got within striking distance of Blackwell and Fuentes, we walked into a trap. We believe they have a person or persons inside the bureau.”

Lynch sat forward. “So what happens if things go wrong?”

“They won’t,” Jarvis asserted. “They can’t.”

“But what if they do?” he persisted. “I’ve got my mom to consider in all this.”

Newman torqued around in his seat again. “If you think you’ve been compromised, or if there’s an emergency of any kind, text 411 to either me or Jarvis.”

“Then what?”

“Then we’ll deal with the situation,” Jarvis replied.

“Deal with the situation?” Lynch repeated. “Christ. Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

Newman arched an eyebrow. “Would it have made a difference?”

Lynch sat back and popped his tight neck muscles, directing his gaze out the window. Flyer’s murder needed to be avenged, so no, it wouldn’t have made any difference. “Just the three of us doing this thing? Great.”

“I said no one local knows anything,” Jarvis said. “But both Portland and Sacramento offices have been fully briefed and will be ready to move at a moment’s notice should there be any trouble. We’ll just have to improvise until they arrive.”

Lynch shook his head. “Whatever. When will we get to Stardust?”

“About six.”

Newman glanced at Lynch over his shoulder. “You should maybe call your mom. She doesn’t know you’re out.”

Lynch snapped his gaze to the agent. “You didn’t tell her?”

“We couldn’t chance the news leaking,” Jarvis responded. “It might have jeopardized your release. I did, however, call DA Murphy this morning, but only because I’m required to notify the local authorities.”

“DA Murphy? You mean Adam Murphy? How long’s he been DA?”

“Since about six or seven years ago when Graham Dupree got into a car accident and ended up paralyzed from the waist down.”

“No shit?”

“No shit,” Newman replied. “Because he’s permanently confined to a wheelchair, Dupree didn’t think he could continue as the district attorney. Murphy stepped in and has been the DA ever since.”

“Huh…” Lynch again stared out the window, not sure how he felt about Dupree being paralyzed. Maybe he should revel in the justice that the man who prosecuted him and sent him to prison now had to deal with his own personal imprisonment. One with wheels. But the best Lynch would muster was mild interest.

“And speaking of Dupree…”

Lynch looked at Jarvis’s reflection in the rearview mirror. Even wearing sunglasses, he felt her sharp gaze.

“I want to make something perfectly clear, Callan. Your job is to find out who Blackwell is and help nail Fuentes.”

Her terse tone flared his anger. “I know my job.”

“See that you don’t forget it.” Her mouth stretched into a thin line. “You are not to go rogue and try to exact revenge on Dupree.”

Lynch narrowed his eyes. “Relax, counselor. The former DA has nothing to fear from me.”

“Or his family,” she added. “You’re to leave his family alone as well.”

He redirected his stare out his window. “Or his family…not that I remember Dupree having any family.”

“Well, he does. He married the sheriff’s sister.”

Lynch’s insides went cold and he whipped his gaze back around. “Shasta?”

Jarvis’s posture snapped to attention. “You know her?”

Lynch schooled his expression. In the last seven years, he learned not to react to news, whether good or bad. If an inmate discovered a weakness, the consequences could be deadly. “I know of her. Everyone in Stardust does. She’s an Albright after all.” He hitched his shoulder. “I’m just surprised she married Dupree. That guy’s old enough to be her father.” He flipped opened his phone. “Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to call my mom.”

He punched in the memorized number, but his thoughts were on Shasta.

She was married to Graham Dupree, a man in a wheelchair.

He didn’t begrudge her finding someone to share her life with, and he certainly never expected her to wait for him because he was never supposed to get out of prison, but Graham Dupree? That didn’t fit with the carefree spirit he once knew.

The ringing of his mom’s phone yanked his thoughts from his former girlfriend. It rang four times before she answered.


The prick of tears burned his eyes at the husky timbre of her voice. Up to now, he hadn’t truly believed he’d ever see her again. He coughed. “Ah…hi Mom.”

A long silence met his salutation.


Her voice sounded so tiny, he could barely hear it.

“Yeah…Ma. It’s me.”

“Oh my God…Lynch?

Her joyful shriek echoed in his head as the corners of his mouth lifted. “How ya doin’?”

“How am I doing?” Her tone changed dramatically. She no longer sounded happy, but pissed. “What the fuck kind of question is that? Why the hell are you calling me? Oh my God…are you in trouble? Hurt? What’s going on?”

“It’s okay, Ma. Really. I’m…uh…out.”

“Out? What do you mean you’re out? Out of where?”


Another pregnant pause. “What did you do?” she hissed. “Did you escape? Are you on the run?”

He laughed. “No, Ma. I didn’t escape.”

“Then what the hell is going on?”

“It’s kinda a long story−”

“Good thing I’ve got lots of time for you to explain it,” she shot back.

Lynch blew out a breath. “Okay, okay. I had a visit from a lawyer this week−”

“Lawyer? What lawyer? Since when do you have a lawyer?”

He grinned wider at her rapid-fire questions. “Do you want me to explain or not?”

“Fine,” she huffed. “Explain.”

“Anyway she came to see me and−”

“She? So this lawyer’s a woman?”

“Yeah.” He stared at Jarvis’s semi profile. “She’s a woman.” The agent pursed her lips. “And she petitioned for a new trial. I’m out until then.”

“Really, honey?”

He swallowed the sudden thickness in his throat. “Really.”

“Oh my God…” She wept into the phone.

Lynch stared hard at the back of Newman’s seat to keep from breaking down too.

His mom sniffled loudly. “So you’re coming home?”

“Yeah. We should be pulling in about six.”

“Who’s driving you?”

“My, uh…” He coughed. “Lawyer.”

“You say you’ll be home around six?”

“Give or take.”

“Then I’m calling everyone. We’re gonna have one hellraising, welcome-home party for you!”

“Ma, that’s not necessary−”

“The hell it’s not. My baby boy’s coming home. If that isn’t cause for a celebration, I don’t know what is.” Paper rustled on the line. She had to be making one of her famous lists. “Bring your lawyer, honey. I want to thank the person responsible for getting you out.”

“I really don’t want−”

“You never should’ve been convicted.” Anger dripped from her words. “Fucking small town with its fucking small-minded people. You were innocent. Fucking bastards railroaded you.”

The conviction in her voice warmed his chest. “Thanks, Ma.”

“So, your lady lawyer. Is she pretty?”

His mom dragged out pretty so it sounded like two words instead of one. Jarvis, pretty? No. Certainly good looking though. For a fed. Lynch gazed out the passenger window to the looming hills bordering both sides of the highway. “Guess some might think so.”

“And would you be one who thinks so?”

He shook his head with a subdued chuckle. Leave it to his mom to tease him. The line suddenly crackled then went dead. “Hey, Ma…you there? Hello?”

“Lynch? Honey? Can you hear me?”

“Yeah, but I’m about to lose the signal so I guess I should hang up.” He didn’t want to. He wanted to keep talking to her all the way to Stardust just to hear her voice. Emotions pressed against his ribcage. God…he’d missed her. “I’ll, uh, see you in a little while, okay?”

Another sob echoed in his ear. “Okay, honey. See you soon. I love you, Lynch.”

“I love…” He cleared his throat. “Love you too, Mom.”

He disconnected the call then pressed his thumb and forefinger to his eyes with a shaky breath.

“Hey.” Using the rearview mirror, Jarvis stared at him. “You okay?”

Lynch straightened with a nod. “Fine. My mom’s having a party tonight and wants you to come.”

“That’s nice of her,” Newman said, “but we’ll pass.”

A smile played at Lynch’s mouth. “A word to the wise, Agent Newman. It’s not a good idea to tell my mother no. That has a tendency to piss her off. And that’s something you really don’t want to do.” He settled into his seat and closed his eyes. “Wake me when we get there.”


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