Catching Cleo

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Catching Cleo by Ava Blackstone

Bounty hunter Matt Voretti just had the best night of his life—with the woman he’s supposed to arrest…

Cleo McCall is out of time, out of funds, and desperate to get out of the country. The last person she expects to thwart her escape is her childhood crush, all grown up and hotter than ever—even as he slaps a pair of handcuffs on her. Cleo has learned the hard way never to let people see the real woman hiding behind her well-tailored suits, but if she doesn’t let Matt in she’s going to end up in prison. Or worse.

Matt Voretti might be the best bounty hunter in the business, but he’s tired of living in the shadows. All he has to do is track down one last bail jumper and he’ll have the money he needs to change his life for good. But one look into the familiar eyes of his skip is all it takes to know that his last job just got a whole lot more complicated. Cleo is the only woman who has ever seen beyond Matt’s irresponsible facade to the steady, principled man he truly is. He sees her just as clearly, and he knows there must be more to her story than it says on the arrest warrant. But can he get Cleo to trust him with the truth before it’s too late?

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Matt opened his eyes to bright sunlight and blue sky. The perfect weather was nothing new—he’d spent his entire life in Southern California. But today was different. Today he was going to test his latest batch of Voretti Brother’s IPA. Maybe he’d even convince Ms. Chardonnay to try a pint.

He rolled over, looking for Amy’s soft, warm body, but found only cold sheets.

He got up. The bathroom door was wide open, and there was no one inside. There was no one in the kitchen or on the couch. And the only clothes left on the floor were his.

Amy was gone.

He shook off a strange feeling. It was almost like…disappointment.

No. That couldn’t be right. He was glad she was gone. He’d broken one of his most important rules last night by bringing Amy here instead of going to her place. And then he’d fallen asleep all wrapped up with her, like she was his girlfriend. He was lucky she’d taken off instead of making him breakfast or going shopping for matching promise rings.

Though, he wouldn’t have minded if she’d woken him up for a quickie before she’d disappeared.

His phone buzzed. He fumbled with the clothes he’d ripped off last night, finally finding it tangled up in his t-shirt. He had a text from Nikki.

I need an adventure. BASE jumping this weekend? Let me know if you’re in or out.

He squinted at the screen, reading the text again to make sure he hadn’t missed anything. She sounded chill.

Which made sense. Nikki must’ve realized they were better as friends with benefits than they’d ever be in a serious relationship.

Matt started to reply, then changed his mind. He didn’t want to give Nikki the wrong idea. No matter how chill she sounded, she’d texted that she missed him yesterday.

And she wasn’t Amy.

He dumped his phone onto the coffee table. His decision not to text Nikki back had nothing to do with Amy. He’d only spent one night with the woman. He didn’t even know her last name.

He was tired. Not thinking clearly. Nothing a cup of coffee wouldn’t fix.

The coffee maker was out of water, so he filled up the reservoir, splashing all over the counter because he’d put too much in.

He shoved the McCall folder out of the way—and froze at the sight of the neat, feminine script.

I had to borrow some cash. I’ll send the money back, plus interest, as soon as I can.

What the fuck?

He pulled his wallet out of yesterday’s jeans. The two grand was gone.

He stared at his empty billfold, pressure building inside his chest. He’d brought Amy to his place. He’d fallen asleep with her. And she’d only wanted his cash.

He hurled the carafe at the wall.

Glass shattered. Water spilled over his bare feet.

Damn it! Not only was he out two grand, he was also gonna have to clean the floor. And he still hadn’t had any coffee.

He grabbed a wad of paper towels and threw it over the mess. Then he threw Amy’s note on top.

Water soaked through the folder, making the ink run until all that was legible was her initial at the bottom.


He snatched the soggy folder.

Water had reached that last bit of ink, turning it spidery, but it was still obvious the letter wasn’t an A. It was a C.

The gears inside his head cranked, finally engaging. C for Cleopatra.

Her hair had been the wrong length and color. Her eyes had been dark brown instead of blue. But they’d had that same exotic shape. Her cheekbones had had that same slant. She’d even smiled the same way he remembered, sudden and strong, like it was a surprise to her every time. And when she’d said that he looked like a Matt, she’d laughed.

He’d gone home with his skip last night, and he hadn’t even known it.

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