DEADLY ENCOUNTER (FBI: Task Force) by DiAnn Mills

DEADLY ENCOUNTER (FBI: Task Force) by DiAnn Mills

by Diann Mills
(FBI: Task Force)
DiAnn Mills
Genre: Romance / Suspense / Christian
Publisher: Tyndale House
Date of Publication: August 1, 2016
Number of Pages: 376
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Airport Ranger volunteer Stacy Broussard expected a peaceful Saturday morning ride around the perimeter of Houston’s airport. What she encounters instead is a brutal homicide and a baffling mystery. Next to the body is an injured dog, the dead man’s motorcycle, and a drone armed with a laser capable of taking down a 747.
Though FBI Special Agent Alex LeBlanc sees a clear-cut case of terrorism, his past has taught him to be suspicious of everyone, even witnesses. Even bleeding-heart veterinarians like Stacy. But when her gruesome discovery is only the first in a string of incidences that throw her life into a tailspin, Alex begins to wonder if Stacy was targeted. As a health emergency endangers Stacy’s community, and the task force pulls in leads from all directions, Alex and Stacy must work together to prevent another deadly encounter.

Praise for the FBI: Houston novels

Deadlock: “This is a fast moving crime story with several interesting twists and turns. [Deadlock] is a page turner.” — Online Reviewer

“Mills does a superb job of character and plot development in this faith-filled series.”Christian Library Journal
“Mills’ writing is transparently crisp, backed up with solid research, filled with believable characters and sparks of romantic chemistry.” Novel Crossing
“Christy Award–winning Mills skillfully builds a menacing overall tone, and the tension level rises as layers of lies are peeled away in multiple plot twists. This novel, which takes off at a breakneck pace with a narrative arc that could have been ripped from today’s headlines, will greatly appeal to fans of James Patterson’s “Alex Cross” series and readers who enjoy psychological thrillers.” — Library Journal starred review
“Mills takes readers on an explosive ride. The terror is all the more chilling because it
could easily be a headline story on the nightly news, and Mills’ characters spring to life
through their fears, strengths, and quirks. A story as romantic as it is exciting, Firewall
will appeal to fans of Dee Henderson’s romantic suspense stories.” —


 D E A D L Y E N C O U N T E R                           CHAPTER ONE: PART I                                    D i A N N M I L L S


SATURDAY MORNINGS were Stacy Broussard’s escape, especially when life slapped her with stress. No better way to unwind from the week than to ride her quarter horse on Houston’s airport trail and enjoy nature. This morning promised to be the perfect distraction from a truckload of problems, from the anniversary of the death of her sister to seeking custody of a twelve-year-old boy. She looked forward to a lift in her spirit.

            She pulled her truck into the Aldine Westfield Stables. As usual she was the first one of the airport rangers to arrive. Chet’s pickup wasn’t parked beneath the moss- draped oak, and he normally arrived before dawn. Strange since he took his responsibilities as stable manager seriously.

            Finishing her latte, she grabbed her wallet and keys and stepped outside her truck to admire an incredible purple-and-gold sunrise. Not even an early morning aircraft landing disturbed her. She walked slowly to the stables, taking in the singing robins and the familiar humidity. The smell of horseflesh and straw tickled her nose.

            “Good morning, boys and girls,” she said. “Your friendly veterinarian is on the scene.”

If anyone heard her, they’d declare her insane. Maybe so when she reflected on how much she preferred an animal’s company to a human’s. Except Whitt . . . the most fascinating twelve-year-

old on the planet.

            Stacy ambled past each stall until she reached Ginger’s, greeting the horses by name, touching velvety soft noses, and visibly checking to ensure they were okay. Her pets looked healthy. Spending a few extra moments with Ginger eased the knots in her shoulders that no massage could ever eliminate.

            She led Ginger into the stable area and grabbed a pitchfork to tidy up her stall. A strong horse smell and a little manure on her boots never hurt anyone. Being prissy was not one of her traits. When finished, she retrieved her mare’s blanket and bridle from her tack box. Her cell phone alerted her to a text.

            Sorry, Stacy. Got a sick baby. Won’t b there.

            No problem. Take care of her and give a hug 4 me.

            She’d miss her friend this morning. The idea of a sick child sent a pang of loss and melancholy through her— and not just for what she didn’t have. Who was she fooling? Reaching the age of thirty-five without a husband and children hadn’t been her idea of the future. A quote sailed into her mind: “Want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans.” Not going there. Not today.

            Checking her watch, she pondered the whereabouts of her other partner and Chet. She saddled Ginger, adjusting the cinch twice. Another text landed in her phone.

            Stacy, my in-laws arrived late last night. 4got 2 call.

After a soft sigh, she typed, Enjoy the visit.

            Airport ranger guidelines stated volunteers were to ride in pairs or threes. This kept the rider safe if a situation arose on the trail, like in the event a rider fell or encountered a difficult person.

            But what choice did she have? Chet hadn’t made an appearance either. Who would ever know she made a solo ride? She closed Ginger’s stall door and hoisted herself into the saddle. No point in abandoning this beautiful morning because of a single guideline.

            “Let’s go, Miss Ginger. We’ll see if we can shake up a few squirrels.”

            She crossed the road and made her way to the entrance of the wooded area where the north trail around IAH began. An aircraft broke the sound of chirping birds and the peacefulness

that had settled upon her. Right on time. The moment she turned Ginger into the brush area, another aircraft announced its departure. So much for the quiet.

            She rode the inside perimeter of the fenced area. Nothing eventful to report—

not even a piece of trash. As she made her way into a clearing, a squirrel scampered across her path. A ray of morning light filtered through the trees. Ginger reared, catching Stacy by surprise. She pulled fast on the reins. “Easy, Ginger.”

            Her mare crow-hopped and reared again.

            What had startled her? A snake?

            Then she saw it.

            A pair of legs stuck out from a bush approximately fifteen feet to her right.

            Her heart hammered, and Ginger had to feel it. She struggled to control her own fear and the horse beneath her while her sights were glued to the man’s lower extremities.

            “Hello, are you okay?” When only the quiet met her, she dismounted and moved closer to where the man lay. Eyes open and vacant. Stacy had seen scowls like this before, but not on a dead man. He appeared to have defied his attacker in one last fit of anger before surrendering to death.

            Blood pooled on his chest and trickled over his abdomen and

left side. One— no, two horrible holes. The wounds looked fresh, perhaps within the last hour or so.

            Terror rose, and she thought she’d be physically sick. She swung her attention in every direction, expecting someone to emerge from the tangled green terrain along the north section of Houston’s Intercontinental Airport. She yanked her only permissible weapon from her jeans—

a pocketknife— and opened it as if it would ward

off a killer.

            Why had she chosen to ride alone?


Click here to read Chapter 1, Part II starting 8/20/16

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational ReadersChoice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.
DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.
DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at




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