From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes a novel of sexy romantic suspense for fans of Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter, and Karen Robards.WILL THE TRUTH SET HER FREE-OR SET A TRAP? Murder didn't end Nina Madden's life-it destroyed it. When her father was charged with the serial killings of several college students, Nina and her mother became pariahs in their small Maryland town. Though Nina never believed the hideous accusations, evidence led to her father's conviction and guaranteed the death penalty. After the execution, Nina left Stone River to escape the hatred and persecution… but she couldn't shake the lingering doubts. More than twenty years later, those doubts are stirred to grim life. A new series of murders is plaguing Stone River: a killing spree that bears a striking resemblance to the one that sent Nina's father to the death chamber. And Nina isn' t the only one disturbed enough by the gruesome events to take notice. Wes Powell, the cop who pursued the original case, can't ignore the eerie similarities between the crimes… nor their harrowing implications. Drawn back into a mystery that refuses to die, Nina and Wes will cross paths on their dangerous quest-and find themselves in the crosshairs of a bloodthirsty predator. In matters of crime, there are many versions of the truth. BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Mariah Stewart's Final Truth.
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September 26, 2005
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Excerpt from Dark Truth by Mariah Stewart
New York City
At eleven-ten on Tuesday morning, Nina Madden stared at the phone that sat on the corner of her desk, and willed it to ring.
Thirty seconds later, it did.
Finally. She punched the speaker button.
"Nina, we're ready for you in the conference room." The perky voice of the assistant to the marketing director chirped through the speaker.
" 'Bout time. This is only the third time we've tried to have this meeting." Nina slipped her feet back into the brown suede three-inch heels she'd kicked off the minute she got into her office that morning, and smoothed her newly cut short black hair. Then, papers in hand, she went immediately to the conference room at the end of the hall.
The door stood open, as the other participants in the marketing meeting of Griffin Publishing were already assembled. She closed the door behind her and took the first open chair. The head of the marketing department and her assistant, two copywriters, the art director, the publicist, and two people from sales were gathered around the oval table.
"Okay, next up on the schedule is Regan Landry's Fallen Angels." As always, Phoebe Valentine, the marketing director, got right to the point. She was mid-forties and buff as a twenty-year-old, blond and stylish. She was also the granddaughter of the company's founder. "We've all read the blurb ' college girls who earned their tuition money dancing in 'gentlemen's clubs,' and who at some point were found murdered. Cases span the country . . ."
"Right." Nina nodded. "Regan went through her dad's files and found twenty-two such cases that remain open after nearly as many years. She selected four she felt were representative of the group as a whole, and concentrated on those."
"Have you seen any of it " Phoebe asked.
"No, but I'm sure it's terrific," Nina assured her.
"It's her first solo work," Darren Heller, VP of sales, reminded Nina.
"Regan worked with her father on a number of books before his death," she replied calmly. "I have no reason to think this book will be any less wonderful than In His Shoes, which ' I'm sure I don't need to remind you ' she completed after her father's death. She's experienced ' "
"She's not her father," Darren interrupted. "Josh Landry was the biggest selling author this company had. Griffin built its reputation on him."
"No, Regan is not her father, but she is a very fine writer, a good investigator. She does have her own style, puts her own spin on things. But that's no reason to assume that her book will be any less riveting than Josh's were." Nina folded her arms and leaned back in her seat. The last thing she'd expected this morning was to have to defend her author, in whom she had complete faith. "I don't think we need to worry about the quality of the book."
"What were the sales on last year's book " Phoebe asked.
"Huge," Darren admitted. "Almost two million copies."
"Well, it was released not long after Josh's death," Tom DeMarco, the sales assistant and newest member of the staff, reminded them.
"Not so soon," Nina said. "Actually, it was a full year before we released that book."
"You sure " Tom started searching through a folder.