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.Three devious prisoners vow murderous revenge. Now the second is free. With her stalker captured, antiques dealer Amanda Crosby can finally sleep at night. Having worked hard to put the nightmare behind her, Amanda has vowed to never be a victim again. But when her business partner, Derek England, is found with a bullet through the back of his head just hours after she left an incriminating message on his voice mail, Amanda finds herself in danger of becoming a victim of another sort. All the evidence points to Amanda as Derek's killer, and Chief of Police Sean Mercer is building the case against her. But when another of her colleagues is found brutally murdered, it's obvious that someone other than Amanda is behind the killings. Suddenly Amanda is a target once again, as a diabolical killer circles ever closer-and the only thing that stands between her and becoming the third and final victim is the man who had tried to put her behind bars.…BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Mariah Stewart's Dead Even.
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June 29, 2004
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Excerpt from Dead Certain by Mariah Stewart
' I ' m going to kill him. I swear, the minute his plane lands, I will kill him. '
Amanda Crosby glared at the screen of the laptop that sat open on the cluttered counter near the door of Crosby & England, the antiques shop she co-owned with Derek England, the subject of her wrath.
' Is she sure Is your sister positive it ' s the same piece ' Amanda closed her eyes and silently begged, Please, please, let it not be the same piece. . . . ' Isn ' t there any chance she ' s mistaken '
' Daria is positive the goblet in the photos we emailed to her yesterday is the same one that ' s on the list of items stolen from an Iranian museum some years ago. You read her reply yourself. ' Iona McGowan, Amanda ' s longtime friend and onetime college roommate, hit the print command and watched as the color image emerged through the printer accompanied by the email from Iona ' s sister.
Amanda read the email out loud glumly. ' ' The goblet is in the stylized design of the finely painted pottery found at the Tell i Bakun site in southern Iran. Probably dates from 5 b.c. The mouflon horns are pretty typical of the time period and the culture. This piece would be especially prized and noteworthy because of its near-pristine condition, the vividness of the colors, the quality of the painted design work. I ' m sorry, but there is absolutely no question that this piece could only have been bought on the black market. ' ' Amanda shook her head. ' And I guess your sister would know. '
' Daria is an internationally recognized expert in the field. Which is why you wanted to consult with her in the first place, ' Iona reminded her. She started to close out the window on the screen, but paused to ask, ' Are we finished here '
Amanda nodded in disgust and turned away from the counter. ' Damn Derek anyway. Damn him. I told him not to buy anything on this trip, and to cover his eyes and ears if anyone offered to show him anything that couldn ' t be completely and thoroughly documented. I told him to run like hell the minute someone whispered, ' American, I have something special for you. ' ' Amanda continued to steam. ' The business just can ' t afford to absorb this hit. I don ' t know how we ' re going to make up this loss. '
' Look, Daria said there ' s a reward ' '
' Which would just barely pay to send the damned thing to her, by the time we have it securely packed and insured and hire a courier to hand deliver it so that Derek doesn ' t get arrested for dealing in stolen antiquities. ' She blew out a hot, angry breath. ' He has no idea how lucky he is that she ' s willing to help him out on this. I ' m sorely tempted to let Interpol arrest him and be done with it. '
' You know as well as I do that Interpol is hardly likely to waste its time and limited resources pursu- ing this one item. Especially since it ' s being returned to its rightful owner through a reputable archaeologist, which never would have happened if it had fallen into someone else ' s hands. Besides, you ' d never do anything like that ' turn your own partner in ' no matter how angry you are, and we both know it. '
' I don ' t think we ' d want to test that right now. '
' Manda, I ' m sorry. I really am. '
' Not as sorry as Derek is going to be when I get my hands on him. '
' I ' m sure there ' s a reasonable explanation. What exactly did he tell you when he called, anyway '
' Just that he bought what he believed was an important piece, that he already had a buyer for it, and that he was having it shipped home and to watch for it because it was going to knock my socks off. Well, it did that, all right. ' Amanda slapped a hand on the top of a nearby oak farm table. ' God, I could just kill him. '