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. THE TRUTH WON'T STAY BURIED. News that the body of a recently murdered prostitute-stabbed repeatedly and dumped on Georgia's Shelter Island-has been identified as Shannon Randall stuns the FBI, particularly special agent Dorsey Collins. Twenty-four years ago, nineteen-year-old Eric Louis Beale was convicted and later executed for Shannon' s murder-and the agent in charge of the case was Dorsey's father. Now Dorsey is determined to find out where her father's investigation went wrong, what part he played in the death of an innocent man, and where Shannon has been all this time. The heat is on FBI special agent Andrew Shields to discover what happened to Shannon on that night decades ago-to find out who killed her and why. Dorsey shadows Andrew's every investigative move, hoping to redeem her father's reputation and capture a cunning killer. Together, Dorsey and Andrew unravel a shocking mystery that will shatter one family and rock an entire town.BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Mariah Stewart's Last Words.
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May 28, 2007
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Excerpt from Last Look by Mariah Stewart
Hot summer closed around the Florida panhandle like a tightly clenched fist. Soaring afternoon temperatures and suffocating humidity had thickened the night air, sending those poor souls who lacked air conditioning to seek respite in the nearest source of water, which for the prudent was a swimming pool or the shower. Only a fool would have taken to the lakes or ponds, especially in the dark, gators being what they are.
Dorsey Collins abandoned the air-conditioned comfort of her apartment for the balcony off her living room. The unrelenting sun had faded the orange-and-white-striped cushions on the two patio chairs she'd bought at the end of last year's season. She'd known when she purchased the chairs with the matching table that the fabric wouldn't stand up to direct sunlight, but she'd bought them anyway. When you're on the job, and dealing with life and death on a daily basis, it's life's small pleasures that keep you going.
Dorsey leaned over the railing and tried to ignore the mosquitoes buzzing around her face. In the past, mosquitoes rarely bothered her, but lately, everything in her life had been totally screwed up. She was thinking her body chemistry must be reflecting this somehow, drawing a cloud of the little bastards to her whenever she stepped outside.
It really did figure, didn't it?
She twisted the cap off her beer, took a long, serious swallow, and stared out into the parking lot beyond her apartment building. She'd met very few of her fellow residents in the complex, so she didn't expect to recognize any of the tenants who were parking in their assigned spaces. By the time the last of the arrivals had disappeared into their respective buildings, she'd finished the beer. She debated whether or not to have another for all of three seconds.
Maybe, she told herself as she pushed aside the sliding door to her living room, just maybe she'd get lucky and pass out while leaning over the side of the balcony, fall three stories to the pavement below, and break her neck, thereby putting herself out of her misery.
It could happen, she reasoned as she opened the refrigerator door just far enough to grab another bottle. She was twisting the cap as she walked back toward the balcony when the phone began to ring. She stopped midstride to listen to the message.
"Dorsey, it's Scott Murphy."
She groaned at the sound of his voice, then walked to the patio door even as the message was being left on her machine.
"I was hoping to catch you at home . . . I mean, I know you're busy, but I was hoping . . ." Breathy asthmatic pause. Big sigh. "Anyway, I was hoping to catch up with you before the weekend, see if you were free for Saturday night. Or Friday."
He paused again, just as she slid the door closed.
"Or Sunday. . . ." was the last she heard of the message.
Damn, she wished he'd stop calling. That was the third message he'd left for her since last weekend. She knew she should return his calls. He was a nice guy, just trying to be nice to her, even though she'd been a total shit to him.
Dorsey sat on the chair closest to the balcony and rested her feet on the railing. She looked up just as a frothy bank of clouds shifted from the face of the moon. A minute later, stars could be seen winking here and there overhead.
If I could have one wish, she thought, I'd wish for . . .
She closed her eyes, knowing damned well what she'd wish for. She'd wish she could go back in time to 4 p.m. last Friday afternoon, and then instead of letting her friends talk her into going to a barbecue for a retiring agent, she'd go home to that book she'd been planning to read.
But no. When her fellow agents gathered around the door to her cubicle and harassed her, she gave in.
"Honestly, Dorsey, you live like a hermit. You need to get out once in a while."