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.THIS KILLER TAKES THEIR BREATH AWAY. A nine-year veteran of the FBI, special agent Mia Shields thinks she's seen it all. But nothing prepares her for the terror that descends upon the idyllic bayside community of St. Dennis, on Maryland's Eastern Shore, where a depraved killer has left a grisly surprise for Chief of Police Gabriel Beck: the body of an unidentified woman, naked and completely encased in plastic wrap, stretched across the back-seat of Beck's car. Hidden in the wrapping is a tape recording of the victim's last, gasping words, terrifying evidence of the horror endured at the hands of a madman. Soon the body count begins to rise as more victims are found, all gruesomely cocooned, their final pleas also captured on tape. Determined to catch the sadistic killer, Beck and Mia team up and set a trap-with Mia as bait. But their prey is closer than they ever could have imagined. Now Beck must race against time to save Mia from becoming the next victim of a serial killer as elusive as he is evil. BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Mariah Stewart's Last Breath.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
June 26, 2007
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Last Words by Mariah Stewart
Two years later
The sun was just rising, hot and round, tentacles of color wrapping around the early morning sky like fingers around an orange. From his kitchen window, Gabriel Beck watched the pinks turn coral then red.
Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.
"Oh, yeah," he grumbled under his breath. "This sailor's taking warning . . ."
The coffeepot beeped to announce its brew was ready, and he poured into the waiting St. Dennis Chamber of Commerce DISCOVER SAINT DENNIS! mug. He unlocked the back door then stepped onto the small deck and inhaled deeply. Early June in a bay town had scents all its own, and he loved every one of them. Wild roses mixed with salt air, peonies, and whatever the tide deposited on the narrow stretch of coarse sand that passed as beach overnight. It was heady, and along with the coffee he sipped, was all he really needed to start his day off right.
His cell phone rang and he patted his pocket for it, then remembered he'd left it on the kitchen counter. He went back inside, the screen door slamming behind him.
"Chief, I hate to do this to you so early in the morning, but we have a two-vehicle tangle out on Route 33," Police Sergeant Lisa Singer reported.
"One of the drivers is complaining of back pain. We're waiting for the ambulance. Traffic's really light right now, but if we can't get these cars out of here within the hour, we're going to have a mess. I've got Duncan directing traffic around the accident but it's going to get hairy here before too much longer."
"Christ, the Harbor Festival." So much for starting the day off right. "I'll call Hal and see if he can come in a little early today."
Beck tossed back the rest of the coffee and set the mug in the sink. "You called Krauser's for a tow truck?"
"Yeah, but I didn't get an answer. I called the service and asked them to page Frank, but I haven't heard back yet."
"I'll have Hal stop by on his way in, see if he can shake someone loose. Chances are Frank left his pager on the front seat of his car and he and the boys are outside shooting the shit and no one's opened the office yet."
"That's pretty much what I was thinking."
"I'll see what I can do."
Beck turned off the coffeepot and the kitchen light, then headed out to his Jeep, his phone in his hand. Once behind the wheel, he punched in the speed-dial for Hal Garrity as he backed out of his driveway. Hal, one-time chief of police in St. Dennis, Maryland, was now happily retired but always agreeable to working part-time hours in the summer when the tourists invaded the small town on the Chesapeake Bay. At sixty-five, he was still in fine shape, still took pride in being a good cop, and had no problem taking direction from his successor. After all, he'd been instrumental in hiring Beck.
Hal answered on the first ring. He was already on his way in to the station, but was just as happy to head out to the accident scene, and wouldn't mind a stop at Krauser's Auto Body to check up on that tow truck. Beck smiled when the call ended. As much as Hal loved retirement, he sure did love playing cop now and then.
The narrow streets of St. Dennis were waist-high in an eerie mist that had yet to be burned off by the still rising sun. Wisps of white, caught in the headlights, were tossed about by Beck's old Jeep, the ragged pieces floating across Charles Street, the main road that ran through the village, from the highway straight on out to the bridge over the inlet that led to Cannonball Island. Here in the center of town all was unbroken silence. No other cars were on the street, no shops opened, no pedestrians passed by. All was still. Peaceful.
This was the St. Dennis Beck loved, the one he remembered when he thought about moving back two years ago. But, with all the renovations, and every available building being bought up and fixed up and turned into one fancy shop or another, the St. Dennis he'd known would someday be little more than a fond memory. Now, though, in the early morning hours, before the tourists came out and the shop lights went on, the village was his home again. Peaceful, the way it was supposed to be.
Except for that damned traffic accident out on the highway, and knowing that by nine this morning the first of the tourists would arrive. They would be eager to spend their money in the picturesque boutiques and crowd his peaceful streets as they did every day starting in the middle of April and going strong right on through till Christmas. Today would be especially lively.
Beck checked the time. It was not quite six.