There was no way Alicia Greco could afford to get involved with any man right now, and especially not Special Agent Griffin Malone. He'd come to Fiji to profile the serial killer who was stalking the shining white beaches of the island paradise. She was his key witness.And yet...there was something about the obsessed, shadow-haunted profiler that she simply couldn't resist. So she gave in to his seduction, and to a passion more searing, more intense, than anything she had ever dared to dream of--a passion that made her the ruthless killer's next target.
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June 30, 2008
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Excerpt from Killer Passion by Sheri WhiteFeather
Keep going, Alicia Greco told herself. Keep running. Imagine that someone is chasing you. That he's closing in, that your life depends on this.
Yeah, right. Her life depended on jogging on a beach in Fiji. She would've laughed if she weren't so damn winded, if she weren't struggling to put one foot in front of the other, if her calves didn't ache.
She hated to exercise, hated it, but she was pushing thirty and determined to stay in shape. To her, there was nothing sexier than a runner's body with all those long, lean, toned muscles.
She glanced around, focusing on the beauty of her break-of-dawn surroundings. The sun rose above the cliffs, sprinkling the ground with warm, rich hues. The ocean rolled upon the shore, the water crystal clear and breathtakingly blue. Thatch-roofed cabanas decorated the sand.
Alicia was the only person around. Other hotel guests had stirred, but they weren't making use of the beach. Before she'd set out for her run, an early-bird group of travelers had boarded a bus destined for a "Sunrise Island" tour. Everyone else was probably smart enough to be sleeping or lazily greeting the day.
She peered over her shoulder to see how far she'd gone. The main building of the resort had diminished in size, not so small that it looked like one of those little Monopoly game-piece hotels, but she was making progress.
Huffing along, she faced forward again, then caught a glimpse of something stirring at the edge of a nearby cabana. Fabric, she thought. An article of clothing. Giving in to her curious nature, she ran toward it to take a closer look and nearly stumbled to her hands and knees.
Oh my God...ohmyGod...ohmyGod...ohmyGod...
Inside the cabana, a naked man was slumped over a naked woman, his hips positioned between her open legs. Blood covered the base of his skull, matting his hair. Angry wounds slashed his back. Dark red smears trailed down his spine and onto his buttocks.
Alicia just stood, gazing at the horror laid out before her. Although most of the woman's body was trapped beneath her partner's bulk, her lifeless face was turned in Alicia's direction, her eyes fixed in a blank stare. A gaping hole gouged her neck.
Blood. So much blood. Like a slasher film, too gruesome to be real.
But it was real.
A special effects team hadn't trussed up a pair of actors. There were no lights, no cameras, no action. The female corpse staring into space with her throat slit wasn't going to wink or smile or sit up to sign autographs.
If she found celebrity, it would be from being a victim of the Sex on the Beach Killer.
This had to be his work, Alicia thought. The madman stalking South Pacific beaches for lovers to slay.
A chill sluiced through her own blood, icing her veins, making her tremble. She should turn away; she should run as fast as her feet would take her. But she didn't. Suddenly the dead woman seemed familiar. Alicia had seen her before. Last night...yes...last night at the hotel disco, dirty dancing with...
Instinctively, she moved to the other side of the cabana to see the dead man's face. It was him. The woman's erotic dance partner. Alicia had watched them grinding to rhythmic beats. She'd been captivated by their provocative display of affection. They'd been the most beautiful couple at the disco. Both tanned, both strikingly blond.
Had the killer been in the nightclub, too? Had he seen them dance? Had he followed them onto the beach? Had he crouched in the dark while they'd kissed and touched and removed their clothes?
Alicia could almost feel the killer's knife tear into her own flesh. Panicked, she put her hands to her throat, as if stemming a sticky crimson flow.
Before she screamed, fainted or vomited, she spun away from the crime scene, and the shocking reality-- the stupidity of staring blatantly at the dead--nearly knocked the air from her lungs.
Away from the bloodied cabana. Away from the blond couple who were no longer beautiful. Away from the nightmare imprinted on her mind.
Her words came back to haunt her. Imagine that someone is chasing you. That he's closing in, that your life depends on this.
She raced across the thickness of the sand, wondering why the lovers had taken such a dangerous risk. Didn't they know about the killer? Hadn't they heard the media reports? Or listened to what other tourists were saying? The don't-have-sex-on-the-beach warnings? The keep-your-pants-zipped jokes?
Alicia reached the resort and, limbs still shaking, jogged toward the main building.
Lush foliage flanked her way. The Siga Resort, located on the mainland, was designed to reflect Fiji's colorful culture while providing the ultimate in comfort and luxury. The spacious rooms occupied two- and three-story buildings, and garden paths linked the hotel blocks to the restaurant and bar buildings. Golf, racquet and yacht clubs were available by shuttle bus.