Going home again can be deadly.
Suddenly jobless, enterprising Candace Downs returns to the parched and dusty oil town of Odessa, Texas as a trainee for her cousin’s towing company.
Rejecting the romantic obsessions of a maniacal stranger intent on capturing her heart throws her life into a terrifying spiral downward.
As the clock ticks, and her hunter ups the ante, the charismatic, handsome security consultant, Josiah Bradley, is determined to keep her alive – at any cost.
Will they win this harrowing cat-and-mouse game? Or will the unrelenting stalker bury them both deep in the desert?
Candace hunkered down in the floorboard of the truck. Why had she taken this job? She really didn’t need to eat. Maybe if she had to do without food for a while she could fit into smaller jeans, like the munchkin at the western store wore.
A gunshot rang out, and Candace vomited.
“Great. Barbie just tossed her cookies.” Beth Anne sighed.
Enough was enough. She wouldn’t put up with the leprechaun’s taunts any longer.
“I’m sorry if I don’t live up to your standards, Dumpling,” she snapped. “I’ve never had anyone shoot at me.”
“Dumpling? You little–”
“Enough, you two. Quit acting like spoiled junior-high girls. If you haven’t realized it, we’re in a little bit of a mess here.”
And if she ever got out of it, Candace would tell Carl he could shove his job. Everyone told her how dangerous New York would be. Right. She never got shot at there.
More shots rang out, and her hands shook. “Thank goodness we’re in the truck. If they don’t shoot the windows, we should be okay. Right?”
Josiah barked out a short laugh. “Don’t know much ‘bout guns, do ya, doll?”
“Not really. I know gun safety, and I’m a good shot, but that’s it.”
“A bullet can go through the metal of the door.” Beth Ann’s tone grew snarkier with each word. “It may or may not have enough force to come all the way inside depending upon the caliber. There’s your education for today, Barbie.”
“Thanks for nothing, Dumpling.”
Sirens sounded in the distance, and Candace prayed the police would arrive in time to save them. She couldn’t die like this, hunkered down in the floor of a flatbed truck with a puke-covered seat. At least she hadn’t peed her pants. Yet.
Danielle Battershawn’s life is turned upside down when a killer murders her twin, and she becomes the prey in the killer’s crosshairs. As she searches for answers, she becomes embroiled in corporate espionage, deceit, and long-held secrets.
An anonymous source hires security consultant Tyler Covington to keep the beautiful dialysis nurse safe, but at every turn he meets resistance. Determined to fulfil his task, he redoubles his efforts, but the threat Danielle poses to his cool, professional exterior causes him to rethink taking this case.
Under the cloak of darkness, the man donned latex gloves. He picked the lock on the back door to Janine’s house and tiptoed over the threshold. The soft fragrance of her perfume permeated the air. Such a shame. Inquisitive mongrel. They could’ve shared an exciting time together, but she had to play buttinski and stick her beak into his business, cutting short their love affair. Anger threatened to engulf him, but he shook it off and turned his attention to his search.
In the living room, he pulled books off the shelves, thumbed through them, and overturned the bookcases. He slashed furniture cushions and dug through the foam, then ripped up the corners of the carpeting. As small as the drive was, the witch could’ve hidden it anywhere. He pulled her antique glassware off the fireplace and broke them open. Empty.
After he pulled pictures off the walls and slashed open the backs, he moved on to the air vents. He unscrewed each one, stuck his hand inside the duct, and felt around.
Cursing, the man moved from room to room, dumping out contents of cabinets, drawers, the dresser, and desk. He turned over the furniture and checked the backsides and underneath.
In the bathroom, he checked under the cabinets and behind the mirror. Where did the conniving broad hide the flash drive? He slashed her bed to ribbons, dug through the stuffing, and pulled out handfuls of the cotton batting, but found nothing.
He slammed his fist through the drywall. “Stupid witch.” He composed himself and explored the entire house once again.
Slipping out the front door, he removed his latex gloves and stuffed them in his pocket. As he wove through the sprawling subdivision, he hummed the tune to “Death’s Head.”
Knowing Janine, she gave it to her sister for preservation. He would search Dani’s house and, after he had the drive, he’d dispose of her. Doing away with both of the meddlesome twins would solve two problems for him. He allowed himself a smile at the thought of carousing with Dani before he got rid of her.
While JD Miller is chaperoning a group of teens on a mission trip to Kherson, Ukraine, one of the boys vanishes from the group without a trace.
Leandra Davis hasn’t seen her father in over twenty years when he shows up and asks her to fly to Ukraine to join the search for a brother she’s never met. Anger at her absentee father compels her to walk out and ignore his pleas, but anguish at the thought of her brother all alone in a foreign country, at the mercy of kidnappers, convinces her to abandon her life in Odessa, Texas and join the search.
When she and her best friend fly to Ukraine to search for the kidnapped teen, she meets the passionate paramedic, JD Miller. Together, they search for the missing young man and begin to uncover deadly secrets Leandra’s father wants to keep hidden.
A large, calloused hand clamped over her mouth and something sharp dug into to her side. “Meddlesome big sister,” a gruff, male voice rasped in her ear. The stench of cigarettes on his breath made her want to retch, and her heart rate soared. What did this guy want? She jerked her head to the side, but the man’s huge hand only clamped down tight enough to leave bruises, so she clawed at it. With her mouth covered, she couldn’t get enough air. He was going to smother her–if he didn’t stab her to death first.
“You’ll stop struggling if you know what’s good for you. Time to learn a lesson.” A searing pain sliced through her side and middle, and she clutched at her abdomen–wet and sticky. “Tell Daddy if my boss doesn’t get his property back, we’ll send both of his children to him piece by piece.”
The man removed his hand, and she turned, but he was already gone. She groaned in pain and held her belly. He’d sliced her skin from the left side all the way across to the outer right flank and blood soaked her clothes.
Andrea Simmons, a spunky nurse, fights a daily battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis. When her father is killed in a hit and run accident, she moves home to help mother with her younger sister.
Damon Worth zipped through the ranks at the Odessa Police Department to become the youngest detective in the department. He’s determined to prove he can excel at the job despite his own fears of inadequacy.
When Andrea walks in on a double homicide, Damon catches the case. The more he investigates, the more ties he finds to the pretty redhead.
As the killer stalks Andrea, despite his deepening feelings for her, Damon fears he can’t keep her or her family safe from the lunatic intent on terrorizing her.
She knocked on the back door and twisted the knob. Unlocked as promised. Andrea pushed it open. “Mr. Dodd? It’s Andrea Simmons, the nurse,” she called out. When she didn’t get a response, she started through the formal dining room. She continued to call to Mr. Dodd until she reached the island that separated the kitchen from the living room.
The gruesome scene before her couldn’t be real. She blinked trying to make sense of it.
Two people lay sprawled on the floor. Both of them covered with blood. Her heart hammered as hard as a snare drum at a rock concert. Fear rooted her in place for several seconds. She grabbed a pair of gloves, dropped her bags, and rushed toward the bodies. If they were still alive, they needed her help.
When she reached the nearest, the man, she leaned forward and pressed her fingertips to his carotid artery. Was this Henry Dodd? Her hands shook, so she took a couple of calming breaths.
Andrea reached out to try again. No pulse. His chest remained motionless. She gulped in a deep breath, moved to the woman, and checked her. No pulse there either.
After she swallowed the bile that rose into her throat, she removed her gloves but left them on the counter. She didn’t want to the throw them away in case the police needed them.
She backed out of the house and eased into a poolside chair before she collapsed.
Why did she go into nursing? In home health, she walked into strangers’ homes every day. Some of the situations she’d encountered had been discomfiting, but nothing like this.
She doused her hands with sanitizer and grabbed her phone, but the tremors in her fingers made it difficult to dial. After a few mistakes, she tapped in the number.
“Ector County 9-1-1. Do you need fire, police, or ambulance?”
“P –police. I found a murdered couple.” Andrea gripped the phone until her hands cramped. “I think it might be Henry and Nadine Dodd. I’m at their house. 2291 East Brighton Court.”