May 24, 2016
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The moment detective Reed Novak steps onto the crime scene, he knows the case is going to rock his world. A beautiful young woman murdered at home. No sign of forced entry. No motive. She’s obviously not the killer’s first victim, and Reed’s instincts tell him she won’t be his last. Reed’s first clue comes via a mysterious text that links to a dating profile, but even more intriguing than the clue is the person who sent it.
As a white-hat hacker in the Delphi Center’s cyber investigation unit, Laney Knox sneaks into some of the deepest, darkest corners of the Internet looking for predators. Laney would prefer to stay away from Austin PD’s most recent murder case, but she can’t ignore the chilling similarities between that crime and her own brutal attack years ago. Laney offers to help the sexy lead detective, but he wants more from her than just a promising tip—Reed wants her trust. Laney resists, but as their relationship deepens she’s tempted to reveal the closely guarded secrets that could make her a key witness…or the killer’s next victim.
Reed watched her, and she had that frustrated look in her eyes again. Every time she started to open up to him, he did something to tick her off. She shook her head and glanced away.
“I’m a detective. It’s my job to ask questions. To push.”
She looked at him again and her expression softened. “No, you’re right.” She glanced down at her beer bottle and picked at the label. “I’m glad she has you.”
“Who has me?”
“April. You seem--” She paused, like she was searching for the right word. “--committed.”
He didn’t answer. It wasn’t really a question, but the way she looked at him gave him the feeling she wanted a response.
She drained her beer and plunked down the bottle. “I should get home.” She stood up.
Reed stood, too. He left a tip on the table and followed her through the throng of people. The bar was packed, and the music had gotten louder since they’d first walked in.
They stepped into the warm, muggy air. It was dusk now, and a neon Lone Star Light sign cast a blue-and-red glow over the sidewalk. As they walked in silence, he thought of what she’d said about her job being meaningful. It was refreshing. Maybe he’d been a cop too long, but he didn’t know anyone who talked about things being meaningful anymore. If they thought about work in those terms, they kept it to themselves.
Maybe he was jaded.
No, he definitely was jaded. But it had more to do with his failed marriage than anything he’d seen on the job.
Reed spotted her little white car and felt a twinge of regret. He’d enjoyed talking to her, enjoyed being near her. And he couldn’t remember the last time that had happened with a woman. Having a beer with Laney had been the highlight of his crap week. Hell, the highlight of his month.
She looked around. “Where are you parked?”
She gazed up at him. He couldn’t read her expression.
“Thanks for the drink,” she said.
“You bought it.”
He couldn’t read her tone either. The thrum of music seeped through the thin walls of the bar as they stood there in the light of the beer sign.
She stepped closer, and a jolt of heat went through him. She looked up at him with those bottomless brown eyes, and he knew he was in trouble. It was a bad idea to involve this girl in his investigation. Whatever useful info she might have was outweighed by the fact that she was young, and edgy, and he wanted her. And she must have seen something in his face because her eyes sparked.
She went up on tiptoes and kissed him.
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award. Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book.