Gifted with the ability to relive a murder victim's final minutes, Olivia Wainwright isn't sure if her powers are a blessing or a curse. She is haunted by the things she's seen, heard, and felt...but takes comfort in the fact that she is helping to solve murders and save lives.
Savannah Detective Gabe Cooper isn't sure about Olivia's abilities, but he knows she's an amazing woman. And the more he gets to know her, the more he wants to protect her from any danger...including her own dark power.
Now the two of them must team up to catch a killer. The monster has been taking children for years...and time is running out to save his latest victim.
"[Kelly] doesn't do things by halves. The chemistry is hot, the bad guy is truly evil, and the paranormal aspects are dark and haunting. Her full commitment to both romance and suspense heightens the impact and sweeps the reader along the twisty path to a satisfying climax" -- Publishers Weekly
Twelve years ago
“He’s gonna kill you.”
The boy’s voice shook with both sadness and fear. And with those four whispered words, Olivia Wainwright’s faint hope of survival disappeared.
The boy, Jack, was he a victim, too? She wasn’t sure. She only knew that during the three terrifying days she’d been tied up in this hot,
miserable barn, his sharp, angular face was the only one she’d seen. She’d caught brief glimpses of him in the shadows when he shuffled in to bring her water or sometimes a handful of stale nuts that she suspected he wasn’t supposed to share. Once, he’d even come close enough to loosen the ropes on her wrists and ankles a little, so at least she had some circulation again.
But he hadn’t let her go. No matter how much she’d begged.
He was a couple of years younger than her, twelve or thirteen, maybe. Skinny, pale, with sunken cheeks and deep-set eyes. While he was free to go in and out, she suspected he was a victim, too—of abuse, at the very least. The kid looked beaten down, his spirit crushed, all memories of happiness long gone.
Olivia began to shake, long shudders making her bound legs quiver and her stomach heave. She’d eaten almost nothing for days, yet thought she’d be sick.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. She’d tried so hard to be strong, to think positively. Her parents loved her, and they had a lot of money. Of course they’d pay the ransom. She’d told herself it would all be okay. But it wouldn’t be okay. Not ever again.
“When?” she finally asked, dread making the word hard to push from her mouth.
“Once he makes sure they paid the ransom money.”
“If they’re paying the money, why is he going to kill me?” she asked, the words sounding so strange in her ears. God, she was fifteen years old, the very idea that she would be asking questions about her own murder had never once crossed her mind.
Four days ago she’d been a slightly spoiled, happy teenager looking forward to getting her driver’s license and wondering how much begging it would take to get her overindulgent parents to buy her a Jeep.
Now she was wondering how many minutes she had left on this earth. She could hear a clock ticking away in her mind, each tick marking one less second of her life.
“He don’t want any witnesses.” Jack leaned back against the old plank-board wall and slid down it, like he couldn’t hold himself up anymore. He sat hunched on the backs of his bent legs, watching her. A shaft of moonlight bursting through a broken slat high up in the barn wall shone a spotlight on his bony face. Tear tracks had cleared a path through the grime on his bruised cheeks, and his lips—swollen, bloodied—quivered. “He’s afraid you can identify him.”
“I can’t! I never even saw his face.”
That was true. She’d never gotten a glimpse of the man who’d grabbed her from her own bedroom. Liv had awakened from a sound sleep to find a pillow slapped over her face, a hateful male voice hissing at her not to scream or he’d shoot her and her sister, whose room was right next door. Their parents’ room was on the other side of the huge house, and Liv didn’t doubt that the man would be able to make good on his threat before anyone could get to them.
A minute later, any chance of screaming had been taken from her. He’d hit her hard enough to knock her out. By the time she’d awakened, she was already inside this old abandoned barn. Jack was the only living soul she’d seen or heard since.
“Let me go,” she urged.
He shook his head, repeating, “I’m sorry.”
“Please, Jack. You can’t let this happen.”
“There’s nothin’ I can do.”
“Just untie me and give me a chance to run away.”
“He’ll find you,” he said. “Then he’ll kill us both.” His voice was low, his tone sounding almost robotic. Like he’d heard the threat so many times it had become ingrained in his head.
“When did he take you?” she asked, suddenly certain this boy was a captive as well.
“Take me?” Jack stared at her, his brown eyes flat and lifeless. “Whaddya mean?”
“He kidnapped you, too. Didn’t he?”
“Dunno.” Jack slowly shook his head. “I’ve been with him forever.”
“Is he your father?” she persisted.
Jack didn’t respond, though whether it was because he didn’t know or didn’t want to say, she couldn’t be sure.
“Do you have a mother?”
“Look, whoever he is, you have to get away from him. We have to get away.” She tried to scoot closer, though her legs—numb from being bound—didn’t want to cooperate. She managed no more than a few inches before falling onto her side, remnants of dry, dirty old hay scratching her cheek. “Come with me. Untie me and we’ll both run.”
If she could run on her barely functional legs.
She thrust that worry away. If it meant saving her life, hell, she’d crawl.