A Pulse Pounding Adrenalin Rush!
Special Agent Joe Cross of the Federal Bureau of Investigations scrambles to find a killer who represents his biggest failure to date. Twelve years ago, a man killed a young girl and got away with it. Now he’s at it again. But this time Joe is determined not to fail. Leaving his family behind, he travels to Florida and begins the arduous task of sifting through impossible evidence in an unfamiliar environment. The killer expertly evades the local talent, leaving nothing behind as evidence, but his obsession with a woman of innocent appeal may become his inevitable ruin.
Before she could move, he stood up and turned to face her, his expression soft now, almost friendly. She hesitated, momentarily confused. Maybe she was wrong. Maybe he wasn’t angry.
“Hi,” he called.
She sputtered a greeting in return, but there was still something about him that made her nervous. Something….
Out of her peripheral vision, she caught sight of a white patch on the ground. Thinking maybe it was his hiking gear, she looked beyond him, to the spot where he’d been crouching just moments before, and felt the bite of cold winter air pierce her lungs as she gasped in alarm. A pair of bare legs was sticking out of the midst of the palmetto patch, lifeless and still. She stared for what seemed like an eternity, her brain barely grasping what she was seeing. She was having trouble registering it, putting it all together in her head, but when the reality finally hit, her entire body began to tremble. She lifted her eyes back to his face, searching, hoping she was wrong.
He smiled, and the blood froze in her veins.
He stared at the hiker. The fear literally boiled off her, so powerfully alluring that he could practically smell it. She’d seen the body. There was no question. He had no choice now but to kill her. Not a bad bargain as far as he was concerned.
She stood there staring, frozen by her own fear. He’d seen the look a dozen times before, and he knew what it meant. She was immobilized by terror, confused, searching for a way out, but not quite comprehending.
He glanced around, made sure that she was alone, and his smile broadened.
Suzanne’s heart began to race, and the sound of her own blood throbbing through her ears made it almost impossible to hear anything else. There was a pain in her chest, a squeezing, suffocating sort of pain. Her body was providing her with the perfect burst of adrenaline to flee, but she couldn’t seem to make her feet move. All she could do was stand there and stare at him in abject terror, her mind cataloging every detail of his face. He was so handsome, so clean-cut. So benign. He hardly looked like what she thought a killer should.
She couldn’t seem to tear her gaze away from his, couldn’t seem to do much of anything at all. God, why couldn’t she run? Why was she just standing there like an empty-headed fool when she knew she should run–must run! Yet, the futility of even making an attempt…. What was the point in giving in to such a conditioned response when she knew it was hopeless, utterly hopeless?
He took a step toward her. She gave a little whimpering gasp and stumbled backwards. He laughed, a lethal whisper of sound, and took another step forward. His movements were slow, self-assured, like he knew he couldn’t possibly lose. A second later, she heard an odd scream burst through the forest, echoing off the surrounding trees. She was so terrified that it took her a moment before she realized the scream had been her own. She was so intent on getting out of there, getting away. Dammit, there had to be a chance.
Dear God, please give me a chance, she mentally screamed.
She twisted around, prepared to run, felt her booted foot snag on something. A damn tree root! Her arms flailed the air for one terrifying moment, and then she managed to right herself again. She lunged forward, began a stumbling flight back the way she’d come, blindly tearing through the woods, dodging the tree branches that slapped at her body and pulled at her hair as she passed.
Her breath became a ragged wheeze. Her lungs felt like they would burst. And the whole time her legs were pumping hard to get her out of danger, she knew…she was never going to make it. She would never waste another second resenting her ex-husband. Would never again enjoy the cool crisp country air, the wisps of white clouds in an otherwise clear blue sky. She would never be thrilled at catching sight of a meteor on a dark night, never feel the touch of a man’s fingers caressing her face. She was going to die. This man was going to kill her. She knew that as surely as she knew the sun was still shining.
She was already losing ground. Her legs burned from the effort, the strain she was forcing on them. She’d always been an athletic person, had always been in good shape, but she knew she couldn’t run forever. Not at top speed. Eventually, she would exhaust herself, and then…. He would be there. With a sinking sort of dread, she felt it coming. She was flagging already. She wasn’t going to make it. God, she wasn’t going to make it!