Grisly and disturbing serial killer novels are best-selling author's CJ Wilder's stock in trade. Her alter ego, Calliope Laurent lives in a small quiet town with her pair of beloved dogs. She guards her privacy as fiercely as her pets guard her idyllic life.
When Calli starts receiving bouquets of roses along with cards containing ominous quotes, it's no coincidence women are being murdered in ways Calli is all too familiar with.
Deputy Sheriff Brady Harrison is taken with Calli from the moment he meets her. Assigned to her case, he's determined to find the killer, and as a man falling in love, protecting Calli has become his obsession.
As gruesome discoveries are made, it's clear the killer is bringing Calli's books to life, and since she knows all too well how her stories end, she's afraid to learn what will happen when the last bloom falls.
Dusk hit quickly as I paced, my mind playing its usual mixtape of the many ways to be killed. Cautiously, I pushed the curtain aside slightly to peer into the haze of almost darkness. Was someone out there waiting for me in the inky blackness? Letting the curtain fall back, I wondered how much longer before help arrived. My two shepherds tracked every movement, sensing my fear and I joined them on the floor to reassure all of us that it wouldn’t be much longer.
The familiar ‘ting’ of FaceTime sounded in the room, and I heaved a sigh of relief, jumping to my feet and rushing to my computer to see my best friend appear on the screen. Deep brown eyes framed by thick lashes peered at me as his pouty lips turned up at one corner.
“I’m freaking out here,” I babbled. “I don’t understand any of this.” I glanced towards the door, licking my lips as fear-laced anxiety crept into my chest. I closed my eyes against it for the umpteenth time and breathed out shakily. “Why would someone do this to me. Did I mention I’m totally freaking out?”
True McLaren and her family escaped from Ireland twenty-five years ago. Now living in small town USA, True has become somebody's target. She may be viewed as easy prey but looks are deceiving when anything is a deadly weapon in her hands. Just give her a teaspoon and watch what happens.
All a girl ever really needs is coffee, gelato, a teaspoon and a little music…well maybe…
True McLaren and her family disappeared from Ireland twenty-five years ago with what they could carry. Now living in a small town in upstate New York under a shroud of secrecy and coded conversations, True has become a target and everyone else is collateral damage. Only her pursuer knows why but if he thinks she’ll be easy prey, he’ll soon learn that True is deadly in her own right.
Dante Parisi, a local police officer and former Marine, opens his heart and his home to True. As the McLarens become part of his extended family, True realizes that her life might not be the only thing in jeopardy. Fighting the need to stay safely hidden, can she give in and go with her instincts when it comes to Dante; or is she too far gone?
With the body count rising, the hit men keep coming and those she cares about are put in danger. True calls upon family she has never met and hopes the risk is worth it to stop a madman. Alliances are formed on two continents in the hopes of freeing those held against their will, forced to become pawns in the delusions of a psychopath. The end game is risky, but it could mean an existence out of the shadows for True and her parents if they can move fast enough.
There are certain looks that I decipher well, hunger being one of them. It's a raw emotion that’s difficult to conceal and it was all over Dante's face when I located him seated across the room. He had obviously been watching me for quite some time and made no attempt to disguise the fact that he liked what he'd seen. Of course, maybe he was literally hungry or simply impressed by my form. Neither of us looked away, and for the first time, I felt like I might have a little power in whatever this was. Still, I had been wrong earlier, and I wasn't all that good at these types of signals. Then he stood, and I was confident that this time, there was a much smaller margin of error.
He stared at me and I tried desperately to keep my Zen. It was difficult when at some point during his workout he had taken off his shirt. I had confirmation that he was solid and sinewy. I refused to look down further because I knew the hardness continued and I wasn’t sure I could conceal my thoughts. Dante wasn’t embarrassed about his obvious arousal and it made me feel incredibly sexy that he was reacting to me. He let his eyes blatantly roam slowly up and down my body, appraisingly. I was sweaty and messy as hell, but I let him look. He was obviously a fitness fanatic and wasn't turned off by a woman who could keep up. There was something incredibly hot about that. Our eyes met again, and I took another sip of my water, now craving something else to quench that heat building up in my nether regions. Man, those lady parts were coming to life. I had to do something soon or I was going to burst.
I couldn't find a reason to keep Dante out except for habit, but I’d only known him a short time. Was it true that sometimes you knew or was that all nonsense? I took another sip never breaking eye contact. The sexual tension was thick as the heat level rose. I had an urge to pour the whole bottle of water over my head to see if it would cool me down or produce steam. I was too distracted by the intense look on his face to make a pro and con list at this point. Shit. What to do…what to do.
My body screamed as my head battled befuddlement. Screw it. I shot it all down, embracing the changing tides. My whole damn world was upside-down anyway, might as well give in and try something different. I was throwing my modus operandi out the window and this incredibly hot man had no idea what a big deal that was. I remembered something my dad said. Sometimes you have to let go, believing that fate has bigger plans.
I did the only thing I could under the circumstances, used sarcasm wrapped around a blatantly cheesy pickup line. “Come here often?” Dante was across the room in moments, mouth crushing mine. Hot and wet, our tongues battled as we devoured each other in the power of our first kiss. My hands wound through his curls as he pulled me closer. I could feel the hard lines of his body. Each nerve ending focused on the fusion of lips as our arms wrapped around each other to deepen the contact.