Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Dead (Deadly Games Thrillers)

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9780062280893: Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Dead (Deadly Games Thrillers)

This is the third installment in the Nursery Rhyme Series.

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From the Author:

"This romantic suspense novel from Diaz ( Simon Says Die) is reminiscent of early Sandra Brown and Catherine Coulter, when those authors were still known as romance writers. The story here is not all about the romance yet the romance is not pushed aside as it would be in a harder-hitting mystery/suspense novel. A good selection from an author this reviewer expects to be big in the coming years".--Ryan Franklin, Mattoon P.L., IL (Library Journal Review)

Excerpt

Prologue

Hot, greedy tongues of flame licked around the eaves, teasing, tasting, like a new lover hungry for a first caress, ravenous to join with the tantalizing flesh of the woman lying inside the house.

The beckoning inferno drew him across the dew-laden grass until the heat was so intense he was forced to step back. He lifted his face to the sky as the first ashes fluttered down, brushing softly across his skin like a warm breath, a gentle kiss.

He captured the sooty flakes in his hands, the familiar, acrid scent making his nostrils flare. The comforting crackle of the fire subtly changed and he cocked his head to listen. No, the fire hadn't changed. Those were sirens, the high-pitched whine mingling with the dull roar of the flames.

He crushed the pieces of ash in his palms, picked up the gas can, and loped across the lawn to his truck. Too late. They were too late. They were always too late. And soon, he would have his revenge.

Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Dead.

Chapter One

The stacks of letters cluttered the top of the conference room table, each one a bleak epitaph to a life stolen, a life lost, a life destroyed. FBI Special Agent Tessa James slid one of the pages toward her, gingerly running her latex-gloved finger across the words. A name--Sharon Johnson. So simple. So short. So inadequate. Beneath it, a killer's irreverent gloat, "Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Dead," followed by an odd little curlicue, like someone would make when doodling, except that it was on every letter. It seemed obscene that his words, and his mark, sat on the same pages as his victims' names.

Even in death he wouldn't let them go.

The door opened, letting in a rush of air-conditioning that fluttered the pages across the brown laminate surface, like leaves scattering across a grave. Tessa slapped her hands down so the papers wouldn't fall off the table, and looked up to see her boss, Supervisory Special Agent Casey Matthews.

Wonderful.

At one time he'd been her biggest supporter and friend.

Not anymore.

He flicked a steely-gray glance at the tabletop. His mouth flattened and he shut the door behind him with an ominous click.

"Any new leads?" he asked.

The matter-of-fact tone of his voice didn't fool her. His ramrod-straight back and the tightness of his jaw were warning signs of an impending blowup. She mentally picked her way through a minefield of possible responses to his question. A cleverly constructed lie might save her. But she respected him too much to give him anything less than the truth.

"No new leads. I still haven't linked the names to any reported cases, besides the two we already knew about that weren't connected."

This time it was his turn to watch her, to weigh her words, to carefully select his response.

She met his gaze, unflinching. Defying him outright had never been her plan. Which was why she'd intended to have the forbidden letters back into evidence before he returned from his meeting across town. Either the meeting had ended early, or he'd been more suspicious than she'd realized and had come back specifically to see whether she was obeying his orders.

Unfortunately, she wasn't.

About the Author:

Originally from Kentucky, romantic suspense author Lena Diaz also lived in California and Louisiana before settling in Northeast Florida with her husband, two children, and a Shetland Sheepdog named Sparky. A Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® finalist, she's won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense and has been a finalist for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award. She loves to watch action movies, garden, and hike in the beautiful Tennessee Smoky Mountains.

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