Closer... [In Too Deep Series Book 1] [Secure eReader]
Click on image to enlarge.
eBook by Jo Leigh
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: A stalker has destroyed Christie Pratchett's life. He's stolen her job, her friends and her freedom. The police can't help her, the private detectives are useless. She's done everything she can to save herself, to stop the madman. Nothing has worked. From out of the shadows comes Boone Ferguson, a soldier who's under the radar, a man with a secret that could cost him his life. He's going to train Christie to become a warrior--and his lover. Together, they're going to risk it all, on the street and in the bedroom.
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Blaze
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2006
This eBook is part of the following series:
111 Reader Ratings:
CHRISTIE SAT IN THE FAR CORNER of her living room with her back jammed against the wall. Milo, her golden Lab, whined softly against her as she stared at the phone on the end table, willing the ringing to stop.
How had he gotten the unlisted number? She'd only had that phone for two days. It was her third new number in five months, but the bastard who was stalking her hadn't skipped a beat.
The first phone call had come five months ago. She hadn't recognized the voice. Male. Low. Taunting. She'd hung up, dismissing him as an annoying but inconsequential crank. Right.
Milo rubbed his head against her arm, and she rubbed him back. "You're all right, kiddo," she whispered, blessing him a hundred times. He was the only one left.
The ringing finally stopped. She wondered if she'd ever hear that sound again without terror taking over.
A moment later, the phone rang again, and this time, he left a message. The same message. You can run, but you can't hide. The same voice, electronically altered with no background sound but a dull hum. For all she knew, it was a machine calling, and the bastard was outside her house even now, watching her.
The thing was, she'd done everything right. She'd contacted the police, who'd had her log his calls, put up security cameras, tried to trace his calls. She'd hired not one, but two private detectives who'd found out a lot about her neighbors and associates, but all that did was make her afraid of everyone. She'd taped his calls. She'd talked to the FBI, who had assured her that as soon as they had any evidence at all, they'd be all over it.
She'd read books, checked sources on the Internet, had asked for help from everyone she could think of, and still, the bastard was controlling her life.
This was it, though. She couldn't take one more night of this torment. Tomorrow, she was going to call a Realtor, put the house up for sale. But she wouldn't wait around. She'd go to the bank first thing and pull out her savings. She'd take Milo with her and leave. To where, she didn't know or care. Somewhere small. Where he couldn't find her.
Tears filled her eyes, and she didn't even try to blink them back. Her life had gone to hell in the past five months. Everything she cared about had been stripped away, bit by bit.
She'd worked for one of the biggest design firms in Century City, where she'd had clients who ranged from studio executives to movie stars. She'd won awards for her interior designs, but more than that she'd loved her job.
He'd taken that from her last week. She'd been called into the big office and, with a lot of apologies and excuses, her bosses said the reason they were letting her go was because they were refocusing the objectives of the design firm. She'd come right out and asked if they'd been threatened, and while they'd denied it, Kerry and Stanley had both gotten so nervous and upset that she knew the stalker had somehow gotten to them. Her certainty had convinced the police to investigate, but they hadn't gotten the couple to talk. The bastard had scared them spitless.
She had no business being so angry. She understood the fear. But she was angry. And achingly disappointed.
She went over to the pad of paper by the phone. Her log covered so many pages it was starting to resemble the L.A. phone book. On it, she recorded every incident, from e-mail threats to inappropriate gifts, to the content of messages left on her machine. She wrote it all down. The date, time, place and description. There was a space to notate witnesses, but there were none. Still, the police could do nothing. Would do nothing. Even with the anti-stalking laws in place, the bastard was so clever he never let them get anything on him. The FBI had traced the e-mail messages, but ended up with a variety of dead ends. Tracing his calls had proved equally unsuccessful. He was using either a cloned or a prepaid cell, neither of which could be traced.
The packages that had showed up on her doorstep had been searched for clues, but not a fingerprint had been found. As for the security cameras…they'd been a complete bust. Not one picture, not even a shadow.
Locks had proven useless. It didn't matter that they were guaranteed to be the latest technology and completely burglar-proof, he got through them. He got into her house. Left messages. One on her bathroom mirror, in her own lipstick. You can run but you can't hide. Two days ago, he'd eaten a piece of cake from her fridge.
He'd tranquilized Milo, which had scared her to death. Because if the tranquilizer hadn't worked, she had no doubt he would have killed her dog.
She'd stopped asking the obvious question long ago. There was no reason behind this. Just because she didn't recognize his voice didn't mean she didn't know him. He could be anyone. Her best friend's husband. The man across the street. Anyone.
So she'd crawled into her house, once her pride and joy, until it had become a prison. If she didn't break out tomorrow, it would become her coffin.
"Come on, baby," she said, standing up. "Let's get you fed."
Christie had lost almost ten pounds since it began. Her skin was pale, her hands shook. She'd stopped bothering with makeup, kept putting her hair back in a messy ponytail, and she always wore shoes she could run in. She was under siege and he never let her forget it.
Copyright © 2006 by Jolie Kramer.