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Authors: Allison Brennan

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Suspense

Killing Fear

BOOK: Killing Fear
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CONTENTS

TITLE PAGE

DEDICATION

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

PROLOGUE

 

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

CHAPTER THIRTY

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE

CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX

CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER THIRTY-NINE

CHAPTER FORTY

CHAPTER FORTY-ONE

CHAPTER FORTY-TWO

 

ALSO BY ALLISON BRENNAN

EXCERPT FOR TEMPTING EVIL

KILLING FEAR FREE BOOK OFFER

EXCERPT FOR KILLING FEAR

PRAISE FOR ALLISON BRENNAN

COPYRIGHT

 

For my grandmother, Florence Riley Hoffman,
who loved me unconditionally
and always told me I could do anything.
I miss you, Grandma.

 

Acknowledgments

As always, many people helped make this story as real as possible. If there are any factual errors, they are solely my responsibility.

First and foremost, Joe Edwards, former California State corrections officer who worked on death row at San Quentin, was invaluable in providing information about the prison and answering questions as they arose. His wife, Elizabeth Edwards, who not only served as a liaison but provided her own insight and experience. Thank you both!

Forensic psychologist and author Mary Kennedy once again answered numerous questions about my villain to help keep him both real and chilling. Seth Unger with the California Department of Corrections helped with information about the prison system; Jabie Gray, general manager of Discount Gun Mart and Indoor Range, was instrumental in helping me understand the changing gun laws, gun safety, and how the range operates; and Marty Fink with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department promptly answered questions about criminalists.

The fabulous writers in the Kiss of Death chapter of Romance Writers of America answered a myriad of questions, a huge help when I was on deadline.

I often find myself writing outside of the house, so a special thanks to Elk Grove businesses who let me claim a table for hours at a time, including: Starbucks, BJ’s Restaurant, Chili’s, and the Elk Grove Brewery.

To everyone at Ballantine, especially Charlotte and Dana: we make a great team. To everyone at Trident Media Group, especially Kim Whalen: thanks for believing in me from the start.

Thanks, Mom, for your constant help and support. And to Dan and our kids: I really appreciate all of you tolerating my many writing eccentricities and deadlines. I love you all.

 

PROLOGUE

Seven years earlier

 

Theodore Glenn sat at the defense table alone, hands loosely folded in front of him, watching the jury foreman hand the bailiff his fate written on a folded white card. The bailiff in turn handed the paper to the judge, who looked at it without comment or expression.

Theodore wasn’t concerned, confident that he’d won the jury over. He was a lawyer, after all, and not just any lawyer: a rich, successful one. So of course there was no one better to represent Theodore Glenn than himself. The fact that it took them four full days to deliberate told him there were several jurors who had reasonable doubt. If the verdict didn’t come back
not guilty,
the jury would be hung.

He looked at the jurors, keeping the contempt off his face.

Pathetic people, all of them. Barely living, meandering through boring, mediocre lives, obeying authority, doing whatever Big Brother orders them to do. A jury of his peers? Hardly. The IQ of all twelve combined didn’t match his.

The old blue-haired woman in the front stared at him. Didn’t they have an age requirement? If she was a day under eighty…but he was certain she didn’t think he was guilty. No woman would look at him if she believed he was a killer.

The young chick in the back with pitiful little breasts; Juror Number Eight.
She
thought he did it. She kept her eyes firmly on the judge.

I’ll kill you, bitch. You think you can cast judgment on
me?

The queer in the front, with his earrings and prim shirt and tight pants, stared at him. Theodore remembered him from jury selection. When asked by the prosecutor if he could be impartial knowing that the victims were exotic dancers—stripping off their clothes for money—he’d said in that nasal tone, “
I
will never judge anyone by their personal lifestyle choices.”

Had he voted guilty or innocent? It wouldn’t matter. All it took was one dissenting juror, and he had Grandma up front.

He’d been right all along. Only the innocent testify in their own defense, he reasoned. So to be seen as innocent, he had to take the stand.

He’d lied, he’d told the truth—both with equal sincerity.

He’d explained that he had previous relationships with three of the four victims. They had ended amicably. He harbored no ill will, nor did they. He’d brought witnesses forward to corroborate.

The most exciting part of the entire trial was when he had gorgeous Robin McKenna on the stand, forced to answer his questions. She’d been a witness for the prosecution, and testified about how she identified him from a police sketch. The sketch however had been drawn from the recollections of a near-blind alleged eyewitness after Brandi’s murder. Robin also told the court who he slept with and when. Women were the biggest gossips on the planet. But he’d made her eat her lying words.

“Any questions, Mr. Glenn?” the judge asked after the stunning prosecutor, a prickly bitch named Julia Chandler, finished questioning Robin. She’d used kid gloves. Theodore didn’t have to wonder why. Robin looked ready to bolt. Her dark red hair looked darker, her pale skin whiter, and her vivid hazel eyes greener against the bloodshot whites.

As he approached, he watched her tense. Suppressing his grin, he did not take his eyes from her face. So beautiful, so perfectly exquisite in every physical detail—from her soft hair to her lush red lips to her perky breasts to her long legs.

A perfect female for his perfect male. But the bitch thought she was better than him. That she was above him. Laughable, to be sure, but her attitude irritated him. She spoke ill of him. She looked at him as if she were smarter. No one was smarter than him.

What he hadn’t said to Robin McKenna:
Do you know they died because of you? I will fondly remember the sweet horror on your pretty face for the rest of my life, long after I kill you, too.

“Robin—” he began.

“Objection,” the D.D.A. snarled. “Please direct counsel to reference the witness as Ms. McKenna.”

“Sustained. You know the rules, Mr. Glenn.”

“I apologize, Your Honor.” Theodore chafed under the rebuke. How dare these inferior attorneys dictate how he should question a witness!

“Ms. McKenna,” he said, noting that she had slid as
far back in the chair as possible. As far from him as possible. She was terrified. She might suspect the truth about him, but she couldn’t possibly know what he was truly capable of. Someday she would, and then she would have something to be scared about.

“You testified that I dated Bethany Coleman.”

Robin nodded.

The judge said, “Please state your answer out loud for the record.”

“Yes.” Robin tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. She’d attempted to make herself look wholesome by wearing minimal makeup and brushing her thick, curly red hair up into a loose bun. But Theodore knew she was anything but wholesome. She revealed her body to men for money. She danced with the grace of a prima ballerina, and the seduction of a call girl. She was the best dancer onstage at RJ’s, bar none, but the only one who wouldn’t give him the time of day.

The bitch.

“Mr. Glenn, question?” the judge asked.

Theodore suppressed his frustration with Robin. It wasn’t anger. His policy was, “Don’t get mad, get even.” But the strange sensations he’d felt whenever he thought about Robin McKenna, whenever he’d watched her dance or shun him—they were new and made him uneasy.

He’d spent his entire life searching for emotion. To have feelings—something internal he couldn’t define—whenever he thought about Robin McKenna seemed extraordinary and was surprisingly unwanted.

Those feelings would disappear when he killed her.

He asked, “Bethany and I broke up eight months before she was killed. Is that your recollection?”

“Yes,” Robin said, jaw clenched.

“Did she ever tell you that she was scared of me?”

Robin didn’t answer.

“Answer the question,” Theodore demanded.

“No.”

“And when Brandi and I broke up, did she tell you she was scared of me?”

“No.”

“And Jessica?”

“No.”

“So none of the women I dated were fearful for their lives?”

“I can’t say.”

“But none of them told you they were fearful for their lives.”

She bit her lip. “No.”

“Why did you tell the police that I was the person in the vague sketch that circulated after Brandi’s murder?”

“Because you were.”

Theodore crossed over to his desk and picked up a copy of the sketch. He glanced at the back of the chamber and caught Detective William Hooper staring. Theodore winked at him, taking pleasure in bringing rage to the cop’s face.

I know all about you, Theodore thought.

He held up the sketch for the jury. “Is this the sketch you identified me from?”

“Yes.”

“This could be any man between the ages of thirty and fifty in this room. Me, the district attorney, the two jurors in the front here.” He waved toward the jury box. “Even the detective who arrested me.”

He watched as Robin looked directly at Will, then averted her eyes. Some emotion Theodore wasn’t familiar with flitted across her face. Had something happened between Romeo and Juliet? Had their torrid love affair gone south?

This pleased him.

“Ms. McKenna, do you like me?”

She startled, glared at him, showing a taste of her inner passion. Passion that should have been directed toward him, not William Hooper.

“No, I don’t like you. You killed my friends.”

“We’ll leave that to the jury to decide, but you just made my point. You never liked me, did you?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“Excuse me?”

“Objection!” The prosecutor jumped up.

“Overruled.”

Theodore repeated to Robin, “Why have you never liked me?”

She frowned. “I don’t know.”

“It’s like ice cream, right? Some people don’t like chocolate. They don’t know why, it just doesn’t taste good.”

“I didn’t like the way you looked at me,” Robin said quietly.

“You remove your clothes onstage in front of a hundred men every night and you don’t like the way they look at you?”

“I don’t like the way you look at me when you think I can’t see you watching,” she said, her voice gathering strength.

“Ms. McKenna, isn’t it true that you identified me off this vague sketch simply because you don’t like me? You wanted someone to blame for the murders of your friends, and I was convenient.”

The prosecutor exclaimed, “Objection!” while Robin leaned forward and said, “I know you killed them. I saw you in the picture because it
is
you. I told the police exactly what they asked, that the only person I recognized that looks like the sketch is Theodore Glenn—”

“Order!” The judge pounded his gavel.

“You killed them and you gloated!” Robin shouted.

“Order, Ms. McKenna,” the judge said.

Theodore smiled. He looked right at William Hooper, the detective’s face tight with suppressed anger. Rage directed at him for bringing up the truth.

BOOK: Killing Fear
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