Authors: Lisa Jackson,Nancy Bush
Tags: #Fiction, #Thrillers, #Suspense, #Crime, #Psychological
CONNECTION TO A KILLER
“I can hear Justice,” Laura said.
“Hear him?” Harrison asked. “How do you mean?”
“What I mean is that I can hear his voice scraping at my brain. He talks to me.”
“What does he say?”
she rasped. “He says it with a menace so strong, it actually scratches across my brain and I know he’s coming for me. I’ve sensed him all my life. He’s sent messages off and on for years, although I didn’t really get what they were about until I was older. I only really fully understood the last when he was on his mission.”
Harrison’s face was sober now, his eyes darkening gravely. “His mission of killing people? A few years back? That’s what you’re talking about?”
She nodded. “Justice is after my family. I don’t know why exactly. He wants to kill us all.”
“And he’s sending you messages to that effect?”
“Yes.” Then, “I know what it sounds like.” She rubbed her face hard, wishing she hadn’t started this, knowing there was no backing out now. Besides, she needed someone to know that she had contact with Justice, though she supposed trusting a reporter like Harrison wasn’t the best idea. “His voice is really strong right now. He knows where I am. I’m on his radar.”
“You think he wants to kill you.”
And my baby.
Of this she was certain. . . .
Books by Lisa Jackson
SEE HOW SHE DIES
IF SHE ONLY KNEW
THE NIGHT BEFORE
THE MORNING AFTER
MOST LIKELY TO DIE
LEFT TO DIE
CHOSEN TO DIE
BORN TO DIE
Books by Nancy Bush
CANDY APPLE RED
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.
All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.
Table of Contents
CONNECTION TO A KILLER
Books by Lisa Jackson
can smell her!
Another one whose scent betrays her!
Even inside my cell, I can smell her sickness. Her filth. Her lust.
There have been others, too, while I’ve languished here. Others who need to be avenged. Others who, with their devil’s issue, must be driven back to the deadly fires from which they were spawned!
Oh, sick women with your uncontrollable needs.
I am coming for you. . . .
Laura Adderley leaned a hand against the bathroom stall, clutching the home pregnancy test in her other fist, unable to look. She didn’t want this. Not when her marriage was newly finished—a divorce she’d wanted as much as her newly minted ex, maybe more. Byron had already taken up residence with another woman, and he would undoubtedly cheat on her as much as he’d cheated on Laura. It didn’t matter. Their marriage had been ill-conceived from the beginning; it had just taken Laura three years to recognize that fact.
Ill-conceived . . .
Grabbing on to her courage, she slowly unfurled her fist, staring down at the two glaring pink lines of the home pregnancy test.
She’d known it would be.
Oh, God . . .
Squeezing her eyes closed, Laura inhaled a deep, calming breath. She’d ignored the signs for as long as she could, but there was no keeping her head in the sand any longer. She was pregnant. With her ex-husband’s child. They’d signed the papers that very week, though Byron had tried to stall because he simply didn’t want to give Laura what she wanted: freedom from lies and tyranny.
But now what?
Dr. Byron Adderley was an orthopedic surgeon at Ocean Park Hospital, and she, Laura, was a floor nurse. They’d moved to this smaller facility along the Oregon coast about a year earlier, leaving one of Portland’s largest and most prestigious hospitals for a slower-paced life. Laura hadn’t wanted the move, had been adamantly against it. For reasons she didn’t want to tell Byron, she wanted, needed, to stay far, far away from Ocean Park and the surrounding hamlet of Deception Bay.
But as if he’d somehow divined her secrets, he’d announced he’d taken a position at the smaller hospital and they were up and moving. Laura had been stunned. Had told him she wasn’t going. Simply was not going. But in the end he’d gotten his way, and though she’d dragged her feet, she’d reluctantly made this move in the vain hope that she could get her dying marriage off life support, though she knew she no longer loved him, maybe never really had. But with a new start, it was possible something could change. Maybe her heart could be rewon. Maybe Byron would want just her. Maybe everything would be . . . better.
Then he was discovered groping one of the Ocean Park nurses in an empty hospital room. The hospital tried to chastise Byron Adderley, but he wasn’t the kind of man to be chastised. The nurse was summarily dismissed and the incident swept under the hospital rugs . . . and Laura filed for divorce.
At first he’d argued with her. Not that he wanted her; it just wasn’t his decision and so therefore it couldn’t
. She didn’t listen and he changed tactics, humbly begging for a second chance. Laura was suspicious of his motives, aware he might be acting. But she looked down the road of her own future; and it was decidedly bleak and lonely; and one night, three months ago, he’d sworn that he loved her, that he would never cheat on her again, that he would seek help for past mistakes. She had wanted to believe him so much. Needed to. Shut the clamoring voice in her head that warned her to be smart, and one thing led to another and they ended up making desperate love together. A second chance, maybe a last chance that Laura had to take.
And then another nurse came forward, complaining that Dr. Adderley had made inappropriate advances toward her. Byron vehemently denied the charge, but Laura, who had abilities that he didn’t understand—some she didn’t understand herself—knew without a doubt that he was lying through his miserable white teeth.
She let the divorce proceedings run their course, and being Byron, he took up with another woman. This time Laura didn’t look back. She was through with Byron Adderley, and until today, she’d been determined to move back to Portland and find employment far, far away from Ocean Park and Deception Bay.
But now . . .
The door to the bathroom opened. “Laura?” Nurse Perez called.
“I’ll be out in a minute,” Laura said, flushing the toilet and wrapping the telltale wand in toilet paper and shoving it in her purse.
“We need help in the ER. We’ve got a head trauma coming in.”
She heard the door close and let herself out of the bathroom. Washing her hands, she looked hard at her reflection in the mirror. Serious blue-gray eyes stared back at her; and she could see the beginning of her own dishwater blond hair reappearing at her hairline, the longer, darker tresses trying to escape their ponytail and curl under her chin, a strong chin, she’d been told, that, along with high cheekbones and thick lashes, gave her a slightly aristocratic look, something far from what she really was.
A familiar pressure built inside her head, and she mentally pushed it back, visualizing a twenty-foot-high iron gate to withstand the force coming at her. This was an automatic response that clicked in almost unconsciously when particularly strong, unwanted—
—thoughts attacked her. For years she thought everyone had this ability but then slowly realized that it was unique to her alone. It was like someone, or ones, was knocking at her brain, trying to get inside, and she would push up a mental wall to keep them out. But this time was different; there was more urgency and determination. As if this someone were pounding a metal hammer at her wall. At her brain.
Laura jerked to attention and glanced around, half expecting to see who had spoken. But there was no one. Nary a soul. And the voice had been decidedly male.
Her eyes widened; she watched the autonomic response happen in the mirror as realization dawned, a realization she wanted desperately to deny. He was back.
Shutting her lids tightly, she squeezed at her brain, holding the wall firm until the hammering turned into a tinny, little
ping, ping, ping
and was gone.
By the time she reached the ER, the ambulance was screaming up the drive. It was 8:30 p.m. Late June, so it was still light out, though she could see the shadows forming beneath the gnarled branches of the scrub pine that lined the asphalt. Red and white lights flashed in opposite rotation and the
-woo . . .
-woo . . .
-woo of the shrieking siren seemed to vibrate the very air.
With a squeal of brakes the ambulance jumped to a halt. EMTs leapt out and ran to the back of the vehicle. Doors flew open, and a victim was rushed in on a gurney, head surrounded by a white bandage that was dark red with blood.