CHAPTER1 Rio Grande Forest
ColoradoIT WAS DOANE’S MOUNTAIN.
He was the hunter, she was the prey.
Was he still behind her?
Eve tore through the underbrush at the side of the trail, lost her balance, fell, then struggled to her feet again.
She mustn’t give in to this weakness. She seemed to have been running through this wilderness forever. No, it couldn’t have been as long as it appeared to her. It had been late afternoon when she had broken free of Doane and the house where he had been keeping her, and darkness was only now falling.
But why was Jim Doane still behind her, dammit? He was no young man, and she should have been able to lose him long before this. As a painful stitch stabbed her side, she paused and drew a deep breath, listening.
A crashing in the brush behind her!
She started running again.
“I hear you, bitch.” Doane’s breathing was harsh, labored. “Come back to me. If you do, I may not kill you … yet. But you’re making me angry and I may lose control. I don’t want to do that. It would spoil everything for Kevin.”
Kevin, Doane’s son, whose reconstructed skull Eve had hurled off this mountain, less than an hour ago, to distract Doane. Doane’s obsession with his dead son was deepening with every passing moment. Did Doane actually think she’d trust him? Kevin had been a serial killer, a monster without a hint of conscience, and his father, Doane, had been his enabler, the one who had made it possible for him to kill all those helpless children who had crossed Kevin’s path. While Eve had been Doane’s prisoner after he had kidnapped her, she had begun to wonder whether it was father or son who had been the true monster.
Perhaps it was both. There had been moments when she’d had the eerie feeling while working on his forensic sculpture that Kevin was trying to break through the bonds of hell and death and merge with his father.
It was hard to tell the difference in this nightmare into which she had been drawn.
“You shouldn’t have thrown his skull off into that ravine. Did you think I’d go after it and let you escape?”
It was exactly what she had hoped. That damn skull was everything to Doane, and she’d gambled that he’d go down the side of the mountain to try to retrieve it.
She’d been wrong.
She felt the twinge in her side become actual pain. How long could she keep running?
Stop whining. She’d run as long as she had to run. She was far younger than Doane. She was strong, and she was frightened. Panic was a great spur.
And did she have Bonnie helping her?
For a little while she had thought that her daughter’s spirit had been there beside her, putting speed and wings to every step. It had been a comforting thought …
But now there only seemed to be Doane and her in this deadly race. No loving presence that might warm and save her.
It’s okay, Bonnie. I know you tried. There’s nothing he can do to me that will matter in the end.
The stitch in her side was easing.
Praise for Eve:
“Gripping . . . Johansen deftly baits the hook for the next volume.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)
“The suspense and action will entertain all, even those new to the series.” —Library Journal (starred)
Praise for Quinn:
“Will leave readers breathlessly anticipating the final installment.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Johansen’s intense storytelling style drags readers into a whirlpool of danger and treachery that can have horrifying results. It’s awesome!” —RT Book Reviews
Praise for Bonnie:
"A stunning finale." —Publishers Weekly (starred)
"A stunning conclusion to a very popular trilogy." —Booklist