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 e
Praise for the first novel in this electrifying new series
“Johansen expertly ratchets up the suspense as the action builds to a riveting conclusion.”
“Keeping a long-running series both intriguing and suspenseful is no easy task, but superstar Johansen makes it look that way as she kicks off another trilogy within her Eve Duncan series. Johansen wastes no time throwing Eve into the fight of her life... Johansen never misses!”—RT Book Reviews (4 ½ stars)
“A successful Johansen novel, filled with intriguing twists and characters and an overarching mystery that will keep fans coming back for Book 2.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A dynamically chilling start to a new trilogy in the ongoing Eve Duncan saga. The pulse-pounding plot … will keep readers glued to the pages with anticipation .”—Fresh Fiction
“This is an edge of your seat, nail biting, and page turner of a book.”—Night Owl Reviews
Praise for iris johansen
and her acclaimed trilogy…
“Johansen launches a trilogy that takes the reader on an action-packed journey filled with killers and heroes, leaving readers on tenterhooks.”—Booklist
“Gripping…Johansen deftly baits the hook for the next volume.”—Publishers Weekly
“The suspense and action will entertain all, even those new to the series.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Johansen’s stories keep getting better with each installment. You will find yourself drawn to Eve and caring about what happens to her.”—Night Owl Reviews (A Top Pick)
“A superb kick off ..an excellent presentation to this fantastic series that is a one sitting read.”—Reader to Reader Reviews
“Read Eve and be hooked.”—RT Book Reviews
“The pulse-pounding pace will leave readers breathlessly anticipating the final installment.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The second chapter in the gut-wrenching trilogy…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
“Suspenseful and entertaining…an integral read for fans of Johansen’s Eve Duncan series” —Library Journal
“Johansen’s latest has myriad twists and turns…ideal.” —Booklist
“A stunning finale that will move series fans and newcomers alike.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Johansen conducts a nail-biting excursion through madness and physical endurance in this stunning conclusion to a very popular trilogy.”—Booklist
“Top-notch suspense…a satisfying conclusion to the Eve and Quinn trilogy and a must-buy.”—US Daily Review