Afraid To Scream
Others may dread the chill of winter, but he relishes it. The way the frigid water preserves his victims, the feel of their icy skin beneath his fingers... And soon the world will see their beauty—and his vengeance.
Afraid To Run
The town of Grizzly Falls is on edge in the wake of a serial killer, and Detective Selena Alvarez is no exception. That case was solved, but a new nightmare is about to unfold. There are two victims so far—their bodies found frozen solid and deliberately displayed. Both are women she knew. And each wears a piece of Selena’s jewelry…
Afraid To Die
Selena’s partner, Detective Regan Pescoli, and the entire department are on the case, as is P.I. Dylan O’Keefe—a man Selena got too close to once before. But this killer already knows too much about Selena’s secret terror, her flaws, and the past she’s tried to outrun. And soon he’ll show her that she has every reason to be afraid…
San Bernardino County
Six Years Earlier
What the hell is she doing here?
From his beat-up, unmarked car, Dylan O’Keefe squinted into
the night, his eyes narrowing on a figure darting through the shadows
of the empty lot across the street. Watery blue light from a single
streetlamp at the corner of the street illuminated the weed-choked
space where a couple of abandoned vehicles had been left to rust,
and the air was thick, smells of exhaust and wood smoke heavy in the
air, though no traffic was visible, no fires burning.
But there had been in this small town in the foothills of the mountains,
and recently, as evidenced by the cluster of four-wheel-drive
units parked near the De Maestro hideout.
Though it was December, the terrain was dusty, a hardscrabble
landscape for what was essentially a ghost town, abandoned for the
most part after the gold in the surrounding hills had been depleted a
hundred years before. Only a handful of residents called this area
home, but it was obvious someone resided in the dirty bungalow
with its sagging tile roof and stained stucco walls. The porch had rotted
and been repaired, and the stuff in the yard, the kids’ toys and Christmas
decor, was, no doubt, part of the facade, an attempt to make the
house fit into the neighborhood, to look “lived in” by a family.
All a lie.
And about to come crashing down.
Except that now, in the middle of the stakeout—an effort to en
sure that Alberto De Maestro was, indeed, within the dingy walls—a
dark figure was slinking through the shadows, a figure he’d recognize
anywhere as Detective Selena Alvarez. Everything they’d worked
for, the operation that had been in play for sixteen months, was suddenly
about to go sideways.
Damn it! “You see her?” he whispered to his partner.
“Mmmhmmm.” Rico, forever noncommittal, was nodding slowly,
his fleshy face sweating in the lamplight, his eyes focused in the direction
of the empty lot.
“She can’t be here!”
“Leave it be.” But even Rico was at attention as Selena crossed the
sagging fence between the two lots, now on De Maestro’s property
with its ramshackle bungalow, shades drawn, the yard littered with
toys and Christmas decorations, most of which had lights that had
burned out. Even the string wound around the base of the single
palm tree outside was missing bulbs.
All part of a front anyway.
O’Keefe reached up, turned off the interior light and opened the
“Wait! What’re you doing?” Rico demanded.
O’Keefe didn’t wait for recriminations or arguments. He’d already
landed on the cracked cement, his service weapon drawn. He had to
get to her, to call her back.
This was all wrong.
If De Maestro got wind that she was outside . . . Silently he
crossed the street, was aware of a breeze rolling over the asphalt,
kicking up dry leaves and a rustling plastic bag that skated past a few
parked cars. A dog, penned in the yard, hidden in the night, started
Oh, God, no!
Still Alvarez moved forward.
Don’t! he silently screamed, fear curdling inside him. What was
she thinking? Why was she here? The dog began to howl. Get back!
This is nuts—
Blam! A side door flew open.
“Shut up!” a man yelled from the doorway, his lean body in silhouette,
a handgun visible. Alberto De Maestro. Target of the sting.
Linchpin of the De Maestro drug cartel. Jesus, God! He was right
No! No! No!
O’Keefe’s heart pounded in his ears.
Another man appeared in the doorway, obviously trying to talk
some sense into De Maestro, to pull him inside, but the bigger man
was having none of it, and as the dog quieted and somewhere in the
distance a siren wailed, he turned, looking straight at Alvarez.
A smile as evil as all of hell curved his lips, showing off white teeth
as he raised his gun. “Perra,” he said, aiming, his voice slurred.
Running now, his weapon raised, O’Keefe yelled, “Drop it! Police!
Policia! Alberto De Maestro, drop your weapon!”
“Fuck off!” Spinning agilely, De Maestro turned his gun on O’Keefe.
His malicious grin widened. The devil himself. “Feliz Navidad, bastardo!”
With that, he pulled the trigger.