printed copy

Most Likely To Die

Lisa Jackson, Wendy Corsi Staub, Beverly Barton

ISBN 0821775766
Publish Date 1/30/2007
Format Paperback
Categories Zebra, Thriller/Suspense, Serial Killer, Lisa Jackson
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New York Times bestselling authors Lisa Jackson, Beverly Barton, and Wendy Corsi Staub join forces to create a thrilling novel about love, revenge, and the dark secrets three women hold to a terrifying murder…

A Killer Who Gets Away With Murder Once…

It’s been twenty years since the night Jake Marcott was brutally murdered at St. Elizabeth High School. It’s a night that shattered the lives of Lindsay Farrell, Kirsten Daniels, and Rachel Alsace. It’s a night they’ll never forget. A killer will make sure of that…

Finds It Easier To Kill Again…

A 20-year reunion has been scheduled for St. Elizabeth’s. For some alumni, very special invitations have been sent: their smiling senior pictures slashed by an angry red line…

And Again…And Again…


St. Valentine’s Day Dance 1986
St. Elizabeth’s High School
Portland, Oregon

What the hell does she want from me?

Jake Marcott hated to think what her plans might be. Standing in the near-freezing night air, he braced himself for whatever demands she was certain to make. Bitch!

He didn’t know whether he loved her or hated her.

Probably both.

He lit a cigarette with shaky fingers, a residual effect from the car accident that had left his best friend dead and nearly taken his own life.


God, he missed that crazy son of a bitch. Things would have turned out so differently if Ian hadn’t been thrown through the windshield. If his goddamned neck hadn’t been broken. Shit! The crash and spray of glass, the screech of tires, the groan of metal twisting and splitting still echoed through Jake’s brain. Ian’s face, freckled from too much sun, floated into Jake’s mind for just a second before Jake pushed it quickly away. Too many times he’d wondered what would have happened if the tables had been turned, if Ian were still alive and he had been the one to die.

It messed him up to think about it.

Everything seemed washed out and pale now... the joy bled from it.

He drew hard on his cigarette and thought about the tranquilizers in his pocket: the prescription that Doc Flanders just kept refilling, barely asking any questions, somehow knowing how deep Jake’s pain was, that the little white tablets were a nearly useless balm for the ache splitting his soul.

Get over it, Marcott, he told himself and was pissed that he was here in his damned tuxedo, missing the dance and waiting for her. When would he ever learn?

Clearing his throat, he looked around at this, the eeriest part of St. Elizabeth’s campus.

Why this lame, clandestine meeting?

Because she’s a psycho. You know it. You’ve always known it.

Jake took a drag from his cigarette and let smoke stream from his nostrils in the cold night air. He shoved a hand through his hair and glared up at the night-dark heavens. A few stars were visible, not that he cared. He was sick of dealing with the fallout from the accident, his woman problems, and the whole damned world. Eighteen fucking years old and he sometimes felt that his life was a waste.

So where was she?

He glanced around and wondered if she’d show.

Tired of waiting, he tossed what was left of his Marlboro into the darkness, watching the red ember arc, then sizzle and die on the frosty grass. He glanced up at the full moon hanging low in the sky and heard the thrum of a bass guitar throb through the hills. Edgy, his nerves strung tight as the piano wires inside his grandmother’s old upright, he paced back and forth in front of the oak tree just as he’d been told. Hidden deep in the maze of hedges, the leafless oak seemed to shiver in the wind, brittle branches reaching upward like skeletal arms scraping the sky.

From deep in the maze he was invisible to anyone. Even a crafty old nun peering out of her third-story window in the hundred-year-old brick building guarding the acres of this campus couldn’t see him here.

The place gave him a bad case of the creeps. Throughout the rounded corners and dead ends of the lush labyrinth, benches, fountains, and statues had been placed. Beneath the oak a sculpture of the Madonna stared down beneficently. Arms upraised, she stood silent, white as bleached bones, and surrounded by topiary cut into the shapes of dark creatures that, tonight, seemed sculpted by the devil.

Oh, for Christ’s sake, it’s just plants, Marcott. Nothin’ more.

Angrier by the minute, he glanced at the digital readout of his watch.

She was late. Nearly ten minutes late. So he’d give her another five and then he was gone...a ghost.

Besides, he had more important things to do than to waste time on her.


He whipped around, toward the sound of a twig breaking.

He saw no one.

“Hey, I’m here,” he said in his normal voice. response, just the faraway thrum of music and laughter and the soft whisper of the wind.

A stealthy footstep.

The hairs on his nape lifted.

Surely it was she.


“’Bout time you showed up,” he said to the inky darkness, his heart pounding a little.

“I was about to give up on you.”

Again, she didn’t say a word.

Christ, what was the problem with her?

Always playing these damn head games.

At that thought, he smiled...maybe that’s what she wanted. For him to chase her down. Find her in this maze of clipped shrubbery.

He heard the sound of a footstep again. Closer now. And something else... breathing.

Oh, she was close . . .

“I know you’re there,” he whispered.

He couldn’t help the smile that threatened his lips.

Still, she didn’t respond.

All the better.

“Have it your way,” he said. “I’ll find you.”

His eyes narrowed in the night and he noticed a dark shape move a bit ...away from the twisted shadows of the topiary only to fade away again.

So this is what she wanted.

A thrill of anticipation sang through his brain. His blood heated.

Jake Marcott could never back away from a challenge.

Where the hell is Jake?

He’d been gone for over ten minutes, and Kristen had the first worrisome sensation that she’d been ditched. At the high-school dance. By her new boyfriend. On the two-month anniversary of when they’d started dating. It was like the lyrics of some bad 1950s song.

Don’t panic, he said he’d be right back. Just find him, she told herself.

Jake was easy to spot. At six-four, he stood half a head taller than most of the boys and a foot above a lot of the girls, so why couldn’t she spot him? “Where are you, Jake?” she muttered to herself. Tall and lean, with wide shoulders, thick brown hair, and an almost shy smile that had caused many a girl’s heart to beat triple time, Jake Marcott was definitely a hunk.

Kristen scanned the packed gym, her gaze skating over the knots of students clustered in the corners and crannies of the old gym. A few couples were dancing beneath a canopy of twinkling lights strung from the ancient rafters. Music thrummed, drowning out most conversation, and a fog machine, supplied by the DJ, gave the old building a creepy, intimate ambience. It was late, nearly eleven, and most of the guys had ditched their ties and jackets, but the girls were still dressed in gowns of silk, satin, lace, and chiffon, some sophisticated and sleek, some outrageously frilly, but all far more interesting than the stupid uniforms they wore daily to this, the last all-girls Catholic school in Portland.

About Lisa Jackson:

Lisa Jackson is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than seventy-five novels, including Paranoid; Liar, Liar; One Last Breath; You Will Pay; After She’s Gone; Close to Home; Tell Me; Deserves to Die; You Don’t Want to Know; Running Scared; and Shiver. She has over thirty million copies of her books in print in nineteen languages. She lives with her family and three rambunctious dogs in the Pacific Northwest. Readers can visit her website at and find her on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Shelby Kohler Photography

About Wendy Corsi Staub:

New York Times bestseller Wendy Corsi Staub is the award-winning author of more than sixty published novels. Under her own name, Wendy achieved New York Times bestselling status with the single title psychological suspense novels she writes for Zebra Books. Those novels and the women’s fiction she writes under the pseudonym Wendy Markham have also frequently appeared on the USA Today, Barnes and Noble, and Bookscan bestseller lists.

Currently under contract with five major publishers, Wendy will release a total of 10 novels in an eighteen-month period that extends into autumn of 2007. Notable among those are New York Times bestseller The Final Victim (Zebra, April 2006); her subsequent thriller, Don’t Scream (Zebra, May 2007); Most Likely To Die (February 2007), a suspense novel she co-wrote with fellow New York Times authors Lisa Jackson and Beverly Barton; and Lily Dale #1 (Fall 2007), the launch book in her new young adult paranormal suspense series. Also included are her Christmas time travel romance, If Only In My Dreams (NAL/Signet December 2006); the latest titles in her bestselling chick lit series, Slightly Engaged (Red Dress Ink, February 2006) and Slightly Married (Red Dress Ink June 2007); a romantic comedy, Love, Suburban Style (Warner Forever, July 2007); and two reissued suspense novels, The Last To Know (March 2006) and All The Way Home (April, 2007).

Having won two RITAs®, romance publishing’s “Oscar,” and the Washington Irving Prize for Fiction, Wendy was honored as one of Westchester County, New York’s Millennial Authors in 2000. Her novel, Slightly Single, was selected as one of Waldenbooks’ 100 Best Fiction titles of 2002. Her thriller, The Last To Know, was nominated for the RT BOOKclub Reviewers Choice Award, and three of her novels, Mike, Mike And Me, Hello, It’s Me, and Bride Needs Groom, were awarded a month’s top pick review by RT BOOKclub. Her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages worldwide, and a number of her titles have been selected as features for Mystery Guild, Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, Large Print Book Club and Rhapsody Book Club.

Wendy grew up in a large, close-knit family in rural southwestern New York State and decided while in third grade she wanted to become an author. An English major at the State University of New York, she worked in two independent bookstores during college, then moved alone to New York City at age 21 to pursue her dream. After stints as a book editor for a Manhattan publishing house and an account coordinator for a majo radvertising agency, she sold her first novel, the supernatural young adult thriller, Summer Lightning. Early in her writing career, she published in various genres, including suspense, horror, historical and contemporary romance, television and movie tie-in and biography. She also co-authored a mystery series with former New York City mayor Ed Koch and ghost-wrote for a number of bestselling authors and celebrities. Wendy now lives in the New York City suburbs with her husband of 15 years and their two young sons.

About Beverly Barton:

Beverly Barton was an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including Silent Killer, Cold Hearted, The Murder Game and Close Enough to Kill.

Average Customer Review

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Customer Review

Most likely to die (Friday, September 18, 2009)

This was one of the best Lisa Jackson books I have read in a while. I am glad I found this book because I have now got two new authors to read. This book was a three author book. Jackson,Barton and Staub. I read it in one sitting. Could not put it down.

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