This intense thriller establishes Dane (No One Lives Forever) as a diva of the flawed, baggage-laden but likable heroine. Putting romance on the back burner and the business of catching bad guys first, hard-boiled Chicago bounty hunter Jessica Beckett pursues a personal vendetta against child abuser Lucas Baker. When Baker turns up dead and is linked to a multinational human trafficking organization, Globe Harvest, the cops tag Jess as a possible suspect, but she's already off on another chase, looking for a teen who may have been a Globe Harvest victim. The search takes Jess from Chicago to Alaska, puts her in personal peril that evokes flashbacks to her nightmarish youth and surrounds her with a dazzlingly imaginative supporting cast of characters. Dane pulls out all the stops en route to the dramatic, rose-tinted finale. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Evil Without a Face (Sweet Justice Series #1)by Jordan Dane
Haunted and obsessed . . .
She sleeps with a Colt Python in her nightstand and her senses on alert—Jessica Beckett isn't taking any chances. Hiding a chilling secret, living in a world of snitches and felons, good cops and bad dreams, Jessica is a bounty hunter who brings lowlifes to justice. But not even she can imagine what she'll face when she tracks/p>… See more details below
Haunted and obsessed . . .
She sleeps with a Colt Python in her nightstand and her senses on alert—Jessica Beckett isn't taking any chances. Hiding a chilling secret, living in a world of snitches and felons, good cops and bad dreams, Jessica is a bounty hunter who brings lowlifes to justice. But not even she can imagine what she'll face when she tracks an online predator who has abducted a naïve teenage girl.
Making promises that can't be kept
Former NFL quarterback Payton Archer swore to his sister that he'd find her only child. But the police have no leads, and the teen's trail has turned cold. Plagued by personal demons, Payton's never considered himself a hero, but this time he has to be.
And fighting a faceless enemy
Joining forces to save the seventeen-year-old girl, Payton and Jessica discover that she's nothing but a pawn in an insidious, terrifying global conspiracy. They're battling a new kind of criminal . . . and soon their race for answers will become a dangerous struggle for survival.
Read an Excerpt
Evil Without a Face
Seventeen-year old Nikki Archer knelt on the floor inside her dark closet, rolling another T-shirt to stuff into a canvas duffel bag, her hands shaking. She'd drawn the thick drapes of her bedroom to block the enduring daylight common this time of year and chose to work by a meager light. The darkened space gave her the illusion of privacy and the solitude she desperately needed. Still, she strained to listen for the familiar creak outside her bedroom door, an early warning signal she had unwanted company.
The closet door stood open a narrow crack. She needed the light, but in case her mom came looking for her, the partially closed door would give her time to react and hide what she was doing. She worked until she couldn't take the shakes anymore. The dim light from a distant lamp on her nightstand seeped in to find her. Its pale glow cast a steady luminous ribbon across her arms.
The reality of her intentions had closed in, seizing Nikki with a rush of guilt, and she stopped and clutched the handle of the duffel to steady her trembling fingers. But it wasn't enough. Perspiration beaded on her forehead and upper lip. Feeling light-headed, she found a corner at the back of her closet and cowered deep into its shadows. In the cramped space, her heartbeat echoed and her breathing filled her ears, muffling everything except the nagging doubts that had surfaced again. Part of her wanted to stay put, burrowed into her clothes and mementos with the faint scent of her favorite perfume in the air. But she had made up her mind more than a week ago, and the final details would beworked out tonight.
This time she had a plan. She had somewhere to be. And she knew her mother would never understand.
Her computer sounded a ping. With the noise, her heart leapt. She knew who it would be. She shoved out of the corner and rose to her feet. After doing her best to hide the duffel, she slowly headed for her computer, closing the closet door behind her. Her eyes fixed on the monitor across the room. When she got close enough, she recognized the Instant Messenger name on the screen.
Her friend, Ivana Noskova from Chicago, was of Russian decent and loved the bittersweet tale of the Snow Maiden. In the story Ivana told her, the fifteen-year-old maiden in the popular Russian fable was the daughter of Spring Beauty and Grandfather Frost. As the maiden grew, she yearned for the companionship of humans in a nearby village, particularly a young shepherd boy, but her heart was incapable of affection. Her mother eventually took pity on her and gave her the ability to love. But as soon as she did, the maiden's heart warmed and she melted. Love and her yearning for something more had destroyed her.A sad story, but in her own house, Nikki knew this never would've happened. Her mom and pity were complete strangers. Yet she could identify with the maiden's wish for more than she had.
SnowMaiden: U there?
Until she moved the cursor, the chat box blinked its bluish light into the murky room and onto her sweater as she sat at her desk. Nikki knew the conversation they'd have next would set wheels in motion. She took a deep breath, but before she answered, her eyes found a framed photo next to her monitor, shoved to the back of her desktop. She reached for it and wiped a thin layer of dust from the glass with her fingers.
A remembrance of her thirteenth birthday, the day she officially became a teenager.
On a bright perfect day, she grinned and squinted in front of The Moose Nugget. The sun had made a rare appearance, making her feel even more special. Her mother had an arm around her shoulders, and Uncle Payton held up two fingers behind her head with his signature goofy smirk on his face. He always made her smile. Even now. Even with everything as it was.
Her family. All she had left, anyway.
But her grin faded when she touched the glass, running a finger down the face of her mother. They started fighting for real that year, and it hadn't let up since. Her mom instigated most of their yelling matches with her ridiculous and smothering rules. Nikki clenched her jaw, the rage still fresh from their last argument. A friend had given her a belly ring that she proudly displayed once too often. With small-town gossip, word had gotten back home and the great debate over body piercing began.
Nikki slammed the photo facedown. Her mom would believe this all had something to do with the ongoing friction between them. True, it started there, but now she had her own reasons for leaving. She grabbed the mouse and positioned the cursor to answer her friend, then pulled the keyboard closer.
Her Instant Messenger name didn't have much of a story behind it, nothing as interesting as her Chicago friend, SnowMaiden. Nikki had picked a name during the winter months when the sun was a rare commodity in Alaska. Now the IM handle stuck year-round, more in keeping with her mood.
She typed the code they used..."Back at keyboard. You have the information?" If everything went as planned, she'd probably feel like changing her IM handle real soon. But only if her cyber friend SnowMaiden played her part without a hitch.
The old man sat in his small apartment, hunched at a kitchen table, half listening to the loud argument of a couple down the hall and the grating rumble of a truck outside his window. He'd almost learned to block out such annoyance when he worked. Absentmindedly, he scratched through the gray stubble of his chin, trying to peel the last crusty layer of a scab near his lip. The pungent smell of sardines and onions, remnants of his dinner, mixed with the overshadowing odor of cigarettes. He took another drag of his smoke and jammed the butt into an overloaded ashtray, his fingernails yellowed with nicotine stains. Ashes spilled onto the table, but he didn't bother to brush them aside.Evil Without a Face. Copyright © by Jordan Dane. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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