If You Know Herby Shiloh Walker, Cris Dukehart (Narrated by)
Nia Hollister doesn't scare easily. She's returned to Ash, Kentucky, with a vengeance-and with a mission: find the killer who brutally ended her cousin's life. What she didn't count on was trembling with desire every time she sees Law Reilly. If any man can help her escape the nightmares for a while, it's him. But can she allow herself to take comfort in those
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Nia Hollister doesn't scare easily. She's returned to Ash, Kentucky, with a vengeance-and with a mission: find the killer who brutally ended her cousin's life. What she didn't count on was trembling with desire every time she sees Law Reilly. If any man can help her escape the nightmares for a while, it's him. But can she allow herself to take comfort in those strong arms when her cousin's killer still roams free? She may think she's a bad ass, but she should not have come back to his town. He is watching her-as she slips into Law Reilly's house, as she storms into the sheriff's office. These men won't be able to protect her when her time comes. Timing is everything, though he can't wait forever. She's nosing around the woods, looking for his hiding place. Yes, he's watching her . . . through the window . . . in her bed . . . If she's not scared, she should be . . . because he is very good at what he does.
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If You Know HerA Novel of Romantic Suspense
By Shiloh Walker
Ballantine BooksCopyright © 2012 Shiloh Walker
All right reserved.
Jolene had been dead for six months.
Six long months.
Nia Hollister lay on her bed, staring up at the ceiling as she tried to will herself to sleep, but sleep wasn’t coming. It wasn’t getting any easier. Nothing was easier. Sleeping. Living. Moving on with her life.
But how was she supposed to get on with her life, when her cousin, her best friend, her only family was gone? Murdered . . . dead and buried, brutalized by some monster for reasons that Nia couldn’t even fathom.
Even after six long months, she still felt like she had a hole in her chest the size of the entire state of Virginia.
The fact that the man who’d killed Joely was dead made no difference, not to her. It changed nothing. It helped nothing, eased none of her pain. Not even watching as they’d lowered his worthless corpse into the ground had helped.
That should have helped, right?
He was dead—the man who had killed her cousin was dead. That should give her closure, right?
Did people really think having closure helped?
It sure as hell wasn’t helping her. Knowing who did it . . . how did that help?
Exhausted, sick at heart, and still as miserable now as she had been the day she’d found out the truth, Nia sat up in her bed and rummaged around on her bedside table until she found a mangled pack of cigarettes.
She’d stopped smoking three years ago. She’d started again five and a half months ago. She kept telling herself she’d stop, and she knew she needed to, but she just couldn’t work up the energy to care.
Right now, she couldn’t quite give a fuck if she was polluting her lungs—what did it matter? Right now, she was having a hard time finding anything that mattered.
Sighing, she lit a cigarette and climbed out of bed, moved to stare out the window. It was dark and quiet. She was far enough outside the city that the lights from town were muted and she could see the stars.
There had been a time when she had loved nights like this.
Now she hated them, hated the quiet, hated the peace. It seemed like that was when she heard it the loudest. Heard her. It was just her imagination, but it seemed so real.
Joely’s screaming . . . God, how she must have screamed. Had she begged? Had she pleaded?
Heedless of the smoking cigarette in her hands, she pressed the heels of her hands against her eyes, as though that might keep her from hearing the screams, might keep her from thinking about her cousin.
Her best friend.
The woman who’d been murdered by some sick-ass bastard who was now rotting away under six feet of dirt. She should take comfort in that, Nia reckoned.
But she couldn’t. Didn’t. It just felt too . . . unfinished.
Blowing out a breath, she lowered her hands and eyed the cigarette. “Going to catch my damn hair on fire,” she muttered. Putting it between her lips, she inhaled. As the smoke filled her lungs, she tipped her head back and stared up at the darkened ceiling.
Yeah, it felt damned unfinished.
But Joe Carson had been found with Joely’s watch on him, and her clothing and other evidence had been found at the cabin where he’d been squatting.
What were they supposed to do?
In some sick, convoluted way, it even made sense, once somebody had explained things to her.
Hope Carson had left her abusive ex-husband and spent two years on the move, because she feared he might come after her. Finally, she’d decided she was going to settle in with her friend Law Reilly. The ex must have been watching her pretty damn close. Timing-wise . . . no. Nia didn’t quite buy the timing bit, because her cousin had been grabbed before Hope had arrived in Ash, Kentucky, but the cops had shrugged it off.
There wasn’t any secret that she was friends with Reilly. Reilly had confirmed she had been making plans to come stay with him. They’d speculated that Carson had just made a lucky guess, or suggested maybe he’d had some inside knowledge—their suggestions hadn’t meant shit to her.
So, Hope arrives in Ash and her ex-husband waits until she sort of settles in, and then he kills Nia’s cousin. Leaves her body right where Hope can all but trip over it. Trying to scare Hope into running . . . just trying to scare her? Warn her? This will be you if you don’t toe the line?
“It’s all so fucked up,” she whispered. “Damn it, Joely, what am I supposed to do? Why can’t I let go?”
But there wasn’t any answer.
Leaning her brow against the chilled glass, Nia smoked her cigarette and suffered the miserable silence alone.
Her name had been Mara Burns.
She’d been his first—a man didn’t forget his first. His first fuck. His first love. His first wife.
His first kill.
He’d had different firsts . . . Mara had been his first kill, and she’d been . . . sweet.
It hadn’t been planned.
At all. It had been back in college and she had been a hot, sweet little bitch, but the first few times he’d tried to ask her out, she hadn’t given him the time of day.
That changed his senior year—and she’d been the one to ask him out. As a ploy to make a boyfriend jealous, mostly, and he had known. They’d gone out, fucked in his car. Then she whispered for him to hit her. To choke her.
He hadn’t. But he’d imagined it.
When he took her home, she’d mocked him, but he’d been so caught up in those images, he had barely noticed. That night, he’d dreamed about it. Choking her. Hitting her.
Thoughts of it consumed him.
Weeks passed, turned into months, they rarely spoke, but he saw her, and each time, it made those fantasies burn hotter. Brighter.
One night she’d been walking home from her job. He’d seen her . . . because he’d been watching. Watching. Dreaming. He had offered her a ride. Because it was starting to rain, or maybe because she wanted to taunt him some more, she’d accepted. But then he hadn’t taken her home and she had put her bitch-face on. He’d backhanded her.
Instead of getting pissed, or scared . . . she’d been turned on.
They went back to the quiet, secluded little area outside of Lexington where they’d fucked that first night, and they went at each other like animals. They started out in the back of the car, moved to the trunk, and eventually ended up on the ground.
He’d hit her, and she would come. He’d squeeze her neck until she almost blacked out, and she’d come harder. For hours.
But then, toward the end of the night, as he was driving into her, chasing another climax, his fingers digging into her silken neck, he’d squeezed, and squeezed, and squeezed . . . he’d let go, watched as she sucked in a ragged breath of air right as he climaxed so hard it had almost hurt, and he’d thought about how he hadn’t wanted to let go.
Then, when she was smiling at him, he’d closed his hands around her neck.
For reasons he couldn’t understand then, he’d started choking her again. And that time, he hadn’t stopped. Not when her heels beat on the ground, not when she had torn at his hands with her nails, real fear beginning to flicker in her eyes. Not even when her bowels and bladder had released.
His mind had remained cool, detached throughout all of it, even as his heart had raced at the thrill.
His first kill.
Yes . . . Mara had been one of the most beautiful firsts of his life. A man didn’t forget his first. He’d worried for years somebody would discover her, discover what happened to Mara, and somehow link her back to him.
But in the end, she wasn’t the one who was coming to haunt him.
Hers wasn’t the face he dreamed of at night now.
And she wasn’t the reason he had been forced to put a stop to his games for a while.
Because he couldn’t indulge in those games, he was all but burning, all but dying to feel that thrill again, the pleasure he found only when he took a life. She wasn’t the reason he felt like a ticking time bomb, one that burned hotter, brighter, every damn day.
No, that honor belonged to one Jolene Hollister and one Lena Riddle. Jolene had almost gotten away from him, had screamed bloody murder . . . and Lena had heard her screaming, had called the cops, had stirred up too much attention.
Six months. It had been six months.
He knew how to wait.
Sometimes he felt like a lump of coal under extreme pressure, like he’d emerge a diamond—after a bit of polishing and cutting down.
Other times, he just felt like he was going to explode and right now was one of those times. Six fucking months.
It was worse being in here in this crush of people.
A wedding was a big deal in a small town like Ash, though, and Lena and Ezra hadn’t spared any expense. The Inn was full to bursting. The reception had been going strong for more than an hour and he had no doubt it would keep going for another hour at least.
He couldn’t even make a quiet escape, though. It would be too easily noticed.
So he waited, chatted, and danced.
He danced with the bride, he danced with the bridesmaids, he danced with the flower girl, he danced with the married women whose husbands wouldn’t dance, and he danced with the tittering, blushing girls who were still learning how to flirt.
He danced with so many women . . . so many.
Tall, short, lean, lush.
Short hair that barely brushed their jawline, long hair that fell to their hips. Hair upswept to leave their shoulders bare. Jewelry sparkled and glowed against toned and tanned flesh.
Over by the bar, he spotted Roslyn Jennings talking with the bride, her curves poured into a dark green dress that clung so lovingly. Gold glinted at her neck, ears, and wrists.
On the dance floor, he saw Hope Carson, dancing with her beau Remy Jennings, wearing a dress just like Roslyn’s, the same deep, deep green. But where Roslyn looked like a witch, Hope looked like some fey woodland nymph. Sweet and innocent and lovely. She wore little jewelry, but there were flowers in her short, shiny hair.
Then there was the bride, her deep red locks glowing against the white of her dress, pearls at her neck, gold on her fingers.
All the women . . .
Hunger pulsed inside him, driving him mad, making him greedy and desperate.
Desperate—but not too desperate.
Not so desperate he’d get foolish again. Not here. Not now.
At present, he had a girl—just barely out of college—wrapped around him, and it pissed him off. Perhaps it turned him on a little as she pressed her breasts against his arm, smiling up at him and trying to act like she was so much older than she really was. But she was just a child. Besides, he also had a lady nearby who would notice before much longer and although she would understand, he didn’t want her upset.
Especially not by an obnoxious little bitch like this.
As she swayed a little too close, he dipped his head and murmured, “Estella . . .”
“Star. I’m going by Star now. Estella is so old,” she said, giving her lower lip what she probably thought was a seductive stroke of tongue.
“Estella Price,” he repeated. “I don’t know why you keep rubbing against me like that. I’ve known you since you were in diapers. I’m pretty sure I probably even changed one or two.”
He hadn’t. But it had the desired effect. She turned almost as red as the lipstick she’d slicked on her mouth and jerked away from him. Suppressing a chuckle, he lost himself in the crowd and headed toward the cash bar. He needed a drink, and he wanted to see if he couldn’t work his way out of here yet.
If he didn’t escape soon—
This wasn’t where he wanted to be . . . wasn’t where he needed to be. Except the whole damn town was here.
Excerpted from If You Know Her by Shiloh Walker Copyright © 2012 by Shiloh Walker. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Meet the Author
An award-winning storyteller and a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Cris Dukehart has narrated books in a plethora of genres, from romance, science fiction, and young adult to children's literature and autobiography. Her voice, with an endearing mix of sweetness and pluck, can be heard around the world and across the Web in commercials, e-learning projects, and corporate narrations.
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4.5 stars. Very satisfying conclusion to this trilogy; guessing (though you can't unring a bell, and I can't UNread the two previous books) it would work fine as a standalone. Nia Hollister, heroine of this book and close-as-sisters cousin to the serial killer murder victim in the first book, is bi-racial. Kudos to the author for making a person of color the co-lead; however, besides an occasional description of skin tone, that's not really used. There are no cultural indications (music, reading, etc.) or interior thoughts Nia is any different from the people in this small Kentucky town, population about 8600. She's super-tall, thin, rides a motorcycle and she's bi-racial - but EVERYONE in the town is most concerned with her being an outsider? IMO, the author missed a golden opportunity for someone to make a racial slur, and the villain to call him/her on it, for example. If the town is well-integrated and everybody gets along (it could happen, I'd like to think), this has not been well-established in this or in the other books. Law Reilly, who was introduced in earlier books, is truly a hero and deserves the hot woman of his fantasies; he's also too much of a gentleman to take advantage of her when they are both drunk. Kudos to the author on that, AND on the consistent use of condoms. I loved the way few characters in this were naive or dumb; from Ezra King, now the Sheriff, to the bad guy (who yes, I did have pegged from the first novel onward) to Nia and Law, the characters are all smart, sexy people. Some loose ends remain loose: why did the bad guy who tried to kill Hope in book #2 develop a fondness for her here; whatever happened to the arsonist Jennings kid sent to the mental institution on book #2? Plenty of red herrings and hot smexy love scenes throughout the series and in this book, and in the end, the bad guy bites it, the good guys win, and the heroes and heroines get their Happily Ever After.
Each of the series Walker writes are amazing.
Fantastic book, a real page turner
If You Know Her by Shiloh Walker concludes her thrilling and suspenseful trilogy. Nia Hollister came to Ash, KY to find out what happened to her beloved cousin Joely. Joely was like a sister to Nia and her sudden and gruesome death has her reeling. Nia decides to stay and further look into Joely’s death. Even though a killer has been named and killed, something is just not adding up. Law Reilly has made his home in Ash, KY. His solitary writer’s life is perfect for the quiet and peaceful town. It was that way until people started to die. His first meeting with Nia was at gunpoint and made him aware of her strength and conviction. Law comes to know the real woman and wants to protect her. Law and Nia join forces to find out who the real killer is but this new found team may set the killer after them. As the danger escalates Law and Nia find something that neither was looking for, can they survive the killer and find an everlasting love? This series is exceptional, it keep you enthralled and on your toes. Law and Nia are well written characters and their attraction is tantalizing. Shiloh Walker’s romantic suspense books are ones to watch for and enjoy.
We pick up 6 months after Jolene Hollister's death with her cousin Nia still not over her cousins death and doesn’t feel closure even with what happened at the end of the 2nd book. Then we go into the killers head and find out about his first kill and how it came about. Interesting for me the author made it look like if his first love hadn’t goaded him to get rough with her while having sex he may not have found out he had a taste for killing in that manner. The killer at Ezra and Lena's wedding reception well known to others but we still don’t know "who" he is. Some clues are given but still not quite enough. Nia decides after looking over cases where women were raped and killed and finding a tiny thread that is similar to Jolene's case that she needs to go back to Ash. Once there she meets with the new sheriff who is Ezra King. It’s in talking to him she finds another eerie similarity that we the readers knew from the first book that Jolene and Lena are dead ringers for each other. Law had been a lost soul since the attack and his old love Lena getting married and Hope now with Remy. When he sees Nia coming out of the Sheriff's ofc he doesn’t understand why he suddenly feels alive when he see's Nia but is beginning to think he is tired of fighting whatever he is feeling for her. Nia too feels that spark but feels it would be a betrayal to her cousin if she gives in and has a night of pleasure with Law. But that doesn’t last long... Nia has also come under the radar of the killer who is wondering what she is going back in Ash. He has no beef with her if she's leaves but if she stays and keeps digging..... From here Nia and Law get alot closer. In one of their conversation about Nia investigating on her own by going out into the woods where Lena heard the screams Law realizes he has an old map of underground tunnels. Ezra, Nia and Law go in to see if they can find them. What they find gives Law nightmares. From here things start to progress. The killer knows his hideout has been found and starts putting into motion a plan he had all along should this happen. It’s during this that we finally get to find out who the killer is. For the climactic scene all the couples from all three books are involved. The women actually bond together and have to save themselves. Reading this series has been an incredible journey. We got to meet 3 couples who all had their stories continued through out all 3 books. We scratched out heads thought out the first two books wondering who the killer was. I was very excited and rubbing my hand together when the killer was finally made known but I was also sad as I read the last words knowing that the series was at an end.
I couldn't put it down...
I really enjoy most of the books that Shiloh Walker writes. This whole series was not my favorite. All the books dragged at times and the romance didn't do it for me. If You Know Her is the last in the trilogy and it did wrap up all the pieces just fine. I found Nia, the leading lady, to be very unlikeable and it bothered me that she did some really dumb things. I would not tell anyone to go run out and buy this book but it is not terrible either. If you've never read Shiloh Walker's books before start with some of her others, most are excellent.
This 3rd book wasn't as good as the first one in the trilogy but thankfully it wasn't as emotionally draining like the emotional therapy manual 2nd book. Law was strong and knew what he wanted and he wanted Nina. Nina was hardheaded and sometimes not very likeable but in the end redeemed herself. The sex scenes were good and the author was able to build a well written book. The only problem is Nina's attitude once in a while. At one point the phrase lept to mind 'to stupid to live' and I was hoping the serial killer got her. Of course the serial killer wouldn't kill her but I kept thinking she needed to learn some self preservation or some common sense. Overall, I would recommend. 1st book in the trilogy is the best though but in this 3rd, it all comes together. (Didn't care for the nurse in the end though. Could have left that part out)
I think this is my favorite of the Trilogy, it brings everyone and everything together and the suspence ramps up until suddenly you have it and you're right there solving the mystery with them. Law is my favorite hero and I couldn't put it down until I found out what happened!
I have just started reading this author and this series was not my favorite. I think the plot of the whole triolgy is a little weak and compared with other books by this author that I've already read, this one was just not my favorite.