Now You See Him (Bayou Series)

Now You See Him (Bayou Series)

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by Stella Cameron

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Two years ago Ellie Byron was the only witness to the brutal murder of a young woman. Charles Penn, a hard-eyed man with a history of violence, was convicted of the crime. Now he's escaped -- and another woman is dead.

Ellie fears she may be next and turns to the only person she trusts; attorney Joe Gable. Joe would give his life to protect Ellie, but neither

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Two years ago Ellie Byron was the only witness to the brutal murder of a young woman. Charles Penn, a hard-eyed man with a history of violence, was convicted of the crime. Now he's escaped -- and another woman is dead.

Ellie fears she may be next and turns to the only person she trusts; attorney Joe Gable. Joe would give his life to protect Ellie, but neither of them knows just how deadly an enemy they face -- or how close he is.

Then the police discover that both crimes mirror events in a bestselling mystery series. And when the third book in the series is released, Joe and Ellie realize that time has run out. Because in this book the killer eliminates the only threat to his freedom. The last death is the death of the witness.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Cameron returns to Toussaint, La., setting of the popular Kiss Them Goodbye, for another soft-boiled, sexy thriller in which a local author's murder mysteries come to bloody life. Convicted murderer Charles Penn has escaped prison and is on the loose. When he killed Stephanie Gray with an ice pick at Mardi Gras two years before, the only eyewitness to the killing was timid Ellie Byron, a bookstore owner and former homeless runaway with a troubled past. Though she was unable to positively identify Penn in a lineup, Ellie frets that she'll become his next target now that he's out. Then a woman is found stabbed to death with an ice pick at a New Orleans jewelry store, and friends rally around terrified Ellie, particularly lawyer Joe Gable, who is secretly in love with her. Meanwhile, the police decide that both killings are re-enactments of scenes from local author Sonja Elliot's bestselling crime novels. Penn is apprehended, but as Elliot's next novel, Death of a Witness, is rushed into stores, Ellie is assaulted, and both she and Joe race to find the real killer in a tidy, spirited conclusion. While an avalanche of love-talk and hot sex stifles much of the narrative tension, those looking for spicy, melodramatic escapist fare will enjoy a heaping helping on every page. Agent, Roland & Axelrod Agency. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Bayou Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.19(w) x 6.63(h) x 1.09(d)

Read an Excerpt

Now You See Him

By Stella Cameron

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7783-2099-5

Chapter One

There is a beat in this city, like the throbbing of arteries when the heart contracts.

New Orleans has its own pulse. I hear it now, getting faster. Steam vents through grills in the street. If they pumped blood from those grates the air would turn red, but the pressure would ease.

It's early, early enough the breeze through jasmine doesn't take the edge off last night's scent of booze, sweat and urine.

This waterproof bike suit makes me sweat and the helmet doesn't help anything.


My timing must be as perfect as it was the first time. I've already seen her several times. The one. Rich, spoiled, dissatisfied and looking for more treasures to buy, to stuff in the bottomless cavity she thinks is her desire. Boredom is the name of that cavity, and fear. The boredom of a woman who has everything but purpose. She would never confess to fear but it's there, fear of being alone with herself. I loathe such women. One of them has ruined my life by using my talent and ignoring my existence.


Antiques, Diamond and Gold Jewelry by Xavier Tilton.

Whooee, that is some name to fill up an awning over a shop door. Shops like this one cram Royal Street, but I picked out Xavier Tilton's place for the diamonds - and thelong-legged woman who comes at the same time on the same morning each week. Tilton carries more diamonds than any other place I've checked. They shimmer and flash inside glass-fronted display cases lining the walls. No fingerprints on that glass; Xavier carries a half-mitt in his pocket and moves behind customers discreetly wiping away any evidence of their presence.

He's doing it now, sliding behind her, talking and wiping.

It's time. They're alone in there and the street is almost empty. Nothing but a few stinking, sleeping no-names covered with piles of rags. Once I'm in the shop I'll close the door to keep the sound down.

Wait, there's a delivery truck. If it stops here I'll have to change plans.

Come on, come on. Jeez, a friggin' turtle. Move. Good, it's parking over there, the driver's leaving the engine running. Any distraction is good.

Call Xavier to the courtyard behind the shop, to the deliveries gate. Now! Move your feet. Walk into the alley beside the shop and press the button beside the pretty iron gate.

"Xavier Tilton here."

"Mornin', Mr. Tilton. Gift delivery from Blossoms."

"Bring it into the shop."

Shit. "It's a fern of some sort. A tree. 'Bout seven foot."

"I'll meet you at the delivery gate. Give me a couple of minutes to get through the courtyard."

Do that, Xavier. Take your time getting to your gate. I'm the one who has to get inside the shop and keep moving until this is finished.

It's raining again. Quick, inside, close the door quietly. Smells of ammonia and stinkin' candles.

Bless you, Xavier, for the classy music. Nothing like a little opera early in the morning.

The seconds are ticking away now. How long before Tilton comes back?

The woman has heard me coming into the shop. "Mornin', ma'am." Don't I sound friendly?

"Good mornin' to you," she says. "He'll be right back." Pretty face. Smooth blond hair. Much younger than I thought. Too bad. She wants something in the case, can't look away from it for more than a second.

Her purse is small - no straps. Fate is smiling.

Take out the pick and palm it against my thigh. Cram the dark visor down.

Stay cool. Two steps ... and strike. Ouch, it goes in easy enough until she falls and her weight hangs on the pick. Damn blood everywhere, running down the visor and blurring everything. Wipe it on your sleeve. She's doing it right. With a little guidance from me she falls forward and through the glass and she doesn't say a word, doesn't scream. That's because she's already dead - or close to it.

How many more seconds? If he catches me it's over.

I can see her in the mirrored back of the case, sliding down, breaking shelves, tipping all the pretty things. She's not pretty anymore.

Pull the pick out. NOW. Grab the purse and stuff inside the suit. Move my feet, back away, put the pick in its thigh pocket, open the door, close it behind me and walk away. Walk fast but not too fast - to the corner, turn, and there's the bike.

I'm away and heading for that coulee and the ruined shack. It wasn't the woman's fault, not really, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time - for her.

This suit doesn't keep the wind out, or am I cold? How can I be cold? Warm rain hits my neck and should turn this oilskin stuff into a sauna. I'm going where I went before, out past the zoo.

Soon the scenery gets lonely, the undergrowth is burned, and rotting trees lean this way and that. The deeper I go, the more deserted it feels.

The coulee isn't deep enough but it'll have to do.

The rented bike goes into the barn. My own wheels never looked so good. Off with the suit and wrap the helmet and purse inside, and the gloves, the black tennis shoes, underwear, too. Now I stuff the lot into a double garbage sack but I can't load it until I wash.

The soap is still where I hid it. Colder, the water should be colder and chafe my skin red and clean. My feet cling to slimy gravel and tree roots. Why do I shiver when I'm not cold anymore? Soap coats me and I rub it in hard, dig my fingernails into the soft surface of the bar.

Not enough. I want to bleed, I want to hurt. A pebble, large and porous like pumice - yes, it will clean me. It tears into my upper arms, into the skin on my belly and buttocks, the backs of my thighs and my elbows. Long red stripes that pop bubbles of blood, then begin to seep in ragged rivulets quickly mixed to a bloody wash by the water. I want to lay the flesh on my face raw but everyone would see it.

Sometimes a sacrifice must be made - as an example. I didn't want to do it the first time or this time, but I had to, Sonja made sure of that. Sonja owes me.

God help me, one more to go.

The Times Online

New Orleans

Tuesday, October 23

Yesterday morning an as yet unidentified woman died when she fell into a jewelry display case at a Royal Street antique shop.

Owner Xavier Tilton, alone with the woman at the time, received a call to go to the outside service entrance and left the woman in the shop. By the time he returned she appeared close to death and did, in fact, expire before the police and aid units reached the scene.

Although Mr. Tilton is sure the victim carried a purse, no purse was located at the Royal Street shop. Mr. Tilton reported that the deceased had been interested in an antique diamond ring in the case. After the incident, no merchandise appeared to be missing. The ring the victim was considering remained on her finger.

No official comment has yet been made, but information from a credible source revealed that the crime has been classified as murder.

A tentative link has been made to the bizarre murder of Stephanie Gray during Mardi Gras two years ago. At that time a close friend of Miss Gray said the victim had traveled to New Orleans to try out for a place in a band. The friend did not hear from Miss Gray after she boarded a bus in Bismarck, ND.

At the autopsy it was discovered the woman had most likely died before being trampled during the parade. A weapon later described as probably an ice pick had been stabbed beneath the base of her skull, then removed. No purse or other personal possessions were ever found. Our sources tell us yesterday's Royal Street victim also sustained a mortal wound to the brain, most likely inflicted with an ice pick, and used in part to drive her through a heavy glass door in the display cabinet.

Last Friday, Charles Penn, convicted murderer of Stephanie Gray, escaped while being transported between maximum security facilities. He remains at large.


Excerpted from Now You See Him by Stella Cameron Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd. . Excerpted by permission.
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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