Nowhere Safe

Nowhere Safe

3.9 23
by Nancy Bush

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"Nancy Bush always delivers edge-of-your seat suspense!"—Lisa Jackson, New York Times bestselling author

The Guilty

She senses their twisted desires before she meets them. It's as if fate is helping her stop these monsters from preying on others the way she was preyed upon. And after she has delivered brutal justice, she'll let the whole


"Nancy Bush always delivers edge-of-your seat suspense!"—Lisa Jackson, New York Times bestselling author

The Guilty

She senses their twisted desires before she meets them. It's as if fate is helping her stop these monsters from preying on others the way she was preyed upon. And after she has delivered brutal justice, she'll let the whole world see their guilt.

Will Atone

"I must pay for what I've done." The first victim—naked, bound, frozen to death—wore the note strung around his neck. Now there's another note—this one attached to Detective September Rafferty's own stepbrother. Stefan survives, but September is sure he knows more than he's saying. Someone is eliminating suspected sexual predators. And the only thing more dangerous than a madman is a killer who's ruthlessly sane.

Racing to predict the next target, September finds herself drawn into a harrowing and deeply personal case. For this time, there are no innocents—only the one who kills, and those condemned to die. . ..

Praise for Nancy Bush's Nowhere to Hide

"Pulse-pounding. . .Readers will tear through the pages." —Publishers Weekly

"Edge-of-your-seat suspense keeps the pages turning. This is one definite thrill ride." —RT Book Reviews

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4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.10(d)

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Nowhere Safe



Copyright © 2013 Nancy Bush
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4201-3276-2


Someone other than Guy was manning the desk as September passed through the front doors of the Laurelton Police Department. Someone new who gazed at September a bit anxiously, as if knowing there was a tiny war going on between Guy Urlacher, the usual gatekeeper, and all of the department detectives as Guy was such a goddamn stickler for protocol that everyone wanted to throttle him. September's partner, Gretchen Sandler, who was currently on administrative leave for shooting the man who'd been in the process of stabbing September ten days earlier, was fierce enough that whenever she gave Guy the evil eye, he would back down and let her pass without showing her ID. Not so September, who was fairly new to the department and, well, a nicer person than Gretchen. Guy demanded her ID even if she'd just gone out for lunch. He truly was a pain in the ass.

"Where's Guy?" September asked the new woman, whose name tag read GAYLE.

"Sick with the flu, I guess," she answered. "It's my first day," she added unnecessarily.

Without being asked, September pulled out her ID and Gayle looked relieved that someone was going to be cooperative. But then September said, "Memorize my face," as she turned toward the hallway that led to the inner workings of the Laurelton PD. "Urlacher tries to make us show our ID every time we go by the front desk and it ticks everyone off."

"Detective Pelligree said it's department policy."

September paused before pushing through the door. "Wes is screwing with you. Trust me. Urlacher bugs him more than anyone."


Gayle looked like she didn't believe her and September let it go. She'd given the woman good advice. It was her decision whether to take it or not.

September went directly to the break room, found her locker, set down her messenger bag, which she carried like a briefcase these days because of her injury, and eased out of her jacket. The wound at her shoulder was healing fine but it still hurt like fire sometimes. She'd been told to take more time off, but after the past week of being a semi-invalid at her boyfriend's house, she'd thought she might go out of her mind. Jake knew better than to be too solicitous; she might just bite his head off. Still, she'd been relieved every time he left for work and she had the place to herself—which didn't bode well for their long-term living situation. Was she just too used to being by herself? Or, was it being under someone's care that she couldn't stomach?

She hoped it was the latter.

"Tell me you're coming back to work," Detective George Thompkins expelled in relief as he saw her enter the squad room, his chair protesting as he swiveled his bulk around.

"I'm coming back to work."

"My prayers have been answered," he said, watching a bit worriedly at the careful way she moved into her desk chair.

September sent him a reassuring smile. "You look like you haven't slept in days," she said, to which he gave a loud snort.

"I haven't."

No need to ask why. The detective squad was down in numbers, and though Wes "Weasel" Pelligree, who'd been seriously injured on a job the previous summer, had just returned to work on a part-time basis, September had been out for the last ten days, and her partner, Gretchen Sandler, was going to be off for a while. Auggie, September's brother and another detective with the Laurelton PD, was currently on semipermanent loan to the Portland police. All of which left George doing pretty much all the detective work. Since he preferred sitting on his butt in front of his computer to any sort of fieldwork, September could just imagine how the days had been for him.

"Where's Wes?" she asked.

"Around. He got a call about some guy tied to a pole."

September had been looking at the jumble of papers on her desk, notes left by Candy in admin along with messages and papers that George had dumped there as well. There was even a memo from Lieutenant D'Annibal, asking her to check with him as soon as she got in, which looked like it might have been left yesterday. But her head snapped up at George's last comment. "Tied to a pole?"

"Yeah, I know. You were working on that other case."

"The postman who was stripped down and tied to a flagpole. Died of exposure."

George nodded. "Same thing with this guy but he was left at an elementary school."

She sucked in a breath. "What school?"

"Check with Weasel. He left about an hour ago to go talk to the vic."

September had already snatched up her desk phone and was punching in the numbers for Wes's cell. The line rang about four times before he answered, "Pelligree."

"Wes, it's September. You got a guy tied to a pole? At an elementary school?"

"Twin Oaks, but he's at Laurelton General being checked out now. Hey, September. How ya doing?"

"I'm back at work." Twin Oaks, she thought with a frown. She'd recently been at the elementary school herself, on a different case.

"How's the neck?"

"More shoulder than neck," she said. "Coming along. How's about you?"

"Coming along. Trying to put a full week in, this week. Y'know."

"Yeah, I do." It was annoying and a little scary how tired she felt. All part of the body's way of working itself back to health.

"You were working on that case earlier this year?" Wes said. "The guy tied to the flagpole outside the post office?"

"I inherited it from Chubb," she said, referencing the officer who had caught the case before September's time at Laurelton PD. Detective Carson Chubb had since moved on to northern California. "That vic's name was Christopher Ballonni. He worked for the postal service and was tied to the flagpole in front of his station. Happened last February. He died of exposure."

"Ahhh ... yeah."

"He had a wife and kid. Teenaged boy named ... I'll have to look it up. Chubb's report said they both sang Ballonni's praises in the initial interview. Until now, there's been nothing."

"Sounds like the same doer's at it again," Wes said. "Only this time the guy survived."

"So you're at the ER?"

"Yep. Better get down here. The vic's trying to leave."

She'd always liked Wes Pelligree, who had a lean, lanky build and a quick mind. He was unofficially known as the "black cowboy" around the department because of his slow-talking ways and penchant for cowboy boots. Until September had reunited with her high school crush, Jake Westerly, she'd harbored a secret interest in Wes, even though he lived with his longtime girlfriend, Kayleen. She'd since gotten over that, but she was glad to be unofficially partnering with him since Sandler wasn't available.

"Be right there. He was found at Twin Oaks?" September asked.

"Tied to a basketball pole. Lucky to be discovered before all the kids got to school."

"You said it. What time was he found?"

"Six-thirty, seven, maybe."

"Okay. I'm on my way," she said, slamming down the receiver as she slid from her chair.

"I'll hold down the fort," George told her.

"You do that," she said dryly as she headed toward her locker for her messenger bag and jacket.

Jake Westerly was emptying one of the drawers of his desk when the call came through. It was early and he'd been the first to make the coffee, the office's latest intern, Andrea, having not shown up for work yet. Not that either he or Carl Weisz were sticklers for anyone getting to work on time. Though they worked on the same floor and used the same general office space, they were separate, and rival, companies who shared an employee, the hallway that was their break room, and an abiding dislike for the conglomerate that swallowed up all the other rooms on the eleventh floor of their building: Capital Group Inc., or CGI.

Picking up his coffee cup, he took a swallow, his eyes on the scattering of pencils, pens, paper clips, notepads, extra staples, and other detritus that filled his top drawer. He was facing a job crisis of his own making as he'd decided to quit the investment business and find something else to do with his life. What the hell that was remained to be seen, and his clients were making the change difficult while Carl was standing back, rubbing his hands, ready to pounce on them.

Jake was gratified that his clients trusted him and wanted him to stay in charge of their financial futures, but he'd become somewhat disenchanted with working with money in recent years. Yet ... yet ... on the other hand, he wasn't particularly gifted at doing anything else that he could see. Apart from his new relationship with September "Nine" Rafferty—or maybe he should say "renewed relationship" as they'd recently reconnected—he wasn't jazzed about much of anything.

So, he was cleaning out his desk. Slowly. Deciding whether this truly was what he wanted career-wise. His brother, Colin, ran the winery that they'd both inherited from their father, Westerly Vale Vineyards, but Jake didn't think he was really cut out for working there, either. The rustic somnolence of the winery was wonderful for a weekend away, but the idea of working there full time was enough to make him half crazy.

Maybe he did want to stay. He sure as hell didn't want Carl poaching his clients, or even worse, CGI.

His thoughts touched on his brother, Colin, who'd recently been released from the hospital. The psycho who'd targeted and attacked Nine had caught both his brother and his wife, Neela, in the crossfire, the two of them sustaining injuries, as well. Colin had been knifed in the chest and suffered a collapsed lung and nicked artery. Neela's injuries hadn't been as severe, and she'd been seen in the ER and released. Jake had tried to help at Westerly Vale while Colin was down, but Neela assured him everything was under control there even while she drove back and forth between the hospital and the vineyard. Colin had been home about a week now and under Neela's loving care, he was getting stronger daily, definitely on the road to a full recovery.

But it had been an awakening of sorts, or so Colin had said when he'd called Jake this morning, catching him just as he was pulling into his parking spot in the building's underground structure.

"Still going to the office, huh," Colin had said, when Jake switched off the engine.

"I told Neela I would help her," Jake had responded immediately. "She said—"

"Whoa," Colin cut him off. "That was just an observation. You're the one who said you were going to quit. Neela and I are fine. You know that."


"I just wanted you to know, we're on the baby train," Colin said, a smile in his voice.

"You're having a baby?" Jake responded, surprised.

"We're working on it. Life's short, y'know?"

"Yeah ... but you just got out of the hospital."

"Last week. Some parts were injured, others are working just fine," he added dryly.

"Glad to hear it. Wow. That's great."

"You sound a little unsure."

"No. No, I mean it. It's great. I'm just thinking about you ... a father."

"Well, it hasn't happened yet, but then, we've just begun."

"How is that, trying for a pregnancy?" Jake asked. "Seriously. I've always wondered."

"Pretty damn good," Colin drawled, again with a smile in his voice, and both of them had started laughing.

Jake had also felt a twinge of envy. His brother and Neela had fallen in love years earlier and they were eagerly heading down a life path together that was almost scripted: First comes love, then comes marriage, then along comes a baby carriage.

"Well, let me know when something happens," Jake said as they were about to hang up.

"You'll be the first," his brother had assured him.

Jake had shoved the drawer closed and leaned back in his swivel chair. He'd had an awakening of sorts, too. He wanted things to move faster with Nine. He didn't want to wait, and yet they'd barely reconnected. She wanted to go slower and it made him chafe with frustration, even though he'd been doing that same "commitment avoidance" dance for years with his ex-girlfriend, Loni. They'd been that couple that couldn't live with each other, couldn't live without, until Jake had finally ended it nearly a year earlier, once and for all. He'd been happily single since, until he and Nine ran into each other again this past September.

Meeting September in September.

Only he'd always known her as Nine, the month of her birth. She and her twin brother, August, were born on the opposite sides of midnight on August 31, and they'd each been named for the month in which they were born. But August was Auggie to those who knew him, and September was Nine. Nine Rafferty. She'd agreed to move in with him, but she was dragging her feet, and though he understood, or tried to understand, or at least made noise that he understood, he wanted their relationship to get going already. Carpe diem. Seize the day. He might not be ready for the baby train quite yet, but he sure wanted her.

That's when his cell phone rang, shattering his thoughts. It was lying atop his desk and when he glanced down at the screen, caller ID read: LONI CHEEVER.

"Jesus," he muttered, automatically straightening in his chair.

Was she a mind reader? His thoughts out there, available for her to see? She was calling him now, though they scarcely spoke any longer?

His hand hovered over the phone. Loni, his high school, college, and most-of-the-years-of-his-life girlfriend. The one he'd broken up with after years of relationship dysfunction. The one he'd gotten back with—foolishly—after that spring night his high school senior year when he and September had drunk wine coolers and made love in her family's vineyard. The one whose bipolar disease had worsened over the years.

He did not want to talk to her.

Chicken, he berated himself.

The cell phone sang away on his desktop. If he didn't answer she would call back. Or, her mother would. Loni had accepted their final breakup far more than Marilyn Cheever ever had. It was Marilyn who generally called Jake—and those calls came most often whenever Loni was hospitalized again.

At least it wasn't Marilyn this time. Unless she was using Loni's phone, which had happened before when she needed to reach him to let him know Loni was in the hospital from an overdose of pills.

"Hello?" he answered carefully, picking up the phone just before it switched over to voice mail.

"Hello, Jake," Loni said, sounding world-weary. "I just wanted to call and hear your voice. You're always so up."

Not a good sign. He knew better than to get sucked in to another drama, but he also understood how fragile she was at times. Until he was sure which Loni he was talking to, he had to be careful.

"Hey, Loni. How are you?"

"Well, I'm not in a hospital," she said on a short laugh.

"That's always good," he answered lightly. It hadn't been that many weeks since she had been in a hospital. He'd gone to see her when Marilyn had called him.

"I know ... Umm ... you're involved with Nine Rafferty. That's not why I'm calling. I just ..." She sighed. "It's hard to lose a boyfriend and a friend at the same time. That's all."

Jake thought that over. They'd never really been friends, and since their last and final breakup they'd pretty much left each other alone, not counting that last bout with the downside of her condition and the pills that had sent her to Providence Hospital.

Before he could formulate a response, she asked, "How is Nine? I heard she was stabbed? Is that right? Is she okay?"

He tried not to let it bother him that Loni called September by her nickname. They'd all been in high school together. Everyone called September Nine. He did, so why couldn't Loni? "She's doing all right. I've been taking care of her."

"She's got a helluva scary job."

"Sometimes, yeah."

"But she's going to be okay?"

"Oh, yeah."

"She staying with you?" she asked casually. "You said you're taking care of her."

He kept his plan to have Nine move in permanently to himself and asked instead, "How are you? The last time I saw you, you weren't doing so well."

"I've been taking my medication, and it's evened me out, but you know the deal. Makes me feel dull. But it's given me a lot of time to think about how I've acted and I'm just sorry. For years and years of everything. I'm sorry, Jake."

"It's okay," he dismissed it.

Excerpted from Nowhere Safe by NANCY BUSH. Copyright © 2013 Nancy Bush. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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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Nowhere Safe 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nancy Bush has done it again. She keeps you at the edge of your chair and at times the suspense is so great, you just can't put the book down. She knows how to spin her characters where you feel like you know them.
RipeForReader More than 1 year ago
Detective September Rafferty already has her hands full the first day back at work after having been stabbed in the shoulder. Her ex-stepbrother was found tied to a flagpole, just about naked, with a sign around his neck, but still very much alive. He was luckier than the victim they found a few months earlier, also naked and bound, but he had frozen to death. The crimes are eerily similar even though September's ex-stepbrother insists he was simply robbed, but no one is buying that story. He is obviously hiding something.  When a virus strikes down most of her colleagues, September finds herself running the department almost single-handedly and the bad news keeps coming in. Now she has a young woman missing on top of her ongoing investigation. And while all this is going on, she is supposed to be moving in with Jack, her high school boyfriend she just recently rekindled a romance with.  Jack had finally untangled himself from a long term relationship with a bipolar girlfriend, with whom the last years had been an ongoing struggle. She still had trouble letting him go completely, and despite the fact he was no longer interested in a relationship, he still felt some responsibility. But with September moving in, he was ready to move forward with his life. When September finally moves in with Jack, the pressure suddenly blows the top off everything. Jack's ex disappears and leaves a note for him, September's disappearance has become more than one person and the information being uncovered by the investigation into the assault on her ex-stepbrother and the dead victim before him, brings up unexpected results. To top it all off, September becomes sick herself and is faced with some brutal realities. **** This was a lot of information to be contained in one story!! There was so much going on in this book, I had a hard time initially figuring out who was doing what to whom and who belonged where..... But once I did start seeing the connections, I got a feeling where this story might be leading. Even so, it almost felt like being dropped off in the woods without a path or a compass to lead you. The writing itself was good, the pace of the story nice and even and not dragging at all. The story also has very interesting concepts, the heightened awareness in the form of 'smell' when it comes to selecting a guilty victim. The sense of justification in the acts of violence on the part of the extra-sensory perpetrator, which holds some validity (although it is vigilante justice).  The contrast between two killers, one malignant and one vengeful, who then have their own confrontation, is an interesting exploration of 'grey area', as opposed to the regular black vs. white, evil vs. good contrast we see in these types of stories.  The romantic aspect of the book was almost a if it were an ongoing story we are dropped in the middle of. In fact, I am not even sure as to who the leading lady in the book actually is. I assumed September, but it could well have been Lucky, for all her 'airtime' and character exploration. To say the least, I found the book a tad confusing, not necessarily in content, but in there going to be more??? Will September play a role? Will Lucky?  A well-written, certainly suspenseful novel, with plenty of twists and turns to spin your head!!! **ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Zebra Books in return for an honest review.**
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a must read!!!
Jmac95 More than 1 year ago
This was a riveting series! This was the third book in an excellent series - the first one was Nowhere to Run, then Nowhere to Hide then this one. The ending really surprised me! Did not see it coming! I really hope she picks these characters back up and continues the series!
Anonymous 25 days ago
I believe in the law but I believe justice. Lucky/Ani was justice for the children of abuse. It's a very hard balance.
GladAllOver More than 1 year ago
Like most of Nancy Bush’s books, “Nowhere Safe” was a wonderful and easy read. I especially liked that the story was also told from the “killer’s” point of view. Nancy Bush is very good at knowing exactly where to cut-off the action (i.e., end a chapter) that then continues one or two chapters later. From start to finish the reader is anxious to see what happens next. While I truly enjoyed and recommend this book highly, there was one very small minor point – For a moment there the book went from mystery to fantasy. I had to suspend my belief. This fact in no way diminishes how much I enjoyed the book. (Because I don’t want to give the plot away, I won’t say why or where I had to suspend my belief.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this series by Nancy Bush. Ties up loose ends from previous books .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good story even though I did not care for the subject matter. The writing is very good. There are a few surprises at the end and I am looking forward to a continuing book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
snoops927 More than 1 year ago
I was left feeling like to much was left hanging..I was surprised when I realized i was finished with the book..I was expecting more closure to some story lines.
CKWA More than 1 year ago
Hi hadn't read any of her books before. This series was really good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Different than other two books in the series lots of twists
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This wasn't one of her best.. but it was ok.
My_Peace More than 1 year ago
In Nowhere Safe by Nancy Bush,  September "Nine" is back on the job after an injury sustained in the line of duty.  With her partner still on leave, and the department short staffed, September is immediately back in the thick of things. When her former stepbrother is attacked and left bound to a flagpole with a sign around his neck, the crime is uncannily similar to another case September worked on.  But on that case, the victim died.  September and her colleagues at first can find no link between the two victims until slowly the pieces start to fall into place.  They think they've unravelled the why...but by who?  And how are the victims being chosen? At the same time the next victim is being stalked women are going it all somehow connected?  In a race against time, September and her colleagues must investigate all possibilities, even when things are becoming more and more personal.  Can they catch a killer before the killer strikes again? While September is hard at work desperately trying to solve the crimes, she is also moving forward with her relationship with Jake.  She is nervous about it ... Jake comes with a past she's not always too sure he's over.  When Jake's past collides with their future though, they both might find out what's real and what's important. Nancy Bush gives us another great read with Nowhere Safe.  I would highly recommend reading the other books in this series so that you have a better understanding of the characters and the past and present events.  Some of September's background is easier to understand if you read the other books. I thought Nowhere Safe was a fantastic, fast moving, captivating suspense.   Nancy manages to write an intricately woven plot, and I loved the subplots that added character and depth to Nowhere Safe.  September is a strong, independent woman.  She is confident in her job, but less so in her personal life.   Jake seems like a good guy, he obviously loves September and wants nothing more than to be with her.  He's having a little trouble letting go of guilt around his previous relationship though, and I think he's going to have to get over this!  I loved how he and September were so honest with each other. The romance of Jake and September did take a bit of a backseat to the mystery September has to unravel so if you're expecting pure romance and all that comes with it you might be disappointed.  I did love Nowhere Safe, I found myself quickly immersed in the story wondering what would happen next!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waits for someone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reclined in a specialized black desk chair.