Profile for Seduction

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Overview

The clock is ticking…

Every minute means another woman may die. The Cowtown Killer is free from prison and stalking the very woman who helped put him away—FBI Special Agent Lea Cordasic. She's determined to see this grisly murderer who held her captive locked away forever. She just doesn't know if she can do it on her own.

Texas cop Marc Kenyon had been there before…he'd seen Lea brutalized and left for dead. He'd fallen for the feisty beauty ...

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Profile for Seduction

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Overview

The clock is ticking…

Every minute means another woman may die. The Cowtown Killer is free from prison and stalking the very woman who helped put him away—FBI Special Agent Lea Cordasic. She's determined to see this grisly murderer who held her captive locked away forever. She just doesn't know if she can do it on her own.

Texas cop Marc Kenyon had been there before…he'd seen Lea brutalized and left for dead. He'd fallen for the feisty beauty instantly, and loves her still. Now that the madman is back for her, he'll do anything to thaw her heart…and keep her safe.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373276998
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Series: Silhouette Romantic Suspense Series , #1629
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 217
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author



Karen started weaving fanciful tales for her younger brothers at the age of 11. Amidst the Catskill Mountains of New York, then the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, she fueled her imagination with the natural beauty of the rugged peaks and spun stories of love that captivated her family's attention.

Karen now lives in North Texas, where she shares her life with her very own hero of a husband and three doting dogs. Also an entrepreneur, she divides her time between the business she started and writing the contemporary romantic suspense and paranormal romances that readers enjoy, and that she now brings to Silhouette Intimate Moments books.
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Read an Excerpt

"Just because he broke out of prison, doesn't mean I have to go into hiding," Lea Cordasic argued, the expression in her hazel eyes fluctuating between frustration, anger and pain.

"He broke out of maximum security by using a broom handle to slip under a five-thousand-volt electric fence, just like the St. Clair Springs, Alabama, case in 2001." Stan Clements, SAC and resident jerk, wagged his finger at her. "He told his cell mate he was coming after you. No way in hell am I letting you anywhere near this psycho."

"You're being ridiculous. You need my help to catch this guy."

Watching her, Marc Kenyon was struck by three things. One, how beautiful and passionate she was. Two, he felt horribly responsible for much of her pain. And three, judging from the impassive expressions of the other men in the room, she was fighting a losing battle.

"I'm sorry." Stan flashed her a fake smile. "But we can't allow you to—"

"Can't allow?" Lea's voice rose. "Do you have any idea what's at stake here? Once Feiney starts killing again—"

"You're too personally involved. You haven't even been certified to return to work, for Chrissake," Stan exploded. "Why are you even at the office? I don't understand what you're doing here."

Lea's beautiful eyes narrowed. "I came as soon as I heard about this. It's all over the news—Cowtown Killer escapes, on the loose. If you're trying to contain information, you're not doing a good job."

"That still doesn't explain why you're here. No one called you in."

"Oh for the love of…" She turned to Marc, the man closest to her, the only other person in the room besides her who didn't belong. The one sheriff in a roomful of FBI agents.

Knowing his feelings for her colored his judgment, he saw what she wanted in her gaze. Though she had no idea how he felt about her, she hoped he'd help her now. The connection they'd forged in one life-altering event still held for both of them. And on top of that, he owed her. No one knew that better than he did. Feiney would never have captured her if Marc Kenyon had been on his game.

"Kenyon, will you please tell this stupid SOB why I have more reason than anyone to want Feiney back in prison?"

"D on't even bot her." Stan shot Marc a furious look before pinning his gaze back on Lea. "This is FBI business. He's here for the Feiney case, nothing else. I've read the file. I know what Feiney did to you. You're messed up, Cordasic. That's why you're on a medical leave of absence."

"I'm ready to return," she argued. "I know better than anyone how Feiney thinks, how he operates."

Stan continued as if Lea hadn't even spoken. "Medical leave, Lea. Even if you were able to return to work today, there's no way in hell I'd let you anywhere near this creep. Go home. Get some rest. We'll handle this case ourselves. Us and the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office." He inclined his head at Marc, the only one in the room who should have been in uniform, but wasn't. "Feiney will be back in his cell in Huntsville before you know it."

"But—"

"Go home, Lea." Stan pointed at the door. "Now. I've got a team to brief and a meeting to run."

Tossing back her long auburn hair, Lea lifted her chin and smiled. In that instant, Marc knew the gorgeous special agent didn't care what Stan said. She wanted Feiney, and if they wouldn't let her join the official hunt, she'd do it on her own. At this point, anything the Bureau or the sheriff's office said or did would only get in her way.

A moment later, she confirmed this. "You should be aware that I'm going after him." Her long-lashed gaze swept the room, including Marc in her scornful stare. "With or without your official sanction."

"Don't even go there." Stan sounded tired.

"I'm not asking your permission." Standing, she moved toward the exit.

"You know as well as anyone here we can't let it become personal. When you do, you make mistakes."

"Then I guess I'm going to make the biggest mistake yet."

As the door swung closed behind her, no one spoke. Lea Cordasic, decorated FBI agent, had just gone renegade. She meant to try and capture a monster on her own, without the FBI's sanction.

Worse, Marc Kenyon knew he would do whatever it took to help her, even if he had to go up against the Bureau himself. He owed her—and himself—that much.

Striding from the building to the parking garage, Lea vibrated with fury. Not only had the Bureau humiliated her to begin with by taking her off active duty, but now this. Denying her the only case that mattered to her. Personal, true. They were one hundred percent right about that.

But they all knew no one was better suited for this team. She, more than any of them, had the most at stake.

She hated who she'd become. She'd give anything to change back to her old self.

Before Feiney had captured her, she'd considered herself an invulnerable badass. Feiney had taught her fear, and she despised the bitter taste it left in her mouth. She'd do anything, absolutely anything, to get rid of it.

Catching Feiney herself would definitely go a long way to repairing the damage.

But the Bureau didn't want her help. Instead, adding insult to injury, they'd brought Marc Kenyon in on the team. Technically, his office was in charge of the investigation. But Marc? A lot of good he had done them before. It'd been on his watch that she'd gone undercover to catch a monster, and the monster had caught her instead.

She bit back a surge of rage as Feiney's deceptively genial face popped into her mind. Six months of therapy and she could finally think about him without shaking with rage, but the nightmares continued. Though her therapist had high hopes, Lea privately thought the dreams would cease only when Feiney was dead. She forced herself to picture him often, like someone who couldn't help testing a wound to see if it was getting better. So far, it hadn't healed.

And now, the SOB was back on the loose.

Instead of getting in her car, Lea reversed direction and hit the sidewalk. She needed to clear her head, so she began walking, working up to a slow jog. She didn't have on running shoes—too bad. On the plus side, she wasn't wearing heels, just a pair of simple leather flats. She pushed everything out of her mind except the rhythm of her stride, the easy cadence of her feet slapping the pavement.

Focusing again, Lea realized she'd gone several blocks from the office. Cloaked in sweat, she slowed. She moved her foot and winced. Blisters. Great. After her release this had happened often, losing herself in her running. Now, not so much. Until today. Now that Feiney was free again, before she could go on the hunt, she had to take precautions, to make sure everyone she cared about was protected.

First on the agenda—make sure her mother was secure. She had to get her mom out of town. That presented another set of problems. If Lillian Cordasic got even the slightest hint that Lea was trying to protect her, she'd dig in her heels and resist.

With gray hair cropped short in a practical cut and her shoulders slightly rounded from the weight of her years, she was the matriarch of the Cordasics. Not only had she lost her husband, who'd followed the family tradition of working in law-enforcement intelligence, but she had single-handedly raised three children who'd all grown up to do the same. She was the rock of the family, the nucleus around whom they all revolved.

Tied to the wall in Feiney's dungeon, Lea had cried for her mother. Lea's weakest moment and one she'd never forget.

Worse, Feiney had heard her and played on this, threatening to go get her mother and make Lea watch him torture her. Lea could all but hear him in her head. Her worst fear right now was that he'd try to grab her mother and use her to reel in Lea, the only one of his victims who'd escaped. She had to make sure her mother stayed safe. The problem was, she couldn't go to her mother directly with her fears.

Lillian Cordasic didn't scare easily. And, since she was the only person on the face of the earth—other than Dr. Spender, Lea's psychologist—who even had an inkling of what Gerald Feiney had done to her daughter while he'd held her prisoner, she hated the man with a blazing passion that nearly rivaled Lea's. The more that Lea thought about it, learning the Cowtown Killer had escaped would more likely send Lillian to the shooting range for target practice than make her flee. Her mother was tough that way.

Therefore, the first call Lea made would be to her brother Dominic. She'd need him to come up with some reason for their mother to visit him and his wife Rachel in Vegas. It'd have to be something good, something that required Mom desperately. Otherwise, once Lillian learned Feiney had escaped, she'd never leave town.

"Sure," Dom agreed instantly, not questioning the brief scenario she outlined. "Even better, why don't you come out here with her?"

Lea suppressed a twinge of guilt. Her brother didn't know she'd been placed on a leave of absence. "I can't. I'm working the case."

A long silence fell, then Dom cleared his throat. "Are you sure that's wise?"

He knew her so well. Blinking back unwanted tears— damn Feiney—she had to struggle to keep her voice level and her tone even. "Dom, I caught him last time. Who better than me?"

"True," he soothed. "But he also put you through hell, and it's only been six months. Not long enough."

"Yes it is," she insisted.

"What does your shrink say?"

"I haven't discussed it with her," she said stiffly. "I'm not in the habit of checking my every decision with her."

"This time you should. This guy is a major nutcase." Another pause, then Dom snapped his fingers. "Hey, why don't I come down and help you out. Mom can visit here with Rachel and Cole. It's a win-win."

"She won't go if she thinks I'm in danger," Lea responded immediately. "You know how protective she is. Plus, I don't need your help, thank you. You don't work for the Bureau anymore, remember?"

"Yeah, I do remember. Right now, I'd say it's a good thing I don't. Your SAC is an idiot if he wants to put you through this again." He exhaled sharply. "Wasn't he even concerned about compromising evidence?"

Lea shook her head. That was the problem with telling lies. They started off simple and just got more and more convoluted. "I told him he had no reason to be."

Dom cursed. "You damn Feebs have no sense sometimes. Have you told Seb?" Their other brother, Sebastian was probably going to blow a gasket, too.

"I'm calling him next. And no doubt he'll subject me to the same crap."

Dom laughed. "It's only because we love you, baby sis. You know that."

"I do. So you'll call Mom and invite her up? I'll even pay for the plane ticket."

"No need." He laughed again. "Rachel will be glad to see her, too. I'll phone her right now."

Relieved, Lea hung up then punched in Seb's number. This time, she got voice mail. With a disgruntled sigh, she left a message. Her brother had recently married the love of his life, the popular country music superstar Jillie Everhart, and though back from his official honeymoon, he was so over the moon that the entire family teased him about enjoying an extended honeymoon.

With plans underway to make sure her mother would be protected, Lea could breathe a little easier. Glancing at her watch, she tried to decide how long she should wait to call her mom herself. She wanted to give Dominic time to do his stuff, and if she called too quickly, her astute mother would realize something was up—if she hadn't already. Since Feiney's escape was all over the news, it was only a matter of time. Dom would call her back once everything was settled.

Her cell phone chirped and she answered without even glancing at the face, figuring it was either Seb returning her call or Dom letting her know everything was set.

"Lea, my Lea. Oh, how I've missed you." The gravelly voice was instantly recognizable. A voice from her worst nightmares.

Shocked, she nearly dropped the phone. Steady. Steady. Deep breath.

Feiney himself. She should have been expecting this. After all, they were tied together more intimately than most lovers—a fact she not only despised, but wanted to remedy.

"How did you get this number?" She channeled her instinctive jolt of terror into fury, letting the clean, sharp knife of rage clear her head.

"I have people." He sounded smug. "People that take care of me, find me what I need. They know how important you are to me. We are meant to be together."

"I can't wait to see you." Choking out the words, she let her hatred propel them. "When I do, you'll be back behind bars."

Though she should have been, she wasn't surprised when he laughed.

"I have no intention of going back to prison," he said.

"What the hell do you want?"

"You," he answered instantly. "You know that, Lea. Even while inside Huntsville, I've been following you over the past year, having reports delivered to me when I was locked up. I know everything about you, Lea Cordasic. Everything. After all, you belong to me."

Repulsed, for one heartbeat…two, she couldn't even speak. No. No. She would never allow him to silence her again. Never.

"I've been keeping an eye on you, too," she said. This, at least, was true.

Feiney gave a satisfied sigh. "Ah, you still underestimate me."

"Believe me, I never underestimate you." Nor would she ever again. Once was enough.

"Lea, I've missed you. Do you remember how good it was when we were together?"

Good? When she'd been his prisoner, chained in a dark, windowless room in a basement? Son of a…

"I do remember, Feiney. Very well. In fact, I can't wait to get back there—only this time, you'll be the one in chains. And I'll take care of you. Good care. You can count on that, Feiney."

She'd stunned him into silence. Hell, she'd even shocked herself. This part of her—dark and twisted—hadn't been there before he'd captured her. Maybe if she turned the tables, she could finally exorcise it.

The sooner the better.

Spinning on her heel, Lea sprinted back toward the building. She needed to notify someone right now and get them to trace the call.

Evidently hearing the sound of her feet slapping the pavement, Feiney laughed. "Running? Why? You can't trace me. I'm at a public pay phone and, by the time you send people to get me, I'll be long gone."

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