Snake Skin: A Lucy Guardino FBI Thriller

Snake Skin: A Lucy Guardino FBI Thriller

4.6 137
by C. J. Lyons

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For readers of Karin Slaughter, Lisa Gardner, and James Patterson:

A Lucy Guardino FBI Thriller #1

Just your average Pittsburgh soccer mom, baking brownies and carrying a loaded forty-caliber Glock...

Lucille Teresa Guardino. A woman of many identities. Lucille to her doting mother, Lulu to her devoted husband, Mom to her pre-teen daughter, Lucy to her


For readers of Karin Slaughter, Lisa Gardner, and James Patterson:

A Lucy Guardino FBI Thriller #1

Just your average Pittsburgh soccer mom, baking brownies and carrying a loaded forty-caliber Glock...

Lucille Teresa Guardino. A woman of many identities. Lucille to her doting mother, Lulu to her devoted husband, Mom to her pre-teen daughter, Lucy to her friends, LT to her co-workers, and Supervisory Special Agent Guardino to the criminals she captures for the FBI's Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement squad.

A loving mom and wife, dutiful daughter, consummate professional, and kick-ass federal agent, Lucy is living the perfect life.

Until the day she comes up against a predator more vicious and cunning than any she's ever tackled before, one who forces Lucy to choose between the life of the young victim she is fighting to save and her own daughter's....and Lucy's dream life is shattered.

Other books in the series:

Blood Stained (A Lucy Guardino FBI Thriller #2)

Kill Zone (A Lucy Guardino FBI Thriller #3)

Product Details

Edgy Reads
Publication date:
Lucy Guardino FBI Thrillers Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1


She stroked the tip of her thumbnail against her tongue, testing. Not sharp enough. Yet.

Nibbling the edge, enjoying the crunch of keratin against enamel, Ashley propped both elbows on the table and hunched forward. Other than the old guy behind the counter giving her an oogly-woogly pervert stare, the Tastee Treet was empty.

It was your typical hotdog shack. Cracked vinyl booths crowded the dining area, waiting to be filled by squealing cheerleaders and boasting football players after Friday night football games. A fifties-style melamine radio behind the counter warbled some tune older than even Ashley’s parents, something about fast cars and fast boys and the dangers of loving them, punctuated by the sizzle and pop of the fryer.

No sign of Bobby. She couldn’t help but glance behind her, out to the gravel parking lot, even though she knew she’d hear his car easily through the Plexiglas windows and plywood walls. Her stomach knotted with anticipation—he was so handsome, and God, those eyes, they saw right into her soul—would he like her once they finally met in person?

Would he be disappointed? Think she was too young? Too immature? Worry gnawed at her as she raised a finger to her mouth. No. She’d outgrown that nasty habit. There wasn’t room in her life for any of that. Not once she and Bobby made their escape.

She glanced at her watch before removing it, then slid it over the top of the chrome and glass peppershaker. The last vestige of her past, it had served her well. Despite taking three buses and walking half a mile, she was still ten minutes early.

Each leg of the journey had left her feeling buoyant, discarding bits and pieces of herself the way her father’s beloved creepy snakes shed their skin. As if her old life was made up of fourteen years’ worth of flaky, parchment-thin memories that she’d out-grown and left behind to crumble into dust and blow away.
“Did you want to order anything, miss?” the counter guy asked, startling her. His face was shadowed by a Steelers ball cap pulled low. She’d felt his stare ever since she entered.

The grease-laden aroma of French fries and burgers perfumed the air, making her stomach growl. She ignored it. It was important to stay in control. “No. I’m just waiting for someone.”

Control. She adjusted the watch, centering it exactly, brushing stray pepper grains away, trying to deny her flutter of anxiety. And failing.
Abandoning the watch, she spread her palms flat on the table top, her breath coming in fast, sharp gasps. What if Bobby thought she was ugly? What if he didn’t like her? What if...

She turned her left hand palm up, slashing her thumbnail against the bare skin of her wrist.

Ahhh... Relief sighed through her at the sight of the red welt, the tiny beads of crimson, the oh-so straight and precise line.

Staring at her blood, she was able to breathe again.

Her tongue slid between her teeth and lips as the urge to taste the blood became overwhelming. Just this once. She would quit after she and Bobby were together. Promise.

Flexing her wrist, she forced another small dot of crimson to the surface. So shiny, so wet.

She held her wrist perfectly steady, denying the tremors vibrating beneath her skin, a current of palpable electricity. Her stomach tensed with anticipation as each beat of her heart made the red blossoms shudder.

Not yet...not yet. She was in control.

Ashley raised her eyes. The geezer at the counter still stared at her. Fuckwad. He had to be as old as her father. Double fuckwad. She sharpened her gaze into a deadly glare. He flinched, looked away. Lech.

Bobby should be here any moment. Escape was almost at hand. She’d been such a good girl, waiting, controlling her impulse to cut and run.

She carefully rolled her sleeve back, exposing the other trophies her control had won. Each scar a triumph. Each scar a time she hadn’t run screaming out into the night or thrown herself in front of a bus or jumped from a bridge.

Each scar reminding her that she could win, that she mattered, that somewhere inside this cold, numb husk, she was alive.

Raising her wrist, she slowly, with gentle flicks, not wasting a drop, licked the blood. Still warm, so salty as it slipped across her tongue, down her throat.

Sometimes, she felt like she was floating outside her body, searching for another life. Cutting helped her reconnect, grounding her, even if she did always find herself right back where she started. Same old body, same old life.

Same nowhere future.

This was her last time. Promise. As soon as Bobby came to rescue her, she’d never do it again. Never need to. As soon as Bobby got here, everything would be fine.

He’d promised.

“Excuse me, miss?” It was the scuzzy counter guy, leaning over her, bending much too close as he reached for the napkin dispenser.
Ashley tried to pull away but he had her pinned against the side of the booth. His arm brushed the back of her neck, caressing her hair. Pervert.

“Hey, back off!” Something sharp jabbed her neck. “What the—”

Disappointment trumped her fear for one impossibly long instant. She’d never get to see Bobby…. then the ramifications of that fleeting thought flash-froze her with terror.

“Don’t be afraid,” he said, sliding down to sit beside her, his arm wrapping her in an embrace impossible to escape. Not with her entire body turning to melted jello, soft and mushy, and swimming away from her.

It took a few seconds for his words to penetrate as she tried to speak and failed, the only thing emerging a trail of drool. She slumped against him, her head lolling to one side, the taste of blood lingering, fresh on her tongue. Bobby, where was Bobby?

“Don’t worry, Ashley,” he said as her vision danced with kaleidoscope colors. “I’m here to save you.”

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Praise for CJ Lyons’ FBI Thrillers:

"A high stakes adventure with dire consequences." ~New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry

"A compelling new voice in thriller writing…I love how the characters come alive on every page." ~New York Times bestselling author Jeffery Deaver

"Everything a great thriller should be—action packed, authentic, and intense." ~#1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child

"Highly engaging characters, heart-stopping scenes…one great rollercoaster ride that will not be stopping anytime soon."

"Storylines as hypnotic as the characters are magnetic...(Lyons) delights and satisfies." ~National Examiner

5 out of 5 stars: "CJ Lyons imparts such realism, it is hard not to become emotionally invested. Intense. Edgy. Believable. Highly recommend!" ~Best Fiction Books on SNAKE SKIN

TOP PICK! 4 1/2 Stars: Combine Dirty Harry with a loving wife and mother and you might end up with Lucy Guardino. Fans of Lyons’ hospital-set series will love the change of setting and thrilling pace. One note: readers with a fear of snakes should pick up this story carefully. Regardless, you won’t be able to put this one down. ~RT Book Reviews on SNAKE SKIN

"An action packed thriller from page one! An amazing fast paced story with characters that jump off the page and capture your heart. A must read!" ~My Book Addiction on BLOOD STAINED

"In true CJ Lyons fashion, this book pulls no punches. It’s an in-your-face, no-holds-barred story depicting the cruel world of murder and drugs. As with all of her other books, CJ Lyons never disappoints. This book was a true page turner and I didn’t want to put it down. She is a brilliant writer and storyteller both, which is not often found in an author. I am already looking forward to her next novel!" on KILL ZONE

"This tale is not for the faint of heart, for this is a tale of dark human emotions. A must read for anyone who enjoys high-octane emotions with realistic characters and an intriguing storyline." ~My Book Addiction on HARD FALL

"A powerful taut thriller" ~Mystery Gazette

"Lyons proves once again that she is a master of suspense." ~RT Book Reviews

"Tinged with a compelling sense of dread, there are echoes of Kathy Reichs here, but Lyons has her own distinctive voice, and one that is a little more compassionate. She allows her female protagonist to become much more than just a woman in peril." ~Daily Mail

"Smart and intriguing, and her character development is so incredible that she leaves me literally breathless waiting to see what will happen next." ~Becky Lejeune,

Meet the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-seven novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).

Her novels have won the International Thriller Writers’ prestigious Thriller Award, the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Readers’ Choice Award, the RT Seal of Excellence, and the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense.

Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at

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Snake Skin 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 136 reviews.
AAR More than 1 year ago
SNAKE SKIN by C.J.Lyons is a heart thumping thriller set in present day Pittsburgh.It is written with depth,details,twists and turns.It has snakes,child predators,FBI agents,crimes against children,sacrifices,adventure to save the children,suspense,and a heart pumping action.It is action packed and fast paced from the first page to the last.Special Agent Guardino,is an FBI sexual assault felony enforcement squad agent,a wife,a soccer Mom,juggles family and work,she is a friend and loathes child predators.She will have to choose her daughter and the life of the young child she is trying to save...what a life scattering decision one no mother or special officer should have to make.This is a seat on the edge of your seat action thriller that will leave you looking under your bed,in your closets and questioning things around your children.If you enjoy fast paced,with kick butt characters this is a Do not miss read.I would highly recommend this story.This book was received for the purpose of review from the author and details can be found at Create Space and My Book Addiction and More.
CherubsLibrary More than 1 year ago
In CJ Lyons' Snake Skin, we meet Supervisory Special Agent Lucia Guardino who is part of the FBI's Sexual Assault Enforcement squad that handles crimes against children. Lucy has just transferred to Pittsburg, Pa. - with her husband, Nick, and daughter, Megan - to assume the lead of her new unit. Lucy is an amazingly strong woman. In addition to balancing relationships with her husband and her daughter, she's leading her squad in the apprehension of child predators. They've just wrapped up a case when another child goes missing. It's a race against time. Lucy must coordinate this case across multiple jurisdictions and is up against an extremely cunning predator. Snake Skin grabbed me right at the beginning and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. It is an edgy thriller, full of suspense with lots of twists and turns. At various times I was cringing or gasping and always rooting for Lucy and her team. I loved the detail in this story and the strength and depth of the characters. In addition to Snake Skin, I've read four other CJ Lyons novels and recommend all of them. If you love thrillers, you too will become a CJ Lyons fan! I received this novel from the author for the purpose of providing a review.
Momma_Mimi More than 1 year ago
CJ Lyons knack for creating strong female characters is amazing. Following around Agent Guardino during her race to save a victim is intense and suspensful. Itwas hard to put down! I would LOVE to see more of Agent Guardino!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book to read. Although this book is 900+ pages, it held my interest throughout the whole book. I am looking forward to reading more C.J. Lyons books.
Michellel701 More than 1 year ago
This is another great book by Ms. Lyons that keeps you on the edge of your seat through the entire book. Agent Guardino is a wonderfully strong character in both her business and family life. I would definitely recommend this book! A great read!!!
Firebird28 More than 1 year ago
Once again, a CJ Lyons book I could not put down. I read it in one sitting and it was at once terrifying, thrilling, and a look into what is normal in the lives of FBI agents. It is also a look into the life of the girl that FBI Agent Lucy Guardino is trying to find and of the choice she faces when confronting the man who has kidnapped the girl. There are scenes featuring snakes that are not recommended for those who may have issues with snakes (even reading about them), they fit the story and give it an extra oomph. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Lyons' books.
Angela Jarvis More than 1 year ago
Kept me riveted from the first page to the last. Will certainly buy more books by Ms. Lyons
kblr55 More than 1 year ago
Yes, the title suggests snakes and they are there. It had so many twists, turns and stuff going on you were never bored always waiting for more. I can't wait to read more books by this great author - C.J. Lyons. It was my first read of this author and it won't be my last.
lovesBooksLF More than 1 year ago
Couldnt put this one down. Will look for more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have never read a book by C.J, you are missing out on some great books! Snake Skin is a high speed thriller that makes you gasp for breath and forces your heart to race like a train. It is non stop action and suspense. The characters are so real and fasincating you want to keep reading. I was so sorry when it ended. C.J. I want more!
jakibookworm More than 1 year ago
This story grabs you from the beginning and takes you on a wild ride and it doesn't let you go till the very last page
dnordstrom More than 1 year ago
It grabs you in the first few pages and doesn't let go! Not suprised tho because I love everything she writes!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is good luck
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could hardly put this book down. It makes you stop and think about all that can happen to others and not realize it could happen to any one of us.This is a startling read, and recall the mistakes we make with our children and hope for the best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read by this author but it certainly won't be the last. Couldn't put it down. Wonderful characters and intense action from start to finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just discovered C. J. Lyons a couple of weeks ago, and this is my fifth book. I haven't had a disappointing one yet. I read all the Caitlyn Tierney series and enjoyed them thoroughly. She writes a mystery thriller that just never slows down. Her characters are well developed and believable. You get hooked really fast, so excuse me....I need to grab my nook and get the next one in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As always C. j. Lyons delivers another exciting on the edge of your seat thriller. You can 't read it fast enough but are sad when it ends. Please keep them coming because I believe I have become one of your biggest fans!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
...lots of them, Evidently put there to drive up the rating (and some of them are pretty weird). Still, the book is an okay read--not fabulous, but entertaining..
1dachsmom More than 1 year ago
HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!! Just finished this one. Couldn't put it down. Lost a lot of sleep but it was well worth it. Don't miss this one!!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi this is amsing book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book!!!!! Loved it!!!!!!!