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Unforgivable (Tracers Series #3)

Unforgivable (Tracers Series #3)

4.1 101
by Laura Griffin

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At first, Mia Voss thinks it’s just bad luck when her already lousy day ends with a carjacking, but what seems like a random incident is followed by another sinister episode. A DNA expert, Mia has made it her mission to put away vicious criminals. Suddenly, she’s become



At first, Mia Voss thinks it’s just bad luck when her already lousy day ends with a carjacking, but what seems like a random incident is followed by another sinister episode. A DNA expert, Mia has made it her mission to put away vicious criminals. Suddenly, she’s become the target of one. And the only way to protect the people she loves most is to deliberately destroy her reputation and risk letting a killer walk free.

Once, Mia trusted Detective Ric Santos, but that was before Ric let his turbulent past ruin his chances with Mia, the sexiest, most intriguing woman he’s ever met. But he can tell when she’s lying—and when she’s scared. The key to catching a sadistic madman lies within a long-buried cold case that has haunted Mia for years. Only she can uncover the truth, but first, Ric will have to get her to entrust him with her secrets . . . and her life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mia Voss, a DNA tracer for the Delphi Center, a prestigious private forensics laboratory, is endangered at every turn of Griffin's high-octane third Tracers novel (after July 2010's Unspeakable). After Mia narrowly survives a carjacking, her nephew's life is threatened, and several attempts are made on her life. Detective Ric Santos is investigating a few brutal sexual homicides and is determined to protect Mia at any cost. When Mia discovers a link between Ric's current cases and a cold case from six years before, it jeopardizes her life and her career and strains their already tenuous romantic relationship. The science is fascinating, the sex is sizzling, and the story is top-notch, making this clever, breakneck tale hard to put down. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
"Gritty, imaginative, sexy! You MUST read Laura Griffin."
—Cindy Gerard, New York Times bestselling author of the Black Ops Inc. series

Product Details

Pocket Books
Publication date:
Tracers Series , #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt


Mia Voss needed a fix. Badly.

On a normal day, she would have stood strong against the temptation. But nothing about today had been normal, starting with the fact that it was January seventh and ending with the fact that for the first time in her life she’d actually been demoted.

Her stomach clenched as she turned into the Minute-Mart parking lot and eased her white Jeep Wrangler into a space near the door. Her cheeks warmed at the still-fresh memory of standing stiffly in her boss’s office, gazing down at his weasel face as he sat behind his desk, meting out criticism. At the time, she’d been stunned speechless, too shocked to defend herself. Only now— six hours too late—did all of the perfect rejoinders come tumbling into her head.

Mia jerked open the door to the convenience store and made a beeline for the freezer section. If ever a night called for Ben & Jerry’s, it was tonight. For the first Thursday night in months, she wasn’t stuck at the lab. For the first Thursday night in years, the only items demanding her attention were a sappy chick flick, a cozy blanket, and a pint of butterfat. Tonight was for wallowing. Mia slid open the freezer door and plucked out a tub of Super Fudge Chunk. She tucked it under her arm, then grabbed a pint of Chunky Monkey as well. As long as she was sinning, why not sin big? That motto had gotten her into trouble on more than one occasion, but she continued to follow it.

“Doc Voss.”

She jumped and whirled around.

A bulky, balding man in a brown overcoat stood behind her. He crouched down to pick up the carton that had rolled across the aisle, then stood and held it out to her. “Good stuff, isn’t it?”

“Uh, yeah. Thanks.” She stared at him and tried to place him. He was a cop, she knew that much. But he wasn’t someone she’d seen recently, and she couldn’t pull a name from her memory banks.

“Not as good as mint chip, though.” His droll smile made him look grandfatherly. “My wife’s favorite.”

She noticed his shopping basket—two pints of mint chocolate chip and a six-pack of beer.

His gaze drifted down to her fur-lined moccasins and a bushy gray eyebrow lifted. “Slumber party?”

For her quick trip to the store, Mia had tucked her satin nightshirt into jeans, pulled on a ratty cardigan, and slipped her feet into house shoes. She looked like an escapee from a mental ward, which, of course, meant that she’d bump into a cop she knew. Nothing like rein-forcing that professional image. Yes, it was shaping up to be a banner career day.

Mia forced a smile. “More like movie night.” She glanced at her watch and stepped toward the register. “It’s about to start, actually. I’d better—”

“Don’t let me keep you.” He nodded. “See ya around, Doc.”

Mia watched his reflection in the convex mirror as she paid for her groceries. He added a couple of frozen dinners to his basket and headed for the chips aisle.

The name hit her as she pulled out of the parking lot. Frank Hannigan. San Marcos PD. Why couldn’t she have remembered it sooner?

Something hard jabbed into her neck.

“Take a left at this light.”

Mia’s head whipped around. Her chest convulsed. In the backseat was a man. He held a gun pointed right at her nose.

“Watch the road!”

She jerked her head around just in time to see the telephone pole looming in front of her. She yanked the wheel left and managed to stay on the street.

Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. Her hands clutched the steering wheel in a death grip. Her gaze flashed to the mirror and homed in on his gun. It was big and serious-looking, and he held it rock-steady in his gloved hand.

“Turn left.”

The command snapped her attention away from the weapon and back to him. Her brain numbly registered a description. Black hooded sweatshirt pulled tight around his face. Navy bandanna covering his nose and mouth. Dark sunglasses. All she could see of the man behind the disguise was a thin strip of skin between the glasses and the bandanna.

He jammed the muzzle of the pistol into her neck again. “Eyes ahead.”

She forced herself to comply. Her heart pounded wildly against her sternum. Her stomach tightened. She realized she’d stopped breathing. She focused on drawing air into her lungs and unclenched her hand from the wheel so that she could shift gears and turn left.

Where are we going? What does he want?

Her mind flooded with terrifying possibilities as she hung a left and darted her gaze around, looking for a police car, a fire truck, anything. But this was a college town, and whatever action might be going on tonight was happening much closer to campus.

How was she going to get out of this? Cold sweat beaded along her hairline. Bile rose in the back of her throat.

The engine reached a high-pitched whine. She’d forgotten to change gears. Her clammy hand slipped on the gearshift as she switched into third.

Think. She glanced around desperately, but the streets were quiet. The nearest open business was the Dairy Queen two blocks behind them.

“CenTex Bank, on your right. Pull up to the drive-through.”

Mia’s breath whooshed out. He wanted money. Tears of relief filled her eyes. But they quickly morphed into tears of panic when she realized that his wanting money didn’t really mean anything. He could still shoot her in the head and leave her on the side of the road. She, of all people, knew the amazingly cheap price of a human life. A wad of cash. A bag of crack. A pair of sneakers.

She could be dead before the ATM even spat out the bills.

The cold, hard muzzle of the gun rubbed against her cheek. Her breath hitched, and her gaze went to the mirror. She remembered the police sketch of the Unabomber, a man in a hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses who spent years on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. Mia once met the artist who had drawn that sketch. As a forensic scientist at one of the world’s top crime labs, Mia had connections in every conceivable area of law enforcement—but at this moment, they were useless to her. At this moment, it was just her and this man, alone in her car, a gun pointed at her head.

Stay calm. Make a plan.

She maneuvered the Jeep up to the teller machine, nearly scraping the yellow concrete pillar on the left side of her car. Too late, she realized she’d just ruined a potential escape route.

She closed her eyes and swallowed. She thought of her mom. Whatever happened, Mia had to live through this. Her mother couldn’t take another blow.

Not on January seventh.

She turned to face him with a renewed sense of determination—or maybe it was adrenaline—surging through her veins. “How much do you want?” She rolled the window down with one hand while scrounging through her purse for her wallet.

“Five thousand.”

“Five thousand?” She turned to stare at him. She had that much, yeah. In an IRA account somewhere. Her checking account was more in the neighborhood of five hundred. But she wanted more than anything not to tick this guy off.

She gulped. “I think my limit is three hundred.” She tried to keep her voice steady, but it was wobbling all over the place. She turned to look at him, positioning her shoulders so the camera on the ATM could get a view into her car. It probably couldn’t capture him from this angle, but it might capture the gun. “I can do several transactions,” she said.

The barrel rapped against her cheekbone. She would have a bruise tomorrow. If she lived that long.

She turned to the machine and, with shaking fingers, punched in her code and keyed in the amount. Three hundred was the most she could get. Could she get it twice? Had her cable bill cleared? Mia handed him the first batch of twenties and chewed her lip as she waited for the second transaction to go through.

Transaction declined.

Her blood turned to ice. Seconds ticked by as she waited for the man’s response. Despite the sweat trickling down her spine, her breath formed a frosty cloud as she stared at the words flashing on the screen.

That’s it, she thought. I’m dead.

She reached a trembling hand out and pulled the receipt from the slot.

She could make a break for it right here. Except that her doors were pinned shut by the concrete pillars on either side of her.

She could speed to the nearest well-populated area, which was a Walmart three blocks away. Could she get there before he shot her or wrestled the wheel away?

“Back on the highway.” The command was laced with annoyance but not quite as much disappointment as she’d expected.

She put the Jeep in gear and returned to the highway. As she shifted, she glanced at the familiar Mardi Gras beads hanging from her rearview mirror. Somehow they steadied her. This was her car, and she was in the driver’s seat. She could control this.

“How about Sun Bank?” Her voice sounded like a croak. That bank was past Walmart. Maybe she could swerve into the lot and make a run for it.

“Hang a left.”

Mia’s hands gripped the steering wheel. Her gaze met his in the mirror. She couldn’t see his eyes, but she could read his intent—it was in his tone of voice, his body language, the perfectly steady way he held that gun.

Left on the highway meant out of town. He was going to kill her.

© 2010 Laura Griffin

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin is the author of the Tracers series, the Alpha Crew series, the Moreno & Hart series and several other novels. A two-time RITA Award winner and the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award, she lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book. Visit her website at LauraGriffin.com and her Facebook at Facebook.com/LauraGriffinAuthor.

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Unforgivable (Tracers Series #3) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 101 reviews.
Trebble More than 1 year ago
If you are a fan of Laura Griffin's Tracer series then you will love this book. If not, don't worry, this book reads great as a stand alone. In fact I have not read her other two tracer books, Untraceable and Unspeakable and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The two main characters have obviously met once before but didn't quite connect. In Unforgivable, they are the main characters. After saying the above you would think I'm setting you up for a total romance book. Well, if that is what you are looking for you might be disappointed. Oh, yes, there is tension in terms of sexual and romantic you would expect, but the main story is a mystery that needs to be solved so Mia and her family can continue to live without fear of a madman gunning them down. The twists and turn in this book make it interesting and while you are trying to figure out who the killer is, you are also enjoying the relationship between Ric and Mia (even though I wanted to kick Ric in the butt a couple of times). I also really liked the character of Mia. She sort of reminded me of Abby in NCIS. Not her quirky side, but her professional side. One who works until things are solved with a keen intelligence. I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed Mia as a heroine. I recommend this book to those that like a fast paced murder mystery with a bit of romance thrown in.
bookholiday More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this story. There was so much to like. very good book!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Mia Voss works at a state of the art laboratory whose goal is to use forensic testing to help lock away criminals. On the night of a tragic event, Mia drives to the store to buy ice cream. She returns to her vehicle and reenters it, but a man in the backseat carjacks her auto and her. He makes her drive to an ATM to have her withdraw money. Then he orders her to drive to a secluded spot where she thinks he will rape her and perhaps kill her. A police officer who saw Mia being held at gunpoint goes after them and is killed. She is able to escape but is traumatized. Detectives Ric Santos and Jonah Macon lead the inquiry. They believe Mia was the intended target of the killer and not a random incident of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The gun that killed the cop was used in a previous homicide years ago. Mia finds a third piece of evidence related to the other two crimes and before she knew it she is danger as is her family. Mia who committed a crime is offered immunity if she helps bring in the killer. Ric who has feelings for Mia, but will not admit it diligently works to find the killer and keep Mia safe. Cross Cornwall and Reichs with Robb to understand the Tracers of Laura Griffin (see Untraceable). The characters turn up the heat so much so they can burn the sheets. However, Mia is a highly regarded forensic scientist who is used as an expert witness. If there remains a police procedural fan who has not read a Ms. Griffins' mystery, they are missing out on some of the best. Harriet Klausner
LexiBourne More than 1 year ago
I've loved Laura Griffin's work since her first book came out, so it should come as no surprise that I loved this book too! I will tell you that Unforgivable is a great read with wonderful characters and a great suspense story. Mia and Ric have easily slid into second place in my list of favorite Griffin couples (Second only to Courtney & Will from Whisper of Warning!) Seriously, don't miss ANY of this author's work. I'm off to put a countdown on my calendar for the release of her next book.
kittycrochettwo More than 1 year ago
This book captured my attention from the first pages. It starts out with what appears to be a random car jacking, Mia Voss a DNA Tracer, had been having a very bad day, so when she is carjacked and almost killed, she thinks its a random act. The detective assigned to the case is Ric Santos, seems that Mia and Ric had started to develop a relationship, but he pulled away for no apparent reason. It soon becomes apparent a killer is after Mia, and doesn't mind using her family to get to her. Ric is determined to keep her safe, and that means keeping her close. Can they figure out who the madman is, before he kills again, and will Ric be able to protect Mia, without becoming sexually involved with her? This book was a page turner from the get go, the car jacking happens on page five, and the action continues at a fast pace throughout the rest of the book. While the book is labeled as a romance, I think it is more suspense, with a romance thrown in. It is full of page turning action, with mystery, suspense, drama with a romance rolled in. Mia was a very strong character, and while a few of the decisions she made seemed out of character for her, she felt she was protecting her nephew. Once I read Ric's background I understood why he found it difficult to be in a relationship, but the author did a great job of allowing his character to develop,it was nice seeing his interactions with his daughter. I really enjoyed the secondary characters in this story as well, I can't wait to read more of Sophie and Jonah's story in the next book "Snapped" in reading the teaser that was in the back of this book, it sounds like another gripping novel. While this is the third book in the Tracer series, it can easily be read as a stand alone work, the author does a great job of filling us in on any details we needed to understand the story. If your a fan of stories with the perfect blend of action, suspense, mystery, and romance then you definitely need to pick up this book! Even though I was provided a copy of this book for review by the publisher it in no way alters my opinion of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really did enjoy this book! It was an exciting read! I am anxious to get the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ALL laura griffins bokks are great suspenseful great love stories. A ll the good stuff. I just wish that #3 had given an update of what is going on with Elaina and Troy in #2.
Psst More than 1 year ago
Fast read. Kept your interest. Love her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book, the suspense and mystery. The characters are very smart and well written, their knowledge about their jobs really makes you root for them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this one. Mia found herself as the target of a killer so she wouldn't be able to identify his dna. The plot was good and although I suspected who the killer was, I still wasn't sure until near the end. I also liked Ric's character, he wanted to protect her, but still couldn't bring himself to admit his growing love for her. I thought this book was not as gruesome as the first two, which was alright by me. I enjoyed the suspense and the romance.
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This is a very good book, just like the previous two.
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ShellyMI More than 1 year ago
Just finished this book! Awesome! Love the characters, love the mystery. These books are page turners and so hard to put down.