Last Look (Last Series #1)

Last Look (Last Series #1)

by Mariah Stewart

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From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes a novel of sexy romantic suspense for fans of Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter, and Karen Robards.


News that the body of a recently murdered prostitute–stabbed repeatedly and dumped on Georgia’s Shelter Island–has been identified as Shannon Randall stuns the FBI, particularly special agent Dorsey Collins. Twenty-four years ago, nineteen-year-old Eric Louis Beale was convicted and later executed for Shannon’ s murder–and the agent in charge of the case was Dorsey’s father. Now Dorsey is determined to find out where her father’s investigation went wrong, what part he played in the death of an innocent man, and where Shannon has been all this time.

The heat is on FBI special agent Andrew Shields to discover what happened to Shannon on that night decades ago–to find out who killed her and why. Dorsey shadows Andrew’s every investigative move, hoping to redeem her father’s reputation and capture a cunning killer. Together, Dorsey and Andrew unravel a shocking mystery that will shatter one family and rock an entire town.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345492227
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/29/2007
Series: Last Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 180,850
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.85(h) x 1.01(d)

About the Author

Mariah Stewart is the bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas. She is a RITA finalist for romantic suspense and is the recipient of the Award of Excellence for contemporary romance, a RIO (Reviewers International Organization) Award honoring excellence in women’s fiction, and a Reviewers’ Choice Award from Romantic Times magazine. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she is a three-time recipient of the Golden Leaf Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey Romance Writers, of whose Hall of Fame she is an honoree. Stewart is a member of the Valley Forge Romance Writers, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and two rambunctious golden retrievers amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Read an Excerpt

June, 2007

Hot summer closed around the Florida panhandle like a tightly clenched fist. Soaring afternoon temperatures and suffocating humidity had thickened the night air, sending those poor souls who lacked air conditioning to seek respite in the nearest source of water, which for the prudent was a swimming pool or the shower. Only a fool would have taken to the lakes or ponds, especially in the dark, gators being what they are.

Dorsey Collins abandoned the air-conditioned comfort of her apartment for the balcony off her living room. The unrelenting sun had faded the orange-and-white-striped cushions on the two patio chairs she’d bought at the end of last year’s season. She’d known when she purchased the chairs with the matching table that the fabric wouldn’t stand up to direct sunlight, but she’d bought them anyway. When you’re on the job, and dealing with life and death on a daily basis, it’s life’s small pleasures that keep you going.

Dorsey leaned over the railing and tried to ignore the mosquitoes buzzing around her face. In the past, mosquitoes rarely bothered her, but lately, everything in her life had been totally screwed up. She was thinking her body chemistry must be reflecting this somehow, drawing a cloud of the little bastards to her whenever she stepped outside.

It really did figure, didn’t it?

She twisted the cap off her beer, took a long, serious swallow, and stared out into the parking lot beyond her apartment building. She’d met very few of her fellow residents in the complex, so she didn’t expect to recognize any of the tenants who were parking in their assigned spaces. By the time the last of the arrivals had disappeared into their respective buildings, she’d finished the beer. She debated whether or not to have another for all of three seconds.

Maybe, she told herself as she pushed aside the sliding door to her living room, just maybe she’d get lucky and pass out while leaning over the side of the balcony, fall three stories to the pavement below, and break her neck, thereby putting herself out of her misery.

It could happen, she reasoned as she opened the refrigerator door just far enough to grab another bottle. She was twisting the cap as she walked back toward the balcony when the phone began to ring. She stopped midstride to listen to the message.

“Dorsey, it’s Scott Murphy.”

She groaned at the sound of his voice, then walked to the patio door even as the message was being left on her machine.

“I was hoping to catch you at home . . . I mean, I know you’re busy, but I was hoping . . .” Breathy asthmatic pause. Big sigh. “Anyway, I was hoping to catch up with you before the weekend, see if you were free for Saturday night. Or Friday.”

He paused again, just as she slid the door closed.

“Or Sunday. . . .” was the last she heard of the message.

Damn, she wished he’d stop calling. That was the third message he’d left for her since last weekend. She knew she should return his calls. He was a nice guy, just trying to be nice to her, even though she’d been a total shit to him.

Dorsey sat on the chair closest to the balcony and rested her feet on the railing. She looked up just as a frothy bank of clouds shifted from the face of the moon. A minute later, stars could be seen winking here and there overhead.

If I could have one wish, she thought, I’d wish for . . .


She closed her eyes, knowing damned well what she’d wish for. She’d wish she could go back in time to 4 p.m. last Friday afternoon, and then instead of letting her friends talk her into going to a barbecue for a retiring agent, she’d go home to that book she’d been planning to read.

But no. When her fellow agents gathered around the door to her cubicle and harassed her, she gave in.

“Honestly, Dorsey, you live like a hermit. You need to get out once in a while.”

“Come on, Dorse. Just for an hour or two. It’ll do you good to have a little fun. You deserve a night out. You’ve been working nonstop for the past three weeks.”

“Yeah, well, there was that little matter of Hector Rodriguez and his buddy, Jon Mattson, and that young girl they kidnapped,” she’d reminded them dryly.

“Hey, just for a while, okay?”

“Yeah, come with us now, or we’ll follow you home and make rude noises outside your apartment until you cave in. Come along quietly, Agent Collins, and no one will get hurt.”

And no one did, but me. . . .

Things had been just swell until sometime after ten when He walked in.

With Maddy Chambers, an agent just transferred from San Francisco, and Wilbur, the dog he’d shared with Dorsey.

He was Davison Everett Kane Haldeman.

Jesus, Dorsey chastised herself, with a name like that, she should have known.

It was bad enough he’d brought along the woman he’d left Dorsey for, knowing there was a good chance she’d be there, but the bastard had the nerve to bring Wilbur.

Up until then, she’d been mourning the loss of the dog almost as much as she’d been mourning the loss of the guy. But damn that Wilbur, fickle mutt that he was. His heart always did belong to whoever held the treat box. And these days, all the treats were in Maddy’s hands, along with the brown leather leash Dorsey had picked up on the way home, the day Davis had called to tell her he was bringing home a dog he’d seen sleeping in a vacant lot three days in a row.

It had been hard enough, watching the flirtation in the office once word had gotten out that Davis had moved out on Dorsey—taking Wilbur. (“Hey, I was the one who found him. He goes with me.”) Harder still to maintain a professional demeanor when she had to work with either Davis or Maddy. But she’d drawn the line at socializing with them.

Dorsey tossed back another long swig of beer and questioned her ability to make sound decisions in her personal life. What in the name of God had she been thinking when she’d let Davis move in with her? And more recently, whatever had possessed her to throw caution to the wind on Friday night and hit on Scott Murphy, the new prosecutor from the state’s attorney’s office?

God, she cringed whenever she thought about it.

Not that he’d been a bad guy, or anything. He was nice enough—too nice, actually—when she found herself the next morning hung over and embarrassed in his apartment.

Scott had compounded her humiliation by sending her flowers and repeatedly assuring her—and anyone else who’d listen—that absolutely nothing had happened; she’d merely passed out on his sofa and he’d let her sleep it off right where she’d slumped.

God, what ever possessed me. . . ?

She leaned forward, her arms resting on her knees, and watched dark clouds roll in and lightning move across the sky. Maybe if I sit here long enough, it’ll strike me.

If nothing else, she knew, she should go back inside and return his call. Thank him for the flowers, at the very least. She owed him that much. The roses had set him back a pretty penny. She could at least thank him for his thoughtfulness.

She took a swig and wondered if she’d ever make the call.

The humidity continued to rise by the minute, the sultry air thick in her nostrils. The closeness made her slightly claustrophobic. She’d be infinitely more comfortable in the apartment, but she just couldn’t bring herself to go back inside. It was too quiet. Too empty. Too lonely.

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Last Look 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is great. I know you don't have to read them in order, but it really helps once you get to the "Last" series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is part of a series and they are very well written, also the characters have a life of there own once you start the story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like mariah stewart's writing and i like how she always puts some romance into her books. The heroine is very tough but likeable. The hero is familar for those who have read her previous books. Shannon's killer was a suprise yet it was not so shocking. The victims family were all crazy to me.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1983 in the town of Hatton Shannon Randall disappeared and the chief of police thought that eighteen year old Eric Beale from the wrong side of tracks had something to do with it. Out of his depth he calls in the FBI who sends Special Agent Matt Ranieri to take over the case. Although he couldn¿t get a confession out of Eric, Shannon was seen in his car, her blood was found on his shirt as was her homework book. When the case comes to trial Matt is so convincing that the jury finds Eric guilty and sentences him to death. He is executed eight years later.------------ In the present Shannon¿s body with a bullet and stab wounds is found on Shelter Island off the coast of Georgia. She died approximately eight hours ago which means an innocent person died. Special Agent Andre Shields is assigned to find out who killed Shannon assisted by Matt¿s daughter FBI agent Dorsey Collins who is unofficially working with him.. When they arrive in Hatton, Dorsey thinks that Shannon ran away and was a victim of abuse. Getting answers in the small town won¿t be easy as the townsfolk know how to keep secrets. As the FBI agents work the case, romantic feelings spring up but they don¿t let their feelings get in the way of finding out who beat up Shannon before she ran away and never returned home.------------- Mariah Stewart can always be counted on to write an exciting romantic suspense thriller and LAST LOOK is no exception. The protagonists are totally believable in their actions and desires especially Dorsey who know what she learns will hurt her father whose reputation was made by the Eric case. Ms. Stewart does a good job of showing how the small town inhabitants close their doors politely to the outside authorities.-------- Harriet Klausner
lrobe190 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When the body of Shannon Randall, a murdered prostitute, turns up, FBI Special Agents Dorsey Collins and Andrew Shields try to uncover the truth about the woman, supposedly killed more than two decades earlier in a crime for which a man had been executed. The case is personal to Dorsey, since her father was the FBI agent who "solved" the original case which led to the execution of an innocent man. "Last Look" is suspenseful and leaves the reader guessing until the very last page. It is book 1 of a new series featuring the Shields family of FBI agents.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoy books like 'Last Look' by Mariah Stewart. I found this story exciting and suspenseful and I believe most reader will enjoy it as much as I did!