her first exhibit when her ex-husband suddenly shows up,
claiming to need her help. A corporate attorney,
Adam Lear suspects a high-profile rival company of having
ties to a deadly group of international criminalsand
Jenna may have the photographs to prove it.
Before she can agree to give them to him, Adam is found
murdered in Central Park. With the police convinced
the attorney’s death was a random act of violence, Jenna
seeks the help of Adam’s former best friend, private
investigator Frank Renaldi. When an attempt on Jenna’s life
sends her into hiding, Frank’s only hope of keeping her
alive is to stay one step ahead of a killer who
will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
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Read an Excerpt
Scent Of A Killer
By Christiane Heggan
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneManhattan, New York Monday, October 6, 2003, 7:42 p.m.
In Times Square, where he lived and worked, Pincho Figueras was known as the Brazilian owner of Insomnia, a gourmet coffee shop that provided commuters with some of the best brew in town. To a chosen few, whose names he didn't want to know, he was simply Kravitz. He wasn't sure why he had chosen that alias. He didn't know anyone named Kravitz, and he certainly had no ethnic connection to the name. He just liked the sound of it.
Pincho Figueras was a professional killer. One of the best. In the past ten years, he had accumulated enough money to buy a villa in the south of France, sleep with any woman he wanted and eat in the best restaurants in the world. Not bad for a kid who grew up in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, wondering if he'd ever be anything but a two-bit pickpocket.
Salvation had arrived in the form of a smooth-talking Norte Americano, a New Yorker with a booming voice and a pocket full of cash. Through the grapevine, Big Al, as he liked to be called, had learned about Pincho's fast hands and even faster legs. When Big Al offered him five hundred American dollars for stealing a briefcase from a Bolivian salesman, Pincho thought he was dreaming. With that kind of money, he could finally have a place of his own, away from his abusive father and the rest of his miserable family. He might even be able to move to the United States, something he had dreamed of doing all his life.
The job, simple enough, took an unexpected turn. The Bolivian was asleep in his hotel room when Pincho let himself in. As he was about to steal the briefcase, the sleeping man woke up. Frozen in place, Pincho watched him reach under his pillow and pull out a .357 Magnum. Pincho only had a split second to react. And react he did. With remarkable sang-froid and a dexterity he had perfected since the age of nine, he took his knife out of his pants' back pocket, aimed and let it go.
The blade sank into the man's chest, puncturing his heart. He was dead before Pincho reached the door.
Far from being upset by this unexpected development, Big Al complimented his new young friend on his quick thinking and offered him a new assignment - the elimination of another salesman. It didn't take long for Pincho to realize that Big Al was the middleman between a powerful South American cartel and drug lords in the United States, and that the "salesmen" Al ordered killed were competitors who diluted his profits.
Pincho loved his part-time job. Not only because of the money, but because Al respected and appreciated him. At the coffee factory where Pincho worked, he was just another low-paid slob on the assembly line. He deserved more than that. He was gutsy, he was smart and above all, he was creative. He loved tricking the cops, planting clues that led nowhere and watching those morons scratch their heads as they tried to figure out what the hell was going on.
In time, Pincho became proficient in all kinds of weaponry - handguns, knives, ice picks, garottes. He also studied the effects of various poisons and learned how to build bombs. Whatever the situation called for, Pincho had an appropriate scenario and the guts to carry out the assignment to its successful completion. And better yet, he never got caught.
By the time he reached his twenty-first birthday three years later, his little sideline had made him a rich man - at least by Brazilian standards. Aware there was even more money to be made in the United States, where drug traffic had become big business, he applied for an immigrant visa. Three months later, he left his job at the coffee factory and bought himself a one-way ticket to New York.
From the moment Pincho set foot on American soil, he fell in love with the city New Yorkers called the Big Apple. He liked the noise, the crowds, the energy, the bright lights that reminded him of Rio. Unlike Rio, however, there was plenty of work for anyone who wanted it. The problem was, Pincho needed a job where he could come and go as he pleased, and where no one asked any questions. Using the money he had made working for Big Al and what he had learned working at the coffee factory, he opened a coffee shop in Times Square.
Insomnia was an instant success. And thanks to a referral from his former boss, it wasn't long until the word got around that Kravitz was available for "specialized work."
He was now twenty-nine, spoke English like a native and had elevated his craft to an art form. He wasn't just a killer for hire. He was a thinker who, when necessary, provided the cops with a fall guy - as he was about to do now. The limp, the smeared dirt on his face, the stinky clothes, all were part of tonight's act. Underneath, he was a handsome, clean-cut young man with light brown eyes and a smile that made the ladies cream their panties.
With his money, he could have lived anywhere, but there was the IRS to think of. Sure he would have liked a swanky apartment on the Upper East Side. And a chauffeured limo. And a forty-foot pleasure boat to sail up and down the Long Island Sound, but how would he explain those luxuries to the IRS? Insomnia was doing well, but it hadn't exactly made him a millionaire. So, in order to avoid Big Brother's scrutiny, he continued to live within his means, and reserved his lavish lifestyle for the two months of the year he spent in his villa in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. There he was known as Rachid Moulaya, a wealthy Egyptian with an affinity for privacy and the finer things in life. The villa, of course, had been paid for in cash and bought under his assumed name. It was amazing how many identities a man could buy when money was no object.
For now, Times Square suited him just fine. Although the area had undergone a certain amount of clean-up in recent years, there was still enough of the old Hell's Kitchen left to keep the neighborhood interesting. He didn't mind the con men who roamed the streets all day, or the prostitutes and their pimps, as long as they kept their noses out of his business. So far they had.
Tonight, Pincho was getting ready for another assignment. Standing in front of his bathroom mirror, he adjusted the gray knit hat over his head and laughed. Although he was a pro when it came to changing appearances, he was amazed at the transformation from successful business owner to street bum. The three-day beard was a nice touch. It made him look even more scruffy. And the stench. He wrinkled his nose. How in hell could anyone live in these clothes for days on end?
His hand moved to his back where the knife was tucked in his waistband, wrapped in a clean cloth to preserve the fingerprints he had already collected. Under the loose, ragged jacket, the weapon was completely invisible.
Excerpted from Scent Of A Killer by Christiane Heggan Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Shortly after disclosing a theory about a murder to his ex wife, Jenna, Adam Lear is murdered. Jenna knows there is more to it than a simple mugging and turns to her former flame, Frank Renaldi, for help. The police detective is at first surly, as he fights his attraction to Jenna, but when danger heats up, he can't fight it any longer. He must save the woman he loves. .............. Unfortunately, relational transitions are jumpy and the plot tends to meander, as well as having holes. What could have been a wonderful story falls short.
Photographer Jenna Meyerson is shocked when her ex-husband Adam Lear arrives at the gallery displaying an exhibit of her work ¿The Faces of New York¿. Adam feels that a former client of Jenna, the CEO of rival Faxel, did something illegal, and her pictures have the proof. She mentions client confidentiality, but promises to think about it. The next day Jenna learns from the TV news that someone, probably a serial killer, murdered Adam in Central park........................................ Jenna does not believe that Adam would venture into the park at night as he knew better plus she remembers the limping bum who seemed to follow them. She turns to their childhood friend Frank Renaldi for help but he is nasty to her. Frank knows he loved Jenna then and still does so he must keep his distance to keep his sanity. He must consider his teenage son¿s well being. Still Frank begins making inquiries and soon struggles to keep Jenna safe from unknown enemies and him............................ This is an exciting romantic suspense tale starring two delightful heroic champions who readers will adore. The story line is fast-paced even when introducing the players. The killer is brilliantly described while he hides his prime income making money through legitimate activates like a Time Square coffee shop. Though Adam¿s theory is not explained to readers or the heroine until late in the tale, fans will enjoy this terse thriller due a strong cast engaged in a cat and mouse survivor war.................................... Harriet Klausner