Kill and Tell

Kill and Tell

by Linda Howard

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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Romantic suspense superstar Linda Howard’s seductive New York Times bestseller “meshes hot sex, emotional impact, and gripping tension” (Publishers Weekly) into a sizzling, heart-pounding thriller!

Still reeling from her mother’s recent death, Karen Whitlaw is stunned when she receives a package containing a mysterious notebook from her estranged father, whom she has barely seen since his return from the Vietnam War decades ago. Then, a shocking phone call: Karen’s father has been murdered on the gritty streets of New Orleans.

For homicide detective Marc Chastain, something about the case of a murdered homeless man just doesn’t add up—especially after he meets the victim’s daughter. Far from the cold woman he expected, Karen Whitlaw is warm and passionate. She is also in serious danger. A string of “accidents” have shaken Karen to the core and forced her into the protective embrace of the charming detective she vowed to resist. Together they unravel a disturbing story of politics, power, and murder—and face a killer who will stop at nothing to get his hands on her father’s secrets.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743475488
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 10/01/2003
Series: CIA Spies-John Medina Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 80,372
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Linda S. Howington is a bestselling romance author writing under the pseudonym Linda Howard. She has written many New York Times bestsellers, including Up Close and Dangerous, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Cover of Night, Killing Time, To Die For, Kiss Me While I Sleep, Cry No More, and Dying to Please. She is a charter member of Romance Writers of America and in 2005 Howard was awarded their Career Achievement Award. Linda lives in Gadsden, Alabama, with her husband, Gary F. Howington, and two golden retrievers. She has three grown stepchildren and three grandchildren.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

February 13, Washington, D.C.

Dexter Whitlaw carefully sealed the box, securing every seam with a roll of masking tape he had stolen from WalMart the day before. While he was at it, he had also stolen a black marker, and he used it now to print an address neatly on the box. Leaving the marker and roll of tape on the ground, he tucked the box under his arm and walked to the nearest post office. It was only a block, and the weather wasn't all that cold for D.C. in February, mid-forties maybe.

If he were a congressman, he thought sourly, he wouldn't have to pay any freaking postage.

Thin winter sunshine washed the sidewalks. Earnest-looking government workers hurried by, black or gray overcoats flapping, certain of their importance. If anyone asked their occupation, they never said, "I'm an accountant," or "I'm an office manager," though they might be exactly that. No, in this town, where status was everything, people said, "I work for State," or "I work for Treasury," or, if they were really full of themselves, they used initials, as in "DOD," and everyone was expected to know that meant Department of Defense. Personally, Dexter thought they should all have IDs stating they worked for the DOB, the Department of Bullshit.

Ah, the nation's capital! Power was in the air here, perfuming it like the bouquet of some rare wine, and all these fools were giddy with it. Dexter studied them with a cold, distant eye. They thought they knew everything, but they didn't know anything.

They didn't know what real power was, distilled down to its purest form. The man in the White House could give orders that would cause a war, he could fiddle with the football, the locked briefcase carried by an aide who was always close by, and cause bombs to be dropped and millions killed, but he would view those deaths with the detachment of distance. Dexter had known real power, back in Nam, had felt it in his finger as he slowly tightened the slack on a trigger. He had tracked his prey for days, lying motionless in mud or stinging weeds, ignoring bugs and snakes and rain and hunger, waiting for that perfect moment when his target loomed huge in his scope and the crosshairs delicately settled just where Dexter wanted them, and all the power was his, the ability to give life or end it, pull the trigger or not, with all the world narrowed down to only two people, himself and his target.

The biggest thrill of his life had been the day his spotter had directed him to a certain patch of leaves in a certain tree. When his scope had settled, he had found himself looking at another sniper, Russian from the looks of him, rifle to his shoulder and scope to his eye as he tried to acquire them. Dexter was ahead of him by about a second, and he got his shot squeezed off first. One second, a heartbeat longer, and the Russian would have gotten off the first shot, and old Dexter Whitlaw wouldn't be here admiring the scenery in Washington, D.C.

He wondered if the Russian had ever seen him, if there had been a split second of knowledge before the bullet blasted out all awareness. No way he could have seen the bullet, despite all the fancy special effects Hollywood put in the movies showing just that. No one ever saw the bullet.

Dexter entered the warm post office and connected to the end of the line waiting for service at the counter. He had chosen lunch hour, the busiest time, to cut down on the chance of any harried postal clerks remembering him. Not that there was anything particularly memorable about him, except for the cold eyes, but he didn't like taking chances. Being careful had kept him alive in Nam and had worked for the twenty-five years since he had returned to the real world and left the green hell behind.

He didn't look prosperous, but neither did he look like a street bum. His coat was reversible. One side, which he now wore on the outside, was a sturdy brown tweed, slightly shabby. The other side, which he wore when he was out on the street, was patched and torn, a typical street bum's coat. The coat was good, simple camouflage. Snipers learned how to blend with their surroundings.

When his turn came, he placed the box on the counter to be weighed and fished some loose bills out of his pocket. The box was addressed to Jeanette Whitlaw, Columbus, Ohio. His wife.

He wondered why she hadn't divorced him. Hell, maybe she had; he hadn't called her in a couple of years now, maybe longer. He tried to think when was the last time —

"Dollar forty-three," the clerk said, not even glancing at him, and Dexter laid two ones on the counter. Pocketing the change, he left the post office as unobtrusively as he had entered it.

When had he last talked to Jeanette? Maybe three years. Maybe five. He didn't pay much attention to calendars. He tried to think how old the kid would be now. Twenty? She'd been born the year of the Tet offensive, he thought, but maybe not. 'Sixty-eight or 'sixty-nine, somewhere along through there. That made her...damn, she was twenty-nine! His little girl was pushing thirty! She was probably married, with a couple of kids, which made him a grandpa.

He couldn't imagine her grown. He hadn't seen her for at least fifteen years, maybe longer, and in his mind he always pictured her as she had been at seven or eight, skinny and shy, with big brown eyes and a habit of biting her bottom lip. She had spoken to him only in whispers, and then only when he asked her a direct question.

He should've been a better daddy to her, a better husband to Jeanette. He should have done a lot of things in his life, but looking back and seeing them didn't give a man the chance to go back and change any of them. It just let him regret not doing them.

But Jeanette had kept on loving him, even when he came back from Nam so cold and distant, forever changed. In her eyes, he had remained the edgy, sharp-eyed West Virginia boy she had loved and married, never mind that the boy had died in a bug-infested jungle and the man who returned home to her was a stranger in all but face and form.

The only time he felt alive since then was when he had a rifle in his hands, sighting through the scope and feeling that rush of adrenaline, the heightening of all his senses. Funny that the thing that had killed him was the only thing that could make him feel alive. Not the rifle; the rifle, as true and faithful a tool as had ever been fashioned by man, was still just a tool. No, what made him feel alive was the skill, the hunt, the power. He'd been a sniper, a damn good one. He could have come back to Jeanette if it had been only that, he sometimes thought, though he was years past trying to analyze things.

He'd killed a lot of men, and murdered one.

The distinction was clear in his mind. War was war. Murder was something else.

He stopped at a pay phone and fished some change out of his pocket. He had already memorized the number. He fed in the change and listened to the ring. When the call was answered on the other end, he said clearly, "My name is Dexter Whitlaw."

He had wasted his life paying for the crime he had committed. Now it was someone else's turn to pick up the tab.

Copyright © 1998 by Linda Howington

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Kill and Tell 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 86 reviews.
XXXOOOBookwormOOOXXX More than 1 year ago
Many romances are not like our actual lives, okay? I mean, the cops I've been ticketed by were in no way similar to our favorite Chief of Police in "Open Season." More's the pity. And I CAN believe that Karen fell for Marc Chastain so quickly. With her mother's recent death, then having to travel to New Orleans to deal with identifying her estranged father's body, and THIS MOUTHWATERING SOUTHERNER takes charge to assist her with making Dad's funeral arrangements? Heck, I'm not under any of that stress and Marc hasn't given me a shoulder to cry on and I'm already in love with the guy. I had a friend in college who met and married her husband within a week. They were in their late 20s/early 30s and had two kids when she went back to University to get her degree and I almost had to wear a flame-retardant suit whenever I was in the same room with 'em. No icky PDA, but just that much chemistry between them. So yes, you and I may not have experienced what Karen and Marc do but it DOES happen. This drama and romance includes some education about snipers, Viet Nam, nursing, first aid, and survival. It was exciting and heart rending and very real.  
Blur_E_Iz More than 1 year ago
I don't like it when a book is re-published with a "new" published date, and nowhere does it give you that warning in the descriptions, but this book is a few years. Good book, love reading Linda Howard, but people are being misled by the 2010 publish date. Can't remember the orig pub date. I want to say in the late 90's, not sure. I'm sure someone out there knows the orig date. The "John Medina Series, book 1" is new though, looking forward to reading more about this character. Just hope the series has never been published before lol.
afriendofallbooks More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with both the hero and the heroine. I just liked who they are. how they relate to each other and how they THINK. This is a book I have owned for a long time. I put it on my nook to have when i am in the mood. I have never read a Linda Howard I did not like, most are on the shelf and when I just need a laugh or a cry I grab one. Happy reading!!.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like suspense and romance, this book is a must read. The storyline is good and the attraction between the two main characters is electric. I could not put it down. The plot twists made it a real page turner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my first book by Linda Howard. She is great. I couldn't put the book down because I couldn't stand not knowing what would happen next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As usual, Linda Howard does not disappoint.
becca.woods More than 1 year ago
This is one of the first Linda Howard books I ever read and just got me hooked!! When I see a new book out by Linda, I just automatically pick it up without knowing what it's about! Very good characters and good story line.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Linda Howard is great. This story has a wonderful plot with likable characters. Once I start it, I can't put it down. A must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well defined characters. Accurate details very good storyline. A little too much sexual details
sjmccreary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Typical romantic-suspense featuring a New Orleans detective and a Columbus (Ohio) nurse. Her estranged father is killed in his city and she must go claim the body while he tries to figure out who killed Dad and why. Of course she's now in danger and the handsome detective is going to protect her.An absolutely forgettable book. I was half way through it before I remembered reading it before. And even then, I didn't remember what happened. Not only did I forget reading this book, but on closer examination I realized this book is part of a series and that I've read one of the sequels and had forgotten it as well. It's not bad for what it is, it just doesn't have any depth. It would have gotten a higher rating from me if I'd recognized it right away.
vwbernie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first in a trilogy featuring John Medina (ultimate spy). He doesn't have much play time in this book though as it's centered around yummy Marc, a cop from New Orleans and the withdrawn Karen, nurse from Ohio. Her estranged father winds up murdered in New Orleans and since he was ex-military Marc wants to help Karen find out what happened and also to help her get over her self-protection mode. It gets a bit steamy in places and they do seem to spend a lot of quality bed-time getting to know each other in between dodging people trying to kill Karen for a mysterious book her father sent her right before he was killed. I'm enjoyed this book although it didn't have some of the fun wit that a couple of the other's I've read had. I am looking forward to All the Queen's Men which tells John's story.
amf0001 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Karen Whitlaw was abandoned by her father when young, and her mother died recently. When she receives a mysterious box of papers from her father, she packs them away and forgets about them. However her father had given her evidence of a murder and now those who paid for the killing want the evidence back. When her father is killed in New Orleans, detective Marc Chastain gets the case. He gets in contact with Karen who flies down to claim the body and gets Marc's as well!There is one mega hot love scene in this book, but other than that there are so many implausibilities that neither the mystery nor the romance hold up all that well. That Karen and Marc should fall in love and commitment so quickly beggars belief, and the character of the villain is both predictable and not very interesting. This is a reread for me, but not a keeper. I bought this book on impulse and I'll pass it on, but it held your attention while you were there. B-
jonahfied on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this a while back, so I'm struggling to remember it all. I usually remember if a book was a huge stinker. This one must have been pretty good, because my lasting memories of it are first, how steamy it was, and second, I really like Marc Chastain's character. I'm ready to read it again, and that's always the sign of a good book.
EmScape on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Karen Whitlaw's mother just died and she gets a package from her estranged father, who left them when she was small. She packs it away and forgets about it. Sometime later, her father is murdered in New Orleans. She flies down to identify the body and begins a relationship with Detective Marc Chastain. Soon after returning home, her mother's house burns to the ground and someone breaks into her apartment trying to kill her. Someone is after the contents of the package her father sent, but who?The plot of this book is excellent. Suspenseful, intricate, and realistic, it's easily the best thing about the book. Karen and Marc have some halfway believable chemistry, as well. The real flaw in the writing is Howard's love scenes. Her terminology is cringeworthy. Fortunately, there is no important information or dialogue during them, so go ahead and skip them. Focus on the mystery, you'll be all right.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently discovered this author, and now I'm reading some of her earlier work. Not only does she write a great mystery, suspense, romance but she writes really yummy alpha males! Even a story somewhat dated like this one, is well worth the read! So glad I found her!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another stunning Linda Howard suspenseful romance. I love all these characters - all masterfully drawn, the hero and heroine are especially sympathetically created. Ms. Howard has a remarkable talent in creating and weaving together both romantic sizzle and suspenseful tension. Kill and Tell is some of her best evocative writing - I could feel the steaming hot mugginess of New Orleans, see the facial expressions on Marc, and picture a midnight dance to a slow blues sax. Hugely rewarding and gratifying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very, very good story.  Such a shame he is so concerned with firm breasts but as she ages, she can always get implants to keep his interest.
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LTB88 More than 1 year ago
I love most of Linda Howard's stories. This one doesn't disappoint. She introduces John Medina, the main character in All The Queen's Men, but the plot in this book catches your attention quickly and holds it. While neither Karen nor Marc are "warm and fuzzy" characters, I really did like them. This is one of L.H's older stories, so make sure you don't already have it before purchasing it. But it is worth a reread!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago