The Killing Edge

The Killing Edge

by Heather Graham

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Overview

Chloe Marin was lucky. She was just a teenager when a beachside party mansion turned into a bloodbath. According to authorities, the killers were later found dead in the swamp. Chloe's not so sure.

Ten years later, as a psychologist consulting with the cops, she gets drawn in to the disappearance of a swimsuit model. Everyone assumes the girl ran off for some fun in the sun—everyone but Chloe, who's been visited by the model's ghost.

Someone else is interested in the dead girl: Luke Cane, a P.I. investigating the disappearance for her father. Chloe and Luke barely trust one another, but they agree on the important things—they will bend the law to catch these killers, and there is an undeniable attraction between them.

When another mass murder occurs, Chloe's beginning to think her presence is no longer a coincidence….

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781488058486
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 10/14/2019
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 683
File size: 529 KB

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels. She's a winner of the RWA's Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Thriller Writers' Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For more information, check out her websites: TheOriginalHeatherGraham.com, eHeatherGraham.com, and HeatherGraham.tv. You can also find Heather on Facebook.

Read an Excerpt

Silver.

It was the color of the night, of the light of the full moon seeping in through the open drapes in the living room.

As he entered carefully, mentally calculating the floor plan of the house, he marveled at the brightness of the night.

He stopped and stood over a sleeping young man, then hunkered down and studied the boy's face. So young, bathed in a buttermilk glow, the silver of the night muted, warm and gentle.

He placed a powerful gloved hand over the young man's mouth, then slit his throat, his sharply honed knife moving as smoothly through flesh as the fastest Donzi speeding through a calm sea. It wasn't half as easy as it appeared in movies to slash a throat. Even with a knife as sharp as his, it took effort. And talent.

He had the strength, and he had the talent.

The boy made a slight gurgling sound, but that was it. Two feet away, crashed out on the floor, a young woman slept with her hands curled around a throw pillow. She hadn't heard a thing.

He stepped closer to her.

His overwhelming impression as he stood there was of gold, the color of her hair.

He dispatched her to a more glorious world with swift, cold calculation, then paused to take a good look at her face. He held still for a split second, then told himself to move on. He had not yet achieved his objective. Of course, he wasn't working alone, but still….

He couldn't trust anyone else not to screw things up. Not to mention that he was the one with a mission.

He paused again, going dead still. Silence. The house was filled with silence. It was time to make his point before finishing the mission. He dipped his gloved finger in the dead girl's blood, then walked over to the wall, writing quickly so he could finish while the blood was still wet and glistening. There was still so much to be done.

A cloud slid over the moon, bringing pitch darkness in its wake, a blackness that ruled for a few breaths of time.

Black.

How apropos.

Because black was the color of his soul.

* * *

Red.

Dark, rich crimson.

The color spilled, deep and thick, over the white marble flooring.

At first, hidden beneath the king-size bed in the master bedroom, Chloe Marin was aware only of the richness of the color.

She was so frozen with terror that she couldn't comprehend the meaning behind the flow, only the fact that it was red.

Time had no meaning, either. She didn't know if she had wakened just a few seconds ago, or if a dozen minutes had ticked away. She'd heard something, some sound, as she slept in the beachfront mansion, and though it was enough to wake her up, it hadn't scared her in the least. After all, the housekeeper was sleeping somewhere on the property, as were the two live-in maids, and there were at least twenty young people scattered around the house, ranging in age from sixteen to twenty-one.

David Grant, a big, burly football star, had passed out on the sofa downstairs, she knew. And Kit Ames, his girlfriend, had claimed the floor nearby. Even if it meant sleeping on the floor, Kit wouldn't go far from David. She protected her turf with more ferocity than most of the players demonstrated on the field.

But then something, something too elusive to identify, had alerted her, as if her every sense had been attuned to the night. She'd sensed movement somewhere in the house.

Not the natural movement of those who belonged, those who had been invited in. It was subtle, as if she had heard the slithering of a snake moving through distant grass.

She was sharing a room with two of the other girls, and at first both of them had appeared to be sleeping peacefully. But then she'd realized something was wrong, though she couldn't explain how she'd known it. She'd tried to wake Jen Petersen, but Jen had been so deeply asleep that she hadn't responded to her urgent whispers. She'd had more success with Victoria Preston, who'd just begun to rouse, when she had seen the man enter the room. He'd been all in black, wearing what looked like a black dive suit, including a tight hood that covered everything but his eyes and mouth. He hadn't seen her or Victoria but had gone straight to Jen and stared down at her for a moment. Then, before Chloe could move, he struck.

She tried not to scream and clamped a hand over Victoria's mouth. Jen's bed was close to the door, so to get away they had to make it to the bathroom connecting their room to the bedroom next door. Amazed by how quickly her mind was working in the midst of panic, she grabbed Victoria's arm and dragged her into the bathroom, slamming the door behind them.

Victoria started screaming then, and Chloe shoved her out into the hall. As Chloe started to follow, someone closed the door from the outside, leaving her no choice but to retreat to the other bedroom.

There was more than one stranger in the house, she realized.

More than one killer.

The bedroom door started to open as someone began dragging a body in. A big body.

Chloe quickly plunged under the bed.

The full moon suddenly burst through the clouds, spilling oyster-shell white light across the room through the gaps in the drapes.

That was when she saw red.

Crimson. Spilling across the floor.

Dripping from above her. From a body on the bed.

She tried not to scream and waited, listening. They were barely discernible, but she could hear footsteps. She stared into the room from her hiding place and saw that the killer wore clear plastic freezer bags over his feet. And his dive skin, appropriate for the balmy waters of Florida and the Caribbean, was sold by the thousands in the area.

Two killers, one in this room and one next door. Or were there more? Had Victoria made it down the stairs?

She watched his feet moving stealthily across the floor and into the bathroom.

He would find her there beneath the bed. He was bound to.

Knowing she had no choice, she rolled out from beneath the bed, and carefully, silently, on bare feet, hurried to the door to the hallway. She looked out and saw no one, so she slipped out, hoping to find someone else alive, hoping to find something with which to save herself.

Nothing. No one. She raced along the hall to the stairway. Ochre light filled the living room at the foot of the grand stairway.

Red spilled out across the marble there, too.

Red spelled a message on the wall.

Death to defilers!

There was a picture in red, as well….

A strangely shaped hand drawn in blood.

She sensed movement behind her and turned to look. Brad Angsley, Victoria's college-age cousin, was staggering out from one of the other bedrooms, holding his head. She rushed toward him.

"He's right behind us!" he cried

"Move!" she insisted, and helped him stagger down the stairs. As they reached the great entry with its double doors, she dared a quick look back.

Someone was coming after them, another man in black, with some kind of knapsack or canvas bag over his shoulder.

Which killer was he?

Were there more ahead? What would happen when she opened the door? Would another killer be waiting there?

She had no choice but to find out. She struggled briefly with the lock, then threw open the doors and raced out, with Brad clinging to her shoulder. They made it down the long gravel path to the driveway and had almost lost themselves amidst the collection of BMWs, Audis and beat-up cars that belonged to the average kids who had made their way here.

Behind them, closing in on them, she could hear pounding footsteps.

They turned together, and she could see the knife gleaming in the moonlight, the blade dripping blood.

She leaned Brad against a car and grabbed a statue of Poseidon. It was heavy, but she barely noticed its weight as she wrenched it from the ground and swung it with both arms.

She caught their pursuer on the side of the head. He staggered back, and she let out a scream that seemed to last forever, until she realized that Brad had broken into the car, setting off its alarm.

Lights suddenly blazed, illuminating the driveway. Chloe saw Victoria stagger from the trees bordering the drive, holding tight to Jared Walker, who appeared to be unharmed, though his face was ashen.

Victoria was waving a cell phone as she yelled, "Hang on! Help is coming!"

Thank God for technology, Chloe thought.

The lights were coming from the cop cars that were swarming onto the property.

Chloe stared at her attacker, praying that he would fall, that he wouldn't come after them again before the cops could take aim and fire.

The man stared back at her, his mask torn where the statue had caught it, and she felt as if she was staring into the face of pure evil.

Her heart stopped, and she prayed.

But he didn't come closer; instead, he took one look at the approaching cops, then turned and ran.

As if on cue, the moon slipped behind a cloud, and the killer was lost in the deep shadows beside the house.

Cops and paramedics began rushing onto the property.

Someone took Brad; someone else grabbed Chloe, and she opened her mouth to scream.

"It's all right," a man's voice assured her, and she found herself staring at a policeman. "You're hurt. You need help."

"I'm not hurt," she said, then lifted her hands and realized that they were bathed in blood.

Crimson with blood.

Red-shot darkness descended on her, and she slipped into oblivion.

It was over, and yet not over.

In the days and months that followed, she saw them all again. Her friends, with their good traits and their bad, who never had a chance to mature and become good people or selfish assholes.

They haunted her dreams.

She saw them dead, where they had lain on the floor in spreading pools of red.

Yes, she saw them in her dreams. Or were they dreams? She would simply open her eyes to see them there, surrounding her bed, looking at her.

Asking her for help. Begging her for help.

"How can I help you…? Tell me," she asked aloud more than once.

But they never answered.

Of course not. They weren't real. They were symptoms of her own psychological stress and trauma.

They were dreams. Bad dreams. Nightmares.

And in the therapy that followed, she was convinced at last that she didn't see them, that they were symptoms of survivor's guilt that haunted her heart and soul, and that only time could ever begin to heal such a wound.

Finally, like mist, silver and gray they slipped away, and she learned to live.

Ten years later

The old Branoff mansion on the beach was exquisite. Built at the dawn of the area's first age of sophistication, it was over eighty years old and elegant in the Mediterranean-slash-Spanish style of the mid-1920s. It wasn't far from a similar house where, not so many years before, Gianni Versace had been gunned down, and tourists often passed on their way to gawk at the murder scene, establishing their right to say they had been there.

The less notorious mansion, now the local HQ and informal models' dorm for the famed Bryson Agency, sat on an acre of land, with a formidable front lawn, now alight in a rainbow of colors.

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Killing Edge 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 171 reviews.
SarahLauren More than 1 year ago
As I have stated in previous reviews, I have a difficult time reading Heather Graham's books. It isn't that it is poorly written, but the flow isn't quite right to me. That said, this book was the hardest of hers I have read. The beginning of the story was awfully confusing with many names, and I almost put it down - but I am glad i didn't. While it was not like her other mysteries that bring history into the mix, this was a great thriller with exciting characters. If you can get past the confusion of the first few chapters, this is a read I would certainly recommend!
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
10 years ago in the Miami area Chloe Marin was one of four who survived the bloodbath that became known as "The Teen Massacre". Chloe now a psychologist is working part-time as a swimsuit model when a young model goes missing, she thinks maybe the girl just ran off until she starts seeing her ghost. The girl's parents and friends are sure it's foul play. In steps expatriate from England and PI in the States with demons of his own, Luke Cane is working undercover as a swim wear designer to find out what happened to the girl. But strange things are happening and Chloe and Luke are faced with the possibility that what happened all those years ago hasn't truly been resolved and have a lot to do with what's happening now. They must learn to trust each other, but can they trust the attraction that's too all consuming between them and can they overcome the ghosts of their pasts to find a future. Heather wows us with her story line/plot that's just believable enough to have her readers wondering about the validity of the paranormal aspect of the tale. Her dialogue is a mix of urban chic with a liberal dose of cop speak and a dollop of evil doer babbling, but enough of everything so that your attention is raptly kept. Her hero Luke and heroine Chloe are equally troubled souls and intimately enough known by our author that we readers can identify, empathize and sympathize with them. Heather's supporting cast of characters is a motley crew of models, religious fanatics, concerned parents, friends and loved ones and the story benefits from every one. Plus you'll get a reunion with the Harrison Agency members from her other works of paranormal fiction. Her romance is an integral part of her story and readers will see it blossom and bloom before their eyes. They will experience the joys and pitfalls of our hero and heroine. The love scenes are hot and spicy and while not leaving much to the imagination she makes them tender and sweet. Do you like a healthy dose of terror in your romantic suspense, great characters wonderful scenery and dastardly villains. If so this is your next must read.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Great book kept me on the edge of my seat.
Pandorasbox118 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It was ok...not enough action. For me this was such a slow read that I had to skim my way to the end of the book.
NovelBookworm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
With a description like this book has, it shouldn¿t come as a big surprise that I thought this book was a murder/scary/things that go bump in the night type of book. Imagine my surprise when I started reading the eGalley of The Killing Edge by Heather Graham and discovered that there is a whole subset of the romance genre known as ¿romantic suspense¿. Huh. Who knew???This book is filled with the author¿s idea of violent crime and malevolent suspense, with a healthy dose of all those cliché¿s that make a romance book¿well¿a romance book. You know exactly what I¿m talking about; the prickly and cynical, but secretly tortured anti-hero/hero, rugged and virile, often with an absurd eye color described as ¿steely gray¿ and a manly name; in this story, Luke Cane. Add to the mix, the spunky, but beautiful heroine, who, although she professes to loathe said hero, finds herself inexplicably drawn to him, like a moth to the flame. ¿Luke reached across the table and touched her arm. She started, looking at his hand. It was large, with long fingers; maybe he should have been a guitarist or a pianist. His nails were clipped short, and they were clean. His palm felt callused; she imagined that when he wasn¿t investigating someone, he indulged in some kind of manual labor. Building things, maybe. They were very masculine hands. She gritted her teeth again, wondering why his touch could send rivulets of fire streaking through her when she was absolutely convinced that she didn¿t like the man."Gaaaccckkkk¿¿.¿.Where to begin? I know that people just love the whole romance genre. And I¿m sure that nothing can make a romance novel better than a couple of scary bad guys and maybe a touch of gratuitous violence, but seriously? ¿..¿rivulets of fire????!¿Gaaaacccckkkk¿..A bit of advice, if you put a paragraph like the aforementioned one anywhere in the story¿it doesn¿t matter how many dead bodies you sprinkle around, you¿re still writing a romance novel. (And lots of loyal readers LOVE the genre,you'll sell loads of books and make scads of money--just don¿t be deluded into thinking this is the next Philip Marlowe.) I¿m having way too much fun smacking this book around and my mother, (Remember our moms? They¿re those voices we hear in our ears, whispering to us ¿If you can¿t say something nice, then don¿t say anything at all!¿), well, my mom would not be happy with me. So I should stop, especially since I have to confess that I completely DNF¿d this book. As in Did Not Finish. I gave it a shot. I even suspended my fifty-page rule, the one that says if I hate it during the first fifty pages, I¿ll give it a pass. I decided to try for 75 pages, but sadly, I only made it to page 66. Then the delete button was pushed on the Sony Reader and I moved on. Maybe it got better. I never hung around for the ghost part. I wanted to, but I guess I never could get past the ¿rivulets of fire¿ bit. Review copy provided by those fine folks at Net Galley and its not their fault I thought the book was gacky. It¿s a personal failing of my own.
luv2read78 More than 1 year ago
I'm enjoying Killing Edge except for some major typos. The book would be much better if it had been edited better. So many of the words are spaced out ( ex: some times instead of sometimes, in for mation instead of information ). It can make for some very confusing reading. Other than that, the book is good. I'm glad it's turning into another Harrison Investigations book. I'm still trying to figure out which one is the murderer.
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gran29 More than 1 year ago
Reading this book has started me on a search of every book written by Heather Graham. I can barely put the book down until it is finished.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorites
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept a nice pace. Kept me guessing the while time. Wad hard to put down at times. Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gripping! Scarey! Great late night reading if you don't mind a bit of terror at bedtime! Great job, Ms. GRAHAM!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first book I got on my Nook. The story line and over all idea was very creative and cleverly thought out. But I dont feel as if the Characters were so believable.
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Will not be let down
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This Book is one of her best.THE WRITING THE SUSPECTS AND THE STORYLINE ARE GREAT. THIS BOOK WILL GRAB YOU AT THE BEGINING. You will not want to put your ebook down have a great read.
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