Sacred Sins

Sacred Sins

by Nora Roberts


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New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts serves up a sizzling novel of explosive suspense and sensual romance as the search for a murderer ignites passion between a beautiful psychiatrist and the sexy, brooding detective determined to crack the case.
In the unbearable heat of another sultry Washington, D.C., summer, a serial killer is on the loose. Dr. Tess Court, one of the capital’s most successful psychiatrists, wants nothing to do with the case—until the police convince her to lend a hand to the lead investigator, legendary ladies’ man Detective Ben Paris.

Scarred by his family’s history, Ben has even less use for shrinks than Tess has for him—but the forces of animal magnetism and a shared desire to catch the demented criminal known as “The Priest” inexorably erode the walls they’ve built. They’re opposites in so many ways, yet that seems only to fan the flames of attraction for which danger has supplied the spark. To stop a killer who thinks he can absolve sins through murder, Ben will need every ounce of psychological insight Tess can offer him. And she’ll need the help of a lawman willing to stare fear in the face if she’s going to avoid becoming the madman’s next victim.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553386448
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/31/2010
Series: D.C. Detectives , #1
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 765,176
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Nora Roberts is the author of more than 130 novels including several #1 New York Times bestsellers, with more than 70 million copies of her books in print.  She live in Maryland.


Keedysville, Maryland

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

Silver Spring, Maryland

Read an Excerpt

August fifteenth. It was a day following other days of sweat and hazy skies. There were no puffy white clouds or balmy breezes, only a wall of humidity nearly thick enough to swim in.

Reports on the six and eleven o'clock news glumly promised more to come. In the long, lazy last days of summer, the heat wave moving into its second, pitiless week was the biggest story in Washington, D.C.

The Senate was adjourned until September, so Capitol Hill moved sluggishly. Relaxing before a much touted European trip, the President cooled off at Camp David. Without the day-to-day shuffle of politics, Washington was a city of tourists and street vendors. Across from the Smithsonian a mime performed for a sticky crowd that had stopped more to catch its collective breath than in appreciation of art. Pretty summer dresses wilted, and children whined for ice cream.

The young and the old flocked to Rock Creek Park, using the shade and water as a defense against the heat. Soft drinks and lemonade were consumed by the gallon, beer and wine downed in the same quantity, but less conspicuously. Bottles had a way of disappearing when park police cruised by. During picnics and cookouts people mopped sweat, charred hot dogs, and watched babies in diapers toddle on the grass. Mothers shouted at children to stay away from the water, not to run near the road, to put down a stick or a stone. The music from portable radios was, as usual, loud and defiant; hot tracks, the deejays called them, and reported temperatures in the high nineties.

Small groups of students drew together, some sitting on the rocks above the creek to discuss the fate of the world, others sprawled on the grass, more interested in the fate of their tans. Those who could spare the time and the gas had fled to the beach or the mountains. A few college students found the energy to throw Frisbees, the men stripping down to shorts to show off torsos uniformly bronzed.

A pretty young artist sat under a tree and sketched idly. After several attempts to draw her attention to the biceps he'd been working on for six months, one of the players took a more obvious route. The Frisbee landed on her pad with a plop. When she looked up in annoyance, he jogged over. His grin was apologetic, and calculated, he hoped, to dazzle.

"Sorry. Got away from me."

After pushing a fall of dark hair over her shoulder, the artist handed the Frisbee back to him. "It's all right." She went back to her sketching without sparing him a glance.

Youth is nothing if not tenacious. Hunkering down beside her, he studied her drawing. What he knew about art wouldn't have filled a shot glass, but a pitch was a pitch. "Hey, that's really good. Where're you studying?"

Recognizing the ploy, she started to brush him off, then looked up long enough to catch his smile. Maybe he was obvious, but he was cute. "Georgetown."

"No kidding? Me too. Pre-law."

Impatient, his partner called across the grass. "Rod! We going for a brew or not?"

"You come here often?" Rod asked, ignoring his friend. The artist had the biggest brown eyes he'd ever seen.

"Now and again."

"Why don't we--"

"Rod, come on. Let's get that beer."

Rod looked at his sweaty, slightly overweight friend, then back into the cool brown eyes of the artist. No contest. "I'll catch you later, Pete," he called out, then let the Frisbee go in a high, negligent arch.

"Finished playing?" the artist asked, watching the flight of the Frisbee.

He grinned, then touched the ends of her hair. "Depends."

Swearing, Pete started off in pursuit of the disk. He'd just paid six bucks for it. After nearly tripping over a dog, he scrambled down a slope, hoping the Frisbee wouldn't land in the creek. He'd paid a lot more for his leather sandals. It circled toward the water, making him curse out loud, then hit a tree and careened off into some bushes. Dripping sweat and thinking about the cold Moosehead waiting for him, Pete shoved at branches and cleared his way.

His heart stopped, then sent the blood beating in his head. Before he could draw breath to yell, his lunch of Fritos and two hot dogs came up, violently.

The Frisbee had landed two feet from the edge of the creek. It lay new and red and cheerful on a cold white hand that seemed to offer it back.

She had been Carla Johnson, a twenty-three-year-old drama student and part-time waitress. Twelve to fifteen hours before, she had been strangled with a priest's amice. White, edged in gold.

Detective Ben Paris slumped at his desk after finishing his written report on the Johnson homicide. He'd typed the facts, using two fingers in a machine gun style. But now they played back to him. No sexual assault, no apparent robbery. Her purse had been under her, with twenty-three dollars and seventy-six cents and a MasterCard in it. An opal ring that would have hocked for about fifty had still been on her finger. No motive, no suspects. Nothing.

Ben and his partner had spent the afternoon interviewing the victim's family. An ugly business, he thought. Necessary, but ugly. They had unearthed the same answers at every turn. Carla had wanted to be an actress. Her life had been her studies. She had dated, but not seriously--she'd been too devoted to an ambition she would never achieve.

Ben skimmed the report again and lingered over the murder weapon. The priest's scarf. There had been a note pinned next to it. He'd knelt beside her himself hours before to read it.

Her sins are forgiven her.

"Amen," Ben murmured, and let out a long breath.

It was after one a.m. on the second week of September when Barbara Clayton cut across the lawn of the Washington Cathedral. The air was warm, the stars brilliant, but she wasn't in the mood to enjoy it. As she walked she muttered bad-temperedly. She'd give that ferret-faced mechanic an earful in the morning. Fixed the transmission good as new. What a crock. Damn good thing she only had a couple more blocks to walk. Now she'd have to take the bus to work. The ugly, grease-smeared sonofabitch was going to pay. A shooting star exploded and trailed across the sky in a brilliant arch. She never even noticed.

Nor did the man who watched her. He'd known she'd come. Hadn't he been told to keep watch? Wasn't his head, even now, almost bursting from the pressure of the Voice? He'd been chosen, given the burden and the glory.

"Dominus vobiscum," he murmured, then gripped the smooth material of the amice tightly in his hands.

And when his task was complete, he felt the hot rush of power. His loins exploded. His blood sang. He was clean. And so, now, was she. Slowly, gently, he ran his thumb over her forehead, her lips, her heart, in the sign of the cross. He gave her absolution, but quickly. The Voice had warned him there were many who wouldn't understand the purity of the work he did.

Leaving her body in the shadows, he walked on, eyes bright with the tears of joy and madness.

Customer Reviews

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Sacred Sins 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 672 reviews.
Liz29 More than 1 year ago
I have to say this is one of the best Nora Roberts books I have read and I have read over 50 of them. This one was different because it was not a romance but the main characters were romantically involved even if they didn't want to be. The story line was a real page-turner. Ben was a hunk without even trying. Tess was a cool chick but you really got to like her. Ben and Ed were great partners and I had to laugh out loud over some of the dialog. I wholeheartedly recommend this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first Nora Roberts book I read and my eyes stayed glued to the book until it was finished. The book was one of the best I've read in a long time, and had a little of and mystery. I thought I had the killer pegged, but much to my surprise I was dead wrong. I just loved Ben Paris and wouldn't mind if he protected me for awhile either. The only fault I found with this book was that it had an abrubt ending and I was looking for more. This is a must read book for your library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why is this not listed as a reprint. And that being the case why are all 3 being listed. Even more so why is the price so high for the paperback and the Nook for a book that is 25 years old? Not real happy with reprints being the same price as originals. The series is excellent anyway for that time period styling.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book, with well developed characters and a great ending. I would recomend this book to anyone that liked a good mystery.
Pupkin More than 1 year ago
This book had many different turn. Very enjoyable
Ali Pitcher More than 1 year ago
great book. loved the plot and the authors style
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was just plain boring. I couldnt even finish it. Wast of money. Oh well, on to the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read most of Nora Robert's books. I was very disappointed with this book. The romance between Tess and Ben was blah and not intense at all. The serial killer lacked mystery and excitement. Nora missed the mark on this book.
Charessxoxo More than 1 year ago
It was a great summer read, kept you in suspense almost the whole time. I just wish the Priest was someone much more involved in the plot, otherwise it was decent book.
Gracie-7 More than 1 year ago
Nora Roberts is an awesome author. I have read a lot of her books and found very little that I have not liked. This book was exceptional.
Booklover87 More than 1 year ago
I have read several books by Roberts and I am constantly asking myself "Why?" This is an example of a very boring and unimaginative thriller. The romance between the two main characters was boring and tepid. The serial killer was neither scary nor believable. All in all it was a sorry excuse for a romantic thriller. There were no thrills and there was no steamy romance.
NuNa More than 1 year ago
i have quite a few books from Nora Robert, i love her stories and the way she captures the readers interest from the beginning. I really recommed Nora Roberts..
Sparkle65 More than 1 year ago
One of the better Nora Roberts books. Loved the way Tess and Ben's relationship evolves. How opposites "do" attract, and how they really connect on different levels, Only thing I didnt like, was that it ended way too fast. I almost gave it 4 stars because of that. But I liked the story so much and the Tess and Ben characters are the best so far. Have only read 5 Nora Roberts books so far, but I do so hope that there are more of the Sacred Sins Series coming the story line. Also read Brazen, pretty good, but this one MUCH better.
Mogwa55 More than 1 year ago
Another great Nora Roberts book.
LaSandra Sampson More than 1 year ago
Love this book.
Krystilia More than 1 year ago
A bit different but quite good!
Storygal18 More than 1 year ago
The plot is interesting, and, written in 1987, is a bit of a blast from the past in terms of police work and technology. The main characters' interactions are my favorite part...Tess and Ben are so great together, whether fighting or romancing each other. The other characters are interesting and well-developed; I enjoyed the squad-room scenes. The only thing I wasn't too fond of was the Joey storyline. I get that it was important to help understand Tess a bit better, and help Ben bond with her, but I found those tangents a bit too lengthy. All in all, I keep coming back to this book because it's entertaining and the characters make you fall in love with them.
bren13 More than 1 year ago
It's a good book but it is, indeed a reprint. I wanted to let folks know cause I HATE it when I buy a book under the guise of being new.....
Anonymous 3 months ago
a page turning masterpiece
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An older Nora Roberts story and it shows. There's promise of what comes later lurking but it's not quite obvious yet. She's still writing within the strictures of romantic fiction with a side order of thriller but the romance is very much to the fore and the characters fall into the Romance cliches.There's a serial killer and Dr Tess Court, a psychiatrist, and Detective Ben Paris join forces to hunt him, finding love and danger along the way. The thriller kept me reading and amused even when the romance sometimes got in the way of the thriller plot moving forward.I enjoyed it.
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tess's bleeding heart-ness made me want to *smack* her upside the head. I suspect, though, that Nora just didn't get the balance quite right for me--I think she took it for granted that we'd realize Tess cared about the victims, but it wasn't that evident to me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fell right into the story! Can't wait to read on!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh my goodness. No wonder Nora Roberts is one of my favorites. I LOVED this book. I have been a fan of hers, especially her J. D. Robb books for a long time, but, I missed some of her early works. This was tough, tender, gritty, and I never saw it coming! Loved it!