Was it poetic justice
or an education in obsession?
Bookstore owner Veronica Archer is eager to oblige when sexy detective Jack Parker shows up at her shop, seeking help on the stalking case he's working. Verses from Victorian erotica are being left for the victims, and Jack needs to interpret the cluesbefore someone gets hurt. Thankfully, Ronnie's an expert on naughty turn-of-the-century prose, but if she's going to play teacher, Jack will have to be a dedicated student .
With her own love life stuck in Neutral, Ronnie's sensual studies have piqued her curiosity, and she wonders if reality can be as stimulating as fiction. She agrees to help Jack with his case, if he'll satisfy her wildest, most scandalous desiresa request Jack has no problem accommodating. But the closer they get to each other, the closer the stalker circles in, leaving Jack to question if Ronnie is merely a very skilled scholaror the key to something far more sinister .
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Julie Kenner's books have hit bestseller lists as varied as USA Today, Waldenbooks, Barnes & Noble, and Locus Magazine; have won numerous awards and have been lauded in industry publications such as Publisher's Weekly and Booksense. Julie writes a broad range of fiction, including sexy and quirky romances, young adult novels, chick lit suspense thrillers and paranormal mommy lit. Visit her online at http://www.juliekenner.com
Read an Excerpt
By Julie Kenner
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneDetective Jack Parker snapped on a pair of latex gloves and plucked the note off the satin-covered pillow. Neatly typed on pale pink paper, the writing seemed innocent enough. Hell, in another time, another place, the words could have been romantic, lovers sharing naughty endearments and euphemisms meant only for each other.
Tonight, though, the words had been meant to terrify.
Their Casanova had struck twice before, and so far the police didn't have one solid lead. The situation ate at his gut.
Jack hated to lose.
Closing his eyes, he counted backward from ten, letting the efficient bustle of the crime-scene investigators wash over him. The gentle whoosh of the vacuum collecting telltale fibers, the click-whir of the camera documenting the room. New York's finest were on the job. They'd catch the creep.
They had to.
Taking a deep breath, he opened his eyes and saw his partner, Tyler Donovan, waving him over from the doorway. Jack made his way across the sprawling bedroom, passing the note off on the way to be processed with the rest of the evidence.
"Give me some good news."
"Dollar beer all week at Martini's," Donovan said with a shrug. "That's about the best I can do. Here, we got nada."
"Not what I wanted to hear."
"No kidding. All I can tell you is that they don't have a clue who's doing this. But the wife's pretty shook up."
"Can't say I blame her." Over Donovan's shoulder, Jack could see Caroline Crawley sitting unnaturally straight on an upholstered bench in the living room. Her husband, anchorman Carson Crawley, stood stone-faced behind her, his hand resting on her shoulder. Both had the shell-shocked expression of the violated. It was a look Jack knew well. That haunted, injured look had marred his cousin Angela's face many years ago.
With only three months separating them in age and two blocks separating them in distance, he and Angie had been constant companions. At least until the summer of her sixteenth year.
The monster hadn't even waited until after dark. He'd pulled Angie off her bike right after school as she'd ridden by the local gas station, dragged her into the putrid men's room, and left her there when he was done with her. The gas station owner had found her hours later, unconscious and battered, her beautiful face disfigured and both arms broken. Her face and arms had healed; the rest of her hadn't.
Sweet Angie took her own life exactly one year later.
Jack may have joined the force because he was a third-generation cop. But he'd clawed his way up the ranks to detective in the sex crimes division because it was personal.
Yes, Jack knew the expression on Caroline Crawley's face. Knew it well. And it never failed to spark a rage that wouldn't dim until the perp was dead or behind bars. Until then, nothing else mattered.
"Crawley's shipping the kids off to his parents'," Donovan said, pulling Jack from his memories. "Wants the wife to go, too, but she says no. And they're gonna have the locks changed and the security system upgraded." He shook his head. "How the hell did the bastard get in? We're twenty floors up. This place has more security than Fort Knox."
"I'm more concerned that he wanted in at all." Jack fumbled in his jacket pocket for a cigarette, then remembered he'd quit a year ago. "Our Casanova's turning dangerous."
"No kidding. But it doesn't make sense. For three weeks he's been stuffing their mailbox with nudie postcards and pages ripped out of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Then suddenly he decides it's time to sneak into her apartment and leave a little present on her pillow? Why now?"
Donovan was right. It didn't make sense. And the real kick in the pants - the reason Jack had been spending twenty hours a day following dead-end leads - was that they weren't any closer to finding their perp than they'd been three weeks ago.
He clenched his fist, fighting back rage. Damn it all to hell. What were they missing?
"And why Mrs. Crawley?" Donovan added.
"We've been over her life with a fine-tooth comb and can't find one person who'd do this to her."
"Then we haven't looked hard enough."
Donovan opened his mouth as if to argue, but shut it quickly enough. After two years as partners, he'd learned when not to argue. Instead he nodded. "Okay. Maybe. But could be it's just random. Carson Crawley's face is all over the six o'clock news. Maybe our guy's just fixated on the celebrity's wife. Could be he's just a weirdo."
"Great. A celebrity stalker who has no fingerprints and leaves no trace." Irritated, Jack ran his fingers through his hair and headed through the open front door and into the plush hallway. The scene was under control, and he thought better when he was walking. "What aren't we seeing?"
"Hell if I know." Donovan jammed the elevator button with his thumb. "But we're not gonna figure it out tonight. It's two in the morning. And I left a very naked, very willing woman in my bed."
"That explains why you look so tired." Since his divorce nine months ago, Donovan had pretty much joined the babe-of-the-month club.
"Not tired. Refreshed." Donovan grinned.
"She's got a sister if you're interested."
The elevator opened and they stepped on. "They've all got sisters. Does your lady have a name?"
"Mindy, Cindy. Something like that."
"You're a sick man, Detective Donovan."
"Not sick. Robust."
Excerpted from Silent Confessions by Julie Kenner Copyright © 2003 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Except for the violated faces of the female victims and their spouses, and the Victorian erotica poems tat are taken, Sex Crimes Detective Jack Parker has no solid clues. However, Parker knows that the culprit has gotten incredibly bold having now broken into the homes of his chosen targets. The nineteenth century amorous poetry remains the sole lead so he asks that an expert on the subject be provided to help him understand the culprit. Rare erotica bookstore owner Veronica Archer arrives at the police station to report someone broke into her shop and stole some of her merchandise. Parker thinks she is the professor from the nearby college so their first meeting goes awry until he realizes that he has confused a victim for an expert. However, she knows the Victorian Era quite well and assists Parker on his investigation. As they fall in love, the sexual stalker continues to raise the stakes until he commits homicide and has added Ronnie to his list of intended victims. SILENT CONFESSIONS is an exhilarating, often heated serial killer romance with an ardent sub-theme to connect the triangle of the cop, the book store expert, and the murderer. The story line is loaded with action and heated with sexual tension between Jack and Ronnie and in an intriguing subtle way between the stalker and the heroine. Though the identity of the killer fits recent trends that feel standardized enabling certain insider information to happen fans will enjoy this taut thriller that hooks the audience from the moment a frustrated Parker meets an exasperated but frightened Archer. Harriet Klausner
A stalker lurks in Manhatten, one that has a decided taste for historical erotica. He leaves explicit proof of his visits with his victims, but no one has been really hurt, yet. ............ Coincidentally, a small bookshop that specializes in such things has recently been robbed. Ronnie Archer, the ironically almost virginal proprieter, is a bit put out with the police, who she sees as ignoring her case. When she storms to the police station demanding answers, she is Detective Jack Parker's answer to a prayer. He needs to learn more about erotica to handle this Casanova stalker case, and Ronnie is the perfect teacher, even if he considers her a nerd and she finds him very irratating. Neither impression lasts very long, and it becomes unclear who is teaching whom, as Jack shows Ronnie that sex can be just as fascinating between the sheets as the pages. .......... Just as their relationship heats up, the stalker elevates his crimes from harrassment to murder, and the case comes very close to home. As the web of terror tightens, it becomes apparent that Ronnie is tied to the case, and Jack both fears for her safety and for the fact that she might be a suspect. ...... ***** In a novel worthy of James Patterson or Sandra Brown for its twists and turns, Ms. Kenner breaks out of any impression you might have of her as a lightweight writer. Your sweat will run cold with terror and hot with passion as the pages rapidly flip. Jack is a definite hunk, everything you fantasize about in a lawman hero. All I can say is 'More, please,' to Ms. Kenner. She definitely qualifies as a rising star. *****
After reading other 5 star reviews, I decided to give the book a chance. The suspence was just okay and the sex/chemistry of the H&h seemed both rushed and forced. And, for almost $10, I would expect more than 170 nook pages... Overall, I wish I could get my money back... I could have found a $1.99 ebook and been just as entertained....
Wow! So you know those authors that you just can't help but read and absorb everything they right! Just because they know exactly how to, not only capture, but to keep your attention and keep you emotionally involved...Well - Julie Kenner is that writer for me! I've read nearly everything she's written and this story...OMG! Valerie, or Ronnie as she liked to be called, is an erotic bookstore owner. She and her 1/2 brother Nat live above the store. Nat has been pestering her to sell, but Ronnie won't think of as it's a piece of her father that she doesn't want to let go. Jack Parker, a cop immersed solely into his work on this serial stalker case. That is until the green-eyed vixen waltzed into the police station and crashed into his life! Neither has been with anyone in a while, and what the heck, he needed her help on a case, and she needed his help, well, in her bed...so why not help one another (wink, wink;). Things turned hot and heavy quickly. As did the case, it went from serial stalker to murder in the blink of an eye. Now, Jack had to not only worry about the case, but about keeping Ronnie safe as well. There are twists and turns, romance, emotional roller coaster rides, and Murder...what else can you ask for :) I highly recommend it. It will be added to my re-read collection. Thanks again Julie for yet another enthralling and exceptionally wonderful read!