Thanks to the awesome people over at the Joan Schulhafer Publishing and Media Consulting, I have a paperback copy of The Seventh Victim by Mary Burton to give away to a US or Canadian winner! Simply comment to enter! Giveaway open until 12-31-12 at 11:59pm EST with winner announced shortly after!
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED
It’s been seven years since the Seattle Strangler terrorized the city. His victims were all young, pretty, their lifeless bodies found wrapped in a home-sewn white dress. But there was one who miraculously escaped death, just before the Strangler disappeared…
Lara Church has only hazy memories of her long-ago attack. What she does have is a home in Austin, a job, and a chance at a normal life at last. Then Texas Ranger James Beck arrives on her doorstep with shattering news: The Strangler is back. And this time, he’s in Austin…
AND KILL AGAIN…
He’s always craved her, even as he killed the others. For so long he’s been waiting to unleash the beast within. And this time, he’ll prove he holds her life in his hands—right before he ends it forever…
EXCERPT FROM MARY BURTON’S THE SEVENTH VICTIM
He pushed his cup away from him. “I’m not sure how much more Texas coffee I can stomach.”
“I made this latest batch. It will be good.”
“Good coffee in Texas? I don’t think so.”
She cocked a brow. “Be right back.”
Before he could answer, Danni vanished behind the counter. She grabbed a new cup and carefully poured coffee into a mug. She moved toward him with quick, purposeful steps and then set the mug in front of him. “That’s good coffee.”
“I can’t write legibly, and I can’t cook a lick, but I can make coffee.”
He took a sip and found he was pleasantly surprised. “Good.”
“Puhleez. It’s the best.”
“I’m from Seattle. We are ground zero for coffee.”
“As long as I’m on duty the coffee will be good.” She took the half-full cup and set it on her tray. “Enjoy.”
“Thanks, Danni.” As she turned he said, “Hey, didn’t that girl that was killed work here?”
Danni’s eyes grew suspicious. “Yeah. You a reporter?”
Raines shook his head. “God, no.”
“Do I look like a cop?”
Danni arched a brow. “Yeah.”
“Nice to see I haven’t lost that.” At her confusion he added, “I used to be a cop. Long time ago. I guess the case caught my eye. Hard not to ask questions. Sorry.”
His honesty appeared to disarm her. “No harm. And for the record, I didn’t like what they said about her in the news today.”
“I guess I just didn’t like the way they boiled her life down to bare facts. She was so much more than that.” Anger hardened her face, but there was no hint of tears. “Her uncle is flying in tomorrow to claim her.”
“I feel for them. I wouldn’t wish losing a child on my worst enemy.”
“What can you tell me about her, so I’ll remember more than the basic newscast?”
Danni’s voice grew softer. “She was kind of corny. Liked pink and singing Lady Gaga in the kitchen. She was moving to New York. I was kinda jealous of her.”
“You’ve got nothing to be jealous of, Danni. You strike me as a sharp kid.”
She snorted a laugh.
“Was there anybody who might have wanted to hurt her?”
“Mack and I were talking about it, and none of us can think of anyone. Like we told the Rangers, we’re all thinking it was some random guy.” A customer at another table caught her attention. “I’ve got to go.”
He watched as she moved toward another table and began to gather up plates. Danni was a tough nut and no wilting flower. Just like his daughter.
He could almost hear his wife now. “That girl of ours is going to be a general one day.”
He sipped his coffee, thought of his wife, Susan, and how much he missed her, their daughter, and home. Pushing aside a pang of guilt, he redirected his gaze to the patrons.
Within seconds he spotted a slight blond woman enter the café. She wore jeans, a T-shirt, and sandals and had a backpack slung over her shoulder. She was as slight as a teenager, but she moved with a confidence that only came with maturity.
Beck had been right. She wasn’t the meek girl who’d fled Seattle seven years ago. As a man approached her, Raines noted slight stiffening in her back as she extended her hand. Her handshake was firm and her gaze direct.
She laughed as the graying gentleman in his fifties spoke. After what looked to be a question, she pulled out a notebook and made a note. They chatted another half minute and then she made her way to the diner register, where she ordered a coffee. Just as quickly as she came, she was gone.
Lara Church, the Seattle Strangler’s last victim, had managed to rebuild her life.
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THE SEVENTH VICTIM
Zebra Books/Mass Market Original/Fiction
February 2013/On Sale 1-29-13/$7.99 ($8.99 Canada)
CONTACT: Joan Schulhafer, Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting, 973-338-7428, firstname.lastname@example.org and Vida Engstrand, Kensington Books, 212-407-1573, email@example.com