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Authors: Allison Brennan

Mortal Sin

BOOK: Mortal Sin
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She left WCF and stepped into the still, chilly air. She loved walking and didn’t even mind the cold that much—though she still missed sunny, temperate So-Cal. She pulled her scarf up to cover her ears and neck and walked briskly toward the Metro.

A chill brought goose-bumps to her arms, like fingernails on a chalkboard. She told herself it was the cold, but she knew better—the feeling of being watched was far too familiar. She faked a cough and stepped to the side so she could discreetly observe the people walking around her, the traffic on the street, the dinner crowd eating in the restaurant on the other side. A man passed her, nodded a greeting, and kept walking.

She sighed, frustrated with herself for being paranoid. For six years she’d never been able to shake the sensation that people were looking at her, that they knew what had happened and somehow blamed her for her fate. The sensations had faded over time, but Lucy doubted they would ever disappear completely.

Her past would always be chasing her, no matter what she did.

“Suck it up,” she whispered to herself.

You’re about to put a rapist back in prison. You have a lot to celebrate
.

With that thought, she continued toward the Metro station, hyperaware of the people around her.

 

B
Y
A
LLISON
B
RENNAN

Love Me to Death

Original Sin
Carnal Sin

Sudden Death
Fatal Secrets
Cutting Edge

Killing Fear
Tempting Evil
Playing Dead

Speak No Evil
See No Evil
Fear No Evil

The Prey
The Hunt
The Kill

Love Me to Death
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

A Ballantine Books Mass Market Original

Copyright © 2010 by Allison Brennan

Excerpt from
Kiss Me, Kill Me
copyright © 2010 by Allison Brennan

All rights reserved.

Cover design: Scott Biel

Cover photo: Roy McMahon/Stock Image/Getty Images

Published in the United States by Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

B
ALLANTINE
and colophon are trademarks of Random House, Inc.

This book contains an excerpt from the forthcoming book
Kiss Me, Kill Me
by Allison Brennan. This excerpt has been set for this edition only and may not reflect the final content of the forthcoming edition.

eISBN: 978-0-345-52040-1

www.ballantinebooks.com

v3.1

For Charlotte Herscher and Dana Isaacson, my amazing and insightful editors.

Your high expectations, sage advice, steadfast guidance—and Dana’s ruthless pencil—are always needed, and very much appreciated

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would not have been able to write this book without the kindness of experts who were willing to answer numerous questions—some common, some definitely unusual. I’ve probably taken some liberties with the facts, but I tried hard to keep the spirit and truth intact.

Authors Terry Spear and Kathy Crouch for information about the United States Air Force; the two soldiers from Travis Air Force Base who let me pick their brains about the USAF and the Ravens between SWAT training exercises at McClellan AFB (you know who you are!); SaVern Fripp with the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, who graciously responded to my emails with terrific imagination; and my longtime friend Dora Kingsley, a California transplant to Georgetown.

A special thank-you to the Sacramento FBI Citizens Academy and fellow alumni for indulging my questions—and detours—during our trip to Quantico, FBI headquarters, and Georgetown; and especially the dedicated SAC Drew Parenti, and FBI SA and media rep Steve Dupre who joined us and made it all happen. I appreciate your time and answers to even my oddest questions.

I especially want to thank the volunteers and staff at the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children who took the time to give our group an extensive and informative tour.

Stories may be written in solitude, but they are produced by many. The Ballantine team is truly exceptional in the industry. From editing to copyediting to production to cover design to marketing to publicity and the entire sales force, I’m lucky to have such a great group of people backing up my books. I particularly want to thank Scott Shannon, Kate Collins, and Gina Wachtel for their support and enthusiasm. And I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my agent, Dan Conaway at Writer’s House, who has taken over the reins with both vision and class.

Where would any of us be without the unconditional love and support of our friends and family? Toni, Rocki, and Karin—you guys stuck with me in good times and bad and I don’t know what to say because thank-you seems so inadequate. How about I’m buying the next round when we all meet again?

My husband, Dan, who picks up the slack when deadlines loom, thank you for understanding my long hours and wandering mind. My kids—thank you for being you, keeping me focused on what’s important, and occasionally making me stop everything just to play games. And of course my mom—wouldn’t be here without her!

Finally, my readers—who love the Kincaids as much as I do. Thank you for the letters and emails and enthusiasm for Lucy’s series. I hope you enjoy her stories as much as I enjoy writing them.

Contents

 

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.

—R
ALPH
W
ALDO
E
MERSON

PROLOGUE
One Week Ago

This was Roger Morton’s big chance—his
only
chance—to get out of the country and re-create the life he used to have. All because of a box of cheap jewelry.

The marina was closed this late at night, but Roger still kept to the shadows as he walked toward the docks. He’d picked this place because it was mostly open and flat; he could see who approached. Tonight, the marina was empty of people, covered boats monuments to warmer days. The security lights over the docks provided the only illumination; it was too foggy to see D.C. on the other side of the Potomac.

He stuffed his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket, wishing he had a warmer coat. It was friggin’ cold. He couldn’t wait to grab his money and get out of this miserable town. He already had a place lined up in South America. Even after six years in prison, Roger had contacts. Once he had the money in hand, he’d be sitting pretty.

Six long years behind bars. His attorney had said he was lucky to get away with only that after the attempted murder of a federal agent and felony rape.
Six years in the federal pen was lucky?
He’d spilled his guts,
given the cops everything they wanted, admitted to everything—well, he
had
left out the crucial detail that he’d killed one of their own people. That fact he’d most certainly kept to himself, thanks very much. Anyway, the Feds didn’t have anything implicating him—no gun, no witnesses, nothing. It had been easy enough to lay blame for that escapade on someone else.

Six years of his life gone. For
cooperating
.

Everything had changed while he was in the pen, and he was damned if he was going to sit around working as a car mechanic making chump change. Not when he knew how to make real money. The kind of serious dough that would set him up in his previous lifestyle, the kind that bought freedom. In prison, his life had been on hold. Now he had the chance to start over.

Adam had spouted off that Roger was the dumb one. Well, Adam was
dead
—how smart did that make
him
?

Roger cautiously approached the meeting spot on the far side of the dry docks. The air coming off the Potomac was so damn cold he wished they could have found a bar to make the exchange. Except Roger couldn’t be seen in his old stomping grounds. He had to keep a low profile. Make the exchange on neutral ground. Of course, he’d left his half of the bargain back at his motel. No fucking way was he going to have his new partner double-cross him. First, he’d get the money, then he’d tell him where to find the jewelry. He wasn’t an idiot; cops were bastards and Roger wouldn’t put it past any of them to set him up. But he’d vetted this guy, demanding to see some of the action he planned on sharing with Roger’s new venture. No way he was a cop.

Roger had enjoyed the digital files of young women
getting screwed every which way. Some were experienced actresses; others were junkies desperate for a quick buck to pay for their next fix. Some of the recordings—the best, in his opinion—were those where the chicks didn’t even know they were being filmed. Amateur whores—Roger saw the marketing potential for that campaign, practically salivating over the dollars he’d rake in. Straight porn wasn’t illegal, but the money was in edgier areas—hidden cameras, underage teens, fantasy rape that wasn’t necessarily consensual.

When there was this kind of money involved, he knew not to bring the merchandise without cash up front.
All
of it. They’d tried to pull a fast one on him yesterday; they’d learned real quick they weren’t dealing with a novice. Adam had been a prick, but he’d taught Roger the tricks of the trade. Only now, with Adam six feet under, Roger wouldn’t have to take orders or get a small percentage of the take. He’d run the website, handle the back end, and his new partner would provide the sex tapes. Fifty-fifty split. Roger was confident the cash would stream in fast, and he’d learned from Adam how to manage the credit cards of their customers and funnel money to offshore accounts. Best of all, without Adam around, Roger wouldn’t have to worry anymore about the snuff films that had brought the Feds down on them in the first place. If Adam hadn’t gotten his ya-yas off strangling the women he screwed, they’d never have been busted. Rape was a crime, but murder was a whole other story.

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