After losing her sister to a serial killer years earlier, scientist Mia Lindgren survives by focusing on the most dangerous viruses known to man. She’s become adept at shutting herself off from human contact—until her lab partner drowns under suspicious circumstances.
Forced to accept the assistance of Nick Doyle, an FBI counter-terrorism expert on leave, she soon realizes someone at the Institute for Research of Infectious Diseases is involved in a deadly deception. As she and Nick race to find a killer who will stop at nothing to accomplish his version of Armageddon, they can’t ignore their own chemistry. But can Mia truly put the past to rest?
As Mia inserted Mike’s key into the front door of his condo she wondered what it was about Nick Doyle that made her want to impress him. If it hadn’t been for the concern in his voice she might have backed out of her plan to search Mike’s place. But Nick’s skepticism had been too much to take. She was a trained scientist for God’s sake. She’d been right about what she told him over the phone. If she could handle Ebola, she could manage to get in and out of a dead man’s house after dark without being seen.
Especially if you have a key.
The white lie she’d told Nick niggled at her sense of protocol. She shouldn’t have made it sound as if she were going to break the law. She’d actually used the term B & E.
He had practically goaded her into it. Not just into using the lingo but into visiting Mike’s condo in the first place.
Um, no. The guy had done his best to talk her out of it.
The key clicked into place and she pushed the door open. She’d been inside Mike’s place several times, so the shadows weren’t unfamiliar, but that didn’t make it any less creepy. She stepped inside and peered into the shadows. She didn’t want to risk turning on a light. If Mike’s death really hadn’t been an accident, it probably wasn’t a good idea.
Or maybe she was just a paranoid freak who couldn’t accept her partner was gone.
That was why she was here, wasn’t it? If she searched the condo for evidence and came up with nothing, she’d accept that her theory was wrong. Just like she did back in the lab.
She pulled an LED flashlight out of her jacket and swept it across the living room. Someone, probably Mike’s parents, had taken some of his things out of the place. She tried to remember if there had been curtains or shades that ran across the sliding glass doors along the far wall or if they had always been bare. Mike’s parents had told her at the funeral that they planned to put the condo on the market as soon as possible. Maybe they’d already been there to clean up. And the police had searched the place the day after the drowning, though she had her doubts about how thoroughly they’d done it.
Everybody, including the police, seemed to buy into the idea that he’d drowned. A dead body washed ashore tended to be pretty convincing. Just not to her.
“Hello,” she called out. “Is anybody there?”
Not that she’d expected one.
Mia took several steps forward into the living room, unsure where she should start. She wasn’t even sure what she was looking for, because she had no idea why someone would want to kill Mike in the first place. He’d always struck her as a genuinely nice guy. Harvard educated and rich with a pedigree to match. And Mike wasn’t a snob either. He had a sense of fundamental decency and was the only guy she’d ever met who’d actually read his school’s honor code. As for friends, he literally had dozens in cities across the country. Make that across the globe, she amended. Mia had her doubts about how many of them would stick around if he’d been poor but Mike’s good nature made her wonder if she wasn’t being overly cynical. He wasn’t the kind of guy who had enemies—not to mention the sort of man most women would love to spend their lives with.
Beating herself up about rejecting Mike wasn’t going to get her anywhere. And that nice, honorable guy lied to you. No, not lied. He’d never outright deceived her. But he certainly hadn’t mentioned he’d been working on some mystery virus without her either. In the two years she’d been working at IRID, Mike had never kept anything from her. They’d been partners and had shared everything, at least as far as work went.
At least that’s what she’d believed.
A quick inspection of the living room didn’t yield much. There was a smattering of DVDs and a bookshelf filled with popular novels and a few textbooks that looked as if they were left over from grad school. The framed photos scattered throughout the room were of his family and friends. Caught by the flashlight’s beam, Mike’s boyish grin leapt out at her from a shot taken that summer.
She knew because she’d taken it.
5 out of 5 (exceptional)
Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
This was a great read! It kept me on my toes, kept me reading, held my attention, and kept me guessing.
It wasn’t until nearing the last quarter of the story that I was able to make a good guess who the “bad guy” was. I made a guess and was wrong and had to read a little bit more to find out for sure who it was. The author did a great job writing twists and turns to keep you guessing and keep the story interesting.
The details and descriptions really were what made this story such a good story. It made certain parts of the story feel more important, and made the characters pop. On the flip side, there was a lack of detail during certain parts of the story that simply kept you reading, instead of giving it away too early. The details the author put into the bird scene were one of my favorite. I know that’s a really vague statement, but you’ll understand once you read the book.
The romance part of the story was sweet and deserved. The two characters were two very loving people whole felt they couldn’t give themselves to anyone else in that manner due to their past. They were meant to be, meant to heal one another, and meant to protect one another as well.
If you like thrilling, suspenseful stories then I’d absolutely recommend this story. I really enjoyed reading it.
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
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Gwenan Haines lives in New England with her daughter and a Siberian husky born on Halloween. She’s been hooked on suspense ever since her mom read her an old Nancy Drew mystery when she was five years old. She also loves romance and fantasy. Her paranormal novella, WRAITH, and novel, SHIFT, the first two installments in the SHADOW WORLD series, are under contract with Wild Rose Press's fantasy line. When she’s not plotting her newest mystery, she teaches community college and writes lots of poetry.
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