New York Times best seller Lisa Jackson began her career at the urging of her sister, novelist Nancy Bush, with whom she collaborated to write contemporary romance novels, but it didn't take long before she realized she wanted to add more suspense to her work, preferring to raise the hair on the back of readers' necks. So she began writing romantic suspense books, and hasn't slowed down since. Absolute Fear (both a national bestseller and a New York Times best seller) garnered this praise from Publishers Weekly: "Spine-tingling, turbo-charged...unexpected twists and turns," and "tense...suspenseful...shocking...will leave readers on the edges of their seats" from Booklist. In fact, Lisa Jackson's books are so gripping, Jackson herself admits that she has to take breaks from her writing when her protagonists go through particularly harrowing or emotional situations. Fortunately for us, she always comes back, and the results speak for themselves. Lisa Jackson's books have made her a fixture on the national bestseller lists with such romantic suspense books as Malice, Wicked Game, Absolute Fear and, of course, the #1 New York Times best seller, Fatal Burn. Born in Molalla, Oregon, she still lives, loves, and works in the Pacific Northwest.
Afraid to Die
Her skin was tinged with blue. Her ?esh becoming stiff—which was perfect.
Her eyes, through the ice, stared upward, yet they saw nothing and, unfortunately, she couldn’t appreciate how much love, affection and thought was going into this work.
No longer did her shallow breath cause the ice to melt near her nose, and her mouth, thankfully, had closed, her lips perfectly fused together, a darker blue . . . like Sleeping Beauty, he thought as he carefully poured another layer of water over her.
Ice crystals formed over her naked body, glazing the youthful ?esh, sparkling in the dim lights of his cavern.
Humming along to Christmas music playing from his battery-operated docking station in this, his private chamber, he sculpted. Carefully. With precise attention to detail. Perfection; that was what he was striving for. And he would get it.
He kept his sculpting room at thirty degrees, just below freezing, and his breath fogged as he worked in his underground studio. Though a snowstorm was raging through this section of the Bitterroot Mountains, down here, deep in the caves, the air was calm; not a breath of the wind could be heard.
Wearing a neoprene suit, gloves, boots and ski mask, he silently wished he could strip bare, feel the bite of cold air against his ?esh, feel more alive, but that would have to wait. He couldn’t be rash, couldn’t allow any bit of his skin or hair or even sweat to mar his work.
Besides, there was always that sticky problem of DNA once the police became involved. That would be soon, he knew, because this piece of art was nearly ?nished. A little more whittling here, a bit of shaving there.
“Oh, the weather outside is frightful,” he sang along under his breath as the music reverberated through these linked caves that he’d claimed for his work. Hidden deep in these foothills, the caverns provided a perfect spot. A natural spring provided the water he needed, and battery-powered lights gave off a bluish glow. When he needed brighter light, he donned headlamps to illuminate the areas where he needed to work.
From deeper within his workspace he heard a pathetic mewl and he frowned. Why wouldn’t that woman just die, already? He’d given her enough sedatives to knock out an elephant and yet she lay on the precipice between consciousness and death, lingering. And moaning. He frowned, hit his chisel with his hammer and the blade slipped, slicing through his glove and nicking his ?nger. “Damn!” Blood, his damned blood fell in a singular drop along the ice. Quickly it froze and he, rather than smear it, let it dry, all the time irritated at the delay. Once it was solid, he cut around the rivulet, giving wide berth and making certain that no hint of red disturbed his perfect piece of art.
He was sweating by the time he was ?nished excavating the blood. Carefully, telling himself to be patient, he began pouring clear water from the spring over that ?aw in his masterpiece. Allowing the water to freeze, he waited impatiently before pouring a little more, until there was no hint of a ?ssure, no blemish visible.
“Perfect,” he whispered, satis?ed.
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