The homicides are both calculated and savage, occurring in different states, but bearing the same signature: the words "for you" scribbled at each crime scene. The case chills Kassidy, bringing back memories of her own encounter with a violent criminal five years earlier.
Kassidy's mentor, legendary agent Talia "The Confessor" Crossen knows the task force assignment is Kassidy's chance to prove to her colleagues that she belongs in the Behavior Analysis Unit. For five years, other FBI agents and profilers scoffed at Kassidy's appointment to the BAU, believing she was only offered the position in exchange for her silence about the brutal assault that almost killed her.
The stakes rise when the task force links the killer's signature to Kassidy. As more and more bodies turn up, Kassidy must delve into her past and the mysterious death of her twin sister, which holds the key to uncovering the killer's identity.
The closer Kassidy comes to finding the killer, the closer she comes to a deadly confrontation that could cost her everything--including her own life.
“Remember me, bitch?”
“Nico Sala,” I said. “I wish I didn’t remember you.”
For that, I caught a wild punch to the face. His fist landed close to my left eye. Again I felt sharp pain. This time it seared across my forehead. I could practically hear my eye swelling.
“I told you, you stupid bitch. I told you I’d find you. I’m gonna gut you alive.”
I believed him. I’d talked to lots of victims of violent crime during my career, and many of them said the same thing: there comes a point where you know your attacker is going to kill you.
Well, here I was. Nico Sala had broken into my home. He’d shot me up, bound me to a chair, hit me. Fear crept along my body with thin, icy fingertips. I moved my arms and legs, trying to figure out how much room I had to work with to free a hand or foot. There wasn’t any.
“Don’t bother,” Nico said. “You’re not going anywhere.”
I rested and watched him with my good eye. I tried to tamp down the fear bubbling up inside, making my already thundering heart race faster. My ears filled with the sound of it, like a train roaring down the tracks. My whole body vibrated. I wondered fleetingly if it was possible for my heart to actually burst right out of my chest. It felt like it might. I drew a deep breath.
He gave me a few more slaps for good measure, grunting as he did so.
Stay calm. The fear will only escalate his violent tendencies.
It was the FBI agent in me, a ridiculously calm voice in my head. I tried to hold onto that part of me. In that moment I wanted to be the clinical behavioral analyst, not the terrified woman I was in reality.
“Aren’t you gonna scream?” he asked.
It wouldn’t do any good, I realized, tears gathering behind my eyes. People in this neighborhood screamed all the time. Everyone heard, but nobody listened.
Calm, the voice urged again. Your life depends on it. I managed to force some bravado. “What?” I said. “And forego hours of torture? Nah.”
Nico grinned and pulled a chair out from the dining room table. He faced it toward him, straddling it so he could fold his arms over its back. “I’m not going to kill you fast,” he said.