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Screw-ups don’t get second chances. That’s what Caitlin Malone believes when she returns to Oregon after failing her first Northstar Security assignment. When she inadvertently stumbles across a plot to steal deadly pathogens from the bio-lab near her hometown, she sees a chance at redemption.
USDA Forest Ranger, John ‘Mac’ MacAlistair, doesn’t want to babysit the motorcycle club holding their annual rally in his national forest. To make matters worse, Caitlin is attending the rally with Mac’s estranged uncle. Having her home again brings up feelings that are better left buried.
It’s early September. Any spark will send the dry timber into a raging fire. The terrorists are counting on that distraction to work in their favor. When Caitlin is trapped by the wildfire, her only hope of rescue is pinned on Mac, the man she’s tried two years to forget. Before they can share their feelings, Mac and Caitlin must first escape the burning forest and stop the terrorists from releasing the deadly pathogens.
Alex Ward is a college student and aspiring investigative journalist. She lives in Dodge, AZ, a tiny town near the US-Mexico border, works for her father’s weekly newspaper and commutes to her college classes a couple of times a week. Nothing much happens to interrupt her routine, which is why she’d love to escape the small town and find excitement in a big city. Until, that is, she finds herself at the scene of a possible murder. Her life is shaken up big time by the arrival at the scene of her ex-boyfriend, who left four years ago and vowed never to come back.
Dylan Chaves, a US Park Service ranger at nearby Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, left town after his high-school graduation, determined to escape the town, the embarrassment of his alcoholic mother, and the torture of inappropriate feelings for a younger girl. Recently called back because of his mother’s terminal illness, he never expected to find Alex still in town.
Alex is drawn into the murder investigation when Dylan falls under suspicion. Before it’s solved, there is another death and both Dylan and Alex face near-death experiences, while the old attraction exerts its pull again.
Carrie Preston has a puzzling and mysterious gift for sensing motive, desire and direction of a perpetrator and killer. Homicide Detective Tom Watts recognizes this gift and is not beyond exploiting it. Waking past midnight to the ringing telephone, Carrie knows the voice on the other end. Tom begins his familiar plea, asking for her help in solving recent murders that appear to be connected. A pattern develops of brutal knifings in health clubs with the victims all women. What is the tie in?
Carrie protests she doesn’t need Tom Watt’s brand of sickness, but she cannot help feeling the familiar draw both to solving the tragic killings and to Tom Watts. Carrie and Tom chase clues throughout Colorado from Denver to the famous ski town of Aspen, stopping over to recoup and enjoy each others company in the world famous Hot Springs Pool at Glenwood Springs. Carrie and Tom may be getting closer as they follow the horrendous trail, the sites of brutal and gruesome deaths, but so is the killer. Closer to Carrie that is.
Suspense mounts with each murder, each clue, and every sensation that Carrie follows toward revelation. In a parallel line, the growing tension between Tom and Carrie increases and builds. Both resolutions promise like terror-risk and danger. Will the killer change his pattern and decide to make Carrie his next “special treat, his bon-bon”?