Dying to Please: A Novel

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Loyal. Beautiful. Professional. Impeccably organized. Potentially lethal. Sarah Stevens is a woman with many distinct qualities. First and foremost a butler par excellence, skilled at running large households smoothly and efficiently, she is also a trained bodyguard and expert marksman–indispensable to her elderly employer, a courtly gentleman whom Sarah has come to respect and love as a father.

Then one night she thwarts a burglary in progress, a courageous act that rewards Sarah her requisite “fifteen minutes of fame” with the local press. But the exposure is enough to catch the attention of a tortured soul who, unbeknownst to Sarah, will stop at nothing to have her for himself.

Sarah’s perfectly ordered life is shattered when tragedy strikes: her beloved employer is brutally murdered. The detective investigating the case, assures Sarah that she is not a suspect. Until lightning strikes twice. There’s a second killing–and this time, despite a lack of evidence connecting her to the crime, Sarah cannot escape the shadow of guilt.

The only option left for Sarah is to carry on with her life. But she doesn’t realize that a deranged stalker is luring her into an elaborate trap . . . one in which she, once ensnared, might never escape. For Sarah soon finds herself at the mercy of a man who will tend to her every whim, smother her with affection, and crush her in his all-consuming embrace.

In a nonstop roller-coaster ride of unrelenting suspense, Linda Howard has written her most chilling novel yet. Dying to Please is a breathless thriller of desire and obsession.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Written in her “trademark darkly sensual style” (Booklist), New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard brings us an electrifying page-turner of passion and suspense with a captivating premise…

What would make the perfect man? That's the delicious topic that heats up the proceedings at a certain table of professional women at their favorite restaurant. What qualities would he have? Would he be tall, dark, and handsome? Caring and warmhearted—or would just muscular do? Jaine Bright and her three girlfriends start off with the basics: he'd be faithful and reliable, the responsible type, and have a great sense of humor.

But as the conversation picks up momentum, so do the quartet's requirements for Mr. Perfect as and they write down a tongue-in-cheek checklist that's both funny and racy. The next thing they know, the List, as it has come to be called, becomes an overnight sensation, spreading through their company like wildfire and grabbing the interest of local newspapers and television coverage. No one expected this avalanche of attention for something that began as a joke among friends. But the joke turns deadly serious when one of the four women is murdered...

The prime suspect in the case is the victim's boyfriend, who was one of a number of men who found the List sexist and offensive. An impenetrable alibi gets him off the hook, but a deadly stalker targets the three remaining friends. Now, with the help of Jaine's neighbor, an unpredictable police detective, the puzzle must be solved as the dream of Mr. Perfect becomes a chilling nightmare.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Ballantine Books
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Published on
Apr 29, 2002
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780345459589
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Romance / Contemporary
Fiction / Romance / Suspense
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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For breathless action, gripping suspense, and intense romance, bestselling author Linda Howard never misses a beat—and her thrilling new novel will have your heart racing.

In the charming rural town of Trail Stop, Idaho, accessible to the outside world by only a single road, young widow Cate Nightingale lives peacefully with her four-year-old twin boys, running a bed-and-breakfast. Though the overnight guests are few and far between—occasional hunters and lake fishermen—Cate always manages to make ends meet with the help of the local jack-of-all-trades, Calvin Harris, who can handle everything from carpentry to plumbing. But Calvin is not what he seems, and Cate’s luck is about to run out.

One morning, the B&B’s only guest inexplicably vanishes, leaving behind his personal effects. A few days later Cate is shocked when armed men storm the house, demanding the mystery man’s belongings. Fearing for her children’s lives, Cate agrees to cooperate—until Calvin saves the day, forcing the intruders to scatter into the surrounding woods.

The nightmare, however, is just beginning. Cate, Calvin, and their entire community find themselves cut off and alone with no means to call for help as the threat gathers intensity and first blood is drawn.

With their fellow residents trapped and the entire town held hostage, Cate and Calvin have no choice but to take the fight to their enemies under the cover of night. While reticent Cal becomes a fearless protector, Cate makes the most daring move of her life . . . into the very heart of danger.
In this breathless new novel, Julie Garwood has written her most electrifying thriller to date.

Avery Delaney has always tried to put the past far behind her. Abandoned by her rapacious, conniving mother when she was only three days old, Avery was raised by her grandmother and beloved aunt Carolyn. Then, when she was eleven, she witnessed her grandmother’s violent death, before Avery herself was shot and left for dead. Miraculously she survived. The man responsible is serving time in a Florida prison. This traumatic experience propels Avery into a life of law and order.

Her razor-sharp mind and ability to gather data and decipher evidence has made Avery an expert crime analyst for the FBI. But soon she will have to use every one of her adroit skills on a case that hits painfully close to home.

Avery’s workaholic aunt, Carolyn Salvetti, is certain her (hopefully soon-to-be ex) husband sent her the gold embossed reservation to the posh Utopia Spa in the mountains of Colorado. At first she is resistant, but then figures it will be a welcome respite from the cutthroat advertising business, not to mention a networking extravaganza. Plus she persuades her niece to join her for the two weeks of luxury and decadence.

But Carolyn never makes it to Utopia. Under false pretenses, she is taken to an isolated retreat by a handsome stranger with a dazzling smile, suave demeanor, and the darkest of motives. His name is Monk, a hired assassin. Now, with scant clues and fewer resources, Avery must track down and save Carolyn—and outmaneuver a brilliant killer who is part of an elaborate plot of madness and lethal vengeance.
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