Can you really go back home? A single mother returns to her small hometown after sixteen years when she hears that her father has suffered a heart attack. While home, she comes face to face with the realization that imitation is not the preferred form of flattery when a sadistic killer brings her imagination to life.
What was she going to tell him? How could she ever express her feelings without being certain that he felt the same? She would not allow herself to be hurt again and he was exactly the type of man that could rip what was left her heart to pieces. No. She would remain silent. She would forget his handsome face and charming smile. She would push the memories of their time together far from her mind. She would move on and leave him behind. It was the only way to ensure her sanity - and her heart - would remain intact.
Starting the engine, she allowed herself one quick look in the rearview mirror before throwing the car in drive and spinning her way out of his town and even further from his life. He would have to understand that the worlds of Jayson Whilby and Nicole North could never coincide. She wasn't sure if there was any world that would fit inside her own. What frightened her the most was knowing that she didn't want there to be one. Her life is her own and she knew no one else could be happy in her world. She was alone.
Her cell phone rang, interrupting her solitude and she hesitated before flipping it open.
"North." She answered, hoping against hope that Jayson hadn't already discovered her gone.
"We've got another one."
Nick let out the breath she wasn't aware she was holding and sighed. "What do you mean 'another one'? I locked that monster away myself."
"Well, either you got the wrong monster or he didn't work alone. Same MO. Same weapon. Same strange symbol on the body. You better get down here."
She banged her fist on the steering wheel. There was no way that Vincent Menendez wasn't the killer. No way. "Where?"
"Seward, Nebraska. It's a small town thirty miles outside of Lincoln."
She slammed her phone shut and threw in the console, startling Titus in the seat beside her. She scratched behind the German Shepherd's ear and smiled as he licked her arm and wagged his tail. "Looks like we're going to Nebraska, boy. We've got more work to do."
Savannah Donavan saved the document and pushed away from her desk, relieved to finally be letting go of yet another Nick North novel. She loved this character deeply, but she felt that perhaps Nick North was growing a bit stagnant. Her publicist, however, feels that the series is doing far too well to even discuss a new series. Savannah had to admit that her brazen female FBI agent has brought her nothing but success since she first created her nearly six years ago, but she still wanted more. She has countless other characters and stories demanding attention that, unfortunately, she is currently unable to award. Her agent and publicist both agree that Nick North should be her primary focus right now and they both insist that she should simply enjoy the ride. With two books already in film and Hollywood contracting to complete the rest of the series, Savannah knew that she had no cause for complaint.
Residing herself to that fact, she turned off the computer and dialed her agent's number. He has been chomping at the bit for the latest installment and he would be just as relieved to know that it was complete. Thankful that she received his voice mail, she left a brief message and hung up before walking to the kitchen to start dinner. This latest novel had been particularly difficult to create, but it would soon be on a disc and mailed to her publicist. Then the only thing she has to worry about is the premise for the next book, which she would have to begin shortly if she expected to stay in line with her contract. She could remember a time when writing had been fun. Her chance to escape the real world and dive into the world of her characters. It hadn't been about script approvals and deadlines and book tours and fan sites. It was times like this when she was really thankful that she decided to write under a pseudonym, despite her agent pleading with her to do otherwise. A pen name awarded her the privacy she craved while remaining successful. In truth, Savannah had no qualms with allowing the world to assume that Staci O'Dell created Nick North.
She took the remaining ingredients from the fridge for the homemade pizza and set them on the counter when the phone rang. She thought about letting the machine get it, but it might be Jacob. She dried her hands and answered the phone on the third ring.
Savannah smiled. "Hi, Mom." She carried the cordless phone to the counter and pressed it between her ear and shoulder to free her hands to slice the green pepper.
"Something's happened, sweetie."
Savannah froze, listening as Wendy Donavan tried to maintain her thin composure. "What is it, Mom? What's wrong?"
"It's your father. He's had a heart attack."
Savannah closed her eyes, envisioning her father. At least, the way he looked the last time she saw him many, many years ago.
"Dr. Frank said it was serious and that we should prepare ourselves." At this, Wendy broke down. The sobbing through the phone was enough to tear Savannah's heart in two.
Savannah quickly put everything back inside the fridge and untied her apron. "We're on our way, Mom."