Putting the book back on the shelf, Connor’s gaze floated to two pictures in wooden frames. One photograph was of a young woman with a book—much like the ones on the shelf—opened and covering the bottom half of her face. Her mouth wasn’t shown, but there was no denying the smile in her blue eyes or the obnoxious French writing scrawled over the cover of the book. The second picture was of a young Gabriel with a wide grin and black tie draped around a white button-down shirt with his arms wrapped around the waist of a young woman. A curtain of dark, curly hair rained over her face as she twisted away from him, but there was no denying the playful grin beaming from her.
The clinking of glass alerted him to someone behind him. He swiveled, and ice ran through his veins. Gabriel lingered at a drink cart set up beside the lone brown leather chair on the other side of the desk. He had the lip of a crystal decanter pressed against a short glass. Amber liquid flowed from one container to the other. Gabriel waited until his glass was filled before lifting his gaze to Connor. “I don’t see how a picture from my youth can assist you right now, Detective.”
Connor returned his focus to the smiling boy in the picture once more before placing it back where he’d found it. “I was surprised to find a picture of you from—what was this—prom? Not many grown men keep pictures like this around the house.”
Gabriel shrugged and took a sip of his drink. “It reminds me of a simpler time.”
“Who’s the girl?” Connor faced Gabriel and prayed for enough self-control to not hurl himself over the desk and plant his fist into the man’s smug face.
“I don’t remember.” Gabriel rounded the chair and sat, crossing an ankle over his thigh as he settled back against the cushion.
A soft shimmer of light in the backyard caught Connor’s attention. A reflection of some kind. But what was out there? He rushed forward and pressed his nose against the smooth glass. Sonofabitch. Of course Gabriel wouldn’t keep women chained up in his home—he’d hide them behind a wrought iron fence. “Sanders! He’s got a shed in the backyard. Did you check it out?”
Gabriel took another sip of his drink and shifted in the chair.
“No. Let’s go.”
He ran to meet her by the sliding glass door that led to the small backyard then yanked open the door and ran into the night. The rain pounded down harder than before, and his sneakers sloshed in puddles of water pooling in the soggy grass.
“Slow down,” Sanders called from behind him. “We need to clear it before we burst in there to find God knows what. He could have an accomplice inside.”
Her words had him skidding through the slippery yard. Shit. Why hadn’t he thought of that? Gabriel had an airtight alibi for the night Monica went missing, but the idea someone else could have taken her to help Gabriel hadn’t even entered his mind.
Slowing his pace, he grabbed the gun resting at his hip. He stopped in front of the small shed, gun drawn and ready. Sanders hurried to the other side of the door, weapon drawn. They locked gazes, and he nodded as she counted down from three.
His heart beat faster with every second.
Three, two, one.
Connor yanked open the door with one hand and trained his weapon into the dark, dusty shed with the other. Sanders swung around to his side. Nothing moved, no sound greeted them but the echo of raindrops on the tin roof. Shadows of boxes, crates, and garden tools lined the walls. He flipped a switch and illuminated the space. They’d check everything in here more closely, but no way Monica was inside.
Rage boiled through him, and he kicked a stack of boxes. The enclosed space mocked him, and his ragged breaths made his pulse spike.
Where the hell was she? She had to be here. He stepped back outside, letting the rain wash over him and take away the heat licking through his muscles. He faced the window he’d looked out moments before.
Bathed in the light of the room, Gabriel stood, glass lifted in the air in mock salute. His fucking smirk morphed into a grin that melted into laughter.
(C) Danielle M. Haas, Entangled Publishing, 2020. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.
Monica’s stomach fluttered with excitement as she told the interesting man she’d been flirting with online for weeks all about her weekend plans. He was a great match, and they had so many things in common. But sometimes your life can come down to one single bad decision…
NYPD Computer-crimes detective Connor Mitchel’s sister is missing. As he combs through his sister’s life, he realizes Monica might not have been this killer’s first target—or his last. In a twisted game of cat and mouse, Connor thinks he’s finally found the man responsible for his sister’s disappearance. Unfortunately, he’ll first need to convince the shy, distrustful Evelyn Price she could be the next victim tangled in the murderer’s web if she doesn’t agree to help him catch the killer. But just as Connor and Evelyn close in on their quarry, the killer has one last trick up his sleeve that could trap them all…
About Danielle M. Haas
Danielle grew up with a love of reading, partly due to her namesake—Danielle Steele. It seemed as though she was born to write out the same love stories she devoured while growing up. She attended Bowling Green State University with a dream of studying creative writing, but the thought of sharing her work in front of a group of strangers was enough to make her change her major to Political Science. After college she moved across the state of Ohio with her soon-to-be husband. Once they married and had babies, she decided to stay home and raise her children. Some days her sanity slipped further across the line to crazy town so she decided to brush off her rusty writing chops and see what happened. Danielle now spends her days running kids around, playing with her beloved dog, and typing as fast as she can to get the stories in her head written down. She loves to write contemporary romance with relatable characters that make her readers’ hearts happy, as well as fast-paced romantic suspense that leaves them on the edge of their seats. Her story ideas are as varied and unpredictable as her everyday life.