Title: Sable Quinn Trilogy Boxed Set
K. J. Dahlen
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1
Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press,
The Darkness Within
When a serial killer comes home looking to tie up loose ends, FBI agent Sable Quinn must remember her past to stop him. She alone holds the key to his identity and it’s been locked in her memory for twenty years. She survived being a victim once, can she save herself and an entire family by stopping the killer before he claims them all as his next victims?
Legacy of Murder
When Micah died Sable thought her troubles were over but she’s plunged back into her nightmare when another family member comes after her. He’s not only after what’s left of the Reardon family, but before he murders them he wants to bring down Gabriel’s empire. Sable has to fight to keep herself alive and the others. Will she survive the day of reckoning?
The Unknown Son
FBI agent Sable Quinn has survived several attempts on her life by members of the Reardon family, serial killers with a link to her own past. Now another family member has surfaced, an UNKNOWN SON determined to murder Sable where others have failed.
But Noah must let Sable live long enough to reclaim a fortune in stolen money, gold, and jewels. Unknowingly, Sable possesses the key to this fortune: an ivory handled knife taken as evidence in the murders of her family members.
The Darkness Within
I am just a simple man, living the American dream;
I might be just like you except for the fact that
I am also a serial killer. At first I hated that part of myself, I tried to deny the truth for a long time but I couldn’t deny the excitement that I felt when I began hunting an innocent woman only to end her life. The more I hunted the better I became at hiding from the world my dark secret. Over the years I began to crave the rush I got when the raging beast inside me reared its ugly head. The obsession grew until all I could think about was the next kill, the next young woman whose life I would cut short.
Sable’s hand gripped the pages of what she had just read as she looked up at her boss. “Nick,” she wet her parched lips with the tip of her tongue.
Nick glanced over at her and frowned. Sable’s face was pale and there was a quickness to her breathing that wasn’t normal. “What is it?”
Sable held out the pages to him and sat down at her desk carefully. She put her hands to either side of her head and slowly closed her eyes against the shock she felt. She rubbed her aching temples in an effort to calm her nerves. When she opened her eyes, the first thing she saw was the plain manila envelope lying on her desk. The envelope had her full first name Sabella scrawled in ink on the outside of it. This was the envelope she had opened moments ago. Sable frowned as she reread the name on the front of the envelope. It wasn’t a name she used and no one other than her mother ever called her by that name.
Sable opened her desk drawer and pulled out a large clear plastic bag and carefully tucked the envelope inside. Looking up she saw concern on the faces in front of her. Without saying a word she handed the envelope to her boss, Nicholas Ramer.
Nick glanced at the envelope and compared the writing to that of the letters. Sable’s name was written by the same hand as the pages. He was surprised to find there was no return address on the envelope, and it hadn’t been run through the post office. It had been hand delivered. “What the hell? How did this get in here undetected?”
Nick looked over at the other members of his team and handed the envelope to Quentin Parks. “Run this over to fingerprinting and see who besides us has handled it.”
Nick glanced at Brandi Nichols. “Get a board in here and set it up with the pages. Let’s get a handle on what exactly we’re dealing with.”
He looked over at Max. “See if you can find anything on the surveillance tapes from last night. I don’t like the fact that this guy just walked into our offices without being stopped along the way. This is supposed to be a secure FBI office.”
Max nodded and left the room.
Nick pulled a chair up beside Sable and sat down. “Do you know anything about the pages? How they got into the office or who wrote them?”
“No,” Sable replied. “I found the envelope sitting on my desk and I opened it. I guess I really didn’t think about it.” She looked at Nick and had to ask, “What’s going on here?”
Nick shrugged. “That’s one of the things we need to find out. We also need to find out if this is real or a hoax; and if it is a hoax, we still need to find out who is responsible. I’m not sure I like the fact that someone can just walk in here off the streets and leave a package on one of our desks then walk out again undetected. If it's real, we need to find out who this killer is and how to stop him.” He stood up and held out his hand to her, “Let’s find out what this guy has to say. Let’s do our job and get him off the streets.”
Legacy of Murder
"I know you’re probably wondering what I’m doing here," Gabriel began. He had to pause for a moment then he continued as he laid the envelope on her desk. "I received this in the mail the other day. I’m not really sure what to do with it."
He pushed the envelope over to her then waited while she picked it up. Sable glanced at it, unable to recognize the writing. The letter was addressed to "The Honorable Gabriel Reardon."
Sable glanced over at him asking, "May I?"
He watched as she opened the envelope.
Shocked at the contents of the envelope, she pulled out a birth certificate, a photograph of a small child, and a note. Picking up the photo of the child, she looked it over carefully. The child appeared to be around four to six years old. His hair was a dark color although it was hard to tell. She couldn’t take her eyes off the child‘s face. What drew her gaze was the color of the boy’s eyes. Sable glanced at the birth certificate and quickly read the note. When she finished, she glanced at Gabriel. "Is this for real?"
"As far as I can make out it is," Gabriel said.
A sense of dread filled her as she reread the letter in the envelope. "You murdered my father. I’m here to even the score so watch your backs because you won’t see me coming until its too late. Vengeance shall be mine." The letter was signed Sam.
Sable picked up the birth certificate again and read it carefully. It said a son named Sam had been born to Abbey Larsen one year after Sable had been left for dead in the dry well. The certificate named Micah Reardon as the father of the baby. Doing some math Sable determined Sam was about twenty years old.
Nick and Max were in the office. She had forgotten Quentin and Brandi were out on another case. They would be gone for another three weeks.
"Nick," Sable called out. "We have a problem."
Nick glanced up from the papers he was looking at and frowned. His tall lanky frame barely fit the chair he was sitting in. His dark hair was cut short. Some days it stuck straight up but not today. He remembered the last time she’d said those very words. His frown deepened when he saw Gabriel Reardon sitting at her desk. Nick pushed his chair back away from his desk. He stood, walking toward her desk. "What kind of problem?"
"Oh you know, nothing big," Sable told him. "It seems I have a brother who wants to take over where my father left off and kill his entire family."
Nick stopped. The look on his face was priceless. He snapped his head toward Gabriel as he growled, "What is it with your family? Are they all nuts?"
"It seems they are."
The Unknown Son
With both her life and a fortune on the line, Sable fights her toughest battle yet. Will she survive the final showdown against the last serial killer of the Reardon family?
Sable glanced over at the empty desk in the office and wondered when Max would be back. The bullet he received from Shawn last week had done a number on him, but he survived. She had hoped the nightmare of her past was truly over now but even as she gazed at the open letter on her desk, she knew she might have one more battle to fight.
The letter was from Maggie Yost and it had come out of the blue. She hadn’t thought about Maggie since she’d left Chicago a few months ago. She’d disappeared from the hospital against medical advice after Micah died. Sable tried calling her in Cleveland but Maggie had never returned. Sable learned from Kyle Benson, Maggie’s landlord, she had called him and asked him to pack her things and put them in storage. She would deal with them later. That had happened a couple months ago. Since then he had not seen her or heard from her.
Sable was surprised by Maggie’s letter, but her surprise soon turned to dismay when she read what she had to say. The dismay turned to dread when she realized her nightmare wasn’t quite over yet.
This is the hardest letter I’ve ever had to write. I’ve never admitted this to anyone else, not even myself, but I made a very bad mistake twenty two years ago and now that mistake is going to kill me. I told you I fell in love with Richard at the same time your mother was with Micah, but that wasn’t the truth. Summer had been with Micah earlier, almost two or three years earlier. When Micah and Richard came back and Micah found out about you, that’s when I met Richard.
I fell in love with what I thought was his bad boy image. I didn’t realize what I thought was an image was the real deal until it was too late. He was a real bad person. I was caught between a rock and a hard place. I knew if I left him Richard would track me down and kill me. He told me often enough when he noticed I didn’t want to be with him anymore. I thought he was becoming lost to his own reality then he was dead. When Micah killed Richard, I knew I had to run before he could find and murder me. I saw the fight they had that day and I was witness to the murder. I knew the only way he wouldn’t kill me is if he couldn’t locate me. I had to run away and that’s exactly what I did. I moved around a lot so Micah wouldn’t find me.
It wasn’t until weeks later I found out I was carrying Richard’s child. At first I didn’t know if I wanted to keep the baby or not, but in the end I couldn’t harm my baby. My baby was the only innocent one out of the bunch of us. It was hard to be alone and pregnant, but I knew I couldn’t go home. My family would never have understood my relationship with Richard, and I wanted to keep my baby. When my son Noah was born, I tried to forget his father. I had hopes he would become my son and not a reflection of Richard.
We struggled but we had each other. Noah was such a happy child and he became the love of my life. After awhile, I guess I had forgotten about Micah. I thought I dodged the worse but all that changed when my son was ten. He became secretive and sneaky and he began looking at me with mistrust. I tried to get him to talk to me but he wouldn’t tell me what I’d done wrong. It never dawned on me I could lose him; especially not to the one person I had learned to fear more than Richard. Noah spent a lot of time away from home but he wouldn’t tell me where he was or who he was with. Then when he was fourteen he ran away. It was several weeks before I realized he was running straight to Micah.
Micah sent me a postcard about three weeks after Noah disappeared. He told me not to worry about my son; Noah was with him and he would raise him to be a man, just like his father was. He told me he would be back to settle the score with me at a later date. Every day for the last nine years I’ve had to live with the fear that one day Micah would just show up at my front door. I moved from town to town hoping to avoid the confrontation I knew was coming.
When you found me, I was almost relieved. I’m only sorry I didn’t tell you the truth, the whole truth but I had to keep certain things from you. I still had to protect my son. I prayed Noah wasn’t with Micah and for a moment I thought he wasn’t. When Micah took me to the well, he told me Noah had become the man he had hoped. He said Noah took to the life better than Richard had and if by some chance Micah died in the final battle between the two of you, it would be Noah that would finish his work; Noah, Sam, or Shawn.
I’ve been running for awhile now but it hasn’t done any good. No matter where I go I can still feel him right behind me. I don’t know if he’s really there or not but someone has been watching me. Maybe it’s only my conscience making me feel this way, but the other day I saw someone standing on the corner staring at me. I came to La Crosse to get lost in the crowds but I think Noah has found me again. I know after all I’ve done to you, you have no reason to help me but I’m begging you to please help me. I don’t want to die by my son’s hand.
Even as I write this letter I can feel him getting closer. I received a call late last night. When I picked up the phone, I heard a voice I barely remembered. He told me he was in town and wanted to stop by and say hello. When I told him I didn’t believe him, he told me I shouldn’t. He said he was here to tie up loose ends. He said he had a job to finish and Micah was counting on him to finish it.
“Nick,” she called out.
Nick lifted his head from the report he was reading. When Sable held up the letter she received in the morning mail, he pushed back his chair. Walking over to her desk, he took the letter and began reading it. A moment later he lifted his eyes from the paper and looked at her. “Are you kidding?”
Sable shook her head. “Apparently this nightmare isn’t quite over yet.”