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The Perfect Husband
Cover of The Perfect Husband
The Perfect Husband
Quincy / Rainie Series, Book 1
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What would you do if the man of your dreams hides the soul of a killer?

Jim Beckett was everything she'd ever dreamed of . . . But two years after Tess married the decorated cop and bore his child, she helped put him behind bars for savagely murdering ten women. Even locked up in a maximum security prison, he vowed he would come after her and make her pay. Now the cunning killer has escaped—and the most dangerous game of all begins. . . .

After a lifetime of fear, Tess will do something she's never done before. She's going to learn to protect her daughter and fight back, with the help of a burned-out ex-marine. As the largest manhunt four states have ever seen mobilizes to catch Beckett, the clock winds down to the terrifying reunion between husband and wife. And Tess knows that this time, her only choices are to kill—or be killed.
What would you do if the man of your dreams hides the soul of a killer?

Jim Beckett was everything she'd ever dreamed of . . . But two years after Tess married the decorated cop and bore his child, she helped put him behind bars for savagely murdering ten women. Even locked up in a maximum security prison, he vowed he would come after her and make her pay. Now the cunning killer has escaped—and the most dangerous game of all begins. . . .

After a lifetime of fear, Tess will do something she's never done before. She's going to learn to protect her daughter and fight back, with the help of a burned-out ex-marine. As the largest manhunt four states have ever seen mobilizes to catch Beckett, the clock winds down to the terrifying reunion between husband and wife. And Tess knows that this time, her only choices are to kill—or be killed.
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One Tess Williams awoke as she'd learned to awaken––slowly, degree by degree, so that she reached consciousness without ever giving herself away. First her ears woke up, seeking out the sound of another person breathing. Next, her skin prickled to life, searching for the burning length of her husband's body pressed against her back. Finally, when her ears registered no sound and her skin found her alone in her bed, her eyes opened, going automatically to the closet and checking the small wooden chair she'd jammed beneath the doorknob in the middle of the night.

    The chair was still in place. She released the breath she'd been holding and sat up. The empty room was already bright with mid-morning sun, the adobe walls golden and cheery. The air was hot. Her T-shirt stuck to her back, but maybe the sweat came from nightmares that never quite went away. She'd once liked mornings. They were difficult for her now, but not as difficult as night, when she would lie there and try to force her eyes to give up their vigilant search of shadows in favor of sleep.

    You made it, she told herself. You actually made it.

    For the last two years she'd been running, clutching her four-year-old daughter's hand and trying to convince Samantha that everything would be all right. She'd picked up aliases like decorative accessories and new addresses like spare parts. But she'd never really escaped. Late at night, she would sit at the edge of her daughter's bed, stroking Samantha's golden hair, and stare at the closet with fatalistic eyes.

    She knew just what kind of monsters hid in the closet. She had seen the crime scene photos of what they could do. Three weeks ago, her personal monster had broken out of a maximum security prison by beating two guards to death in under two minutes.

    Tess had called Lieutenant Lance Difford. He'd called Vince. The wheels were set in motion. Tess Williams had hidden Samantha safely away, then she had traveled as far as she could travel. Then she had traveled some more.

    First, she'd taken the train, and the train had taken her through New England fields of waving grass and industrial sectors of twisted metal. Then she'd caught a plane, flying over everything as if that would help her forget and covering so many miles she left behind even fall and returned to summer.

    Landing in Phoenix was like arriving in a moon crater: everything was red, dusty, and bordered by distant blue mountains. She'd never seen palms; here roads were lined with them. She'd never seen cactus; here they covered the land like an encroaching army.

    The bus had only moved her farther into alien terrain. The red hills had disappeared, the sun had gained fury. Signs for cities had been replaced by signs reading STATE PRISON IN AREA. DO NOT STOP FOR HITCHHIKERS.

    The reds and browns had seeped away until the bus rolled through sun-baked amber and bleached-out greens. The mountains no longer followed like kindly grandfathers. In this strange, harsh land of southern Arizona, even the hills were tormented, flayed alive methodically by mining trucks and bulldozers.

    It was the kind of land where you really did expect to turn and see the OK Corral. The kind of land where lizards were beautiful and coyotes cute. The kind of land where the hothouse rose died and the prickly cactus lived.

    It was perfect.

    Tess climbed out of bed. She moved slowly. Her right leg was stiff and achy, the jagged scar twitching with ghost pains. Her left wrist throbbed, ringed by a harsh circle of purple bruises. She could tell it wasn't anything serious––her father had taught her a lot about broken bones. As things went in...
About the Author-
  • Lisa Gardner is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels. Her Detective D. D. Warren novels include Live to Tell, Hide, Alone, and The Neighbor, winner of the International Thriller Writers’ Award. Her FBI Profiler novels include Say Goodbye, Gone, The Killing Hour, The Next Accident, and The Third Victim. She lives with her family in New England.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 1, 1997
    Lisa Baumgartner makes her debut as a writer of romantic suspense under the name of Lisa Gardner with this sexy and smooth-talking first. The villain, Jim Beckett, cuts off the fingers of his victims with a dull Swiss Army knife--before he bats their brains out with a Louisville slugger. His poor ex-wife, Tess, who helped to get him arrested, is on the run with her daughter because Jim has escaped from jail and vowed to cut the still-beating heart out of her chest. Tess offers retired mercenary and sometime drunk J.T. Dillon $100,000 if he will teach her how to defend herself. J.T., like the others of his ilk, has muscles of steel attached to viscera of mush. He takes up her cause and gives Tess her first orgasm--psycho-killers apparently are not good lovers. In what might be termed the new genre of "grisly romance," Gardner delivers a streamlined bang-up addition to the oeuvre of Tami Hoag, Karen Robards, Elizabeth Powell and, these days, even Nora Roberts.

  • Publishers Weekly "A streamlined bang-up addition to the oeuvre of Tami Hoag, Karen Robards, Elizabeth Powell and, these days, even Nora Roberts."
  • Iris Johansen, author of The Ugly Duckling "A dark, powerful tale of nerve-shattering suspense."
  • Tess Gerritsen, author of Harvest "A chilling story of revenge and betrayal, with one of the creepiest villains I've ever read."
  • Karen Robards, author of Walking After Midnight and Hunter's Moon "An unforgettably evil villain and a throat-gripping climax make The Perfect Husband a real page-turner!"
  • Kay Hooper, author of Amanda and After Caroline "I loved this book! I was up till 2 a.m. finishing it!"
  • Eileen Dreyer, author of Brain Dead "Nail-biting suspense...a taut roller coaster of a story that kept me up very, very late."
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The Perfect Husband
The Perfect Husband
Quincy / Rainie Series, Book 1
Lisa Gardner
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