Love Kills, page 1
Table of Contents
A PERFECT LIE
THE NAKED TRILOGY
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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All characters in this book are fiction and figments of the author’s imagination. www.lisareneejones.com.
LISA RENEE JONES
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Lilah Love (28)—dark-brown hair, brown eyes, curvy figure. An FBI profiler working in Los Angeles, she grew up in the Hamptons. Her mother was a famous movie star who died tragically in a plane crash, which caused Lilah to leave law school prematurely and eventually pursue a career in law enforcement. Lilah’s father is the mayor in East Hampton; her brother is the Hamptons’ chief of police. She dated Kane Mendez against her father’s wishes. She was brutally attacked one night, and Kane came to her rescue, somewhat, and what unfolded that night created a secret between the two they can never share with anyone else. This eventually causes Lilah to leave and take the job in LA, away from her family, Kane, and that secret.
Kane Mendez (32)—brown hair, dark-brown eyes, leanly muscled body. He’s the CEO of Mendez Enterprises and thought to be the leader of the cartel that his father left behind when he was killed. But Kane claims his uncle runs the operations, while he runs the legitimate side of the business. Lilah’s ex from before she left for LA. He found her the night of her attack and shares that secret with her.
Director Murphy (50s)—gray hair, perfectly groomed. Former military. Lilah’s boss. The head of the LA branch of the FBI. Sent Lilah to the Hamptons to follow the assassin case.
Rich Moore—blond surfer-dude looks, blue eyes. Works with Lilah. He and Lilah were sleeping together until Rich wanted more and Lilah called it off.
Jeff “Tic Tac” Landers—Lilah’s go-to tech guy at the FBI.
Grant Love (57)—blue eyes, graying hair. Lilah’s father, the mayor, and retired police chief of East Hampton. A perfect politician. Charming. He’s being groomed by Ted Pocher to run for New York governor.
Andrew Love (34)—blond hair, blue eyes. Lilah’s brother and the East Hampton police chief. Andrew is protective and seems to be the perfect brother. The problem is that he’s perfect at everything, including being as macho and as bossy as their father. There’s more to Andrew than meets the eye.
Lucas Davenport—tall, looks like a preppy version of Tarzan. A very successful and good-looking investment banker, he has taken to hacking in his spare time. He is a cousin of sorts to Lilah and Andrew. His father was the stepbrother to Lilah’s father. His father was also known to be with Lilah’s mother, Laura, on the night they both disappeared in the plane crash. He flirts mercilessly with Lilah, seeing as they’re not blood-related, but she always shoots him down.
Greg Harrison—Lilah’s old partner from the New York Police Department. Currently in a lot of hot water with Internal Affairs over an incident that may or may not be of his own making. He was partnered with Nelson Moser prior to being put on leave by IA pending further investigation but has been working independent security with Moser in the meantime.
Nelson Moser—a lowlife police detective who offended Lilah on numerous occasions before she moved to Los Angeles. She is not very fond of him, and the rumor circulating about him is that he’s a dirty cop.
Laura Love—Lilah’s mother. Famous actress. Died four years ago in a horrific plane crash. She infamously portrayed Marilyn Monroe in an Oscar-winning performance. Much mystery still surrounds her death and will be a recurring issue throughout the series.
Ted Pocher—billionaire CEO of the world’s fifth-largest privately held conglomerate, Pocher Industries. Has taken a liking to Lilah’s father in hopes of furthering her father’s political career. He tried to do business with Kane and Mendez Enterprises but was turned down because of his rep for shady business deals.
Beth Smith—blonde, tall, thin. The new medical examiner in Suffolk County. Lilah’s friend from back in the day. Beth is working one of the assassin murder cases.
Lori Williams (40s)—detective in charge of the first crime scene in Love Me Dead. Went missing shortly after and is connected to the Umbrella Man case. When we left off, she was in the alleyway with Lilah, Jay, and the Umbrella Man.
Ralph Redman—Williams’ boyfriend, criminal attorney. He killed himself while in court. A victim of Umbrella Man.
Jay—Kane’s man sent to watch over Lilah. Was shot in the final scene of Love Me Dead.
Thomas Miller (30s)—redhead from the forensics portion of the investigation.
Sally (50s)—gruff, wild brown curls, works at the station.
Lily (25)—petite, brunette, research girl.
Chief Houston (30s)—Lilah knows him from back in the day. Is currently working with her on the Umbrella Man case. They butt heads, but they’re amiable.
Kit—tall, brooding, fit Mexican man who smiles big and kills easily. Security guard for Kane’s apartment.
Melanie Carmichael—new medical examiner dealing with the case while Beth is overseas.
Love Kills picks up right where Love Me Dead left off. Lilah Love, our resident bad-mouthed FBI profiler is in a faceoff with the Umbrella Man. A serial killer who is wreaking havoc in New York, killing women, and getting Lilah’s attention in all the wrong ways. There’s parts of this case that just can’t be ignored are pointedly for Lilah herself. This is no ordinary serial killer, but when has Lilah ever attracted an or
This case first opens up with Lilah’s current boss, Director Murphy, calling Lilah to inform her that her former mentor Roger Griffin asked for her assistance on three murders. But when Lilah turns up at the current case, she soon learns Roger never called for her, he’s not even involved in the case, which is singular, not triplicate, but this case is too gruesome, and her happenstance upon it, is too peculiar to let go. So, soon, Lilah has taken jurisdiction, over not just the one victim, but another who died in her arms. Both of poisoned. Both with pristine homes, which was unlike them. Both holding umbrellas forced in their hands. And now, loved ones of theirs are dead too. The local detective on the case, Lori Williams, who doesn’t match the victim appearances at all, soon goes missing, causing another wrinkle in this case, which worsens when her boyfriend kills himself in court. A mark of the serial killer, which is to force the loved ones to kill themselves.
While Lilah is navigating her first case back in New York City, she’s also navigating her relationship with the infamous Kane Mendez. They toe a fine line between her badge, and his family’s cartel involvement. They’re the worst match on paper, but in the real world they’re made for each other. And while this case is reminding Lilah why she does what she does for a living, Kane is reminding her how good they are by welcoming her back into the home they once shared—her clothes right where she left them. But Lilah and Kane aren’t the roses and unicorn type of couple. No, amidst this insane case she’s working, and his missing uncle who runs the cartel, Kane has assigned one of his men to closely watch over Lilah much to her absolute refusal, but Jay isn’t going anywhere, despite her best efforts to threaten him away. Though shockingly, as the case progresses, he proves himself helpful and loyal time and time again.
Eventually, Kane and Lilah end up at a high-society event in “support” of her father (as much support as she could ever give that man), to make a statement, that they’re back and a force to be reckoned with. But soon, this even leads right back to Lilah’s case with a dead pig making an appearance which relates back to the massive amounts of pig’s blood found at the first crime scene. Just as the case is heating up, Kane has to leave, and Lilah is left trying to figure out which way is up and which was is down with this case. Does it relate to her? Is this just some sick and twisted individual? But the scene at her father’s event, the victims’ likeness to her old friend, Beth Smith, who was also mysteriously called to the first crime scene as the medical examiner, and then subsequently shipped off to Europe because of said likeness to the victims, all of it just doesn’t set right with Lilah.
So she sets off to do what she was trying to avoid, she sits down with her old mentor Roger, who has input himself into the case, to work through it how they used to. But on the tail end of that brainstorming session, when Lilah is on her way home, she knows this is the night Umbrella Man will strike again. And so he does. In an alleyway, she’s at a standoff with Umbrella Man, a victim, and Detective Williams. Just as bullets begin to fly, Jay leaps in front of her to save her and gets shot, and she’s now walking toward the figure she believes is the killer and all the answers right along with him…
It’s as if time stands still.
Jay, Kane’s idea of the bodyguard that I don’t need, is now lying on the ground bleeding out, while I’m running down a dark alley toward his shooter, gambling that I’m not about to bleed out with him. Gambling that this person in front of me, dressed as a woman and holding an umbrella, doesn’t want me dead, too. Gambling that this is, in fact, the Umbrella Man, who wants to keep playing games with me. Gambling that I’m about to be close enough to use the gun in my hand and shoot the fucker, with the intent to kill him, and do so with a smile on my face.
I’m halfway to my target, the person and that umbrella, when a hard, loud crack sounds, echoing through the alleyway, the origination source impossible to pinpoint.
“Get down, Lilah!” Jay shouts, and I consider the very real possibility that the Umbrella Man is behind me, or worse, the sick fuck has another sick fuck helping him kill people, and that sick fuck is now behind me. In which case, Jay is all but dead, and the woman in front of me, really is a woman, not the Umbrella Man, meaning she needs my help.
I launch myself toward her, and the instant I’m in motion again, another crack breaks through the stiff rain-laden air, seeming to come from right in front of me. I can feel the moment that bullet zips past me. He’s fucking firing right at me, testing me, pushing me, trying to scare me.
I don’t stop moving, but a part of me gives him what he wants. I react. I brace for impact when I normally wouldn’t give a fuck. Clearly, that’s changed, and I know why—Kane fucking Mendez. I fucking want to live for Kane. I don’t want to leave this earth because of that man, and I hate him right this minute for making me a scared little bitch. I hate scared little bitches. Another crack sounds, and this time, I’m certain the sound is coming from above. Instinct has me looking upward, scanning rooftops, when suddenly, the person in front of me crumbles to the ground.
That’s not the Umbrella Man.
“Call an ambulance!” I shout at Jay and then I forget about protecting myself.
I lunge for the person sprawled on the pavement to find it is a woman, an umbrella over her head, along with her hands, which I assume to be taped to the handle, as was the case with the prior victim. Thunder roars above, and more rain begins to pelt down on me in cold droplets, but I push onward. I kneel next to the victim who has lipstick smudged all over her face and a bullet hole in her chest, a hole gushing blood. Nothing about this fits what I know of the Umbrella Man who kills with poison. I check for a pulse, and there isn’t one.
“Take cover!” Jay shouts. “Take cover.”
I ignore the warning because let’s face it—if the shooter wanted me face down and bleeding out, I’d be face down and bleeding out. My focus is now on the eerily silent Detective Williams, who’s still tied up in the corner, no longer shouting out warnings. I grab my flashlight, shining it toward her location to find her slumped over, which I’d bet my crime lord Latin lover, who says he’s not a crime lord, means she’s dead. I jerk my flashlight right, standing as I do, searching the dark shithole of an alleyway, that feels like it’s about to swallow me whole.
A movement, or more a shift in the air, has me swinging back to my light left, when suddenly a man comes from above, jumping to land a foot in front of me. By the time he’s steady on his feet, my weapon is steady in my hand and pointed at him, right along with my light. Un-fucking-fortunately, his gun is pointed at me as well. I’m a good shot. He’s better.
I blink to confirm that the most notorious assassin on planet earth, at least that’s still living, is standing in front of me. A man who recently did me and Kane a favor, which means nothing. A favor from this man won’t stop him from killing you the next time.
“What the hell are you doing here, Ghost?” I demand, because this man doesn’t play games about killing. He just pulls the trigger, and yet, he’s wasting time pointing a gun at me.
“Saving your ass,” he says, “say thank you.”
“I can save myself, which includes killing you and becoming a hero.”
“A hero to who?” he asks.
“Everyone you might kill in the future, which we both know will be many.”
“But you won’t kill me,” he counters. “You’re too like me to want to see me fall.”
Too like him. It’s not a statement that I wear easily, but it’s one I wear too well for comfort. “Did you kill those women?”
“Yeah, honey, I killed them. They were both booby traps. It was you or them. Look for yourself.” He shines a flashlight on Detective Williams’ hand, where it dangles near the ground, a gun taped to her palm.
“Her finger is right above the trigger,” he says. “The minute you tried to move her, she’d shoot you. It’s really a clever s
And knowing all this, that bitch, a member of law enforcement who vowed to protect and serve, called me forward, lured me in.
“She didn’t take her oath seriously, now did she?” he asks, reading my mind. “She lured you further into the trap.”
Which makes me wonder if she was involved in this, if she felt safe. If she was playing the victim. If she was him. My gaze jerks back to Ghost. “And the other one?” I demand.
“She was booby-trapped, but that was irrelevant. I showed the other one mercy. He poisoned her. It wasn’t going to end well for her.”
“You show mercy?”
“Even I do, indeed, put a wounded animal out of its misery.”
I move on. “How do you know he poisoned her?”
“I saw him set the whole thing up.”
He saw him.
A statement that says Williams wasn’t the Umbrella Man. “And you let this happen?” I challenge.
“I don’t get involved in other people’s business.”
“And yet, here you are,” I say dryly. I don’t wait for a reply. “Who is he?”
“Sick fuck had paint on his face.”
“But it was a man?”
“It?” He laughs. “Yes. It was a man.”
Now he’s just pissing me off. “Why the fuck didn’t you shoot him?”
“I don’t interfere in what isn’t my business.”
“You just shot two women.”
“Once you were involved.”
I don’t even hesitate. I close the space between me and him and shove the muzzle of my weapon into his chest, my flashlight beaming into his face. “You just shot two women. That’s involved.”
“You’re my business.”
“I am not your business.”
“I’ve decided that you are.”
“I should shoot you just for saying that,” I warn, and I mean it. He’s a killer. Interest in me is trouble.
“And yet, we both know you won’t.”
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