Growing up in a small town isn’t easy, especially when you’re the daughter of a local cult leader. Ten years ago, Eden Collins left Clear Springs, Montana, and never once looked back. But when the bodies of murdered young women surface, their corpses violated and marked with tattoos worn by her mother’s followers, Eden, now an FBI agent, can’t turn a blind eye. To catch the killer, she’s going to have to return to the fold.
Sheriff Zach Owens isn’t comfortable putting Eden in danger, even if she is an elite agent. And he certainly wasn’t expecting to be so attracted to her. As calm and cool as she appears, he knows this can’t be a happy homecoming. Zach wants to protect her—from her mother, the cult, and the evil that lurks behind its locked gates. But Eden is his only key to the tight-lipped group, and she may just be closer to the killer than either one of them suspects…
“This is stupid. Get out of the car. Get out of the car right now.”
She threw her body into motion, half-afraid that if she didn’t force herself to move, she’d sit there until someone decided to report her for being creepy. Who am I kidding? The people in this place are just as likely to knock on the window and ask me if I need any help.
The fall air had a little bite to it, and she closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. Home.
No. It’s not home. It’ll never be home again.
She’d made a life for herself in the FBI, and if she didn’t have much in the way of roots . . . Well, she’d left the possibility of roots behind when she left Clear Springs. Most days it didn’t even bother her that much. She was doing good in the world, using her nontraditional childhood to give her an edge that had helped her make a name for herself over the last six years in the cult division. She was Eden Collins, FBI agent. She wasn’t that scared little girl. Not anymore.
One step at a time, she made her way into the police station. She’d half expected it to be a whirl of motion, with people rushing here and there, trying to come to terms with the fact that death had touched their small town. But there was no one in the room except a man sitting behind the desk in the corner, glaring at the phone on his desk.
The golden boy of Clear Springs in every sense. His blond hair was still cropped short, hearkening back to his days as a marine, and his body was obviously well taken care of. This wasn’t a man who’d let his years working in a sleepy little town turn him soft.
While Zach took her in, she conducted her own perusal. She’d never met him personally, but she knew him by reputation and pieces of information stolen via eavesdropping. He’d gone off to war a boy and come back a man with shadows in his eyes. Or maybe she was just seeing him with rose-tinted glasses, the tragic figure representing everything she’d never have. Acceptance. Loyalty. The love of the people here.
Something like jealousy curled through her stomach. It was silly and childish and she was better than that, but it was hard not to resent someone who so obviously fit. Eden had done a bit of traveling since she’d turned eighteen and run as far and fast as she could from her mother, but she’d never found a place that was well and truly hers.
He caught sight of her and narrowed his eyes. “Can I help you?”
Being pinned in place by those blue eyes made her second-guess the intelligence of her plan yet again. It didn’t matter. He needed her help, even if he didn’t know it yet. She stepped forward. “I’m here about the body.”
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. She found romance novels at age twelve and it changed her life. When not writing sexy contemporary and speculative fiction romance novels, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her wee ones, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Connect with Katee at: