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Authors: Nancy Bush

You Don't Know Me

BOOK: You Don't Know Me
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OUTSTANDING PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF NANCY BUSH!
 
I’ll Find You
“A fast-paced page turner.”

The Parkersburg News & Sentinel
“A page-turner chock full of suspense and intrigue. Once again, Bush does not disappoint.”

RT Book Reviews
 
Nowhere to Hide
“Pulse-pounding . . . readers will tear through the pages.”

Publishers Weekly
“Edge-of-your-seat suspense keeps the pages turning. This is one definite thrill ride.”

RT Book Reviews
 
Blind Spot
“Engrossing . . . twists you won’t see coming!”
—Karen Rose,
New York Times
bestselling author
“Atmospheric . . . sure to cause shivers.”

Book Page
“Bush keeps the story moving quickly and ends with an unexpected twist.”

Publishers Weekly
 
Unseen
“Full of twists and surprises . . . I couldn’t put it down!”
—Lisa Jackson,
New York Times
bestselling author
“An eerie suspense novel woven with a compelling romance. . . the terrifying denouement will have readers riveted.”

Publishers Weekly
“A creative and mysterious tale with a number of twists, including a surprise ending.”

RT Book Reviews
Books by Nancy Bush
 
CANDY APPLE RED
 
ELECTRIC BLUE
 
ULTRAVIOLET
 
WICKED GAME
 
WICKED LIES
 
SOMETHING WICKED
 
WICKED WAYS
 
UNSEEN
 
BLIND SPOT
 
HUSH
 
NOWHERE TO RUN
 
NOWHERE TO HIDE
 
NOWHERE SAFE
 
SINISTER
 
I’LL FIND YOU
 
YOU CAN’T ESCAPE
 
YOU DON’T KNOW ME
 
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation
You Don’t Know Me
 
NANCY BUSH
 
 
ZEBRA BOOKS
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.
http://www.kensingtonbooks.com
 
All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.
Prologue
 
A Long Time Ago . . .
 
The body lay still under a cold moon. Strangely, almost comically, still. Eyes open, staring into a cold, star-studded sky. Arms flung wide. Head lolling slightly to the right, as if one ear were cocked, listening to the sporadic screech of the winter wind.
Shivering, the woman looked down upon the naked body. He’d deserved to die. She was glad he was dead. There was no remorse inside her for this monster.
Feeling something cold on her face, she was surprised to discover half-frozen tears.
An owl hooted, a lonely sound that shot an icicle of terror into her heart. Time ticked loudly inside her head.
She grabbed his legs and started to drag him across the ground. One of his arms caught on a skinny, bare branch and she jerked hard to free him. Slipping on a patch of ice, she twisted her ankle and bit back a cry of pain. But she didn’t stop. She couldn’t.
Perspiration broke out on her brow and ran beneath her arms as she relentlessly pulled him after her. Her breath plumed in a stream of white fog behind her. Jaw set, she scraped his body over field stubble and dirt clods frozen hard as iron, stumbling a little for he was twice her size.
There was no way to bury him. The ground was frozen and she hadn’t the strength nor the inclination to even try. But there was a storm drain at the far end of this lonely field, and she knew she could roll him down the drainage ditch and stuff his body inside. It would be simple. No one would find him until the spring thaw, and maybe not even then. The chances were he’d be entombed in the storm drain forever.
Then she would leave. All of them could leave.
The torment was over.
Chapter One
 
Last month . . .
 
Two boys on horseback swayed slowly through Forest Service land in central Oregon. It was hunting season and they trailed deer. And while neither one had a permit or rifle, they planned on finding themselves a spike or a four-point and letting their friends know that
they,
little Mikey Watters and shit-for-brains Matt Logan, had seen the
biggest
buck around. Sure, they couldn’t shoot it, but they would have seen it, and that counted. It counted for a lot.
Dust puffed from the horse’s hooves in grainy clouds. Matt wiped his eyes, leaving streaks of grime across his round, freckled face.
“Damn dust,” he complained. Then, liking the sound of that, said even more loudly, “Fucking damn dust.”
Mikey whipped around to look at him, eyes wide. Both boys listened hard, hearts tripping with fear. The “F” word was really bad. Though they were far enough away from home to almost be on a distant planet, there was still a chance their fathers, or snitching older sisters,
might
hear. Then there’d be trouble. Yessirree.
Matt hunched his shoulders. “Nobody out there.” His voice was scarcely more than a whisper.
Mikey nodded. He was impressed with Matt’s daring. Wished he’d been the one to say it.
The ponderosa and jack pines surrounding them staggered into a small field at the northernmost end of the property. A broken-down wire fence, rusted and useless now, defined the line of the Daniels’s place. Some new people lived there now, but Mikey’s and Matt’s parents still referred to it as the Daniels’s place, mainly because Daniels had disappeared one day without a word to his family or any of the townspeople. Matt had once heard his dad describe old man Daniels as the “. . . worst bastard I ever met. Half full of liquor, half full of hate, and chock-full of Satan’s malice . . .”
’Course Daniels was long gone now. Probably dead. Nobody much cared. Once Matt had told his uncle Jack about the Daniels story, but Uncle Jack hadn’t seemed too interested. That was understandable. Uncle Jack worked for the L.A.P.D. and didn’t have time to waste on stuff like that. He was catching
real
criminals. Guys who hurt people and did drugs and stuff. You had to be more than just a bastard to get Uncle Jack’s attention.
At least Uncle Jack
used
to be on the force, but Matt didn’t want to think about that now. He’d rather concentrate on Daniels.
“Bastard,” Matt said, growing bolder by the moment.
“Who you calling that?” Mikey demanded.
“Old man Daniels.”
“Oh.”
The horses pulled at the reins and ducked their heads to the field grass. Mikey and Matt slid to the ground by unspoken agreement. “Let’s go up by the ridge,” Mikey suggested. “Bound to find some real deer there.”
“’Kay.” Matt pulled some jerky from his pocket and the two boys munched in silence, their gazes sweeping the upper ridges. One of the horses moved toward a dried-up drainage ditch and culvert, the culvert so overgrown with weeds, only the merest trickle of water could seep through. Not a big problem. Central Oregon was dry, tons drier than the valley. No flooding here.
“Are those tracks?” Mikey demanded excitedly.
Matt eagerly followed his friend’s gaze toward the scooped-out ditch. There were no tracks, but some of the field grass was broken off. “Our horses broke that off, stupid!”
“Well, sorreee.” Mikey walked toward the ditch.
“Geez, you’re dumb.”
“No dumber than you, shit-for-brains,” Mikey threw out, repeating the oft-used phrase coined by Matt’s most hated enemies, the sixth-graders.
“Little, dopey bastard!”
That did it. Mikey launched himself at Matt and the two boys rolled into the shallow depression that had once been the ditch. They pounded and pummeled at each other without much enthusiasm because, after all, they were best friends. Five minutes later, spent and gasping, they rolled apart.
And that’s when they saw it.
A human skull.
Neither boy was overly impressed. You saw skulls all the time on TV. But nevertheless, it was a find, and Matt screamed out his special Injun
whoop-whoop-whoop
to announce his discovery.
Two hours later, when they showed the skull to Matt’s mom, their estimation of its worth magnified a thousand times. She practically came unglued! Called Uncle Jack right away, who told her to phone Sheriff Dempsey.
Wow.
No more little Mikey Watters and shit-for-brains Matt Logan. They were on the front page of
The Buckeroo Gazette
by week’s end. The ditch was checked out by important policemen and more bones were found, a whole body full. Somebody was checking out whose bones they were. The town was abuzz, but everybody was pretty sure it was old man Daniels, the worst bastard Matt’s dad ever met. Half full of liquor, half full of hate, and chock-full of Satan’s malice.
BOOK: You Don't Know Me
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