Dangerous Behavior

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Dangerous Behavior

Just one look, and it’s clear they’re perfect together. It’s in the way they touch, talk, and kiss. They share the same interests. The same twisted passions. They do everything together. Even kill…

Julia St. James Ford has washed up on a beach near her home in Seaside, Oregon, with no memory of how she got there or how her husband, Joe, died. The police rule the case an accident. But Joe’s brother, Sam—Jules’ rescuer and her first love—suspects otherwise. While Sam tries to piece the facts together, Jules fears someone is watching, determined to find out how much she knows.

Behind closed doors, behind Jules’ neighbors’ smiles, are terrifying secrets. A string of sordid thrill kills…and one survivor who never should have got away. And as she and Sam close in on the events of one tragic night, and the truth comes flooding back, remembering a killer’s face may be the last thing Jules ever does…

Praise for Nancy Bush’s You Can’t Escape


“I can tell the future,” she said. He slid a look over to the woman two seats down at the bar. Tiny Tim’s was the kind of shitkicker place that hung its hat on expensive microbrews, like the rest of Greater Portland, but its decor was strictly blue-collar beer signs, scarred wooden chairs, booths, and sports channels. Tiny Tim, whose bald pate and center girth made him look a little like Humpty Dumpty, his nickname, was pulling a Deschutes black porter from the nearest tap and jawing with a guy sitting at the far end of the bar. “Nobody can tell the future,” he said, friendly-like. He’d had his eye on this one since she’d slipped into the room in a gust of wind and water. 

Outside the window he could see the light rain trickling down, visible in the sodium vapor lights that illuminated the strip mall’s parking lot, although it was black as Satan’s heart beyond these walls. She moved to the seat next to him. He could smell her cologne, fresh and light. He thought she might be thirty-something, but she could pass as twenty-five. He felt his cock stir and smiled to himself. He was a little buzzed. Just enough to make everything shine a bit brighter. “I can prove it,” she said, gazing directly into his eyes.

“Yeah? You want my palm or something?” “What’s your name?” “Tom. But if you can see the future, you probably already know that.” “Well, Tom. I can see things that are about to happen. And I see you and me out in your truck, moving to a rhythm all our own. Some call it love, some just call it sex. . . . I call it inevitable.” He laughed. He couldn’t help himself. “I have a sedan, but that’s a good line.” She slowly moved her head from side to side. She was a good-looking woman. Sure, a faint hardness showed through the facade, but her hair was long and lustrous, brushing her shoulders, and her eyes were dark and sultry. Her lips were plump, probably pumped up with some sort of product that they would find out was deadly cancerous twenty-five years from now, but they sure looked good enough to eat right now. He noticed the dusky valley between her breasts as she leaned into him.

“Should I put my hand on my wallet?” he asked. “You’ve been watching me. I could feel it as soon as I walked in. Before, really. You saw me outside, too.” He tilted his head, thought about it a moment. “That was you with that guy?” “My husband,” she said. “He left. Don’t make too big a deal of it. We go to a bar together and he thinks everyone’s trying to pick me up. We fight. He drives off mad and I go home with the guy I want.” “It’s like that, huh?”

“It’s like that. Except . . . you don’t look like the usual clientele around here.” She ran a hand inside his black overcoat and pressed hot fingers against his silk shirt. Almost absently she played with his nipple, which made him go rock hard. “You dress nice, but some guys wear their best after work. . . .” “Meaning?” “Who are you, Tom? What’s your day job? And what are you really doing here?” Tiny Tim shuffled toward them, polishing a glass and giving a poor imitation of being disinterested in their conversation. Tom ignored the barkeep and said, “You’re the ‘seer.’ You tell me.”

“Were you following me and Ricky? I doubt it’s Ricky you want.” “Ricky your husband?” She nodded. “I don’t want Ricky.” “Good.” “Does Ricky beat you?” he asked curiously. She withdrew her hand, which was a pity, but there was no way Tom could afford the kind of trouble she was offering. A jealous husband, spoiling for a fight? He didn’t need everyone in the bar remembering him, especially, as she’d pointed out, since he didn’t look like the usual clientele. “Ricky loves me a little too much, that’s all,” she said with a dismissive shrug. “That’s what you call it?” “It pisses me off and makes me want to fuck every man I meet.” Her lips tightened. “You gonna buy me a drink, or what, Tom?” “I’m thinking about it.” “Maybe I should be working on somebody else?” Her dark eyes sparked with challenge. “The guy at the end of the bar looks available.”

Her gaze narrowed and her expression turned to granite. “You lose,” she said, moving past him to sidle up to the guy he’d pointed out. She leaned in and started talking close. Whatever she was saying brought a bright smile of good fortune to her next mark’s face. Tiny Tim said quietly, “Don’t know you, man, but that one’s trouble.” “You know her?” “Never seen her before around here, but you can smell it on her. Maybe I should warn him.” He looked down the bar where the woman had her hand out of sight beneath the bar. Her arm was rhythmically moving up and down and by the dull look of bliss on the mark’s face, it was clear just what that hand was doing. Tom dropped two twenties on the bar, a nice tip without being too showy, then walked past the woman and the mark and shoved his way out the back door into a damp June night filled with rain and fog.

His gray, midsize Honda sedan hunched at the edge of the lot, barely visible. A rental. He looked at it for a moment and thought about the sure thing he’d turned down inside Tiny Tim’s. He craved a cigarette, but those little cancer sticks would ravage your lungs, so he steered clear of them. A vein pulsed near his ear. He could feel it. He pictured the woman inside the bar naked on a bearskin rug in front of a stone hearth filled with smoldering orange embers and dancing flames. He pictured himself on top of her, ripping off his own clothes, cock hard, nearly bursting, driving into her.

The back door of the bar flew open and banged against the wall. He automatically took a step back. And there she was, locked in an embrace with the guy at the end of the bar, climbing all over him. They fell out together, nearly to the ground, but the mark braced himself with his hand against the rough, cedar siding, just barely. It took a couple of moments for them to realize he was standing there. “What the fuck you lookin’ at, asshole?” the guy panted. One hand was in her waistband, the other was clutching her butt, bringing her crotch toward his……..

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Nancy Bush