About CASUAL IMPRESSIONS
In this electrifying novel from USA Today Bestselling Author Kennedy Layne, the Safeguard team is coming ever closer to catching an elusive serial killer who might very well be hunting one of their own…
Sawyer Madison has spent the last few months hunting down a sadistic killer. He and his team don’t seem to be any closer to solving this particular case that has hit a little too close to home. Fortunately, they had all served in the Corps. That kind of training and dedication meant none of them considered quitting before the mission was done.
Camryn Novak had spent most of her childhood, and a large part of her adult life, dealing with her overprotective brother. So when an admirer becomes a little too obsessed with her due to her high-profile career, she decides it would be simpler to reach out to someone a little less emotionally invested.
Sawyer never expected to bump into the sister of one of his teammates while traveling on assignment. Women like her were off limits—one shouldn’t mix business with pleasure. One burning touch was all it took to make his good intentions go up in flames. Unfortunately, it won’t just be her brother’s wrath he’s forced to face when an unknown perp targets Camryn—it might very well be the same psychopath they’ve been hunting all along.
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Camryn handed him a white, tattered square with black ink soaked through both sides. He turned it so that the inscription was legible. “My name and a date… one that doesn’t occur for another two weeks. I started thinking about the case you and my brother are working on and my thoughts kind of ran away from me.”
“What do you mean?” Sawyer asked, continuing to stare at the torn napkin in his hand. There was no way in hell she could be referring to their quarry— Shepherd Moss. What was the off-chance that a sadistic serial killer would take that particular avenue of approach and basically announce to the entire world that he was going to kill his next victim— who also just so happened to be the relative of one of the agents searching for the same notorious murderer? It sounded ludicrous to even suggest it, but he’d seen some horribly weird shit in his line of work. Camryn’s silence finally had him looking up, catching her slightly awkward facial expression. Oh, shit. “Camryn, what did you do?”
“I looked up to find him standing near the entryway of the foyer on Royal, still hiding behind his camera and taking pictures of me signing autographs,” Camryn confessed somewhat dismissively with a small shrug of her shoulder. The gentle lines around her eyes contracted in an effort to stem her current pain. He really needed to get her somewhere more comfortable. “I went after him.”
“What do you mean, you went after him?” Sawyer asked with a rather pissed-off inflection, wanting clarification before he told her that such a move was beyond foolish. He didn’t doubt that Brody taught her what to do in certain situations, but it appeared that she didn’t truly understand the significance of his advice.
“I wanted to confront him, to find out what he wanted from me,” Camryn said rather defensively. She squared her shoulders and let her arms hang down her sides, even closing her manicured fingernails into the palms of her hands. “He stood there and pointed toward the napkin, Sawyer. He was the one who gave it to me. This isn’t your typical obsessed fan, wanting to say hi or take a picture with me to show his friends. He was… different.”
Sawyer was being placed in a relatively onerous position, because even the slightest chance that Camryn had been placed in the crosshairs of a psychopath meant taking certain precautions. She must have sensed what he was about to say, because she was already shaking her head and pushing back against the wall. She didn’t even bother to look back as she headed for the double doors that would take her out through the waiting room full of emergency patients.
“Camryn, stop.” Sawyer had dealt with the fact that his boy next door looks caused people to think he was a pushover. The dimple in his right cheek certainly didn’t help dismiss his carefree appearance. But that was far from his true nature, and Brody’s sister was about to find that out. “You and I both know I can’t let you walk out of here without some sort of personal protection.”
“I’ve been on my own for a very long time, Sawyer. My days of requiring a babysitter are long gone.” Camryn was still testing how far she could push him, but even she had to see that she’d put him in an impossible situation. She was within two feet of those double doors when she turned back his way. “My fear momentarily got the best of me, because I’m not usually put into those kinds of positions. The reason I’m even here in New Orleans is because my agent thinks it’s time to put me out to pasture. It’s time for me to start doing sitcoms or hour-long dramas on television. Regardless, the date on that napkin is there for a specific reason. It wasn’t until I was in that MRI machine that I remembered the color of the man’s hair— dark brown. And his other basic features were different. Don’t think I didn’t call up Shepherd Moss’ picture on my phone to do a comparison. It wasn’t him. It was just my overactive imagination.”
The coiled pressure inside of Sawyer’s chest slightly gave way with relief that this situation wasn’t about to turn into a full-fledged shitstorm. The entire team— Townes Calvert, Keane Sanderson, Royce Haverton, Coen Flynn, not to mention Brody— would have descended upon New Orleans in an instant, as well as the U.S. Marshal Service and the feds had anyone actually believed for a second that Shepherd Moss was within these city limits.
New Orleans would be a serial killer’s wet dream of a hunting ground… fresh meat waving in front of the wolf as he cruised through the crowds of unknowing sheep.
Unfortunately, it didn’t erase the fact that Camryn believed she’d purposefully been shoved to the ground by someone… hard enough to warrant her a trip to the emergency trauma ward. He couldn’t just leave her here, and he wouldn’t have done so even if she hadn’t been a teammate’s sister.
“You still can’t go out the front entrance. That is, if you don’t want to start back where you left off at Latrobe’s,” Sawyer said, gesturing behind him to another exit sign that he was banking on leading them to the other side of the building where no one would catch sight of her leaving. How did she put up with this type of surveillance nonstop? “Someone is bound to take your picture and post it to their social media, so we’ll head out the back. We’ll then drive to the police station where you can make a formal report.”
“And have the headline in tomorrow’s newspaper read Actress assaulted by a stalker after a night of drinking?” Camryn asked, still not moving away from the double doors. She cocked one impeccably sculpted eyebrow that he’d only ever seen on models and actresses. “I don’t think that’s in my best interest. Sawyer, why do you think I contacted you of all people?”
“You can stop right there,” Sawyer warned her, not about to be drawn into a situation that would put him in the crossfire of both Brody’s wrath and his boss’s for not following through on his assignment, let alone the blood it would put in the water for his other teammates. “I’m working a high-profile case— meaning I left my assigned post— to come here because you were in trouble. You are Brody’s sister, and we take care of our own. That much I could get away with. I did not come here because I have nothing better to do than locate some random nut job who got carried away and subsequently tune him up in order for him to stay away from you.”
Camryn looked down at the ground, and for a moment Sawyer thought she was going to cry in response to his declaration. God help him if she did. He didn’t mean to sound as if her situation wasn’t important to him. As a matter of fact, her plight had become the first priority on his list… and that’s what angered him most. He shouldn’t feel this type of responsibility for her, and he chalked it up to the fact that she was Brody’s sister. Anyone in his situation would have this type of strong reaction, right? He involuntarily took a step forward as any man would have at seeing a woman in distress, but he was brought up short when she raised her dark gaze filled with… determination.
“I happen to know just how important the case is that you’re working on, but all I need to know is if I’m dealing with a fan who needs to learn boundaries or if I’m actually in trouble with a budding psycho killer. One day, Sawyer. I need this kept low profile for a number of reasons. Please. I’m asking for your help.”
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