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When this killer is playing, every move could be your last.
The Chess Master found something special in Violent Crimes Detective Jesse Reid…a worthy adversary. Never before has the game been so exciting. Never before have the stakes been so high. As the end game draws near, the Chess Master adheres to one rule above all else. When you find the right opponent, you do whatever is needed to keep him in the game.
A devastating tragedy drove Jesse Reid to step away from a career that defined him. He distanced himself from everyone he cared about…until Charlotte McKenna saunters into his life, testing Jesse’s resolve and awakening feelings he’d thought long dead. But in falling for her, Jesse places Charlie directly in the cross-hairs of an obsessed serial killer.
Now Jesse’s second chance at love is on the line as he's forced to navigate one last time through a twisted game of sudden death. Will Charlie heal Jesse’s wounded heart? Or will the Chess Master beat Jesse to the final Checkmate?
Page Count: 352
Word Count: 89560
Jesse half turned as they reached the precinct door, ready to do some serious ribbing about Demarco’s late-night activities, until he caught sight of something that made his blood run cold. Harvey, the officer assigned to the front desk, hurried toward them, a harried expression on his face and a small manila envelope clutched in one hand.
“Detective Reid, hold up. Delivery service just dropped this on my desk. Guy apologized, said there was a mix up of some kind in their office. It was supposed to have been delivered yesterday.” The older man held up the envelope and grimaced as the phone began ringing. “Been a busy one. You’d think it was a full moon or something.” The officer hurried back behind the counter and lifted the receiver to his ear.
The sight of that all too familiar envelope dropped Jesse’s stomach straight to his shoes.
Shit. Not already.
No, he corrected himself just as quickly. The message had been delivered late. Somehow, he didn’t think the Chess Master would take that into consideration.
We don’t even have a fighting chance to save this woman now.
Knowing the Chess Master’s prints would be all over this thing, following protocol to preserve evidence, Jesse held the envelope by the corner between his fingertips and carried it back to his desk. Dropping the envelope on top of the clean piece of paper DeMarco helpfully supplied, Jesse snapped gloves on and opened it. He should be turning this over to the FBI, but something was riding him. Frustration? Curiosity? Resentment? He’d been drawn into this sick game by a monster and then shuffled to the side by Anderson and the rest of her crew.
He didn’t particularly care right now. Right now, he was only worried about what was inside this envelope and the imaginary clock that seemed to have kicked into a faster countdown.
DeMarco leaned over his shoulder, conveniently blocking any view the Feds might have, and swore aloud as a white piece of paper slipped from the envelope. One piece of paper, and no photo. A single, precise, damning word was neatly scripted on that startlingly bright and otherwise blank sheet.
DeMarco raked a hand through his hair. “ ‘Checkmate?’ What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”
Jesse stared at the note and frowned, his sense of dread growing with every passing second until he was smothering beneath the weight.
What. The. Hell?
“Checkmate,” he repeated aloud as a churning ball of nausea formed in his gut. The answer screamed at him.
Either the Queen had fallen…
Or she was about to.
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