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Once Forsaken (A Riley Paige Mystery—Book 7) - cover

Once Forsaken (A Riley Paige Mystery—Book 7)

Blake Pierce

Publisher: Blake Pierce

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Summary

“A masterpiece of thriller and mystery! The author did a magnificent job developing characters with a psychological side that is so well described that we feel inside their minds, follow their fears and cheer for their success. The plot is very intelligent and will keep you entertained throughout the book. Full of twists, this book will keep you awake until the turn of the last page.” 
--Books and Movie Reviews, Roberto Mattos (re Once Gone) 

ONCE FORSAKEN is book #7 in the bestselling Riley Paige mystery series, which begins with the #1 bestseller ONCE GONE (Book #1)—a free download with over 700 five star reviews! 

When Special Agent Riley Paige finally decides to take a well-needed rest from the FBI, a request for help comes from the most unlikely source: her own daughter. April’s best friend is devastated by the death of her sister, a freshman at Georgetown. Worse, she is convinced that the suicide was staged, and that her sister was murdered at the hands of a serial killer.

Riley reluctantly looks into the case, only to discover that two other freshman girls at Georgetown recently killed themselves in the same grotesque way—by hanging. As she realizes foul play may be afoot, she brings in the FBI. The case takes Riley deep into the privileged campus of one of the world’s most esteemed universities, into the unsettling world of the wealthy and driven families that pushed their children to succeed. In time she discovers that this case is far more twisted than it seems—and that she just may be up against the most psychotic killer of her career. 

A dark psychological thriller with heart-pounding suspense, ONCE FORSAKEN is book #7 in a riveting new series—with a beloved new character—that will leave you turning pages late into the night. 

Book #8 in the Riley Paige series will be available soon.

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    Ian Coulter has his hands full with a sexy office assistant, a favorite movie star client and a drag queen determined to save the world one lost runaway at a time. He can juggle all of it because he and his lover, FBI agent Rick Mohr, are finally together. 
    Rick’s transfer to Amethyst Cove puts him in charge of multiple operations. When one of Ian’s clients is targeted, it doesn’t take long for Ian to suspect the con artist is on an FBI watch list. With their cases overlapping, Ian and Rick are short on time. Together they set a trap and spring it before their suspect escapes. 
    Doing the job is easy but figuring out the relationship is tougher. Fitting their lives together isn’t without obstacles, but one thing is certain. On or off the case, Ian and Rick always get their man. 
    * * * * *  
    The air around me changed, expanded. I froze and listened into the quiet office. The outside door snicked closed. I drew my Sig Sauer P228 and held it in my lap. 
    “Hello?” 
    “It’s me, Ian.” 
    I laid the gun on my desk. “You should have yelled first.” 
    It was so quiet I wondered if my mind had played a trick on me. 
    “What are you doing, Rick?” 
    He swaggered into my office. His hot green gaze slammed into mine. “Making sure the blinds are closed.” 
    I leaned back and put my feet up on my desk. “I have a gun, bucko. What are your intentions?” 
    Rick reached behind his back, pulled out his Glock .9mm and laid it beside my pistol. “Mine’s bigger than yours.” He leaned over and kissed me. I pulled back. 
    “Dream on. That must have been one hell of an arrest and booking to get you so worked up.” 
    “Oh, it was. Law enforcement agents in three countries are going to dance in the street when word gets around.” 
    I grinned up at him. “And your name is going to be on the report.” 
    He shook his head. “Not mine, no. I have an alias, you know.” 
    That was news to me. “Because you’ve done undercover work for the Treasury?” 
    Rick grasped my ankles and lifted them off my desk. I set my feet on the floor and he went to his knees in front of me. 
    “And I might have to do it again so my team second gets the credit and the public glory on this one.” 
    I spread my knees and he slid his big, warm hands up the inside of my thighs. “You have something in mind here, Mr. FBI man?” 
    “You don’t have anything to say about the fact I might have to go undercover again?” 
    I narrowed my eyes. “Something you need to fill me in about?” 
    “No, no. I’ve let it be known I’m the last option for those assignments.” He pulled my shirttail out of my jeans. “I even told them why.” 
    “That’s a good career move. ‘I’m gay and I’m shacked up so don’t call me.’ I bet your boss loved that.” 
    Rick eased my zipper down. “He laughed at me. In my face. So I beat the crap out of him.” 
    I snorted. “Right. On the shooting range. What do you think you’re doing?” 
    He yanked my pants down and all but dragged me out of the chair to the floor. “I’m going to do you in your office, darling. It’ll be a fantasy come true.”
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    Free spirited Ian Coulter works hard and plays harder. An ex-cop turned private investigator, Ian enjoys meeting new men and making new friends. A night out ends up with one man on the floor at his feet, and another asking for his help. Big trouble’s brewing in little Amethyst Cove, and Ian’s a step behind. He’s quick to see Rick Mohr is the man holding the flare at the end a long, dark tunnel. 
    Undercover agent Rick Mohr walks a fine line, serving two masters. Insider trading, counterfeit printing plates, and a blown-up yacht have Rick stuck between two Federal agencies, one of which has been compromised. Rick has to discover the mole before it’s too late. When Ian Coulter walks into his life, Rick grabs the chance to salvage his assignment with both hands. 
    It doesn’t take Ian and Rick long to discover joining forces, and sharing resources, has definite perks - ones not found in any departmental manual. 
    * * * * * 
    “And yet, here you sit across from me.” 
    "For one thing, this is the first time I’ve actually gotten a look at you. No one ever said you were so…” He paused and blinked at me. 
    I helped him out. “Hot?” 
    Rick grinned. “The very word I was searching for.” 
    “You’re full of it, Rick Mohr. What do you really want?” 
    “I’ve heard you like to have fun—safe fun. Was I misinformed?” 
    And they called me a slut. Rick had me beat for moving in on a guy fast. “I love to have ‘fun—safe fun,’ but I don’t know you. I haven’t seen you around at any of the local haunts.” 
    “Well, you know how it is. Boy meets boy. Boy falls in love. Boy gets dumped after eleven years and has to work hard to get back into the swing of things.” 
    I tapped the wide silver band he wore on his left ring finger. “Hmm. I’ve heard of that. Some weird word that starts with an ‘R.’” 
    “Relationship?” 
    I snapped my fingers. “That’s the one! Can’t say as I have any first-hand experience with it.” 
    Rick sighed. “I actually liked it, although I thought it would have a longer shelf-life.” 
    I sipped the lemony drink I’d had such a craving for. That craving, and another stronger one, was about to land me in trouble, I just knew it. 
    “I’ll tell you something, Rick. I don’t like men who cheat on their partners.” 
    His level gaze met mine. “I don’t have a partner. I have an ex-partner.” 
    “Why not take off the ring?” 
    “Truth? I’m not quite ready to have guys hitting on me. Maybe you can help me get over the hump.” 
    Years of cruising men, of reading their body language and looking into lots of pretty eyes gave me a good read on him. He wasn’t being honest with me about something, but it had nothing to do with the ring, the ex-partner, or the fact he liked to have control of the situation. The little voice inside, the one that never steered me wrong when it was time to cut and run, was silent, and I wanted to learn more about him.
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    Private investigator Ian Coulter and his FBI partner Rick Mohr work hard and play harder. Making their relationship a priority is a challenge they willingly embrace. Life is better together, and when their cases overlap, it gets pretty interesting. 
    An evening stroll turns deadly when a sniper targets Rick. Needing to be with his lover, Ian has to trust Rick’s team with the hunt for the shooter. As Rick heals tensions between the men escalate and some uncomfortable truths are revealed. 
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    * * * * * 
    Becoming “us” hadn’t been part of any original plan but we had become “us” in ways I couldn’t imagine ending. 
    I picked up my cell phone. Rick answered before the first ring ended. 
    “Ian. Darling, what’s really wrong? Are you going to be okay?” 
    Was I? A tenuous connection opened between us, powered by wireless magic. 
    “I’m better for hearing your voice. I feel like a real ass saying this to you, Rick, but it’s been a rough couple of weeks.” 
    “Believe me, I know. Please come back so we can talk.” 
    I downed the remainder of the bourbon in the glass. 
    “Can’t. I shouldn’t drive. I’ve had a drink.” 
    I heard him take a deep breath. 
    “Okay. You’re right, of course. And you’re right about the other things. Listen, Ian. We need to stop being stupid with each other and I’ll start. I love you. I hurt bad enough I can’t rest, and I’m miserable being off my feet. I’m taking it out on you, and that’s not fair. I promise to stop being bitchy.” 
    My throat tightened. “Rick. I almost lost you.” My voice broke. I couldn’t breathe. The city lights blurred in my vision. His voice was soft in my ear. 
    “It’s okay, my darling. You’ve been my rock, Ian. I forgot even diamonds crack under enough pressure.” 
    I managed a deep breath and swiped my fingertips across my eyes. “We’re still gonna talk, big guy.” 
    “I know. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Ian, but I can’t promise it’s always going to be easy living with me.” 
    “Well, I guess I can’t make that promise, either. We just have to remember life is better when we’re together.” 
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    “What? Like ‘screw you, Rick’?” 
    He chuckled softly. “No, babe. That’s foreplay. I live to hear you say those words.” 
    I laughed in spite of myself. “Yeah. I know what you mean. I need to go to bed. Get some sleep. I’ve got a bunch of installations to finish tomorrow and God only knows how big a job Sheldon’s going to sell next.” 
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    “Yeah. That would be great. I love you, Rick. I guess maybe I’m a little afraid you’ll leave me.” 
    “Never, Ian. Not gonna happen. Are we good?” 
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