Join Josh's Newsletter and receive an exclusive audio book! Exclusive audio offer!

Alright -- yes, some might call me a Fanyon or a Lanyonite, but I prefer to think of myself as a very lucky man to have stumbled upon this talented author so many years ago.

TJ for Reviews by Jessewave
Three years ago journalist Parker Davidson barely survived a brutal attack by his psychopathic ex-boyfriend. It’s given him a dim view of romance.
When Parker’s ex escapes from a maximum security prison, LAPD Lieutenant Henry Stagge is tasked with making sure that Parker doesn’t end up a victim a second–and final–time.
Most cops believe Parker got what he deserved, but over the course of a few very tense hours, Henry begins to wonder if there’s more to Parker than he thought.
Love can happen in the strangest places–and at the strangest times.

 

I was unpacking in the bedroom—had just pulled my pistol out of my backpack—when Stagge appeared in the doorway.

I met his gaze and said, “I’ve got a permit.”

“Just don’t shoot me by mistake. That’s all I ask.”

“I passed my firearms safety training. I go to the range for target practice once a month. I won’t hit anything I don’t intend to hit.”

I could hear the hostility in my voice. So could Stagge. He said mildly, “Okay, Parker.”

Hearing him speak my name brought me up short. Why was I getting mad at Stagge? None of this was his fault. Frankly, I didn’t love the idea of other civilians carrying either. The truth was, there was a time I’d never have considered having a gun in the house. That was just another way Ricky had changed my life.

I had a gun safe and a state-of-the-art alarm system at home. I never went anywhere or did anything without considering my personal safety. I tried not to let fear dictate my life, but…being a victim of violence, becoming a statistic, had definitely altered me. It was hard to remember that there had been a time when I had been confident in my ability to handle anything that came my way.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “If Ricky does show, you can do the honors.”

Stagge’s straight brows rose. “Sure. If you’ll do the washing up.”

I stared at him, not sure how to take that, not sure if he was kidding or not. Not sure if I had been kidding.

Staring back at me, he said, “Bad joke. That was supposed to ease the tension.”

I said, with an attempt at lightness, “Is it tense in here? I thought it was just me.”

“Yeah. Well.” He gave me a little nod, like acknowledging a point, and left me to my unpacking.

I suppose I must offer a disclaimer for this review. I have been a fan of Josh Lanyon’s writing for over a decade and have read every book that she’s published — many, many times.

Not that there was much of it. A couple of changes of underwear. A ball of T-shirts, jeans, and a flannel shirt. I plugged in my laptop. With no internet, maybe I’d be able to start the Great American Novel this afternoon.

Every cloud has its silver lining. Even tornados.

I left the pistol in the nightstand, stacked a couple of paperbacks beside the bed.

I found Stagge in the kitchen making tea.

We’d stopped at a Subway in Lone Pine and stocked up on sandwiches—his idea, not mine—and he had placed two wrapped loafs on plates at either end of the table.

“Roast beef as requested,” Stagge said. “But if you want to try the chicken Caesar melt, I’ll trade with you.”

I shuddered. Just the idea of food was enough to turn my stomach. “No thanks. Are there any suspects as to who Ricky’s accomplice was?”

“A nurse at the medical facility was questioned. There appears to be a close friendship between herself and Barbour, but they’re still investigating.”

I snorted.

“Sure,” Stagge agreed easily. “But like I said, they’re still investigating. She might not be involved. She couldn’t have picked him up after he escaped because she was on duty all morning.”

“I see.” I moved to the window and studied the empty sweep of chaparral and rock and sand. The highway was clear of traffic all the way to the horizon.

“We weren’t followed,” Stagge said.

“I know.”

I also knew all about the maximum security prison where Ricky had been incarcerated. I had made it my business to know. It was an older facility with a linear layout that made it harder to secure and police. Cells stacked in rows made it more difficult for deputies to monitor every prisoner at all times. That linear layout also made it easier for inmates to circulate through other parts of the facility on a regular basis, which could create opportunities for coordination and planning. Escapes—certainly attempted escapes—from any facility were a fact of life.

As though following my line of thought, Stagge said, “It’s been over thirty years since anyone has broken out of that facility. And you can bet it’ll be another thirty before anyone tries again.”

I nodded.

“Relax. He’ll be back in custody within twenty-four hours.”

I smiled, not bothering to look at him. Stagge was looking at me, though. I could feel his gaze.

He said, “You’ll feel better if you eat something.”

“Will I?”

“You will, yes. This is something I know about.”

I nodded politely. I didn’t want to hear it.