Kendra Elliot's A Merciful Death--Exclusive Excerpt!

A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot

Kendra Elliot’s A MERCIFUL DEATH.

FBI special agent Mercy Kilpatrick has been waiting her whole life for disaster to strike. A prepper since childhood, Mercy grew up living off the land—and off the grid—in rural Eagle’s Nest, Oregon. Until a shocking tragedy tore her family apart and forced her to leave home. Now a predator known as the cave man is targeting the survivalists in her hometown, murdering them in their homes, stealing huge numbers of weapons, and creating federal suspicion of a possible domestic terrorism event. But the crime scene details are eerily familiar to an unsolved mystery from Mercy’s past.


 

A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot

Title: A MERCIFUL DEATH

Author: Kendra Elliot

Release Date: January 17, 2017

Publisher: Montlake Romance

FBI special agent Mercy Kilpatrick has been waiting her whole life for disaster to strike. A prepper since childhood, Mercy grew up living off the land—and off the grid—in rural Eagle’s Nest, Oregon. Until a shocking tragedy tore her family apart and forced her to leave home. Now a predator known as the cave man is targeting the survivalists in her hometown, murdering them in their homes, stealing huge numbers of weapons, and creating federal suspicion of a possible domestic terrorism event. But the crime scene details are eerily familiar to an unsolved mystery from Mercy’s past.

Sent by the FBI to assist local law enforcement, Mercy returns to Eagle’s Nest to face the family who shunned her while maintaining the facade of a law-abiding citizen. There, she meets police chief Truman Daly, whose uncle was the cave man’s latest victim. He sees the survivalist side of her that she desperately tries to hide, but if she lets him get close enough to learn her secret, she might not survive the fallout…

♥♥Exclusive Excerpt♥♥

Mercy knew she couldn’t live in the shadow of her father for the rest of her life. Their fights came to a head, and he told her to accept his ways or leave for good. The family had supported his decision, leaving Mercy ostracized and standing alone with her beliefs. 

Mercy made the difficult choice and left Eagle’s Nest, her family, and the only way of life she’d ever known, but her attacker was never far from her thoughts. Memories of him persisted. 

His smell. 

His hands. 

His hot breath. And sharp nails. And stinging punches. And—

She shut it down. 

Not now. 

Mercy had felt abandoned. She’d been nearly raped and murdered and had kept it a secret. 

And her family had stood up against her. 

“How did you get your job?” Levi abruptly asked. 

She embraced the change of subject and directed her brain back from the edge of an abyss. She knew Levi wasn’t asking about her educational requirements. He wanted to know how she could have killed someone and become an FBI agent. “Lies of omission. It was easy for me to say I’ve never been convicted of a crime. And I passed all their psychological testing without problems.” 

“That’s because it was justified,” Levi said firmly. “In your heart you know you did what was right. We both did. Do you like your job?” 

“I love it,” she admitted. “My brain is engaged every day. I spend a lot of time staring at a computer screen, but I love assembling the puzzle pieces once I find them.” 

“Sounds dull,” said Levi. “But you were always the one asking questions and looking deeper into stuff. I can remember you digging in the dirt for hours, fascinated with every layer you uncovered.”

“It changed colors and textures. I wanted to know why.” It was true. She would pick apart a piece of nature, break it into the smallest elements she could see, and then pester her siblings with her questions. 

“I always figured you for some sort of scientist,” he said gruffly. 

“I like what I’m doing better.” 

“You’re lucky you left.” 

His tone stabbed her heart. “You can’t mean that.” His gaze focused on her coffee, and she wished he’d look at her. 

“For a long time I didn’t think you were lucky. I was pissed at you and I was glad that the fighting in the family stopped once you left, but then I resented you for escaping.” 

If he’d slapped her, she couldn’t have been more shocked. “Nothing’s keeping you here. Why resent me?” 

“I was stuck. I had Kaylie and her mom to deal with. I didn’t have the open road that you did.” 

“Open road?” Anger flew up her throat. “I was shoved out the door and told to not come back. My father told me I was wrong. My choice was to live under his rules or leave.” 

He cringed, but he looked her in the eye. “I know that. I can see it now. But back then I just wanted out too. This isn’t how I pictured my life.” 

Mercy scanned the coffee shop. “It looks like a pretty damned fine life to me. You’ve got a beautiful daughter and a great business.” She met his gaze. “It appears peaceful.”

Levi looked at the room with pride. “Kaylie did most of it. She’s got a knack for making something sort of awesome out of a pile of junk.” He glanced at Mercy. “She’s a lot like you.” 

Mercy didn’t know what to say. She’s obsessive? She can’t turn her brain off? 

“Dad was wrong to put you in such a hard place.” His Adam’s apple moved up and down. “I told him he’d messed up. But I told him too late. You were long gone. He has his pride. He’ll never admit he made a mistake.” 

Mercy sat silently. It was probably the closest she’d ever feel to being vindicated. 

It felt empty. Pointless. 

For years she’d wanted to tell her family, “You’re making a mistake,” and Levi had just admitted it. 

It didn’t heal her soul-deep ache. 

She sipped her drink, not tasting it, dumbfounded that Levi’s words hadn’t healed her years of guilt. 

Nothing’s changed. 

I’m still estranged from half my family. I’ve lost years I’ll never get back. 

“It’s a delicate balance here, Mercy,” Levi said. He rubbed a cuticle with his thumbnail and she noticed all his cuticles were red and swollen. “Everything is about status and power. The fact that Dad and Joziah Bevins can exist in the same town is due to a lot of hard work and careful words.”

Levi didn’t look her in the eye as he picked at the cuticle. The ugly undercurrents that she’d felt as a teenager in Eagle’s Nest were still here. Nothing had changed. People cared only about protecting their own asses. 

Bells jingled and she felt a rush of cool air from outdoors hit her back. She tensed, realizing her back was exposed to whoever had walked in, but Levi stood and instantly transformed into Happy Coffee Dude. “Hey, guys, how’s it going?” He glanced at Mercy and raised a questioning brow. She didn’t know what her brother wanted. He headed behind the coffee bar, asking the men who’d entered what they would like to drink. Four men in heavy boots plodded past her, their coats dotted with misting rain. The smells of wet dirt and fresh air followed in their wake. Mercy studied their backs and listened to her brother’s patter. He called them all by name. Craig, Mike, Ray, Chuck. Between coffee orders, Levi continued to shoot her the same questioning look. 

One of the men turned and gazed at her over his shoulder. It took her a full two seconds to recognize him. 

Mike Bevins. 

Levi was asking if I want them to know who I am. 

Mike broke off from the group and strode toward her with his hand outstretched. “You’re one of the FBI agents in town, aren’t you? We appreciate you taking a look into these murders. Our whole town has been rattled.” She stood and shook his hand. 

No recognition in his eyes. Relief flowed through her, along with a bit of annoyance. Mike had hung out with Owen in his youth. Apparently the youngest Kilpatrick sibling had been beneath his notice. 

She gave an automatic smile. “We’re doing what we can.” Behind him she saw the other three men turn to note the exchange. She recognized Craig Rafferty but couldn’t place the other two men. 

The one named Chuck strolled over with his huge coffee cup. His dark eyes studied her over the lid as he took a sip. “Cops in coffee shops. How’s that for a stereotype?” 

She wanted to kick him in the side of the kneecap. Hard.

“Just like ranch hands in Wranglers and boots,” she replied. She touched her upper lip. “You’ve got foam on your moustache. I guess you ranching guys don’t drink your coffee black anymore.” She winked at him with a sly grin. “I like hazelnut syrup too.” Gag. 

Mike grinned and elbowed the other man. “Watch out, Chuck. She’s onto you.” 

Anger flashed in Chuck’s eyes and he turned his back. 

“Ignore him.” Mike Bevins was still smiling. 

“I will.” She sat back down and sipped her own drink, hoping he’d see she was done with the encounter. Mike Bevins reminded her too much of his father, Joziah. Same build, same eyes. At least Mike felt genuinely friendly. Joziah’s attitude had always felt forced. 

“If you need someone to show you around town, I’m more than happy to.” His blue eyes shone with speculation.

Uh-oh. 

“Thank you. I’m good. GPS, you know.” 

“That doesn’t tell you where to find a great dinner,” he pressed. He leaned closer and rested a booted foot on a stool. “I liked the way you handled Chuck.” 

She wanted to sigh. “Thank you. But really . . . I’m good.” She could be polite for only so long. 

He held her gaze for another long moment, a puzzled look crossing his face. 

Not used to being turned down? 

She forced a smile to take out the sting, showing her teeth. Why can’t women simply say no and men leave it at that? “I’m working,” she added, kicking herself for feeling the need to let him down easy and protect his ego. 

Mike nodded. “As you wish. Enjoy Eagle’s Nest.” He turned and went back to where the last of the guys was paying for his drink. The men tromped out, giving her polite nods or touching their hat brims. Chuck looked straight ahead. 

Levi sank back into the seat across from her. “Mike recognized you?” 

“Nope. He knew I was one of the agents in town, so I assume that much has made the gossip rounds. My name will eventually follow.” How will he feel when he realizes he hit on Owen’s little sister? “I didn’t know if you wanted me to introduce you.” 

“Not yet.” 

“What’d you say to Chuck?” 

“I complimented his drink.”

“He’s an ass. Hasn’t been in town that long.” 

“I recognized Craig Rafferty. I had a bit of a crush on him way back when.” 

“No way! You were a child.” 

“Old enough to be interested in my brother’s cute friends. I liked them tall and moody.” 

“He’s gone nowhere in fifteen years. Has worked at the same job all this time. Good thing you didn’t hook up back then, because you’d be the wife of a ranch hand. How’s that sound, Special Agent Kilpatrick?” 

“Some days that sounds good.” 

“I don’t believe that. That coat you’re wearing probably costs two weeks of his salary.” 

Her coat was an investment. A quality that’d last forever. “Your fashion knowledge has greatly expanded.” 

“I have a teenage daughter.” 

“Touché.” 

Studying her sibling, Mercy finally relaxed. A bridge had spanned their fifteen years of silence, and the enormity of the long years faded away. His face was again familiar; the crinkles at the corners of his eyes felt normal. He was her brother. 

Optimism filled her. She wanted to know everything about her brother and Kaylie. 

His teeth flashed in a big grin. “What are you thinking?” he asked. 

“For the first time, I’m glad I’m back.”

BUY

 

Kendra ElliotAuthor Biography:  

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Kendra Elliot has always been a voracious reader, cutting her teeth on classic female sleuths like Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Laura Ingalls before proceeding to devour the works of Stephen King, Diana Gabaldon, and Nora Roberts. Now a finalist for the Golden Heart, Daphne du Maurier, and Linda Howard awards, Elliot shares her love of suspense in her Bone Secrets series. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and still lives in the Pacific Northwest, with her husband and three daughters. For more information, please visit Kendra at http://www.kendraelliot.com.

 

Website – http://www.kendraelliot.com

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Twitter – https://twitter.com/KendraElliot 

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6150778.Kendra_Elliot 

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