Sneak Peek: The Killer You Know – Addison Moore

Sneak Peek: The Killer You Know

Sneak Peek!

The Killer You Know

Book Description:

You are cordially invited to a killer reunion.

School is back in session and evil is doling out the lessons.

The past never truly dies until you kill it yourself.

In the hunt for justice, FBI Agent Fallon Baxter unravels the deadliest mysteries.

Clean language and heart-stopping twists that keep you glued to the edge of your seat until the very last page.

FBI Agent Fallon Baxter is thrust into a deadly game when a high school reunion becomes the backdrop for a chilling series of murders. This time the connection is personal—Jack, her stalwart partner, finds his old schoolmates are the targets and potentially the culprits.

Just days before the reunion the first victim is brutally murdered in her own home and another peer vanishes, leaving behind a blood-soaked message that dredges up a buried past.

The body count is rising and with each one the killer grows bolder as the clues intertwine with Jack’s history.

Time is against them as the body count climbs and each hour brings them closer to the next gruesome discovery. The killer uses the reunion to settle old scores, turning former friends into suspects and victims.

Fallon is plunged into a relentless hunt where the next name on the killer’s list could be any one of Jack’s classmates—including Jack himself.

With the reunion spiraling into chaos, Fallon must confront the darkness of the past to stop the killer from turning this reunion into a bloodbath.

Can she piece together the final clues before the killer’s twisted justice claims another life?

Every memory from the past has its echo, and every echo has a rather deadly secret.

Chapter 1

Robin Hanson

There are two things in life I hate and that’s gossip and people—yet somehow my entire livelihood depends on both. 

Ironically, I was coerced into specializing in both so I can do what I really love: write cheesy romance novels. 

My literary agent couldn’t sell the cheesy romance novel I wrote, so she suggested I get myself a platform. She thought maybe we could reverse engineer my road to romance riches via starting off with a vast and hungry audience that waits at rapt attention to hear what might spew from my lips next. 

She promised the publishers would come crawling, just begging me to sign on the dotted line, and soon enough I could die in an avalanche of my cheesy romance novels once the publishers gave the advertising push that my books would need to survive.

My agent’s parting words were, try to be relatable. Women eat that right up.

So I opened up an Insta Pictures account and started peppering it with wedding photos, seeing that I was newly married at the time, less than five years ago. No one really seemed to care about my white dress or me, or my newly acquired legal eagle husband.

No one cared about all of the artfully staged pictures of my breakfast—avocado toast again!—or when I showed off a glossy new manicure with my coffin tip nails. 

They didn’t care about anything I had to offer it seemed. 

But one summer I took a picture of myself trying on a swimsuit—neck down with the teeny weeny bottoms cutting into my pillowy hips, cellulite dotting my thighs like a solar system, and a belly that could easily hold a baby even though that’s never happened for me. 

And just like that, my newfound followers did care about something. They liked, shared, and commented. I instantly exploded as some hero in spandex as if I just brought peace to the Middle East by way of belly fat. They couldn’t get enough of it—or more to the point, me.

It turns out, my agent was right. 

Women were obsessed with relatable me. 

They kept begging for more. So I gave it to them in the form of disheveled hair—brunette roots with brassy highlights—the dresses I ordered online that didn’t fit, and an entire soliloquy on how I loathed the fact I had to actually leave my house to send them back. 

I shared wall color that looked like heaven in a paint chip and as if Satan was moving in once I slathered the room with it. I shared bloodied blisters on the back of my heels from ill-fitting stilettos—then I promptly made every one of my ardent followers swear we would banish those death sticks from our wardrobes. I shared the mom jeans I fell in and out of love with, the stained yoga pants I lived in for weeks on end, the pricey coffee I drank by the gallon and then complained about the cost, the nachos and guacamole that I ate with wild abandon that I claimed comprised ninety percent of my body mass. True as gospel. 

They loved me because I was a reflection of them. I became an imperfect, unhealthy, yet beloved internet celebrity seemingly overnight. I’ve never been so thankful for cellulite in all my life.

And even though the cheesy romance book deals never came rolling in, the nonfiction feel-good quasi-self-help book deals sure did. A three-book deal with one of the big five publishers which landed me a very nice advance. Two have already hit the shelves and the third is currently with my editor. 

Once I got the deal, I was ecstatic because the last thing I wanted to do was write another entry to my Insta Pictures account. As it turns out, that whole a-picture-says-a-thousand-words stuff is baloney. They not only wanted to see my cellulite, but also wanted the cheeky diary entries that came with it. 

Over the years, those entries have grown a bit. I started a website and a blog, in addition to posting and reposting to all of the social media apps where I discount my soul.

Nevertheless, my agent squashed my dreams of stepping away from the overexposed circus my life had become. She warned that it would be the end of my writing career if I stopped showcasing my innards to the peanut gallery. 

My cellulite and I were forever bound to the masses who had come to adore us. I owed them every last bit of my overexposed self because without my ardent fans, I was worthless. 

And now I make a daily sacrifice at the altar of my own vanity in hopes for one more like, one more comment, one more glorious share.

That’s exactly how Oh so Relatable! started out. Nothing but a farce to land me a publishing deal five very long years ago.

I glare at the screen a moment before tapping away at my keyboard. 

Hey, girls! First up is some gossip from my end of the Rockies. You know I always have the best dirt. A certain resident crooner who has sold out shows worldwide (she’ll be ending her tour right here in Colorado—I’ve got tickets!)—anyway, she and that construction worker who finagled his way to the altar with her are calling it quits. 

Rumor has it, he’s suing her for spousal support to the tune of seventy-five thousand a month. I guess it’s clear why he showed up to the party to begin with. He plans on making her sing, all right, via her lawyers. 

He had better secure his hard hat because I have a feeling his delusional self is about to get knocked right back to reality by way of a rather lucid judge.

And if you think that’s bad, there’s another marital dissolution underway with Aspen Heights very own queen of mean—you know who she is. Her self-help book on how to land a man may have scored her a top spot on every coveted best-seller list, but it did no favors for her when it came to the heart. According to official reports, she and her plus-one have been separated for the entire last year. And yes, they’ve only been married for one year as well. Fancy that.

Now back to the real world where the rest of us live. My new retinol serum is making me feel as if I’ve got a third-degree burn on my face. If you have a great retinol you love, please leave the name in the comments. 

After all, we’re all in this together, right? 

Jobs, husbands, aging faces, aging parents, know-it-all siblings who continue to make our lives questionably miserable, and don’t get me started on perimenopause. 

Speaking of aging, you’ll never guess what dropped in the mail two weeks ago—an invitation to my twenty-year high school reunion! 


Am I ancient or what? 

You know what this means—I’m going to need a dress. Right after I kill my addiction to carbs. And I can’t start that until at least tomorrow because I happen to have a chocolate-filled croissant waiting for me in the kitchen.  

While I go make quick work of that, drop into the comments and tell me what we’re supposed to wear to these things.

A little black dress? A sequined number? A custom frock with heavy beading? 

I can promise you, I’m not mortgaging my house for this thing. And I am definitely not haunting a dressing room either. 

Better yet, drop me a buy link to a dress you think I should wear. Bonus points if I get free shipping. You know I’m ordering this puppy online.

I post a picture of myself rolling my eyes while standing in front of my farmhouse-inspired kitchen with its rustic chandelier pendant lights and glossy marble countertops. Each design element in my home was voted on and heavily curated by my legion of adoring fans, right down to the reclaimed barn doors that line my halls. 

I’m not really a fan of any of it. 

Ironically, I liked the house the way it was to begin with, but that’s not relatable. Come to find out, relatable is another word for misery.

And if I’m being honest, I’ve always been miserable. Wanting what someone else has, doing whatever I have to do to get it has been my MO for as long as I can remember. I’m not above stealing, killing, and destroying. Not literally. At least not most of the time. Okay, so I specialize in two out of three.

I can’t help it. I was raised upper middle class. My parents made sure I had whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. They created this monster. And I get the feeling that the legion of adoring fans I have will finish it.

I head into the kitchen where sadly there’s no chocolate-filled croissant waiting for me. Instead, I set out to wash the fat from last night’s burgers from the frying pan and pray my mother-in-law, Ellen, doesn’t just happen to drop by—because we happen to look like hoarders at the moment. 

I’ve been meaning to do some latent spring cleaning, really just pitch everything in the trash and start over. But I can’t. I have to donate it all and document the hell out of it. 

Everything is a production now. My life under a microscope. 

Last week, I dragged them to the gynecologist with me and my feed exploded when I took a picture of my feet in stirrups. 

Don’t forget to scoot down to the edge, they chimed in numbers. 

A little lower, a little lower than that. 

Scoot some more! 

Oh, they had a field day with that one. 

With my chapped lips, my love for a good wedge over high heels, and my bulging midsection, I’ve become an inadvertent hero to women over thirty.

As it turns out, my love of trashy romance novels spawned my very own book club. And come next week I’m going to sit down and outline the podcast I’ll be starting up in the fall. 

Yes, my life is finally coming together. It’s not what I wanted it to look like, but ready or not, it’s coming in hot, bigger, and far rowdier than I could have imagined. 

A soft click comes from the mudroom and I glance at the clock. 

It’s not even four in the afternoon. My husband doesn’t usually make his appearance until after six-thirty. 

I haven’t even showered yet.

Daniel?” I call out, but there’s no answer.

The distinct sound of footfalls emanates from the right of the kitchen as they head this way and my heart gives a few unnatural thumps.

It’s probably just Ellen. She knows where the hide-a-key is, although I never lock that door during the day so she wouldn’t need it. I’m back and forth in the garden all afternoon trying to keep my vegetables alive even though I do get more likes and comments while they’re dying. Lucky for me because everything is dying out there.

Ellen?” I call out as the footsteps creep this way. They’re soft as if she doesn’t really want to make a scene. 

She’s been known to drop by at will, and lately it seems she wills it a lot. She’s been lonely since my father-in-law left her for younger pastures a few years back. Let’s hope that infidelity isn’t passed down on the father’s side or I might be moved to kill quite literally. 

My mind flits to my past. I haven’t always been an angel myself. 

“Ellen, is that you?” The silence that follows my call is heavy, loaded with my anticipation. My heart starts to race, my adrenaline kicks in, but I can’t seem to stop my feet from moving in that direction.

The soft footfalls cease, and yet the stillness of the house that was once comforting now feels oppressive and suffocating. There’s not a sound. Nothing but the sound of my own heartbeat, pounding in my ears like a drum.

I must have imagined it all. 

I’m about to turn around when I catch a glimpse of movement, and just like that, a figure clad in black with a ski mask obscuring their face and dark gloves covering their hands steps in front of me.

A wild panic electrifies me from the inside out, and yet I freeze solid. Not even a scream comes from my throat. 

This isn’t Ellen. 

This isn’t Daniel. 

This is everyone’s worst nightmare, materialized in broad daylight.

“Who are you?” I pant out the words as I start to back up. 

But they don’t answer. Instead, they head my way and I gasp and scream as I turn to run and dart through the house in a desperate bid for safety. 

I need to get to the front door. 

I need to get out

Every second feels like a lifetime.

A primal terror grips me as I weave through the living room, knocking down a lamp in haste. And just as I’m about to hit the foyer, I’m grabbed by the hair and thrown to the ground. 

I flop onto my back just in time to see a knife plunging at me. 

No,” I scream, deflecting the blade with my hands. “I’m sorry,” I shout, apologizing for who knows what. But I know the list of my grievances is long.

The dark figure looms over me, hoisting that blade above me once again like a threat.  

That public persona I’ve built up, the one million adoring fans, the book deal, the spotlight I’ve both loved and loathed—it all means nothing now.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper, this time holding my hands high up, clasped and pleading. My entire existence has whittled itself down to this very moment, to this imminent threat, and I will say anything in order to survive. “Take whatever you want. Do whatever you want. Just please let me live.”

Blood trickles onto my face from my fingers. I haven’t even inspected my new wounds yet.

A dull laugh comes from them just as the knife comes down and that blade spikes hard into my chest.

They pluck it out just as quickly as they plunged it, and I can’t breathe through the wild, white-hot pain. 

They take the blade and scratch it along my forehead just as the world fades to darkness.

I just wanted to tell a story, and now mine has reached its final chapter.

Murdered in cold blood. 

Not all that relatable.

Chapter 2

Special Agent Fallon Baxter

The second Jack and I step into the FBI headquarters here in Denver, the air crackles with urgency. Three people have been shot in Aspen Heights and a woman has been kidnapped from the scene.

It was Jack and I that both got the call this evening while we were still waist deep in my hot tub, celebrating the win from our last case. I met Special Agent Jack Stone a few weeks back and that last case, which was also our first together, bonded us faster than a shotgun wedding could have.

We head straight for the situation room where we find our SAC, Special Agent in Charge, Grant Hale clicking away at this laptop, and across from him at the elongated table is a feisty redhead, our colleague Special Agent Nikki Knight. 

Nikki and I work well together, unlike Jack who is known to crawl under my skin and stay there for the fun of it. As it turns out, Nikki was supposed to be celebrating with us in the hot tub but backed out last minute for no good reason. I might have to get back at her for that, seeing that I almost made a questionable decision with Jack because of it.

A sharp bark comes from my right and I quickly give my new dog, Buddy, a quick pat. Let’s just say he was collateral damage in our last case and I didn’t hesitate to bring him home and make him mine. 

Buddy is a sweet yellow lab who happens to be young still, so we have quite a bit of runway ahead of us and I’m glad about it, too. 

“Stone, Baxter.” Hale stands as he gives a nod our way. 

Grant Hale is tall, balding, with a paunch belly at hand. He’s put in his hours with the Bureau, and from what I’ve gleaned in the short time I’ve been here is that he’s a darn good leader. 

I just transferred from Reno a few weeks ago where I finished up a two-year stint in their FBI department, but now I’m living right back in the hometown I grew up in, just about twenty minutes from Denver. And I’m glad to be back. 

The truth is, I missed my sisters and my mother. The only reason I took the job in Reno to begin with was because my younger sister, Erin, has been missing for going on three years now. Erin was always the smartest of the bunch, a child prodigy who could run circles around college professors before she was old enough to drive. But she’s well into her twenties now, missing in action, and as it turns out, she doesn’t want to be found—she’s made that abundantly clear. 

There was a sighting of her at the cult compound that our last case was centered around. But once we blew the lid off that, Erin made a run for it to who knows where. I’m so angry at her, but nonetheless, it doesn’t seem to be waning on my desire to hunt her down. How else am I going to slap her for putting our family through this hell? 

Hale nods our way. “Like I said in the message, we’ve got a serious situation unfolding in Aspen Heights. Three people were shot and a woman kidnapped right from the crime scene. I don’t have to tell you time is not on our side. The details are still coming in.” He clicks at his keyboard and frowns at his screen.

Buddy leaps and hops between Nikki and me as we scratch and pat him as best we can.

Nikki wrinkles her nose my way. “How come I didn’t end up with the dog? I was the one sleeping with his owner.” Nikki pulls the pooch close and offers up a kiss to his little nose.

“You just admitted to sleeping with the killer,” I say, trying my best to woo Buddy in my direction but to no avail. “Clearly, you have questionable decision-making skills.

Nikki scoffs before looking at Jack. “Oh, she is hilarious.”

“You should have seen how funny she was in the hot tub,” he shoots back while flipping open his laptop.

Hey. Watch it.” I try to swat his arm, but he’s too far out of reach. “Nothing happened in that hot tub.” I look right at Hale as I say it. 

The last thing I want is to give Hale the wrong impression of me. I’m not some lust-stricken teenager. I’m here to work for the Bureau in the most sincere capacity—and utilize every resource the FBI has to offer to track down my sister. But I’m not sharing that last detail with anyone. 

I hardly doubt Hale would appreciate the fact I’m using their database for my personal gain. Although so far it hasn’t netted me anything. Regardless, Hale holds my career by the reins. Him, I still need to impress. 

Buddy trots over to the front of the room and begins sniffing around a chair that’s filled with Hale’s belongings.

“You just reminded me of something,” Hale says as he slips a platter out of a plastic bag and lands it on the table. “I’ve got a cheese tray. Help yourselves.”

True to his word, there are three rows of different cheeses, each sliced and cubed into one-inch portions, enough to feed the masses. Looks like Gouda, Swiss, and cheddar.

“A cheese tray?” I lean over and pick up a slice of cheddar. “I didn’t know a near mass shooting called for one.”

“It’s the kidnapping we’re more concerned with,” he says as the giant screen ignites behind him. “And I was on a date when I got the call. I didn’t see the need to waste it.”

“Speaking of dates.” Nikki shoots a grin from me to Jack. “You never did extrapolate on how that little tussle in the hot tub turned out.”

And just like that, the night gets worse.

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