Title: Words to Die For
Author: K. J. Dahlen
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1
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Phoebe Montgomery comes to La Crosse to find out what happened to her sister four years ago. What she finds instead is a journal. Written by a killer, she’s drawn into his net. Can she play the game he’s so good at and win, or will she become his next victim?
Phoebe sat in the big bay window and looked out over the city. From her new apartment above the Bodega Brew Café on Fourth Street in La Crosse, she could see up and down the street. She could see other bars and restaurants as well as shops. If she turned and looked south, she could see the baby blue bridge connecting Wisconsin and Minnesota and the outline of the Radisson Hotel.
She should have been in bed, but she was still wound up from moving in. She had come to La Crosse to check out the college, but she also had another reason for being here. This was the last place her older sister Sydney had been seen.
Sydney had been seven years older than Phoebe, but even with the age difference, the sisters had been close. When Sydney disappeared four years ago, Phoebe wanted to come here and look for her, but she'd only been sixteen and her parents wouldn't let her. Now she was an adult and could do what she wanted. But when she left home, her mother tried to talk to her about Sydney and letting go, but Phoebe didn't listen. She was here to find her sister, no matter the cost.
Because she didn't know how long it would take, she had rented an apartment downtown. Sydney had come here to go to the University of Wisconsin. She had gotten hooked on Archaeology from an old mummy movie when they were growing up, and she wanted to know more about how people in ancient times lived. UW-La Crosse had a fine program and she had come here to study.
The two girls had been planning a weekend together just before Sydney disappeared. When news had reached them at home, Phoebe's family had been devastated. Her parents had come to La Crosse to help the police but they hadn't found her. Now, four years later, Phoebe was still missing. The police had all but stopped looking for her a long time ago. They had other things to worry about; other crimes and missing persons, but Phoebe only had Sydney to worry about.
As she sat in the early hours of the morning looking out over the city, she couldn't help but say a prayer for her sister. If she was still in the city, Phoebe vowed to find her.
She got up from her spot in the window bench and made her way to the bedroom. Originally, this entire floor had been one single apartment, but that was back when the Bodega had been a Café, not a brewery. Now the upper floor had been divided in half, and it was two apartments. She rented the smaller side, although she had her pick of either, since either side was open for rent at the moment.
She made her way to the bedroom, and without turning on the lights, she tried to find her way to the bed. She was almost there when her foot hit a loose board and she turned her ankle. She fell to the floor and hissed as the pain shot up from her twisted ankle to her knee.
Grabbing her ankle, she waited for the pain to subside before she struggled to her feet and hobbled to the door for the light switch. Turning the switch on, she tottered back over to the bed and looked at her foot.
A dark bruise was already evident on her foot. Phoebe knew she had to wrap her foot or she wouldn't be able to walk on it tomorrow. She limped to the living room and began opening boxes she thought would have her first aid kit. When she finally found it, she took out the self-adhesive ace bandage and began wrapping her foot.
When she went back into the bedroom, she stopped off at the kitchen and grabbed an ice pack from the freezer then carefully made her way back to the bed. When she got close to where she fell, she looked the floor over carefully. The board she had tripped on was out of place, so she lifted it and was going to put it back when she caught sight of something in the floorboards.
Grabbing a flashlight she found several notebooks and a small box. Picking one of the books up, she opened it to find handwritten notes. She took the notebook up on the bed, and as she got comfortable, she put the ice on her ankle. She opened the book again and began reading the words.
"I came to her like a lover, at least
that's what she thought. Me, I knew
what I had to do. Before this night was
over, her life would end and mine
would go on much like before except
for one thing. I would relish her memory
like a fine wine.
Her memory would be full and robust,
pleasing to the palette, bursting with
energy as it slides down the throat.
Her body reminds me of alabaster
marble, carved lovingly into a work
of art. The perfect model of womanhood.
Her face frozen in death, her blood
cooling in her veins.
Seeing her like that was better than
making love to her in the heat of passion.
As I could feel myself reaching the point
of no return, I reached for the knife
to slit her throat. I knew I would
climax again when I saw her as she
would be later, cold in death.
Phoebe's eyes widened in horror as she read the words in the journal. Slowly she closed the book as the meaning of what she had read sank in. She shivered violently as the words seared into her brain then pushed the book away from her. She looked at the book on the bed in dreaded amazement for a few moments then leaned forward to retrieve it.