FBI cult specialist Lilith Munroe lives in dread that one day the man who tortured her when a case went bad will find her again. So leaving her sanctuary in Quantico to join the Harvester Task Force in Boston is her version of hell. But the Harvester is kidnapping babies, and Lilith’s profiling skills may mean the difference between life and death for the most innocent in society.
Australian millionaire and former member of the New Horizon commune Jacob Andrews returns to the United States searching for his sister. Instead of the happy reunion he expects, he discovers she is dead and his twin brother may be responsible. He agrees to lend his law enforcement skills to help find his former cult leader before the man can implement his plan to kill millions.
Now uneasy partners, Jacob and Lilith must learn to trust each other even as they fight their growing attraction. But when Lilith’s greatest fears materialize, will Jacob be able to set aside his anger and save the woman he loves?
by Susanne Matthews
Sensuality Level: Sensual
A former high school teacher, Susanne Matthews lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, the inspiration for all her heroes. When she’s not writing, she enjoys camping in summer, and romantic getaways in winter.
An excerpt from The White Lily:
Exhausted and thirsty, Lilith hung from the cold basement wall, her arms extended, shackled at her wrists, in a re-creation of the crucifixion. Her tired legs wouldn’t be able to support her weight much longer, and if she collapsed or fell asleep, her shoulders would separate, tearing the muscle from the bone, and the pain would increase exponentially. With her arms ripped from their sockets, her chest would sag, stretched to its full extent, and she’d inhale until her lungs were fully expanded, and then, unable to exhale because her muscles couldn’t function in that position, she’d slowly suffocate. The irony of this method of torture wasn’t lost on her.
How long had she been in here? Hours? Days? The total darkness of the grave surrounded her. She was going to die just like Turner had. They’d found his brutalized body in the desert, about thirty miles from the compound. Forensics had proven he’d been killed elsewhere, and she’d bet it had been in this dungeon. Had he been crucified on this wall? Had his blood embedded itself into the cold stone at her back? Pooled at his feet like hers did? The coroner claimed exsanguination as the cause of death, but perhaps Turner had simply given in to the pain.
Lilith, when you screw up, you really make a mess of things.
Turner had been one of the agency’s best men, with years of covert experience under his belt. She’d volunteered to take his place and infiltrate the Faithful Followers of the Word, looking for Senator Kirk’s granddaughter, the fourteen-year-old girl who’d vanished from her bunkhouse at ski camp almost a year ago. Why had she assumed she’d succeed where he’d failed?
There’d been concern about sending a female agent into this environment, especially one with no undercover experience, but in her arrogance, Lilith had argued a young woman might have a better shot at being accepted than another man. After all, wasn’t she the agency’s expert on cults? Besides, they’d had no real proof Kelly Kirk was there other than an anonymous tip and a grainy photograph taken by an aerial surveillance plane, so Lilith might simply be gathering vital information.
But she’d misread the dynamics of the cult. Foolishly, because his was the face everyone saw, she assumed Rivers was in charge.
Her left knee buckled, and she gasped as the handcuffs bit deeper into her wrists. Forcing herself upright once more, she gritted her teeth. Her tormentor was probably out there right now, waiting to hear her cry out once more, and by God, she’d die before she’d give him the satisfaction.
Inhaling slowly, her expanding chest ripping open the fresh wounds on her torso and increasing her agony, she swallowed the pain.
It was her own fault that she was in this predicament. She’d been so close to completing her assignment, but she’d made a rookie mistake, one that would end in her death and condemn who knew how many young girls to this sick lifestyle.
After weeks of kowtowing to just about everyone living in the compound, she’d finally been allowed into the “holiest of holies” the large building specifically designed to house Rivers’s mates. She’d barely recognized Kelly, now heavily pregnant. Grossed out at the thought of Rivers rutting with girls as young as fourteen, Lilith jumped the gun, approached the girl, and identified herself as a family friend sent to rescue her. Sadly, brainwashed into believing she carried God’s grandchild, Kelly had betrayed her to the man who called himself the son of God.
Before Lilith could call in and report, two men stormed into her room, tore the place apart, and found the cell phone hidden under her mattress. They’d dragged her to this hellhole for re-education and introduced her to the monster. The Spanish Inquisition could’ve learned a trick or two from this guy, but she’d clung to her cover story in spite of the torture.
Licking her swollen lips with what little saliva she could produce, the sharp pain from the tooth she’d lost for joking about a crown of thorns, reminded her that she hadn’t gone down without a fight. In spite of everything those bastards had done to her, she hadn’t broken, and there was still a chance her team would get to her in time.
Her head tipped forward, allowing her chin to brush against her grandmother’s locket. Ironically, while they’d ripped away her clothes, the good luck piece still hung around her neck, its pendant hiding a miniaturized GPS placed there by the FBI technician before she’d entered the compound.
Her legs trembled and threatened to give way again. One mistake. One stupid mistake, but there might still be a chance for good to come from it. When she didn’t report in at her scheduled time, her team would storm the compound. Kelly and the other women and children would be rescued, and Rivers and his sick cronies would pay for their crimes—crimes that would include multiple cases of statutory rape and the murder of two federal agents.