Brazen Virtue



  • Contemporary


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Some virtues are negotiable....

The steamy summer streets of Washington are no match for the phone lines of Fantasy, Inc., where every man's dreams come true. The "hotline" works perfectly for its anonymous clients and the teachers and housewives who moonlight as call girls... until a brilliant madman plugs in with twisted passion.

Superstar mystery novelist Grace McCabe needs to unwind after a grueling book tour, and visiting her sister, whom she hasn't seen in months, seems the perfect solution. But Grace is surprised to find the fastidious Kathleen living in a grungy Washington, D.C., neighborhood. Kathleen, reeling from a bitter divorce and the loss of her son, is saving every penny of her teacher's salary to hire a hotshot lawyer for a custody battle. Then Grace discovers that Kathleen is boosting her income with an unlikely profession: as an at-home phone-sex operator. Known as Desiree to the clients of Fantasy, Inc., Kathleen is living life on the edge. Yet how dangerous could it really be? With the ironclad anonymity the agency guarantees its employees, could anyone ever track her down?

Grace finds out one cherry-blossom-scented night when she comes home to find her sister dead, strangled with the cord of her "special" phone. Suddenly Grace's life turns into a scene from one of her own books -- the horror, the tight-lipped police, the shattered survivor. Only this time the survivor is Grace herself. But she isn't waiting around for the police to catch up with the killer. Instead she creates a daring trap to lure the killer to her. She is determined to trap her sister's killer, to bait him with the same seductive voice that triggered his murderous lust...

Her plan goes against every coolheaded instinct of Detective Ed Jackson, the handsome lead investigator on the case. He's read all of Grace's books and might have been the perfect consultant for the one she's working on. They had passion for justice, revenge... and each other. Though in this real-life murder, she's the last complication he needs. He has finally found the love of his life, and lost his professional cool. He's determined to keep Grace out of harm's way, but it's too late. Her trap has already worked. She has aroused the attention of a brilliant madman, and now nothing may be able to protect her from the murderous lust that drives this killer down a path of ecstasy laced with death.

Somewhere in the darkness someone is waiting, listening for the voice that will bring him back to the scene of the crime for one last thrill, promising ecstasy -- and death.
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