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       When All the Girls Have Gone, p.1

           Jayne Ann Krentz
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When All the Girls Have Gone


  Titles by Jayne Ann Krentz

  WHEN ALL THE GIRLS HAVE GONE

  SECRET SISTERS

  TRUST NO ONE

  RIVER ROAD

  DREAM EYES

  COPPER BEACH

  IN TOO DEEP

  FIRED UP

  RUNNING HOT

  SIZZLE AND BURN

  WHITE LIES

  ALL NIGHT LONG

  FALLING AWAKE

  TRUTH OR DARE

  LIGHT IN SHADOW

  SUMMER IN ECLIPSE BAY

  TOGETHER IN ECLIPSE BAY

  SMOKE IN MIRRORS

  LOST & FOUND

  DAWN IN ECLIPSE BAY

  SOFT FOCUS

  ECLIPSE BAY

  EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

  FLASH

  SHARP EDGES

  DEEP WATERS

  ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY

  TRUST ME

  GRAND PASSION

  HIDDEN TALENTS

  WILDEST HEARTS

  FAMILY MAN

  PERFECT PARTNERS

  SWEET FORTUNE

  SILVER LININGS

  THE GOLDEN CHANCE

  Titles by Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Amanda Quick

  ’TIL DEATH DO US PART

  GARDEN OF LIES

  OTHERWISE ENGAGED

  THE MYSTERY WOMAN

  CRYSTAL GARDENS

  QUICKSILVER

  BURNING LAMP

  THE PERFECT POISON

  THE THIRD CIRCLE

  THE RIVER KNOWS

  SECOND SIGHT

  LIE BY MOONLIGHT

  THE PAID COMPANION

  WAIT UNTIL MIDNIGHT

  LATE FOR THE WEDDING

  DON’T LOOK BACK

  SLIGHTLY SHADY

  WICKED WIDOW

  I THEE WED

  WITH THIS RING

  AFFAIR

  MISCHIEF

  MYSTIQUE

  MISTRESS

  DECEPTION

  DESIRE

  DANGEROUS

  RECKLESS

  RAVISHED

  RENDEZVOUS

  SCANDAL

  SURRENDER

  SEDUCTION

  Titles by Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Jayne Castle

  ILLUSION TOWN

  SIREN’S CALL

  THE HOT ZONE

  DECEPTION COVE

  THE LOST NIGHT

  CANYONS OF NIGHT

  MIDNIGHT CRYSTAL

  OBSIDIAN PREY

  DARK LIGHT

  SILVER MASTER

  GHOST HUNTER

  AFTER GLOW

  HARMONY

  AFTER DARK

  AMARYLLIS

  ZINNIA

  ORCHID

  The Guinevere Jones Series

  DESPERATE AND DECEPTIVE

  The Guinevere Jones Collection, Volume 1

  THE DESPERATE GAME

  THE CHILLING DECEPTION

  SINISTER AND FATAL

  The Guinevere Jones Collection, Volume 2

  THE SINISTER TOUCH

  THE FATAL FORTUNE

  Specials

  THE SCARGILL COVE CASE FILES

  BRIDAL JITTERS

  (writing as Jayne Castle)

  Anthologies

  CHARMED

  (with Julie Beard, Lori Foster, and Eileen Wilks)

  Titles written by Jayne Ann Krentz and Jayne Castle

  NO GOING BACK

  BERKLEY

  An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

  375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014

  Copyright © 2016 by Jayne Ann Krentz

  Excerpt from The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick copyright © 2016 by Jayne Ann Krentz

  Penguin Random House supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin Random House to continue to publish books for every reader.

  BERKLEY is a registered trademark and the B colophon is a trademark of Penguin Random House LLC.

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Names: Krentz, Jayne Ann, author.

  Title: When all the girls have gone / Jayne Ann Krentz.

  Description: First edition. | New York, NY : Berkley, [2016]

  Identifiers: LCCN 2016026198 (print) | LCCN 2016032232 (ebook) | ISBN

  9780399174490 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780698193673

  Subjects: LCSH: Missing persons—Investigation—Fiction. | Man-woman

  relationships—Fiction. | Private investigators—Fiction. | BISAC: FICTION /

  Romance / Suspense. | FICTION / Suspense. | FICTION / Romance / General. |

  GSAFD: Romantic suspense fiction. | Mystery fiction.

  Classification: LCC PS3561.R44 W48 2016 (print) | LCC PS3561.R44 (ebook) |

  DDC 813/.54—dc23

  LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2016026198

  First Edition: November 2016

  Cover photo by Claudio Marinesco

  Cover design by Rita Frangie

  Title page art: “Seattle skyline” © Jeffery Hayes / Shutterstock; “Abstract background” © Venera Salman / Shutterstock

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Version_1

  For Frank, with love

  CONTENTS

  Titles by Jayne Ann Krentz

  Title Page

  Copyright

  Dedication

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Chapter 44

  Chapter 45

  Chapter 46

  Chapter 47

  Chapter 48

  Chapter 49

  Chapter 50

  Chapter 51

  Chapter 52

 
Chapter 53

  Chapter 54

  Chapter 55

  Chapter 56

  Chapter 57

  Chapter 58

  Chapter 59

  Chapter 60

  Chapter 61

  Chapter 62

  Chapter 63

  Chapter 64

  Chapter 65

  Chapter 66

  Chapter 67

  Chapter 68

  Chapter 69

  Chapter 70

  Chapter 71

  Chapter 72

  Excerpt from The Girl Who Knew Too Much

  About the Author

  CHAPTER 1

  The killer waited patiently for the target to emerge from the cabin.

  There was no great rush, after all. The waiting allowed time to savor the prospect of revenge.

  It was rather pleasant sitting there, propped against a mossy tree, rifle at the ready. High summer in the Cascades was a very enjoyable time of year. True, the tourists clogged the narrow mountain roads and insisted on stopping at every lookout point to take photographs. They left their trash behind at the numerous picnic sites. But come fall they would be driven away by the heavy rains and high winds of the early storms. In winter, snow would make the roads treacherous.

  In the meantime, the warm, gentle breeze stirring the branches carried the scents of the trees and the vegetation that thrived in the short growing season.

  Now there was time to contemplate the past and all the injustices that could be laid at the feet of the man inside the cabin. While making preparations the killer had worried that when the moment finally arrived, there would be at least a few qualms. Instead there was only a great sense of certainty.

  The door of the cabin opened. Gordon Greenslade came out onto the porch. He had always been a good-looking man and he was aging well. His hair had turned an attractive silver-white, not dull gray. He was still lean and fit, and his aquiline features had softened only a little.

  He had a mug of coffee in his hand. The killer recognized the mug. It was several years old, handmade and hand-painted. Like everything else in the rustic interior of the cabin, it was worn and faded.

  These days Greenslade used the cabin primarily for hunting and fishing and when he just wanted to get away from the pressures that came with being the town’s leading citizen. He owned the company that was the second-largest employer in town—the college had taken first place in recent years. But more to the point, he owned the local politicians, the authorities of Loring College and a couple of state representatives. If the rumors were true, he also had at least one U.S. senator in his pocket.

  Everybody in Loring respected Gordon Greenslade and a lot of people owed him in one way or another. He was a rigid, self-righteous pillar of the community. But no one really liked him. It would be entertaining to see how much effort the police put into investigating his death.

  The killer rose and picked up the rifle. There was a clear line of sight. It would be easy to take the kill shot without being seen. But that would defeat the purpose. When you set out to walk the path of revenge, you wanted your target to know who was pulling the trigger.

  The killer moved out into the clearing in front of the cabin. It took Gordon a moment to notice that he had company. When he did, he was startled, but only briefly. Irritation soon replaced the surprise.

  “What are you doing here?” he asked.

  The killer did not bother to respond. It was, after all, pretty damn obvious what was about to go down.

  Belatedly Greenslade realized the rifle was aimed at him. Rage and panic flashed across his face.

  He tried to retreat back into the cabin where he no doubt had a gun. But he didn’t move fast enough. The bullet took him in the chest.

  A head shot would have been too easy because death would have been instantaneous. This way there would be time for the killer to watch the target bleed out; time for Greenslade to comprehend that this was all about revenge.

  * * *

  The death of Gordon Greenslade was front-page news in the Loring Herald. There was genuine shock—Greenslade had, after all, been the biggest mover and shaker in town—but not a lot of genuine mourning. Still, everyone made a point of displaying the appropriate degree of respect for the deceased, because Gordon Greenslade’s death had not changed the economic and political reality. The Greenslade family still controlled the second-largest employer in Loring and, indirectly, Loring’s largest employer, the college. It existed solely because of the Greenslade endowment.

  The police did their job and conducted an investigation. But in the end they came to the conclusion that the killer had anticipated: Gordon Greenslade had been killed in an accident. The shooter had been hunting out of season and probably hadn’t even been aware that his wild shot had killed a man. In any event, it was unlikely that the person who had pulled the trigger would ever be found.

  Everyone who lived in the area knew that the mountains were inherently dangerous. In the fall, heavy rains flooded the rivers to dangerous levels, sweeping away those who were unlucky enough to get caught in the rushing waters. Landslides blocked roads. Strong winds felled trees that could crush vehicles. In the winter, backcountry avalanches invariably took the lives of a few skiers and snowboarders every year. In the summer, it was inevitable that a hiker or two or three would fall into a crevasse or simply go missing forever.

  And hunting accidents happened all the time in the mountains.

  CHAPTER 2

  “‘. . . And then I killed him.’”

  Ethel Deeping looked up from the page she had been reading from her memoir. She smiled proudly, clearly anticipating a round of applause from the audience.

  For a few seconds the other members of the Write Your Life memoir writing group were shocked into a state of speechlessness.

  Then the muttered complaints began rolling across the room in a wave that crested to full-blown outrage.

  “You can’t put that in your memoir,” Hazel Williams announced from the back of the room. She banged her cane on the floor for emphasis. “We’re supposed to be writing our life stories, not fiction. The fiction class meets on Wednesday evenings.”

  “Hazel’s right,” Bob Perkins grumbled. “It’s a memoir. There are rules. You want to write mysteries, go join the fiction writers’ group.”

  Ethel narrowed her eyes. “It’s my life story. I can tell it any way I want.”

  Charlotte Sawyer, seated at the front of the small classroom, raised her hand, signaling for silence. The grumbling subsided. Everyone looked at her.

  She was far and away the youngest person in the room. The Thursday afternoon meeting of the Write Your Life group was a popular program at the Rainy Creek Gardens Retirement Village. It had been one of the first workshops she had introduced upon accepting the position of director of social and educational activities. That had been a year before, when, after bouncing from one boring, dead-end job to another in Portland, Oregon, she had taken her stepsister’s advice and moved to Seattle. Her first interview had been at Rainy Creek Gardens. She had landed the job immediately. Five minutes into her new career she had concluded that she had found her place in the world.

  Overseeing the busy schedule of workshops, events and programs at Rainy Creek Gardens lacked the glamour and sophistication that her stepsister, Jocelyn, enjoyed as a fund-raiser for a wealthy entrepreneur’s foundation. Jocelyn frequently traveled to exotic locales and mingled with the rich and famous—all in the name of convincing them to donate to the foundation. Nevertheless, Charlotte had no desire to trade places. She found her job far more satisfying than anything else she had tried to date.

  The only real drawback—and admittedly it was a big one—was having to walk past the memorial board in the elevator lobby on her way to and from her office. Rarely did a week pass without a new name being pos
ted. Because of her position on the staff, she was usually acquainted with the deceased. She often knew some of their family members, as well.

  She had attended more memorial services in her year at Rainy Creek Gardens than most people did in a lifetime. And somewhere along the way her attitude toward the inevitability of death had begun to change.

  Lately it had dawned on her that until she had come to Rainy Creek Gardens, she had spent her life living mostly in the future. As a child, that had meant looking forward to holidays and birthdays and, most of all, becoming a grown-up. Upon achieving adulthood she had discovered that being a grown-up wasn’t nearly as satisfying as she had anticipated. What was more, the future was uncomfortably unpredictable.

  At Rainy Creek Gardens she had finally begun to realize that, no matter your age, when you looked back it always seemed that your life had passed in the blink of an eye. The past could not be changed and the future was unknowable. The residents of Rainy Creek Gardens were teaching her that the real trick to a good life was to learn to live in the present.

  She smiled reassuringly at Ethel Deeping and the other people in the room.

  “Ethel makes an excellent point,” she said. “She is allowed to write her life story any way she wants. And it’s certainly true that there have been a number of very successful memoirists who have, to put it mildly, embellished their memoirs.”

  “Makes ’em more interesting,” Ethel said.

  “But it’s wrong,” Ted Hagstrom thundered.

  Ted was a retired engineer. He tended to be a stickler for the rules.

  There was another round of disgruntled murmuring. Once again Charlotte signaled for silence.

  “Before we critique Ethel’s essay, I think we should ask her why she chose her rather unexpected ending for the chapter on her marriage,” she said. “Ethel?”

  Ethel beamed. “It’s more exciting that way.”

  “Well, yes,” Charlotte agreed. “But are you certain that it fits with the rest of what you have told us about Mr. Deeping? You’ve made it clear that your husband was an excellent provider and well respected in the community. You said he was a churchgoing man. You mentioned his military service and you said that everyone liked him.”

  “Good golfer, too,” Ethel said. “Seven handicap.”

 

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