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Cutting room the, p.37
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       CUTTING ROOM -THE-, p.37

           Jilliane Hoffman

  ‘I’m not going without you, Dominick. I made that promise. I won’t leave us again. So tell me we shouldn’t go and we won’t. I was just throwing it out there.’

  ‘I’m still not understanding. Jesus … What about Bantling? He’s still missing. He’s still out there somewhere. If you go back to Miami, he’ll know where to look. How the hell will you ever feel safe again?’

  She rubbed her temple. ‘It’s been months since he escaped, Dominick. I think he’s long gone. I think Manny was wrong. Okay, he left some fucked-up pictures of me behind on death row, but that’s where he left them — behind.’

  ‘Maybe it would be best then to assume he doesn’t know where we are and you should just stay put,’ Dominick replied. ‘I understand not wanting to uproot and go into witness protection, but to jump back into the fire is crazy.’

  ‘I don’t think it’s so crazy. Have the feds got anything on him?’ she asked, hoping her voice sounded casual, but not too casual. He would never understand what she had done. She would not drag him into another secret. This one was for her to carry all alone.

  He shook his head. ‘The trail went cold in Alabama. He was there for sure, two days after he got out of Miami, but that was it. Nothing since.’

  ‘He probably made it over the border,’ she said quietly. ‘Canada, Mexico, Central America. Flew to South America from there, to one of those cities he used to visit all the time. He knows his way around, can get lost in a crowd, I’m sure.’

  ‘I think Interpol has a flag on rapes and murders with his MO, so when he gets back on his game, there’ll be people looking. We’ll find him.’

  ‘Maybe he’s dead,’ she said flatly.


  She pushed her cereal around in the bowl. ‘Just saying that’s a possibility. Think of the boys they never found who escaped from Alcatraz. The feds spent decades looking for them all, spinning great urban myth about how they’re living on the lam under new identities, when the truth is, they tell you now on the prison tour that they all probably drowned and the current swept them out to sea.’

  ‘If that’s the case, we need to find a body. For your peace of mind. And mine. There would be nothing I’d like better than to watch them bury that guy six feet under.’

  On that, she stood up and dumped her cereal into the disposal. She wasn’t hungry anymore. ‘I want my life back. I want to be me again,’ she said quietly.

  Me. She didn’t even know who that person was. A person who had committed premeditated acts of violence that she, as a prosecutor, had once condemned. Acts that she had asked juries and judges to put defendants to death for. Who was this person? And why was she not conflicted about what she had done in the woods? Why was it not eating her up from the inside out? How was she able to close her eyes at night and, for the first time in years, sleep the whole night through without nightmares? What kind of a monster does what she did without feeling some remorse? In the end, it was easy. And that was what scared her most about the new C.J. It was easy.

  He walked up behind her at the sink and rubbed her shoulders. ‘Damn, C.J. How is it that I am always worrying about you?’ His voice was choked with either anger or sadness or frustration. It was hard to tell. ‘I gotta get dressed,’ he said when she didn’t say anything back. He walked off into the bathroom.

  Her hand went to the small, folded-up piece of paper in the pocket of her robe. She pulled it out and opened it up.

  It was surprising how fast Big, Bad, Nasty Bill Bantling had cracked. She thought it would be more like the movies — where the bad guy could take an interrogation with a garden tool without breaking, like a hard-boiled Sopranos character. She thought she would really have to get dirty, but no. Big Bad Bill was a bastard with a knife when he had a woman tied up and helpless, but when the tables were turned and the chains were on the other foot, he’d cried like a baby.

  And begged. And pleaded.

  And talked.

  She looked at the thirteen names before her. An unlucky number, indeed. She didn’t know any of them. Not yet, anyway. But she knew what had to be done.

  ‘I left a lot of things unfinished in Miami, Dominick,’ she said quietly, more to herself than aloud to him. ‘Things I think I’m going to need to take care of now …’

  About the Author

  JILLIANE HOFFMAN began her professional career as an Assistant State Attorney prosecuting felonies in Florida, with special assignments to the Domestic Violence Unit and the Legal Extradition Unit. She has advised more than one hundred special agents on criminal and civil matters in complex investigations involving narcotics, homicide and organized crime.

  Her previous novels are the bestselling Retribution, Last Witness, Plea of Insanity and Pretty Little Things. Originally from Long Island, New York, she presently resides in South Florida with her husband and two children.

  Also by Jilliane Hoffman


  Last Witness

  Plea of Insanity

  Pretty Little Things


  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher.


  77–85 Fulham Palace Road,


  London W6 8JB

  First published by HarperCollinsPublishers 2012

  Copyright © Jilliane P. Hoffman 2012

  The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

  A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

  Source ISBN: 9780007311675

  Ebook Edition © June 2012 ISBN: 9780007311682

  Version 1


  All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this ebook on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

  About the Publisher


  HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty. Ltd.

  Level 13, 201 Elizabeth Street

  Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia


  HarperCollins Canada

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  Toronto, ON, M4W, 1A8, Canada

  New Zealand

  HarperCollins Publishers (New Zealand) Limited

  P.O. Box 1

  Auckland, New Zealand

  United Kingdom

  HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

  77-85 Fulham Palace Road

  London, W6 8JB, UK

  United States

  HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

  10 East 53rd Street

  New York, NY 10022



  Jilliane Hoffman, CUTTING ROOM -THE-



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