Xo, p.1
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       Xo, p.1

         Part #3 of Kathryn Dance series by Jeffery Deaver



  "A GRIPPING story peopled with memorable characters. No surprise. Jeffery Deaver is GRAND MASTER OF THE TICKING-CLOCK THRILLER."


  "BRILLIANT plot maneuvers.... Like his best players, [Deaver] has one of those PUZZLE-LOVING minds you just can't trust."


  "Roadside Crosses [is] the perfect book for a quiet summer afternoon where a little relaxation--accompanied, naturally, by A JOLT OF SUSPENSE--is the order of the day."


  "Dance is another EXCITING SERIES CHARACTER.... Don't miss this one."


  "Deaver, perhaps more than any other crime writer, is able to fool even the most experienced readers with his right-angle turns.... This is an EXCELLENT ENTRY in what promises to be A SERIES AS POPULAR AS THE AUTHOR'S LINCOLN RHYME NOVELS."


  COUNTRY-POP INGENUE Kayleigh Towne's career is just reaching new heights with her huge hit single "Your Shadow"--but increased fame is also bringing unwanted attention. An innocent exchange with one of her fans, signed with an "XO," leads Kayleigh into the dangerous and terrifying realm of obsession.

  Edwin Sharp thinks Kayleigh's songs contain messages that speak directly to him. Despite her clear rejection and threats from lawyers and law enforcers, he remains convinced that "Your Shadow" was written just for him, and he announces he's coming for Kayleigh. Then a potentially fatal accident occurs at the concert hall where Kayleigh is rehearsing for a triumphant hometown performance, and she is convinced that someone--maybe Edwin--was there watching her from the darkness.

  True to his word, Edwin Sharp soon makes an ominous appearance in town, and California Bureau of Investigation Agent Kathryn Dance, a friend and fan of Kayleigh's on vacation in Fresno to attend the show, intervenes on her behalf, drawing Sharp's frightening attention to herself. That night a member of the road crew whom Kayleigh had once dated is murdered in an eerie echo of an image from her chart-topping song. As more deaths loom on the horizon, Kathryn Dance must use her considerable skills at investigation and body-language analysis to stop the stalker and save more innocent victims. But before long she learns that, like many celebrities, Kayleigh has more than one fan with a mission ...

  This nail-biting thriller from suspense master Jeffery Deaver speeds along over just three short days, filled with terrifying twists that will keep readers held in rapt suspense until the final shocking revelation.

  Free mp3 download of "Your Shadow,"

  with lyrics by Jeffery Deaver and music by

  Clay Stafford and Ken Landers, available from



  JEFFERY DEAVER's most recent #1 international bestseller is Carte Blanche. The author of two collections of short stories and 28 previous suspense novels, he is best known for his Kathryn Dance and Lincoln Rhyme thrillers, most notably The Bone Collector, which was made into a feature starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. The latest entries in the Kathryn Dance series are Roadside Crosses, The Sleeping Doll and The Cold Moon. Deaver's many awards include the Novel of the Year at the International Thriller Writers' Awards in 2009 for his standalone novel The Bodies Left Behind, and the Crime Writers' Association's Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for his thriller Garden of Beasts. He has been nominated for seven Edgar Awards by the Mystery Writers of America, an Anthony Award and a Gumshoe Award. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into 25 languages. He lives in North Carolina.

  For further information, visit www.jefferydeaver.com.








  Carte Blanche


  The Burning Wire*

  Best American Mystery Stories 2009 (editor) The Watch List (The Copper Bracelet and The Chopin Manuscript) (contributor) Roadside Crosses**

  The Bodies Left Behind The Broken Window*

  The Sleeping Doll**

  More Twisted: Collected Stories, Volume Two The Cold Moon*/**

  The Twelfth Card*

  Garden of Beasts

  Twisted: Collected Stories The Vanished Man*

  The Stone Monkey*

  The Blue Nowhere

  The Empty Chair*

  Speaking in Tongues

  The Devil's Teardrop The Coffin Dancer*

  The Bone Collector*

  A Maiden's Grave

  Praying for Sleep

  The Lesson of Her Death Mistress of Justice

  Hard News

  Death of a Blue Movie Star Manhattan Is My Beat

  Hell's Kitchen

  Bloody River Blues

  Shallow Graves

  A Century of Great Suspense Stories (editor) A Hot and Sultry Night for Crime (editor) Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Introduction)

  *Featuring Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs

  **Featuring Kathryn Dance

  Thank you for purchasing this Simon & Schuster eBook.

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  New York, NY 10020


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

  Copyright (c) 2012 by Jeffery Deaver

  All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Simon & Schuster Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

  First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition June 2012

  SIMON & SCHUSTER and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

  The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For more information or to book an event, contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at www.simonspeakers.com.

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Deaver, Jeffery.

  XO : a Kathryn Dance novel/Jeffery Deaver.--1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed.

  p. cm.

  1. Women singers--Fiction. 2. Fans (Persons)--Fiction. 3. Obsessive-compulsive disorder--

  Fiction. I. Title.

  PS3554.E1755X6 2012



  ISBN 978-1-4391-5637-7

  ISBN 978-1-4391-5898-2 (ebook)


  Author's Note


  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

  Chapter 73

  Chapter 74

  Chapter 75

  Chapter 76

  Chapter 77

  Chapter 78

  Chapter 79

  Kayleigh Towne - Your Shadow


  About the Author

  Author's Note

  The lyrics to all the songs in Your Shadow, the country-music album at the heart of this novel, can be found at the back of the book. These tunes are referred to throughout and may just contain some clues about the events that unfold along the way. And if you'd like to listen to the actual title track itself, and other songs from the album, recently recorded in Nashville, go to www.jefferydeaver.com for information on downloads.

  To most listeners, the title track, "Your Shadow," is simply a love song.

  Some feel differently.

  Subject: Re: You're the Best!!!

  From: [email protected] To: [email protected] 2 January 10:32 a.m.

  Hey there,


  Thanks for your email! I'm so glad you liked my latest album! Your support means the world to me. Be sure you go to my website and sign up to get my newsletter and learn about new releases and upcoming concerts, and don't forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

  And keep an eye out for the mail. I sent you that autographed photo you requested!




  Subject: Unbelievable!!!!!

  From: [email protected] To: [email protected] 3 September 5:10 a.m.

  Hi, Kayleigh:

  I am totally blown away. I'm rendered speechless. And, you know me pretty good by now--for me to be speechless, that's something!! Anyway, here's the story: I downloaded your new album last night and listened to "Your Shadow." Whoahhh! It's without doubt the best song I have ever heard. I mean of anything ever written. I even like it better than "It's Going to Be Different This Time." I've told you nobody's ever expressed how I feel about loneliness and life and well everything better than you. And that song does that totally. But more important I can see what you're saying, your plea for help. It's all clear now. Don't worry. You're not alone, Kayleigh!!

  I'll be your shadow. Forever.

  XO, Edwin


  Subject: Fwd: Unbelievable!!!!!

  From: [email protected] To: [email protected] 3 September 10:34 a.m.

  Mr. Sharp:

  Ms. Alicia Sessions, personal assistant to our clients Kayleigh Towne and her father, Bishop Towne, forwarded us your email of this morning. You have sent more than 50 emails and letters since we contacted you two months ago, urging you not to have any contact with Ms. Towne or any of her friends and family. We are extremely troubled that you have found her private email address (which has been changed, I should tell you), and are looking into possible violations of state and federal laws regarding how you obtained such address.

  Once again, we must tell you that we feel your behavior is completely inappropriate and possibly actionable. We urge you in the strongest terms possible to heed this warning. As we've said repeatedly, Ms. Towne's security staff and local law enforcement officials have been notified of your repeated, intrusive attempts to contact her and we are fully prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to put an end to this alarming behavior.

  Samuel King, Esq.

  Crowell, Smith & Wendall, Attorneys-at-Law *

  Subject: See you soon!!!

  From: [email protected] To: [email protected] 5 September 11:43 p.m.

  Hi, Kayleigh--

  Got your new email address. I know what they're up to but DON'T worry, it'll be all right.

  I'm lying in bed, listening to you right now. I feel like I'm literally your shadow ... And you're mine. You are so wonderful!

  I don't know if you had a chance to think about it--you're sooooo busy, I know!--but I'll ask again--if you wanted to send me some of your hair that'd be so cool. I know you haven't cut it for ten years and four months (it's one of those things that makes you so beautiful!!!) but maybe there's one from your brush. Or better yet your pillow. I'll treasure it forever.

  Can't WAIT for the concert next Friday. C U soon.

  Yours forever,

  XO, Edwin

  Chapter 1

  THE HEART OF a concert hall is people.

  And when the vast space is dim and empty, as this one was at the moment, a venue can bristle with impatience, indifference.

  Even hostility.

  Okay, rein in that imagination, Kayleigh Towne told herself. Stop acting like a kid. Standing on the wide, scuffed stage of the Fresno Conference Center's main hall, she surveyed the place once more, bringing her typically hypercritical eye to the task of preparing for Friday's concert, considering and reconsidering lighting and stage movements and where the members of the band should stand and sit. Where best to walk out near, though not into, the crowd and touch hands and blow kisses. Where best acoustically to place the foldback speakers--the monitors that were pointed toward the band so they could hear themselves without echoes or distortion. Many performers now used earbuds for this; Kayleigh liked the immediacy of traditional foldbacks.

  There were a hundred other details to think about. She believed that every performance should be perfect, more than perfect. Every audience deserved the best. One hundred ten percent.

  She had, after all, grown up in Bishop Towne's shadow.

  An unfortunate choice of word, Kayleigh now reflected.

  I'll be your shadow. Forever....

  Back to the planning. This show had to be different from the previous one here, about eight months ago. A retooled program was especially important since many of the fans would have regularly attended her hometown concerts and she wanted to make sure they got something unexpected. That was one thing about Kayleigh Towne's music; her audiences weren't as big as some but were loyal as golden retrievers. They knew her lyrics cold, knew her guitar licks, knew her moves onstage and laughed at her shtick before she finished the lines. They lived and breathed her performances, hung on her words, knew her bio and likes and dislikes.

  And some wanted to know much more ...

  With that thought, her heart and gut clenched as if she'd stepped into Hensley Lake in January.

  Thinking about him, of course.

  Then she froze, gasping. Yes, someone was watching her from the far end
of the hall! Where none of the crew would be.

  Shadows were moving.

  Or was it her imagination? Or maybe her eyesight? Kayleigh had been given perfect pitch and an angelic voice but God had decided enough was enough and skimped big-time on the vision. She squinted, adjusted her glasses. She was sure that someone was hiding, rocking back and forth in the doorway that led to the storage area for the concession stands.

  Then the movement stopped.

  She decided it wasn't movement at all and never had been. Just a hint of light, a suggestion of shading.

  Though still, she heard a series of troubling clicks and snaps and groans--from where, she couldn't tell--and felt a chill of panic bubble up her spine.

  Him ...

  The man who had written her hundreds of emails and letters, intimate, delusional, speaking of the life they could share together, asking for a strand of hair, a fingernail clipping. The man who had somehow gotten near enough at a dozen shows to take close-up pictures of Kayleigh, without anyone ever seeing him. The man who had possibly--though it had never been proven--slipped into the band buses or motor homes on the road and stolen articles of her clothing, underwear included.

  The man who had sent her dozen of pictures of himself: shaggy hair, fat, in clothing that looked unwashed. Never obscene but, curiously, the images were all the more disturbing for their familiarity. They were the shots a boyfriend would text her from a trip.

  Him ...

  Her father had recently hired a personal bodyguard, a huge man with a round, bullet-shaped head and an occasional curly wire sprouting from his ear to make clear what his job was. But Darthur Morgan was outside at the moment, making the rounds and checking cars. His security plan also included a nice touch: simply being visible so that potential stalkers would turn around and leave rather than risk a confrontation with a 250-pound man who looked like a rapper with an attitude (which, sure enough, he'd been in his teen years).

  She scanned the recesses of the hall again--the best place he might stand and watch her. Then gritting her teeth in anger at her fear and mostly at her failure to tame the uneasiness and distraction, she thought, Get. Back. To. Work.

  And what're you worried about? You're not alone. The band wasn't in town yet--they were finishing some studio work in Nashville--but Bobby was at the huge Midas XL8 mixing console dominating the control deck in the back of the hall, two hundred feet away. Alicia was getting the rehearsal rooms in order. A couple of the beefy guys in Bobby's road crew were unpacking the truck in the back, assembling and organizing the hundreds of cases and tools and props and plywood sheets and stands and wires and amps and instruments and computers and tuners--the tons of gear that even modest touring bands like Kayleigh's needed.