The Man from Gossamer Ridge

The Man from Gossamer Ridge
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To criminology professor Alicia Solano, serial killers aren't just academic. A very real one is stalking her now, possibly the same madman who brought Gabe Cooper to town. The sexy Southern lawman still blames himself for an unsolved murder and this time, he'll do anything to catch the killer–and keep Alicia alive.Not that the feisty prof wants his protection. Her protests prove useless when Gabe insists on moving in with her. And although Gabe senses getting Alicia to trust him–especially after surviving her own traumatic past–is going to be a challenge, it'll be worth it. Gabe knows better than anyone just how far this murderer will go to get what he wants. But so will Gabe. And what he wants is Alicia.

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If anyone thought he was going to let them get to this woman, they’d badly overestimated their power.

“You’re not alone like those other women. You’re not going to be alone.”

“I live alone. I walk to work and back every day, alone—”

“No more of that. You drive everywhere. No more walking alone.” Gabe crossed to where she leaned against the truck, putting his hand on her shoulder. “And no living alone, either. I know you’ve got neighbors all around you, but that note proves the killers think they can get to you regardless. So you’re not living alone, either.”

“So, what—I get myself a roommate and now she’s in danger, too?” Alicia shook her head firmly. “I’m not putting another woman in danger.”

“Not a woman.” Gabe leaned toward her. “Me.”

The Man from Gossamer Ridge

Paula Graves

For my sister Patty, whose indomitable spirit can both drive me crazy and inspire me.


Alabama native Paula Graves wrote her first book, a mystery starring herself and her neighborhood friends, at the age of six. A voracious reader, Paula loves books that pair tantalizing mystery with compelling romance. When she’s not reading or writing, she works as a creative director for a Birmingham advertising agency and spends time with her family and friends. She is a member of Southern Magic Romance Writers, Heart of Dixie Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Paula invites readers to visit her website,


Alicia Solano —Her doctoral dissertation project has turned into a serious investigation of a serial-killer pair she believes has been killing women across at least three states. Could they be behind the cold case murder of the mother of one of her students?

Gabe Cooper —Torn by guilt about a mistake he believes led to his sister-in-law Brenda’s murder twelve years ago, Gabe can’t say no when his niece asks for his help in solving two new murders.

Cissy Cooper —Left motherless as a child by a brutal murder, Cissy believes her professor’s theory about a serial-killer pair may explain all the discrepancies in her mother’s murder case.

J. D. Cooper —A widower still mourning his murdered wife twelve years after her death, he’s determined to bring his daughter Cissy home to safety when he learns about the coed murders in the college town where she’s living.

Marlon Dyson —Alicia’s fellow college instructor seems a little too interested in her new friendship with Gabe. Is he jealous? Or does he have darker intentions?

Tony Evans —The handsome policeman is Alicia’s ex-boyfriend. But Gabe wonders if ulterior motives drive Tony’s newfound interest in Alicia’s investigation.

Tyler Landon —Alicia’s student shows sudden, inappropriate interest in her just as she begins to receive threats from a stalker. Is he just a student with a crush or could he be a killer?



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen


Brenda was going to kill him.

Well, probably not Brenda, Gabe Cooper amended mentally. His sister-in-law was a real sweetheart who could forgive just about anything. But if she let it slip to J.D. that Gabe had shown up twenty minutes late to check on her at work, there’d be hell to pay. Gabe’s older brother definitely wasn’t a sweetheart and he’d have no trouble riding Gabe’s back about it for ages to come.

But was it Gabe’s fault that tonight was the first time his friend Cam Shelton had been home from college in almost four years? They were both over twenty-one now, and the closest place to buy a beer and shoot a little pool was a whole county over. He’d lost track of time, catching up with his old friend’s rowdy tales of fraternity parties and football games in Austin, Texas. It had been after eleven before Gabe had even thought to check the time.

As he rounded a curve in the highway, he came upon a car with its bright lights on. The other car dimmed its headlights, but the afterimage of the bright orbs lingered long enough that Gabe nearly missed his turnoff. He whipped the Jeep left onto Piedmont Road, which dead-ended at the parking lot of Belmont Trucking. Taking the curve into the parking lot too fast, he swept the front of his Jeep precariously close to the large white Belmont Trucking Company sign. Righting the Wrangler, he whipped into the slot beside Brenda’s silver Pontiac Grand Prix just as the dashboard clock flipped from 11:22 p.m. to 11:23 p.m.

Since the Pontiac was still here, she must have been right about the battery. She’d called him earlier that evening to ask if he could swing by the trucking company around eleven when her flex shift ended, in case she needed a jump. J.D. was out of town on Navy temporary duty, so it fell to one of the other Cooper brothers to come through for her. Gabe had been the first she’d been able to get on the phone.

He hurried up the walkway to the trucking company’s entrance, a thick, steel-reinforced door set into the side of the building. Up close, he could see that the corrugated metal siding was in dire need of a good soaking rain to wash away some of the grime. The door was locked, as it generally was after five o’clock. Brenda would have to buzz him in. He rang the doorbell and waited for Brenda to answer, stamping his feet against the November cold. When she didn’t answer after a minute, he rang the doorbell again.

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