G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
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Copyright Â© 2010 by Catherine Coulter
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions. Published simultaneously in Canada
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Whiplash / Catherine Coulter.
1. United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation-Fiction.
2. Savich, Dillon (Fictitious character)-Fiction.
3. Sherlock, Lacey (Fictitious character)-Fiction.
4. Murder-Investigation-Fiction. I. Title.
PS3553.0843W47 2010 2010009114
Printed in the United States of America
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Book design by Amanda dewey
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, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers and Internet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
I would like to thank:
Lisa Amoroso for yet another incredible jacket.
Karen Evans for her excellent discrepancy-spotting in the manuscript.
Dorian Hastings for all her excellent catches in copyediting.
Chris Pepe for her special enthusiasm about this book.
Erin Vollmer for always keeping all the balls in the air.
I'm very lucky to have you all in my corner. Thank you very much.
To a great group of women:
I'm glad you're in my life.
STONE BRIDGE, CONNECTICUT
Late Sunday night
Erin used her third-generation lock picks. She knew each one intimately, having successfully, and in excellent time, learned to unlock by the age of six and a half whatever her father hid under her pillow. Her hands didn't shake, though her heart felt like it would pound out of her chest. Crouching in a dark maintenance closet for three hours with two bottles of water and a PayDay candy bar hadn't been fun, but surely it wasn't all that illegal. What she was doing now, though, it was the real deal. She wasn't just twisting the law, she was stomping on it. She was breaking and entering. She could go to jail for the rest of her youth, which would be a real shame since she hadn't yet produced the fourth generation of lock pickers.
It wasn't the first time she'd gone through the back door to make things right for a client, but she prayed with all her heart it would be the last. Maybe if she'd been able to speak to the CEO, Caskie Royal, if only she could have tried to reason with him-no, that was a load of bull.
The lock snicked open. She slid her grandfather's picks back into the pocket of her black jacket, checked the corridor both ways, and opened the door just enough so she could slip inside the CEO's office. She turned on her penlight to get the lay of the land. It was a large square room, business-opulent, she'd call it, with a rich dark burgundy leather sofa, a love seat, and a huge matching
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