Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Easy Prey (Love Inspired Suspense) Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 2015
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
A British ex-pat, Lisa loves high-stakes stories of mayhem and disaster where you can find made-for-each-other love that always ends in happily ever after. Lisa leads worship with her husband at their church. They have two kids and an all-black Airedale.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
First day on the job, first day back in her hometownand Elise Tanner had no idea what to expect. The evening cast shadows in the corners between the portable buildings that housed the zoo's offices. The treatment and feed centers were now broken-down shells of buildings across the expanse of intersecting concrete pathways from the empty enclosures. The fifty-acre zoo looked menacing even in its disrepair.
Beside her, Elise's seventeen-year-old son, Nathan, switched the flashlight app on his phone and held it up, shining it around the zoo's entrance.
"Nice place." He flicked the hair out of his eyes and looked at her, his gaze wide at the state of the zoo. "I'm gonna go look around."
She smiled, sharing his impression of a facility that might have been impressive before it was completely flooded out. At least, impressive for a tiny zoo in a small town. "Be careful."
He would be, she knew that. Nathan had lived his whole life in a wild animal sanctuary surrounded by tigers, bears and even a manatee. He got along better with creatures than people most of the time, but she couldn't help worrying. Who knew what state the zoo was in beyond the entrance area? Most of the buildings had been condemned.
They probably should have waited until tomorrow to look around, but curiosity had gotten the better of her and it wasn't totally dark. What was the point in sitting around their hotel rooms when they could check the place out? After all, fixing it up was the reason they were here.
Elise climbed the wooden steps to the office. It was late, and they'd been driving most of the day. She felt every one of her forty years tonight.
The stairs swayed, the rickety wood threatening to collapse under her extra fifteen poundsthe ones her best friend said were all in her head. Everything here had been drowned under dirty water that had risen higher than anyone expected. It was no wonder the stairs were almost rotted out.
The infrastructure of the zoo had been woefully outdated even before the water, but the destruction that occurred was beyond imagining. Trees downed, and fences washed away. Enclosures had been completely ruined. The water quality in the lake didn't bear thinking about, and the zoo's old, blind tiger had gone missing weeks before and had not been seen since. Fortunately the animals had been transported out of town in the initial evacuation.
She was going to have to rebuild this whole place from scratch.
Elise had read all about the flood online, far away from her Oregon hometown in a wild-animal sanctuary she'd been working at in Idaho. It was where she'd gone to escape the pain and grief of losing her husband just weeks into his first deployment. She'd spent years pouring into Nathan and her animals in that safe haven. Now she was home. For as long as this took, at least.
Elise had no illusions. She'd been headhunted by the mayor because she'd grown up here, and because she was also the only person he knew who was qualified to manage his zoo.
It had taken a lot for Elise to leave her safe haven, but Nathan would be headed to college soon. She had to pay his tuition somehow.
As long as she could manage to not run into anything that reminded her of those long-ago days. At least not before she handed the running of the zoo off to someone else, then she just might survive this with her heart intact.
Inside the office was dark, but she could hear someone moving around. Elise flipped the light switch. Nothing. Not that she'd expected the power to be on, but wishful thinking had to count for something.
Elise pulled the flashlight from the belt of her "animal worker" outfit of dark green cargo pants and a dark green buttoned shirt. There was no sense in getting her regular clothes torn or dirty from the devastation, so she'd worn her work uniform from the Idaho sanctuary.
She flipped the flashlight on and shone the light at the figure. A man. "Who are you?"
The drab-clothed guy turned around. The dead eyes of a stranger stared back at her, making the pale skin of his face even starker. Probably not much older than her, he didn't remove his hands from the filing cabinet drawer where he'd been riffling through papers. They were her papers now, in her office.
His eyebrow rose. "I think the question is, who are you??"
Elise had dealt with trespassers before. But never an overly curious one. They usually only wanted to take a souvenir, or to leave their markwith vandalism.
Elise set her hands on her hips and tried to look authoritative even though she was barely five-three. She studied his face, trying to remember if she'd met him when she lived here before. She didn't think he was anyone she used to know, and he evidently didn't care she'd seen his face. "I'm in charge of this zoo now. You need to leave the premises before I call the cops."
Tree limbs brushed the window of the portable building. There were two desks and a row of file cabinets, most of which had open drawers. Papers were all over the place, like a gust of wind had blown them into disarrayor this guy had been searching awhile.
His eyes narrowed and he ran at her.
Elise tried to dodge him, but he slammed into her like a football player single-handedly tackling the opposing team's defensive line. Breath whooshed from her lungs as her back hit the wall. The flashlight slipped from her hand to light a strip of carpet on the floor.
Dazed, she realized the man was reaching for her belt. She heard the jangle of keys and felt the pull that meant he was trying to take them from her. The retractable string holding the key ring on her belt was pulled all the way out as the man backed up. With a vicious yank he tore the string from its clasp, taking the zoo keys with it.
Elise reached for her cell phone, but it wasn't in the holder on her belt. It must have fallen out. She looked around, but the floor was in shadows except for the beam of her flashlight.
The man moved. Elise tried to track his steps in the dim light, but couldn't get a fix on him. Dark overcoat. He was taller than her, maybe five-seven. The heavy material gave the illusion of bulk, but he'd had plenty of strength to slam her against the wall.
She moved toward the back door, just a step, praying the route was clear. The man swung at her, something hard colliding with her back. The impact sent her to her knees. Elise scrabbled around on the floor, praying her cell was close by. Nathan didn't need to come here and get hurt, but he could get help. Another hit sent her to the floor so she lay prone, stunned. Pain held her lungs frozen so she couldn't get air.
All she could do was watch as the man went to the same file cabinet he'd been looking in only minutes ago and pulled out a handful of papers. His dirty loafer nearly stomped her hand as he ran past where she lay, out the door.
Elise lay there helpless, waiting for someone to find her. She glanced around, trying to spot her phone. Her eyes caught on something taped to the underside of the desk. Wires. Blocks of gray stuff that looked like molding clay.
Jonah Rivers keyed the mic on his collar as he ran. "The fugitive is headed into the zoo. I'm in pursuit."
The man he chased had lived on chips and cigarettes for years, while Jonah ate as healthy as any other single deputy US marshal. He also worked out every day but Mondaybecause Mondays were bad enough without adding having to work out. Jonah headed up the Northwest fugitive apprehension task force, US marshals who hunted the lowest of the lowthose who had escaped custody, or hadn't shown up for their court appearances. Fugitives. The most wanted.
Eventually Fix Tanner would slow, and Jonah was going to catch him. It was what he did.
Too bad Fix Tanner and his little sister had been a steady part of Jonah's youth. Although Fix had always held himself separate from Jonah and his brotherthe rich kids. Fix and his sister had grown up in a double-wide with their alcoholic mom.
Now it was just another day, just another fugitive.
A car with out-of-state plates and a sticker in the back windowa rentalwas parked outside the entrance. Jonah ran, legs pumping, hands gripping his Glock in front of him. Sweat chilled on his forehead as he jumped over strewn two-by-fours, branches and other debris. The floodwaters had reached roof height, and this place was a mess.
He'd been chasing this guy for two miles already. Had Fix found a place to hunker down?
Jonah didn't know of any connection the man had to the zoo, now or back when it'd been open. The previous manager had been killed in the flood, his body never found. Jonah had heard they were bringing in someone new to reopen it, some kind of wild-animal expert. But he had bigger things to worry about than an attraction he was never going to visit.
"We're coming in the east entrance but there's a lot of debris." Hanning's voice was breathy.
Deputy Marshal Eric Hanning was a member of Jonah's team. He was also engaged to another teammate, Deputy Marshal Hailey Shelder. The two had fallen in love after they were forced to rely on each other during the recent flood, when the team had been hunting an escaped convict.
Jonah had been shot in the stomach, and promoted, all during that same manhunt. Now he was in charge of not just the team but the whole office.
Of course Jonah had wanted the job one day, but not like thatnot because their former boss had turned bad. The team hadn't seemed to mind, even though it took a few weeks recovering from his wounds for Jonah to settle in. Boss or not, Jonah would always be a boots-on-the-ground kind of marshal.
The man he was chasing now was low-level. Fix Tanner hadn't shown up for his court appearance, but Jonah wanted him for more than just the fact that he should be in jail. Fix had a boss. Fix's boss had a boss. That made for a lot of fingers in a lot of pies, all of which were here in his town. Jonah wanted charges brought against all of them.
The door was open on the first building, so Jonah stepped silently up the stairs, slowing his pace. Blood rushed in his head, and the beat of his heart pounded in his ears in the silence. If one of his team radioed in now, the sound would be deafening.
While Hanning and Shelder took the east entrance, his other two team members, Jackson Parker and Wyatt Amesa former SEAL and a former police detective, respectivelywere on the west side. The zoo wasn't all that big. Fifty acres. It should take minutes for them to meet in the center where the lake was.
Jonah flipped on his flashlight and scanned the room.
The beam moved over a bodya woman. Jonah crouched and touched her shoulder. She shifted, moaning as though the soft touch hurt, but it was her warmth that sent a rush of relief through him. He couldn't help her if she was dead, and murder investigations weren't his jurisdiction.
Jonah pulled out his cell phone and called emergency dispatch, then informed his teammates of what he'd found. "Anyone got a location on Tanner?"
"Not yet." Parker's determination was only in part due to his having been a SEAL. The man was also incredibly stubborn.
"Keep searching," Jonah said. "I'll wait with her."
"Her?" The interest in Ames's voice was unmistakable.
"She's hurt, Ames. But it's not Tanner, it's a woman."
Jonah turned his attention to her. Had Fix Tanner done this? He wouldn't put it past the man, but Jonah had been chasing him only minutes ago. Now Fix was who knew where, and this woman had been hurt because Jonah wasn't fast enough.
Was his wound slowing him down? It was down to a dull ache most days, and he didn't want to keep to his desk, but he didn't want to put the teamor anyone elsein jeopardy, either.
He shouldn't turn the woman if she was injured, but he brushed the hair back from her face enough to see who it was.
His voice was a whisper. "Elise."
Flashes of the past ran through his brain like a movie reel. Cookouts, the lake and little Elise Tanner. They'd been friends all the time he was in high school, right up until he joined the marines. And then come home from deployment to find she'd married his brother.
Crumpled in a heap on the floor wasn't just any woman. This happened to be the one woman in the world he'd never imagined he would ever see again, and now she was here. Jonah sank to his knees beside her and checked his watch. Emergency services wouldn't be long.
"Elise?" He patted her cheek. It couldn't be a coincidence she was here on the exact day Jonah was chasing her brother.
The years had changed both of themthat much was obvious. Still, in his heart she was the same smiling, teenage girl. Years lay between today and the day Jonah had returned from yet another deployment to discover she'd left town, consumed with her grief over his brother being killed in action.
For months his heart had warred between acknowledging she was simply grieving and the fact she hadn't wanted him to help her through it. They'd had a close relationship once, but that apparently didn't matter. She hadn't trusted Jonah enough to be there for her when she needed it. She'd just banked the death benefits and left his mom's pool house without so much as a note.
Chasing her down and demanding an explanationor just making sure she was okaywouldn't have brought him any kind of satisfaction. She'd probably hated him for talking his brother into a military career. He'd hated himself well enough that Jonah hadn't figured he could handle her anger on top of his guilt.
What was she doing back in town after all these years? He didn't want to believe it had something to do with her brother, Fix, but if it did, then Jonah would have to face the consequences.
"Elise." Jonah didn't want to admit how much it hurt just saying her name. He refused to admit he'd missed her, even to himself.
She sucked in a breath and coughed it out. Her eyes flew open and she gasped, but she wasn't looking at him.
She pointed behind him. Jonah turned, but couldn't see what she was trying to show him. Did she even know who he was? A guttural noise emerged from her throat.
"EMTs will be here in a minute." He could hear the ambulance's siren, close enough it was probably turning from Hancock onto the road that led to the zoo.
Her mouth moved, her lips forming a word he didn't understand.
"Elise, I don't know what you're saying." His stomach churned. What had happened to her? This woman was dressed for a safari, but the zoo was a wreck. No one should even be here.
Her face reddened. Her mouth moved again, and she managed to say, "Bomb."
Jonah understood that word. He grabbed up his flashlight and spun to shine it in the direction she'd pointed. Taped to the underside of the grimy desk, it was no bigger than the lockbox for a handgun.
He swiped Elise from the floor, lifting her body easily the way he'd done plenty of times in his mom's pool. He burst from the office door into the night, vaulting the steps.
The building behind them exploded in a boom and a rush of flames.
Top customer reviews
Elise Tanner returns home to rehabilitate the zoo that was destroyed in a devastating storm. She never planned to return to the town that had almost destroyed her; two decades ago she walked away from her husbands funeral and never looked back. She didn't know what to expect from her family or her husband's family when they saw the son she never told them about. As Nathan and Elise check out the zoo she is attacked and rescued by her former brother-in-law, a man she once loved but he had left her to survive alone.
US Marshall Jonah Rivers has always been drawn to Elise but she was to young for him. Thinking she would wait for him he joined the military but she married his brother. Soon after his brother's death she disappeared and he was unable to find her. Now in pursuit of her outlaw brother he finds her attacked and in need of protection. Is she involved in something with her brother? Could she have change that much? As he meets Nathan it's like looking into the eyes of his brother. He must keep these two safe.
A journey of two broken people as they struggle against ruthless men that only want them dead. They learn that God is the only one that will be able to get them out of this mess. God has a plan. God has a plan for each of us if we will reach out and trust him. It will be far greater than anything you ever dreamed of.
I love Lisa’s writing style! It’s very unique and the stories come to brilliant life within the pages. Her books are very realistic in that I can easily imagine myself there, in the situation right beside the characters. I love the details she includes, as well as the ones she leaves to my overactive imagination. She doesn’t overcomplicate something that could be said in just a few words and is rather straight to the point, unless she intentionally wants to keep the reader guessing, then I’m never sure what’s happening or where the story is heading. I enjoy the mystery of that, wondering what might go wrong next.
For me, the characters always jump off the page, and these are no exception. I adored Elise, Jonah, Nathan, and the whole team (which we met in Manhunt). Elise Tanner has had to be strong her whole life, so there is an underlying strength in everything she does and how she reacts to a situation. She’s made her share of mistakes, but is back hoping to right them, while also doing the job she loves. I loved her faith in God that led her to rely on Him through everything that’s going on, even when doubt begins to creep in and fear would be the expected reaction.
Jonah Rivers is a great hero and I enjoyed getting to know him. While there’s a part of me that wants to say he’s somewhat stereotypical, he’s really not, when I stop and think about it. First off, yes, he’s a U.S. Marshall and yes, he was in the military, but that’s where the comparison to other books end. Though he’s strong, he’s had his strength tested and has learned his limits. He’s a little reckless, but it’s been tempered with time and experience. There’s also an underlying vulnerability when it comes to Elise. He’s loved her for years, but walked away because he felt it was for the best.
I loved seeing Jonah and Elisa get to know each other again and learn what real love looks like. Both have grown and changed over their time apart, so it was the little things, the important details, the changes in character, that they had to rediscover. I actually enjoyed the fact that their relationship isn’t the driving force of the story, though it is a romance. It allowed the time frame to be more realistic, and let’s be honest: If someone is trying to kill you, and you’re being shot at often, how focused are you going to be on romantic entanglements? I usually find these books a bit unrealistic in that aspect, but not so much in this one.
Aside from the suspense, I think my favorite part of this book was the spiritual side of the story. It never came across as overbearing or preachy and Lisa touches on several points that I needed to hear right now. I appreciated the honest questions the characters ask and the answers given in return. There are rarely perfect answers and the author doesn’t try to give them, but is rather very authentic in the ones she does share. I love a book that shifts my focus and requires I stop and think, consider something from a different angle and this one does that.
I can honestly say that I have no complaints about any part of this book. I loved every page of the ride and am excitedly anticipating whatever is next for this author!
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed suspense that keeps you guessing, with than ending that made me sigh.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Jonah and Elise is so real, and easily understood. I have to say that my favorite character is Nathan, though. For a teenager being raised by a single mom, he is so well adjusted and comfortable with himself, yet not afraid to let his protective side toward his mom show. I love this kid
Lisa is a great writer and I will be finding more of her books to enjoy. There is references to a book before this one involving two of Jonah's teammates. I will be reading that one soon.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for a good, clean, godly book. The Lord takes care of them, and they make sure to thank Him.