The book starts out by telling a story of how Jim Beckett, a small town cop and twisted killer, picked out his wife and mother of his only child. The sick man followed a young girl around, until she fell in love with him, and left her abusive family to become his wife. Soon after they wed, he became a hate filled man who abused and taunted Tess at her every move. Eventually she had his child, a girl. Tess soon became wary of his ways, and started keeping a journal that documented every scratch on him, and the weird hours that he kept. After young, beautiful women started to die around her town, Tess came forward to her local police department with the information in her journal, and he was sent to prison for life, but not before he tried to murder her. When he failed to kill her, he promised that he would be back to finish the job.
Tess and her daughter tried to live a normal life, after Jim was sent to prison. She found peace with herself, and found friends in some of the cops who helped her put her deranged husband in jail. She led a normal life for awhile, but eventually, Jim escaped from prison, and Tess knew he would do everything he could to find her and kill her at last. Her only hope was to get J.T. Dillon, an ex-marine, to help her. One of her cop friends told her about him, and she knew she needed him. She needed him to teach her self defense, and how to survive on her own, without anyone's help.
J.T. Dillon is an angry man, and a drunk. He hates himself and his father, partly because his wife and young son died. J.T. thinks that he has nothing to live for, and acts like he has nothing to live for. His father is on his death bed, and his sister is after him to reconcile his differences with their father before he dies. J.T. wants nothing to do with his father, and actually hopes that he will die soon. He does however, want to spend more time with his sister, Marion, who is very withdrawn, and going through a divorce. Marion does not understand why J.T. wants nothing to do with their father, or with his money.
When Tess shows up at his house looking for help, J.T. is in a drunken stupor, and wants her to go away. J.T. orders Freddie, his butler, to send her away, and not let her back into his home. Freddie is really a spy sent and paid by Marion, who has to report to her if J.T. is getting into any trouble. If J.T. takes any jobs protecting anybody or any other dangerous jobs, he will be cut off from his father's will. Marion does not want that to happen, so she tries to stop him from taking any jobs that their father will disapprove of. As soon as Tess shows up at J.T.'s house, Freddie alerts Marion, and Marion also shows up at his house. Although neither J.T. nor Marion know Tess, they both know she is in a lot of trouble and needs a lot of help.
Tess will only tell them that she needs training in self defense, and needs to learn how to use a gun. Marion uses her FBI background, and finds out the real reason Tess is there, and the real reason she needs help. Although she does not approve of J.T. taking the woman in and helping her, she has a hard time disliking Tess, and finds herself wanting to help her.
You have to read this book to find out if the killer finds Tess, or her young daughter, who is in hiding. How many people will have to die before he gets to them? Will Tess and J.T. Dillon, who has given up on love, find love in each other? And, you might find out the real reason J.T. wants nothing to do with his ailing father. This suspenseful story will keep you very intrigued, and will keep you wanting more of Lisa Gardner's awesome novels.