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Product Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER •  From Linda Howard comes a thrilling and sensual new novel of romance, suspense, intrigue . . . and memories that can kill.
 
Lizette Henry wakes up one morning and makes a terrifying discovery: She doesn’t recognize the face she sees in the mirror. She remembers what she looks like, but her reflection is someone else’s. To add to the shock, two years seem to have disappeared from her life. Someone has gone to great and inexplicable lengths to keep those missing years hidden forever. But the past always finds a way to return.
 
Strange memories soon begin to surface and, along with them, some unusual skills and talents that Lizette hasn’t a clue about acquiring. Sensing that she’s being monitored, Lizette suddenly knows how to search for bugs in her house and tracking devices in her car. What’s more, she can elude surveillance—like a trained agent.
 
Enter a mysterious and seductive stranger named Xavier, who claims he wants to help—but who triggers disturbing images of an unspeakable crime of which Lizette may or may not be the perpetrator. With memories returning, she suddenly becomes a target of anonymous assassins. On the run with nowhere to hide, Lizette has no choice but to rely on Xavier, a strong and magnetic man she doesn’t trust, with a powerful attraction she cannot resist. As murky waters become clear, Lizette confronts a conspiracy that is treacherous and far-reaching and a truth that, once revealed, may silence her and Xavier once and for all.

Praise for Shadow Woman
 
“Dazzling . . . From the opening line, [ Shadow Woman] will grab readers and take them on an exhilarating and terrifying adventure!” RT Book Reviews
 
“Fast-paced, intricately detailed romantic suspense . . . Readers won’t want to put it down until the extraordinary conclusion. . . . Highly recommended.” —Fresh Fiction
 
“An intriguing plot and captivating characters [with] lots of drama, tension, intrigue and suspense.” —The Star-Ledger

Review

“Dazzling . . . From the opening line, [ Shadow Woman] will grab readers and take them on an exhilarating and terrifying adventure!”— RT Book Reviews
 
“Fast-paced, intricately detailed romantic suspense . . . Readers won’t want to put it down until the extraordinary conclusion. . . . Highly recommended.”—Fresh Fiction
 
“An intriguing plot and captivating characters [with] lots of drama, tension, intrigue and suspense.” —The Star-Ledger

About the Author

Linda Howard is the award-winning author of many New York Times bestsellers, including Shadow Woman, Prey, Veil of Night, Ice, Burn, Death Angel, Up Close and Dangerous, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Cover of Night, Killing Time, To Die For, Kiss Me While I Sleep, Cry No More, Dying to Please, Open Season, Mr. Perfect, All the Queen’s Men, Now You See Her, Kill and Tell, and Son of the Morning, and co-author (with Linda Jones) of Blood Born and Running Wild. She lives in Alabama with her husband and a golden retriever.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

It was a normal morning. Lizette Henry—once upon a time Zette-the-Jet to her family and childhood friends—rolled out of bed at her usual time of 5:59 a.m., one minute before her alarm was set to go off. In the kitchen, the automatic timer on the coffeemaker would have just started the brewing process. Yawning, Lizette went into her bathroom, turned on the water in the shower, then while the water was heating took a desperately needed pee. By the time she was finished, the water in the shower was just right.

She liked starting her mornings off with a nice, relaxing shower. She didn’t sing, she didn’t plan her day, she didn’t worry about politics or the economy or anything else. While she was in the shower, she simply chilled—or more aptly, warmed.

On this particular July morning, her routine so honed and finely tuned she didn’t need to look at a clock to know what time it was at any point, she showered for almost precisely how long it would take the coffeemaker to finish its brewing process, then wrapped a towel around her wet hair and dried herself with a second towel.

Through the open door of the bathroom, the wonderful aroma of the coffee called to her. The bathroom mirror was fogged over with steam, but that would be clear by the time she’d fetched her first cup of the morning. Wrapping herself in her knee-length terry-cloth robe, she padded barefoot into the kitchen and grabbed one of the mugs from the cabinet. She liked her coffee sweet and light, so she added sugar and milk first, then poured the hot coffee into the mixture. It was like having dessert first thing in the morning, which in her book was a nice way to start off any day.

She took the coffee with her into the bathroom, to sip while she blow-dried her hair and put on the small amount of makeup she wore to work.

Setting the cup on the vanity, she unwound the towel from her head and bent forward from the waist, vigorously rubbing her shoulder-length dark brown hair. Then she straightened, tossing her hair back, and turned to the mirror—

—and stared into the face of a stranger.

The damp towel slid from her suddenly nerveless fingers, puddling on the floor at her feet.

Who is that woman?

It wasn’t her. Lizette knew what she looked like, and this wasn’t her reflection. She whirled wildly around, looking for the woman reflected in the mirror, ready to duck, ready to run, ready to fight for her life, but no one was there. She was alone in the bathroom, alone in the house, alone—

Alone.

The word whispered through her mind, a ghost of a sound, barely registering. Turning back to the mirror, she fought through confusion and terror, studying this new person as though she were an adversary rather than . . . rather than what? Or, who?

This didn’t make sense. Her breathing came in swift, shallow gulps, the sound distant and panicked. What the hell was going on? She didn’t have amnesia. She knew who she was, where she was, remembered her childhood, her friend Diana and her other coworkers, what clothes were in her closet and what she’d planned to wear today. She remembered what she’d had for dinner the night before. She remembered everything, it seemed—except that face.

It wasn’t hers.

Her own features, what she saw in her mind, were softer, rounder, maybe even prettier, though the face she was looking at was attractive, if more angular. The eyes were the same: blue, the same distance apart, maybe a little deeper-set. How was that possible? How could her eyes have gotten more deep-set?

What else was the same? She leaned closer to the mirror, looking for the faint freckle on the left side of her chin. Yes, there it was, where it had always been; darker when she’d been younger, almost invisible now, but still there.

Everything else was . . . wrong. This nose was thinner, and more aquiline; her cheekbones more prominent, higher than they should have been; her jawline was more square, her chin more defined.

She was so completely befuddled and frightened that she stood there, paralyzed, incapable of any action even if one had occurred to her. She kept staring into the mirror, her thoughts darting around in search of any reasonable explanation.

There wasn’t one. What could account for this? If she’d been in an accident and required massive facial reconstruction, while she might not remember the accident itself, surely she’d remember afterward, known if she’d been in a hospital and undergone multiple surgeries, remembered the rehab; someone would have told her about everything, even if she’d been in a coma during her recovery. But she hadn’t been in a coma. Ever.

She remembered her life. There hadn’t been any accident, except for the one when she was eighteen that had killed her parents and turned her world completely upside down, but she hadn’t been in the car; she’d dealt with the aftermath, with the crushing grief, the sense of floating untethered in the black space of her life with all of her former security gone in the space of a heartbeat.

She had that same feeling now, of such unfathomable wrongness that she didn’t know what to do, couldn’t take in all the meanings at once, couldn’t grasp how fully this affected everything she knew.

Maybe she was crazy. Maybe she’d had a stroke during the night. Yes. A stroke; that would make sense, because it could screw with her memory. To test herself, she smiled, and in the mirror watched both sides of her mouth turn up evenly. In turn, she winked each eye. Then she held both arms up. They both worked, though after showering and washing her hair she thought she’d have already noticed if either of them hadn’t.

“Ten, twelve, one, forty-two, eighteen,” she whispered. Then she waited thirty seconds, and said them again. “Ten, twelve, one, forty-two, eighteen.” She was certain she’d said the same numbers, in the same sequence, though if she’d had a stroke would she be in any shape to judge?

Brain and body both appeared to be in working order, so that likely ruled out a stroke.

Now what?

Call someone. Who?

Diana. Of course. Her best friend would know, though Lizette wasn’t certain how she could possibly phrase the question. Hey, Di; when I get to work this morning, look at me and let me know if I have the same face today that I had yesterday, okay?

The idea was ludicrous, but the need was compelling. Lizette was already on her way to the phone when sudden panic froze her in mid-step.

No.

She couldn’t call anyone.

If she did, they would know.

They? Who were “they”?

On the heels of that thought she was suddenly drenched in sweat, and nausea convulsed her stomach. She lurched back to the bathroom, barely making it to the toilet in time before she couldn’t hold back any longer. After throwing up the small amount of coffee she’d drunk, she clutched her stomach as dry heaves seized her body and wouldn’t let go. Sharp pain stabbed behind her eyes, so intense that tears blurred her vision, ran down her cheeks.

When the convulsive vomiting stopped, she weakly sat down on the cool bathroom floor and reached for the toilet tissue to mop her eyes, blow her nose. The terrible pain behind her eyes eased, as if an internal vise were being loosened. Panting, she closed her eyes and let her head drop back until it rested against the wall. She was so tired it reminded her of how she’d felt after just finishing a 30K run.

30K? How would she know what running thirty kilometers felt like? She wasn’t a runner, never had been. She walked on occasion, and when she was a kid she’d done some riding, but she wasn’t a fitness nut by any means.

The stabbing pain behind her eyes was back, and her stomach rolled. She sucked in air through her mouth, willing herself not to start heaving again. Putting her fingers on the inside corners of her eyes she pushed hard, as if she could force the pain out. Maybe the pressure worked; the stabbing eased, just as it had before.

The nausea and headache were kind of comforting, though. Maybe she was just sick. Maybe she had a weird virus that was making her hallucinate, and what she thought she was seeing in the mirror was just that: a hallucination.

Except she didn’t feel sick. And that was strange, because she’d just thrown up so violently her stomach muscles ached, and she’d had that piercing headache, but she didn’t feel sick. Now that it was over with, she felt perfectly well.

She also felt annoyed. Her schedule was completely shot; by now her hair should be dry, and her makeup on. She hated when anything disrupted the timeline she’d laid out for herself; she was so regimented, she made a Swiss watch look harum-scarum—

Wait a minute. Regimented? Her? When had that happened? It felt wrong, as if she were thinking of someone else entirely.

Abruptly she was retching again; she surged to her knees and bent over the toilet, choking, her stomach rolling, saliva dripping from her open mouth. This time the stiletto of pain behind her eyes was blinding. She gripped the edge of the sink beside her, holding on to prevent herself from collapsing on the floor—or headfirst into the toilet. Even as awful as the nausea and pain were, somewhere deep inside she felt an incongruous tickle of humor at the idea.

The spasms gradually faded and now she did collapse, but at least it was on her ass on the floor. Leaning back against the vanity, she tilted her head back and closed her eyes, mentally watching the pain pull back like a visible tide.

Obviously, she had to have some kind of bug. Just as obviously, no way could she go to work. Not only did she not want to make a spectacle of herself dry-heaving all over the place—or worse, wet-heaving—she didn’t want to give this to anyone else. After they recovered, they’d probably be after her with torches and pitchforks.

This was crazy. She didn’t think this way, about toilet-diving being funny, or about mobs with pitchforks. She thought about work, and her friends, and keeping the house clean and her laundry done. She thought about normal stuff.

Pain twinged again, not as sharp, not blinding, but there behind her eyes. She froze, waiting for the beast to grab her. Her stomach rolled, then calmed; the pain faded.

She needed to call in sick, the first time she’d done so since she began working at Becker Investments. Her department head, Maryjo Winchell, had a company-issued cell phone for this type of thing, and, being the careful type she was, Lizette had programmed Maryjo’s number into her own cell phone.

They would know.

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4.4 out of 54.4 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

CaniacGirl
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great Suspense Story
Reviewed in the United States on July 21, 2017
Linda Howard is one of my favorite authors, and this book didn''t disappoint. It''s a great suspense story that kept me engrossed in the action and wanting to find out what happened next. I don''t really understand the negative reviews. The only thing I can figure is that... See more
Linda Howard is one of my favorite authors, and this book didn''t disappoint. It''s a great suspense story that kept me engrossed in the action and wanting to find out what happened next. I don''t really understand the negative reviews. The only thing I can figure is that those readers were expecting more of a romantic story. The relationship between Xavier and Lizzy is there, but in more of a background kind of way (I don''t really want to say more to ruin the story for anyone).

I loved Xavier (truly drool worthy), and Lizzy was likeable and relatable as well. They don''t actually get together until about 75% of the way through the book, but again, there is a reason for that and context is provided throughout the story. You do get to see both characters before that point, just not together as a couple. For me, Xavier''s absolute devotion to protecting Lizzy was romantic enough to get me through the first part of the book in which they weren''t actually "together".

Definitely worth reading!
8 people found this helpful
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gemg
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not her best
Reviewed in the United States on January 29, 2018
I enjoy this author but this was not her best. The characters and the romance were great; the story was unbelievable. The cost of all the man power watching Lizzie for 3 years was definitely fiction. The checks and balances in place between the players was also far... See more
I enjoy this author but this was not her best. The characters and the romance were great; the story was unbelievable. The cost of all the man power watching Lizzie for 3 years was definitely fiction. The checks and balances in place between the players was also far fetched. But it kept my interest and was enjoyable.
11 people found this helpful
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LH
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Where''s the Beef?
Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2014
Linda Howard used to be one of my go to authors. I read everything she wrote and couldn''t wait for her to publish her next book. I don''t know what happened, either I became more discriminating or Ms. Howard lost her touch. Personally I think it was the latter. Several... See more
Linda Howard used to be one of my go to authors. I read everything she wrote and couldn''t wait for her to publish her next book. I don''t know what happened, either I became more discriminating or Ms. Howard lost her touch. Personally I think it was the latter. Several years ago I read two of her books and both bombed. At that time I decided not buy anymore of her books until her ratings imporved. For several years I checked the reviews and they continued to be poor. So, I was pretty happy when the overall rating for this book had 4 stars. I even had Amazon send me a free sample to my Kindle before purchasing this book. The first two chapters (free sample) were pretty good and interesting, even the last severaly chapters were okay, but all the stuff in between was sorely lacking. There was no substance. Unfortunately I think this will be the last Linda Howard story I purchase. Very disappointed.
13 people found this helpful
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D. R. Meredith
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Terrific Romantic Suspense Thriller
Reviewed in the United States on February 2, 2013
Linda Howard can write a romantic thriller like nobody else, and the plot of this one twists and turns and leaves the reader guessing who Lizette Henry really is. The reader doesn''t wonder anymore than Lizette herself the morning she looks in the mirror and sees a face she... See more
Linda Howard can write a romantic thriller like nobody else, and the plot of this one twists and turns and leaves the reader guessing who Lizette Henry really is. The reader doesn''t wonder anymore than Lizette herself the morning she looks in the mirror and sees a face she doesn''t recognize, a face that bears the almost invisible scars of plastic surgery. Immediately, Lizette is struck by violent nausea and a blinding headache. She recovers enough to call in sick at work, only to be told not to worry, that she hasn''t taken a sick day in the four years she worked at the investment firm. Lizette realizes that she can''t remember first going to work for the firm, and in fact, seems to be missing two years of her life. Again a violent headache strikes. Whenever she tries to recall her past, at least any past beyond the most recent four years, a painful headache renders her helpless. Then the dreams start--intimate dreams of her and a man she loves. But Lizette knows no such man and has hardly dated in the past four years. When she leaves her home to try to find answers to her missing past, she barely survives attempts to murder her. What is happening, and what does the handsome, but threatening man have to do with her? Why is he following her, and why does she suddenly find she has skills she never knew she had--marksmanship with a gun, martial arts, defensive driving, how to live on the run?

A tightly plotted thriller that fools the reader almost to the end. I highly recommend THE SHADOW WOMAN to fans of romantic suspense.
7 people found this helpful
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MED
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Torn.
Reviewed in the United States on January 10, 2013
Linda Howard''s ''Shadow Woman'' is a fascinating story. A woman wakes up, takes a shower and while pulling the towel from her head glances in the mirror and realizes that the face looking back at her is not her own. Why? How? You want to know. I have long read... See more
Linda Howard''s ''Shadow Woman'' is a fascinating story. A woman wakes up, takes a shower and while pulling the towel from her head glances in the mirror and realizes that the face looking back at her is not her own. Why? How? You want to know.

I have long read Howard''s books - some are better than others but when you read as much as I do you accept that not everything is Hemingway. In this case Howard had a great idea but mediocre finished product. And from some of the passages I got the idea Howard thought story could be replaced with bad soft core porn.

Following Lizette Henry as she tries to piece together her past and the missing pieces and not let on to ''them'' that she is aware of a problem is the heart of the story. The characters that orbit around her are a bit too cliche and the writing is pedestrian. In the hands of a better writer this is page-turning, edge of your seat, can''t put this down story-telling. But in Howard''s hands the story is plodding and the characters one-dimensional.

Three stars because I wanted to know how it happened, why it happened and who made it happen. But what started so promisingly ended with a an unremarkable thud.

Not bad, just could have been great.
7 people found this helpful
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Opal Sibley
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Surprising
Reviewed in the United States on February 2, 2018
After I read enough to realize the main character had been altered in some way I almost stopped reading. Then I remembered how much I enjoyed the books I had read by this author.
The suspense was nail biting at times and delightfully sexy at others.
2 people found this helpful
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Fig-Barr
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Shadow Woman by Linda Howard
Reviewed in the United States on February 26, 2013
Shadow Woman Linda Howard Firstly, I think the publisher set the "e-book" price too high on this one; however, since I am a fan of Linda Howard I made an exception to my rule (regarding publisher pricing of e-books). I won''t do that again. It''s kind... See more
Shadow Woman
Linda Howard

Firstly, I think the publisher set the "e-book" price too high on this one; however, since I am a fan of Linda Howard I made an exception to my rule (regarding publisher pricing of e-books). I won''t do that again. It''s kind of my own, little person battle. Although I would urge others to join me in my protest.

Linda Howard is a very descriptive author. She creates believable environments, even with totally unlikely plots. This was a particularly descriptive tale. The heroine was interestingly written although implausible. The hero was rather of limited dimension.

The story just seemed to lack enough detail. It almost seemed like I was reading a detailed summary rather than a novel. The story lacked layers necessary to make it flow smoothly and without unanswered questions.

All-in-all this was a disappointing read, especially for an LH story. As always it was well written just underdeveloped in both plot and characters.
5 people found this helpful
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Rodie
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Is it or isn''t it?
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2014
I chose this rating because there is always room for improvement, but in this book, maybe not so much. When Lizette or Lizzie -- which is she -- wakes up one morning and not recognize the face looking back at her. Everything her world as she knows it is upside down. In... See more
I chose this rating because there is always room for improvement, but in this book, maybe not so much. When Lizette or Lizzie -- which is she -- wakes up one morning and not recognize the face looking back at her. Everything her world as she knows it is upside down. In comes her knight in black armour, Xavier, to her rescue, but in her confused state of mind, she doesn''t remember him. Who is the enemy? Who is the good guy? Lizzie doesn''t know and prepares to take flight. I like it because it''s a battle of forces. In the end, of course, the good triumphs over the bad. I recommend this book to all romantic suspense lovers. Once I started, I didn''t want to put it down.
One person found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Sarah Faulkner
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Slow, repetitive, booooooooooooooooring...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 17, 2020
Oh dear oh dear oh dear... where to start? On the face of it, this should''ve been a great a story, but there''s no hiding from just how dull this book is - a total skimmer, where you start of trying to engage with the story, the characters, etc, but it was just so DULL! Page...See more
Oh dear oh dear oh dear... where to start? On the face of it, this should''ve been a great a story, but there''s no hiding from just how dull this book is - a total skimmer, where you start of trying to engage with the story, the characters, etc, but it was just so DULL! Page after page after page after page of the same stuff - so repetitive, quite literally half of the book nothing but the same thing, with maybe a handful of human interactions across all of it. So many paragraphs of waffle that I gave up at 40% and just started skimming it. Now I thought this was a romance novel, but up to 80% of the book our two ''romantic leads'' had met (in a shop) once. ONCE! I''ve now toiled to nearly the end, but I just don''t care about either of them. They''re just not likeable folk, sadly. Ah well, farewell the few quid I threw away on this rubbish...
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Sharon P. Pocock
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
ROMANTIC THRILLER
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 25, 2013
I dont know where the old Linda Howard has gone?, this was an okay read when I was asked to review this book I had to think hard to rember the story and I only read it last week. This can not be said for a lot of her older books that I read years ago, ie Mr perfect still...See more
I dont know where the old Linda Howard has gone?, this was an okay read when I was asked to review this book I had to think hard to rember the story and I only read it last week. This can not be said for a lot of her older books that I read years ago, ie Mr perfect still have this story and many more that I re read.
2 people found this helpful
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Maluchick
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Weird
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 7, 2018
I love Linda Howard but this one is weird. Not sure I can suspend disbelief that much!
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marje mcmurdie
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
shadow women , by linda howard
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 21, 2014
I have read this book before, not realised I have also watched a televised version of the story on tv which often happens there are so many authors works getting televised these days.
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 9, 2020
Kept me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know the outcome. Really enjoyed the tension created by Linda Howard.
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