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Xo: A Kathryn Dance Novel
Author:Jeffery Deaver

Xo: A Kathryn Dance Novel by Jeffery Deaver

 

 

Author’s Note 

 

The lyrics to all the songs in Your Shadow, the country-music album at the heart of this novel, can be found at the back of the book. These tunes are referred to throughout and may just contain some clues about the events that unfold along the way. And if you’d like to listen to the actual title track itself, and other songs from the album, recently recorded in Nashville, go to www.jefferydeaver.com for information on downloads.

 

To most listeners, the title track, “Your Shadow,” is simply a love song.

 

Some feel differently. 

 

Subject: Re: You’re the Best!!!

 

From: [email protected]

 

To: [email protected]

 

2 January 10:32 a.m. 

 

Hey there,

 

Edwin— 

 

Thanks for your email! I’m so glad you liked my latest album! Your support means the world to me. Be sure you go to my website and sign up to get my newsletter and learn about new releases and upcoming concerts, and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. 

 

And keep an eye out for the mail. I sent you that autographed photo you requested! 

 

XO, 

 

Kayleigh

 

 

Subject: Unbelievable!!!!!

 

From: [email protected]

 

To: [email protected]

 

3 September 5:10 a.m. 

 

Hi, Kayleigh: 

 

I am totally blown away. I’m rendered speechless. And, you know me pretty good by now—for me to be speechless, that’s something!! Anyway, here’s the story: I downloaded your new album last night and listened to “Your Shadow.” Whoahhh! It’s without doubt the best song I have ever heard. I mean of anything ever written. I even like it better than “It’s Going to Be Different This Time.” I’ve told you nobody’s ever expressed how I feel about loneliness and life and well everything better than you. And that song does that totally. But more important I can see what you’re saying, your plea for help. It’s all clear now. Don’t worry. You’re not alone, Kayleigh!! 

 

I’ll be your shadow. Forever. 

 

XO, Edwin

 

 

Subject: Fwd: Unbelievable!!!!!

 

From: [email protected]

 

To: [email protected]

 

3 September 10:34 a.m. 

 

Mr. Sharp: 

 

Ms. Alicia Sessions, personal assistant to our clients Kayleigh Towne and her father, Bishop Towne, forwarded us your email of this morning. You have sent more than 50 emails and letters since we contacted you two months ago, urging you not to have any contact with Ms. Towne or any of her friends and family. We are extremely troubled that you have found her private email address (which has been changed, I should tell you), and are looking into possible violations of state and federal laws regarding how you obtained such address. 

 

Once again, we must tell you that we feel your behavior is completely inappropriate and possibly actionable. We urge you in the strongest terms possible to heed this warning. As we’ve said repeatedly, Ms. Towne’s security staff and local law enforcement officials have been notified of your repeated, intrusive attempts to contact her and we are fully prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to put an end to this alarming behavior. 

 

Samuel King, Esq. 

 

Crowell, Smith & Wendall, Attorneys-at-Law * 

 

Subject: See you soon!!!

 

From: [email protected]

 

To: [email protected]

 

5 September 11:43 p.m. 

 

Hi, Kayleigh— 

 

Got your new email address. I know what they’re up to but DON’T worry, it’ll be all right. 

 

I’m lying in bed, listening to you right now. I feel like I’m literally your shadow … And you’re mine. You are so wonderful! 

 

I don’t know if you had a chance to think about it—you’re sooooo busy, I know!—but I’ll ask again—if you wanted to send me some of your hair that’d be so cool. I know you haven’t cut it for ten years and four months (it’s one of those things that makes you so beautiful!!!) but maybe there’s one from your brush. Or better yet your pillow. I’ll treasure it forever. 

 

Can’t WAIT for the concert next Friday. C U soon. 

 

Yours forever, 

 

XO, Edwin 

 

Chapter 1 

THE HEART OF a concert hall is people.

 

And when the vast space is dim and empty, as this one was at the moment, a venue can bristle with impatience, indifference.

 

Even hostility.

 

Okay, rein in that imagination, Kayleigh Towne told herself. Stop acting like a kid. Standing on the wide, scuffed stage of the Fresno Conference Center’s main hall, she surveyed the place once more, bringing her typically hypercritical eye to the task of preparing for Friday’s concert, considering and reconsidering lighting and stage movements and where the members of the band should stand and sit. Where best to walk out near, though not into, the crowd and touch hands and blow kisses. Where best acoustically to place the foldback speakers—the monitors that were pointed toward the band so they could hear themselves without echoes or distortion. Many performers now used earbuds for this; Kayleigh liked the immediacy of traditional foldbacks.

 

There were a hundred other details to think about. She believed that every performance should be perfect, more than perfect. Every audience deserved the best. One hundred ten percent.

 

She had, after all, grown up in Bishop Towne’s shadow.

 

An unfortunate choice of word, Kayleigh now reflected.

 

I’ll be your shadow. Forever….

 

Back to the planning. This show had to be different from the previous one here, about eight months ago. A retooled program was especially important since many of the fans would have regularly attended her hometown concerts and she wanted to make sure they got something unexpected. That was one thing about Kayleigh Towne’s music; her audiences weren’t as big as some but were loyal as golden retrievers. They knew her lyrics cold, knew her guitar licks, knew her moves onstage and laughed at her shtick before she finished the lines. They lived and breathed her performances, hung on her words, knew her bio and likes and dislikes.