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She Was Their Target - ZG 15 ebook

She Was Their Target - ZG 15 ebook

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A mystery thriller from USA Today Bestselling Author, P.D. Workman that will keep you turning the pages!

Operating in the Dark

When Private Investigator Zachary Goldman is hired to investigate the death of an old friend's daughter, what should have been a routine case becomes something much more sinister.

Kristin had secrets, things she didn’t share with her mother, and it’s up to Zachary to put together the clues to find out what was going on in her life. And those clues lead in unexpected directions. Did Kristin know the risks she was taking?

But as Zachary digs deeper, he discovers powerful forces at work who would prefer that the truth remains hidden.

For readers who love thrilling murder mysteries with complex twists and turns, this gripping novel is sure to keep you guessing until the very end.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I was hooked from page one when I started this book. I lost some sleep, but staying up late to finish this book was unavoidable. I had to know how it ended.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This story will tug at your heart as Zachary, at great peril to himself, obstinately takes on ‘Big Pharma’ with an investigation into the potential contributing factors leading to the tragic death of teenage girl, the daughter of one of Zachary’s few friends from his troubled youth.

Zachary Goldman, Private Investigator, is flawed with a capital F. Shattered by the tragedies of his own life, he will somehow still manage to pick himself up and dig just a little bit deeper than anyone else to piece together the vital clues and solve the mystery.

Maybe being broken makes it easier for others who have faced tragedy to trust him. Walk with Zachary as he solves cases that will stretch his abilities to the limit.

Even with his own life in shambles, Zachary Goldman is still the one you want on the case.

Looking for a thriller that will keep you up all night and stay with you long after the last page. 

Investigate this P.I. mystery now!

How can I get Early Access?


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Zachary stared at the screen on his phone after the call ended, frowning and thinking about what the woman had said.

Jennifer. She had been Jennifer Olson when he had known her, but he couldn’t remember what she had just told him her married name was. He looked down at the notes he had scribbled while she was talking. Kristin Jones. That was her daughter. So she was Jennifer Jones now. A common name. One of those ones that was really fun to trace when he was trying to track someone down. But he didn’t have to track Jennifer down. He had her phone number and a time and place to meet with her.

Kenzie crossed his line of vision and said something to him. It was like she was far away or underwater. He knew she had spoken to him, but wasn’t sure what she’d said. Zachary rubbed his temples and focused on her, trying to pull his brain away from the woman on the phone. He was sitting on the couch in the living room, where he had been working on his laptop, and Kenzie had come in from the kitchen.

“Sorry, what?”

Kenzie raised her brows and shook her head, sending her dark curls bouncing. He wondered how many times she had repeated herself already. She didn’t look pleased about having to do it again.

“Where are you?” she asked. “Who was that on the phone?”

“Uh… a new client. Maybe. A woman I went to school with.”

“Oh…?” Kenzie sounded interested. Zachary rarely talked about school or his years in foster care. She knew the overall shape of his life before he had turned eighteen and aged out of the system, but he didn’t talk about it a lot. Didn’t mention specifics. He avoided even thinking about it if he could help it. Talking about it was the last thing he wanted to do. So when Kenzie learned something about his past, it was usually just one tidbit, or maybe something that came up in couple’s therapy. Where he still did his best to avoid diving too deeply into it. “What is her name?”

That part was easy. “Jennifer.” He looked for something else to tell Kenzie about her, to show that he was willing to share. “She was… in high school with me, I guess. I don’t remember very much about her. She was older. A couple of grades ahead of me.”

“So you probably didn’t know each other very well. Kids tend to stick with their own grades at that age.”

Zachary cupped his hands over his eyes. “We were… she was very nice. Not a lot of people in high school were nice.”

Kenzie made a sympathetic noise. “It’s a tough age, even without all the stuff that you had to go through.” She paused, waiting for him to say anything in response. “Are you going to help with supper?” she asked eventually. “Tyrrell will be here before long.”

“Oh. Yeah, of course.” Zachary rubbed his eyes briskly and got to his feet. That was probably what she’d been asking him.

It wasn’t like he was making the meal. Kenzie was handling most of that. But Zachary tried to help out—setting the table, making a salad, and getting out anything else she needed. He was happy to give her a hand with anything she needed him to do in the kitchen, but she didn’t usually trust him to do the actual cooking. That might have something to do with his ADHD and several meals in the past either put into the stove still wrapped in plastic, left in until they burned, or left sitting for an hour in a cold oven because he had forgotten to turn it on. That, and the fact that coordinating several dishes at once so that nothing burned and everything was finished at the same time required a level of concentration and executive function that he just didn’t have most days. He could manage a salad or a sandwich, which wouldn’t be ruined if he left them out or they sat on the counter for a while.

Waking up from his reverie about Jennifer, Zachary could smell the hearty scents of tomato sauce and cheese coming from the oven. And garlic. Hopefully, she had made garlic bread to go along with whatever else she had made—a favorite of Zachary’s and Tyrrell’s.

“Sorry, I should have come in earlier.”

Kenzie shrugged. “You were on the phone.”

Zachary moved around the bright, cheerful kitchen, getting out the plates, glasses, and cutlery. He was determined to stay focused on the job and not forget anything because he was thinking about Jennifer. He didn’t want to think about Jennifer. He would distract himself with the dinner preparations and then with the conversation with Tyrrell and Kenzie over dinner.

His younger brother Tyrrell was doing well with his job at Kenzie’s family foundation. He had been there a few months, and all indications were positive. But that could end at any time. Tyrrell was an alcoholic and had been unable to stay sober for more than a year or two since he was a teenager. While Zachary hoped that the latest treatment program had made a difference and Tyrrell could maintain his sobriety, he was alert for any signs that Tyrrell had started drinking secretly.

The doorbell rang. “There he is,” Kenzie said unnecessarily.

Zachary left what he was doing and went to the front door to let Tyrrell in and punch his code into the burglar alarm keypad so the alarm wouldn’t be triggered. They didn’t need security guards showing up for their dinner party.

“Zachary!” Tyrrell grinned at his big brother and threw his arms around him in a quick man-hug, pounding him on the back. “How’s it going, bro?”

“Pretty good,” Zachary told him, and stepped back to allow him in. “How’s everything with you?”

They started walking toward the kitchen.

“Alarm,” Kenzie called out.

Zachary looked back at the keypad. “I did it, didn’t I?”

Tyrrell shook his head and stepped back to punch the code in himself. There was an answering beep as the system cleared.

They joined Kenzie in the kitchen again. Tyrrell looked around. “Anything I can help with?”

Kenzie shook her head. “I think everything is done. Have a seat and tell us how it’s going.”

Zachary went over to the stove to help take out the hot dishes and get things to the table, but Kenzie frowned, making him retreat instead to sit down with their guest.

“It’s going great. Hillary says I have become ‘indispensable,’” Tyrrell bragged.

“Good for you.” Kenzie approved. “She’s so capable; I never thought she would let anyone else help out with the important stuff. I’m glad she has you to backstop her now.”

“Filing is up to date. The database is current. Mostly. I have some research to do on some organizations that we might consider supporting. She says it’s nice not to be behind on all the administrative stuff.”

“I’m sure it is.” Kenzie placed hot pads on the counter and transferred dishes from the oven. “I think we’ll just serve up buffet style, so we don’t have to try to pass around the hot dishes or reach across to get everything.”

She opened up the tinfoil-wrapped garlic bread and Tyrrell and Zachary salivated, watching her slice the crusty loaf. Kenzie paused to look at them. “You guys are two peas in a pod. You’d better eat your veggies!”

“Yes, ma’am,” Tyrrell and Zachary responded in unison, then laughed.

Zachary felt a warm flush of affection for his brother. Looking at them, someone who didn’t know them would think that they had grown up together. But Tyrrell had only been eight when they had been placed into foster care, and Zachary had not seen him until decades later. A year and a half ago. They shared the same dark hair and eyes, some similar facial features, and memories of their family before the fire, but that was all. Zachary had spent eight years in foster care without any contact with his biological family and, when he aged out, he had been alone.

He was lucky to have his siblings back in his life again.

It was best to focus on the present.


So, tell us about this friend of yours who called,” Kenzie told Zachary, after Tyrrell had finished talking about what was going on in his life and at the foundation.

Zachary stopped chewing and looked at her. He had already said he didn’t remember Jennifer very well, so he hadn’t expected Kenzie to pursue it. He strained to swallow the lump of garlic bread still in his mouth.

“Uh… I don’t know how much there is to tell,” he waffled.

Tyrrell and Kenzie were both looking at him with interest. He supposed he would have to tell them something.

“You said she was an old friend from high school?” Kenzie prompted.

“I didn’t think you were in contact with anyone from that far back.” Tyrrell took a huge bite of the crusty garlic bread himself and spoke around it. “Other than Mr. Peterson.”

Zachary had been in and out of various families and facilities for years, and the only person he had kept in contact with was his old foster father, Lorne Peterson. It was Mr. Peterson who had sparked Zachary’s interest in photography and set him on the path to becoming a private investigator, even though, by that time, Zachary had long since moved on to other families and facilities. Along with his partner Patrick Parker, Mr. Peterson had provided Zachary with a sense of stability and family that he had not gotten anywhere else.

“We haven’t been in touch. This is the first time I’ve heard from her in years. Since she moved away. That’s why…” Zachary shrugged, “I don’t know much about her. It was a long time ago.”

“And she just reached out and called you?” Tyrrell asked. “Maybe she has some old romantic feelings for you.” He waggled his eyebrows. “Wants to rekindle things.”

Zachary’s face burned. “It was never anything like that!” He glanced at Kenzie, hoping she didn’t suspect Zachary’s motives. “She’s a potential client. That’s all. Needed a private investigator, and I guess she heard about one of my other cases…”

He’d had a few big cases that had hit the media and spread his name around, so some people who called him now were interested in hiring him specifically, rather than just a random name they had picked out of an internet search.

Jennifer hadn’t said which case she’d heard about. Zachary had recently investigated the death of a man who the medical examiner had initially said died of natural causes when, in fact, he had been poisoned. It had made a small splash in the Vermont papers but had not gone national like a couple of Zachary’s other cases.

“Oh, I see.” Tyrrell nodded. But he was still using his teasing voice. “A potential client.”

“She is.”

“What kind of case?” Kenzie asked, trying to rescue Zachary.

Zachary rubbed his forehead. He was starting to get a headache. “Her daughter. She died suddenly and Jennifer wants it investigated.”

“Oh, dear,” Kenzie shook her head at this. “How old was she?”

“A teenager. I’m not sure how old. Do you remember a Kristin Jones?”

“No.” Kenzie’s forehead creased as she thought about it. “I don’t remember the name and haven’t had any teenage girls through recently. Are you sure she went through the Roxboro medical examiner’s office?”

“No. She didn’t say. It might have been one of the bigger hospitals.”

“Yeah. Probably.”

Having Kenzie as a contact in the local medical examiner’s office was handy, but Zachary was not disappointed that Jennifer’s daughter hadn’t been autopsied by Kenzie or Dr. Wiltshire. He didn’t want to challenge another one of their cases quite so soon.

“By ‘died suddenly,’ do you mean she committed suicide?” Kenzie asked.

“No. Jennifer said it was in the middle of a medical procedure.”

“Oh.” Kenzie nodded. “Well, that does happen,” she admitted. “Sometimes there are unexpected complications.”

“I don’t know the details yet. We’re going to get together tomorrow, and then I’ll know more.”

“Don’t raise her hopes,” Kenzie warned. “If it was in the middle of a medical procedure, the cause of death could be unknown, but they’re usually pretty thorough investigating cases of potential doctor error.”

“I’ll tell her that.”

“What was she like?” Tyrrell asked. “Back when you knew her?”

Even though he remembered Jennifer being nice to him, Zachary wasn’t looking forward to meeting and reconnecting with her, especially under such tragic circumstances. It would not be a joyful reunion. And he wanted the past to remain in the past. His chest tightened and his heart beat painfully hard just thinking about it. How would he feel the next day when he had to face her in person?

“I don’t know,” Zachary told Tyrrell testily. “I don’t remember.”

Tyrrell sat back in his chair, looking at Zachary speculatively. “Okay, bro… sorry…”

“Zachary said that she was kind,” Kenzie told him. “But it was a long time ago.” She looked at Zachary. “A lo-o-ong time ago,” she drew the word out, teasing him.

“I’m not that much older than you.” Zachary shook his head and picked up his crust of garlic bread. He appreciated her trying to shift the conversation away from him, but wasn’t in the mood for teasing and joking.

“He must be at least ten years older than you,” Tyrrell studied Kenzie. “I mean… look at him. And look at you.”

Kenzie’s red lips curved into a smile.

Zachary was no catch physically. He’d lived a hard life and had plenty of scars to show it. And while he’d put on weight and looked pretty good now, he was usually underweight during a depressive cycle and looked worn and gaunt. Right now, he was on the upswing, the hollows in his cheeks filled in and his eyes not sunken.

But Kenzie definitely looked better.

“Only three years,” Kenzie laughed. “He’s no cradle robber.”

* * *

Later, Tyrrell had gone home and Zachary was sitting in bed, watching Kenzie spread moisturizing cream on her face. One of those things that kept her looking young and fresh, he supposed. It had never occurred to him that he should take better care of his skin. There were much higher-level things he had to be concerned with. His mental health. Not taking on cases involving dangerous people. Getting enough sleep and, before his last med change, forcing himself to eat enough despite the nausea caused by his prescriptions.

“Are you okay?” Kenzie asked, looking at him.

He tore his eyes away from her, realizing she probably thought he was staring at her, when he was actually lost inside his own head. “Yeah, I’m good. Sorry.”

She continued dotting the moisturizer on her face and rubbing it in. “It’s just that… you’ve seemed distracted. A bit… out of sorts, maybe. You’re usually relaxed when Tyrrell is here. But you seemed like you had something else on your mind today.”

“Just thinking about this new case.”

She looked at him, waiting for more information.

“There’s not anything to tell yet.” Zachary looked down at his phone to check for messages or emails. “I won’t know anything until I’ve had a chance to meet with her.”

“But you’re not looking forward to it, are you?”


“I thought you would be excited about seeing an old friend. It would be different if she were someone who didn’t treat you very well. I can see you putting her off and saying you have too much on your plate. But if she was good to you…”

Zachary tried to think of the best way to explain it. He knew he should be happy to see Jennifer.

“She was good. But with the rest of the stuff going on around then… it was a pretty dark time. I don’t want to think about it, and I can’t separate Jennifer out and only think about her. It’s all woven together.”

Kenzie screwed the lid onto her face cream and put it on her side table.

“Sure, I can understand that. Sorry for pressing you. I’m not trying to be intrusive.”

“It’s okay.” He scrolled down the endless timeline on one of the social media apps, not looking at her. “I know it sounds backward. That meeting someone who was nice would bring back bad feelings and memories. But that’s the way it is. I’ve tried to leave all of that behind me. I don’t want it coming back up.”

She knew only too well how he had repressed other memories. But they hadn’t stayed where he had buried them. They had come bubbling back up again, and he’d had to deal with them instead of being able to compartmentalize and push them down again. He still wasn’t finished dealing with them. It had been over a year and had been the subject of many therapy sessions.

“You’re strong enough to deal with it,” Kenzie assured him. “Maybe you weren’t when you were a teenager, but you’ve grown a lot since then. You’ve learned a lot about yourself and dealt with a lot of hard stuff. You can deal with this too.”

“I’d rather not.”

Kenzie chuckled. “I’m sure you would. But we don’t always get the luxury of choice.”

She’d been dealing with traumatic stuff lately too, and he was proud of her for it. He put his hand down in the space between them, and Kenzie interlaced her fingers with his and held his hand firmly.

“For tonight, let’s focus on the present.”

Zachary wholeheartedly agreed.

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P.D. (Pamela) Workman is a USA Today Bestselling author, winner of several awards from Library Services for Youth in Custody and the InD’tale Magazine’s Crowned Heart award, and has published over 100 mystery/suspense/thriller and young adult books.

Workman loves writing about the underdog. She has been praised for her realistic details, deep characterization, and sensitive handling of the serious social issues that appear in her stories, from light cozy mysteries to darker, grittier young adult and mystery/suspense books.

P. D. Workman does not shy from probing the deep psychological scars of childhood trauma, mental illness, and addiction. Also characteristic of this author, these extremely sensitive issues are explored with extensive empathy, described with incredible clarity, and portrayed with profound insight.
—Kim, Goodreads reviewer