Romeo: A Novel by Elise TitleRomeo: A Novel by Elise Title

Romeo: A Novel

byElise Title

Mass Market Paperback | February 2, 1998

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It was the courtship every woman dreamed of.

It was the seduction no woman survived.


His victims were the city's most invulnerable women--professional, beautiful, smart. They eagerly embraced Romeo's darkest fantasies.

...They just didn't expect to die.


A novel you will NEVER forget.
Title:Romeo: A NovelFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:524 pages, 7 × 4.25 × 1.25 inPublished:February 2, 1998Publisher:Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553572067

ISBN - 13:9780553572063


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Romeo Delivers Romeo is a superb read. If you love psycological Romeo. The story will grab you from chapter one and will never let you go till the end. The heroine is written as a truly hurt woman, but strong none-the-less. A definite survivor. Romeo is one of those books that will make you glad you bought it.
Date published: 2000-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Romeo This book kept me guessing until the very end. It was one of the better suspense novels I have read in quite a while. Filled with plenty of suspects, sex, and violence, it kept me on the edge of my seat until I was finished. This book is along the same lines as Thomas Harris and Jonathan Kellerman. I'm sure this author will be coming out with many more books with the same heroine.
Date published: 1999-01-11

Read from the Book

Prologue   The anticipation is palpable. Under her skin. Inside her head. Tingling all over—the pads of her toes, between her thighs, her breasts, her tongue, even her eyelids. Reverberating throughout the bedroom. Permeating her cool mauve and cream cocoon.   She can feel the thrumming giving way to a relentless churning. Setting the inescapable chaos into motion. Would she escape it if she could? No. Without the chaos, she would feel limbless. In limbo.   Guilt is the only problem. Creeping insidiously, gnawing, leaving festering sores. Carefully disguised, naturally. She is a master of deception as well as perception. Clutter set aside. An encapsulated force that’s carefully kept within its prescribed confines. Prescribed by her.   Slowly, humming a tune from some long-ago time—a lullaby—she rakes her bloodred nails over her small breasts. Pain is her aphrodisiac because only pain stops the wheels from spinning in her mind. Only pain stops the critique of her damaged psyche. Whose psyche isn’t damaged?   Her glossy manicured nails move across the soft flesh. Then over the nipples. Leaving angry red lines against ivory skin. Her nipples are rigid, stinging with anticipation. She twists them lightly between her index fingers and her thumbs. She gasps in a breath, suffering an unexpected stab of pain as the air fills her lungs. At thirty-six, surely not a heart attack. She’s in great shape, works out daily, plays squash, tennis, eats a low-fat diet. Had her annual check-up less than a month ago and got a clean bill of health. What then? She knows.   An attack of conscience. Sweeping over her like a tempest. A feeling she hates. Watch it, Melanie. You want to cruise the edge, not do any real damage. Even you could lose your footing.   Her right nipple—the one she’s pinched so hard—throbs. She focuses her mind on the pain there, letting it take over, letting it cleanse her. Instant repression. Exorcism.   The sweat begins to evaporate on her skin. A late October chill from the open window. The sounds of the street filtering in as the night fog rolls over San Francisco. A quarter moon. The sky eerily luminescent.   A firm rap on the door leading to her upstairs apartment. Freeze frame. Everything jams. Even her breath. Then swiftly she pulls herself together. She stops at the full-length mirror in her bedroom, gives herself a cool, detached study. She’s chosen her outfit carefully. Rose silk man-tailored shirt. Soft, flowing black silk slacks. Black sling-backs on her bare feet. Still sophisticated, but with an air of added enticement, heat. She runs a comb through her thick, straight auburn hair that falls in a blunt cut to her shoulders. A quick reappraisal. Yes. She is ready.   An ironic smile twists her lips even as a wave of vertigo makes her sway and grab on to the wall. The dizziness passes quickly. She has willed it away. She can do that. Nothing to worry about. She smiles. The chaos has shifted into something with shape and substance. Something she can manipulate.   She steps into her living room, taking in the space with the restless, critical eye of a woman who is constantly assessing what she has accomplished. Like the rest of her Pacific Heights Victorian townhouse, this room is punctuated with style and elegant understatement. Not a hint of clutter. Stucco walls in the palest peach. Windows shaded with teakwood-slatted blinds. Moroccan rug in muted tones—tan, burnt umber, gray—over a whitewashed, planked oak floor. Two matching love seats in a pale caramel silk facing each other. Pine coffee table set with a vase of chrysanthemums, two crystal goblets. Large bay window perfect for plants, but there are none. She doesn’t have a green thumb and doesn’t want to see a living thing die a slow death at her hands.   Grief or despair over failure? She’s not sure. The two often bleed into each other.   The doorbell doesn’t ring again, but she knows he will be standing in the hall, patiently waiting. Understanding that she is stretching out the anticipation. As he is, too. She is sure of that. The thought alone arouses her.   She smiles as she opens the door. In her haste to put her disguise back in place, she senses that it’s slightly skewed.   He makes no move, studying her unabashedly, his face devoid of emotion. Tabula rasa.   Her gaze falls to the package in his hands. Champagne. Interesting. Provocative. A warped kind of playfulness. She stops. She will not analyze.   Sitting together on her love seat, she watches him observing her as they drink the champagne from her crystal goblets. She can tell by his eyes that he’s pleased. She has soft jazz playing—Branford Marsalis. The lights are dim, candles lit, the mood serene and romantic. He toys with a few strands of her hair as he sips his drink.   She is careful to conceal that she is only marking time. The fear is behind her now that he is here. She trusts him. Sees him as a master conductor of a great symphony. And she his all-encompassing instrument.   He ever so lightly strokes her cheek. She feels the caress like a charge of dynamite.   “You look like a little girl tonight,” he says.   She’s taken aback. But secretly pleased. “A little girl?”   “You try to conceal it, but you can’t.”   He puts his arm around her, gently guiding her head to his shoulder. They sit like that in tender silence, the candles flickering, listening to Marsalis wail on his tenor sax.   The prelude.   At the armoire changing the CD. Not sure what to choose. He comes up behind her. She starts to turn toward him, but he rests his hands on her shoulders, holding her in place. When he releases her, she dutifully stays put. His fingers skim seductively down her back, over her buttocks.   She imagines him smiling at his discovery that she isn’t wearing a bra or panties beneath her grown-up clothes, but she won’t move—even her head—to check out whether she’s right. Being obedient is too much of a turn-on.   He tugs her shirt out from the waistband of her trousers, slips his cool hands underneath, palms flat on her spine, fingers spread over her back. She stands very still in anticipation.   “Pick something out. Something with a hot beat,” he murmurs in her ear.   She wants to press into him, rub against his groin, see if he’s hard, but she appreciates the languid rhythm he’s setting. Appreciates his style. It suits her. There is a strong simpatico between them.   She selects a Bob Marley CD. The erotic strains of reggae spill out of the speakers. She sways to the beat. Closes her eyes. Confident she will not lose her way. He is the perfect guide for her journey.   He does not sway with her, but his hands move slowly round to her rib cage, creep up to her breasts.   His mouth in the crook of her neck. “Undo your pants.” His tone a cool yet enticing command.   His abrupt shift in the tempo catches her by surprise. She suspects he delights in this. Her hands give her nervousness and eagerness away, but she manages it, unbuttons the waistband, starts to lower the zipper. He is smiling now. She is certain. Even though she is still facing away from him.   Her slacks puddle at her ankles. He remains behind her, kneading her bare ass as she continues to sway to the music.   “You have a dimple.”   She feels a momentary flutter of alarm. An imperfection? “Is that bad or good?” There’s a tremor in her voice.   He laughs softly. “Very good.”   She feels a glowing pleasure. A victory.

From Our Editors

Critics have fallen hard for the nerve-shattering novel acclaimed as "a smashing debut. . . . If you like Thomas Hardy, John Sandford, and James Patterson, you are going to love "Romeo"" ("San Francisco Examiner"). In the bestselling tradition of "Gone, but Not Forgotten, Romeo" tells the gripping story of a man who preys on San Francisco's most beautiful and successful women. His is a courtship every woman dreams of . . . and a seduction no woman survives.