'When All The Girls Have Gone' Is The Perfect Blend Of Spooky & Romantic — EXCERPT

Autumn is the perfect season for two types of novels: the creepy kind and the romantic kind. Luckily, the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz has a lot of both. In When All The Girls Have Gone , a woman in search of her missing sister recruits the help of a down-on-his luck private investigator and discovers that she may be in over her head... in more ways than one.

Charlotte Sawyer can't find her stepsister, Jocelyn, to tell her that one of her best friends has been found dead. Jocelyn is beautiful, brilliant, and reckless, but she's never gone off-the-grid quite like this before. Charlotte teams up with Max Cutler, a struggling PI whose career as a criminal profiler went up in flames — along with his marriage. He needs this job, and Charlotte needs him to find her sister. After surviving a near-fatal attack, the two form an uneasy alliance. Together, they begin to unearth Jocelyn's greatest secrets — and that knowledge could put them in unimaginable danger.

When All The Girls Have Gone will be available on Nov. 29 from Berkley. To make the wait more bearable, Bustle is proud to reveal an exclusive excerpt. Read it below:

Max wasn’t sure what he had been expecting earlier when he had taken the elevator down to meet her in the lobby. He always tried to keep an open mind at the start of a case because he had long ago learned that first impressions were critical. He did not want to risk getting them wrong due to preconceptions.

But when the elevator doors opened, the only thing that had been shatteringly clear was that Charlotte Sawyer didn’t fit any of the usual categories.

It was going to be hard to pin a label on her.

She wasn’t the flashy, flirty, perky type. She wasn’t the sultry type. She wasn’t the cool, aloof, sophisticated type. She wasn’t glamorous or bold or shy or nervous.

It was going to be hard to pin a label on her.

She had made no attempt to charm him. She hadn’t tried to manipulate him either, but he was pretty sure she would go toe-to-toe with anyone if she thought the battle was worth fighting.

And if she smiled at you, it would be a real smile, he thought. If her hazel green eyes warmed with humor or passion or any other emotion, that emotion would be the real deal.

She had unfastened the front of her anorak, revealing a dark green pullover and black trousers. The curves of the body beneath the clothes were not showy; rather they appeared sleek and firm and feminine.

He could not point to any one feature that stood out, with the exception of her clear, watchful, sea-green eyes. But the various parts of her came together in a compelling way.

He followed her out of the elevator and walked beside her down the hall to Louise’s suite. When he opened the door and stood back to allow her to enter first, she automatically started forward and then halted abruptly on the threshold. He thought he heard her catch her breath and he immediately understood.

“It’s always like this when you know what happened in a room,” he said quietly.

She glanced at him. “It’s…weird.”

“It’s always like this when you know what happened in a room,” he said quietly.

“Yeah.”

“Do you ever get used to the feeling?”

“I never have.”

“Do you do this a lot?”

“Not any more. I used to be a profiler but now that I’m on my own most of my work is corporate. Background checks. Insurance fraud. That kind of thing. That means I don’t usually have to walk into places like this.”

She nodded, took a breath and walked into the room with a firm, determined stride. He followed her and closed the door very gently.

It dawned on him that they’d just had a meaningful conversation without either of them needing to clarify the topic. They had both understood each other. He wasn’t accustomed to conversations like that. He wasn’t sure what to make of it.

He set the small suitcase on the rug, crouched beside it and opened it.

It dawned on him that they’d just had a meaningful conversation without either of them needing to clarify the topic. They had both understood each other.

Charlotte went down on her knees beside the carryon.

Together they looked at the roadmap of Washington State and the three envelopes.

“Okay, not quite what I expected,” Charlotte said.

He looked at her. “What were you expecting?”

“I don’t know,” she admitted.

“That’s the best way to go into a situation like this,” he said. “Is that a profiling thing?”

“It was my profiling thing,” he said. “Everyone does it differently.”

Charlotte looked at him, her eyes shadowed with anxiety. “What in the world is going on here?”

“I have no idea.”

Charlotte sat back on her heels and looked at the items that had come out of the carryon. “Louise was involved in something dangerous, wasn’t she?”

“I think so, yes. The only thing that links these five women is drugs.”

Charlotte shook her head. “I was so sure Louise wasn’t involved with drugs.”

“I’ve had enough of this place for one day.” He closed the carryon. “I need some time to process what we found. Have you got your car?”

“No,” she said. “I walked.”

“I’m parked on the street. I’ll take you home.” It struck him that she might not want to be alone with him in a car. But night had fallen. He did not want her walking back through the rainy streets alone. “Unless you’d rather take a cab?”

She appeared to give that some close thought. He told himself not to take it personally. Then she gave him a small but very real smile.

“I appreciate the offer,” she said. “Thanks.”

It wasn’t a huge leap forward in terms of establishing a level of trust, he thought, but it was definitely a step.

She appeared to give that some close thought. He told himself not to take it personally. Then she gave him a small but very real smile.

He immediately wondered why he was worried about trust levels. In his business success was based on the assumption that everyone, including the client, usually lied. Everyone had secrets to protect.

Outside on the wet street, Charlotte pulled up the hood of her anorak. He pulled up the collar of his windbreaker. It was all the protection he had. There was a baseball cap on the backseat of his car but he hadn’t thought to take it with him earlier when he met Daniel Flint at Louise’s condo. He wondered if that made him look like a poorly prepared investigator. Image was everything in his new line according to his family.

The vehicle he had used that afternoon was the nondescript gray compact that he kept for in-city work. It didn’t stand out on the street which, of course, was why he liked it. Then, again, it didn’t make much of an impression, either.

Not that he was trying to make an impression on Charlotte.

She didn’t say anything when he opened the passenger side door for her. She probably figured he wasn’t doing all that well in the private investigation business. If so, she would be right.

Not that he was trying to make an impression on Charlotte.

He closed the door and hurried around the front of the car. By the time he got behind the wheel his hair was plastered to his head and his jacket was soaked. He stripped it off and tossed it into the rear seat. The jacket would survive but all in all he was not doing a good imitation of an ace detective.

And just why the hell did that seem important? He wondered.

He glanced at her. “What, exactly, do you want me to do?”

“Isn’t it obvious? I want you to find out if Jocelyn’s sudden decision to go off the grid is in any way connected to Louise’s death.”

He thought about that for a minute. “I’ll talk to my client about it.”

“Yes, please do that. Because if you don’t want to take my case, I’ll find someone who will.”

“Wow. I sense blackmail.”

“Leverage.”

“You’re tough.”

She glanced at him, clearly surprised. “No. Jocelyn is the tough one.”

“Not saying she isn’t tough. Just saying you are.”

Charlotte concentrated on the view of the wet street. “You’ve only known me for about an hour.”

“Sometimes that’s all it takes.”

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Jayne Ann Krentz, 2016.

When All The Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz, $22.85, Amazon