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Deadly Trap

Deadly Trap

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"Barbara Freethy’s suspense novels are explosively good!" – New York Times Bestselling Author Toni Anderson


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"Deadly Trap is full of twists and turns and just when you think you're on the right track, you find out that you're not." Jill - Goodreads.

FBI agent Nick Caruso races to Rome to rescue his grandmother from imminent danger, only to collide head-on with Isabella Rossi—a woman with whom he once shared a disastrous date. Isabella, a secretive journalist, can't stand the handsome and cocky FBI Agent, but she is forced into an uneasy partnership as they delve into the murky world of smuggling and stolen art to protect their grandmothers. 

As Nick and Isabella uncover corruption reaching into the echelons of powerful criminals, the stakes soar, endangering more lives than just their own. From Rome's historic streets to ancient catacombs and opulent villas, DEADLY TRAP is a pulse-pounding romantic suspense novel that seamlessly blends Italy's allure with high-stakes crime, testing love and loyalty amidst deception and peril.

Will they expose the criminals in time, or will the deadly trap claim them all? 

If you love heart-racing suspense, simmering romance, and unpredictable twists, DEADLY TRAP is an essential addition to your bookshelf!

Note: Every book in the Off The Grid: FBI Series stands completely on its own and there are no cliffhangers! The books feature complex and exciting storylines ranging from kidnapping to organized crime, terrorism, and espionage. Personal stories often play out against a bigger, broader storyline, and surprising twists will keep you up all night. Start reading today!

What the readers are saying about the FBI Series…

 "I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday night than losing myself in one of Barbara Freethy’s books. I love the Off The Grid series but I honestly think this one is my favorite. I have no doubt her next book will be awesome, too!" Booklovers Anonymous

"PERILOUS TRUST is a non-stop thriller that seamlessly melds jaw-dropping suspense with sizzling romance, and I was riveted from the first page to the last." USA Today HEA Blog

 "You will love Reckless Whisper. From the first sentence of the book until you end, you are on a suspense filled ride." J. Stryker – Goodreads

"Words cannot explain how phenomenal this book was. The characters are so believable and relatable. The twists and turns keep you on the edge of your seat and flying through the pages. This is one book you should be desperate to read." Caroline on Desperate Play



Family pride was something Anna Caruso hadn't felt in a long time, mostly because her family was small now and scattered across several continents. But standing in one of the exhibition rooms at the Museo dei Capolavori in Rome and watching a group of visitors linger in front of her father-in-law's painting with awe in their eyes, sent a wave of heartwarming satisfaction through her.

Anna wasn't one to dwell on the past or the future, especially not at eighty-one years of age. She preferred to live in the present, but this exhibition had brought the past, the present, and the future together, and the niggling doubts she'd had about donating the painting to the exhibition had been erased by the flood of positive remarks she'd heard over the past two days. So many visitors had wondered why they hadn't heard about Tomas Caruso before. They'd marveled at his talent and thought it was a shame he had not been recognized in his own time. 

That was her father-in-law's fault. Tomas had been a brilliant artist, but also a perfectionist. Nothing was ever good enough for him to show, which was partly why she'd worried that putting his work up now was some sort of betrayal. But that was foolish. Tomas had been dead for fifty-plus years. It was past time for him to have his artistic brilliance recognized.

"I thought I'd find you in here," Gloria Rossi said, coming up next to her. 

She smiled at her long-time friend. They'd met at twenty-one, sixty years ago, as American art students spending a summer studying in Rome. Back then, she'd been blonde while Gloria had had dark-brown hair. Now her hair was white, and Gloria's was silver. Their youthful bodies had disappeared ages ago, and the two men they'd married had both passed on. 

Gloria's husband Paolo had died eight years ago, while her Marcus had been gone for a year. She pushed back the familiar stabbing sadness that came with memories of her tall, strong husband, who had loved her for over fifty years. 

"I can't seem to leave," she said. 

Gloria gave her a smile of understanding. "I've been sneaking in here whenever I can, too." 

Gloria also worked as a docent at the museum. Their love of art still drove their lives even after so many years, not that either of them had ever been accomplished enough to put a painting on the wall of a museum. But Gloria had donated her mother-in-law's work, and Lucinda Rossi's painting hung next to the one by Tomas. It seemed fitting. Lucinda and Tomas had been the closest of friends and had both died too young. 

"Their paintings have been well-received," Gloria said. "Did you read the review of the exhibition in the paper? Tomas's painting was featured. You should be proud."

"I am," she said, but she couldn't hide the worry in her voice. "I just hope I didn't make a mistake. Tomas wanted his painting hidden away, and Marcus was so protective of his father's art."

"You need to stop feeling guilty, Anna. You did what you thought was right, and you'll never know what they would have thought, so you can only think about how you feel."

"I feel proud," she admitted. 

"So do I." Gloria returned her gaze to the wall. "Their paintings are so focused, one a beautiful tree with a colorful bird building its nest. The other a series of steps leading into the light at one end and the darkness at another. They seem simple and yet profound."


She turned her head as Enrique, the security guard, told them it was time to go. He needed to lock up and turn on the alarm system. 

They'd already kept him waiting, so she gave him an apologetic smile and quickly headed to the door, with Gloria on her heels. 

The exhibition room was on the second floor of the two-story building, and the hallway lights had already been dimmed, but they knew the museum so well, from the vast rooms on the first floor to the smaller exhibition rooms on the second floor, that they had no problem making their way to the employees' lounge, which was also located upstairs. 

"I think we should treat ourselves to dinner and a good bottle of wine," Gloria said.

"Like we do every night?" she asked with a laugh. Their love of art was only equaled by their love of wine. 

"Well, we don't eat out every night. Let's go to Valentino's."

"Sounds good to me. But I do want to call Nick at some point tonight. Don't let me forget."

Gloria raised a questioning brow. "Is everything okay with your grandson?"

"I think so, but I left him a message about the exhibition several days ago, and he never called me back. He's probably just busy at work, but I worry about him when he's out of touch, which seems more often these days. I wish he hadn't gone into the FBI, especially since he rarely seems to be at a desk. He's always in the field, doing God knows what. I would have liked to get his blessing on putting the painting in the exhibition. But I couldn't wait for him to get back to me.”

"I doubt he'd have a problem with it," Gloria said. "I'm sure he would have told you to do what you think is best."

"I suppose so. I also worry that he might still be angry about us setting up him and Isabella a few months ago."

Gloria waved a dismissive hand in the air. "That's silly. It was just a dinner."

"But they didn't hit it off, and I don't understand why. They'd be perfect for each other."

"I agree, but they're both stubborn. Isabella has a fire burning inside her," Gloria said. "But I want her to have more than a career. I understand that being a journalist is important, but her job won't keep her warm at night. Of course, she tells me I don't know what it's like to be a young woman today. I can't say she's wrong, but I have lived a long life, and I know how important love is. I worry that growing up without a father, and with a grandfather who ignored her, has colored her thinking of men."

"I worry about Nick, too. He's thirty-three and spends half his life undercover, pretending to be someone else. One day he might discover the sacrifice he's making is just too big."

"Maybe we should try to get them together again," Gloria said. 

"Perhaps this summer," she agreed, as they entered the lounge. "We'll have a big party for our birthdays in July and they won't be able to say no."

"Excellent idea," Gloria said, as they headed to their lockers.

After retrieving their belongings, they headed out of the lounge. They'd no sooner stepped into the hallway when they heard a shockingly loud crash that echoed through the building. It seemed to have come from the back of the museum by the delivery dock. They froze, glancing at each other as they heard thundering footsteps coming up the stairs at the other end of the hall. 

She debated whether they should go back into the lounge and hide, but the lock on the door wouldn't hold anyone off, and they would be sitting ducks. She grabbed Gloria's hand, and they ran in the opposite direction. If they could get down the other stairwell, they might escape through the front door. 

As gunshots rang out, coming from the area of the exhibition they'd just left, she sped up. She could hear Gloria's labored breathing, but neither one of them slowed down, even though their aging bodies weren't primed for sprinting. But fear drove them forward. 

Unfortunately, they didn't seem to be getting away from the danger. Male voices rang out, seeming to come from almost every direction. She didn't know how many men had broken into the museum, but it had to be at least three. 

"We can't get away," Gloria said in panic. 

She agreed. "We need to hide." As the voices drew closer, she pulled Gloria behind a tall statue of a Roman warrior, hoping he would protect them. "Don't even breathe," she said, as they crouched down, holding their breath, squeezing as tightly together as they could, thankful for the dark shadows. 

Two men came purposefully down the hall. As they passed in front of the statue, she could hear them talking. One word jumped out of all the rest—her last name—Caruso

She must have gasped, because Gloria's fingers tightened around hers in a harsh warning. 

"L'hai sentito?" one man asked. "Qualcuno è qui."

He'd heard her gasp. He knew someone was nearby. Before his partner could answer, another voice rang out from further down the hallway. A third man was yelling at them to hurry. They had to leave now. 

The men hesitated one more second and then moved away. 

As they left, she peeked out from behind the statue and saw two men dressed in black pants and coats, with hoods over their heads and black gloves on their hands. One was holding a semi-automatic weapon. The other had a painting in his hand. She couldn't see what it was, but there were many valuable pieces of art in the museum. It could be anything. 

But remembering how the man had said her name, she had the terrible feeling the painting she'd just seen was the one she'd donated. 

"Are they gone?" Gloria whispered. 

"I hope so," she murmured. 

"What do you think they wanted, Anna?" 

"I heard them say Caruso." A knot of fear grew in her throat.

"I heard that, too. And one said he'll be happy; he's been waiting a long time."

"I didn't hear that, but my blood was roaring through my veins. Did you hear a name? Who's he?"

"I don't know. I couldn't catch anything else."

"I have a terrible feeling this is my fault." 

"Tomas's painting can't be the reason this happened." 

"What if it is?" she whispered, meeting Gloria's eyes. "Oh, God, what have I done?"

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Customer Reviews

Based on 67 reviews

I love the way Barbara Freethy grabs your attention and keeps it with lots of twists.


Did not order this book!!

Karen C
Everything you expect!!

Whenever you read a Barbara Freethy book you know you are going to get a great story with lots of action, love, twists and turns, suspense, and a happily ever after. This book in the FBI series is no different.

Who doesn't love to read about some stolen art, trying to find the people that took it and to help save two amazing ladies, that just happen to be grandmas?

Lots of twists and turns to keep you turning those pages and on the edge of your seat. With characters that just draw you in and have you cheer them on and with the written words from Barbara you feel like you are right there with them and feeling their emotions as you come along for the ride!

Great addition to the series!

Lowell Fine

Great series

Judith Rosen

Couldn’t put it down