Starry Sky

The Woman He Used

to Know

Romantic Suspense

Mistakes, Regrets, and Murder


An old flame, a murdered husband, and a compromised detective. Denver homicide detective Nick Ryan and Elizabeth Harper have a history of passionate mistakes and broken trust. He’s worried his feelings for her will help her get away with murder, and she’s worried they’ll land her in prison.

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Novels by Helen Starbuck

The Mad Hatter's Son

Curiosity killed the cat, so the saying goes, and it may end up killing operating room nurse Annie Collins. Annie's estranged friend libby Matheisen needs Annie's help to discover what is causing her vague, puzzling symptoms. Unwillingly drawn into her friend's life, Annie must discover whether Libby is really ill or if there is a hidden agenda. Faced with Libby's apparent suicide, Annie can't stop asking questions to uncover the truth about her illness and death. The answers to these questions don't come without a price, and pursuing the mystery of Libby's death threatens to end her life as well.


No Pity in Death

Struggling to put her life back together after almost being murdered, OR nurse Annie Collins agrees to help homicide Detective Alex Frost investigate patient deaths in the ICU step down unit at her hospital. Are the patients succumbing to life threatening illnesses or is someone helping them die? Assistant district attorney and close friend, Angel Cisneros, worries about Annie’s involvement with Frost’s investigation, and his concern escalates after a person from her past contacts her. His feelings for her, which have grown deeper, complicate everything. Dangerous enemies are something Annie and Angel have in common. 


The Burden of Hate

How far would you go for someone you love? How much hate would you need to kill someone? Revenge. Hate. Fear. Not traditional wedding gifts. When convicted killer Ian Patterson escapes from prison, operating room nurse Annie Collins and fiancé assistant district attorney Angel Cisneros are forced to confront these realities head on in this suspenseful continuation of the Annie Collins Mystery Series. 

Will Ian Patterson’s quest for revenge toward the two people responsible for sending him to prison—Annie Collins and Angel Cisneros—bring them face to face to settle the score once and for all? And who will survive?


Legacy of Secrets

Kate Earnshaw’s father’s suicide has left many unanswered questions. Declared a suicide, Kate refuses to believe it. The more she discovers, the more Kate wonders if she really knew him. Other families pass down their stories, Kate Earnshaw’s family’s secrets disappear from one generation to the next. Can she can trust Evan Hastings, the handsome, but somewhat puzzling man who lives on the property near her father’s abandoned family home? Evan seems to knows more about her father than Kate did. But there’s something about Evan that calls her back to eastern Colorado, something that threatens to unearth the past.


Finding Alex

Not knowing can be lethal. Assaulted, left for dead, and amnesic, the woman who thinks her name is Alex, may be the only surviving victim of a killer who’s targeting prostitutes and leaving their bodies without fingertips to complicate their identification. Denver Homicide Detective Blake Halloran is sure she is connected to the other killings but he can’t identify her, even with her fingertips intact. And she can’t remember anything—including the face or name of the man who tried to kill her. With each new victim, it becomes more crucial for Alex to remember what happened to her if Blake and his partner are to solve the murders, but how do you force...


The Woman He Used

to Know

Denver homicide detective Nick Ryan and Elizabeth Harper have a history of passionate mistakes and broken trust. They haven’t seen each other in five years after she married a man he despised. Now, her husband is dead, and the evidence points to her as the killer. 

The woman Nick used to know wouldn’t have killed anyone. But she’s the prime suspect and has many reasons to want her husband dead. Hasty decisions have brought Nick and Elizabeth to a strange and bloody crossroads. He’s worried his feelings for her will help her get away with murder, and she’s worried they’ll land her in prison.

Coming Soon
Image by Annie Spratt

Award-Winning Author

Editor ~ Speaker ~ Nurse

About Helen Starbuck

Helen Starbuck is a third generation Colorado native who has spent her career working as a nurse in the main ORs of several suburban hospitals and a major children’s hospital in the Denver area.


She translated her experience and knowledge of OR nursing into a job as a clinical editor for an OR nursing journal. As a clinical editor, she helped nurse authors fine tune their articles and helped staff journalists understand the intricacies of surgery. The journalists, in turn, helped her understand the often puzzling aspects of the AMA style book—there's a rule for everything!

Helen likes stories about strong women and interesting men. She writes her mysteries from the perspective of an OR nurse and relies on her love of suspense and romance to write her standalone romantic suspense novels. Her theory is, if you don’t like life as it is, you can always write a different ending.

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