She whirled at the voice, her gun still ready, and found Luke slipping from his room. He froze, his arms poised in front of him. “Easy with the gun.”

Her breath rushed out.

His gaze raked down as his eyebrows climbed up. “Nice outfit, Davenport.”

Screw him. Shorts and a tank top were not femme fatale material, but—ah, hell, Luke could probably see her ni**les through the thin top.

She lowered her weapon grudgingly. “Some jerkoff was out here, revving his engine and flashing his lights.”

“Uh, huh.” His hands fell to his sides. “And you thought that warranted, what, a bullet in the head?”

Ass. Monica shook her head and turned away. “Go back to bed.”

“Come with me.”


She swallowed. “My mistake earlier.” She’d be woman enough to admit that. Dante—he was her weakness. One she’d have to guard against. “Won’t be happening again.” The case—it came first. The victims.

The killer.

“Get your beauty sleep, Dante.” You’ll need it working with this unit. “Six a.m. will be coming fast.” She wanted to see the Moffett crime scene before she checked in with the Sheriff again and made another call to Hyde.

She pushed open her door and heard his whisper.

“Maybe it won’t happen again, baby, but maybe it will.…”


Monica hesitated, then said, “I can’t give you what you want.” Brutally honest. He deserved that. He’d deserved the truth before, but she’d been a coward. She’d wanted him, she’d taken him, and she’d wanted more.

But she wasn’t the kind of woman who got the picket fence. A happily ever after wasn’t in her future. No kids. No husband. She’d learned that long ago.

“You don’t know what I want,” he growled.

Goose bumps rose on her arms. His voice—that deep rumble. Her ni**les tightened.

Sex. Sex was all she had to give him, and even then, she had to be so careful because Dante was a lover who took too much.

“Come with me,” he said again. “Let me see if we were as good as I remember… or if I just made you a freaking fantasy in my head.”

A fantasy. That’s all she’d ever really been to him. He didn’t know what waited under her skin. If he did…

Monica shook her head. “Get some sleep. We’ve got a crime scene to check tomorrow.”

She entered her room. Shut the door.

Her knees started to shake.

Damn him. Couldn’t the man just leave the past alone?

The killer carried his precious burden through the woods, the load banging against his back as he walked.

He hadn’t planned to hunt that night, but then… he hadn’t realized just who’d be coming to town so soon.

The FBI. Hell, when he’d seen those two agents, he’d almost laughed. The woman—yeah, he knew her. He’d seen her picture plenty enough in the paper.

The FBI knew about his kills. Shit, he’d been so excited by that, he’d had to go in close and see the agents’ motel. Watch Monica’s room.

Then he’d had to hunt. Had to prove to her that he was the one in charge of this game.

His prey had been so easy to find. Too f**king easy. He’d planned to take her next week, so really, moving up the hunt hadn’t been hard.

He carried the bag easily, barely feeling the weight. She wasn’t crying anymore. No more whimpers, no more shuddering.

Fucking finally. The drugs were working. About damn time. The bitch had been getting on his nerves.

Sucking in a sharp breath, he stopped. This was it. He slung her body onto the ground.


Her eyes didn’t open. Would’ve thought she was dead. But she wasn’t. Hell, where would the fun be in such a quick death?

The hole waited for him. Deep and wide—perfect. He’d dug it with care, knowing this moment would come.

A smile lifted his lips. He wished he could see her face when—

No, no, he couldn’t do that. Not with this one.

The last girl—oh, yeah, he’d watched her. Seen the fear choke her. The terror bulge her eyes.


This time, he’d have to imagine the fear. For now, anyway.

The box was in position. He’d built it himself. Couldn’t damn well buy one of the things—that would just be stupid.

He stared down at the bitch. Red hair tangled over her face and hung on her busted lip.

She’d tried to run from him. The whore hadn’t realized that running wasn’t an option.

His c**k swelled as he stared at her. So weak. He could do anything he wanted to her. No one could stop him.

No one.

He bent and trailed his fingers over her breast. A little small for him. He liked bigger tits.

The bitch moaned, and her eyes cracked open.

Would she remember him? Didn’t matter. She wouldn’t live to tell anyone about him.

So he smiled and, crouching more, he eased his arms under her back. Then he lifted her, just a few inches, and tossed her into the hole.

Her body slammed into the box.


When the drugs wore off and she woke fully, she wouldn’t even be able to turn over. He flattened his body over the earth and managed to slam the lid of the wooden box. His tongue snaked out, and he licked lips gone dry with excitement.

Too f**king easy.

The shovel waited for him, just a few feet away.

I want to see her face. Nothing like fear. No—damn—thing.

Guess he’d just have to catch a glimpse of her when the cops hauled her body out. If they found her.

He pushed up to his feet and went to get his shovel.

The house was really perfect for murder.

Situated near the edge of the woods, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Accessible only by a long, twisted old road.

No neighbors close by. No one to hear the screams. No one to see the kill.

Monica had a feeling there’d been a lot of screams coming from the broken little house at the end of Pine Bend.

The windows were boarded up. Vines snaked across the house. Yellow police tape criss-crossed the sagging front porch.

“Big coincidence that the cops raided this place right after the bastard’s kill,” Luke said as he climbed from their rented SUV.

Yeah, big coincidence. Only Monica didn’t really believe in coincidences. Never had. “The department got a tip about this place. It wasn’t just a chance raid.” That info had been in the notes Hyde gave her. She circled around the vehicle, her gun in its holster. Her gaze scanned the woods.