“Guess that’s the boyfriend,” Luke murmured.
“Kaziah Lone.” He was on her list. Rule number one in these cases: Always talk to the lovers.
Especially on knife kills. An intimate crime, an intimate kill.
Luke yanked open Patty’s dresser drawers, searching through the clothes. “What’s your take on the case?”
Don’t know. “Hyde sent us here, that means he thinks we’ve got a serial.” Or a potential serial. Because sometimes, weeding through the cases and finding the real serials—that was another job he liked to give his team.
More photos lined the walls. Pictures just of Patty, always smiling. Posing with her dark hair framing her perfect face.
Hyde’s report said the woman had done some modeling for an agency in New Orleans. She sure had the look for it.
He shoved the top dresser drawer closed. “But what’s your take?”
His gaze held hers. God, Samantha had been right about his eyes. She’d never seen eyes like his before.
Never been able to forget those eyes.
The one man who’d come too close. The one man who’d made her burn, made her desperate.
And he could do it again. One look, and the need had quickened in her. It would be so easy to go back, to let the lust ignite between them. So easy…
When they’d been on that plane and he’d been so close, his scent had surrounded her. She’d remembered the strength of his touch and she’d wanted him. She’d talked tough, but, dammit, she wanted him.
Luke Dante had always made her feel alive. In those precious hours with him, she’d felt wild and reckless.
No ice maiden. There’d been too much pleasure for that. Too much passion.
Temptation. He was still as dangerous as before. Monica licked her lips. The crimes. The kills. Focus. Now wasn’t the time for any weakness.
Even if he was the one man who could make her weak. She exhaled on a long, hard breath. “The kill methods are off. They don’t make sense to me.” She turned away from him, worried those eyes would see too much.
Even when they’d been together, she’d always made him turn off the lights. So he wouldn’t see…
Patty had a small desk in the corner of her bedroom. Monica pulled open the long, top drawer. Pens, paper clips, a worn romance novel.
She pushed the drawer closed—
But it stuck.
“Monica? You got something?”
Dropping to her knees, she carefully pulled the drawer back and eased it out of the grooves that held it in place.
An envelope. It waited, smashed at the back of the desk, like it had gotten pushed up in the drawer and then caught.
Maybe when the police were searching?
Her gloved fingers reached for the envelope.
No return address. Just Patty’s name, scribbled across the front.
Monica rose, turned—
And found Luke standing right in front of her.
She didn’t make the mistake of looking into his eyes. Not this time.
Monica straightened her shoulders and opened the envelope. The top had already been ripped apart, the ends tattered and loose.
A slip of paper hid inside. Carefully, she eased it out and read the same distinctive scrawl.
Pretty lady, what scares you?
An image of Patty’s face flashed before her eyes. There had been so many brutal cuts and slashes on her face. Not her body, where the knife would have done more damage. But on her face.
What scares you?
Monica’s gaze jerked to the photo above the bed. A big 11×14 of Patty laughing on a bridge.
“What scares you?” Luke read, the words a whisper.
A shiver skated down her body.
She had a good idea what would have frightened the beautiful Patty.
And, from the looks of things, the killer had known too.
Luke had just dropped onto the edge of his sagging motel room bed when the connecting door—the door he’d stared at a good three minutes after entering his room—flew open.
Unlocking it had been a very good idea.
His blood pumped, hard and fast. Screw exhaustion, he was more than ready to—
“We’ve got a problem.”
For just an instant, her gaze dropped to his chest. He’d stripped down to his boxers, so the lady wasn’t getting a full-on show. Not yet anyway.
Her mouth snapped closed then she spun around. “I didn’t… think…” Her hands lifted, fell to her sides. “I should have knocked. Sorry.”
But she didn’t sound sorry. Not really.
And he damn sure wasn’t sorry Monica had stormed into his motel room. If only she hadn’t come about business.
“Get dressed.” Her voice was flat. “We have to talk.”
Monica stepped forward, obviously heading back to her room. No.
“Stay.” He bit out the command. Dammit. She glanced back at him—
Luke forced a careless grin. “Not like you haven’t seen me before.” The woman had touched every part of his body. With hands and mouth.
And he sure as hell didn’t mind having her eyes on him.
But she shook her head. “We’re working a case, I don’t need to—”
His jaw clenched. Ice. He snatched up his jeans. Tugged them on in less than three seconds. “Didn’t ask you to touch, now did I?”
Finally, her eyes met his and flashed blue fire, for just a second.
So hot, not cold. Not cold at all.
He stalked toward her. Monica turned fully to face him. Her breath came faster, her chest rising and falling too quickly.
Because she was pissed at him? Or because she felt the same hunger that he did?
The hunger that he could never f**king slake. No matter how many nights passed, no matter how many women he took.
Because no other woman was Monica.
Ah, Christ, but the way she said his name. Husky, soft. Like she’d whisper it in bed, when her legs were wrapped around him, and he was driving deep and she was arching toward him, those nails of hers digging into his back.
His fingers lifted and curved around her chin. Taste. Take.
“You got scared,” he charged, the words he’d wanted to throw at her for too long firing out. “I got too close, didn’t I? And you had to f**king run.”
Monica didn’t flinch. Her eyes didn’t waver. She just stared back at him. Cold. Like ice.
But he knew how she burned.
Christ, he needed to taste her.
The arousal had his muscles stiffening, his c**k jerking. From the minute he’d walked into that meeting and seen her, he’d been fighting the lust.