A Bone Secrets Novel, #1
Eleven years ago, the Co-ed Slayer murdered nine female students on the Oregon State University campus. Lacey Campbell barely escaped his attack, but lost her best friend whose remains were never found. As the sole surviving victim, Lacey helped send the sadistic serial killer to prison for life.
Now a forensic odontologist examining teeth and bones for the state Medical Examiner, Lacey is devastated when she arrives at a crime scene and identifies the skeletal remains as her college friend’s.
The remains are discovered on the land of ex-cop Jack Harper. Sparks fly between him and Lacey, even as they realize that the prosecution’s witnesses from a decade ago are now being murdered one by one. All the evidence points to the Co-ed Slayer as the culprit—only, he’s long since dead. So who’s the new killer? And is Lacey next in line to die?
At the sharp voice, Lacey popped out of her coffee musings, froze, and fought the instinct to look for her father—also Dr. Campbell. The bright blue tarp at Lacey’s snowy boots framed the partial recovery of a skeleton. Another step and she would’ve crushed a tibia and sent Dr. Peres’s blood pressure spiking through the tent roof. As she ignored the doctor’s glare, Lacey’s gaze locked on the bones and a sharp rush surged through her veins at the sight of the challenge at her feet.
This was why she accepted assignments in freezing weather. To identify and bring home a lost victim. To use her unique skills to solve the mystery of death. To put an end to a mourning family’s questions. To know she made a difference.
The cold faded away.
The skull was present, along with most of the ribs and the longer bones of the extremities. At the far end of the tent, two male techs in down jackets sifted buckets of dirt and rocks through a screen, painstakingly searching for smaller bones. A huge, gaping hole in the concrete wall of the crawl space under the building indicated where the remains had been discovered.
“Don’t step on anything,” said Dr. Peres.
Nice to see you, too.
“Morning.” Lacey nodded in Dr. Peres’s general direction and tried to slow her racing heart. Her eyes studied the surreal scene. Bones, buckets, and bitch.
Dr. Victoria Peres, a forensic anthropologist, was known as a strict ball breaker in her field, and she didn’t take flak from anyone. At six feet tall, she was an Amazon incarnate. A recovery site was her kingdom, and no one dared step within breathing distance of her sites before she gave her assent. And don’t dream of touching anything without permission. Anything.
When she grew up, Lacey wanted to be Dr. Peres.
Lacey had worked with the demanding doctor on four different recoveries before the doctor trusted her work. But that didn’t mean Dr. Peres liked Lacey; Dr. Peres didn’t like anyone.
Black-framed glasses with itty-bitty lenses balanced on the narrow ridge of the doctor’s nose. As usual, her long black hair was in a perfect knot at her neck. No stray hairs had escaped the knot, even though the doctor had been on site for five hours.
“Nice you could make the party.” Dr. Peres glanced at her watch and raised one brow.
“I had to wait ’til my toenails dried.”
A sharp snort came from the woman and Lacey’s eyes narrowed. Wow. She’d actually made Dr. Peres laugh. Well, sort of. Still, it should give Lacey some bragging rights among the ME’s staff.
“What’d you find?” Lacey’s fingers yearned to start on the puzzle. This was the best part of her job. A mystery to decode.
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