He turned at the sound of the door opening to see his partner enter. “Hey, Andrew.”

“Hey, man. What’s that?” His lips pursed into a thin line as he nodded toward the picture Jack had tacked up.

“Isabelle Ballantine brought this by. She apparently decided to question Andrea Barclay on her own and came up with this.” The sketch of the attacker was pretty decent. Slightly crooked nose, fairly sharp cheekbones, normal looking. He looked like anyone they might see on the street.

Totally unassuming.

“Think we can use this?”

Until now the only thing they’d known for sure was that the perpetrator was Caucasian with dirty blond hair. “I think this is a pretty damn good place for us to start. It’s too soon to publicize this, especially before we speak to Ms. Barclay ourselves, but I think this is the break we’ve been waiting for.”

“Leaking this picture might spook him anyway.”

Jack gritted his teeth. Maybe scaring the guy out of town wasn’t such a bad thing, but he wanted to catch him. This monster had been terrorizing his town. Jack wanted answers and justice. And by the development of their guy’s actions, he was getting progressively worse. He hadn’t raped the third woman, but he had beaten her so bad that she’d need a lot of time to heal.

Thankfully she wouldn’t need reconstructive surgery.

But the fourth woman he’d not only raped, he’d taken his time hurting. Her face was a swollen mess and she might not ever come out of that coma.

It was possible the guy hadn’t been able to follow through because the power of raping wasn’t enough anymore. He’d increased the violence on the fourth woman and had been able to sexually assault her. Soon that wouldn’t be enough for him. He’d probably kill his next victim.

“Has the FBI called back?” Andrew asked, interrupting his thoughts.

“Not yet. I’m sure they’re stretched thin and until we’re sure this is an actual serial rapist, they might not send anyone down. Until then we’re stuck with our limited resources.” He rubbed a hand over his tired face.

Two hours of sleep last night. Three the night before. He felt as if he was hanging on by a thread and he needed to be on top of his game.

“We’ll catch this bastard.” Andrew’s voice was less than convincing.

They had no DNA evidence and they didn’t even know where the assaults were taking place.

He shook his head and leaned against the conference room table. “How’s Maria?” He should have gone to see her himself, but guilt held him back. The third victim was his best friend’s kid sister and he hadn’t been able to stop this.

Until he could bring her good news, he couldn’t face her.

His partner shrugged. “She’s better than Sharonda Herrera, but she still doesn’t remember anything about the guy.”

The heavy traces of GHB and Xanax in her system had messed her up. The large doses of benzodiazepines left all the women in near comatose states, all with significant memory loss.

Andrew walked to the oversized corkboard and placed his hands on his hips. “I wonder why the Barclay woman remembers his face and the others don’t.”

Jack picked up her file, which was lined up on the table with the others. “According to the hospital records, her dosage was considerably less than the others.”

“Which implies he’s feeding them more drugs there…wherever there  is. And that doesn’t help us at all.” Andrew raked a hand through his normally immaculate blond hair.

Before Jack could respond, the door opened again. This time it was Sheriff King. And they had little to give him.

“Tell me you boys have good news.” The older man crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the doorframe.

“We might have a lead.” He quickly filled his boss in on everything.

When Jack finished, his boss didn’t seem as pissed as he’d been the last couple of weeks. As the sheriff left the conference room, the only thing he ordered them to do was run a detailed check of Isabelle Ballantine and the man she worked with, Adam Marcellus. Something Jack had already planned to do.

“You ready to head to Ms. Barclay’s?” he asked his partner as he put on his sports coat.

“Sure, let me make a phone call first.” Before Jack could respond, Andrew had disappeared out the door.

As he waited, Jack stared at the bulletin board.

This guy was taunting them. Jack’s eyes narrowed on one of the pictures. It was of the symbol the guy carved into his victims. Two half moons back to back. He and Andrew knew it was a clue. They just didn’t know what it meant.

They’d run it through the FBI’s ViCAP database and come up empty. It was possible this guy had gone on a serial raping spree somewhere else in the country but it was unlikely. Even if his DNA wasn’t in the system, his method of marking his victims would be. All his victims were seemingly disconnected from one another. But not to the killer. To him, there was something about the women he liked. Something specific.

He stared at the symbol as if it could tell him more. Unless he and his partner could figure out what the hell it was, this guy wasn’t going to stop.

If anything, he was escalating with each attack.

The next woman might not survive.

He pounded the center console of his rental car with his fist. After that near miss with that bitch Isabelle, he’d had to dump his truck and rent a car from two counties over. He’d eventually buy another truck, or perhaps a van, but he had to work fast.

As soon as he killed the Ballantine woman, he was moving to another town. Somewhere with a bigger population this time. Maybe Miami. There were a lot of people there illegally. People not willing to go to the cops.

For a split second he contemplated packing up and leaving right then, but that bitch had seen his face. On his way back into town, he’d seen her and her boyfriend pulling out of the police station.

She might not remember much now, but the cops were closing in faster than he’d imagined and it was only a matter of time before she remembered seeing him at the bar.

Hell, she’d served him at least a dozen times.

He had a face people forgot, but the way things were going, he was pushing his luck.

The police were holding a lot back from the public, but it was only a matter of time before they figured out how the girls were connected. He started his car and steered out of the parking lot.

He’d followed Isabelle and her boyfriend to the pier, but it was obvious they were going to be a while. And he couldn’t afford to be caught loitering.

Didn’t matter anyway. He knew where she lived, and if the work schedule he had was correct, she worked the next two nights.

Tomorrow was too soon, but if everything went according to his plan, he’d be able to grab her the next night. It would just take the right amount of planning.

After setting the timer, Izzy slid the casserole dish into the oven. Chicken Florentine was the easiest thing she knew how to make and it took limited prep time. Cooking the spinach had taken minutes before tossing all the ingredients into the dish. In less than thirty minutes it would be ready.

Adam was still in the shower washing off the salt and sand. The entire drive back to her place— all five minutes—he’d been giving her strange looks. Not necessarily bad, but she couldn’t figure out what was going on with him.

She’d taken her shower first and now he was taking his sweet time. She poured herself a glass of wine while she waited for the timer to go off, and all she could think about was the man in her shower. As they’d left the beach they’d both realized they hadn’t used a condom. She was on the Pill and he swore he was clean—and she believed him. She wasn’t worried about getting pregnant or anything, but she was worried about things getting too complicated. Adam was leaving. Leaving.

And she’d gone and had sex without a condom.

Something she’d never done before. It was a matter of trust. Around Adam she didn’t think straight though. With him, she felt that small grip of control she always held in relationships slipping away. She snorted to herself.

Relationship? She’d been so sure of herself, so ready to have a quick fling with the hot bartender.

Why couldn’t she think more like a guy?

“What smells so good?” Adam’s voice startled her.

She glanced up from staring into her wine glass to find Adam standing at the kitchen entrance wearing jeans and nothing else. Of course that top button was undone. Immediately her mouth watered and thoughts of food fled. She inwardly cursed. It was like she’d turned into some sort of sex maniac overnight.

As she ran her tongue over her bottom lip, hungrily thinking about what it would be like to do it on her kitchen table, the buzzer went off. She averted her gaze to his face and fought the heat rushing to her cheeks. “Chicken Florentine. I made extra so I hope you’re hungry.”

When she started to rise, he held up a hand.

“Sit, I’ll serve you.”

“I could get used to this,” she murmured and took another sip of her wine. Instead of waiting, she walked up behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist.

“If you distract me like that, we’ll never actually get to eat today.” He chuckled.

The deep rumble vibrated from his body to her own, making her irrationally pleased. He didn’t laugh often, but when he did, it affected every nerve ending she had, straight to her pinky toes.

She ran her hands up his chest and lightly scraped her fingers over his skin before dropping her hands. She was starving and he was right. If they started something now, they’d likely never eat.

“Want a beer?” she asked.

“Please.” He set the large spoon down on the counter after serving both their plates and sat at the table while she grabbed him a drink.

Just as they both picked up their forks, Adam’s phone rang. He glanced at the caller ID, then cringed. “It’s the bar.”

She sighed and put her fork down. “Might as well answer it. With everything going on…”