Page 6

In her mind, Lacey saw the bridges sitting on her palm, but the image wasn’t from today. She’d held them before. Or held some bridges that were identical. They’d creeped her out at that time too. But where’d she see them? In dental school?

No, the memory was older than that. Rusty fragments of images poked at her brain.

The front flap door of the tent yanked open, startling Lacey, and she tightened a fist around the gold. Two men stepped in from the snowfall. The first was the black-haired man from the ATV who’d winked at her. Up close, he was taller than she’d expected. His red ski jacket hid broad shoulders, and his jeans indicated well-muscled, but lean thighs. Lacey swallowed dryly.

His eyes were hardened steel. No flirting.

Lacey blinked and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. Who was he?

She barely glanced at the second man. He was a beefy Lakefield cop with an uncomfortable tightness around his mouth, his brown gaze darting to each corner of the tent.

“Are you in charge?” Steel Eyes asked her. A muscle tensed at his jaw.

“God. No.” Lacey touched her hair again. “Dr. Peres is in charge. She went for coffee.” She turned to glance at the back flap door. Where was the doctor when she needed her?

“I need to know what’s going on.” Steel Eyes stepped closer, deliberately leaning toward her.

Ire and annoyance crept up Lacey’s back as she stood her ground. It took more than a big man to intimidate her these days. Much more.

“Are you with the police?” she asked. She ignored his statement and attempted to keep her focus on his face.

“No.” He broke their eye contact, his perusal slowly wandering down to her boots.

Every nerve ignited. His scrutiny seemed to touch her physically, and Lacey struggled to speak through her instant brain fog. Jerk. He was harassing her on purpose. “Then you need to get out of the scene. Now. Or I’ll get the police to move you out.” She deliberately eyed the cop, but he was looking everywhere but at her. Big help.

“I own the building. When a body is found on my property I should be told what’s happening.” The king of the hill stood his ground.

Lacey glared. Gorgeous man or not, did he think he could bust into a crime scene and expect her to bow at his feet? She took a step forward and placed her fists on her hips. “I don’t care if you created the building out of your own flesh and blood,” she snapped. “This crime scene is off limits until Dr. Peres clears it. And believe me, you don’t want to cross Victoria Peres.”

The cop nodded vehemently. “Told ya.”

The other man pressed his lips together, his gaze stroking each part of her face.

She wondered if she looked as pissed as she felt. Behind her, the techs were quiet. The constant rustling of their sifter had stopped. The silence in the tent probably lasted only a second or two, but it felt like twenty.

Steel Eyes held his hand out to her. “Jack Harper, Harper Developing.”

Lacey snorted. Now he was playing nice? She paused long enough to be rude then shook his hand. She didn’t offer her name. He held her hand longer than was necessary, and his eyes flickered. Was he laughing at her? A tent flap behind her slapped shut and the heavenly scent of coffee blew through the air.

“What’s going on?” Dr. Peres asked sharply.

Lacey kept her gaze on Jack as the doctor’s footsteps moved closer. She heard the doctor set the coffee on a table and then move to stand beside her.

“I asked, What’s going on?” Dr. Peres repeated.

“Mr. Harper owns the building. He was just leaving.” Lacey gave him a smile that didn’t touch her eyes. Get out while you can still walk.

Jack looked past Lacey to the skeleton on the tarp. His nostrils flared slightly. “Jesus,” he whispered. “Is that a child?”

“It’s a woman,” Lacey corrected. She lifted her chin. “You need to leave. There’s nothing else to tell you right now.”

Jack nodded, held her gaze for two heartbeats, and turned to leave with the cop. A strange wave of regret flooded her.

“Dr. Peres! Look at this!”

Lacey started at the excited voice of the tech. She and Dr. Peres turned as the young tech edged around the tarp. Jack and the policeman froze midstride.

“It’s a necklace, and it’s got her name on it. Well, maybe her name.” The blond tech’s grin nearly split his face above his bulky scarf. “It says ‘Suzanne.’”

Dr. Peres slipped a vinyl glove out of her pocket and yanked it on. Breathless, the tech carefully placed the necklace on her outstretched palm. Lacey moved closer to peer at the necklace. Jack and the cop stepped up to look over her shoulder. Dr. Peres was too engrossed to scold them.

It was exquisite. The chain was delicate, with fine links, not cheap loose ones. The name was the centerpiece of the necklace, small handwritten letters crafted of gold. Like the “Carrie” necklace from Sex and the City.


Lacey unclenched her right fist and stared at the two gold bridges. She looked back to the necklace. Then back and forth again.


Dr. Peres tentatively touched the necklace with a curious finger, preparing to slide it into an evidence envelope. Her lips moved as she spoke to the tech, but Lacey couldn’t hear the words. Her stomach felt like she’d ridden the Zipper at the fair too many times.

The roar in Lacey’s head drowned out the doctor. A mental connection was painfully materializing between the necklace in the anthropologist’s hand and the gold bridges in her own.