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“Genevieve’s place. Barbecue tomorrow, remember?”

Thor stood. “I’ll give it a try.”

Jack rose, as well. “Wait up. I’m not sitting here by myself anymore.”

When they arrived at Genevieve’s, Victor let them in, eyeing them both warily. “Hey, hey, half the gang’s all here,” he muttered. He stood in the doorway, as if loathe to let them enter. Thor had the definite feeling it was him; after all, Jack was a Conch.

“What’s up?” Jack asked jovially. He swept past Victor as if he had every right to be there.

“We were just watching the news,” Victor said glumly. “They’re warning single women in the Keys to be careful. The victim on the beach has been identified. Haven’t you guys seen a TV anywhere? Shit, every bar in town must be running the coverage.”

“What makes you think I sit around bars all day?” Jack demanded gruffly, then smiled. “So, got a beer?”

“Help yourself, Jack,” Genevieve called from the kitchen.

Jack headed that way. Thor took a seat on the sofa, staring at the television. The news had moved on to the weather, though. There was a storm in the Gulf, but it was headed west.

“Creepy, huh?” Victor murmured, taking a seat next to Thor.

“The storm?”

“The cops thinking that the killer might be from around here. Hope it doesn’t hurt tourism any, the way they’re talking.”

“People rarely see themselves as potential victims,” Thor told him. “Especially since the dead woman was a prostitute.”

“Hope so. We survive on tourism,” Victor murmured.

“No worries,” Jack said cheerfully, coming from the kitchen and tossing a beer in Thor’s direction. Taken by surprise, he was glad to catch it. “Up in Miami, a few years ago, a guy killed a bunch of prostitutes around Eighth Street. It didn’t cause a scare, though, since he only killed prostitutes. Now, if I’d been a hooker, I’d have found some long-lost relatives to visit until the guy was snagged.”

“Jack, how can you be so cold?” Bethany demanded, appearing in the doorway with a mixed drink. “You saw that poor dead girl.”

“I’m sorry to say it, but in my line of work, I’ve seen dead people before. We all gamble with our lives. Girl like that, she gambled more than most. Hey, are we having dinner here tonight?” he demanded.

“There you go,” Alex laughed. “The last of the great sympathizers.”

“I’m hungry and lonely. Every one of you took off today. I saw the professor this morning, and I was almost desperate enough to have lunch with him.”

“You guys are mean,” Genevieve offered, coming out of the kitchen. Her eyes met Thor’s. “He’s not that bad a guy. He’s an academic, that’s all.”

“Armchair diver,” Alex sniffed. “Can’t cut the mustard himself, so he thinks he’s going to tell us all what to do.”

“Be nice,” Genevieve warned him.

“What about food?” Jack asked, fingering the skull and crossbones in his earlobe.

“We bought lots of food,” Victor said.

“For tomorrow,” Bethany said firmly.

“Let’s go somewhere with upbeat music,” Alex said thoughtfully. He looked around. “Jack is right, you know. I don’t want to say anyone deserved such a fate, but…she was a prostitute.”

“You were right the first time,” Genevieve said firmly. “No one deserves what happened to that girl.”

No. No one deserved it, Thor thought. So what about the runaway who had disappeared, and the almost-supermodel?

And Jay Gonzalez’s wife.

“Thor, what’s up?” Bethany asked, catching his thoughtful look.

He shrugged, forced a smile. “I’m with Alex. Let’s find some good food and good music.”

“All right. Let’s do the Hog’s Breath tonight,” Bethany said. They all stared at her. “Hey, someone has to make decisions around here.”

Thor rose. “Hog’s Breath it is.”

They opted for a table near the lone musician, a guitarist and singer. Thor had seen many talented singers with synthesizers at their sides, but this guy was a cut above. He joked with the crowd between songs. He wasn’t a Conch, he told them, just a wannabe. At the end of his first set, he proved himself to be a decent human being, as well, speaking on a somber note. “Ladies, gentlemen, you are in Key West. And Lord knows, we want you here. We want you to buy lots of booze—and my CD of original songs, of course—but we also want you staying responsibly sober and careful. Know the one you’re with, ladies Take care out there. Help us out. If you see or hear anything helpful to the police, let them know. I want you coming back to see me. And I want you to buy more CDs and eat more Key lime pie. Thank you all.”

Thor rose. He felt Genevieve’s hand on his—he’d made sure that this time he got the seat next to her when they sat down. She was looking at him with a frown and a question. He smiled at her. “I like this guy so I’m buying lots of CDs.”

She gazed at him with a smile. Something in him did a flip. He was falling too deep. Drowning. But he liked it, and couldn’t quite stop himself. “Be right back.”

He found out when he bought the CDs—he picked up three: one for his secretary in the Jacksonville office; one for himself; one for Lizzie and Zach, who he thought would enjoy it—that the singer knew all about the dive. “You’re working with Marshall’s crew, right? And Gen?” There was something soft in his voice when he said her name. “Watch out for her, huh? She’s a Key West treasure, kind of like the sunset.”

When he got back to the table, Bethany was saying, “I really hope they catch this guy. People need to be warned, but our whole economy is tourism.”

“There’s the navy, too,” Victor said without conviction.

Bethany shivered. “Just think. There’s a killer here. He could be right here on the patio listening to the music and having supper, just like us. He could be right next to us when we walk down the street.”

Just as she said the words, Thor looked up to see Jay Gonzalez, in a casual long-sleeved shirt and jeans, walking in.

Could it be…?

No, the guy had let him into the autopsy. He’d arranged for him to access police files.


All he knew was that he would keep his eye on the man until…when?

There were killers out there who were never caught.

Thor didn’t realize just how long he’d been staring at Jay until Genevieve nudged him. “Ready?”


“We’re all set,” she said, her expression curious.

“The bill?”

Victor cleared his throat. “My turn. I already picked it up.”

“I can expense meals,” Thor reminded him.

“Yeah, but I was starting to feel like a kept woman or something,” Victor said, grinning easily. “And tonight was probably the cheapest opportunity I was going to get. Reasonable place, and we’re minus Lizzie, Zach and Marshall.”

As they left, Jay Gonzalez raised a hand in greeting. Genevieve pulled away from Thor for a moment, walking over to Jay, giving him a hug, exchanging a few words. Thor realized he didn’t like it. He wanted to drag her away from the man. He refrained, forcefully holding himself in check.

As Genevieve started walking back, Jay Gonzalez smiled and waved to him. He found he was forcing a smile in return. It was probably not a good thing to let the local cop know he was considering him as a candidate for the possible serial killer they were seeking. The guy had been good to him, getting him in to see the body, letting him search through police files. He owed him.


This was getting ridiculous. He was becoming suspicious of everyone.

Maybe that wasn’t so bad. Because the killer had to be someone.

Maybe someone they knew well.

“We’ll see you tomorrow, Jay,” Genevieve called out to him.

“Yeah, see you tomorrow,” Thor repeated.

“You got it,” Jay called back.

Thor kept his smile glued in place. Fine. The guy was welcome to see them all anytime. Welcome to see Genevieve. Just as long as he was with her.

As they left, Genevieve linked her arm with his. “I was thinking of going home tonight,” she said. “You know, to be ready for the barbecue tomorrow and all.”

“Is that an invitation?”


“Sure.” He turned to her, smiling slightly. “We’re walking with the others toward the resort, you know.”

She laughed softly. “Yes, I am aware of that fact. I just want to make sure Marshall’s boat is back,” she told him gravely.


When they reached the resort, however, Marshall’s boat wasn’t back.

Genevieve was worried and said so.

“You know Marshall. He had the time off, so he went off somewhere. That’s all,” Victor said. “Hey, we’ll call his cell, okay?”

But Marshall didn’t answer his cell.

“We should put out a missing persons report,” Genevieve said.

Victor groaned. “Honey, he’s a grown man. He hasn’t even been gone twenty-four hours. He knows what he’s doing. He has plenty of fuel capacity. He could’ve headed up to the mainland for all we know.”

“I’m still worried,” Genevieve said.

“Gen…” Victor set his hands on her shoulders. “Marshall is a big strong guy. He’ll be fine. He’s not a pretty blonde like the killer seems to be after. We’ll see him tomorrow. Okay?”

“No,” Genevieve said. Then she sighed. “But I guess there’s no choice.”

“Honey, it’s really okay. Victor is right. We found a dead woman,” Jack reminded her gruffly. “Not a man like Marshall. He can take care of himself. The guy who killed that woman…he likes the ladies, not gorillas like Marshall who can fight back.”