Incriminating Evidence

By: Amanda Stevens

Sometimes secrets are better left in the past


Renowned anthropologist Catherine March fears she’s the biological daughter of a convicted serial killer. Tormented for years by nightmares and vague memories, she’d make a deal with the devil to investigate her mysterious adoption. Nick LaSalle eagerly takes the case, determined to prove someone is willing to kill to keep Catherine’s past buried. But when the evidence hits too close to Nick’s home, he has a choice to make—uncover the truth or protect his reputation and family name…





“You’re trembling,” he said.


“I think I’m still in shock.”

He slipped his fingers through her hair, lifting her face so that he could stare into her eyes. “Maybe I should stay.”

Yes, please stay. The sun will be setting soon and I don’t want to be alone in the dark.

“I’m fine. I don’t want you to think that I’m some frightened little bunny who can’t take care of herself.” She paused on a sharpened breath. “I really wish you wouldn’t look at me that way.”

“What way?”

“You know what I mean. You should go before we make a very big mistake.”

He leaned in ever so slightly. “Would it be a mistake, though?”









CAST OF CHARACTERS

Catherine March—A strange deathbed confession and a stash of hidden newspaper clippings lead Catherine to believe she could be the biological daughter of a serial killer.

Nick LaSalle—A PI hired to uncover the secret of Catherine’s adoption. His loyalties are divided when the evidence hits a little too close to home.

Emmett LaSalle—Nick’s uncle seems almost desperate to keep him away from Catherine March.

Jackie Morris—She’s worked for LaSalle Investigations for so long that she knows where all the bodies are buried.

Louise Jennings—Catherine’s aunt hasn’t been telling the truth.

Nolan Reynolds—The moody lab assistant has a fascination for serial killers.

Jane Doe Thirteen—The skeletal remains of a murder victim hold the key to Catherine’s past.







Chapter One


The hammer of rain on her umbrella obscured the sound of any footfalls behind her. Still, Catherine March cast an uneasy glance over her shoulder. Nothing seemed amiss. No darting shadows. No lurking silhouettes. But she knew she was being followed. The certainty tingled down her backbone as she hurried along the rain-slick sidewalk.

She gripped her umbrella and willed away the icy sensation. She was letting the gloomy day get to her. Grief clouded her common sense. Why would she be under surveillance? She lived a quiet and unassuming lifestyle. Most of her time was spent in a university lab or classroom. She consulted with various law enforcement agencies in and around Charleston, South Carolina, but a sleuthing, gun-toting forensic anthropologist was a figment of Hollywood’s imagination. Catherine didn’t investigate crimes or chase down criminals. Her job was to examine, analyze and inform. The cases on which she consulted were mostly cold, the skeletal remains of the victims picked clean by time, weather and predation.

Take her current assignment. She’d been tasked with creating biological profiles for fourteen separate sets of human remains recovered from an abandoned house on the outskirts of Charleston’s famed historical district. The former owner of the residence, a paraplegic named Delmar Gainey, had spent the last five years of his life in a nursing home and the previous two decades confined to a wheelchair. Before the accident that claimed his mobility, however, he’d murdered those fourteen women and sequestered their bodies in the walls of his home and in his backyard.

The remains of his victims might have stayed hidden forever if not for an ambitious house flipper, who had acquired the property at auction following Gainey’s death. The first gruesome discovery brought the police. The coroner had brought in Catherine.

Butterfly fractures in the long bones told the story of the women’s brutal captivity while striae patterns on the sternums and rib cages painted a vivid image of their deaths. The victims had been stabbed repeatedly with a serrated blade. All except one. Jane Doe Thirteen.

She was the anomaly. An outlier. An inconsistency that needled at Catherine even now as she thought about the single bullet hole in the back of the skull. In all likelihood, the entry wound had been made by a full metal jacket fired at close range from a 9 mm semiautomatic. An execution.

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