“This guy? Do you know something I don’t?”


He shrugged. “Just going with the odds.”

I raised an eyebrow. He was probably right. I considered telling him that Amanda was working her mojo on the victim’s hair, but dismissed the idea. No way was I going to share every detail of my investigation with him while he kept his files to himself. “So no marks, no poison. Almost certainly some kind of freak.”

He grimaced at the normally derogatory term for otherworlders and I realized that he was probably a freak himself. Most OWEA agents were. It gave them a better chance of survival, and normals tended to congregate toward the FBI or other less OW-centric organizations.

“It’s the only thing that makes sense,” he said.

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“Were they all raped?”

“We couldn’t confirm rape, but they all had sex shortly before they died.”

“Confirmation enough for me.”

I parked in the only free space left adjoining the Medical Examiner’s building. I pulled my jacket tighter, and walked to the front door. Aidan leaned against the gray building. Dark glasses adorned his face, despite the overcast skies. At my approach, he pushed off the wall and flashed me a grin.

I almost tripped.

I recovered my footing, and then frowned at him. “What are you doing here?”

“Helping you investigate, of course. Agencies working together.” He waved his hand around. “All that jazz.”

“Fine. But you’ll let me do the talking.”

He gave a mocking bow and gestured for me to go ahead of him into the building.

The stark decor in Dr. Martinson’s office fit his profession. Gray floors and white walls combined with an old metal desk and black chairs to create an ambiance appropriate for visiting the Medical Examiner. It suited my mood after the embarrassing evening I’d had. There had been no way to recover after Aidan found my romance novel collection. His slight grin reminded me until he left, as if mocking my tough-cop disguise. But it wasn’t a persona, dammit. I’d show him I was more than capable.

“Doc, surprised to find you in your office,” I said.

In his mid-fifties, handsome and silver-haired, he looked every bit the distinguished doctor he was and not at all like what most would expect from a man whose job required him to examine the dead.

He gestured to the chairs in front of his desk and we sat. I pushed down the temptation to glance at Aidan. Something about the man drew my gaze and made me very aware of how much time had passed since my last date.

Dr. Martinson looked up from the folder he’d been reading and said, “I’m afraid my job is more paperwork than actual work these days. Who’s your friend?”

“He’s with me. Tagging along.” Not exactly a lie.

The doctor gave Aidan a quick nod and turned his attention back to me. “What can I do for you, Detective?”

“Woman brought in last night, Rebecca Anderson. No obvious marks on the body other than bruising.”

“Coffee?” He gestured toward his door. I’d seen the coffee pot on our way in. It sat on a table in the hallway between the Medical Examiner’s office and the morgue.

I shook my head. Morgue coffee? No thanks.

He grabbed a file from the top of his desk and flipped it open. “Anderson. Twenty-three years old. No immediate indicators of cause of death. Initial exam shows sexual activity shortly before she died, bruising on her thighs and wrists.”

“When’s the autopsy?”

“Probably get to her tonight or first thing tomorrow morning.”

I wanted to grumble, but managed to control myself. Pissing off the Medical Examiner, especially in front of an audience, wasn’t a good idea considering how often I had to deal with him. He could make my job a lot harder than it needed to be. I glanced at Aidan, half expecting him to comment. His eyes were on me, intense and focused. My breath caught in my throat. I swallowed and looked down at my hands.

“Had another death, couple of weeks back. Lot of similarities. Got anything on that one?” I asked, relieved to have a distraction from the intensity of Aidan’s gaze.


“Claire Simons.”

Dr. Martinson pushed his rolling office chair back from his desk and slid over to a filing cabinet. “A couple of weeks, you said?”

I flipped out my notepad. “Yeah, on the twelfth.”

“Should still have her paperwork then.” He flipped through the cabinet and then pulled out a file.

I frowned at the size. I risked a quick glance at Aidan, but his attention was focused on the doctor.

Dr. Martinson slid back to his desk and opened her folder. He slipped on a pair of reading glasses, and never lifted his eyes from the file. “Got the blood work on her. An autopsy was conducted.”

“Who was the main on the case?”

“Joe Agrusa.”

I snorted. No wonder he’d called us in on the new case. He’d seen it before. “Okay, any highlights?”

“Twenty-six. Some bruising. Sexual intercourse not long before her death, but no fluids present—he used a condom. No indication of force. Tox reports showed only a small amount of alcohol in her system, no other drugs.”

“Cause of death?”


“That’s it? Unknown?”

“That’s it. We didn’t find anything that indicated cause of death.”

I sighed. “Great. How about oh-dubs? Any odd energies on the body?”

“OW procedures weren’t run,” he said, carefully pronouncing each letter of the acronym for otherworlder measures as if the words left a bad taste on his tongue. “There were no indicators of an otherworlder being involved. Her parents said she was fully human and had no involvement with any…OWs.”

Freaks. Why not say what you mean, doctor? “Okay so there’s no clear COD, but why wouldn’t you run OW procedures?” I copied the doctor’s precise pronunciation, unable to keep the irritation I felt out of my tone. I shot Aidan a glance, but he remained silent, his face as close to expressionless as I’d seen it. A lot of help he was.

“We don’t run them if we don’t have a reason to. Psychics, sensitives, witches…they’re expensive. Nothing about this body indicated a reason.”

“Except for the fact she was dead! And not even thirty years old! Jesus, Doc.” I drew up my arm, but managed to stop myself from slamming my fist down on his desk.

Dr. Martinson whipped the file closed. “I don’t make the rules, Detective. I just follow them.”

“I’m going to need a copy of that report.”

Dr. Martinson nodded curtly. He frowned at me and left the office, presumably to find someone to make a copy. So much for not pissing him off.

As soon as the door clicked shut behind the doctor I turned to Aidan. “What the hell? When did you turn into the strong, silent type?”

“Didn’t you tell me to let you do the talking?” White teeth flashed as his grin returned. “You seemed to be doing fine on your own. Besides, we learned what we needed.”

“Oh yeah, what’s that?”

“That your killer has the same M.O. as mine.” He leaned forward in his chair and swiped a tuft of lint from my jacket.

I drew in a quick breath and searched my mind for something clever to say. Failing that, I pulled my cell phone from my jacket pocket. Then I tapped my foot. Finally, after the forth ring, Amanda’s voice mail picked up.

“Hey it’s me.” I glanced at Aidan. “Did you find that thing you needed?” I considered mentioning the OWEA, but decided against it. Some things were better discussed in person, and preferably not in front of Aidan. “Meet me for lunch? Normal spot, noon. Call me if you can’t make it.”

The doctor returned with the file, a sour expression on his face as he passed it to me. Without looking at the paperwork, I got up from the chair and then nodded at the doctor. Aidan and I stepped out of his dreary office. Halfway down the hall, a woman faced away from us toward the morgue. Great, just what I needed. Given Amanda’s opinion that a succubus could be involved, this woman was almost definitely there for me.

I looked back at Aidan. His eyes were locked on the woman as well. I started to tell him to close his damned mouth, and then decided against it. Guys couldn’t help staring at this particular woman.

“I’ll see you later. Errands to run,” Aidan said, surprising me. I’d half expected him to ask about the woman his eyes were still glued to.

“Whatever,” I murmured to his back. Pivoting, I headed for the morgue.

I would have recognized the frame of the succubus leaning against the wall anywhere. Marisol Whitfield was nearly as tall as Amanda, maybe five feet nine, and closer to six feet in her conservatively heeled shoes. Despite their similar heights, her well-endowed chest and curvy frame distinguished her from the rest of the police officers on the freak squad, especially Amanda. Where Amanda was hard, Marisol was soft.

I frowned at her, and she gave me a smug grin.

“Here to see the doc?” I asked.

“Nope. Here to see you.” She flipped a long blond lock behind her shoulder with practiced ease and fluttered her sparkling blue eyes at me. She couldn’t help the succubus sex appeal that always draped her, but it irritated me anyway. “Well, here to see a body with you, to be more precise.”

“Want to get some coffee to go?” I waved at the pot sitting near us in the hallway that led to the morgue.

Marisol blanched, and the horrified look that briefly crossed her face made me realize I wasn’t the only one who considered morgue coffee to be the most disgusting idea ever. Her expression almost made an errand that was probably a waste of my time worthwhile.

“Vasquez sent you?”

She gave me a short nod and her superior grin faded. “I’m to accompany you to the morgue to look at the body. Guess he thinks I can offer a unique point of view.”

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