He nodded. “Okay, so let’s look at what we know. Martha Tyler—the original Martha Tyler—had a book, and she and Brennan used it as part of their MO when they were killing girls back in the day. Now someone’s found that book, and they’re using it and killing people, too—killing them just like Martha and Brennan did. I’d lay money that Jennie Lawson is dead. She was drinking at the Dirty Duck, and someone spiked her drink. She looked so blitzed because she’d been drugged. Frederick Russell tried to help her and was killed for his pains. I’m assuming they drugged him, too, and decided to make his death appear to be an accident, in case he was ever found. Six months later, the killer took Jane Doe, but for some reason, he, she or they dug up her body, then threw it in the bay. My guess is they intended to do the same with Winona Hart’s body, except that you found it first. Last night, one of two things happened. Either Renee just got shit-faced and fell, and some Good Samaritan found her and dropped her off at the hospital, or else someone drugged her but didn’t get a chance to snatch her because that Good Samaritan—who for all we know was Cato’s ghost—came by and messed up the killer’s plans.”

“So how do we figure out which it was?”

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“That part will be easy,” Caleb said.

“Oh?”

“The doctors are testing Renee’s blood for drugs—including yaupon holly, which undoubtedly would have been in Martha’s black drink and which our current killer seems to be relying on, too. As soon as they have answers, we’ll have answers. At least on that score.”

“What do we do until then?” Sarah asked.

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“Well, it’s nearly one a.m., and not only don’t I believe your house is evil, I think your bedroom is quite extraordinary.”

“So we’re going to sleep?” she asked teasingly.

“Well, yes, eventually.”

“And until then?”

He drew her close as they walked. “I have few ideas,” he promised.

16

Sarah woke early, feeling as if she had enjoyed the sweetest night of sleep imaginable.

If ghosts had been prowling the house that night, they were kindly spirits, tiptoeing past and happy to let the house’s owner savor a night in her lover’s arms.

When she opened her eyes, Caleb was already up, showered and dressed, and looking down at her intently.

“What’s up?” she asked him.

“I have several things I need to do this morning,” he told her. “So why don’t you get up and get dressed, and then I’ll drop you at the museum and get started.”

“If you need to go now, it’s okay. You don’t have to wait for me. It’s broad daylight.”

He shook his head. “I don’t trust anyone or anything right now. The victims were really all just young women. Please, Sarah? At first, I thought it was a serial killer who chose a type, but now we know the victims are young woman, not necessarily a physical type.”

“All right,” she told him.

“Then…hop to it,” he said, grinning.

Something trembled deep in her belly. It was crazy, but despite everything going on, she was falling head over heels for him. A killer was stalking the city and she should be afraid, but she wasn’t. She was, despite everything, almost unbearably happy to be falling in love.

She hurried into the shower, then dressed quickly and found him downstairs. He’d made coffee, and she drank a cup quickly before being ushered out the door.

“Sarah!” Caroline said happily when she let herself into the employee lounge. “You decided to work today after all, huh? Great. Now the whole gang’s here.”

Renee and Barry walked in just then, already in costume. Renee had arranged a lock of hair to cover the bandage on her forehead, and Barry looked elegant. Not like Cato, but with his costume and from a distance…

He might have been a ghost.

“It’s going to be a great day,” Caroline said cheerfully. “And tomorrow, I’m taking a day off.”

Caleb headed to the morgue first.

Floby was elbow-deep in an autopsy when he arrived, but an assistant led Caleb back. “I haven’t been barred by Jamison yet?” he asked.

“No. I think he would have liked to, but apparently, he doesn’t dare. Your boss has some serious pull.” Floby was in scrubs, standing behind a stainless steel gurney that bore the remnants of Winona Hart.

Caleb tried not to look, but it was impossible. Her body had been washed, and her pale features had somehow escaped being eaten by insects and worms. Floby had already opened the rib cage, revealing her organs.

“Can you tell me anything about how she died?” Caleb asked.

“I’ve taken tissue and blood samples, but no, I can’t tell you much yet. I’ve just begun my exam. However…”

“However?”

“I got some info back from the lab. Your DNA is a matchup to the lady in the trunk.”

Caleb wasn’t surprised by the news, though he was blindsided by the pang that shot through his heart. Eleanora had died so long ago. An unwed mother during the Civil War, she had somehow managed to hide her child, allowing Cato to claim him on his return, then escape with his son, even though he’d had to abandon all hope of ever again seeing the woman he had loved, or even learning her fate.

“Was she drugged?”

“Patience, buddy. Some tests take longer than others. Don’t you want to ask me about this young lady?”

“Well?”

“Totally drained of blood,” Floby said.

Caleb’s next stop was the hospital, where he talked to Doctor Thayer, who apologized because he hadn’t received results back yet, either.

Next Caleb went to the police station, where he was told that Tim Jamison was out in the field.

He tried the lieutenant’s cell phone, but Jamison wasn’t picking up—at least not for him. After that Caleb headed for the cemetery, but though there was a highly visible police presence, Jamison wasn’t there, either.

He left, finding his way along the narrow streets, and suddenly saw Jamison’s car, minus Jamison, parked in front of an empty lot.

An empty lot filled with mud. Did they come there just to park, believing they were away from prying eyes?

Caleb was convinced that Jamison was having an affair with the very beautiful and more than a little suspicious Cary Hagan, but did that make him a murderer?

Caleb drove back around to the plaza and parked, ready to hit the pavement again, now that he was certain that the present-day victims were being scoped out and then abducted from local bars,

“Gary just called and said he can’t get into your house,” Caroline said, catching Sarah just as she was about to begin a tour.

“Damn! I changed the locks and forgot to give him a key,” Sarah said, feeling like an idiot.

“What do you want me to do? Tell him to crawl in through the basement window?” Caroline asked, laughing.

“No, just tell him I’ll head over at lunch and open the door for him. I can leave in about half an hour.”

Caroline shrugged. “Why don’t you just call him yourself? I can cover you here. And you can’t leave until someone can go with you. I won’t have you going over there alone, not after what happened before.”

“Thank you for worrying, even though there’s no need,” Sarah said. Smiling, she headed back to the employee lounge, found her phone and called Gary, promising to get there as soon as she could find an escort.

“As far behind as we already are, another half hour or so won’t make any difference,” he said, sounding resigned. “Just as long as there are no more bones in the walls.”

“They say they found them all,” Sarah reassured him. “So I’ll see you as soon as I can get away.”

Renee came in just as she was finishing her conversation. “I’ll walk you over there now, if you want to go,” she offered. “I probably shouldn’t be here today, anyway. I’m still a little woozy.”

“All right. I’ll just let Caroline know we’re leaving,” Sarah said. “A couple of interns from the college are here today to help out, so it’s not like she and Barry will have to handle everything on their own.”

A few minutes later, as they walked down the street—still in costume, which drew waves from the tourists—Sarah saw that Renee was frowning and asked her what was wrong.

“I really wish I could remember what had happened,” Renee said. She glanced at Sarah. “I’m so sorry for making trouble. I don’t know why I was so certain the guy in costume was Caleb. When I think about it now…”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“But I told Lieutenant Jamison I thought it was him. Won’t that cause a lot of trouble for him?”

“It’s all right. Really. Here we are. And there’s Gary, waiting on the porch.”

“Don’t you two look gorgeous,” Gary said as they reached him. “Renee, I heard what happened. You doing okay?”

“I’m fine, Gary, thanks. Thirsty, though. You have any diet sodas, Sarah?”

“Yeah, give me a sec and I’ll get you one.”

As Sarah walked into the house, heading straight for the kitchen, her cell phone rang. She rummaged in her purse—a big leather thing that looked ridiculous in comparison to her costume—and saw that it was Caroline.

“Hey,” she said. “Is everything all right?”

“Yeah—great, actually. I left the college kids helping Barry and started crawling around in the archives, and I found some stuff on your house. I even found a picture of the witchy housekeeper. Stay there, and I’ll bring them over to you. Wait—you’re not alone, right?”

“No. Gary and Renee are here.”

“Where’s your hunk of heaven?”

Sarah laughed. “Caleb? Investigating.”

“Okay, I’ll be right there,” Caroline said and hung up.

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