The Body Finder (The Body Finder 1) - Page 61

Violet listened to Jay’s end of the conversation and knew, even before he’d hung up, that he had to go home. His mom needed his help at the house.

Jay didn’t bother explaining, he knew he didn’t need to, he just got up and crossed the room, pulling her as close as he could and kissing her with unrestrained tenderness…which led to barely restrained passion. She ended up clutching his shirt just to keep her balance. What was it with her?

He said he’d come back if he could, and then he was gone. His absence was almost tangible, and Violet missed him almost immediately, and then she chastised herself for being one of those girls. You know, the ones who can’t function without their boyfriends around, and when they weren’t together, that was all they could talk about. It was gross, really, and she definitely did not want to join their club.

She really didn’t have much homework—not real homework—and she decided that it might be a good time, with nothing better to do, to go for a run. After all, she hadn’t really taken advantage of her newfound freedom since the killer had been captured. She glanced outside to make sure it hadn’t started raining, always a possibility in the Northwest, and she decided to go for it, stripping out of her jeans and into a pair of track pants and a sweatshirt. She redid her ponytail, which was a total mess after rolling around on her bed with Jay for the past hour, and she slipped on her running shoes.

She stopped at her mom’s studio to tell her where she was going, invigorated by the idea of getting some fresh air and exercise, especially after being on lockdown for the past few weeks.

And then she made her way out of the driveway and toward the familiar path, glad—for the moment, anyway—that Jay’s mom had called him away.



The chief’s niece was leaving her house. All by herself.

He’d been watching her for several days, waiting for an opportunity when she was alone, but it never came. Day in and day out, someone was always with her. Her boyfriend never seemed to leave her side, and when he did, her parents were home.

It had begun to wear on his nerves, and then this…his lucky break.

He moved after her, keeping close to the trees, where he blended best, hidden from her view. He maintained a good distance, not wanting to frighten her. At least not yet, while she was still so close to home…so close to help. He needed to isolate her, to move her away from safety, and then he would strike, eliminating her.

His practiced feet moved stealthily, noiselessly, and despite her steady pace, he had no trouble keeping up with her.

He was exhilarated to be on the prowl again.


VIOLET SHOVED THE EARBUDS INTO HER EARS and pressed the button on her iPod until she found the song she was looking for. It was easy to fall into step, despite the weeks that had passed since she’d last run. The weather was holding out nicely, although the lack of crispness in the air and the dreary gray cloud cover wasn’t very promising. But for now, at least, the rain was held at bay, and Violet wasn’t about to let a decent afternoon go to waste.

She watched her feet move steadily over the gravelly terrain until she fell into an even rhythm. She found herself getting lost in the music as she ran, inhaling and exhaling with the cadence of her steps.

She wasn’t surprised that she couldn’t see the mountain today; the low clouds obscured any trace that it had ever even existed, blotting the image completely from the skyline. She ducked beneath the canopy of the trees, following the trail she’d run so many times before and enjoying the feel of the threatening moisture in the air against her skin.

And then something suddenly invaded her sense of calm. She paused the music and listened.

It was strange when an echo came to her, especially one that wasn’t exactly an auditory echo, like now. Not to say that she couldn’t hear it, she could…kind of. But it was much less a sound than it was a feeling. A high-pitched squeal that was nearly beyond the range of her ears…more like a resonance, a dark vibration, than an actual noise.

Either way, it was there. And it was clear and strong. And it was definitely close.

Her first thought was that there was a body nearby. The intensity of it didn’t speak to what it was so much as when it might have been left behind. She pulled the earbuds out of her ears and slowed way down, and then came to a stop as she tried to decide how best to handle this. She thought about trying to locate the echo, right here, right now, but the idea of potentially uncovering another body—another girl, maybe even Mackenzie—out here on her own, all by herself, was more than a little alarming to Violet. Her previous reactions had not been a good indicator as to how she might respond.

On the other hand, she knew this trail by heart, and she could easily find her way back here if she went to get help. She glanced around her, to make sure she knew exactly where she was, and decided to go back.

She turned around and started jogging again, this time slower, her senses heightened and straining to keep in touch with the shrill, almost inaudible, screech.

That turned out to be easier than she’d expected.

It followed her.

Her chest tightened, and her heart rate doubled as she glanced around her. She ran a little faster, concentrating on the echo more than ever.

It was definitely moving, getting closer to her even as she should have been moving away from it.

And then it hit her. It wasn’t an echo at all. It was an imprint. Which meant it wasn’t a body she was sensing. It was a predator.

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