Save Me From The Dark (Death and Moonlight #2) by Cynthia Eden

“Why probably?” Joel asked.

He was still new to profiling so she explained, “Because she had on lipstick. Blush. Mascara.” The color hue that had survived past Lucia’s death had been due to the careful application of cosmetics. “If you’re coming to the studio to sweat for hours while you perfect your dance routine, you won’t really care about how you look…unless someone else is going to be there. Someone you want to look good for.” The killer. “He was right behind her. They were staring at each other in the mirror.” She could see it so clearly. Chloe found herself moving. Going behind Joel. “He’s bigger than me, so it’s not quite the same but…” She put her left hand around Joel, curling it around his chest. “One arm would be here… and the other would have come up with the knife…” She lifted her right hand and put her fingers to Joel’s throat. She pulled her hand across his throat to mimic the movement of the knife. “Before Lucia even realized what was happening, her lover had killed her. She probably saw the blood even as she felt the pain.” By then, it had been too late.

Her hand lingered on Joel’s throat. She’d risen onto her tip toes behind him, but he was still so big that she had trouble reaching—

“Did you just kill me?” Joel asked softly.

She stiffened. Pulled back her hands. She hurried back to his side. “We’re searching for a male assailant. Someone who plays a major role in Lucia’s life. I’d look at the dance studio. See if a male instructor had a lot of contact with Lucia. Ask her friends to learn about her romantic involvements.” This was all stuff that Cedric would know. “You truly don’t need me. You have this.” She turned away. Oddly eager, once more, to leave the scene—

“So you don’t think we’re looking at a serial?” Cedric’s voice stopped her.

Her heart thudded into her chest. “A serial killer, by definition, has to kill more than one person. The FBI, in particular, likes to say that you must have three victims before you can start talking about a serial murderer.” She looked over her shoulder. “Is there another body that I didn’t see?”

“Not that I’ve found.”

“Then you ask because…?” She knew he’d have a reason.

“The shoes were gone. Seems odd, right? And serials like to take trophies. You’re the one who told me that. If you’re going to kill a ballerina and you want something to remember her by, seems like the shoes are the thing you’d take.”

She stared at him.

His brows pulled together. “What?”

“Maybe there was something about the shoes that could tie him to her. Perhaps they were a gift that he gave to her.”

Cedric nodded and seemed relieved. “So it wasn’t a trophy…”

“No, it very well could have been.” She exhaled a low breath. “I just didn’t want to say that because if this perp is a serial…” Her words trailed away.

Come dance with me, Chloe.

“Chloe?” Joel prompted.

She shook her head and focused on Cedric once more. “I was requested for this case.”

He nodded. Kind of side-eyed her. “Uh, yeah. I mentioned that to you before. Chloe, are you feeling okay?”

She was perfectly fit physically. “I want to know who told the stepfather to contact me.”

“Your name was in the paper. I’m sure that’s—”

Chloe came to a decision. “I’m going to talk to the stepfather. Now.”

Alarm flashed on Cedric’s face. “The man is probably grieving! We both know you do not handle grieving family members well. You don’t want to rush over there now. Work the case. There’s a bonus in it for you if we close before—”

“I’m going to talk to the stepfather. Call me if you need me for anything else.” Urgency rode her. Chloe didn’t like it when puzzle pieces didn’t slide into place.

The pieces weren’t sliding into place for her.

She hurried back to the SUV, but Joel beat her to the door. When she reached for the door handle, his fingers closed around hers. “Stop.” He was behind her. Seemed to surround her.

Chloe whirled to face him. He was so close that he seemed to cage her. Dammit, he was caging her.

“Explain,” Joel ordered. “Just take a breath and bring me up to speed.”

“I want to interview the stepfather. I thought I had explained that.”