Detective Tripp Broussard longs to show his bad cop, ex-con father that he's a good cop, but time is running out. His father is dying. So Tripp risks his own life to go after a gruesome serial murderer -- anything to prove he's a better man than his dad.
Angel Saint-Martin, a blood spatter expert on loan to the department, needs her father to accept her choice of a non-traditional career, and cracking this serial murder case will show him she can handle herself in a man's world.
Driven by a common bond, Tripp and Angel must somehow overcome their differences and band together to solve the case and put the notorious Vincent Delgado back behind bars where he belongs.
He bled, so they will bleed. Profusely.
"Someone took their time with this," Angel Saint-Martin murmured, tracing the neat rusty brown brush strokes without actually touching them. The words emblazoned on the light green wall in blood, not ink. Blood from a homicide victim. "He knows what he's doing. No drips, no extraneous marks, no spatter. Just long, deliberate strokes, like at the other scene."
"So... you're saying he's an artist?" Detective Tripp Broussard shot her a dubious look and shoved his pad and pen into the inside pocket of his coat. "Come on, Angel. He murdered that poor woman in cold blood."
"Doesn't mean he can't draw. Maybe he's a sign painter. I mean, look at that perfect loop in the L -- it's too precise for him not to have done this more than just a couple of times."
"That makes this murder even more eerie." Tripp put his hands on the leather holster slung across his narrow hip, and the edges of his dark blue coat flared out. "Especially finding the victim wrapped in a painter's tarp. I helped Mitch and Jonah on a serial case with that signature a year or two ago -- the papers called the guy the Handyman -- but he didn't do all this slicing and dicing or leave any messages. That dirt bag, Vincent Delgado, is in prison now anyway, doing life for strangling those women. So maybe this is a copycat... of sorts."
"I wouldn't jump to conclusions this early in the game, Detective." She glanced at his handsome profile, and a tingle slid through her. Of all the detectives who could have caught this case, it had to be him. The one night stand she'd rather forget. Just ignore him and keep it professional. Don't let him know he's getting to you.
He turned to face her. "Is that what I'm doing?"
"I-I don't know." What the hell did I even say? Heat filled her cheeks, and she forced herself to recall the last crime scene she'd visited in Hunter's Bayou, before her infamous night of shame. That scene had been pretty much identical to this one, but with more blood spatter because that victim had fought back. Angel turned away from the wall and dug into her case.
"Just keep inmind this might be an inventive son of a gun who's good with his hands."
"Uh-huh." The detective's warm mocha eyes gleamed with mysterious lights. "You once told me I'm good with my hands."
"My God, Tripp," she gasped, startled he'd brought up their unfortunate liaison. She spun to face him with a piece of contact paper in her hand. "That's not why we're here."
"Well, duh." He sent her a caustic look. "You did say that, though. Remember?