Conquering Adversity (County Sheriffs #1)(2)

By: Becca Van

Clay wasn’t going to rest until he achieved that goal. Failing wasn’t an option.

Spence swallowed around the lump in his throat as he stared at the dead woman. She’d been stabbed multiple times and from the bruising and blood on her inner thighs, she’d also been sexually assaulted.

What sickened him to his stomach was how damn young she was. Although there was bruising to her face, he could tell she’d been pretty in that girl-next-door kind of way. She couldn’t have been any older than her early to mid-twenties with her life just starting, and now she would never get to realize whatever dreams she had. There was no wedding band on her left ring finger so she hadn’t been married. The poor innocent thing would never know the love of a good man or have the children she may have wanted.

“She was strangled to death,” Tanner murmured.

“Yeah.” Cooper sighed.

“The stab wounds are consistent with the other murder victims,” Kent pointed out.

“This fucker gets off on fear and pain,” Dawson stated the obvious.

“She must have felt untold agony.” Spence drew in a deep breath as the bile roiling in his stomach threatened to come up. It wasn’t seeing the blood and gore that had his belly unsettled, it was the anger and sadness that permeated his soul which had his stomach rebelling.

“You boys seen enough?” Tom Maher, the coroner, asked.

“More than,” Clay replied.

“This bastard is escalating,” Spence murmured.

“Yeah. He started off with one killing a month, but this is the second one in less than thirty days.” Clay sighed and rubbed a hand over his face.

The CSU had already taken hundreds of photos. Spence, Clay, and the other deputies had combed the area leading to the isolated place where the body had been discovered, but hadn’t found anything. Although the body had been off of the hiking trail, the deceased woman had been found when a middle aged man had followed a bird he’d been trying to photograph. If it hadn’t been for the birdwatcher, the woman may have never been found. Most people were smart enough to stay on the path so they didn’t get lost when they went hiking.

Spence had questioned the guy himself and knew as soon as he saw him that he wasn’t the perp. The man had been so shocked his face had been gray.

Spence hated that another woman was dead. He felt so useless. There hadn’t been any signature notes or marks left on the victims and none of the women that had been discovered were locals except for the first victim. No identification had been left on either and the only way the women had been able to be identified was from dental records. Again, except for their first deceased victim.

She’d been reported missing by her boss and a few days later her sister. He’d heard from Cooper how broken up the sister had been and though he hated that poor woman had lost her sibling, Spence was relieved he and Clay had been out at a traffic accident.

The sicko killing them had to have gathered up the women’s clothes and shoes, probably to burn them so they couldn’t be used as evidence. He also suspected that their perp shaved his body because there hadn’t been any sort of body hair found on any of the victims. This bastard was meticulous and the fucker cleaned the women’s bodies down after he’d killed them. Spence had a feeling there were going to be more women losing their lives before they caught the prick.

Clay and Spence had decided to keep the information of the killings from the press. If the paparazzi knew what was going on, they would end up with a media frenzy on their very own doorstep. That was something they were trying to avoid, but he had a feeling they wouldn’t be able to keep the killings quiet for much longer. Plus, they didn’t want to give the sick fuck the fifteen minutes of fame he no doubt wanted. Hopefully, keeping the psycho out of the press would be enough to flip this asshole’s calm demeanor and he would end up making a mistake, but he wasn’t sure that was going to happen soon enough. How many women were going to lose their lives before they found their murderer?

His chest ached as he imagined giving the information of the woman’s death to her loved ones. As an officer of the law, that was one aspect of his job he truly hated, because he could relate to their shock and grief. He and the other men he worked with had experienced loss of friends while on missions for the Rangers. It was something that a person never got used to.