Don't Look Back

By: Lynette Eason



Tuesday Afternoon

FBI Special Agent Dakota Richards stared down at the pile of bones unearthed by the backhoe. Jamie would have her hands full with this one.

He looked up to see her coming toward him. She was dressed in a Tyvek jumpsuit she’d donned to avoid contaminating the scene. Underneath, he’d bet she had on her standard khaki capris and a white long-sleeved T-shirt. In her right hand, she carried a pair of blue booties she’d place over her red tennis shoes before entering the area.

As always, Dakota’s heart gave that extra little beat in response to her presence. And as always, she held herself at a distance even as she came closer.

“Hey, Jamie.”

She offered him a small smile as her brown eyes locked on his. “So you pulled this one?”

“I did.” He took in her presence. Petite yet wiry, she had her long blonde curls pulled up into her customary ponytail. He cleared his throat. “This is the third body found near this area. Only this one’s a skeleton. Connor called me about an hour ago and said his boss wanted the FBI in on it, and that they might need some of our resources. After looking at the situation, my boss agreed. I knew Serena would request your services.” Serena Hopkins, the pathologist and a woman Jamie enjoyed working with. He smiled. “She said you were the perfect person for the job. I agreed.”

Her chin rose at his compliment; appreciation shone in her gaze along with a tinge of amusement. “Ha. I’m not sure that means much. I’m the only person right now.” The other anthropologist she worked with on occasion was on his honeymoon. “You have a partner on this one?”

“Just Connor right now. I’m authorized to call for more help if we need it.” Connor Wolfe, former state law enforcement detective, now a detective with the city of Spartanburg, South Carolina, was also Jamie’s brother-in-law. Her sister, Samantha, and Connor had married a year and a half ago on Christmas Day, shortly after Jamie’s graduation.

“What happened?”

“Two workers were digging a grave and came across a body already buried. Fortunately, that guy over there,” he gestured to the Hispanic-looking man sitting on the ground near the backhoe, “saw the bones they’d unearthed and immediately stopped his partner who was driving, so it looks like there won’t be any damage to the rest of whatever you might find.”

“Bones in a cemetery.” She grinned. “Not really unusual, is it?”

“Cute, Jamie.”

She turned serious. “Human?”

“You’ll have to make that final determination, of course, but yeah, I can see the skull and the outline of what once was a body.”

“So, it looks like we’ve got a homicide?”

“Looks like it. Connor should be back soon. He’s talking to the director of the place, but he and I’ll be working on this if you concur that it’s a homicide. For some reason, they think they’ll link the first two they found here to this one. Guess we’ll find out.” The first two bodies had been found approximately three years ago very close to this spot. “Anyway, we’ve got a skeleton in a shallow grave. Usually not a good case for death by natural causes.”

“Usually not. Are we thinking serial killer?”

“Maybe. I wasn’t working here when the other two bodies were found, and the detective that did work them is now in another state.”

“So you rushed right over. Didn’t have anything better to do, huh?” She teased him and he smiled back.

“Naw.” They both knew he had an overflowing desk full of cases he was working on.

As Jamie slipped on a pair of gloves, then tugged the sleeves back down to the edge of her palms, Dakota couldn’t help notice the brief flash of scars around her wrists. She always wore long sleeves no matter the weather.

But she’d never told him why.

And he’d never told her he’d fallen in love with her practically from the moment they’d met a little less than two years ago when he’d been helping her sister and Connor with the case of missing and murdered teenagers.

Since then he’d been trying to win this lady’s heart. Thus far, he’d failed miserably and didn’t have a clue what he was doing wrong.