The Girl Who Disappeared Twice by Andrea Kane - Fiction
Despite all her years determining the fates of families, judge Hope Willis couldn't save her own. Her daughter taken, she's frantically grasping at any hope for Krissy's return. Her husband dead-set against it, Hope calls a team not bound by the legal system.
Forensic Instincts: a behaviorist. A techno-wizard. An intuitive. An ex-Navy SEAL. Unconventional operatives. All with unique talents and personal reasons for joining Casey Woods's group, they'll do whatever it takes.
Able to accurately read people after the briefest of encounters, Casey picks up in the Willis household signs of a nervous spouse, a guilty conscience, a nanny that hides on her phone. Secrets beg to creep into the open.
Forensic Instincts will dig through each tiny clue and eliminate the clutter, working around the clock. But time is running out, and Casey's team knows that the difference between getting Krissy back and her disappearing forever could be as small as a suspect's rapid breathing, or as deep as Hope's dark family history.
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The bar smelled like stale beer and sweat.
Casey Woods shifted in her seat, which was situated far away from the social hub of the place. She rolled her glass between her palms. It was filled with whatever was on tap that the waiter had brought her. Taking a sip, she looked nervous but wistful among the slew of college kids milling around the East Village hangout.
She was one of those kids. Or trying to be. She was a wannabe--a shy and naive misfit, on the outside, looking in. Hungry to be welcomed into the inner circle.
She reached around and fiddled with a strand of her long red hair, which was tied back, giving her a more youthful appearance. Her gaze darted around, flickering, every so often, over her target. He was in his early thirties, perched on the first bar stool. Whenever she glanced his way, he was usually staring at her.
The time ticked by slowly. Casey made sure to openly, if shyly, eye the hunkiest-looking guys, changing her demeanor from hopeful to unsure or dejected. Every guy she focused on eventually left, either with a group of friends, or with a girl he'd hooked up with.
At just past three-thirty in the morning, the bartender started closing up, and the bar emptied out. With just a few stragglers left, Casey's hopes for the night were ostensibly dashed. Her lashes lowered in an expression of utter defeat.
Slowly, she rose, reaching into her messenger bag for some cash. As she'd planned, the bag slid off her shoulder and plopped on the floor, contents spilling everywhere. Flushed with embarrassment, she squatted down and began stuffing things back into her bag--her wallet, makeup, and fake student ID.
From her peripheral vision, she saw the man at the end of the bar rise, toss some bills on the counter and walk out with the last few stragglers.
It was 4:00 a.m. Closing time.
Despite the pointed glare of the bartender, Casey took her time replacing the contents of her bag, rearranging them as she did. She kept her wallet out long enough to slap some bills on the table. Then she made her way to the door.
The bartender locked it behind her.
Casey sucked in her breath and turned, making sure to follow the same route she'd been taking all week. She'd set the pattern. But tonight she'd stayed at the bar later. The streets were emptier. The timing was right.
She steeled herself as she walked past the alley near Tompkins Square Park. She kept her gaze fixed straight ahead.
She heard Fisher's footsteps an instant before he grabbed her. His arm clamped around her waist, his free hand pressing a knife to her throat. Too hard. Too fast. No taunting. This was not how she'd planned it. And now he had her.
"Don't fight. Don't scream. Don't even breathe. Or I'll slit your throat."
Casey complied. She didn't have to fake her trembling, or the fear that stiffened her body. Silently, she talked herself down, reminding herself why she was doing this. She offered no resistance as Fisher dragged her into the alley. The psychopathic SOB shoved her down on the filthy concrete ground, kneeling over her, a glittering look of triumph in his eyes. He kept the knife at her throat, using his other hand to tear at her jeans.
The button popped. But the zipper never gave.
Marc Deveraux made sure of that.
Emerging from the shadows like a predator in the wild, he lunged at the would-be rapist with all the strength of his powerful build. He yanked Fisher's knife-wielding arm up and away from Casey, then slammed down on his forearm until Fisher's bones made a cracking sound and the knife clattered to the ground.
Fisher howled with...
The Girl Who Disappeared Twice
By: Andrea Kane