She closed her eyes and slid her fingers over the jewel that warmed with the heat of her hand as she rolled and pressed. Cradling the ring in her palm, she curled her fingers, and waited for an image to unfold.
It came in a blur that sharpened slowly. Santa Claus decked out in camouflage and wearing a jeweler’s loupe would have made her smile except for the trepidation that colored his greed. Her instincts were screaming the moment before the image faded. A violent jolt burned its way up her arm and sizzled at the base of her skull. Exploded in a flash of light that was there one second and gone the next as the scene unfolded.
The ring’s owner had still been alive and screaming, panicking because she couldn’t remove it fast enough. The middle-aged blonde woman had tried to jerk her plump hand away because she’d known the instant her assailant had decided his knife was the solution.
The man who’d cut off her finger was tall and skinny. The detailed tattoo of a snake slithered across the back of his right hand, its forked tongue curling around his gnarled forefinger. The ring hadn’t gone over the first joint, but he’d placed it there to admire before dropping his bloody treasure into a small, dark bag.
He turned as if just remembering his hysterical victim and proceeded, without hesitation to stab her over and over, counting each wound as if he’d been meeting a quota.
Cassidy blinked and struggled to open her fist before the energy from the savage encounter melded it shut. Her stomach heaved, and her hands began to shake. She dropped the ring back into its midnight-dark velvet nest before the fingers of her right hand curled until they formed a cramped fist, nails biting into her palm.
The woman’s terrified screams were still ringing in her ears when she finally looked up—and remembered why her guest seemed familiar. Jacob Atwell, the attorney for Brent Collier, the murdered woman’s husband. The high-profile case had sparked a media-frenzy several months ago, along with most, but apparently not all of the grisly details of her murder.
Across from her, Atwell was shaking almost as badly as she was. His client had been living under a cloud of suspicion, all of his movements documented by the press and probably the police.
“The man who cut the ring off her finger is tall and thin—very thin. He has a tattoo on his right hand. His teeth are bad,” she whispered. Blackened stubs in a slack, wistful grin. His total disconnection from the violence he’d perpetrated as he’d admired Marian Collier’s engagement ring was more chilling than anything she’d ever experienced.
Her guest wasn’t quick enough to cover his relief. His client was muscular; softening around the edges but still much shorter, not to mention healthier than his wife’s killer.
She had no doubt that the audience’s gasps were real. They’d been on the edge of their seats since she’d groaned.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00N3M7EEM