Chapter One

It was the kind of thing that should never happen, the kind of thing that would never—in a world where everything was right and good—be allowed to happen.

What kind of daughter loses her father’s ashes, for God’s sake?

But—Annika reminded herself—it wasn’t a world where everything was right and good, was it? If it were, her father wouldn’t have been shot and killed for the money in his wallet, and she wouldn’t be here, halfway around the world, sans his cremains.

And the trip had started out so well, too.

She’d been early to the airport, of course. The flight left in the evening, and navigating New York City at rush hour, straight through Manhattan from Brooklyn to Newark, had been a daunting proposition. She’d set out five hours early, just to be sure she wasn’t late, and had gotten to Liberty Airport with three and a half hours to spare.

But the wait hadn’t been unpleasant. She’d walked around a bit and browsed in the duty-free stores. She hadn’t bought anything, but she’d noted a few things she thought she might want to buy, once she was on her way home instead of headed halfway around the world. She probably wouldn’t end up buying anything on her way home either, but thinking about it was nice.

After that, she’d bought herself dinner in one of the restaurants—she was on vacation, after all, and it was all right to eat alone in an airport. There, it didn’t mean she was the kind of girl who couldn’t get a date. Rather, it meant she was confident and sophisticated enough to travel on her own, without anyone else.

And when those activities had paled, she’d simply sat down in one of the seats by the gate to read, the carry-on bag with the ashes safely tucked behind her feet, where no one could get at it.

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