Copyright, 2012, Carolyn Chambers Clark & Anthony Auriemma

Smashwords Edition

This copy is for your personal use only.


Chapter 1

In a trauma room at the end of the hall in the Emergency Department where the smells of disinfectant and sweat lingered, Jewel Connor stared at the horrifying photos. Each one jumped out at her, more disturbing than the last. The cigarette burn marks, black eyes, and bruises never got any easier to view. They always made her want to rip them into a million pieces and take a cigarette lighter to them, but that wasn't going to stop the men who did these terrible things. Yes, she dealt with the ugliness of sexual assault crimes every day, yet each new case made her stomach retch and her mind object with thoughts of revenge as if it were her first.

The bodies of women—ravaged, beaten, murdered—filled her every working day. It was getting harder and harder to keep her professional composure as they piled up in her mind, when she saw what they had endured. Yes, sometimes they survived, but she never forgot any of them. They wouldn't let her. Each night, they came to haunt her dreams. Ten years ago, when she'd completed her degree as a forensic nurse examiner, she'd vowed to help as many as she could and stop this string of violence, but the abused women just kept coming.

Jewel finished her report for her last forensic exam of the day, sent it off in an e-mail to her director, and sighed. Another day done and she still wasn't any closer to stopping these men who had no respect for women. Exhausted, she picked up her bag and left the medical center for home.

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