Part 1 – Read An Excerpt

I rush through the fog, away from what I saw in that scene. I’m in shock but not stunned enough to deny that I just witnessed a murder.

That man was stabbing her.

I run back up the hill the entire two blocks to the bar. The synthetic material of my dress is stuck to my back and to other parts of my body, so I pause briefly for some air before going back inside. The cold sweat would force me in soon enough.

I have to tell someone what I saw. I have to tell Reid. We have to call the police.

Most of all, I was afraid of what would happen if he saw me through the window. Or was it only my fear being reflected?

I pull out my phone and dial emergency.

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After I call the police, I go back inside. I’m really shivering by this time and all I want to do is go home and climb into my warm Murphy bed, but the police told me to stay where I am. I stand in the corner of the bar, silently reprimanding myself that I didn’t get a photo of the murderous action with my phone. I couldn’t see after the light was doused.

“Skylar?” Reid comes out from behind the bar towards me. He looks concerned. “What happened? Where did you go?” he asks over the loud level of conversation in the bar.

“The police are on their way,” I tell him.

“What? Why did you call the police?”

I just shake my head. I feel really lightheaded and I must’ve looked it, because the next thing I know Reid catches me.

When the haze clears a few seconds later, I’m slumped against him but he’s holding me up, one arm underneath my shoulders. With his other arm around my waist, he drags me to a nearby sofa.


I hear Elise cry out, and when my vision levels, I stare into both their faces.

“I must have fainted,” I tell them. No longer cold, the packed room is claustrophobically warm.

“Yeah,” Reid says. “You sure did.”

The crowded bar became noticeably hushed and we see a pair of San Francisco police come through the throng. Reid waves them over.

“We’re looking for a Skylar Saffron,” one of them says.

“I’m Skylar,” I say grimly. It makes me really uncomfortable to have the police announce they’re looking for me. The officers, with short and stocky builds, buzz cuts and tattoos peeking out of shirtsleeves, look like the type of guys who spent a lot of their downtime placing bets at sports bars. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it would just be ironic.

“I’m Officer Smith, and this is Officer Diaz. We’re responding to your emergency call.”

“Yes,” I say nervously. “I just saw a woman being lured out of the bar. She was drugged, I think. I followed the couple and saw them through the window of a basement apartment around the corner. The man was stabbing her.”

“What?!” Elise cries out.

“Please, everyone stay calm,” Officer Diaz interjects. “Ms. Saffron, we’re going to need you to show us exactly where you witnessed the crime.”

“Okay,” I say weakly. “Just let me get my coat.”

I go over to the sofa where I stowed my stuff and grab it quickly, ignoring the curious looks Tim and Dave throw my way.

“I’m coming with you,” Elise insists, wrapping a scarf over her blazer. Hearing that relieves me.

“Sorry, we can’t take the chance. The potential suspect might still be in the vicinity,” said Officer Smith. “You need to stay here.”

I was about to object, unsure of why Officers Smith and Diaz would take issue with Elise coming with us.

“We’ll make sure Ms. Saffron is safe,” Officer Diaz promises.

Reid’s concern is written all over, but even in the face of it, he’s practical. “Skylar, if it was who you think it was, the couple who were in here earlier, I saved their cocktail glasses.”

His quick thinking impresses me. “It was them,” I say.

“We’ll send forensics to collect the glasses,” Officer Smith tells Reid.

“Stay here?” I ask Elise. “I’ll come back.”

“Okay,” she agrees.

As I leave with the officers, I wonder about Reid catching me after I fainted. It was good he was there. When I look back, however, he’s already behind the bar, engulfed with customers, and I seem forgotten.

The officers and I walk down Sutter St. After sunset, the night is even colder now, the wind ruthless.

“The building is just down Leavenworth, past Post,” I tell the officers. Revisiting the scene of the crime makes me slightly ill, but the officers give me a sense of security, which I hope isn’t false.

When we get to the apartment building, the light is back on in the basement, but there’s nothing to see. The room is empty.

“Are you sure this is the place?” Officer Smith asks. He seems to doubt me.

“Of course I’m sure,” I say, peeking through the window, confused by the emptiness of the room. “I remember the round window with the stained glass decoration.” I gesture to the colored pattern framing the window.

“We’ll go in and check it out,” Officer Diaz adds, pulling out his walkie-talkie to call it in.

“Come on,” Officer Smith says. “I’ll escort you back to the bar.”

With one last look through the round window, I go with him reluctantly. I know what I saw. I don’t know where they went, but the man and woman were in that basement — and I don’t think the woman made it out alive.

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