TITLE: The Tip of A Bone
In a small town on the Oregon coast, feisty waitress Maya Rivers tries to prove her brother innocent of arson—only to discover he may be responsible for a young woman vanishing from the woods.
She’d told no one where she was going tonight. Not one soul. So when the branches rustled in the woods behind her, Sara Alvarez flicked off her headlamp quickly. Darkness. Even the moon hid behind a gray shroud.
Animal? Human? Sara’s heart hammered, pulse jumping, before her training kicked in. Stay calm. Identify the threat. She forced herself to breathe deeply, inhaling the forest’s cool, damp tang until her heartbeat slowed. Rain dripped onto mossy ground.
Shivering, Sara slid a hand into her jeans pocket and pulled out a Swiss Army knife. She clenched it in her fist as she reached for her headlamp. Flick. The beam sliced through the shadowy spaces between trees. No birds. No scurrying animals.
Just a whisper of movement.
Her light dipped, washing across gnarled roots and low shrubs—sword ferns, evergreen huckleberry, salal. Nothing there. She tilted her head up, searching the canopy, but all she saw were towering spruce and hemlocks. Their branches swayed in the breeze. Rustle, rustle.
“Nice going, nature girl,” Sara grumbled as she slipped the knife back into her jeans. She’d survived the group’s “wilderness immersion experience”—foraged for bugs and berries, dug latrines, scrounged up leaves for toilet paper. She’d gone face-to-face with cops in riot gear, dodged pepper spray, and resisted arrest with style. So why the hell was she so spooked tonight?
Because from the moment she’d found that bone here…
Get a grip. Sara tapped her GPS watch. Nobody’s coming before dawn.