Danielle was not a paramour. She was a niece. That was good. I considered Ryan the man.

The man who wanted to suck my toes.

That was very good.

Because of the wound Pete had inflicted, I'd been hovering on the edge of a relationship with Ryan, wanting to get close but keeping my distance, like a moth drawn to a flame. Attracted but afraid.

Did I need a man in my life?

No.

Did I want one?

Yes.

What were the words of the song? I'd rather be sorry for something I did, than for something that I didn't do.

I'd decided to give Ryan a try and see how it went.

I had one more stop in Bryson City. A stop I couldn't wait to make.

I parked outside a redbrick building at the corner of Slope and the Bryson Walk. When I entered the glass door, a woman in surgical scrubs looked up and smiled.

“Is he ready?”

“Very. Have a seat.”

She disappeared, and I settled into a plastic chair in the waiting area.

Five minutes later she led Boyd out. His chest was taped, and one foreleg had been shaved. Seeing me, he gave a little hop, then limped over and placed his head on my lap.

“Is he in pain?” I asked the vet.

“Only when he laughs.”

Boyd rolled his eyes upward at me, and the purple tongue dropped out.

“How are you doing, big guy?” I nuzzled his ears and touched my forehead to his.

Boyd sighed.

I straightened and looked at him.

“Are you ready to go home?”

He yipped and his eyebrows danced.

“Let's do it.”

I could hear a laugh in his bark.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy Reichs is forensic anthropologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, and for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Medecine Legale for the province of Quebec. She is one of only fifty forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and is on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. A professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. Reichs is a native of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. at Northwestern. She now divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal and is a frequent expert witness at criminal trials. Her first novel, Deja Dead, brought Dr. Reichs fame when it became a New York Times bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. Death du Jour and Deadly Decisions also became international bestsellers. Fatal Voyage is her fourth novel featuring Temperance Brennan.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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