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She just wanted to relax, to drown out the voices in her head. Normally she chose the Down and Dirty when she needed a space to forget her day, but Don Webster had walked in before she could order her usual. Eve just didn’t feel like dealing with her former one-night stand.

Not tonight.

Not after she’d spent most of the afternoon at a crime scene where a little girl had been killed by her mother’s boyfriend. Not when she could still see the battered little body, hear her childish voice pleading, telling Eve how he had hit her, kicked her, touched her.

Everyone thought Eve Dallas had an uncanny ability to read a crime scene, but they didn’t know the half of it. She didn’t read crime scenes, or make lucky guesses.

The victims talked to her.

She could see them, hear them, especially when the scene was so fresh the blood was still wet. Like the little girl’s blood. They were alive to her – sometimes too alive.

Especially a case like this one, a case that hit too close to home, that played on the scenes that made up her nightmares.

She set out on foot, and found herself in front of a little club called the Blue Note that advertised live music. It was jazz, she realized as she stepped inside – smoky seductive jazz. Normally she went for driving rock and metal, but she needed an escape and the band wasn’t bad – especially the saxophonist who was playing a solo that seemed like a proposition. So Eve ordered a drink and sat at the bar, let the music, the sound of live people’s voices, take her away.

It wasn’t until the sax player finished and lowered the instrument that Eve recognized him.

Li Morris, chief medical examiner. Eve had seen him today as well, when she brought the victim to his house – the morgue. Usually by the time they made it there, she didn’t hear the victims so loudly. Morris was the best, always respectful and gentle with the dead.

And it didn’t suck to look at him, to appreciate his dapper suits and penchant for listening to music while he worked.

Maybe music was his escape, she mused.

Eve knew the moment that he saw her – he nodded in her direction, and Eve decided she’d stay at the bar and see what happened.

When the band took a break, Morris made his way to her table.

“Of all the jazz joints in the world…“ he said with a teasing lilt. Eve gave him a blank look, and Morris sighed. “Your cultural knowledge is distressingly poor, Dallas.”

“I stay busy,” she said shortly.

“You certainly keep me busy. But here we both are,” he said with a smile.

They’d stood by the little girl’s body together, and now they were standing at the bar.

Life was weird.

“Need any help staying busy?” Morris’ voice was cool, but there was something under it that made her look at him.

“Depends on what you have in mind,” Eve shot back.

He glanced at the stage. “Right now, playing another set. Afterwards…”

“I can stay awhile,” she said.

He flashed her a smile, headed back to the stage.

This time, his solo was definitely a proposition.

She was inclined to take him up on it, and see how busy they could keep each other.