Criminal Profiler #2, Part of a series but can be read as a standalone like with most of Mary Burton books. Burton's writing is engaging and thrilling and always keeps me on my toes, Written in third person the POV goes from protagonist to side characters and switches to first person POV for the antagonist, still keeping the identity of the baddie a secret 'til the end.
FBI Special Agent Zoe Spencer started of life as a dancer but due to an unfortunate accident she had to stop dancing which lead her to art and then to the FBI. Although she is a criminal profiler she also gets pulled onto cases requiring her artist talent and does forensic sketches or sculptures independently from her team. Most recently she was given a charred skull that was discovered by a reporter who was given a tip. A tip from the very person who put the body in there in the first place who was looking for some recognition after all this time.
Discovering who the skull belonged to puts her smack in the middle of the cold case investigation working side by side with her occasional lover Homicide Detective William Vaughn. The more questions they ask the more the killer gets nervous and soon the cold case is hot again with another murder, and another. Working together Vaughn and Zoe try to figure out what happened all those years ago and why the killer started up again, unless he never stopped.
Vaughn and Zoe keep it professional for the most part but soon realize what they have is not casual anymore but Zoe isn't sure she's ready to move on from the death of her husband with someone new someone with the same occupation. This case bring them closer than ever but catching this killer is going to make them both realize something big. Overall it's a really good read it keeps you going from start to finish. Mary Burton is one of my go to authors for romantic suspense and this one did not disappoint.
Originally published on 2012 in an anthology (Silver Bells) and is part of her Richmond Virginia series. It is a standalone novella but the only bad thing about this one is that it feels like it should be part of a full length novel. It feels like it's a follow-up to another story. Photographer and new mom Nicole Piper survived her manipulative and abusive husband but even from the grave he torments her. A letter written to her before his death that explains he wasn't the one who killed her friend but the identity is in a safe deposit box. Along with with Homicide Detective David Ayden, who was there the first time around her husband tormented her and helped safe her life, Nicole goes to find out the truth. David hasn't felt this way about a woman for a while after the death of his wife he never thought he could but now that the case is over he's free to pursue a relationship with her, that's if she's interested. David isn't about to let her go off and handle this on her own who knows what her psychotic, late husband set up for her and Nicole hesitant but accepts his help. Nicole feels the same as David but is afraid of her own judgement even though she's seen proof he's a good person. This Christmas is going to change her life but will it be for better or worse. Overall, despite the feeling like I was missing a whole other story it was a good read. It was intense and it's short enough you can just breeze right through it.