Rachel Grant
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Romantic Suspense
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Copyright 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 All Rights Reserved
Cold Evidence Title

Sand dollar - radio active
Something looked odd up ahead, but it was just out of reach of her flashlight. Undine swam forward with a quick burst of speed and grunted as she reached the end of her leash.
“You want to be set free, Fido?” Luke asked
“Woof, woof,” she replied.
He laughed. “I thought it was one bark for yes.”
“One is no. Two is yes. I’d flash puppy dog eyes at you, but since you can’t see my face, that would be a waste.”
“I’ll hold the line. We can run another line between us to increase your range.”
“I suppose that makes me your bitch?”
He let out a bark of laughter. “Is that an offer?”
“Oh no, Sevick, you want a piece of this, there can’t be leashes or dog collars involved.” Had she really just said that to Luke?
“Okay, then,” he said. Was his voice a bit husky? Hard to tell with the tinny radio.
She turned toward him and realized his flashlight beam was scanning her butt. “Are you checking out my ass?”
“Why not? You checked out mine on the dive down.” He handed her another yellow rope that would grant her another ten meters, and took the end of the original line in his other hand. “What did you think, by the way, A or A-plus?”
She laughed. “So much for your ego suffering shrinkage.” She looked into the darkness beyond her spotlight. “Something looks weird up ahead. I’m going to check it out.”
“The view’s just fine from here.”
She paused again. That didn’t sound like Luke. Well, it did, but his words—the whole conversation, really—seemed a little strange since he was directing it at her. “Luke, are you narked?”
“I don’t get narked. I was a SEAL.”
“Bull. Everyone gets narked now and then. Even muscular, handsome SEALs. And you wouldn’t be checking out my ass if this weren’t a five-martini dive.” The general guideline was that each atmosphere descended after the first was the equivalent of drinking one martini. Nitrogen narcosis could be relatively harmless in shallow dives, but down here, it could be fatal. “Let me check out this thing, then we’ll go up.”
“Honey, I’m a guy. I’ll check out an ass as sweet as yours anytime, anywhere.”
“Fine, but you wouldn’t tell me about it. You are totally narking.” She swam forward and ran her light over the floor. She gasped. “Luke, during the investigation, did anyone use an undersea cable trencher to excavate—to clear large swaths of floor?”
“No. Why?”
She needed his eyes, but he was literally at the end of his rope. However, the leash was an overabundance of caution for the quick bounce dive because visibility was limited at this depth. They still had their computers and were both experienced divers. But he could be narked. She swam back to him. “How many fingers am I holding up?” She raised a gloved hand.
They were face-to-face at the bottom of the sea, and he met her gaze in the wash of the spotlight. “Two. I’m not narked.”
“Good. Let go of the line. You need to see this.” She led him to the cleared area, where a bowl-shaped depression had been cut into the sea floor. “See this? I’ve excavated with a cable trencher before, and this is exactly what it looks like. Someone’s been digging here. Recently. Very recently.”