Hard Evidence by Pamela Clare

Description : Hard Evidence
Coffee was Tessa Novak's heroin. And right now she craved it with the desperation of a street junkie. What she wanted—what she needed—was a triple-shot grande skinny vanilla latte made with organic shade-grown Mexican beans. What she was going to get was toxic gas-station swill.

Serves you right for losing track of time, girl.

The last of the decent coffee shops had closed fifteen minutes ago while she'd been sitting stupidly at her desk reading through files.

She nosed her car into the brightly lit gas-station parking lot, braking for a couple of skateboarders who seemed oblivious to the dangers of both traffic and gravity, and parked next to an SUV that was blasting Eminem. Then she grabbed her handbag out of her briefcase and stepped out of her car into the reek of exhaust and gasoline fumes.

Even though it was October, the air was still warm—one of those strange Colorado Indian summers that dragged on forever. Although most of her friends at the paper were happy with the warm, sunny weather, Tessa wished it would hurry up and snow. She loved the cold, loved the fresh smell of a new snowfall, loved the way the landscape transformed overnight from a dirty, gray city to a world of pure, sparkling white.

She'd grown up in the South and hadn't made her first snowman until she'd moved to Denver three years ago at the age of twenty-five. Though that was the least of what had been wrong with her childhood, it had somehow be symbolic of everything else. The year's first snowstorm had be a kind of ritual for Tessa, an annual celebration of her escape.

This year the snow was late.

She hurried across the parking lot and through the glass doors. The smell of the city was replaced by the odors of stale hot dogs, industrial cleaner—and coffee. Cutting through...
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