{twenty-eight}

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The words swam in front of him as Dylan typed in the last set of names into the system. With that done he could check them. For all the good that would do. He rubbed his eyes.

Hansen had been out of the country. His lawyer had quickly called and threatened a lawsuit. Healey's boss informed him that nothing had made the news, so his defamation claim had no grounds. Dylan was still determined to find something.

"Go home," Baines said.

Dylan didn't bother looking up. "I'm not done."

No way was he sitting on his ass while Alessa was God knows where with a calculating killer. Nearly fourteen hours had passed since they'd discovered her missing. They knew he usually held on to the victims for at least two weeks. Dylan had reason to believe he was on a faster timeline.

"You're no good to anyone like this." Baines unplugged the machine and Dylan stood up, barely holding in his string of curses.

"What the fuck?"

"Get out of here. And that's from Jay. He said if he has to deliver the message himself you won't like it."

Dylan groaned. "You better be sure to—"

"If we find anything you'll be the first call."

Dylan trudged out to his truck and sat there. They might be able to get him out of the building, but there was no way in hell they'd stop him from—

Someone knocked on his window.

"What is it?" Dylan asked once he rolled it down.

"The boss doesn't think you should drive in this condition. Driving while tired is just as bad as driving while intoxicated. Wouldn't want anything bad to happen."

"Fine." Dylan pushed open his door and got out.

Twenty minutes later he dragged himself into his house. His leg throbbed, and he headed for the bedroom. Even the gel liner wasn't a match for thirty-six hours. The all-nighter he'd pulled with her was barely a blip now. Twenty-two hours ago she'd been right here in this room yelling at him. He'd give anything to have her doing it again. He got in the shower and hung his head, letting the warm jets pelt him.

He felt better but couldn't help the guilt that gnawed at him. He shouldn't be worried about his comfort while she was out there in danger. He should be doing something to find her. The rational part of him understood they were limited. Whoever this was had planned ahead. It had to be someone who knew they were going to be there. With all the searches being coordinated between departments they needed to find a way to narrow it down.

He had to find her. Anything other than that wasn't an option. The consequences were too steep. Once he was done, Dylan tried to think through the fog in his brain. But all he saw was Alessa tied up somewhere, unconscious and near death.

The water had gone cold, and he turned it off. Once he sat on the bed, mental and physical exhaustion settled into his body, creating a deep ache. Forced him to give in to it.

He closed his eyes.

******

Dylan jumped up and looked at the clock. Six fucking hours! He jumped up and got ready to go. His "escort" was still waiting in the living room.

"Need anything?" Dylan asked. The guy shook his head. "Then let's get the hell out of here."

Half an hour later he was back in front of his computer. Baines came in.

"What now?" Dylan checked his phone and his tablet. Nothing.

"I'm here to help." Baines folded his arms. "The fact you're so close to these people is coloring how you view the case."

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