Meanwhile let's see if I can heat it up a bit in here. Dark vamps or knights in shining armor? If anyone decides to leave a comment below and/or email me their email address to firstname.lastname@example.org at the end of the blog hop June 1st 10pm EST. I will choose two random winners among the commenters. One will receive a PDF copy of Dark Mist, the other will receive a PDF copy of Hold On before it releases next month.
When Rose exited the airport, lightning flashed, illuminating the night sky. For a moment, everything froze, then the world turned dark again. Even though she wore a coat, she shivered and when thunder crackled overhead, goose bumps rose along her arms. This kind of weather always spooked her, but this new job in Memphis should have her crowing in triumph, and she did feel that way, until a moment ago.
She shook her head as she stood in line for a cab. Just nerves acting up, she hadn’t been sleeping lately, but she’d been excited about this move. Rose felt sorry now she didn’t let Krystal come and pick her up at the airport. It’d been late and raining and Krystal Harrington worked as an ER doctor with long hard hours. She needed her rest. Rose's plane already delayed due to weather. Still, it would have been nice to see a friendly face. They’d been best friends and roomies since college, even after college, they’d remained close. They even took vacations together, and planned a cruise next year. Now, since Rose had been transferred to the office in Memphis, she would stay with Krystal until she found a place. Rose hadn’t seen her best friend for a few months but she grew excited about them being able to spend time together again.
Rose got into the taxi and gave the driver her destination. Sitting back, she stared outside at the passing darkened landscape. This city would be her new home. Who would’ve thought a girl from a big city like Brooklyn would end up in Memphis of all places? But the company she worked for wanted her at their home office. She would’ve been a fool to turn down the promotion of Executive Business Acquisitions Director for Hydden Enterprises, or HE, as those who worked there liked to call the place. She’d worked her butt off for the company and to get a promotion.
Others told Rose, at twenty-seven, she would be the youngest person in such a high position within the company. She reported directly to the President of HE and would have a staff of four under her supervision. Not too bad for someone who didn’t know who her father was, and whose mother died when she was ten, leaving her alone to grow up in the foster care system. It could’ve been worse she supposed…She’d gotten lucky.
The Robinsons, the family who raised her were good people. She’d been their only foster, but they’d housed exchange college students in the US for a limited time, so Rose never felt lonely, and they’d been heavily involved in the local non-denominational mega-church. Through the church, she’d netted a full-scholarship to college. Even though, she didn’t embrace any one religious doctrine, she did believe something greater existed out there, which no one could control. Then, even at times, it directed humanity onto certain paths. Still, it is up to each individual to decide which road to take or not.
In her case, an opportunity presented itself and she didn’t hesitate to take it. After graduation, she’d gotten a job at Hydden and thus far, it turned out to be the right decision. Though, she missed her foster parents and didn’t enjoy moving so far away from them. Even if she hadn’t lived with them, since she’d started college, they’d been the first to encourage her to explore this opportunity.
She’d proven herself to the company by working hard and getting an MBA while working full-time and she had her foster parents to thank for her strong work ethic. As a result, Hydden rewarded her with some of the corporate secrets. Like Hydden was really operated and owned by one of the largest churches in Memphis. The locale of the real head office would be where she would actually work. Yesterday, she’d been happy and excited about this step forward in her career. Now, when the cab pulled up in front of Krystal’s house and the door opened, she found herself hesitating to step out of the car…and with no idea why.DARK MIST
COMING JUNE 6TH
re-release Hold On
a romantic suspense
“Hello…listen, I’m at the corner of Broad Street and Denny Way. I’m looking into the second floor of
The emergency operator on the other end replied in a steady tone, “I’m dispatching a patrol car to the area, sir. Stay on the line with me. Are you one of the victims or do you know the people involved?”
“No, no it’s not me and I don’t know them. I’m in my car. Hang on, the light’s changing. I’m going to make a U-turn and park on the street so I can keep watch.”
He ignored the car honking at him because he cut in front of it. The building before him and the woman in trouble his only focus. The sun had been down for awhile now, but the open lighted walkway in the three-story building allowed Stephan a pretty clear view.
“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to remain in the car,” the operator insisted in a forceful voice. “How many people are involved?”
“Two, I think. A man and a woman, I saw him grab her purse and she tried to run. Hurry!” he cried.
“Help is on the way. Please try to stay calm.”
“My God!” Stephan exclaimed. “He just hit her…she’s trying to fight him off. He kicked a door open and…he’s…he’s trying to drag her in!” His words were coming faster, rushing to get the information out. “She’s fighting back. I can’t just sit here watching this.”
“Sir, please do not leave your car,” the operator stated firmly. “The person could be armed as well as dangerous. Wait for the authorities.”
“I’m sorry. I’m already at the building. Tell the cops, when they get here, it’s the second building from the corner, second floor, the door at the top of the stairs. I’m going to leave my phone on so you can listen in, but I’m putting it in my pocket.”
Without waiting to hear a reply, Stephan did just that.
As he ran up the stairs he heard a woman’s screams. Why isn’t anyone trying to help her? He had seen three other doors with apartment numbers on this floor alone. Surely one of them was occupied. It didn’t matter, he was here and he wasn’t going to do nothing. Too late, he wished he’d taken the time to grab a tire iron from his car. But he had stopped rational thought as soon as he glimpsed the woman in trouble. He’d just have to rely on being in good physical shape. It wasn’t like he was a fighter, in truth he used his mind not his muscle. Now he may have to use both, and so far he hadn’t been using much of his so-called intelligence tonight. An intelligent person would have waited on the sidewalk and pointed the cops in the right direction.
Stephan stopped at the now closed door he had seen the man kick open. A scuff mark near the bottom of the panel confirmed he had the right place. He put his ear to the wood but could hear nothing. Turning the doorknob he found it unlocked, and cautiously pushed it open. He slipped inside leaving it slightly ajar so the cops could enter easily.
Muffled sounds came from the interior of the apartment. Taking a step in the direction of the noise, ragged cries suddenly rent the air. A hallway, probably leading to a bedroom, stretched in front and to the right of him. There were no lights on, but the blinds were partially open, and the glow from a street lamp provided enough illumination to the small room.
Glancing to the left, he spied a kitchen. His already fast beating heart pumped more blood into his system, adding strength to his resolve. Moving quickly, he headed there first for a weapon. As soon as he pulled a knife from the block on the counter, the wail of a siren whined from a distance, at the same time he heard a scream that curdled his soul.
Throwing caution out the window he ran down the short hallway, the direction the cry had come from, fear setting his pace. Stopping in front of the only room, he gripped the open doorframe. The scene unfolding before him chilled his blood.
The dimmed overhead light showed a woman lying face down on the bed, and a man in dark clothing sat on top of her, straddling her legs to hold her down. She kept screaming and bucking to try to throw him off, but he kept laughing, and using one hand to hold both of hers on her head while he ripped her blouse with the other. So engaged in his activity, he didn’t even hear Stephan behind him.
Stephan wanted to stick the sonofabitch with the knife in his hand. But he spotted an empty metal potpourri bowl on a stand near the door. He didn’t want to shed any of the man’s blood on the woman if he didn’t have to. He put down the knife and picked up the bowl. Using all of his strength, fueled by his anger, he smashed it against the side of the bastard’s head.
Like a bowling pin toppling over, the man fell off the bed onto the floor, hopefully out cold for a while. When the weight holding her down disappeared, the woman on the bed flipped over. She raised her tear-streaked face and her eyes momentarily collided with Stephan’s before shifting to the man on the floor. As her gaze returned to his, fear flooded her beautiful chocolate-colored eyes. She gasped, and backed up against the headboard.
Even with puffy eyes, tear tracks on her face, and a bruise on her toasted almond-colored cheek her beauty still shone through. Stephan’s heart, which had been racing before, stopped in mid-beat.
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