Joseph’s truck was nowhere in sight when Nolie pulled into their driveway. Of course. He was working late again even though it was the weekend. She admired him for earning overtime pay and helping to ensure they had a nice house and everything they needed, but time with him would have meant more than any money he could bring in.
Disappointed, she went into the house, kicked off her shoes and sat at her computer in the living room to check her non-school email.
At the back of the house, something crashed, followed by the tinkle of broken glass hitting the tile floor in the kitchen.
Nolie jumped, adrenaline surging through her, and her heart pounded. It couldn’t be a break-in. They lived in too safe a neighborhood for that.
A flash of lightning brilliantly lit the room for a moment, followed almost immediately by a boom of thunder. Wind howled through the bushes and wires outside the house.
The storm. Of course. The wind had probably thrown a branch through one of the kitchen windows or the sliding glass door that led to their deck. Although it seemed unlikely, the possibility reassured Nolie.
Through the pulse beating loudly in her ears, she strained to hear any sound that might indicate an intruder. Her breathing was shallow, but she couldn’t draw a deeper breath with the constriction in her chest.
She should have just called the police. Getting up to check on the source of the noise might be the stupidest thing she had ever done. All the books she’d read where the heroine wandered off to check on suspicious things had annoyed the hell out of her, and she didn’t want to be one of those stupid women.
But instead of picking up her cell phone from the desk beside her, she slowly rose from her chair.
Glass crunched in the kitchen. Someone was there.
Trembling, her heart racing so fast she would never have been able to count the beats, she crept toward the kitchen and peered around the doorway.
A man wearing a ski mask and mirrored sunglasses stood beside a scatter of broken glass. The sliding door was wide open.
Nolie clapped her hand over her mouth, stifling a scream. Her legs shook so badly she couldn’t turn away to run, and even if they had cooperated she was frozen.
Someone was in her house, and she was alone with him.
As she stood there, thoughts whirling through her head and unable to move, the intruder lunged across the room and grabbed her. “You’re coming with me, bitch.”
His voice was little more than a low growl in her ear, but she recognized it. She had heard it every day for years.
Nolie took a deep breath and tried to calm herself. Excitement warred with fear and adrenaline within her. He hadn’t forgotten their talk. And now he was going through with his plan.