Never Sweeter (Dark Obsession #1)(102)

By: Charlotte Stein

Climbing through the window would have been difficult without the time limit. With it, she was too frantic and too clumsy. She snagged the sweatpants she was wearing and twisted her ankle trying to put one foot through first, scraping various bare parts of herself as she jammed and forced.

Yet none of it was enough. If anything, her efforts only put her at a greater disadvantage. When they came through the door, she was panting and bloody and bruised, frustrated tears standing out in her eyes. Most of the fight was already gone out of her, and that sensation only got stronger as she took them in.

They were both tall, very tall, and broad. And clearly they were experts, rather than opportunists. Their clothes were practically uniforms, from their thick canvas jackets to their utilitarian boots. Even their masks were identical—thin black material that turned every part of their faces into a featureless lump.

And that included their eyes.

For some ungodly reason, they had no holes cut to see out of. There was just a dark blank space where those holes should be, as though two sightless aliens had come here just to silently observe. They wanted to know what panic looked like.

But she was damned if she was going to show it to them.

Instead she composed herself, before shutting the window behind her. None of this was a big deal. Everything was absolutely fine. She was just a woman on her own who had heard a noise and tried to escape, but understood now that she had to comply with their requests. That was all there was to this, she told herself, in the hopes that it would show on her face.

She hoped a lot of things in that calm before the storm—that Ellie would be okay out on the roof until help came, that they would not think too deeply about an adult woman being in a bubblegum room full of toys and tiny furniture, that they would just threaten her, or maybe knock her unconscious.

But sadly, only two of her hopes were heard.

The taller one lunged before she’d even finished the last thought.

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