Shifters' Captive:Magical Menages 1

By: Bonnie Dee

Chapter One

The streetlight was out, the bulb broken and glass shards scattered on the sidewalk beneath. Her feet crunched over the glass then resumed tap-tapping along the cement. Sherrie listened hard as she walked, but no other footsteps echoed through the night air. No predators lurked in the shadows of the alley as she passed. She was alone on the street. So why did the hair rise on her nape and prickle on her arms? Why did her heart race and why was she walking faster and faster?

Sounds or no sounds, she felt the presence of something nearby. Someone hiding and watching and following her. Was this what a rabbit felt just before a predator’s fangs bit its throat and sharp claws ripped out its life?

Almost home. Walk faster. Her front door key was clutched in her hand, ready to jam into the lock the moment she hit the stoop. Pepper spray dangled from the key chain, and she had her defensive moves ready from the class she’d taken at the Y. If anyone really did come at her from the darkness, she was prepared.

She turned the corner. The front door of her building was in sight only a half a block away. In five minutes, she’d be sitting on her couch, shoes off her aching feet and laughing at herself for being such a wuss. But from now on maybe she’d tell Carl she had to close the diner just a little earlier so she could catch the last bus home and not have to walk. One lone customer lingering over a refill of coffee was no reason for her to take risks with her safety.

No sounds. It’s your imagination. And then the soft pad of running footsteps and the sound of panting breath came from behind her. Sherrie slipped her hand from the key to the pepper spray as she whirled to face her pursuer. Adrenaline shot through her system, waking every cell, and they all screamed, “Flight!” Blood pounded in her ears so she could hardly hear.

A flurry of movement. Something large and dark. A body barreling into her and a hand covering her nose and mouth with a cloth. She inhaled to scream, and a medicinal odor filled her sinus cavities. Her finger went down on the trigger, spraying pepper, and she smelled that too.

As she lost consciousness and slumped against the hard body holding her, the last thing she heard was a murmured, “I’m sorry,” and, from somewhere close by, a dog’s howl.

The low murmur of voices was a part of her dream then became real as she surfaced into consciousness. Why was she lying on the floor, and what had happened to the threadbare carpet that covered her apartment from wall to wall? In a flash, it all came back to her. She wasn’t at home, passed out after an evening of partying with her friends. She’d been attacked and kidnapped, taken off the street right in front of her apartment.

Sherrie started to open her eyes and stopped. Better to take it slow, find out as much as she could about her surroundings before anyone knew she was conscious. She’d learned a lot from reading suspense novels.

A quick mental check and she realized she wasn’t tied up and that her key ring with the pepper spray was gone. She’d been left lying on the floor as if she weren’t a threat. If her captor assumed she was powerless, it gave her a small advantage. She might be able to catch him unaware and escape.

“…all I can tell you. It’s not right, damn it. I could’ve found a better way to do this if you’d given me some time.” The deep voice vibrated, sending shivers down Sherrie’s spine.

“There is no time. We needed to act immediately. We need this woman, and—”

“Sh.” The man with the lower voice interrupted. “Go now. I’ll deal with this.” There was the sound of footsteps, a door opening and closing then the floor creaking as the remaining man walked toward her. She drew a breath, bracing herself for whatever would happen and ready to take advantage of any opportunity to fight her way free.

He stood over her for so long that she thought she’d pass out from holding her breath.

“Miss Stoltz, I know you’re awake. I can hear the difference in your breathing.” His voice was so low and rumbling it sounded more like a growl than speech.

Sherrie wasn’t ready to open her eyes and see the face of her attacker. He could never let her go after that. He’d have to kill her. So she spoke with her eyes squeezed shut.