Dangerously Involved(123)By: Sidney Bristol
She saw the shape too late.
Her foot caught and she pitched forward. Gravel and sand scraped her skin. Her knees jolted hitting the ground, jarring her bones.
The dog yelped as it scampered away.
Erin coughed dust and shook her head. Her body throbbed with adrenaline, her limbs ached.
Feet crunched the ground behind her.
She would not go back there.
Erin shoved to her feet and swayed. Days without regular food or water were taking their toll.
“Erin Lopez?” The accent was American, but without light there was no way to tell if he was US military, private sector, or someone she didn’t want to run into in a dark ally.
She whirled to face a figure armed with a rifle. The man in the shadows was impossible to identify, beyond big.
“Who are you?” She wasn’t admitting anything yet.
“VIP asset is in hand,” he said to someone else, but he was alone.
“Sorry, ma’am. Come with me, please?” He had an earpiece. She could see the wire when he turned his head. He was either military or a contractor then.
“Not until you tell me who you are.” Erin took a step back. She’d made enemies. She couldn’t blindly trust someone because they claimed they were there to rescue her.
“My name is Riley.” He lowered his weapon and glanced over his shoulder. “I’m with Aegis Group Lepta Team. We were hired to bring you home safely. Now, if you don’t mind, I think it's best we move. Now.”
That was familiar.
Riley strode toward her. Erin backed away, but he was coming faster than she moved. Riley wrapped his left arm around her, his hand firmly in the middle of her back, and hustled her around behind the homes. He didn’t manhandle her or drag her, which was a nice change of pace. If it weren’t for the situation, she might even call his touch comforting.
She couldn’t remember having heard that. Was he lying to her? Or was he her new guardian angel?
“Nice night, isn’t it?” Riley kept her moving at a steady pace. He had a destination in mind, unlike her.
Erin peered at the homes, but most of the lights were out. Did these people know what was going on? Were they taking cover?
“Thirsty? Anything hurt?” Riley peppered her with questions that didn’t matter.
“We need to get out of here,” Erin said.
“Glad we can agree on something.” Was it her imagination, or did he laugh?
“These homes, what about the people?”
“Oh, everyone’s safe. Figured if things were going to get hot, we should clear out as many people beforehand. Seemed like the neighborly thing to do.”
Erin gaped at the shadow shrouded man.
They’d taken time to empty homes before trying to rescue her? And risked someone spilling the beans?
Who were these people?