As I unlock my dingy apartment, I still taste her on my lips. I rush inside, don’t bother to lock up, and drink whisky from the bottle. I swallow and drink again, this time spitting onto the floor. What have I done? What have I done to a married woman?
The door opens behind me. Of course, he followed me from the hotel, and now, he means to kill me. Was that the game all along, to kill the man who tongued his wife? I deserve it—no time to atone. I think of all the offhand remarks with Chas, the cruel internal dialogue at those stupid society events, but this … this is the worst thing I’ve ever done. Now, I will die for it with no hope of forgiveness or a final confession. The man comes to send me to Hell.
I don’t back away or hold up my fists when he approaches. My guilt freezes me to the spot, so much so that when he sticks his tongue in my mouth, instead of a knife in my chest, I don’t fight back. But then, I do. My fists push against his chest and our mouths disengage.
My reflex is to throw one good punch at his jaw, but I miss. He catches my arm in his hand and twists it behind my back until an unwanted cry escapes my throat. Our feet tumble and wrestle beneath us, but damn it, Timothy Duke is much larger than me.
He twists my arm higher until I fear it might break and then pushes my face down against the cluttered desk in the corner. I smell ink and stale tobacco. It takes me a moment to recognize my vulnerable position. He has me bent over, pinned. His body weight crushes the air from my lungs, and he kicks at my feet, spreading my legs farther apart. I panic and renew the fight, but it’s useless.
“Don’t,” I mutter, pathetically begging.
A sound like airy laughter escapes through his nose. “I knew you were a fighter. Could see it in your hands.”
“I shouldn’t have touched your wife.”
“You think that’s why I followed you here, Avery? Because I’m jealous?” His grip loosens on my arm. Not enough for me to escape, but his fingers now move against my wrist, almost a caress. “You were magnificent.”
I take a shuddering breath.
“I only wanted you to know, if I’d been in that bed, you wouldn’t have left until I was finished with you.”
He lets me go, and I almost tumble to the floor. He adjusts his impeccable suit as he crosses the meager distance from the back of my apartment to the front. With his hand on the doorknob, he glances back.
“We’ll expect you tomorrow, the hotel at six.” He smiles. “Don’t worry. I’ll merely watch. And I believe Vonnie has a special treat.”
Timothy closes the door behind him. I fall over, down to my knees. It will take an entire bottle of whisky for me to find sleep this night.
(WOLF AMONG SHEEP comes out this Saturday, February 27, from Hot Ink Press. To follow all release day hijinks, come party with us on Facebook. Or add me to your “Want to Read” shelf on Goodreads HERE.)