Authors: C. C. Wood
Copyright © 2013 by Crystal W. Wilson
Cover Design by Jena Brignola, Bibliophile Productions
Editing by Kerry Genova, Writer’s Resource
Interior design by Angela McLaurin, Fictional Formats
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owner.
All rights reserved.
It was fun spending time in your head.
I hope I used the word fuck enough to be realistic.
The light in the bar was dim but the patrons were loud. Between the music and the clientele, I could barely hear the order I was taking. Trying to ignore the way the guy’s eyes were glued to my cleavage, I leaned a little closer.
“I’m sorry, what was that?” I asked.
He stared at my breasts, which weren’t exactly impressive, as he answered, “Gin and tonic.”
I really wanted to smack him on top of the head with my drink tray but just managed to refrain. Instead, I smiled brightly.
“No problem.” I looked at the other two guys at the table, who were already pretty tipsy. “Anything for you?”
They both shook their heads, and I turned and headed toward the bar. Lauren, the bartender, started pouring the drink, looking as tired as I felt. I shifted my weight from foot to foot, trying to relieve the pain in my arches. It was almost one-thirty in the morning. Last call would be in another fifteen minutes, and I could not wait. The night hadn’t been busy but steady. My feet and my head were killing me.
I glanced around the bar to see if any of the other patrons were ready for refills. For some reason, my eyes were drawn to the corner. It wasn’t even my section, but I still looked. There was a table tucked away there, usually occupied by couples or those who wanted to the illusion of privacy. Tonight, a man sat at the table, hidden in the shadows. When my gaze reached him, he shifted forward into the dim light. I felt my chest tighten. He was beautiful, beyond beautiful. His hair was dark and long, almost to his shoulders. The bones of his face looked as though they had been sculpted by a master. His high cheekbones and strong jawline should have been considered works of art. However, it was his eyes, those piercing blue eyes that I couldn’t look away from. I felt pinned.
“G and T, Donna.”
Lauren’s voice jerked me out of the hot guy trance, and I turned to look at her. She smirked at me when she noticed who had distracted me.
“So you saw Jenna’s hottie from last night?”
I blinked. I remember Jenna had been going on and on about some guy in her section last night and how he was gorgeous. Of course I had blown her off because she was twenty-two and tended to exaggerate.
Jenna’s hottie?” I asked incredulously.
“Wow, I guess she didn’t overstate it after all.”
We both laughed and I took the glass from the bar. As I walked back to deliver the drink, I could almost swear I felt the man’s eyes on me still. I refused to look. I just knew that I would trip or do something equally embarrassing if I so much as glanced in his direction. I focused on my walk back to the table I was serving and tried to ignore the prickle on the back of my neck.
I set the gin and tonic on the table and gave the total to my cleavage ogler. Again, the three men all eyed me like a group of wild dogs would stare at a juicy steak. I was beginning to feel uncomfortable with their obvious staring.
“Anything else, gentlemen?” I asked. They all shook their heads. “All right, well last call is in fifteen minutes, so let me know if you need one more round.”
A table nearby was ready to cash out their tab, so I headed back to the bar to get their credit cards. I couldn’t stop my eyes from straying to the corner, but the man with piercing eyes was gone. Ignoring the vague feeling of disappointment, I served drinks for last call, cashed out tabs, and cleared tables. The table of three men cleared out soon after I served the gin and tonic. They even left me a very hefty tip. I decided I could deal with their staring if they were going to be such great tippers.
Finally, at two forty-five, Lauren, the other waitress Sandy, and I were finished with clean up. I walked out with them and climbed into my car. I was just about to follow them out of the parking lot when I realized that I had left my cell phone inside. I really didn’t want to go back in for it, but I needed it. I had cancelled my home phone service several months ago, and it was my only means of communication. Quickly, I whipped my car around to the back entrance. I checked the parking lot, which was still empty, and headed back into the bar. I was glad the manager trusted me enough to give me a key and the alarm code. Within a minute, I had my phone, rearmed the alarm, and locked the back door.
I finished locking the door, but when I turned to head back to my car I stopped short. The three men from earlier were shoulder to shoulder in front of a big, black SUV. The blood in my veins turned to ice. They did not look friendly, well, not the kind of friendly I would appreciate. This was not good. Not only were their eyes crawling all over my body, I knew exactly how much alcohol they had that evening. It was enough to bolster their courage to do something stupid, but not enough to prevent them from raping me until they were tired of the game.
Muscles tense, I maneuvered my keys so they stuck out between my fingers like spikes. I cursed my own stupidity for not carrying the pepper spray key chain my friend Shannon had given me. It would have given me time to get into my car with the doors locked. The ringleader, Mr. G and T, stepped forward. I slid sideways away from the door, toward the road. Maybe I could make it to the street. There was a twenty-four hour diner half a block away.
My hopes were dashed as the other two men spread out to cut me off. Okay, obviously that wasn’t going to work. I decided to try talking my way out of the situation, though I was smart enough to know it was likely futile.
“Hey, guys. Did you forget something back in the bar? I can call my manager and have him come down and let you in.”
None of them spoke. They only continued to close in on me. Frantically, I tried to think of something I could say that would dissuade them.
“Well, it was nice to see you again, but I have to get going. My boyfriend is expecting me home in the next few minutes, and he’s likely to show up looking for me if I don’t get there soon. You know how paranoid cops are…” I trailed off. They weren’t backing off at the mention of a boyfriend or the cops. Shit.
They were almost within arms’ reach now. I tried to slow my breathing. I wouldn’t have much of a chance to get away, so whatever move I was going to make was going to have to be quick, efficient, and effective. I tried not to think of how creepy it was that none of them were speaking or responding to me when I spoke. Almost like fucking robots.
The leader lunged toward me suddenly. I gasped but was shocked to see my hand come up and jab him in the face with my keys. Somehow I managed to do the right thing without thinking about it. He howled, covering his face with his hands. When he hit his knees, I darted around him, heading straight for my car and screaming as loud as I could. Maybe someone in the area would hear me and call the police. I heard the other two men scrambling to come after me.
I saw one of them heading toward me out of the corner of my eye and veered away from my driver’s side door. Maybe I could make it to the passenger side or even one of the rear doors. Fingers closed over my shoulder and I knew that I’d never make it to my car. In a last burst of desperation, I managed to rip away from the clutching hand, but not in the direction I needed to go.
Now I was headed away from the street, toward the fence at the edge of the bar’s parking lot. I would be cornered. I glanced over my shoulder and saw that all three of them were closing in fast. I had nowhere else to go. When I reached the fence, I whirled around to face the three men as they approached. G and T had gouges in his cheek and blood running down his jaw and neck. He also looked supremely pissed. I kept my back to the fence and squatted slightly, arms low and slightly away from my sides. I really wanted to reach for my cell and call for the police, but I couldn’t risk taking even a sliver of attention away from the three men in front of me. I had a bad feeling they would be on me before I got the first number punched in.
Instead, I opened my mouth and shrieked as loud and long as I could. The men immediately moved in on me. I knew that I was going to get hurt, but I wasn’t going down without a hell of a fight. The ringleader wisely stayed slightly back as the other two men grabbed for me. One gripped my left arm, and I used the keys still clutched in my right hand to punch him in the throat. I didn’t get as much force behind it as I wanted but it did make him step back and choke. I felt the other wrap his arms around my waist from behind me. I threw my head back and felt my skull make contact with something pointy. The man behind me groaned and his arms loosened. I felt a surge of satisfaction. I knew that it wouldn’t be long before the three of them overpowered me, but I also knew that they would be feeling pain because of me and that was something.