My skin crawled and I could feel eyes boring into my back by the time I’d made it halfway down the alley. It was too late to turn back now; I was already halfway there. I turned around, waving my phone in the darkness. Nothing was there. I was probably being paranoid. It had been a crap day. As much as I tried to convince myself, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched. Preyed on. Gooseflesh pimpled my skin, and not from the cold.
I swallowed and wrapped my arms around myself. My feet thudded against the pavement as I walked faster toward the end of the alley. I should have just gone around. My heart beat wildly in my chest, making my pulse roar in my ears.
I quickened my steps again, coming to a jog. Not an easy feat in my heels while trying to hold my work stuff and purchased items. I still couldn’t help it. Something was wrong. Someone was watching me. I could feel them like they were breathing down the back of my neck.
The street lamp from the other side of the alley filtered in and I let out a relieved breath. Almost there. There was one of those emergency buttons on the lamp. I could push it if the heebie-jeebies didn’t go away. The police or security would respond in a matter of minutes. Minutes. Did I have that long? I chanced another glance over my shoulder.
I still didn’t see anyone. Maybe my mind was overreacting. It had been a long week. Ugh. I just wanted to get home and drown my sorrows in a pint of ice cream and a roll of cookie dough. Maybe I could order some Thai takeout. I’d been wanting to try that new place but hadn’t because the ex didn’t like it. Ha. Don’t have to worry about him anymore. Single life might not be so bad.
Something brushed past me. My skin crawled from the contact and I let out a yelp. I squinted in the darkness and waved my phone around trying to see what it was. There was nothing there. I didn’t know why I was freaking out so much. This was a good part of town. Low crime. None of my coworkers had ever had issues, either.
But my intuition was usually right. I’d been right about my ex, the cheating bastard. The job promotion. I’d wanted that so badly; I never saw anything but me with the new job title. So, maybe my radar was out of whack today. A girl could hope because the alternative was freaking me the fuck out.
Fingers grazed over the back of my neck. I gasped and whirled around. “Who’s there?” I’d felt that for sure. Someone was toying with me. I clutched my bags tighter. They could be a weapon if I needed them to be. This crap was getting heavy.
A breeze whooshed by me, like someone—or something—had darted past. That wasn’t possible. It had been much too fast.
“Hello?” I took a few steps back. I was acting like one of the idiots in the horror movies now. Standing around while the killer stalked after them. I turned on my heel and ran smack into a solid chest.
Hands landed on my shoulders. I screamed.
One of the hands flew over my mouth as I was lifted off my feet and then shoved into the brick wall. The air whooshed out of my lungs, killing my screams as I fought to catch my breath.
I dropped my purse, phone, and bags and balled my fists. I landed one good punch into what I thought was my assailant’s jaw. It didn’t deter him at all. His warm breath ghosted over my neck. Then pain exploded in my neck and shoulder as something pierced the skin.
Holy fuck that hurt. I’d been stabbed in the neck. Warmth rolled down my neck and pooled on my collarbone. I was bleeding. I had to fight back. My one arm was wedged between my body and my attacker, but my other hand was free.
I lifted my free hand and grasped them by the hair, trying to jerk them away. When that didn’t work, I used my nails to claw down their face. It did nothing. My vision was starting to blur. It had to be from the blood loss. Or the pain. I couldn’t be sure. It seemed like I was losing a lot of blood fast. As my strength failed, the steady slurping sound filled the alley. Like someone was sucking on my neck with a straw. Gah. I was losing it. I had to fight back. I couldn’t just give up.
My arms were leaden. My knees gave out. The attacker pushed me further into the wall to support my weight. Don’t give up, Anya. Keep fighting.
My pep talk did nothing. My vision glossed over. I blinked rapidly desperate to stay conscious. Who knows what would happen if I fell under?
A puff of dust exploded in my face. The pressure on my neck and body disappeared. I gagged as dust flew into my mouth. My unsteady feet were no match for the weight of my body. I toppled forward but never hit the ground.
“It’s okay,” a male voice said. He picked me up and carried me bridal style through the rest of the alley. I blinked up at him as the streetlights showed me his face. It was angelic. His eyes were a deep brown that matched his dark hair. His face was round with a set jaw that had a sexy amount of stubble on it. But his eyes, it was like he could see straight into my soul. He was by far the most handsome man I’d ever seen. Too bad I was dying. That’s what this was. My eyes slid shut. Go figure, I’d meet the hottest man I’d ever seen seconds before my death.