This the beginning of Rooftop Angels, my latest from the Enigma Series. As usual Tessa Scott gets herself into a great deal of trouble. This is just a taste.
Her husband must have forgotten to activate the security system again when he’d taken the kids to their evening activities. Tessa noticed the lack of blinking lights on the master panel when she’d entered the house through the garage. The well-lit laundry room showed no signs of change, not that you could tell with the mounds of dirty towels, soiled football jerseys and lopsided white shirts that needed a once over with a steam iron.
She swung open the door into the kitchen to find darkness. Even the nightlight next to the stove offered no help as she awkwardly fumbled with her bag of groceries and briefcase. The briefcase slipped to the floor when Tessa found the wall switch and flipped it on. Just like always, Tessa stood still for a few seconds surveying the surroundings.
Her husband called her a spook; afraid of her own shadow, of everything and everyone. A week didn’t go by without him telling her she needed to lighten up. No matter what, he would always protect her. But her husband didn’t know the secrets she carried.
With the groceries placed on the island, Tessa’s eyes went to the night light laying precariously on the edge of the counter, the globe smashed. She pulled open a drawer and slipped a butcher knife out then dropped her hand to her side. The open style kitchen spilled light into the dining room and family area. Timers on table lamps missed their appointed time to flood the room with light.
She should have stopped and returned to the garage to wait for Robert and the kids. But what if…Tessa didn’t want to think about her family coming home to danger. She swallowed hard as her feet took baby steps. That’s when she noticed the time flashing on the microwave. Could there have been a power surge? Tessa smiled, relieved that now a logical explanation for the timers failing and maybe even the security system.
The heavy exhale filled the dining room as she entered with more confidence and bent down to retrieve the timer from the wall socket to reset it. Tessa’s body tensed as she touched the timer lying upside down on the wood floors. She’d laid the knife down on the dining room table only a second ago. Now her fingers fumbled nervously in search of it.
As Tessa pulled back her shoulders her eyes once more searched the depths of darkness in her home. Then she saw him. He was near the double windows. An attempt to close the shutters still left a ribbon of light to slip through revealing his large form not more than ten feet from her.
His silence spoke danger when he lunged toward Tessa. A scream shattered the darkness as Tessa tried to back away only to fall against a chair that hadn’t been pushed completely under the table. She grabbed it and pulled it out in time to block the intruder’s advance then swung the butcher knife at his head. He blocked it with an arm that felt like solid steel. Even though he managed to knock it from her grasp, Tessa knew she’d cut him. The split second she needed to escape forced her toward the stairs.
Inside her night stand rested a loaded revolver. If she could make it there she’d kill him. Tessa had no qualms about protecting herself or her family. She knew the staircase even in darkness. The knowledge gave her an edge on the danger that stalked her up the staircase.
The beat of her terrified heart grew louder in her ears than the sinister laugh that trailed after her. She felt his hand grab her foot, bringing her down hard onto her knees. The intruder was taken aback when Tessa rotated on her hip and kicked him so hard in the jaw that he fell back against the railing. With a painful grunt, Tessa scrambled up to the landing and raced to her bedroom.
As she entered her room, Tessa pushed in the lock button on the door knob and slammed it to shut without waiting to rush to her night stand. She yanked out the drawer as she heard the man kick open the door before it shut. Her hands searched for the holster she’d Velcro to the upper inside of the drawer.
The sound of his heavy breathing revealed he’d stopped at the door as Tessa turned leveling the revolver at his chest.