Home > To Die For (Blair Mallory #1)(4)

To Die For (Blair Mallory #1)(4)
Author: Linda Howard

The women who had gathered to watch Nicole's tantrum broke into applause as the door closed behind her. The men merely looked bewildered. I was pissed because Nicole hadn't cleaned out her locker, which meant I'd have to let her back inside once more to retrieve her belongings. I thought about asking Siana if I could insist on Nicole making an appointment to empty her locker, and having a cop present to both witness the removal of her personal belongings and prevent another tantrum.

The rest of the day passed in a golden glow. I was free from Nicole! I didn't even mind cleaning up the mess she'd made, because she was gone, gone, gone.

Okay. That's the deal with Nicole.

Back to me leaving that night by the back entrance, et cetera, et cetra.

The streetlight on the corner illuminated the parking lot, but the shadows were deep. A steady drizzle was falling, which made me mutter a swear word because the street crud would get my car dirty, and the night was turning misty on top of that. Rain and fog are not a good combination. Thank goodness I don't have curly hair, so I never have to worry about frizz in circumstances like these.

If you ever have the opportunity to be an eyewitness to a newsworthy event, you at least want to look your best.

I had locked the door and turned around before I noticed the car at the back corner of the parking lot. It was a white Mustang. Nicole was waiting for me, damn it.

Instantly alert and faintly alarmed-after all, she had turned violent earlier-I stepped back so the wall was at my back and she couldn't catch me from behind. I looked in both directions, expecting her to come at me from out of the shadows, but nothing happened and I looked at the Mustang again, wondering if she was sitting in it waiting for me to leave. What was she going to do, follow me? Try to run me off the road? Pull alongside me and fire some shots? I didn't put anything past her.

The rain and fog made it impossible to tell if anyone was in the Mustang, but then I made out a figure standing on the far side of the car, and I saw blond hair. I reached into my bag for my cell phone, and turned it on. If she made one step toward me, I was calling 911.

Then the figure on the far side of the Mustang wavered and moved, and a bigger, darker shadow separated itself from Nicole. A man. Oh, hell, she'd brought someone to beat me up.

I punched in the 9 and the first 1.

A loud crack of noise made me jump a foot high, and my first thought was that lightning had struck nearby. But there hadn't been a blinding flash, nor did the ground shake. Then I realized the noise was probably a gunshot, and I was probably the target, and I squeaked in panic as I dropped to all fours behind the car. Actually, I was trying to scream, but all that would come out was this Minnie Mouse noise that would have embarrassed me if I hadn't been scared half to death. Nicole hadn't brought muscle; she'd brought a hit man.

I'd dropped my cell phone, and in the dark I couldn't see it. It didn't help that I was trying to watch all around me and so I couldn't really take the time to look for the phone. I just began sweeping the pavement with my hand, trying to locate it. Oh, shit, what if the hit man was coming over to see if he'd hit me with that first shot? I mean, I'd dropped to the ground, so thinking I'd been hit was reasonable. Should I lie flat and play dead? Crawl under the car? Try to get back inside the building and lock the door?

I heard a car engine start, and I looked up just as a dark four-door sedan cruised up the narrow side street and out of sight alongside the building. I heard it slow and stop at the intersection with the four-lane street, Parker, in front, then pull out into the fairly sparse traffic. I couldn't tell which way it turned.

Was that the hit man? If anyone else had been in the parking lot, surely he or she had heard the shot and therefore wouldn't be driving sedately away. The only sedate driver would be the shooter, right? Anyone else would have been getting the hell out of there, just like I desperately wanted to do.

Typical of Nicole to hire a sorry excuse for a hit man; he hadn't even checked to make certain I was dead. But even if the hit man had left, where was Nicole? I waited and listened, but there weren't any footsteps, nor the sound of the Mustang starting.

I got down on my stomach and peeked around one of my front tires. The white Mustang was still sitting in the parking lot, but there wasn't any sign of Nicole.

Nor were there any passersby rushing to investigate the shot or see if anyone was hurt. Great Bods was located in a good district, with small shops and restaurants nearby, but no houses-and the shops and restaurants catered mostly to the surrounding businesses, so all of the restaurants closed by six and the shops not long afterward. If anyone leaving Great Bods later than that wanted a sandwich, the closest place was about five blocks away. Until now, I hadn't realized how isolated that made the employees' parking lot at closing time.

No one else had heard the shot. I was on my own.

I had two choices. My car keys were in my pocket. I had two key rings because the sheer number of the keys I needed for the gym made the ring too bulky to carry around while I did errands or shopped. I could get to my car keys without delay, unlock the car with the remote, and hop in before Nicole could get to me-unless she was standing right on the other side of my car, which I didn't think she was, but anything was possible. But a car, especially a convertible, didn't feel substantial enough to hold off a psycho copycat. What if she was the one with the gun? A ragtop won't stop a bullet.

My other choice was to fish the big set of gym keys out of my bag, feel for the door key, unlock the door, and get inside. That would take more time, but I'd be much safer behind a locked door.

Well, I guess there was a third option, which was to look for Nicole and try to get the jump on her, and I might have if I'd known for certain she didn't have the gun. I didn't know, though, so no way was I playing hero. I may be blond, but I'm not stupid.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
» Fixed series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)
» Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1)
» Norse Mythology