Lipstick & Danger

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Rooftop Angels

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.

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