The rustic windows of Dani LaClere's rented beach cottage stood open in invitation to the night breeze, tangy with salt and secrets of the sea. A shadow glided along the balcony on the street side, protected from moonlight, one with the night. It reached the window and poured into the cottage like primordial ooze. Silent and deadly.
He stood for a moment, listening for any sign that she was awake, but the sound of the surf gently pounding the shore kept him from hearing anything. With the flick of a finger the cottage came to life in the eerie, green glow of night vision goggles. Dani's world. He began to explore.
A small vase on the coffee table overflowed with flowers he couldn't identify. Books stacked in careless piles gave testimony to her favorite pastime. A tote bag waited by the door, bulging with towels, bottled water, suntan lotion and chocolate. The room was neat in a carefree, lived-in sort of way.
He continued to the corner that held a tiny kitchen. A bag of cookies sat on the counter and he helped himself to a handful as he headed for her room. He moved like a ghost across the sisal rug to the doorway of her bedroom where he stood and watched her sleep. Two steps would bring him to her bedside. He was tempted. His hands clenched in barely controlled agitation. All of the sneaking around fed his frustration. He was a man of action. Hands on. Yeah, he wanted hands on her. Right now. A small growl of frustration escaped him. Tonight he was only permitted to watch and record.
He pulled out his camera and started to record while another scenario played in his head. The one where he killed her. It wouldn't be so hard. She wasn't very big – average height from what he could tell. He pictured his hands around her throat. Or maybe he would wrap that long brown hair around and around, pulling it tight until she stopped breathing.
Suddenly he heard his own breathing, quick and ragged, above the sounds of the waves and forced himself to slow it down. He couldn't afford to make a mistake. A few more minutes and he would slip out into the night. She stirred restlessly and he held his breath.
Don't wake up yet, Dani. If I have to kill you tonight I'll be in so much trouble.
A quiet giggle slipped out and he caught his breath and stared at Dani, willing her to stay asleep in spite of the noises he made. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply for a moment to regain some control. Killing her would be nice. It would be even better after they tormented her for a while.
He clicked off the recorder and stepped gingerly toward the window in the main room. Three steps away from the doorway he froze. Her breathing changed abruptly. She was awake. He slid into a small niche between the wall and the entertainment center and prepared to wait. She would sleep again. There were hours yet until daylight.
He flipped open the video screen and played back the recording without sound. So close. What a rush. Impatient as he was, it would be fun to play with her for a while. They could only kill her once.
Well, having the official cover makes it seem real and so close to coming together! I hope you like it. To everyone who voted and commented - Thank you!!
I have a little more polishing, then the formatting and this baby will be ready for birthing. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you've enjoyed this sneak peek. I'll keep you posted.