By: Cynthia Eden

Sure. Because she had a death wish. She’d just skip right into a dark alley with a stranger who called her the same night that she’d nearly been attacked.

“I can help you stop him.” His voice deepened. “I know what happened before, okay? I was there. I reported on it.”

Reported—with that one word, his voice clicked, and she had a flash in her mind of a man—tall, a little thin, with sandy-blond hair and blue eyes that she’d actually thought held compassion.

But that had been a lifetime ago. Elizabeth had been a different person back then.

“You have me confused with someone else,” she said.

“Beth, no, don’t hang up.” His breath heaved out in a sigh that filled the phone. “You came to Texas because of what happened, didn’t you? Because this was his home? Part of you has to be looking for closure. I want that closure, too! I figured it out—everything. Come see me and we can stop— Ah!”

His words ended on a sharp cry. A cry of pain?

“Hello?” Elizabeth said. “Are you okay?”

Click. Silence. The call had ended.

“Hello?” She hit the call-back button but the line just rang and rang. After a few moments voice mail picked up.

This is Steve Yeldon. If you’ve got a story for me, leave a message. Otherwise...why are you calling me?

Steve Yeldon. That name was straight from her past. Elizabeth lowered the phone and stared at the screen. She remembered that reporter. He’d been young, only a few years older than she was. He hadn’t attacked her, not the way so many others had. He’d kept asking for her side of the story.

She hadn’t wanted to talk.

But that had been years ago.

Her finger slipped over her phone’s screen one more time. His last cry had sent goose bumps rising over her arms and had dread lodging in her heart. She tried calling back once more, needing to actually talk to him again and have Steve tell her that he’d just been disconnected, that everything was fine—

Someone answered the phone. She could hear the rush of breath.

“Hello?” Elizabeth said. “Is this Steve Yeldon?”

The rush of breath came over the line again.

“Steve, look, I don’t want—”

“Steve can’t talk right now.”

The low, raspy voice sent more shivers over her. “Who is this?”

“I’ll see you soon, Elizabeth.”

A distinct click filled her ears as fear knotted her stomach.

Her first instinct was to call the cops, to get to that alley but—

The cops didn’t believe me before. Not back when she’d first met Steve Yeldon. Her past with the cops was twisted and dark. She didn’t turn to them these days. Mostly because she didn’t trust them to help her.

But Steve needs help.

And she...she was the only one who could help him.

Elizabeth straightened her shoulders and grabbed for her car keys.

                      Chapter Two

Mac didn’t even know what the hell he was doing. He shouldn’t have followed Elizabeth back to her house. He definitely shouldn’t be lurking outside like some kind of stalker.

He’d just been worried. As if that made his tailing routine right. He raked a hand through his hair. The woman was home, safe and sound, so he should leave. Right then and not go up to her door. But...something kept nagging at him...

She has enemies. She’s keeping them secret.

He turned back toward his car. He’d talk to her tomorrow. Like a normal person. Like—

Elizabeth ran out of her house. Ran.

“Hey—” Mac called.

She jumped into her car, reversed with a squeal of her tires and nearly took out her mailbox. Her vehicle shot past him, fishtailing a bit, but he was already jumping in his own ride. He knew something was wrong. A person only drove that fast and hard when there was serious danger at play.

Elizabeth had told him that she didn’t like danger.

He cranked his car and headed after her. He followed Elizabeth’s car as she cut toward Austin, going to the downtown area and hitting the streets that were filled with clubs. He wouldn’t have pegged Elizabeth for the club type, but he’d been wrong about people before. Some of those mistakes had nearly proved fatal for him and his brothers.