Heart of Midnight
Fate does a double whammy on Amy, pitching her first into the path of a serial killer, and then into the hands of Kyle Whitehorse. Kyle rescues her, but he suspects she's one of the agents pursuing him and his brand of interrogation ignites a conflagration that threatens to consume both of them.
Word Count: 22,032
Genre: Paranormal/Erotica Romance
Rating: Erotica. Contains light bondage, explicit sex and graphic language.
Available formats: : PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Alex DeShanks, July 2005
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
"….series of bizarre murders. Although they originally refuted such a possibility, Police are now saying this is the work of a serial killer. Althea Malone, now believed to be the first victim, survived the attack. In an interview earlier with this reporter, she said that the driver of the car flashed his lights at her as he met her on the road, made a U turn, and pursued her until he'd run her off the road. Before she could flee, he leapt from his car, dragged her from hers and brutally assaulted her.
"This eerie similarity to the urban legend, police say, is only one of the bizarre aspects of this case, though they declined to comment further regarding the investigation.
"Ms. Malone, who has been in critical condition since the attack, has been upgraded to guarded condition. Although she is finally able to talk, she would not say whether or not she could identify her assailant, but police have been stationed at her hospital room around the clock and it is speculated that she has given them a description of the man who brutally assaulted her.
"An FBI profiler who was called in to help with the case describes the killer as a white male, of average height and build, and between the ages of 30 and 35. He would most likely have some disability that would make it difficult for him to socialize--such as a stutter. Women are strongly cautioned not to travel alone in the evenings, or go out at all unless it is absolutely necessary."
A shiver cased its way down her spine as Amy switched the radio off. "Fat lot of good it is to know he's got a frigging stutter!" she muttered. "I guess if somebody runs you off the road and he doesn't stutter, you can relax?"
Reaching blindly for the controls on her door, she clicked the automatic door lock again, just to be sure.
Ordinarily, she didn't really mind working the late shift at the hospital. She lived alone, so it didn't matter that she didn't have her evenings at home. In fact, working was preferable to spending every evening alone, staring at the TV, which as often as not had nothing on of any interest to her even when she could get a clear picture. If it rained, she couldn't, and if the wind was blowing she couldn't because the trees in the forest surrounding her place were so tall that gusting winds made them sway into the line of reception of the little satellite dish mounted on her roof.
She'd been tempted a few times to clear a swath through the trees so that they wouldn't interfere with her programs, but then she might be able to see her neighbor's house and she lived in the country because she saw enough of people during the day. She didn't want to even catch a glimpse of human habitation when she escaped the rat race. The people who knew her well enough to know she lived in the deep woods alone thought she was a nut case, but it was the way she maintained a healthy balance in her life--chaos at one end in her working life as a receptionist in the emergency room and absolute peace whenever she was at home.
At a time like this, though, she almost regretted her life style. It unnerved her having to drive through the almost deserted streets so late at night with a killer on the move stalking women. She dreaded even more leaving the city behind and turning onto the deep black ribbon of road that wound for miles into the countryside without passing more than a handful of houses.
She took herself to task for those wayward thoughts. What were the odds, after all, that she would run into the serial killer? "Probably almost astronomical," she muttered. "Quit scaring yourself Amanda Louise Pendleton! Having an imagination is all well and good, but not if you're going to use it against yourself!"
Despite the pep talk, Amy found tension winding tighter and tighter inside of her as she left the lights of the city behind and her car became engulfed in the blackness of the narrow two lane back road. She wasn't aware of it at first, humming under her breath to keep the sense of isolation from creeping into her. After several miles, however, she began to realize that her fingers were hot and going numb from gripping the steering wheel so tightly. Her shoulders and arms ached from the tension and her foot was growing heavier and heavier on the gas pedal.
Taking herself to task again, she eased off on the accelerator and forced her body to relax. After glancing at the radio a couple of times, she decided to leave it off. Music might have lightened her mood but she was liable to hear another news report and she didn't think that would help her feelings at all.
She hadn't passed a house or a car in ten minutes when her headlights caught the shape of a vehicle on the side of the road. It was facing her, on the opposite side of the road.
"Somebody just broke down," she muttered between clenched teeth, instantly feeling tension grip her once more. The car was dark. Who ever had broken down hadn't pulled far enough off the road, in her opinion, but the shoulder was narrow and they'd probably feared they would end up in the ditch.
She was almost even with the car, staring at it and trying to decide whether she'd seen it before and if it was possible it belonged to someone who lived out this way, when the headlights suddenly flooded the road. The light blinded her. Blinking, trying to chase the spots away, she stared hard at the road, trying to keep from running off of it. Her foot came off the accelerator automatically and her car slowed. She patted the break, too focused on her predicament to spare a glance toward the car as she passed it.
The squeal of tires behind her made the hair on the nape of her neck stand on end. Gripping the steering wheel, she glanced quickly in her rearview mirror. As dark as it was, and still a little blind from the sudden flash of light, Amy could see little beyond the other car's headlights and tail lights as it spun a donut in the middle of the road. Her heart seized in her chest. Panic washed over her like a tidal wave.
"It's a cop," she muttered. "It must be. Stupid son of a bitch! What the hell is he doing anyway, scaring the shit out of law abiding citizens?"
She was too panicked to decide what to do. Pull over? Keep going? Slow down? Speed up? She did all four, her car bouncing and veering as she braked and swerved toward the side of the road, then thought better of it and veered back into her lane and speeded up, stopping just shy of the speed limit.
Flashing blue lights did not fill her car. Instead, the car around her grew brighter and brighter as the car behind her closed the gap between them. Unconsciously, she depressed the accelerator a little harder, dividing her attention between the road ahead of her and the lights in her rearview mirror.
He had his brights on and those headlights rapidly moved closer and closer until she couldn't see anything but the reflection of the lights in her night mirror.
"Oh god!" Amy gasped when she saw he wasn't making any attempt to brake. Expecting a collision any moment, she floored it. Her car shot forward. The lights in her mirror dropped behind her. A moment later she heard the roar of the other car's engine as the driver accelerated again until his bumper was practically touching hers.
The gas pedal was practically against the floor already, but Amy pressed harder on it anyway. Her car inched up a few more miles per hour, but not enough to put any distance between her and the car behind her.
Fighting panic, Amy's mind leapt to grasp possibilities. None presented themselves. This stretch of the road was deserted--all the way to her turn off and once she was on her own road she would be in serious trouble. It was a dead end. She might make it to her neighbors' house and she might not. Once she turned onto the dirt road she would have to slow down and the chances were good that she would slide off or be bumped off before she could reach the doubtful security of her own home, or her neighbors.
The thoughts had no more than materialized in her mind when she realized she was approaching the last turn off before her own road. She'd never been down it, had never had any reason to explore it, but she did not want to lead the killer to her door and she did not want to chance getting trapped on a dead end road with him.
It was the killer. She knew it had to be--unless this was some moron's idea of a joke.
She wasn't going to stake her life on it.