Stray bullets from the hunting club have hit her house before, but when one pierces her wall, Alaina decamps to the wash shed for safety. She nearly has heart failure when she discovers she's sharing her 'safe harbor' with a wounded panther.
Ralphie is no 'ordinary' two hundred plus pound great cat, though.
Length: Mid Novel
Word Count: 75,528
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, August 2008
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.
The first gun shot woke Alaina. Still groggy with sleep, she lay still on the couch trying to figure out what the noise was. As it came closer it became clear what the loud popping noise was. Her heart skipped several beats. She glanced sharply at the clock on top of her TV set.
"My god! It's two in the morning! What the hell would they be hunting at this time of night?"
Rolling off the couch, she scrambled on her hands and knees toward the phone, grabbed it up and dialed the sheriff's office. It seemed to ring forever and finally switched over. He'd forwarded his calls.
He was probably at home in bed!
"Sheriff Wilson," said a voice on the line just about the time she'd given up.
"Hank, it's me, Alaina. They're out shooting up the woods again."
There was a momentary silence. "What the hell are they hunting at this time of night?"
"Well, god knows, I don't," Alaina said sharply, "but it sounds like they're moving in my direction. I'd just as soon not have any more bullet holes in my damned house!"
"I'm about fifteen minutes from you. Stay on the floor."
As if she had any intention of getting up!
The thought had barely formed in her mind when her wall exploded and then the couch as a stray bullet pierced the wall of the living room. Tufts of stuffing flew up in the air and drifted downward.
Alaina gaped at it in stunned disbelief for a split second feeling cold wash over her as she realized she'd been lying within inches of that bullet only a few moments earlier. Adrenaline surged through her then and, instinctively she began to scramble on her belly toward the back of the house. "Shit! Oh shit!" she muttered, with no clear destination in mind beyond trying to get out of range.
She'd never had a bullet actually enter the house! She'd heard shotgun pellets rain down on her roof like hail. She'd even found a couple of places on the outside walls where a spent bullet had cracked the siding, but she had never really believed she was in danger of actually getting shot in her own living room!
She'd already gone out the back door and made a dash for the storage shed in the rear before it occurred to her that they might decide she was a deer or whatever it was they were hunting.
They were on the front side of the house, though, which was why she'd thought of the shed to begin with, afraid that if they were close enough that a bullet had gone through the siding and into the house, that the interior walls weren't substantial enough to protect her.
In the distance, she heard Hank's siren.
She heard another gunshot as she grabbed the door of the shed, however, and she yanked it open and dove inside, wondering if they were going to shoot the poor sheriff. The shed was black as pitch inside, but she crouched behind her washing machine, which was right beside the door, trying to reassure herself that it was substantial enough to stop a bullet even if they came right up to the house. "Those crazy bastards!" she gasped, wondering if they were drunk or stoned out of their minds.
She'd complained about them trespassing at least a half a dozen times, but in the entire time she'd been living in the house, the hunters had never gotten nearly this close.
Trying to catch her breath and calm the frantic pounding of her heart, she listened as the siren drew nearer. After a few moments, she heard the engine of the car, the crunch of gravel beneath the wheels and then the sounds began to fade as the sheriff's car passed her place, headed down the track.
Tipping her head up, she listened for anything that might indicate that they were just crazy enough to shoot at the sheriff, wondering if it was safe to leave the shed.
"I'm going to sue the bastard if Hank doesn't arrest his sorry ass this time," she muttered.
She was shaking all over. She realized after a few moments that part of it, maybe, was due to the fact that she was sitting on cold concrete in her panties.
She'd forgotten she'd stripped down to her panties and t-shirt when she'd sprawled on the couch to watch the movie she'd dozed off in the middle of.
It was quiet outside now. She didn't hear the sirens, the car engine, no shooting. She thought she could hear a low hum of voices, but the sound was too indistinct to tell for sure.
Dragging in a shuddering breath, she was on the point of pushing herself upright when she saw something that froze her mid-motion.
There was a pair of glowing yellow eyes staring straight at her from the darkness of the shed less than two yards from where she was sitting.