I climb the four steps and check the door. When it opens, I unsnap the strap across my gun. The door should be locked. Ren’s going to feel bad when he hears that Connie wasn’t crying wolf. Since the electricity is off, the first floor is dark. At first, I don’t hear any sounds, but then there’s a light scuffling overhead. There’s only a small space between Connie’s fire escape in the back and Mae’s. I shoot off a text to Bev.
May be an intruder here. Text Connie and let her know. Tell Ren but let him know I’m here and have it under control.
I tuck my phone away. I’ll need to apprehend the intruder before Ren gets here and blows the guy’s head off. Noiselessly, I make my way across the main floor, avoiding the clothing racks and displays, until I reach the back room. There’s another scuffling sound. At the top of the stairs a figure appears. I pull out my gun. “Police. Hands up.”
My heart lodges in my throat when a deep male voice booms through the dim house. The outside light had quickly faded. I must have gotten sidetracked going through Aunt Mae’s things. I drop the box that’s in my hand, cringing when it hits the floor with a loud thud before rolling down the stairs.
The lights flicker on, lighting up the entire house. Even though it temporarily blinds me, I’m still thankful to Kathy. She told me she’d get them on as soon as she could, and she didn’t disappoint. I’ll have to remember to send her a little something.
“What the hell are you doing here in the dark?” My eyes finally adjust to seeing a handsome cop at the bottom of my stairs. I watch as he lowers his gun quickly. He says something else under his breath I can’t hear.
I drop my hands, clearly not a threat to anyone. His deep voice matches every thick inch of him. I lick my lips, pulling my eyes away from the giant man at the bottom of my stairs to the box now at his feet. I should probably be scared, but for some reason the only thing I feel is annoyed.
“Why don’t you tell me why you’re standing in my house?” What does one do when a cop breaks into their house? You can’t call the cops. Because obviously he is the cops. At least the badge and uniform imply as much. “You made me drop my stuff. If it’s broken you’re replacing it.” I head down the stairs as my cell starts to ring. There are hundreds of dollars of equipment in the box.
I pull my phone out of my back pocket.
“I asked you a question,” his deep voice rumbles, sounding even more mad. Well, that makes two of us. This guy has a lot of nerve. He may be easy on the eyes, but that doesn’t mean he has the right to barge into my house. I bet he’s used to everyone doing exactly what he says when he says it. Not because of the badge either. He doesn’t need it to exude authority.
“I asked you one too.” I grab my box off the floor, taking it over to the dusty coffee table. “Hello.” I answer my call, not waiting for him to respond, giving him my back.
“Are they on?” Kathy asks. “I wanted to make sure they were before I headed out for the day.” I smile. Kathy has been a sweetheart. From the moment I’d called about needing power, she got right on it to make it happen.
She went out of her way to get it on within hours. I thought I might have to find a hotel tonight. No way could I stay in a house without power. Especially one I’ve never been in before. It might be my house now, but it isn’t home. Not yet, at least. It has been abandoned for a while now. But with a little love, I know it will come alive.
“They are. That was so sweet of you to get them on for me so quickly.”
“Of course. We’re not going to let some young lady stay overnight in a home without power.” I glance back at the cop, who is staring at me. Okay, not staring. He’s glaring. “I’m going to alert some people you’re in town or Connie next door will be calling the cops on you.” Kathy laughs.
“Too late.” I open my box and see that my microphone is busted. I groan. At least I don’t have any pressing deadlines at the moment. I can order another one. I can’t wait to tell the big lug standing in front of me that he’s paying for it.
“Too late?” Kathy asks. Before I can answer her, the phone is plucked out of my hand. He ends the call. My mouth pops open in shock.