Security for Sleeping Beauty - Chapter 1

Chapter 1

How many damn frogs do I have to kiss before I find my prince? Not that Ellie Prentiss had kissed the man she’d just left sitting at the bar. He’d looked nothing like the picture on his dating profile, and he hadn’t spoken in person as sweetly as he had in the texts he’d sent her. In fact he’d barely spoken at all, just grunted in response to her questions as he’d watched football on the television behind the bar.

Had he even noticed she’d left?

She chuckled. Probably not. If he’d been a gentleman, he would have offered to walk her to her car. Or not...

Some of the gentlemen who’d insisted on walking her to her car had been more octopus than man. No. She was safer out here alone, in the dark, than she was with any of the guys she’d met through the dating app.

If only it wasn’t so damn dark...

In this industrial area of town, the streetlamps were few and far between, casting only faint circles of light onto the cracked sidewalk. The bar she’d just left was in a converted warehouse; unfortunately most of the other warehouses had not been converted to anything yet and stood empty. The bar was popular, though, so popular that its parking lot had been full. She’d struggled to find a spot at the curb within a couple of blocks.

She’d arrived in daylight, and while she hadn’t stayed long, the sun set early in the upper peninsula of Michigan even this early in autumn. She shivered in the darkness and hastened her pace, hurrying toward her car. Other footsteps echoed hers. Maybe just someone else on her way to her vehicle...

Not that there were many other ones parked along the street. She grasped her bag closer to her side and reached into it for the can of pepper spray she carried. But when she’d left the office, she’d shoved so many files into it that she couldn’t find the can.

In her other hand, she grasped the key fob, which she clicked so her car headlamps flashed. A sigh escaped her lips. She was almost to her car. As she approached the door, she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the glass. Pieces of blond hair had straggled loose from her bun, and her black glasses had slipped to the end of her nose. She only needed those to read but hadn’t taken them off after perusing the menu. Not that her date had given her a chance to order anyway...since he’d thought a pitcher of beer sufficient.

She was so sick of dating frogs; time for her prince to show up. A shadow loomed behind her reflection, and her heart flipped with fear. She spun around but then uttered a sigh of relief. “Oh, it’s you—”

Metal glinted in that faint light as something swung toward her, striking her so hard pain exploded in her head. Consciousness slipped away as she dropped to the asphalt.