Only one block separated Angie from her workplace. Her lungs burned. No matter how much air she sucked in, there didn’t seem to be enough oxygen.
A tall, slim man smoking a cigarette watched her from half a block away.
How did she notice him in her state of asphyxiation? Because his pale, blue gaze cut across the distance and met hers with such intense fury that it scorched her retinas.
She slowed her pace, glancing over her shoulder, but saw no one. Why was she the focus of his death glare? Maybe he was friends with the jackass in the truck who’d cat-called her and didn’t appreciate her attempt at sign language? If so, he could take a number and get in line with all the other things wanting to destroy her life today.
As Angie jogged closer, she couldn’t help but notice the brightly colored tats peeking out from under his long-sleeved dress shirt. His business attire looked out of place with his shaved head and a cigarette hanging from his lips. He’d never be the poster boy for GQ Magazine, but he sure fit her bad boy fantasies.
He strode into her path, blocking her way. “What are you doing here?”
She tried to brake, but flip-flops weren’t made to stop on a dime. The front ends folded under and she scraped the tips of her toes along the concrete sidewalk. “Mother fucker, son of a bitch…” She hopped on one foot to rub her bloody toes, then repeated the process on the other foot. “What’s wrong with you?” She planted her hands on his chest and shoved, propelling herself backward.
Pinwheeling her arms, she caught her balance. Great, a supernatural. She had a better chance of pushing the Hanover Tower.
He grabbed her upper arm and yanked her kissing-close. “Don’t do that again.”
Her blood smeared across his white shirt where she’d laid her dirty hands. She couldn’t help but notice a small blue symbol tattooed by his left eye. From this angle, she couldn’t see the design completely.
Try as she might, she couldn’t jerk her arms free. Her heart hammered. “Let go.” She glanced around for help, but no one seemed to want to meet her desperate stare. They crossed the street, gazes glued to the ground. The pedestrian population thinned out quickly as many of them found stores they just had to enter. The scent of fear filled the air and only some of it was hers.
“What are you doing in my city?” His whispered question sent chills down her spine.
“Your city? No one owns New Port.” Oh God, she couldn’t stop her mouth. All she had to do was apologize profusely for whatever imagined transgressions and he’d most likely let her go. Angie stared at the shaved dark stubble on his head, since she couldn’t take his penetrating glare. He kept his hair cropped real close. Almost like velvet. She caught her hand before she reached to touch him. Her senses said he was some sort of shifter, but she couldn’t tell what. She suspected she had a little supernatural blood in her lineage, so her skills were limited. Definitely not werewolf. Her ties to the pack were close enough that she knew them at least by sight.
Unfortunately, humans didn’t hold the monopoly on criminals. Supernaturals had them too and Ryota had shown her how to best defend herself. She slid her free hand into her front pocket. “I said, let me go.” She gave her arm another jerk.
He gave her a condescending smile that would have frozen the Eastern Ocean. “Or what?”
She withdrew her hand, aimed at his face, and pulled the trigger on her pepper spray, remembering at the last moment to close her own eyes and mouth.
He let go and roared an inhuman sound. The noise rattled the windows. She thanked God that she’d emptied her bladder before setting the kitchen on fire.
Shit, shit, shit.
She geared her ass to holy-shit-it’s-going-to-eat-me speed and didn’t think the soles of her flip-flops hit the ground until she reached the door to her own little business.