I waited another ten seconds, straining to hear anything that would give away the intruder’s location.
I forged ahead, the snail’s pace turning my ankles into jelly.
One more step to go.
I stopped and crouched up against the inside wall of the staircase. Just earsplitting silence. Gathering myself, I summoned whatever semblance of courage remained in my trembling body.
A second later, my brain issued the command. Okay—it’s go time.
I lunged up toward the last stair, propelling myself into the loft.
At least that was the plan.
My leading foot caught the lip of the top stair, sending me crashing down. The pepper spray sailed across the room as the elbow of my outstretched arm slammed into the wood floor. I didn’t hear the dispenser hit anything, so either the killer caught it, or it landed in the pile of clean clothes on the floor. Either way, not good. Worse yet, the raised bat fell backward, its barrel cracking me on the back of the head before bouncing and rolling down the stairs.
Disarmed and face down, I lay sprawled between the top step and the floor of the room. Before the killer could react, I scrambled to my feet and hit the light switch.
And there he was, his intensity palpable.
I stared into his piercing eyes.
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