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By:Alexa Riley

She goes for the stairs, running up them, and I hear her feet pounding their way up. I run behind her, taking them three at a time. I don’t want to catch her just yet; I want to see where she’s going first. She’s got some sort of plan in her head, because she’s on a mission to get there now.

She makes it to a door, pulling out her keys and trying to get them into the lock. She’s acting like if she gets through the door, it will stop me from coming in there. I guess this dump is where she lives.

She glances over her shoulder and finally sees how close I am. She watches me coming for her, and her eyes grow wide with fear. She fumbles with her keys, dropping them to the floor. In a panic, she goes to reach down for them, but it’s too late. I’m on her.

I cage her body against the door she was trying to get inside. I wonder if anyone is on the other side waiting for her. The idea pisses me off for some strange reason.

She closes her eyes tight, clearly not wanting to look at me. Or maybe she doesn’t want to look at what she thinks is coming. It’s then I really see her.

Her long dark hair hangs in a loose braid over one shoulder. Some of her rich locks have come loose from it, a few strands around her face. Her skin is soft and creamy, and I have an urge to know what it feels like. I lean in a little, getting the smell of strawberries and honey. I didn’t know someone could smell sweet like that, and my mouth waters.

I release one of my hands from the door and run my finger down her cheek. I need to find out just how soft her skin really is. The desire to touch her is overwhelming. Just as I make contact, her eyes fly open, looking straight up into mine.

It feels like someone sucker punches me. I’ve never seen eyes like hers. I almost think they can’t be real. They are a light gray, with a soft purple around her pupil. It’s stunning, and I can’t break the contact. I don’t know how long I stand there just staring into them, getting lost in something I’ve never felt before.

“Please don’t hurt me,” she whispers, pulling me from the trance she had me under.

Hurt her? I’ll fucking kill anyone who tries to harm a hair on her head. She looks like she fell from heaven.

My angel.

“I’m not going to hurt you, angel,” I tell her, my voice coming out deep.

I can hear the need in it. The fear in her eyes doesn‘t dissipate, and it twists my stomach into knots, something that hasn’t happened to me since I was a kid and thought I’d disappointed my father. She’s terrified of me. It’s written all over her face. I’ve scared this perfect angel. Fuck, I don’t even know what’s happening. Something is pulling at me. My body feels like it’s throbbing. Every muscle is on fire, and I feel like I’ve run for days instead of the distance it took us to get here.

Her full lips part a little as she studies me. I drop my hand from her cheek, already missing the feel of her softness against my rough hands. Jesus, I can’t believe I just had that thought. What is this woman doing to me?

My eyes run down her small frame, and her size irritates me. She shouldn’t be walking around at night. She barely comes up to the middle of my chest, how could she possibly protect herself? It’s then I notice what she’s wearing. A burnt colored orange waitress uniform with Rita’s over her left breast. It looks like it’s made out of cheap polyester, and I wonder if it hurts her soft skin. Why is this angel working at a restaurant when she could be a goddamn supermodel? Hell, this is California. I don’t know why I haven’t seen her plastered on billboards and in magazines.

“Please,” she whispers again.

My gaze shoots back to hers, and I know the anger must be showing on my face. I try to mask it, but it’s pushing forward. I’m not used to having to control myself. The feeling is foreign to me. When I want to do or say something, I just do it. But I don’t want to scare her.

“If you’re running from someone, you don’t run home,” I grit out. “Then that person knows where you live.” Her mouth forms an adorable O shape. She’s probably wondering why the man who chased her down is giving her this information.

She backs up a little more, trying to get farther away from me. That only angers me more. I want her to move toward me. I want her out of this shitty-ass building that needs to be torn down. That’s something I’ll need to look into.

“I swear I won’t say a word.”

Her promise makes me remember why I’m here. That I chased her down because she saw me kill a man. She’s a witness to a crime that could put me behind bars for the rest of my life.

“Have you eaten?” I don’t know why I ask the question, because it’s not the direction I should be going in. I should be more concerned about other things, but I can’t seem to help myself and I can’t find the will to stop myself.