Home > Wrath (New Species #6)(4)

Wrath (New Species #6)(4)
Author: Laurann Dohner

“Cute.” Lauren waved and headed toward her car.

* * * * *


Lauren glanced at her GPS navigator for the fifth time ten minutes later and cursed as she looked around at the empty streets. She had a bad feeling about showing a property after hours. The Industrial Park was virtually abandoned since most businesses had closed for the night or were just warehouses. She was a single woman going to meet a strange man in an unfamiliar area at night. She took a turn when the computerized voice ordered her to.

An expensive red sports car was parked in the otherwise empty parking lot when Lauren stopped her car next to it. She hesitated before climbing out. Every bit of common sense told her to flee. It screamed “bad idea” but she’d lose her job if she didn’t get her ass inside there and show the thing. Her fingers gripped her keys and her thumb hit the door-lock button.

The building was a huge one-story, similar to dozens of others on the block and the old business sign declared it had been some shipping company she wasn’t familiar with. Her high heels clicked loudly on the pavement as she approached the double doors. The key box sat on the ground, open. She bit her lip.

Only realtors had the combination to open them to get the keys but someone had obviously given it to Mr. Herbert. It made her dislike her coworker even more. The jerk who was supposed to show the property had obviously betrayed the seller’s trust. It was a huge no-no. They used the same combination on all the properties they represented, including homes that people still lived in. If Mr. Herbert was a pervert or a thief, he now had access to a lot of properties. She silently swore to have a talk with their boss about it.

The doors were unlocked when she tested them and one side easily opened. It wasn’t a mystery anymore where the prospective client had gone. He hadn’t waited until she arrived to go on a tour but had already entered the warehouse. She stepped inside, glanced around the barren reception area, and cleared her throat.

“Hello?” she called loudly. She peered at a dim corridor. “Mr. Herbert?”

She stepped into the darkness and turned her head to search for the light switch. The outside lights in the parking area didn’t extend far into this section of the building. Relief was instant when she found it and she could see the room. Mr. Herbert wasn’t there but the double doors to the hallway leading to what appeared to be offices were wide open.

“Mr. Herbert?” She yelled the man’s name louder.

No response.

“Damn. I don’t like this,” she whispered.

It went against the grain to meet a stranger in an empty building. She wasn’t stupid. Mr. Herbert could be a rapist or a killer. It was her job to meet clients and lead them through empty properties. The commission on this baby though…

That prospect propelled her closer to the dark hallway to hunt for another panel of switches. The lights in the hallway flickered and stayed on when she found it. Her gaze traveled the long length of open office doors on both sides and it seemed to end at the warehouse part of the building, judging by the massive double doors. Where the hell is this guy?

“Mr. Herbert?”

She stepped into the hallway with dread pitting her stomach. One by one she paused in open doorways and searched the empty dark offices with a sweeping glance. The feeling of something being wrong only intensified. She’d have turned tail and fled if she wasn’t desperate to make the sale.

Lauren reached the end of the hallway without finding the guy. She wanted to go home, didn’t want to be there, and that inner voice urged her to return to her car. The lights hadn’t been on which made her wonder why the buyer would willingly wander around in the dark. Who would do that? Isn’t it basic instinct to turn on lights? There was no way she wanted to walk around the eerie building blind.

She stared at the massive metal double doors and her heart raced. Her rent was due, she had a car payment, and less than two grand to her name. She’d be in deep shit if she didn’t make money in the next few weeks. Homeless hadn’t been her goal when she’d put herself through school. The buyer was somewhere—he’d unlocked the door and the sports car had to be his.

What if he had tripped? He could be hurt and the lights might have a timer on them. She glanced up at the lighted beams and knew she’d freak out big-time if she were suddenly left in the dark if they turned off.

“Too many horror movies. This is what you get for watching them.” She reached for one of the door handles, paused, and noticed her hand trembled. “You’ll totally feel like shit if this man had a heart attack and he’s lying in there dying while you’re being a chickenshit.”

The pep talk helped.

Lauren straightened her shoulders and gripped the cold metal handle. It twisted easily and she shoved hard. The door opened to reveal pitch blackness and cooler air. A shiver ran down her spine as she paused there.

“Mr. Herbert?” She lowered her voice to mutter, “Answer me. You better have had a heart attack or something to explain why you’re scaring the shit out of me by not answering. God knows I’m about to have one.”

Her gaze paused on the light switch inside the warehouse section and she moved fast for it. She’d do a quick walk-through to see if the client was there but afterward she’d split.

She had almost reached it when total darkness closed in around her and the door slammed loudly at her back. She gasped and froze. Her eyes widened but she couldn’t see a thing. Goose bumps pricked her skin and she hoped she wouldn’t seriously have a heart attack.

Calm down! She forced herself to take a breath. The doors are probably weighted to close. Turn on the lights! Damn Amanda and her talk of serial killers.

She found the wall with her franticly seeking hands, brushed her fingertips along the smooth surface, and finally touched the switches. She flipped them on and prayed they’d work. A slight hum startled her but the room brightened as the lights flickered a few times rapidly but stayed on. Oh, thank God!

She turned her head to stare at the vast warehouse. It had to be fifty feet in height from the concrete floor to the metal ceiling beams. The previous owner had left big metal containers inside that blocked her view of large sections but she could see parts of the back wall to judge that it had to be a good six hundred feet long and probably five hundred feet wide. Lauren frowned as she looked at the four rusted hunks of junk—shipping containers similar to the ones she’d seen leaving the harbor on cargo ships.

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