by Galia Ryan
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|Author Page: Galia Ryan|
Her head was down, her eyes focused on where she was putting her feet. She wasn't concentrating. Suddenly a hand was over her mouth and her windpipe felt like it was being crushed by an iron bar.
The additional weight, her group had been told during self-defense training, might knock an assailant off balance, potentially giving the victim a chance to flee. Suspended by the arm of her attacker, she felt as if she were being slowly and inexorably strangled.
The voice was soft against her ear, and she remembered something else she 'd been told. Try to pinpoint things that will make it easy to recognize her assailant later.
She was clawing at both his hand and his arm, trying and twisting to free herself.
"I'm choking," she croaked through his fingers. It wasn't strictly true. His hold had already eased a little.
"No, you're not," he said. "Will you keep still?".
She made an attempt at nodding.
"Okay. Here's the rule. There's only one, so it shouldn't be too hard to remember.".
Cassie nodded again.
"Don't move, and that includes trying to turn around.".
She nodded for a third time.
"Good. Just so long as we understand each other.".
The pressure relaxed further. More to the point, the hand over her mouth was gone and she filled her lungs gratefully. "Okay, okay.".
"Keep facing front.".
"Who are you?".
"Just someone passing through.".
She was trying to concentrate, to remember what she had to do, both as part of her job and if things were as bad as they seemed, to stay alive.
"Good guy or bad guy?".
"Depends on whose side you're on.".
His reaction was almost imperceptible. Had she not been forced up against him she 'd never have noticed. So she was right. She tried again.
"Among other places.".
This might not be good. She doubted his time in the army had been spent behind a desk. He was too assertive for that. Plus, he was fit; the muscles of his arm told her that. Unyielding and hard, this guy had been frontline.
Her throat was aching, and she swallowed. "Any chance of a little civilized behavior here?".
"What do you suggest?".
"That you take away your arm altogether.".
"I 'd have to trust you to do that.".
"So trust away.".
He laughed. It was a deep, bass sound, and not unpleasant.
"Here's the deal," he suggested. "I'll remove my arm if you agree to stand perfectly still while we engage in a spot of conversation.".
"I'm taking you at your word-- the word of a serving police officer.".
Interesting! He must have been watching her yesterday. So why hadn't he already moved on?
Her head was down, her eyes focused on where she was putting her feet. Suddenly a hand was over her mouth and her windpipe felt like it was being crushed by an iron bar.
Suspended by the arm of her attacker, she felt as if she were being slowly and inexorably strangled. Try to pinpoint things that will make it easy to recognize her assailant later. More to the point, the hand over her mouth was gone and she filled her lungs gratefully.
ReviewsCassie is a cop in a small town, bored to tears, having an unsatisfying affair with a married co-worker. When she goes out to check on an abandoned farm, she finds Army vet Elijah, who is on his way to somewhere, maybe nowhere in particular. The two are immediately drawn to each other, and Cassie is determined not to spend the rest of her days doing what she has always done.
When Elijah decides to move on, she takes the biggest chance of her life, and we are left with a HEA for now ending. I liked the characters, the word pictures, and Cassie’s indecisive character that suddenly takes a chance. The Outsider is a short read, fun for an afternoon in summer.
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