Authors: M. Garnet
Tags: #Erotica, #Paranormal, #Shapeshifter
Beth learned one thing first before she began running—
never help a shifter
. Remember that old saying...
no good deed goes unpunished.
Well, she hadn’t actually meant to help him. He’d been injured and taken advantage of her, so she helped him the first time, and because of this, she lost her job and career. Great—now she’s running, and she desperately hopes she’ll never see the strange man again. Why, then, is she so haunted with a strange memory of his eyes changing to those of a cat?
When he finds her again and needs her help, Beth does what’s necessary to get rid of him and helps him get his funds, but she’s left with a strange bite mark and the memory of a huge black cat in the night above her in her bed. Now she’s running with determination not to have him find her ever again. He is more than merely strange—she knows he’s a threat to her in ways she doesn’t want to admit.
Beth runs from the black ghost through Indian Reservations, across archeological digs in the northwest, down to the lost areas of poorer Mexico, through jungles and back into the giant towering
buildings of bustling cities.
Yet, wherever she goes, a black ghost haunts her dreams and sends a sexual pull she cannot turn off.
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Black Ghost Runner
Copyright © 2013 M. Garnet
Cover art by Carmen Waters
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
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Black Ghost Runner
Dedicated to my daughter, who is my life and love, and who is too busy and always running and needs to slow down.
Beth was running again. She had thought that here in the middle of a bustling city, with people, noise, smells, crime, and not enough police, there were too many needs of all types, so she’d be safe. Over the past two years, he had captured her two times. After the first meeting, he had allowed her to go free. The second time she managed to escape. Each time, she desperately hoped never to see him again.
Here in old town Chicago, seeing the towers leaning over the brick buildings, she thought she was hiding herself safely among the rain-streaked buildings where the cheaper lawyers set up their offices, and where the corner stores had not only
but also homemade desserts from some German or Polish kitchen. Beth thought she’d fit in and perhaps no one would notice her. They’d just see her as just another middle class office worker getting by on a low budget.
The small cozy apartment on the third floor of the old brick building suited her because it was comfortable. It had many windows, since it was in the corner of the building. It had access to both the front as well as the back entrances. Beth had not made friends within the building, but she did know enough about her neighbors to have warnings if something or someone should be out of place.
Beth was prepared to run. She had hidden, in two separate places, backpacks with clothes, money, and all the items she thought she needed to escape. She had used such items many times. Sometimes she might have run from the Ghost when he wasn’t there, but she could not take a chance.
No one could stand up against him, against his powers, against what he was. She had found this out the hard way. She had found no help, no allies, so she was on her own. Starting with the fact that no one except Beth believed in the Ghost, she had only one small hope, and that was to run.
Beth didn’t even go up to her apartment. She had learned not to get herself attached to anything in the rooms she had occupied. It was a trap—a way he had found her in the past. She walked slowly, looking in the glass storefronts, not expecting to see him. After all, one did not see a ghost in a glass window.
Beth let her thoughts drift back in time...
Beth thought about the first time she had met him. She hadn’t thought of him as a ghost at that meeting, even though she’d felt moments of unease. On the contrary, he was too solid, too hard, and too dangerous. He was not a wisp of vague ghost, as she’d seen seeing in movies or on TV. Beth had tagged him with the name of Ghost because of his ability to move. He’d shown her a side of him that scared the hell out of her, but she knew he was so much more.
Beth had worked late with her partner, Reggie Helds. They were auditors for the corporation that owned a series of Veterinary Clinics across the east from Maine to Florida, then inland to Ohio, West Virginia, and even in Kentucky. She loved her job for many reasons. She loved numbers, she loved animals, and she loved traveling.
Most of all, she loved dogs. Beth had a special spot in her heart for dogs. During her lunch breaks, she would go back to the clinic to find any excuse to make over the dogs in their cages. The help was amazed when even the angry dogs relaxed to let her fuss over them. On top of all of this, they paid her. What more could a girl ask for? Well, she could ask for a better partner.
While she enjoyed everything about her job, Reggie seemed to
everything. He complained about the traveling. Every car they rented didn’t suit him. If they flew, and had to sit in the middle, he always was unhappy. He was unhappy with the seat, he was unhappy with the people around him. He sometimes even got into small fights with passengers, especially if there was a crying baby involved.
For her, the hotel room had movies with lots of junk food. For him, the hotel or motel room was dirty, or smelled of smokers. Maybe it was too close to the traffic or the guy at the reception desk was rude.
She liked meeting people, so she made friends with the people at each clinic. For Reggie, the people at the clinic looked like they were all crooked, or were not treating the animals. He was sure they were cooking the books if he could only find out the problems.
On top of the whole shebang, while she loved the animals and always took the time to make over any she was able to see, he hated animals,
animals, but especially dogs. They were slobbering, flea-infested creatures, shed on his clothes and growled at him. Well, she growled at him too, when it wasn’t obvious.
Beth smiled as she took a sip of her cold coffee. Almost all of the clinics had either cats or dogs that were pets. These clinic pets had the run of the offices. Some of them even had both. Some of the clinics allowed the employees to bring a single pet from home during their work hours.
The one they were auditing on this trip was a smaller clinic, so there was no night service. They were alone in the office. The alarm system was set, so they only had to push one button, but as they left, the doors locked from the outside. They could leave, but no one could enter. For the most part the animals had quieted down. The one watch cat, the adopted animal that had the run of the office, sprawled himself out on a corner desk, raising his head now and then to glare at them, waiting for them to leave.
“That damn cat is putting dandruff in the air that’s bothering my sinuses.” These were the first words Reggie had spoken in an hour. Mostly he had just grunted in disgust. She had learned early on to ignore the grunts, because if she asked, it gave him a chance to vent on stupid problems.
Reggie pulled out his inhaler, took a sniff, then threw it into a wastebasket. “Damn, empty.”
She ignored him as the air scrubbers in all the clinics owned by the corporation took care of all the items that might float in the air from the various animals. This was to prevent the transferring of air-borne diseases. It also kept the dandruff that Reggie always complained about out of the air, so his nose had a high imagination.
“Give me the keys. I need to go to the corner store to get another inhaler before it closes. Someone will probably mug me in the parking lot, so I will try to park close to the door. The store will probably get robbed while I am there. Shit, I hate these places.” His voice had reached a nice high feminine whine that finally irritated her ears.
Beth refused to get herself drawn into his conversation. She really didn’t need to be, since he was happy talking to himself. She tossed the keys on the desk, smiling since it was only eight P.M. The gas station would be open for some time, but she wanted to finish up tonight so they could catch the early morning flight.
“Knock loud, as I’m going in back to check the last of the register receipts.” She wanted to remind him that when he got out, the doors would lock behind him. He would not be able to get back in unless she opened the door from the inside.
Beth didn’t look at him as he left, She heard him grumbling even after the front door closed with a click as it locked behind him. She went to the open box in the back hallway to pull out the last of the register printouts. Since everything was on computers now, she also had discs, so she was able to put one into her laptop that she’d carried with her to the worktable in this cramped space.
She heard a thump on the back door that was only a couple of feet away from where she was standing. What the hell...had Reggie forgotten something? She reasoned he couldn’t get her attention at the front door.
“Jeezu, Reggie, what is wrong now? Ughhh!” Beth opened the door, but instead of a grumbling Reggie, rough hands abruptly lifted her off her feet, swinging her around against the wall behind the door. A huge arm pressed her against her neck and a large body held her above the floor.
Without air, blackness immediately filled in behind her eyes. Beth struggled with the arm pressing under her chin as she grasped it with both hands while trying to kick. The body pushed harder against her neck. She got no leverage. She heard the door being slammed shut by one of his feet as he held her tight with his hips pressed tightly into her body. She realized she was slipping into unconsciousness as the lack of oxygen began to pull at her brain. This was the point that she finally began to be afraid. Someone was robbing her—who was so desperate? She was afraid he would kill her.
Suddenly he stepped back, releasing her. She dropped to the floor on her hands and knees. She drew gulps of air into her lungs. Finally, she felt the blackness start to lift. Her hair had come undone, dropping down and hanging over one shoulder to drape in a pile around her one hand. She found it something to stare at, something to recognize as she slowly came back aware.
Beth saw the large black biker boots that let her know she was in deep trouble. Reggie was on the outside, down at the local store. She was alone with a robber. She watched as the boots moved a step or two away. Beth—if he moved another couple of steps, she could make a break for the door, get outside and run for it. She would yell to bring the walls down, hoping that someone would be close enough to hear in order to call nine one one.
Suddenly, the boots turned. She felt a vise around her upper arm, pulling her up on her feet, raised so high that she was on her toes. Beth grabbed the chest to keep from falling forward, throwing her head back and looking upward. She knew she should not have looked at him, but now that she did, she needed to memorize him so she could tell the police every detail. Well, he would be easy to describe, but might be hard to catch.
First of all, he was tall, maybe sevenfeet, like basketball players. He wasn’t filled out on steroids, but it was obvious he was unusually strong. He was handling her as if she was a doll, though she was not a small woman. Beth was five foot nine inches, weighing in at one hundred-fifty because she liked desserts. Beth wasn’t the model type, unless you were talking about
or one of those kind The desserts went to her generous bust and wide hips that were set off by a small waist. This made buying standard clothes awkward. It also got her too many stupid offers at the bars.
His shoulders were wide, yet not pumped out with heavy muscles. Beth felt the tendons of muscles from the one arm that was holding her, pulling into the muscles through his chest. He had long midnight-black hair matched by the heavy eyebrows that arched over his strange eyes. The heavy shadow of a day-old beard was dark enough to prove it would come out the same shade. The thick lashes that surrounded his eyes would have brought good cash from any model magazine.