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Ill Take Forever

Ill Take Forever

Titel: Ill Take Forever
Autoren: Barbara McMahon
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    Jenny Warwick closed the book, a soft smile on her face. She liked happy endings. She was glad the book ended on a high note; that the heroine had attained her goal, saved her father and still had been able to marry her sweetheart. She sighed, wishing real life was so ordered, that everyone lived happily ever after.
    Slipping her legs from under the afghan, she stood up in the cold room. The flannel pajamas she wore didn’t provide enough warmth from the cold. A nightly routine of hot chocolate before going to sleep was hard to shake. It was cold out of bed, but once she had her chocolate, she could snuggle down in the warm covers, sip the sweet beverage and then go to sleep.
    Quickly she thrust her feet into her slippers and drew her warm woolen robe closer. She’d make a quick trip to the kitchen.
    It was cooler still in the hall as she left her warm bedroom. Winter was at its peak and she tried to economize by heating only the rooms she really needed. Summer was a different matter. The high elevation kept the house cool and all the windows could be opened to enjoy the scented air of the Sierra Nevada. Briefly she longed for the days when money hadn’t been an issue and it had been easier to keep the house warm.
    Descending the stairs, she shivered a little. It felt even colder than usual through her robe, her slippers not keeping the chill from her feet. Maybe she’d turn the heat up a little, despite the cost. It had been snowing heavily since the late afternoon and the temperature continued to drop. She went to the front door and flicked on the outside light. Opening the heavy wooden door a little, peeping through the crack, Jenny was surprised at how much snow there was on the ground, already more than twelve to fifteen inches had fallen. If it continued at that rate all night, she’d be snowbound for a few days. Her road was not one of the primary ones in the county--often the last cleared by the snowplow.
    Well, she thought, turning off the light and re-latching the door, it wouldn't be the first time she’d been snowbound. She had plenty of provisions and fuel. She'd be fine.
    Softly she padded down the hall, turning on the light, opening the door to the kitchen. She flicked on that light and paused. Reflecting later, she realized she had not been afraid at that first moment, more startled than anything else.
    The man was dressed all in black–black cords, a black pea jacket, similar to the kind sailors used to wear, Jenny thought as she took in his appearance. More astonished than afraid she wondered who he was and what he was doing in her kitchen. His hair was black, his eyes dark. He was sitting on the floor, leaning against her back door, dripping melting snow on the linoleum, a black gun pointed directly at her. She registered the broken pane in the top part of the door, obviously his means of entry into her locked house. Funny, she hadn’t heard the glass break.
    Her gaze went back to the gun. She swallowed, not moving, awareness suddenly rendering her immobile.
    'Move easy, ma'am,' he said softly. 'Whatever you came here for, just get it. There may be people watching from outside and I don't want them to get suspicious.'
    She nodded, the heavy thumping in her chest painful. She could scarcely breathe as she tore her eyes away from the gun, moving stiffly to the stove to get the pan she kept on the stove. Filling it with milk, she put it on the burner and turned on the gas. Shivering a little from the cold, a lot from fear, Jenny hugged her arms across her chest, licked her lips. Was it a bad dream? She tried to think, but all she could picture was the man pointing a gun at her.
    'Who are you, and why are you here?' she asked, pleased her voice didn't quaver as she had thought it might. Trying not to look at him, she moved slowly to get the cup and cocoa.
    'I'm here because I was about to freeze to death in this blasted blizzard. There’re a few of your neighbors searching for me and I don't intend for them to find me. Your house loomed up out of the snow and I made use of it. I didn’t realize anyone was home.'
    The tone sounded disgusted. Had he know she was home, would he have found another house?
    'You're letting all my heat out of that broken pane. Not to mention the mess you're making on my kitchen floor. Why are you so wet?' Okay, so fear had her asking such an obvious question. It was snowing like crazy outside.
    ‘Why are you here?’ she wanted to shout, but was
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