Lyle Canfield giggled as the girl slipped out of the crowd to take a shortcut through the alley. For two weeks now he'd been tracking this sexy little cunt just waiting for a chance to catch her alone. He was three steps from sliding his arm around her neck and pressing his knife against her Adams apple when Lyle felt the hairs on the back of his neck creep to attention. The Bitch was here.
He stepped back from the girl, standing as still as his shaking knees would allow. A piece of the brick wall flew back and took a chunk of skin out of his face. “Fuck.”
The girl jumped and scurried away him, hurrying back to the safety of the crowded sidewalk. Lyle watched her go, his hands balling into fists. “Why don’t you just shoot me and get it over with, Bitch?” he shouted into the empty alley.
Another chunk of brick went flying and he felt something warm trickle down his neck. The Bitch had nicked his ear this time. He grabbed a handkerchief from his pocket and pressed it against his earlobe in an effort to stop the bleeding. He wanted blood on his hands, but not his own. Every time he got close enough snatch a girl off the street, The Bitch dropped a warning shot.
He should be thankful that he wasn't dead or having his ass reamed out in prison. The fact that Amber Barclay hadn't killed him already was a miracle in itself. He'd walked out of the courtroom, where he was being tried for murdering her sister, on a stupid technicality his public defender had pulled out of his magic lawyer's hat. His release had kick-started her father's heart attack and his death a month later. Yeah, he should be thankful but having a righteous bitch tagging his ass wasn't comforting, it was downright pissing him off.
Amber lowered her father's rifle as Lyle left the alley and rejoined the press of people on the street below. Her father would have been proud of that shot. She'd clipped Canfield's earlobe just enough to make it bleed. Watching his frustrated retreat only fueled her determination to...to what? she wondered.
She laid the gun back in the case and slowly snapped the lid shut. Amber wanted nothing more than to put a bullet smack dab between Lyle's eyes, but she wasn't like him. She wasn't a cold blooded killer. Her father had taught her to always take the moral ground no matter how pissed off you were. "Never lower yourself to your enemy's level," he'd said. "And when the time comes to square things, face him straight on. Make sure he knows what's coming."
While Amber couldn't bring herself to flat-out kill him for what he'd done to her family, she sure as hell could keep him from destroying any more lives. Sighing, she decided to head back to her hotel and treat herself to a hot bath and a good night's sleep. The girl he'd chosen was safely out of his reach by now. He was pissed, but he'd most likely do the practical thing and hole up in his hotel room tonight nursing his wounds, then head out at first light, hoping to shake her off his tail.
Lyle ripped off his bloody T-shirt and tossed it in the garbage. After showering, he checked his face in the mirror to see how much damage The Bitch had done to his face. There was a jagged cut just below his eye from the flying pieces of brick and she'd managed to lop off the bottom half of his earlobe.
The Bitch was picking off pieces of his body every time she shot. He'd lost the tip of his "fuck you" finger when he'd flipped her the bird a month ago. At their first run-in six months ago she'd cost him a new pair of shoes when she'd let fly a shot through his big toe. Damn toe still hurt. Six months of being stopped dead in his tracks. Six months of being run to ground. The Bitch was just messing with his head, hoping he'd kill himself. He ran his hand through his damp hair, his anger fueling his frustration. Four perfect years of getting away with murder. Then one lousy misstep. The Bitch's sister.
Crystal Barclay didn't go down easy. She was such a tiny thing, but she'd fought with the cunning of a guerrilla freedom fighter. She’d lashed out with every bit of strength she possessed. Knee to the balls, fingernails ripping flesh off of every part of his body until he’d cracked her skull with a balled up fist, but stubborn must run strong in that family. He’d left her lying in a pool of blood and still she’d managed to cling to life long enough to describe him to the cops. Even in death she'd nearly done him in.
Now The Bitch was trying to finish what her sister started. Well, fuck her, fuck them both. He wasn't going to be denied his pleasures. The Bitch had no right screwing up his life. No right at all. His desire to make someone pay for his frustrations pushed him out the door. If he died, at least he was going to die happy.
As the sun struggled to climb over the city skyline, Amber grabbed a newspaper to go along with her coffee and danish, then hunkered down in her car to wait for Lyle. If he held true to form he'd be leaving town this morning, hoping like hell to shake her off his trail. A grim smile crossed her lips. He hadn’t lost her in six months of trying.
She flipped open the paper and saw the girl’s face staring up at her accusingly. The girl who had been all smiles and full of life just last night was dead, just like Crystal, and Lyle had made her culpable. She’d pushed him too far and he’d struck back when she least expected it by breaking into the girl’s house and killing her while she slept. That son of a bitch.
Lifting her eyes from the paper she saw Lyle exiting his hotel. He paused, stretched, looked around, and with a smile tossed a little salute in her direction. He sauntered on down the sidewalk, seeming without a care in the world, and entered the Corner Diner.
Amber got out of the car, grabbing the gun case from where it rested on the seat. She walked until she was kitty-cornered across the street from the diner. Lyle was lounging in a booth with a window that looked out on the nearly deserted street. She watched as his hand caressed the waitress's ass while she set a cup of coffee in front of him and scribbled his order on her pad.
Setting the case down on the ground, she lifted the lid and removed the gun from its foam bed. Shouldering the rifle she leveled the scope until she was looking straight into the diner at Lyle. Amber watched as he turned his head, his jaw going slack when he spotted her. Perfect. She needed him to know that hell was coming for him.
Her father's final words tumbled through her brain as her finger slid around the trigger. "Take your time, darling. When the moment comes to pull the trigger, don't hesitate. Kill the fucking bastard." The window exploded as the bullet plowed a furrow right between Lyle's eyes.