Verena Vincent

Holly's Dream Lover Fantasy



Prologue

Holly wasn't quite sure what woke her. All she knew was that one moment she was sound asleep, alone in her queen-sized bed as usual, and the next she was completely awake and absolutely certain that something was wrong. At first she thought maybe she had been startled out of her slumber by the screech of a passing ambulance's siren or perhaps a dog barking outside her window. But that wasn't it. Those sounds were common enough and had never given her this feeling of panic upon waking. This was something else. Something close and personal. And very, very threatening.

Her impulse was to reach over and turn on the bedside table lamp and vanquish her paranoid delusion with just the turn of a switch, but some instinct told her that would be a very big mistake. If she startled a thief she probably wouldn't survive this encounter, especially if she could identify his face.

Unsure what to do she stayed perfectly still, trying to keep her breathing as deep and regular as possible. She didn't know why, but it seemed important to appear like she was still asleep.

Waiting in the dark for something to happen was torture. She became hyperaware of her surroundings. Her white sheets, fresh from the laundry, felt cool and crisp against her skin. The scent of her own strawberry-scented organic shampoo tickled her nose and she remembered that she'd gone to bed with her long, curly hair still damp from the shower.

Most of all she was cognizant of her heart's frantic thump. It sounded unnaturally loud and urgent in the still room, and she thought how odd it would be if she went into cardiac arrest at the age of 29. Of course, if she truly wasn't alone, then a heart attack might just be preferable to the alternative. But she refused to think about that.

Unable to sustain the horrible anticipation a moment longer, Holly opened her eyes just a slit. She'd been half-expecting to see someone standing there, looming over her, but she seemed utterly alone. Nothing out of place. The room was very dark, but her bedside clock illuminated her surroundings enough that she was able to discern the shape of her bureau against the far wall, and the silhouette of her reading lamp on the bedside table. No sign of an intruder and yet something wasn't right. What was it exactly?

Scanning the room, something on the floor caught her eye. The cherry hardwood floors looked black in the moonlight, but the fluffy yellow throw rug next to her bed was quite visible. There was something on it. Something dark which did not belong.

She thought back. Had she left an item of clothing there? She wasn't typically a clean freak, but she rarely left things just lying around either. If she didn't feel like putting something away she had a tendency to throw it in her walk-in closet to deal with later. But she supposed she could have just left her jeans lying there. She had been tired last night. She'd worked late and had fallen into bed after slipping on the lacy pale lilac camisole and matching boy-short panties she was currently wearing.

Squinting her eyes, she tried to make out the exact shape of the item on the floor. It really didn't look like clothing. It looked like a bag or a knapsack of some sort. Could she have brought her camera equipment in here? Didn't seem likely. She usually left everything in her temperature-controlled dark room on the other side of the apartment.

This is ridiculous, she thought to herself. Why am I lying here wondering about what's on my rug, when I could just flip a switch and satisfy my curiosity? She was just about to reach over and turn on the light when something made her freeze. It was the bed. It had shifted, just slightly. She hadn't moved, so there was only one explanation. Someone else was here. On the other side of her bed. Waiting.