“How the hell did you get in here?” She spoke the words on a harsh exhale.
“That is not imperative at the moment. You must come with me.” His voice was a smooth as velvet but with a constant edge to it.
“Like that’s going to happen.” Covering her anxiety with a snort, she backed up to the door, wishing Trey had stayed. Adrenaline chased away her fatigue as she grabbed for the handle. “It’s time for you to leave. The bar’s closed.”
Between one heartbeat and the next, he was in front of her. The overhead light glistened off his skin. An intangible force pushed her back against the cool metal door. Desire washed away her fear.
“Who are you?” Violent, inexplicable need harshened her tone.
“That matters not.”
“It matters to me. You’re in my bar after hours. I have the right to know your name.”
It sent chills up her spine. “Nightmare, huh?” Just what I need, some punk from the local gang trying to shake me down. She looked him over. His dark gray suit cast a question on gang affiliation. He’s not the type I’d expect to cause problems for business owners. What is he into? Maybe not a gang…could the mob have moved into Sweetwater?
“I can bring your deepest fears to life.” His rich voice sent a rush of heat through her body.
She raised an eyebrow in question. Great, an escaped mental patient walks into the bar. Can this night get any worse?
“If you don’t believe me, look down.” The cool dare interweaving the words drew her gaze toward the floor—and it disappeared beneath her feet.
She stood on a steel beam in the air, suspended over the town in the dark with no one there to help her. Frozen and unable to move, her heart thundered in her ears. Squeezing her eyes shut, she swallowed the hard lump in her throat. This isn’t real. She repeated the refrain, but not even the knowledge of standing in the bar dissuaded her mind from what her eyes told it. She was a thousand feet up, panic engulfing her.
“Believe me now?” He taunted.
“Please…” I’m going to die. A tear escaped her clenched eyes and she peeked down again, the acrid taste of bile in the back of her throat. The floor became solid once more and she collapsed. Sucking in noisy gulps of air, she tried to reconcile the insane with the real but her mind rebelled.
“Come with me now before we are late,” Nightmare ordered, his impassive visage cold and unforgiving.
“What do you want?” She choked out.
“I mean you no harm.”
“No harm? Are you out of your mind?” It took everything she had not to vomit. “Get out.”
He squatted in front of her, remorseless. Catching her upper arm in his hand, she thought he wanted to pull her up, but froze and instead dropped to his knees beside her, his head bowed.
Alarmed further, she watched him warily. “What is it? Are you okay?”
“Kayla, you are a Queen.” His voice barely rose above a whisper. “A Stormkin Queen. The one I have searched for.”