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When the email message popped up, she almost ignored it, on the verge of shutting down for the night. Then she recognized the email address.
It was her auxiliary address. The one she set up two years ago when she let Angela talk her into joining a singles Internet site. Wynne had never canceled the address because it was on a free site, and she sometimes used it when she wanted to investigate a chat room without anyone being able to find her if she wanted to stay anonymous.
She would have deleted it as spam, another instance of a hacker hijacking her screen name to cover the real address--except the subject line had her name and Angela's.
A funny, cold feeling settled into her stomach as she clicked on the message to open it.
Pretty name. I don't remember much about you, but I think you're probably a pretty girl. Our dear Angela wouldn't lower herself to claim an ugly girl as a good friend. Someone who would help her pull such a stupid stunt, investigating a man's personal files, just because he was sacked from his job without a chance to defend himself.
I look forward to catching up with you very soon. You and Angela and I have so much to discuss. How would you like to get into the film business? Just one performance. Your last.
Wynne's hands shook as she forwarded the email to Detective Fitzpatrick, but she managed to get through the chore and shut the computer down and put it away again before the shudders took over. She curled up on her bed with the lights on, listening for every creak in the house, every sound outside, the rustling of the leaves inthe trees behind the house.
Was that a footstep? She nearly bolted from the bed to go to the window, then realized what a target she made with her light on. Wynne hated to turn off the light, but she knew she was safer that way. At least, she hoped so. She turned it off and lay down again.
For the first time in years, she wanted to curl up in bed with Aunt Grace. Maybe Bailey would let her bunk with her tonight? The dogs across the street started yapping and she bolted upright, on her feet in front of the window, heart racing.
"Get a hold of yourself, stupid," she muttered, as she crept downstairs to check all the doors and windows. "He found your address. Thousands of people online have that ability. Doesn't mean he knows where you are. He's just trying to scare you. Don't give him that much satisfaction. Don't react. For all he knows, the email is lost in the ether. Just a stab in the dark."
Wrong image entirely.
Still, Wynne felt a little better, after checking all the doors and windows--and borrowing Janet's biggest knife from the kitchen. She didn't put it under her pillow, which was even more stupid than taking the knife in the first place. It lay on the floor, between her nightstand and the bed, within easy reach.
Wynne lay awake a long time, eyes resolutely closed, listening to the sounds of the night and wishing she knew Tyler well enough to bang on the door and ask him to hold her to keep the nightmares away.