With her arms full, she managed to get the front door to open and get the first load up the stairs. It was the first time Elizabeth was thankful for all those years Jared had made her go to the gym. No. She was having such a good day she would not let her thoughts wander down that path. Resolute, she marched back down the stairs and was just reaching for the doorknob when Jan came out. “Did you need some help, dear?”
“Uh, no. I—”
She was almost knocked over when a large man came barreling through the door. He didn’t seem to notice Elizabeth at all, as he focused on Jan. “You can’t leave the front door unlocked like this. It just isn’t safe.”
His voice was gruff, and she instantly recognized it as the one she’d heard this afternoon. It was not as angry as it has been before, but still intimidating. She backed toward the stairs without thinking. It was then that he noticed her, appraising her from head to foot, and his scrutiny made her uncomfortable. Even though she was completely clothed, she felt the need to cover herself.
He was huge, taller than Jared or her father. His hair was a dark brown, only a shade darker than his eyes, and he looked dangerous, more dangerous than her husband, and her frightened expression must have been apparent. She closed her eyes tight, willing everything to go away: her memories, her fear, this man before her.
Jan said, “Chris, you have perfect timing.” She walked over to the man and placed her hand on his arm. “Elizabeth,” she said, motioning in her direction, “just went shopping and needs some help getting everything up to her apartment. You’ll be a good neighbor and help her now, won’t you?”