Step Into My Web by Cynthia Eden

Chapter One

“Lady, do you have a damn death wish?” The robber shoved his gun toward the face of the woman who stood before him, her delicate shoulders squared and her spine perfectly straight.

“Not today, I don’t,” she assured him as the faintest trace of a British accent whispered beneath her words. The woman didn’t back down. In fact, her slightly angled chin shot up into the air.

Sonofabitch. Joel Landry hadn’t been looking for this shit. Truly. He’d just come in the bank to cash a check and be on his way. He’d wanted a nice, easy day. Was that too much to ask?

But…two minutes inside, and trouble had come calling.

He’d been standing behind the woman with the sleek black hair, the hair that fell in a thick curtain just below her shoulders. His gaze may have drifted over her body as he admired her long legs and curves, so perhaps that was why he’d been distracted. He hadn’t even realized the gunman was there until the bastard had knocked out the guard, then yelled for everyone to “Freaking freeze!”

Joel had frozen. The woman in front of him hadn’t.

Now he was about to have to do something incredibly stupid so she could keep on living. His typical luck. Joel sighed. Just when life had been getting back to normal. Semi-normal? Screw it. He—

“This won’t end like the other times,” the dark-haired woman announced.

The three bank tellers were cowering behind the counter. The bank manager was sobbing near his desk. Other than Joel and the crazy woman who didn’t seem to have the sense to be scared, there were only two other customers in there. A grandmotherly type who clutched her pearls as if her life depended on it, and a young, barely eighteen-looking fellow with eyes that darted around constantly. Buckets of sweat covered the kid.

The bank manager squeaked, “Other times?” His sobs momentarily paused.

The man with the gun narrowed his eyes on the woman who faced off against him. “Who the hell are you?”

“My friends call me Chloe.” A pause. “We won’t be friends.”

Oh, hell. Joel saw the robber’s hand tighten on the gun. The man was going to fire. Joel knew it. He lunged forward, slamming his body into the woman’s—

They hit the marble floor of the bank with a shuddering crash.

The gun didn’t fire.

Chloe blinked, narrowing her absolutely gorgeous blue eyes. Bright blue eyes. She stared at him for a moment, with no emotion registering on her face. It was almost like—like a robot was focusing on him. She blinked once, then twice. Click, click.

Her hands came up and clamped around his shoulders. Her touch sent an electric surge of heat spiraling right through him. What in the hell?

“You’re strong.” Her lips tightened. “And heavy. Now, please do me the courtesy of getting off my person.”

He’d just saved her lovely ass. Would a thank you be too much to ask? Joel didn’t—

The gun shoved into the back of his head. Immediately, his whole body tensed.

“Trying to play the hero, are you?” The robber grunted and added, “Can’t have that crap. Get up, both of you!”

Slowly, Joel lifted his body off Chloe. Don’t say anything, he mouthed the words at her.

She frowned at him.

The bank robber shouted, “Put your hands up!”

Just one guy. Joel figured he could probably take him, but he didn’t want to risk the gun going off and some innocent getting hurt.

Reluctantly, Joel lifted his hands.

Chloe lifted her hands, but she stared expectantly at Joel. As if she was waiting for him to do something. Jeez, what did the woman want, for him to take a bullet?

The robber swiped one hand over Joel’s body, taking his wallet and his phone, then the guy closed in on Chloe.

“I don’t have a phone on me. No ID, either,” she told him, voice seemingly pleasant and helpful.

The man ignored her and patted her down, but turned up no phone. Or ID.

Joel frowned at her. Why had she been in the bank if she didn’t even have her ID with her?

Her smile spread. She looked a bit smug. Sexy, yes, God, yes, he’d give her sexy points. With that dark hair, her perfect cream skin, and her red, plump lips, she was gorgeous.

But he was also starting to think the robber had been right about her. Did the woman have some kind of death wish?

The robber motioned with his gun. “Walk this way.”

Uh, okay. Joel walked that way, but he tried to angle his body so that he was between the gorgeous, potentially death-wish-having woman and the gun.