The street corner was dark. And cold. Snowflakes were carried by on the wind, and had become steadily thicker and more numerous over the past fifteen minutes. The street light flickered, threatening to go off and leave her in the dark.

Mia huddled further into her coat, wrapping her arms around her torso, hoping to keep more heat closer to her. She buried her nose in her scarf again. Her fingertips were numb and frozen. In short, she was miserable. And a late bus didn't bode well for her either. Having just recovered from a bad case of the stomach flu, she was in no mood to stand outside and wait for the bus.

But she had no choice. Her apartment was twenty-eight blocks away. She'd be frozen by then. Maybe she'd be frozen by the time the bus got there, too.

Fumbling around in her jeans pocket, she found her cell phone. A godsend, she clutched it like a survivor would clutch a lifeline in a flood. For a moment, she gathered the steel will to pull out the phone and expose her arm to the cold.

In a jerky movement, she pulled her coat-clad sleeve from her chest and put the phone in front of her face, ignoring the biting cold that attacked her arm like a pace of vicious dogs. She flipped the phone open.

It had a low battery.

She scrolled down through her contacts until she found her brother's name near the bottom of the list.

Joy erupting through her, she pushed the Call button and put the phone to her ear, ignoring the low-battery beeping. All she had to do was let her brother know where she was and he'd come and get her. No problem.

She smiled when she heard it ring. Oh, she could feel the heat in his big Silverado already…

It rang twice, but he didn't pick up. That was okay; he didn't usually until the third ring. She waited expectantly to hear her brother's voice answer. But as the seconds ticked by and the phone didn't ring again, she frowned. Her hope slipped away when a whole minute had passed and the phone hadn't rung again.

She took it from her ear to look at it. The screen was blank. Her phone was dead.