I woke up with my arms tired behind my back. They were sore and stiff as if I had been this way for quite some time. I opened my eyes groggily. I was sitting in a hard chair, my arms pinned uncomfortably behind my back. And my shoulder! It was burning as if it were on fire. I flinched at the sharp pain, focusing my eyes on my surroundings. I was in a confined space with no windows and dim lighting.
“Ah, so you’re finally awake,” said Gretchen’s voice. I snapped my attention to where Gretchen was. She was lounging gracefully on a long couch, blinking lazily at me. She was like Cleopatra watching a peasant. Memories flooded through me and I now realized the pain in my shoulder was from Gretchen shooting me. “You shot me,” I said, slightly bewildered. “Well, yeah, I had to subdue you,” Gretchen said as if it made all the sense in the world. “I couldn’t exactly just let you escape.” She made her way toward me and stood before me, toying with the gun she was holding. “I expect by now Liam is probably on his way,” Gretchen said. “He’s always so willing to protect what he loves. That’s why he’s meant for me.” My hands-which were reaching for something behind my back-finally met something sharp on the bookshelf behind me. I grabbed it and began trying to cut my way through the rope that binded my hands. “Is that what you think?” I asked, distracting her as I tried to free myself. “How can you honestly think Liam will want you after you kill me?” Gretchen looked at me, considering my question. “He’ll be mad at first,” she mused. “But I’ll make him understand. It was necessary to eliminate you. You were a problem. You were in the way of our happiness.” I was halfway out. Just a little more. “Well, if you truly loved Liam, wouldn’t you want him to be happy no matter who he was with?” Gretchen snorted daintily. “That’s all an illusion. When you love someone you want them to be with you and only you.” My hands were free and I wasted no time, I jumped up, catching Gretchen by surprise. I knocked her flat on her ass, causing her to lose her grip on the gun. It skidded to a far corner in the room. The anger in her eyes was a clear sign I was never going to make it to the gun. So I leaped up and away from her. I ran out and was greeted by a man with large muscles. The man who had kidnapped me, my inner voice hissed. He looked at me in surprise and before he could tense up to chase me, I ran. I ran down the dirt road that led away from the house. “You fuckin idiot,” Gretchen cursed at him. “Why didn’t you grab her. Go get her. Now!” And then I could hear the sound of pursuit, not just one set of footsteps but several. I ran faster, moving with all I had in me. I would not be caught this time. A shot rang out and I ducked behind a tree, hiding. I peeped over the tree and saw Gretchen and her men far behind.Gretchen’s face was twisted in anger, her cheeks bright red. “This way,” Gretchen snapped, heading in the opposite direction of where I was hiding. They headed off quickly. My breathing was heavy. I reached in my jeans and received a very sharp amount of pain. The pain from Gretchen’s gunshot yesterday seemed to be getting worse. I sighed and used my other hand to pull out my cell phone. It was dead. There was no way I could contact the police. Or Liam. I sighed and looked back. Gretchen and her posse was gone. I stood up shakily. Now that all the adrenaline was gone, I was aware of how terrible I felt. My limbs were sore, my head was pounding, my shoulder was crying out for medical attention. And I was hungry. I began to walk. If I found a way out of these woods, I would be one step closer to returning home to my friends. To my family. To Liam.
Liam, Lucas and Ryan were all three staring at Gretchen’s fathers’ abandoned warehouse. There were two guards standing watch. They would be easy to take care of. Lucas, Liam and Ryan looked at each other and nodded, all three of them in agreement. Lucas and Ryan jumped out, ambushing the guards, moving with grace, agility and skill you only saw on TV.
Liam quickly made his way past them, heading into the warehouse. Once he was inside, he searched for Yvonne. But there was no sign of his love anywhere. Ryan came in, then, looking around.
“She’s not here,” he whispered.
“No shit, Sherlock,” Liam snapped, his heart clenching.
“Liam, one of the guys found something,” Lucas called from outside. Ryan and Liam walked out quickly. They found one of the men Johnson had hired to work with them standing before them. Supposedly, this man had the eyes of a hawk and could find anything or anyone.
“What did you find?” Liam asked, wasting no time.
“There was blood,” he said, causing Liam’s heart to freeze. “There was a trail of it from there”—he gestured to the farthest spot of the woods—“to about five yards from there before it cuts off. My guess is your girl got away before they caught her again.” Liam’s jaw tightened.
“Do you have any idea where she might be?” he asked, trying to keep his composure.
“There’s a cottage swarming with guards not too far from here. I’m willing to bet they took her there.” Liam nodded.
“Then let’s go,” he said, thinking of nothing other than holding Yvonne in his arms again.
After hours of stumbling around in the woods, I finally came across a house. I walked up the steps, stopping hesitantly at the door. I finally mustered up the courage to knock. As soon as my knuckles met the door in an attempt to knock, it opened itself. I’ve watched enough horror movies to know when a door just opens by itself, you probably shouldn’t walk in. And under any other circumstances, I would’ve.
However, my circumstances were completely different. I needed a phone. I pushed the door open further, peering into the darkness. I looked around, straining my eyes as I felt along the wall for a light switch. At last I found it. I flicked it on and was met by beautiful scenery. The house was gorgeous. Very Victorian. And empty. Completely empty. Empty or not I need to find a phone. I found one, one of those phones you’d find in an office. I wasted no time putting the receiver to my ear and dialing Liam’s number. He answered on the third ring.
“If this is something about the company I said I’d handle it on Wednesday, I’m busy today,” he snapped.
“Liam it’s me,” I whispered.
“Yvonne,” he said in disbelief. “Where are you? Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” I said, smiling at the reassuring sound of his voice. “I’m in some old house. Can you find me? I’m pretty deep in the woods.”
“Yvonne, I will always find you,” Liam whispered to me. Then away from the receiver he shouted, “She’s in an old house, somewhere deep in the woods. Can you find it?” He paused for a beat.
“Good,” he said.
“Yvonne, love, we’ll be there soon. Just sit and wait, okay?” Before I could respond I felt the creeping sensation of being watched. I turned quickly and came face to face with a grinning Gretchen.
“Yvonne, you look terrible,” Gretchen said sweetly. “Must be that handsome boyfriend of yours. He’s just bad news for you. Why don’t you just hang up on him?” she raised her gun, her smile never wavering.
“We can have a little girl talk.”