“Yeah?” he replied, eyes narrowing. “Make sure it’s short and shows off your tits.”

“I hate you,” she hissed.


“Keep tellin’ yourself that.”

He walked out, slamming the door behind him. I bit my tongue, wondering what the hell that was all about.

“Don’t worry,” Em said after an awkward pause. “We’ll find our way out of this. We’ll escape somehow. Either that or the guys will find us.”

“Do you have any ideas?” I asked, wondering what the hell was going on between them. “Did he tell you anything, give you any hints or clues about where we are?”


I waited for her to say more. She didn’t, and that worried me even more.

“So what did you do all night?” I asked slowly. Em ignored the question.

“I wonder if one of them will leave at some point,” she murmured. “If we wait until there’s just one in the house, I’ll bet the two of us could take him. Or even if we distracted him, at least one of us could get away. Go for help.”

“Do you think we’re really out in the middle of nowhere?” I asked. “Have you seen outside?”

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“Haven’t seen outside, but we barely drove long enough to get out of the city,” she said. “There may not be any houses next door, but there has to be something within walking distance. We just need to find a way out of these handcuffs. If we can find a paperclip or a pin or something, I can pick the lock.”

“Really?” I asked, impressed. “Where did you learn that?”

“You’d be surprised at all the things I know,” she said, her voice dry. “Dad believes in being prepared.”

The door opened and Hunter came in balancing two paper plates. He had a couple bottles of water clutched under his arm and I suddenly realized how hungry and thirsty I was. My stomach growled. He set everything on top of the little dresser in the corner. Then he walked over and unlocked the handcuffs.

“You’ve got ten minutes,” he said.

We got up and grabbed the food. It was just plain peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, along with some chips, but it tasted as good as any meal I’ve ever had.

“In a minute, we’re going to call your dad,” Hunter said to Em. “Let him know you’re alive, and find out if he’s made any progress.”

Em glared at him darkly, chewing her food. He sighed, grabbing the chair from the desk and pulling it out.

“You want to sit?” he asked. She shook her head. Hunter spun the chair around and straddled it himself, his face blank. His eyes never strayed from Em’s face. Once we finished eating, he nodded toward the bed.

“Lie down again,” he said. We did. Hunter started with me, locking down my right wrist. Then he walked around the bed to do the same to Em’s left. As he leaned over her, I saw her free hand snake quickly around to his back jeans pocket, lifting something. In an instant she tucked it under her body.

Hunter froze.

Shit, did he feel that?

We needed a distraction. Now. I bit down on my tongue viciously, then shrieked and started spitting blood at him as hard as I could.

“Jesus Christ!” he yelled, jumping away from the bed like it was on fire. Em dove right in.

“Oh my God, are you all right?” she yelled. “Hunter, you need to get her to a doctor!”

I stopped spitting, choking on the blood. Ughh …

“I’m tho thorry,” I mumbled, trying to look embarrassed and shocked. “I bith my tongue and ith thcared me.”

Hunter looked at the gobs of blood and spit on his arm with disgust, then glared at me.

“You’re f**king kidding me,” he said. “What the f**k’s wrong with you? Shit, you got any diseases?”

“No, I don’t hath any ditheatheth,” I snapped. Or rather, I tried to snap, which backfired on me because my tongue was swelling so rapidly that I bit it again. “Owth!”

Hunter shook his head, and Em looked at me with wide, concerned eyes. Behind them, I saw laughter dancing.

“Drive me f**kin’ crazy,” Hunter muttered. “I’ll get you a piece of ice to suck on. Jesus, that’s f**king disgusting.”

He left the room, slamming the door, and Em almost lost it.

“That was brilliant,” she whispered. “Seriously brilliant. I got his Leatherman. I should be able to get us out of the cuffs with it.”

“We’re thucky he didn’th do both handth. Thkid did.”

“Oh, that sucks,” she said, wrinkling her nose at me. “Let me guess, did you have an itch on your ass or something all night?”

“No, thank fukth,” I replied. Shit, my tongue really hurt. “When will you thry to pick the lockth?”

“When I think he’ll be gone for a while,” she said. She grabbed the Leatherman, then rolled over and crawled up the bed on her elbows, reaching down between the iron bars to tuck it in somewhere.

“It’s between the mattress and the box spring,” she said. “In case you need it.”

I frowned—if I needed it, she’d be gone, and the implications of that weren’t good.

Hunter returned, holding a paper napkin. I sat up awkwardly as he handed it to me, scooting back against the headboard. It held an ice cube, which I popped into my mouth as Em joined me.

My throbbing tongue started feeling better immediately, thank God.

“We’re going to call your dad again,” Hunter told Em. “I’ll let you talk to him for a minute, then I’ll see where the situation’s headed.”

“What about Sophie?” she asked. “Ruger will want to talk to her.”

“Ruger can f**k himself,” Hunter replied. Em glanced at me, and I realized she wanted more distraction. I wasn’t sure why, but I’d follow her lead. I spat out the bloody ice into my hand awkwardly.

“Pleathe?” I whined, drooling. “My boy—Noah—he’th got a prethcription he needth, Ruger doethn’t know where it ith. Let me talk to him for two minuteth. Pleathe.”

He looked at me and narrowed his eyes.

“You’re full of shit.”

“You want a seven-year-old kid to die?” Em said, her voice cold. “Not enough to kill two women, now you’re gonna take out a little boy, too? You’re a hell of a man, Liam.”

Hunter sighed.

“Do you ever shut up?” he asked. He pulled a cell out of his pocket, one of those cheap little flip phones you buy at grocery stores, watching us as he dialed. He put it on speaker.

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