Author:Kylie Scott

She blinked and gave him a forced smile, staying a step ahead of the hand he would have put to the small of her back. Keeping herself out of his reach.


The sun had slowly begun to sink in the west. For the hour-long drive home he’d taken the most convoluted route possible, mostly to be safe but also to chew up some time. They were right on schedule.


Roslyn wandered inside, head turning this way and that, taking it all in. “It looks nice.”


“I think we’ll be comfortable here.” His chest warmed at her faint praise. Back in the day the cabin would have been on the more expensive side of things. There was a spa bath in the bathroom off to the side and, more importantly, a composting toilet. The kitchen sported black granite benchtops and all the shiny mod-cons. Though they didn’t much matter now with electricity long gone. “Have a look around. I want you to feel at home.”


“Okay.” Her fingers traced over the granite and she half-turned to face him, chin high and forehead creased. “How do you see this going down exactly, Nick?”


He crossed his arms, widened his stance, proudly checking out the room and all his handy work. “Well, it seems to me we can be of use to one another. You need …”


He caught a flash of movement in the corner of his eye. A dark object—a bottle of wine with her pale fingers wrapped around the neck.


Nick threw himself aside. He was a second too late.


Bam! The bottle clipped the side of his skull, fell to the floor and shattered like a gunshot.


Pain swamped him. He couldn’t see. Blood ran down his face, dripped in his eyes. The rich scent of red wine filled the air.


Roslyn scrambled. He heard the sound of her sudden panting and the crazed squeaking of her shoes. Her leg brushed against his as she threw herself past him, racing back down the corridor, heading for the door. Not happening. Adrenalin surged and pain took a back seat.


She didn’t get far.


Nick clambered to his feet and pounced, taking her down. Mostly, he just collapsed on top of her, half-blinded by blood. They hit the floor in a tangle of limbs, his chest to her back. He took the bulk of his weight on one arm, but not all of it. Air shot from her lungs with a startled oooff.


The silence didn’t last long.


Roslyn drew in a sharp breath, opened her mouth and screamed, long and loud. The piercing noise echoed through the building, escaping out the back door and through the wide open bi-fold doors at the front. It rose up and out into the open air, exposing their whereabouts to anything listening. The noise was a hundred times louder than the truck engine could ever hope to be. With feet kicking and body bucking beneath him, the woman went nuts.


“Don’t!” Nick crawled up her, knees scuttling on the slippery, wine-splattered floor. His head throbbed bloody murder, forehead fit to explode. He slapped a hand over her mouth and held on. Her teeth chomped, trying to bite him. More muffled shrieks rose up.


“Stop it!” he hissed into her ear. Or he thought it was her ear. Still couldn’t see for shit. Her hair clung to his face, wet with blood and wine. “Fuck, Roslyn. Stop.”


She ignored him. Her hands scrabbled, trying to pull herself out from beneath him. Which was useless; he easily had her in body weight. Like a wild thing she rioted beneath him, totally enraged. And his hand, slippery with blood, slipped off her mouth.


Another shrill scream hit the air. So fucking loud that his ears rang. Though that might have been the head wound.


“Shit!” Nick clamped his hand back over her mouth. This wasn’t working. Time for a new plan.


He pushed back, sitting up and taking her with him, one hand over her mouth and the other around her waist. What a bloody disaster. Her sneakers skidded against the slick floor as she kicked out, fighting for freedom. Keeping a hold on her was no easy thing. Nick wrestled her back down the corridor, past the kitchen and straight for the king-size bed with its wooden frame.


Because while he’d hoped for the best, he’d prepared for the worst.


It was how he’d been trained.


Roslyn wriggled and squirmed, but she wouldn’t be going anywhere. Not now. They were both covered in blood because his forehead gushed like a stuck pig, but he was damn determined. He got her onto the mattress, laying her on her stomach with him on top, pressing her down. She went insane again beneath him. A renewed bust of energy from fear, no doubt.


The cuffs were attached to the headboard, ready and waiting.


Nick snaked his hand out from beneath her and straightened out one of her arms, gripping the wrist and fumbling the cool steel around it. An elbow almost connected with his face. She put up a hell of a fight, battling him every step of the way. First one limb and then the other he restrained with the cuffs.


The next part had to happen fast. She screamed right on cue when his hand dived into the bedside drawer. She kept right on screaming as he searched for the rubber ball gag.