The limousine pulls up into my driveway. I don’t wait for the driver to open my door. I’m already out, instructing one of the maids to have the bags of jewelry brought inside.
As soon as I step into the house, though, my step slows.
It’s so quiet.
Not just sound-wise. It’s the lack of energy. Whenever Maisy is around me, I’m charged, my muscles poised. Anticipation pumps in my veins. But I feel none of that right now.
“Maisy!” I take the stairs two at a time, hurtling into our bedroom. The bed has been made. There’s no one in it. No sound of the shower running. But I stride to the bathroom to double-check, needing to be sure. No one.
Just before I’m about to turn from the room, I see the white test resting on the edge of the waste basket. My breath seizes in my lungs and it takes me a few seconds to approach, to look down and register what I’m seeing.
Maisy is pregnant with my child.
My first reaction is joy. Undiluted, it spreads in my chest, heat prickling the backs of my eyelids. I’m going to be a father. But where is Maisy? She’s not here. Intuition is already telling me that. Still, I wheel out of the bedroom and bark questions at everyone in my path. Where is she? When is the last time they saw her? None of them have any answers. None of them know where she could be. They left to run errands this morning and assumed she was upstairs once they returned.
Fuck fuck fuck. My head feels like it’s splitting down the middle, sweat beginning to streak down the sides of my face. Did she take the two million dollars and split? Was I delusional to think she’d actually choose me once she had another option?
No, my heart won’t let me believe that.
The way she ran to me in the driveway, her heart in her eyes, couldn’t have been a ruse. She is no a liar, my girl. She’s honest and right—and she told me she loved me.
I believe her. I have to. My sanity is at stake.
“Sir…” I turn to find Charles looking anxious, tablet in hand. “There is something you need to see. Security footage from just over an hour ago.”
Watching the scene play out in black and white, my blood turns to pure ice.
And then I’m ruled by a blistering combination of fear and rage, a violent tremor wracking me, head to toe, my teeth grinding down in the back of my head.
The distress on Maisy’s face shreds any hope for calm or practicality. That is the love of my life. My very heartbeat. The mother of my child. And she was kidnapped. Stolen from me.
I shouldn’t have taken her safety for granted.
This is my fault. If I’d been here, this never would have happened.
God, the pain she must be feeling. The betrayal. Her own mother.
My chest threatens to cave in. The fucking room is spinning around me, making me dizzy. But if I want to think clearly enough to find her, I can’t allow myself to consider what Creed might want with Maisy. What he’s planning. If I dwell on it, I’m going to implode.
Just find her. Find her. Bring her home.
“Call the police!” I shout, urgency carrying me back out the door, grabbing the keys for my Bugatti on the way out. “I want a fucking SWAT team at the Creed estate immediately and the commissioner put through to my phone.”
* * *
I wake up in a dark room.
My head is fuzzy and I’m slightly nauseous, but I fight through the haze, alarm spiking in my blood when I remember being kidnapped outside Jack’s house. I’m at Winston Creed’s home. He plans to…
No. I don’t want to think about it.
I won’t let it happen.
Jack will come—and in the meantime, I’m going to find a way out.
That, or fight like hell.
I struggle to my feet and feel along the walls, willing my eyes to adjust. My hands bump into shelves, built in kind of a honeycomb shape. After a moment, I realize the entire wall is a built-in wine rack. Down towards the bottoms, the tops of wine bottles poke out and I take one in my fist, ready to use it as a weapon. Slowly, the room starts to take a little more shape around me and I see the door, a faint outline of dim light around the edges. No sound on the other side, just the hum of whatever cooling unit controls the temperature of this room.
Above my head, there’s a creak, footsteps coming down the stairs.
Moving on the balls of my feet, I position myself outside the door, wine bottle braced in hand. Keys rattle and I hold my breath.
The door opens and I take only a second to acknowledge my target is indeed the man who kidnapped me. I swing the bottle as hard as I can, catching Winston against the side of his head, making a loud, sickening thwack.