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Subject: CHAPTER 77

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Date Posted: 19:19:23 01/18/06 Wed


“Be still.”

The low voice was a rough whisper in her ear—too distorted to identify, but too threatening to ignore. She stopped struggling. Rascal brushed against her feet, and meowed, as if offering comfort. Most likely, he just wanted back outside.

Outside the wind rattled the windows, signaling the beginning of an unseasonable storm, but she had trouble hearing the racket above the rapid pounding of her own heart. What if the man holding her so tight wasn’t Michael? What if he was a stranger? As he relaxed his grip, she turned slightly, hoping to find relief from the punishing tightness of his hold. Instead, she only succeeded in pressing herself more intimately into his chest.

The vibration of his cell phone startled them both. Dropping his hand from her mouth, he reached into his pocket to retrieve it. For a brief moment, she considered screaming, but didn’t trust her voice to rise above a whisper.

“Yeah?” he mumbled into the phone.

“Got her. Come on up,” the voice on the other end spoke loudly enough for her to hear.

Realizing this might be her last chance, she brought her heel down firmly on her captor’s shin and jabbed her elbow against his stomach. This, she supposed, would force him to loosen his grip and allow her enough time to jerk free. Wrong. Instead of loosening his hold, he tightened it, bruising her ribs and causing her to gasp for air.

“Try that again, and you’ll be sorry.”

This time she recognized the voice, making the threat all the more real. “Michael,” she started, and then wondered what she could possibly say to the man she had so completely betrayed. He would never believe she had not plotted with Cassandra or that her motives were other than financial. What had seemed to be noble and right at the time would be seen as dirty in the light of framing an innocent man for kidnapping and murder.

“Michael, this is not what it seems.”

He started forward, jerking her along-side. “Oh, really? I’ve found that most things are exactly what they seem. Were you in it with her from the beginning? Or did you join later when you saw the chance for some big money?”

“No, it wasn’t like that. I can explain.”

They had reached the base of the stairs. He paused before taking the first step to look down and give her an answer. “Explain? No. I don’t want you to explain. Right now, I don’t want to hear anything you have to say. I am being hunted by the cops for murder. Can you imagine how that feels?”

“No…I…” Her voice trailed off as he started up the stairs, keeping her close to his side, although obviously uninterested in what she had to say.

Upstairs, Cassandra’s door swung open. Cassandra, bound hand and foot, appeared at the entrance, still in her peach nightie. Behind her, Niki recognized Tony, holding the captive woman upright. Her mouth was gagged, but from the muted sounds she was making, Niki was sure she was giving him an earful. Tony nodded at Michael, pulled Cassandra back inside the room, and closed the door. Near the top of the stairs, Niki cut her eyes toward Michael. He was staring straight ahead, but from the angry lines whitening his mouth, she knew the upcoming scene wouldn’t be pleasant.

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Subject Author Date
I am back (hopefully on a regular basis, lol) and have ....Lady E20:08:00 01/18/06 Wed
I think NikiDiane00:27:17 01/24/06 Tue
Intense chapter there! Really enjoying this. (NT)signme119:31:08 01/29/06 Sun
"Be still," said he to the recalcitrant slave...ha, ha, ha, ha!!Sheila19:49:04 01/30/06 Mon

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