When Jared's brother Danny is murdered, Jared is the only suspect. The reason? While the murder happens, he's in the hands of unknown kidnappers. Since the police don't believe his alibi and he has no proof it happened, he goes on the run. When he meets Lang, an ex-cop, the man offers to help Jared find both the reason for Danny's murder and the men who committed it.
They discover that Danny had apparently been blackmailing some very prominent people, three of whom become prime suspects in his death. But is he indeed the blackmailer or is there a second party involved?
With the help of Lang's computer whiz sister, the two men set out to discover the answers while dealing with their growing attraction to each other. The question becomes, will they survive long enough to act on their feelings, or will they become the killers' next victims?
"Why are you doing this?" Jared waited for a reply, trying to figure out where his captor was. He could hear breathing and quiet footsteps. That was all. As if whoever is holding me captive is circling around me.
His kidnaper hadn't said a word from the moment he'd jumped in the car when Jared pulled into the lot at the convenience store. The man's gun had spoken for him--the gun and his free hand pointing to the exit from the lot. He had been wearing black clothing and a ski mask. Jared supposed he still was, although he had no way to prove it since he was now blindfolded.
The man had used hand signals to let Jared know which way to go. Jared had barely been able to drive, he was shaking so badly. He was certain he was going to end up dead in some alley--if he didn't crash the car first--and he didn't even know why. "If you want my car, take it," he'd said, his words jagged with fear. All he got for a reply was the man indicating he should turn right.
They ended up in a dark lot behind what looked like a soon-to-be demolished big box store. There was one other car there and when Jared pulled to a stop next to it as his captor indicated, a man got out. He was big, much bigger than the first man, dressed identically to him, and he also held a gun.
Jared had been forced to get into the backseat of the second car, his captor sliding in next to him then pressing the gun against his side. For a wild second, Jared thought about resisting. Then the other man got in on Jared's other side long enough to blindfold him tightly. That was the first time Jared had asked, "Why are you doing this?" Neither man replied. The car door closed again and seconds later Jared heard the driver's door open and close. Then they were moving.
The ride seemed interminable and too short at the same time, the result, he knew, of his fear about where they were taking him--and why. Eventually the car came to a stop. The man in the backseat with him used the gun to urge him to get out. As soon as he had, one of the men grabbed his wrists to cuff them behind his back withâ€¦ All he could think they might be were the padded leather bondage cuffs he'd happened across online one time.
Why the hell am I remembering them? It's not like they're planning on playing some S&M games with me. At least I hope like hell they're not. His fear grew even deeper with that idea.
The men carefully led Jared, blindfolded and restrained, step by step, as if they didn't want him to fall and hurt himself. The sound of a door opening told him they were taking him inside--somewhere. When it closed behind them, they steered Jared forward then brought him to a standstill. One of his captors turned him, forced him to walk backward a few steps then released one of Jared's wrists long enough to pull his arms around what felt like a square metal pole before closing the cuff around his wrist again.
After that, Jared heard the door open and shut and for a panicked moment he thought they were leaving him there to starve to death. Get a grip, he admonished himself. If they wanted me dead, they'd have shot me and gotten it over with. They need me for something. But what?
The sounds of breathing and movement told him he wasn't alone and again he asked, "Why are you doing this to me?" There was no reply. "What do you want?" Silence. Breathing. Footsteps.
Time passed. He didn't know how much. He moved his legs, trying to ease the ache in his knees from standing. Finally, he slid down until he was sitting on the floor. He realized suddenly the room was totally silent. Has the second man left too? When? Fear swelled again, worse than before--then hope. If he was alone, perhaps he could find a way to get free. He tested the restraints. Tugged, pulled, and tried to see if he could manage to get one hand free. To his dismay, it felt as if they were tightening. Next he tried to scrape the blindfold off by rubbing the back of his head against the pole. It was too smooth to make that happen.
Finally, defeated, he slumped forward, resting his forehead on his bent knees, and realized maybe he could get the blindfold off that way. He tried. It moved. Then he cried out in fear when someone grabbed his shoulders, pulling him upright. The person removed Jared's blindfold, but only long enough to put it back again, tighter than it had been before. In the brief seconds it was off, he saw light and blue metal racks filled with crates. I'm in a warehouse of some sort.
Time seemed endless. Whoever was with him in the warehouse became totally silent now after retying the blindfold. Jared found he was dozing off, starting awake seconds or minutes later, only the doze again. Hiding, he supposed--his mind hiding to escape the fear.
Suddenly, he heard solid footsteps. His hands were uncuffed just long enough for his captor, his kidnapper, to pull him to his feet then he was restrained again--this time with his hands in front of him--and marched forward. A door opened, closed behind them moments later, and soon they eased him into a car.
Now I die? His whole body began to shake. He gripped his hands together, trying to still himself. If I die, I'll never know why they killed me.