Illusion (Swept Away Book 1) (7 page)

BOOK: Illusion (Swept Away Book 1)
7.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“Well, I’m glad we got that out of the way,” I said, and I smiled to myself at his goofiness. “However, those aren’t the answers to any of the questions I was going to ask you.”

“Yes, okay, I admit it. I have smoked weed. Once, or twenty times,” he responded again, and I shook my head.

“I guess you experimented in college, huh?” I got into his banter easily and then frowned at myself for getting distracted. “That’s not my question either though. I’m trying to figure out why we’re here. We have to have something in common. I can’t believe that we were randomly kidnapped together.”

“Aside from the fact that the man you said was following you came up to me and asked me what we’d been talking
about? Aside from the fact that I told him to mind his own business, and he told me to be very careful what I said and to who? I thought I was being punked in the coffee shop. Now, I realize I wasn’t. But, hey, yeah, we can see if we have anything else in common. Feel free to ask me anything you want.”

“Okay, I’m thinking.” I stared at the ocean, hoping it would give me insightful questions to ask, but all I could keep thinking about was the fact that he was single.

We sat there in silence as he attempted to get the blindfold off and I thought about questions to ask him that wouldn’t give too much of my own story away. I tried to take in my scenery more thoroughly so that I could ignore him as much as possible. We were on a beach—that I was sure of. The sand beneath me was a light white-yellow, with few shells. It was the kind of beach I’d want to vacation on if I’d been given the opportunity. The water was a gorgeous transparent blue, with calm waves. The sky was a soft light blue, with luscious, fluffy white clouds, and I could see the sun in the horizon, mocking me.

Even though our section of beach was partially shaded, it was still frighteningly hot. My whole body felt like it was on fire, and I was thirsty. I closed my eyes for a few seconds and took a couple of deep breaths.

“Where were you when you were kidnapped?” I asked him, the first question that came to mind.

“I was leaving work, walking to my car, when two men approached me.” His answer sounded logical enough. “They
asked me for directions, I responded, then I felt a prick in my arm. The next thing I knew I was waking up in the back of a car.”

“With me?”

“No.” His tone changed. “They picked you up after I was already in the car.”

“So that means that there were other people in on it.” I bit down on my lower lip, gnawing hard as I thought. “I think that guy from the coffee shop was watching me that night. I think that he must have been in on it with Billy and the other guy.”

“I suppose that makes sense. I doubt those two numbskulls could have put this together by themselves. They didn’t seem very bright.”

“I agree.” Something suddenly occurred to me, and I gasped out loud. “It makes me wonder why our kidnapper chose them to do the job—it’s almost as if it wasn’t very well planned out.”

“Maybe they figured the gun was enough?”

“Yeah, that’s true.” I shivered as I remembered the gun. I could feel that I was about to start panicking again as my brain was five steps ahead of my body. My only consolation lay in the fact that if our kidnappers had wanted us dead, they could have just shot us. Unless they thought that was too easy. Maybe they were testing us to see how deeply into despair we’d go. Maybe this was a test to see how depraved human beings could be?
Get it together, Bianca
. I knew that this was not the time for my overactive imagination to kick into high gear.

All of a sudden my stomach growled, and I felt hunger gnawing at me from inside. I tried to ignore the pangs and cravings that had suddenly emerged inside me. How were we going to eat and drink? I thought back to a movie I’d watched as a teenager called
. It had been about a plane crashing in the Andes, and one of the men had eaten the flesh of his dead friend to survive. The movie had been based on a true story, and I could still remember the documentary I’d seen about the man who’d eaten his friend’s flesh as he was interviewed. His eyes had a haunted look as he spoke about what he’d done, but he’d had to do it for survival. My eyes popped open, and I shuddered as I thought about the possibilities of what could happen. What would Jakob and I have to do to survive?

“Take a chill pill, Bianca,” I muttered to myself as my brain ran away with all the craziest scenarios it could think of.

“Sorry, what did you say?” Jakob asked as he continued moving.

“Nothing,” I whispered back, feeling tears coming to my eyes.

“Oh no, are you okay?” His voice changed, and he sounded concerned. “Don’t cry. They didn’t shoot us. We’re okay. I think I nearly have the blindfold off. Once I do, we can work on getting these ropes off and figuring out what’s going on.”

“No, I’m not okay.” I gulped. A seagull flew past then and dove into the ocean. I scowled as it ascended with a fish in its mouth. “Go ahead and mock me, why don’t you,” I shouted
at the bird, jealousy in my stomach as I thought longingly of the fish in its mouth, and Jakob’s body stilled.

“Are you losing it?”

“No, I’m not.”

“Just remain calm, Bianca.”


“I’m surprised my charm hasn’t won you over yet,” he said softly.

“What are you talking about?” I frowned at his words. Something he’d said had made bells go off in my head, but I wasn’t sure what.

“I’m just trying to make small talk.”

“Well, don’t,” I snapped. “Just work on the blindfold.”

“I’m trying,” he snapped back, and fell silent again.

I moved my head to the left and the right as much as I could, but all I could see was sand and ocean and some trees in the distance. I tried not to think about who or what was lying in wait for us while we struggled with the ropes.

“I think it’s moving!” he gasped excitedly, and he started moving more and more energetically. His back rubbed against mine, and I kept my mouth shut, even though I wanted to tell him that moving his whole body around wasn’t going to help shift the blindfold on his face. “So, Bianca, are you in the habit of wearing blindfolds?”

“Are you asking about my sexual proclivities, Jakob?” I answered him, my body on high alert as he rubbed back against me.

“I wasn’t asking what you ate last night, that’s for sure.”

“You’re an ass.”

“I know. You told me that already.” He laughed. “But yes, go ahead and continue talking about what you can remember from last night, and we can try to figure out why we’re here.”

“Last night, I was waiting for my friend at a bar. I hadn’t seen her in a while. I wanted to tell her about some stuff that was going on.” I bit my lower lip as I thought about Rosie. “I remember looking at the menu. I was going to have the steak.” I sighed and thought back to the previous evening. Or what I thought was the previous evening. I had no idea how much time had passed. “I was waiting to order until Rosie got there. I wanted us to have a nice evening.” I paused, not wanting to get into everything I’d wanted to tell Rosie about. “I ordered a glass of Moscato.”

“You like sweet wine?” He spoke softly, even though he was still bobbing around.

“Yeah, I do.” I froze as I remembered something. “I didn’t drink Moscato though.”


“The bartender sent me a bottle of something else.” I closed my eyes and tried to remember. “It was a bottle of pinot noir. He said it was on the house.” I opened my eyes again. “Some new vineyard from Upstate New York had asked local bars to serve the wine.”


“Anyways, the waiter brought over a bottle of wine and poured me a glass while I waited for Rosie. I texted her asking where she was, and she arrived a few minutes later.” I
paused as I tried to remember every detail that I could. “She hurried toward me and apologized. I remember she was angry because the waiter didn’t take her drink order fast enough. She was telling me about her job and then . . .” I frowned. “I can’t remember exactly. She needed to go to the restroom, and I saw a guy. The guy I think was following me.”

“Why do you think he was following you? What did he look like?”

“I can’t remember.” I sighed loudly. “I can picture him standing in the corner, watching me, but all I can see is his shadow. I can’t remember his face.”

“What happened next?”

“Someone came up to the table.” I shook my head, as if that would help me to remember more details. “I can’t remember who. All I remember next is waking up in the car trunk.”

“What happened to your friend Rosie?”

“I don’t know.” I froze and my eyes popped open. “I left something in her bag. I hope she’s okay.”

“I think she’s okay. I think she’d be here with us, if they were worried about her. They obviously just wanted to kidnap us.”

“Yeah. I wish I knew why.” Though, that wasn’t completely accurate. I was pretty sure I knew why I had been kidnapped, I just didn’t know why he had been kidnapped as well. I was pretty sure I’d been kidnapped because of my investigating the Bradley Corporation, but what, if any, connection did Jakob have?

“Do you know the Bradley Corporation?” I spoke slowly, as if the answer to his question was of no more importance than the color of his eyes.

“I’ve heard of it.” He responded to me without pause. “I can’t say I know it well. Why?”

“No reason.” I licked my lips. I was started to feel dehydrated. “Now I wish I hadn’t drunk that wine last night. I bet I wouldn’t be feeling so parched if I’d just stuck to water.”

“It is odd that you received a free bottle of wine, and not just a glass.” He spoke thoughtfully.

“Do you think that has anything to do with me being kidnapped?” I bit my lower lip. “I can’t remember much after that.”

“I don’t know.” He sighed. “I didn’t have wine last night. I’m more of a beer man.”


“Why’s that?”

“You seem more like a whiskey guy,” I responded swiftly. “I can picture you in a study with a crystal decanter.” I groaned inwardly. I had a tendency to speak before I thought. I didn’t want him to think I was interested in him.

“I do like whiskey—Yes!” he exclaimed.

“Wow, you really like whiskey.”

“No, no, I can see.” He was excited. “Shit.”

“Yeah.” I sighed. I knew exactly what the

was about.

“Where the fuck are we?” He sounded worried, and I knew he was thinking what I was thinking. How the hell were we going to get off this island?

“So about that whiskey . . . ?” I tried to crack a joke as we sat there in silence. Come to think of it, as much as I didn’t like Jakob, I was glad I wasn’t here by myself. If I were alone, I’d be sobbing already. “Do you think this is like that movie?”

“What movie?” he finally asked.
“Swiss Family Robinson?”

“No, that crazy movie where that guy is pretending he’s dead, but really he’s waiting to see what happens.”

“I have no idea what movie you’re talking about.”

. That’s the name of the movie.”

“Weren’t they in a locked room?” He sounded confused.

“Yeah.” I nodded. “So?”

“In case it escaped you, we’re not in a room.”

that,” I huffed. “I just meant, do you think that someone put us here so they can watch us, like some sort of experiment?”

“You mean, like
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

“What?” I was surprised at his response. I didn’t know many people who’d watched that movie. In fact I didn’t know many men that enjoyed movies that didn’t have explosions and sex.

“They made a remake. Um, I think it’s called
Rat Race

“The movie with Whoopi Goldberg?”

“Yeah. These rich men send a bunch of idiots on a quest around the country and place bets on what they think will happen.”

“I know. I saw it.” I grinned to myself. I bet I’d seen every movie he could think of.

“So, you think we’re being watched? Do you think there are cameras watching our every move?”

“Shit, that sounds a bit like
The Truman Show
!” I exclaimed. “Or
.” I shivered. “Shit, if it’s
, we’re so dead. That movie was so scary. I thought I was going to—”

“Bianca, as impressed as I am by your knowledge of movies, I’m afraid I have more pressing concerns on my mind.” His voice sounded superior as he cut me off, and I stuck my tongue out at the sea. “For the record, I don’t think there are cameras watching us.”

“For the record, neither do I. And yes, I do know a lot about movies. I know a lot because I’m a movie critic.” Okay, so maybe I wasn’t exactly a critic. All I really did was watch a lot of free movies and write synopses, but I wasn’t about to admit that.

“Oh?” He sounded impressed for a second. “For the
New York Times

“No.” I muttered. “They aren’t the only newspaper that reviews movies.”

“Okay,” I could tell that he was trying to be patient with me. “Let’s try to focus on the matter at hand right now and we can talk about movies once we’re out of these ropes.” I could feel my face burning at his words. He was such an arrogant jerk. “Let’s try to stand up.” He continued.

“And go where?”

“We need to walk and see if we can find a rock.”

“I already told you that all I can see is sand and water.”


“And so that means I’m not seeing any rocks.”

“Well, if we keep sitting on our fat asses, we’re not going to see anything.”

“Are you calling me fat?”

“Oh my God, you’re not going to be

“What girl?”

“Lean back against me and let’s slowly try to stand up.”

“What girl?”

“Bianca,” he groaned. “Please, let’s just try to stand up.”

“You’re not all that yourself, you know,” I blurted out, and he laughed.

“One, two, three.” He leaned back into me and struggled to stand up. “You have to attempt to stand as well.”

“You didn’t say ‘go.’ ”


“You didn’t say ‘one, two, three, go.’ ”

BOOK: Illusion (Swept Away Book 1)
7.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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