Illusion (Swept Away Book 1) (9 page)

BOOK: Illusion (Swept Away Book 1)
6.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“Oh.” My heart fluttered at his words and a pleased smile
crossed my face. “I guess he just wasn’t lucky enough to be with me.”

“Even the shining Rolex couldn’t keep you with him.” He laughed to himself, and this time I wasn’t worried that he was being suggestive or malicious.

“It takes more than a Rolex to keep me.”

“As it should.”

We continued walking along the sand, and all I could think about was the feel of his muscles against me. They were so hard and strong. His body, though hot and sweaty, felt delicious against mine. It was comforting and sensual in a way that I’d never experience before. His warmth heated me up inside and I knew that we were both playing with fire.

“Ouch!” I cried out as my toe stubbed something sharp. “Oh my God, Jakob.” I squealed. “I just stubbed my toe. There’s a rock! Oh, but it’s too big to lift.”

“I see it. Okay.” His voice was deep and commanding again, and I shivered. There was something about a man who took charge that made me take notice. “We’re going to have to get lower.”

“Oh no. Really?” Just thinking about trying to shift down lower was making my limbs feel even more tired.

“Do you see another way for us to cut the rope?”

“I guess not.”

“I’ll try to get my hands free first. Then I can try to break the rope around our waists and then get your hands.”

“Why are my hands last?”

“Do you want to be first, then?” He sighed.

“No, it’s fine.”

“Okay. One, two, three, drop!” he shouted, and we splashed down into the water, keeping our heads just above the surface.

I gasped slightly as I tried to stop myself from swallowing the salt water. “Thank God the water’s warm.”

“Okay, I’m going under.”

“Okay,” I mumbled, and my body stilled as I realized that this meant I was going under as well.

I closed my mouth quickly and tried to hold my breath as my head was submerged beneath the water. My eyes nearly popped out of my head as I realized that we were surrounded by a bunch of small fish. I was just about to run out of air, when I felt myself being lifted out of the water again.

“I didn’t get it.” He sounded angry with himself.

“Next time, give me some warning when you’re taking me under with you.” I spat the salt water from my mouth. “I nearly drowned just now.”

“Yes, Bianca.”

“When we went under, a whole heap of—”

“Okay, we’re going under in one, two, three.” He cut me off, and before I knew what was happening, we were going under again.

This time, I made sure my mouth was closed as I went under, and I concentrated on trying to keep as still as possible as I bounced against Jakob’s back. I knew the exact moment he found the rock, because his body moved back and forth
maniacally, bobbing me around in the water like some sort of buoy.

I kept my eyes shut and mouth closed as we bobbed around under the water. I was scared that I was going to pass out. A part of me wondered if this was how it was going to end for me. Why had I been so trusting as to go into the ocean with him? He weighed more than me and was stronger than me. If he wanted to keep me underwater and drown me, he could. My life flashed before my eyes as I stared at the fish as they swam around inches from my face. Just as I was about to try to elbow him, he jumped back out of the water. I took a large gulp of air and said a quick and thankful prayer.

“You stayed down too long just now!” I called out angrily. “I nearly ran out of oxygen!”

“I’m sorry.” His voice sounded contrite. “I nearly got the rope off,” he gasped excitedly. “I should have come up earlier. I just wanted to get it off so badly.”

“It’s fine,” I said weakly, suddenly feeling exhausted.

“You okay?” His excited tone changed, and he sounded genuinely concerned.

“Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just been a long day, and I don’t want to end it by drowning.”

“I know. It’ll be okay. You’ll see.” I felt his back muscles tense against me, and our shoulders and asses rubbed against each other for a few seconds without our attempting to move away.

“From your mouth to God’s ears, please.”

“Yes, ma’am. Are you ready for us to go under again?”

I sighed. “Let me take some big breaths first.” I sucked in oxygen like I didn’t know when I’d have it again. I tried to concentrate on staying calm, but my mind was distracted by the feel of his legs pressed against mine. He was strong. I could feel that in his movements. He was strong and powerful. I wondered what he’d be like in bed. If he’d be a gentle giant or totally dominating. I felt my fear and worry being replaced by wonder and lust. He shifted back against me, and I felt his ass brushing mine again. Part of me wondered if he wasn’t deliberately rubbing back against me. I was just about to ask him, when he jerked slightly.

“Okay. One, two, three, under!” he shouted, and down we went again.

This time, it was easier. I was accustomed to being tossed around against his back. I stared at the fish now, not feeling apprehensive or scared. They were so small yet so beautiful. I was amazed at the different colors and shapes.

There was one that seemed as fascinated with me as I was with it, and it just seemed to swim in place, staring at me. It had an odd shape, with a bright yellow tail and yellow fins. I noticed that the rims of the fish were yellow as well. It also had dark navy lips and spots on its scales. I’d never seen anything like it before. I was so captivated by the fish that I was taken aback when Jakob jumped out of the water again.

“I got it!” he exclaimed, and I felt his shoulders move as he stretched his arms up.

“Lucky you.” I felt envious of his freedom as my wrists chafed together in the water.

“I’m going to try to break the rope around our waist now.” He paused. “I’m going to try to tear it at the front of me.”

“Sure. Take care of yourself first.”

“It will be easier.”

“Whatever,” I mumbled. “One, two, three, go!” I shouted, and took a deep gulp of air, waiting for him to go down into the water.

This time, I was lying down on his back, trying not to sputter as the water moved over my face. It was weird staring up at the sky through the water as I waited for him to cut the rope. Being attached to him felt constricting but somehow comforting as well. I knew as soon as he had cut through the rope, because my body immediately started drifting away from his. I tried to stop myself from moving, but I found it hard to get my feet on the ground. I started panicking slightly, but then I felt Jakob’s strong hands grab my waist and pull me to the surface.

“Hey, it’s okay.” He looked down at me and held me close to him. “I’m not going to let you float away.” His hands were firm on my waist, his fingertips digging into me. He pulled me toward him and gently and I felt his body pressed against mine as I moved my arms to the side.

“I’m glad to hear that,” I sputtered gratefully.

“I’m going to help you get the rope off your hands now.” His eyes gazed down into mine, and I nodded slowly, caught up in his bright blue irises—irises that rivaled the beautiful aquamarine of the water surrounding us. His lips were so
close to mine, luscious and pink, and I suddenly wondered what they tasted like. Would they be salty and sweet like his skin?

“I can do it.” I attempted to move away from him, but he held on to me tightly.

“I’ll help you.” He sighed. “Let me help you.” His fingers lingered on my waist for a few seconds and then along my arms to my wrists. He grabbed my hands and played with the rope for a few seconds and then looked back up, into my eyes. “I have you in the palm of my hands,” he whispered softly and leaned toward me.

“What do you mean by that?” I whispered back at him, my stomach jumping as his fingers brushed my wet hair away from my face.

“Nothing.” He shook his head. “I’m just saying, I could do what I wanted to you right now, but all I’m doing is saving you. I hope you’ll trust me after this.”

“Untie me and I’ll trust you.” I nodded, unblinking.

“Can I get a kiss as well?” His eyes sparkled as his lips came dangerously close to mine.

“What?” I closed my eyes and waited to feel his lips on mine.

“Open your eyes, Bianca.” He whispered against my lips. I could feel his breath gliding over my skin as I opened my eyes slowly. I swallowed hard as I stared up at him. “We’re going to go down again now.” He looked toward the water and then back up at me.

“Fine.” I tried not to feel disappointed.

“Okay, I’m going to pull you down by your arms. Try not to move around too much.”

“I can’t really stop that.”

“Just try.” His voice was stern, and I rolled my eyes. It was then that I noticed the red on the sides of his wrists.

“My God, what happened to your arms?” I exclaimed, my eyes widening as I realized that he had scraped his skin off.

“I bumped into a sharp rock.” He grinned. “Several times.”

“Shit.” I bit my lower lip. “That must have hurt.”

“It’s fine, but now you know why I’m offering to help you.”

“Yeah, don’t scratch up my wrists, please.” I gave him a weak smile and tried not to stare at his bloody wrists.

If he had been able to scrape that much skin off his wrists in order to get free, he had to be pretty pain resistant. That meant if push came to shove, I’d have to think of a better way to escape from him than just kicking him in the nuts.

“I’ll do what I can. Now hold on. Take a big gulp of air.” He winked at me, and before I knew what was happening, we were going underwater again.

This time, Jakob held on to my arms as we went under. He gripped my wrists, and I felt him moving my hands back and forth carefully and quickly against the rock. I closed my eyes as the rock grated against the inside of my wrist. I was not going to cry. I was not going to feel queasy. I felt oddly bereft not having the warmth of Jakob behind me.

I tried to think of other things as Jakob worked on getting
the rope away from my wrists. I thought back to the previous day. I’d been so excited to finally tell Rosie about the box I’d found in my dad’s apartment after he’d died. It had been a year since my father had passed away, and I’d found his letter. I wished now that I had told her what I’d found back in the beginning. I also wished more than anything that I had told her on the phone about the papers I was giving her for safekeeping. I could only hope she noticed the plastic bag full of papers in her bag and was curious enough to read them. If she read them, she would know that there was more to Bradley Corporation then meets the eye. She’d know that it was my father’s inventions that had made the company billions of dollars. She’d know that my father had been about to leave the company and take his patents with him and then my mother had died. I knew that couldn’t have been a coincidence as soon as I saw the dates. I hadn’t wanted to say anything to Rosie over the phone, because I’d been scared my phone was being tapped. It was irrational, but after the incident with the police officer, I’d no longer felt safe in my own home. I knew the Bradleys were onto me. I knew because I’d told David part of the reason I wanted to know more about his company. I wanted the Bradleys to know that I knew something. I wanted them to know because that was part of my plan. In war, the winner wasn’t the army that attacked without the other side knowing, it was the army that attacked and leaked only the information they wanted the other side to know. David knew that I wanted more information on my father’s patents because I had some questions after his death.
He didn’t know that I thought his father had something to do with my mother’s death. And he didn’t know that if my father’s papers were correct, and my research was valid, I was actually a majority shareholder in the corporation. The only problem I had was that I was playing a game of cat and mouse with the kitten. David was not the kingpin at Bradley Corporation; his brother, Mattias, was. Mattias was the one I suspected of sending the notes and of orchestrating this kidnapping. He wanted to send me a message to stop investigating. He wanted to scare me. The only question now revolved around Jakob. I had no idea who he was and what role he played in this puzzle.

As Jakob moved my hands back and forth, I thought about how easy it would be for him to drown me. If he worked for Mattias, it would be easy for him to keep me quiet, though I had to believe that this wasn’t the case, I tried to turn my mind to more positive thoughts, as I didn’t want sadness and paranoia to permeate my mind. There was one fact that I knew to be true. Whoever Jakob was, he wasn’t anyone’s henchman. He was too commanding, too direct, too strong. He was a man that gave orders. He didn’t take them.

Jakob was the sort of man I thought my father must have been like before my mother died. As Jakob moved my hands back and forth, I tried to ignore the small jabs of pain. They didn’t even match up to the heartache I felt every day. I’d grown up with my single father since I was five years old. My dad had never remarried. It was as if a part of him had died
with my mother. He never spoke of the pain, but the light came on in his eyes only when he spoke of her. When I had read my father’s letter, I’d been in disbelief, and then anger. I’d wanted to seek vengeance for my father, but that quickly changed to my wanting to seek out the truth. I wanted to find out what really happened to my mother the day that she died. That accident hadn’t just killed my mother, it had killed my father inside as well. I had no idea what I was going to do once I found out the truth. I figured that I would deal with that once I knew what the truth actually was.

“Are you okay?” Jakob questioned as we burst out of the water. He turned me around to face him, and I could see the concern in his eyes.

“Yes.” I panted for air. I didn’t tell him that my wrists were aching and stung where they’d been scratched.

“I think I’ll have it off in the next go-around.”

“Okay.” I nodded feebly.

“I’ll try not to bang your wrists up too much this time.” He winked at me and smiled. “Okay. One, two, three, and lift off!” he shouted, and down we went again.

I was as still as I could be as he moved my arms back and forth. I could feel the tension in the rope starting to feel weaker, and my excitement started building. I was nearly free. As soon as the rope broke, I pulled away from Jakob and jumped up to take a deep breath and stretch my arms. Jakob surfaced right behind me, and we grinned at each other like fools.

BOOK: Illusion (Swept Away Book 1)
6.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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