Read Raife: An Aquadomina Novel Online

Authors: Stormy McKnight

Raife: An Aquadomina Novel

BOOK: Raife: An Aquadomina Novel

Aquadomina Book One




Stormy McKnight

Copyright and Disclaimer

pending, Stormy McKnight


Art by Brandi Doane McCann


by Stormy McKnight


Raife is the first book in the Aquadomina series.

Raife is a work of fiction and the characters,
events and dialogue found within the story are of the author’s imagination and
are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons,
either living or deceased, is completely coincidental.

No part of this book may be reproduced or shared in
any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including but not limited
to digital copying, file sharing, audio recording, email and printing without
the permission in writing from the author.

Chapter One

Sophie ducked behind some clutter she found on the deck of
The Great
and bit into her fist to keep from crying out. Her head was
pounding and she could feel the slight trickle of blood down her scalp. She was
in serious trouble and frantically thinking of a way out of the mess she found
herself in. When she had agreed to fill in for her friend Molly and nanny
Alexander and Anna Gray’s two small children on a cruise to the Bahamas, she
never imagined this would be the end result.

The trip had started out peacefully enough. Heading southeast out of
Miami, Florida they had nothing but clear sailing. The children were very well
behaved, and she had spent most of her time tutoring them. The yacht was very
high tech and like most children their age Michael and Bethany enjoyed being on
a computer or other device during their free time. This made her job more
difficult trying to lure them away from the technology, but it was easier once
they had made port in Nassau, Bahamas for a few days. It had given her the
opportunity to take the children around the island, and off the yacht since
their parents had rented a home for the duration of their stay. It had been
three days of learning about Nassau and having fun around the local hot spots.
They had gone to The Blue Lagoon to swim with the dolphins. There was also the
Segway tour of the beach that the children thought was great, but Sophie had
trouble getting the hang of the rolling contraption. After a few crashes into
the sand, she had finally figured it out. Thankfully, the tour guides had been
very patient. They had filled their time with museums, tours and food. When it
was time to depart Nassau the children had been ready to go, and so was she.
There was nothing quite like visiting a tropical paradise but it was time for
them to head for home.

Their first night back on the yacht had ended uneventfully. After eating
dinner, then watching their favorite movie, a short visit with their parents
and it was bedtime. Sophie had tucked the children in their beds, read them a
story, and was trying to coax Bethany to sleep. The little girl had fussed that
she couldn’t sleep without her “bedtime buddy”. She had just smiled and assured
the little girl that she would go find it. The teddy bear had to be on the
yacht somewhere, Bethany had definitely packed it in her bag before leaving
Nassau. When asked, the last place Bethany remembered seeing it was in her
father’s study, so that was where Sophie had started looking.

Walking swiftly toward the study Sophie was distracted with thoughts of
tomorrow’s lessons. She stopped short when she heard voices coming from the
room. She didn’t want to interrupt an important meeting but Bethany would stay
awake until she got that bear.

“We need to make sure the nanny won’t find it.” Sophie recognized
Alexander Gray’s voice.

“I will make sure she doesn’t check her bags after the drugs are hidden.”
This voice she knew belonged to one of Alexander’s guards. “Once she is in the
city we can arrange to get the bag away from her. We could always stage a
mugging as we did with the last nanny. We just need to remember to have a last
minute meeting and cut her loose early instead of giving her a ride into town.”

Sophie’s brow furrowed. Her friend had said something about being mugged a
few months ago after being on a trip with the Gray’s. What was going on? Moving
a little bit closer to the doors she held her breath listening.

“Who would think to suspect an old granny of being a drug mule? Even if
they caught her and looked my direction, I would just say
must be
desperate for money and got them in Nassau.” Alexander gave a nasty laugh. “If
only she earned money like she eats then she would be rich. I may have to
charge her for the food bill if she keeps it up.”

“Or chase off the pod of Orca that come to claim one of their own.” The
guard laughed at his own joke.

Sophie felt her face flame red and tears burn in her eyes. She wasn’t
old having turned forty-five this year, and she enjoyed food but wouldn’t say
she had eaten that much! She could stand to lose some weight, but she didn’t
think the Orca joke was called for. How much of her life had she heard these
kinds of jokes? How many times had she been told she would be so pretty if she
just lost weight? She was pulled out of her thoughts when she heard them move
closer to the door.

“She should be lured away from her bags after packing some time
tomorrow.” Alexander laughed again, “I will have Chef make a thank-you cake.
That should work to get her and the children out of the way.”

Sophie looked around frantically, the voices were moving toward the door
and she needed to get out of the hall. Looking back behind her, she saw a
lavatory and just made it inside and closed the door, when she heard the males
leaving the study.

Peeking out of the doorway, she made sure the coast was clear. Hurrying
into the study, she found the teddy bear and then rushed back to the children’s
room. Her head was reeling with what she had heard. It was only when she saw
that Bethany was still awake that she tried to pull herself together. The
little girl cried out happily when she saw her bedtime buddy.

“Here Bethany.” Sophie said softly, “Now you need to get some sleep.” She
tucked the girl’s soft curls behind her ear and worried about what to do next.
Alexander Gray was a very bad man, and he was going to use her to try to get
drugs off the yacht and into Miami.
couldn’t let them get control of her bags. She ran across the hall into her
stateroom. Would there be cell coverage out here? Maybe she could get a text to
her friend Molly. Grabbing her cell phone, she put a shrug over her tank top
and made her way outside on the deck. Waving her hand around she saw that she
wasn’t getting any bars. Walking toward the bow, she kept her eye on the
coverage. When she got a single bar, she froze. Hurrying to type a message, she
warned her friend about Alexander’s activities, and asked that Molly inform the
authorities about the drugs. She had just hit send when she heard a voice
behind her.

“What brings you out here?”

Making sure to close the cell phone, she turned to smile at the guard.
“Just getting some air before I turn in.” She slowly moved her hand to put the
cell phone into her pocket, and then leaned back into the railing in what she
hoped was a casual pose.

“What were you doing with your cell phone?” The guard asked suspiciously.
His beady eyes were narrowed and she could practically see the wheels turning
in his head.

“Oh, just sending out a text to my friend to make sure to pick me up at
the dock.” Sophie tried to sound nonchalant but knew she failed when he looked
even more suspicious.

“I thought Mr. Gray was giving you a ride from the dock.” The guard was
moving alarmingly close. Then she realized that she had blown it, but did the
guard know? The plan was for the Gray’s to take her into town, but she had just
overheard this guard and Mr. Gray discussing a fictitious last minute meeting.
She wasn’t supposed to know about that yet! What a stupid mistake. She just had
to hope the guard didn’t put it together.

“Yes. I meant I was arranging a ride when they dropped me off.” Sophie
tried to cover her blunder.

“I need to see your cell phone.” The guard held out his beefy hand, the
muscles bunching in his forearms. “You signed a non-disclosure agreement and I
have the authority to see your phone at any time.”

“Of course.” Sophie moved her fingers around the cell phone and pulled it
out of her pocket. Moving to hand it over she shrugged wildly, the phone flying
from her fingers. The guard watched with wide eyes as it arced over the water
to disappear. “Oh dear! I have these tics sometimes. It comes with age I
guess.” She tried to look contrite, “I am so sorry.”

“You need to come with me.” The guard went to grab her arm and she
stepped to the side to avoid his hand.

“I don’t know why you are harassing me.” She desperately tried to sound
offended instead of afraid, “I am just minding my own business.”

“Well that remains to be seen doesn’t it.” The guard put his meaty fist
around her upper arm and Sophie’s defense training kicked in. She hit him as
hard as she could in the solar plexus, then drove her hand into his nose and
finished with kneeing him in what she hoped was the groin. Making a grab for
the stick at his side, she had just gotten her fingers around it when he hit
her over the head. She staggered back and swung with the stick as hard as she
could, aiming for his head. She made contact with a loud thwack and the brute
of a man went down. Turning away Sophie made a mad dash for the bow and
somewhere to hide. Even though she knew it wouldn’t do any good. There wasn’t
anywhere they couldn’t find her. Ducking down behind the clutter on the deck
she frantically thought of what to do.

Before she could even calm her breathing, she was viciously hauled from
her hiding place by the hair. She had always worn her hair longer, but with his
painful hold on her, now she wished she had worn it close shaven.

“Gotcha!” It was the guard she had hit over the head. She thought he
would have been down longer, but she must not have hit him near hard enough.
When she saw the gun in his hand, she realized what he had hit her over the
head with.

“That is kind of redundant to say when you obviously have gotten me!”
Sophie had always resorted to sarcasm when cornered.

“What do we do with her?” The guard had been looking beyond her and she
wasn’t surprised to hear Alexander answer.

“We need to find out what she knows.” His cold voice sent chills down her
spine, and gave her goose bumps.

“That is fine with me.” Sophie gasped at the pain in her scalp from being
held so tightly and the hit it took earlier. “I was a teacher before I became a
nanny. I could talk all night telling you what I know.” She was starting to
feel sick and hoped that she would get to puke all over these two jerks before they
killed her.

“I hope you haven’t been teaching my kids to be smart mouths.” Alexander
waved the guard to bring her closer. “Now Sophie, tell me what you know.”

“And what you really did with that cell phone.” The guard added.

“I wasn’t able to get any coverage on the cell phone.” She lied. The last
thing she wanted was to drag Molly into this mess. “I heard you talking in your
study, I know about the drugs. I came out here to contact the authorities but I
wasn’t able to get cell coverage, I swear it. If I had done anything I would
tell you.” Her eyes were burning from the pain of the guards hold on her head.
“That is all I know. You are going to kill me no matter what I say, so why not
just do it?
The Hulkinator here is
massaging the handle of his gun as if he wants nothing more than to shoot me.
So do it already! You wouldn’t want me to start screaming and wake the
children.” She had to hope that Alexander believed her and this could end
without her friend dying too.

“I believe that you didn’t do anything Sophie, I’ll pay a friendly visit
to Molly when we get to Miami just in case.” He moved to stand by the railing.
“Either way I can’t leave you as a loose end.” He nodded to his guard.

Sophie tried to run but the guard had too strong of a hold on her head.
When she saw him lower his gun, she started screaming. She had never been shot
before. The pain stopped her breath for a second, and then she started gagging.
The bastard had shot her in the leg! After the initial agony, her mind shut
down and she went blessedly numb.

“The blood will attract any sharks and if those don’t get her the blood
loss and hypothermia will. No point in wasting too many bullets.”

“You bastard!” Sophie gasped, “You won’t get away with this.” She could
feel her strength flowing away as fast as the blood down her leg.

“I already have.” Alexander motioned with his thumb over his shoulder.
“Imagine my sorrow at my drunken nanny falling overboard.” He laughed another
cold, humorless sound. “Or maybe I can say that aliens abducted you, just
another victim to the Bermuda Triangle.”

The guard picked her up and grunting as he walked to the rail taunted
her, “Go on a diet lady! Oh wait, you’ll be dead in a few minutes.”

“Go to hell!” Her shout ended on a scream as she flew toward the cold
Atlantic waters.

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