By Vicki Williams
When the hood was removed, she found herself in an elegant foyer of high ceilings, red marble floors and rich wood paneling. A high-backed antique walnut bench stood against one wall. A tall, dark-haired man lounged against the other, smiling at her with amusement.
Neither her surroundings nor the person facing her seemed particularly dangerous, at least, not in a terrifying, drug-crazed, switchblade-wielding kind of way. The man himself was dressed in charcoal suit pants and a paler silk shirt, sleeves casually turned up and collar open. Everything about him said â€œupper-classâ€. It gave her some reassurance that this was someone she could deal with. The near-hysteria sheâ€™d been feeling calmed, to be replaced by icy fury.
â€œWhy have you done this? You canâ€™t just snatch somebody off the street!â€
She literally spat the questions at him. He thought she looked beautiful in her rage. A tangle of ebony hair curled around her face. Violet eyes, framed by sooty lashes and arched by ravenswing brows, sparked with anger. Spots of scarlet marked high cheekbones. A full mouth was narrowed by indignation. Dressed in tight jeans and a red teeshirt, she held her slender body arrow straight. He thought she might be going to stamp her foot although for that to be effective, she needed to be wearing boots rather than pink sneakers.
He waited silently until she sputtered uncertainly into silence.
â€œIf youâ€™d like to ask one question at a time, Iâ€™ll be glad to answer.â€
Still trying for bravado, she replied â€“ â€œ how about letâ€™s start with who you are?â€
â€œ It doesnâ€™t matter who I am although youâ€™ll know soon enough. Next question?â€
Some of her resolve was leaving her.
â€œWhy am I here?â€ she cried.
He shrugged, â€œI want you here.â€
â€œIâ€™m not a nobody! My family will move heaven and earth to find me!â€
â€œI know who you are, Darlinâ€™. Your name is Valencia Masterson. Youâ€™re a designer for Amaryllis Fashions. Your father, Alan, is an investment banker. Your mother, Bethel, is a homemaker. You have a brother, Dylan, in law school and a sister, Meribeth, at Wellesley. And, incidentally, your family will not find you.â€
The fear was back, full-fledged. â€œAre you going to kill me?â€ she whispered, â€œdid you bring me here to kill me?â€
He burst into laughter.
â€œSweetheart, let me assure you. The last thing I want to do is kill you!â€
You can purchase the book online from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Sticks-And-Carrots-ebook/dp/B0092R9E7C/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1371400786&sr=1-7&keywords=sticks+and+carrots.
eBook formatting by Shelley Glasow Schadowsky.