Author: Kirsty Moseley I swallowed the bile that started to rise in my throat at the mention of Carter. “Are you going to kill me?” I asked, almost pleading for it. The same guy that had thrown the punch smiled and shook his head. “No. Carter sent us to collect his wife,” he answered, smirking at me nastily. “Is he here?” I asked, wringing my shaking hands. The guy shook his head. “No, he wanted to be, but they’re keeping pretty close tabs on him. He sent us here instead. He’ll be along later, don’t worry.” I groaned and dropped my eyes to the floor; I didn’t look up as Jimmy shoved a pair of jeans and a black top in my hands. “Get dressed. We need to leave,” he ordered. I nodded at the guys all standing there watching me. “You really want me to change here, in front of everyone?” I asked sarcastically. “Don’t worry, sweetheart, I’m sure you don’t have anything we haven’t seen before,” one guy mocked, sneering at me, looking like he was already taking my pyjamas off with his eyes. I smiled sweetly. “Okay, it’s your funeral, I guess. When Carter finds out you all watched me undress he’s not going to be best pleased. If that’s what you want…” I shrugged and reached down to grab the bottom of my tank top, starting to pull it up. A collective gasp filled the room. “No, wait! You can get dressed in the bathroom,” a blond guy said quickly; his name was Lukas if I remembered correctly. I smiled and followed him to the bathroom that was off the hall. There was a small window in this bathroom that led to the hallway at the front. I smiled and locked the door behind me, shrugging out of my clothes and putting the jeans and T-shirt on as quickly as possible. Once dressed, I boosted up on the sink and quietly pried the window open. I stuck my head out and saw there was no one there, so I boosted myself up and over, dropping down to the floor silently in my bare feet. “Very clever,” Lukas stated from the front door, making me scream as I jumped about a mile into the air. He tossed a pair of sneakers at me. “Better put those on too, don’t want you to cut your feet,” he said sarcastically. I frowned and pulled them on. There had to be something else; if there weren’t so many of them then I could have fought them. One of their guns would give me a chance, but would I actually be able to shoot someone like Ashton had taught me? I didn’t know the answer. Shooting a human being was miles apart from shooting a paper target. The blond guy grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the building. My emotions got the better of me again, the tears started to flow when I saw the first body of the new agents that had been sent to protect me. They were all lying, broken and still bleeding, on the way out of the building. “Are they all dead?” I whispered to Lukas. He nodded in confirmation. “Yeah, you had a lot of guards, but then I guess you are the first daughter now. It’s a shame that one who was posing as your boyfriend wasn’t here. Carter didn’t like his hands on you, even if it was all a fake,” he said, shrugging casually. I closed my eyes, thinking of Ashton, allowing myself to be led along. “He wasn’t my boyfriend. We had to act like that. My father made us. He was just a bodyguard,” I lied desperately. He chuckled darkly. “Oh, Carter knows that, if he didn’t know that then that as**ole would be dead already,” he stated, watching me intently. I didn’t say anything as he led us to a black car at the front of the building and held the door open for me. I felt sick as I climbed in the car. We drove for about an hour or so through the back streets until we came to a derelict-looking building. I looked around but didn’t recognise the place at all. The sun was coming up just as we pulled into the underground parking lot. As we parked up, I closed my eyes. Please God, let me get through this, I prayed silently. Jimmy opened my door for me, motioning for me to get out. “Come on, Anna.” I climbed out and looked around quickly. There were only four of them now; this was definitely worth a try. I knew that they wouldn’t be expecting me to be any trouble, so their underestimation of me would work to my advantage. I punched Jimmy in the stomach, and as he bent over in pain, I kicked the other guy in the groin, hard, making him grunt and fall to the floor in agony. I turned and readied myself as saw another guy approaching, but Jimmy had righted himself and wrapped his arms around me from behind, grabbing my arms and pinning them down. I struggled and thrashed, but I couldn’t get free, so I gave up. I wasn’t getting out of here just yet. “That was f**king stupid, Anna. Just calm down or you’ll get yourself hurt!” Jimmy growled warningly in my ear. I sighed and nodded as he opened a fire door and started leading me up the stairs. “Where are we? What is this place?” I asked, desperately looking around. It looked like an old factory or something; there were sewing machines, desks and tables all over the place. A thick layer of dust and dirt covered everything in sight, proving that this place hadn’t been used for a while. Crude graffiti stained the walls, most of the windows were boarded up and the plaster on the walls was peeling and cracked. I had no hope of a caretaker or someone stopping by to check on the building and just so happen to rescue me; this place hadn’t been used in years by the look of it. My gaze immediately landed on a phone as I was led past one of the desks. If I can just get to one of those phones! But who should I call, and what should I say? I don’t even know where I am! Jimmy was still holding my arms tightly as he guided me through the different levels and doors of the maze-like place. With each passing step, my hope of ever getting out of here faded a little more. I probably just needed to accept the fact that this was my fate and that I wasn’t going to be able to escape his men, there were too many of them. Jimmy shoved me roughly through another door and into a room that looked like some kind of disused office. I glanced around quickly, taking in my surroundings. There was one window, one door and no phone. It was hopeless. The door slammed shut behind me and I jumped at the click of the lock. Not ready to give up yet, I turned and hammered on the door. “Jimmy, please let me out, please!” I begged unashamedly as tears flowed freely down my cheeks. “Carter will be here tonight, Anna. Just chill out for a few hours, okay? You hungry? I could get you some food,” he offered from the other side of the door. “I’m not hungry. Please let me go. You know what he’s going to do to me. Please?” I slumped down to the floor, crying hopelessly. “I’m sorry, Anna, really I am. But I can’t let you go, he’ll kill me,” he replied. I nodded. I knew he would. Jimmy was always one of the nice ones. Occasionally he would sneak me food and drink or some painkillers when Carter would starve or beat me. Carter didn’t know, of course, Jimmy would have been dead a long time ago for even talking to me. “It’s okay, Jimmy.” I wiped my tears on the back of my hand. I wouldn’t cry anymore, crying was pointless, crying was weakness, and I refused to be weak. I wrapped my arms around myself and thought of Ashton. I could see his beautiful green eyes, and how angry his face would look if he was here right now. I closed my eyes and leant my head against the wall, praying that somehow I would get out of here before the inevitable happened. I would actually rather die than go back to living like a caged animal with Carter again. Chapter Forty-Seven ~ Ashton ~ Exhaustion didn’t quite cover what I felt as I sat on the edge of my bed. I’d just been to work for sixteen hours straight, and my body was hurting like hell. I flopped onto my back and glanced over at the clock; it was only eight in the evening. Unable to resist, I picked up my cell phone and texted Anna, the same as I did every day. ‘I had a hard day at work today. I really would love to talk to you. Please call me. I love you, always x’ I sent it and closed my eyes, not even bothering to get undressed, and fell to sleep immediately. I woke just after nine in the morning to my cell phone ringing on the bed next to me. I grabbed it quick and answered it, hoping it was Anna. “Agent Taylor,” I croaked, my voice thick with sleep. “Ashton, it’s Officer Weston.” I frowned. “Yes, sir?” I replied, sitting up quickly. He never called me; I wasn’t assigned to him anymore. “Ashton, I’ve just heard something, and I thought you should know,” he sounded remarkably stressed and I felt my body tense up. “Miss Spencer’s been taken, her guards are dead. They think it’s Carter Thomas.” My tired brain immediately registered what he’d said. Anna. Anna was in trouble. “WHAT? WHEN?” I cried, jumping out of the bed, stripping out of my uniform and grabbing the first clean clothes that I saw, throwing them on. “Just a couple of hours ago. One of the agents managed to call through to the White House for backup, but by the time they got extra staff there, everyone was dead and she was gone,” he said sadly. Anger made my teeth ache as I clenched my jaw. I was angry at Carter, angry at myself for not being there, and I was also angry at Anna for sending me away in the first place. I should have been there, I could have stopped this. Out of frustration, I kicked my chest of drawers, taking my anger out on that. When that didn’t help, I grabbed it and pulled it over, spilling everything over to the floor, making a loud crash as the mirror broke and my possessions scattered all over my floor. “Do they know where she is?” I asked. He sighed. “No, they have no idea. They don’t think she got on a plane, they’ve been monitoring the airports, but she could be anywhere by now,” he replied. My heart was in my throat, my hands shaking with rage. If he touched one hair on her beautiful head, I would rip him to pieces! “I need to go, sir,” I stated, not even waiting for an answer. I disconnected the call and dialled Anna’s number. It answered immediately. “Who’s this?” a man’s voice asked.