Find her? Had she been taken? His entire world tilted on its axis as he tried to digest Vincent’s words. Before he could ask the question, Vincent continued. “She went to grab us food from the cafeteria and never came back. I went to find her and the fucking place was closed. I’m…hold on.” He held the phone up to his ear again, his gaze on Wyatt as he spoke. “All right. I’m on my way.”
Vincent slid the phone into his pocket and nodded his head toward the exit. “One of the guys will take Ellie back to your place. You’re coming with us.”
Wyatt didn’t give a shit where they were going. He’d walk into hell to find Iris. Even though a dozen questions burned against his brain, he held himself in check, waiting to see where Vincent and the two other security men took him. Even so, he couldn’t fight the panic humming through him. Iris wouldn’t have just left without telling him. No way in hell. That meant she hadn’t left on her own. His throat tightened as emotions bubbled up inside him, but he shoved everything back. It wouldn’t help him now. They rode an elevator three floors down, one floor above where the morgue was. He’d never been on this floor before, wasn’t even sure what it was.
When the doors whooshed open, a beautiful petite black woman wearing green scrubs greeted them. She eyed all of them then looked at Vincent, her dark eyes assessing. “You owe me for this, Vincent. I had to agree to go on a date with someone for this and if I wind up losing my job for what you’re about to do, you’re explaining to mom why.”
Mom? Holy shit. This was Vincent’s sister.
Without another word, the woman spun on her heel and led them down three quiet, deserted hallways. Eventually they stopped in front of a plain metal door. She knocked once and it immediately flew open. In addition to the man holding the door open, two men wearing security uniforms sat behind desks filled with live-streaming video feeds.
Wyatt’s heart lodged in his throat when he realized why they were there. They might have footage of Iris.
“Just you, Vincent.” The woman nodded at her brother.
“Please, my wife is missing. I need…” Wyatt was unable to finish the thought or hide the desperation in his voice. Right now he was barely keeping it together.
Her eyes softened and she nodded. Then she grabbed the hand of the man holding the door. “You can stand guard out here with me and the others,” she said bossily.
“Whatever you say, Zoe,” the man murmured as she dragged him from the room.
One of the men at the desk spoke to Vincent. “On these computers I’ve got the feeds for the timeframe your sister told us your friend went missing. I’ve reviewed them and none of us have left our posts. Sorry man, I haven’t found anything.”
That didn’t mean shit, Wyatt thought.
Vincent apparently agreed because he just grunted. “You mind?” He motioned to the seat and though the security guard hesitated, he sighed and stood.
“Only because you’re Dr. Hansen’s brother and she’s scary as shit,” he muttered.
Vincent sat down and Wyatt watched in awe as his fingers flew over the keyboard. He typed in commands, fast-forwarding, then rewinding, then repeating it a few more times before letting one of the videos stream.
Wyatt barely managed to keep his shit together as he watched the color feed of Iris getting into an elevator. Then she exited on another floor and disappeared from sight. He wanted to reach out and touch the screen but stayed rooted to the spot. The feed picked her up again in front of the gated off cafeteria. She looked frustrated as she eyed the giant metal gate blocking the place. Glancing around, she paused before turning to her left then heading toward an opening into…somewhere.
“What’s in there?” he asked.
The man still sitting answered. “It’s just a small nook with a soda and vending machine. There aren’t any doors or exits there. She’ll come back out in a second.”
As they watched, a man with gray hair in a wheelchair rolled himself into the opening too. What was taking her so long? Blood rushed in his ears as he watched the clock in the right hand corner of the screen tick away the seconds. Thirty seconds later the man with the gray hair came out of the blocked off area pushing the wheelchair. A woman was in the seat, a shawl wrapped around her head which was tilted to the side as if she was asleep.
Wyatt’s hands balled into fists. Raw rage hummed through him, shooting out to all his nerve endings like battering rams. He wanted to punch something, to tear apart the man who’d dared take his wife. Though his insides raged out of control he kept his gaze on the man, trying to get a clear shot of the guy’s face.
“Holy shit,” Vincent muttered. “He had to have drugged her.”
Yeah, Iris wouldn’t have gone down without a fight. Not his wife. “Can you get a better angle of his face?”
Vincent muttered to himself as he zoomed in on the man, but it was as if the guy was purposefully avoiding the cameras. Which meant he’d been here before. Had likely learned the layout of everything.
As he continued to watch the video feed, his cell phone buzzed in his pocket. It was a text from Iris.
“Vincent,” he managed to rasp out as he opened the message.
Sending you a live video of your wife. Bring five million in cash to the following address. You have two hours. She’s alive for now. Come alone or she’s dead. Don’t bother trying to trace this phone, I’m trashing it after I hit send.
His heart beat an erratic tattoo as he read the message again. She’d been taken, but she was alive. He focused on that one thought.
Iris was still alive.
He wasn’t familiar with most of Miami except the well-known hotspots. “You recognize the address?”
“Yeah,” Vincent muttered. “Abandoned neighborhood twenty minutes from here. Some so-called urban explorers did a documentary on it a while ago…” He trailed off as the video feed popped up.
Wyatt’s gut twisted as he watched. Iris’s arms and legs were cuffed to a chair and though she still wore her jeans, her only other clothing was a lacy black bra. Her head lolled to the side but he could see the rise and fall of her chest.
She was breathing and that was the only thing that gave him hope. Fury popped inside him at the sight of her half-dressed but he shoved his anger back down. That emotion wouldn’t do him any good. He had to stay focused.
Getting the money wouldn’t be a problem. He could get it and be at the address in two hours. Something the man who’d sent the video had to realize. He’d timed this perfectly.
“You know you’re not going alone, right?” Vincent asked quietly.
Throat tight, all Wyatt could do was nod and stride from the room and away from the prying ears of strangers. Vincent stayed close as they brushed past the others and hurried back toward the elevators. “No police,” Wyatt murmured. That wasn’t even a question for him, but he wanted to make sure Vincent knew where he stood clearly.
Next to him Vincent snorted. “No shit. I’m bringing Harrison in on this though. We’re bringing our girl home alive, man.”
Iris was his, but he’d never been so thankful for her job and the people she worked with. If anyone could help him, it was the people from Red Stone. Time wasn’t on their side and he wouldn’t waste one precious second. He wasn’t stupid enough to go alone, but he knew he had to be careful if he wanted to see Iris alive again.
And he would save her. When he did, whoever had taken her would wish they’d never been born.
Iris tried to force her eyes open, struggling to force off the sandbags weighing them down. She was disoriented and…fuzzy. Where the hell was she? At Wyatt’s? A memory danced at the edges of her brain, but she couldn’t grasp it. She’d been in the cafeteria trying to scrounge up food for her and the guys while waiting for Wyatt. But it had been empty so she’d found a vending machine. There had been an old man asking for help. He’d needed change or something. Then… she couldn’t remember anything after that. Why was everything a giant blank?
Inhaling, she scented mustiness in the air. It was tinged with salt so maybe she was near the ocean. And that dripping sound seemed over-pronounced, as if it was echoing. Like water falling on concrete. She managed to force her eyes open to slits and that’s when it registered that her feet were cold. In fact, she was completely chilled to the bone. Struggling to blink away the sluggishness that had overtaken her, she saw that her shirt had been removed—but she still wore a bra. An iciness that had nothing to do with the temperature settled over her as she instinctively went to cover up.
That’s when she saw the flex-cuffs securing her wrists tightly to an uncomfortable metal chair. She couldn’t see her legs, but as she attempted to move them, there was no give. Adrenaline punched through her like a bolt of lightning but the bindings were unforgiving. As more of her surroundings came into focus she glanced around the matchbox-sized room, trying to find a weakness. A tiny, barred window in the far corner showed a peek at a midnight sky, but the walls were thick slab. No plaster or fiberboard, which would have given her an out if her hands and feet weren’t bound.
At the sound of keys jangling and the lock twisting, her gut clenched. Her hands balled into fists as she prepared for the worst. There was no reason to take a woman’s clothes other than the horrible scenarios that played over and over in her mind like a bad horror movie. The only thing she could do was try to send her mind somewhere else if she couldn’t fight back. In SERE school she’d been taught a hell of a lot, including ways to maim or kill someone trying to attack her from this position. Yeah, whoever had taken her might assault her, but if they got close enough she’d rip out their jugular with her teeth if she could manage. Hands and feet weren’t the only weapon.
Fuck that, no matter what happened she would survive. She could survive anything if it brought her back to Wyatt.
Oh God, where was Wyatt? She prayed he hadn’t been hurt too. If she could just remember what had happened to her.