Andrea looked down. “What about my feet? We don’t have time.”

“Hold on.” Without waiting for a response, Izzy grabbed the chair and maneuvered it so Andrea was lying on her back. Thankfully the girl didn’t weigh much.

He’d tied each leg to a chair leg, but without the floor as a barrier, she could slip out of it.

“You’ll still have the flex cuffs attached to your ankles so make sure you don’t get caught on anything,” Izzy whispered.

Andrea nodded and stood on shaky legs. By her bruised face, Andrea had already endured some abuse. Her top was also ripped open, but Izzy wasn’t going to ask any questions. They could worry about that later.

“Look for anything we can use as a weapon,”

she said.

They both started to look around the room when the sound of the handle rattling stopped them both in their tracks. Too late.

They didn’t have time to make a decision. Izzy grabbed the chair and rushed toward the entrance.

If they could take him off guard, even for a split second, they might have a chance. If not, and he had a gun, they were as good as dead. Or worse.

The door opened and raw adrenaline surged through her. She tapped into something animalistic. With strength she didn’t know she had, she heaved the wooden chair above her head and slammed it into the man. His eyes widened as the chair connected with his upper body.

The man fell back onto the tiled floor of what looked like a kitchen. They were in a house! Which meant they could escape.

The man lay groaning on the floor so she picked up the broken chair and slammed it down on him again.

“Come on!” she screamed at Andrea.

Andrea was right behind her, breathing hard and limping. “We need to call the police.”

“No time. Come on.” Looking for a phone when they could be running wasn’t an option. She didn’t know where they were and she had no clue how long it would take the police to trace a call anyway.

They needed to get away from this guy. And fast. The kitchen was attached to a wide open living room. Floor length blinds were pulled shut so she ripped them open to reveal a sliding glass door.

She quickly unlocked it and they both raced outside. The sound of waves and a salty wind embraced them immediately.

“We’re by the beach?” Andrea said, incredulously.

About twenty yards and they’d be right on the beach. Izzy looked to the left and right. There weren’t any visible houses.

“You bitches!” Slurred shouts from inside spurred them both into action.

Without knowing where they were headed, Izzy grabbed Andrea’s arm. “Can you run?”

The girl nodded so she tugged on her hand.

“Stay close.”

They darted across the patio and onto the grass.

Heading to the beach would make them open targets and it was damn near impossible to run on sand. She hurried toward the side of the house. It had to lead to a street. And a street would lead to cars and people.

Those were her only thoughts. Escape and survive. Andrea was limping, but she kept up.

“Do you know where we are?” Izzy asked as they raced toward the end of the long driveway.

“I think we’re on LeHigh Road.”

“Where’s that?”

“It leads back to town and it’s the only way in and out of here. It’s a small peninsula. There’s a house about every mile, but no guarantee anyone will be home.” Andrea panted and clutched her side as they reached the road.

“Which way?” Izzy asked.

Andrea pointed to the right.

Izzy stared down the dark road. “If we just run down the road, we’ll be sitting ducks.”

Andrea nodded and they both glanced behind them. “So what do we do? He’s going to come after us.”

There were signs for pending construction, but instead of homes, woods were parallel to the street they now stood on. “We’ll have to use the trees as cover.” Izzy looked down at Andrea’s bare feet.

“Can you make it?”

“Hell yeah,” she grunted.

They darted across the street and into the cluster of trees. Izzy wasn’t familiar with the area, but if they used the trees as protection, they just might survive.

Adam pulled out his cell phone and dialed Detective Dennis. He answered immediately.

“Is that you behind me?” the detective asked.

“Yeah. How far away are we?”

“Less than sixty seconds. Watch my lights. I’m not pulling into the driveway. We’re going to park about thirty yards away, then sweep the house.

You were in the Marines, right?”



Half a minute later, the detective slowed down and turned off his lights so Adam did the same.

They parked on the side of the road on a patch of grass and got out of their vehicles almost simultaneously. From where they were, he had a partial view of the house through overgrown hedges. Other than that, scattered palm trees and scarce foliage sat between them and the beach.

Not good for trying to stay invisible. At least the sun was down. If the guy was looking out for them, the darkness was the only thing that might help them.

Using hand signals, Jack motioned for him to follow. They crouched and headed toward the hedges. Once they were on the edge of the property, Jack handed him a Glock. “Be careful with it,” he whispered.

Adam slid the action back, chambering a round. Jack nodded his approval, then motioned that he would be sweeping around the front of the house and Adam was to take the back.

Using the hedges as cover, Adam raced along the edge until he came to a small opening.

Squeezing through, he hid in the bushes until he’d visually scouted the area. When he was sure he was alone, he made a quick dash for the side of the house.

Gun in hand, he hugged the wall until he came to the edge of the house. After a quick glance around the backyard, he crept around the corner until he reached the patio.

Lights were on downstairs and the sliding glass door was open. Long blinds fluttered in the wind, but it was the only sound coming from inside.

Blood rushed in his ears. Were they too late? He shoved the thought away and inched along the wall until he was at the door. After a silent prayer, he swiveled and entered a living room.


It connected to a kitchen where remnants of a broken chair were scattered across the tile. Careful not to disturb anything, he maneuvered around the furniture in the living room and stepped over the pieces in the kitchen before pushing the half-open door completely open.

He’d expected a garage, but it looked like a game room for kids. A lamp with a pink shade gave off an eerie glow, casting shadows around the room. He was about to leave when he spied something on the floor. Keeping his gun in a protective stance, he grabbed what looked like two sets of burned up flex cuffs.

Hope immediately coursed through him.

Maybe Izzy had escaped. He didn’t understand why there were two sets though.

A shuffling sound behind him caused him to turn. Jack stood in the entrance. “The rest of the house is clean. Someone’s been here, but it’s empty now.”

Adam handed him what he’d found. “I think she escaped.”

“Hot damn,” Jack muttered under his breath as he pulled out his radio. “I’m calling to check on the backup.”

“I’m going after her. If she escaped, I’m guessing she ran for the woods, not the beach,”

Adam said.

He started for the door, but Jack stopped him.

“Wait a second, cowboy. I’m going to drive back down half a mile and enter the woods from there.

You’ve got about fifteen minutes until my guys arrive. I’ll tell them you’re out there, but it’s dark so be careful not to get your ass shot.”

Adam nodded and raced out the back door with Jack right behind him. There was no way in hell he could completely predict what she’d do, but Izzy was a smart woman so he had to take a chance she’d headed for the woods.

Branches and leaves slapped Izzy and Andrea in the face and legs the deeper they raced into the woods. Her pants were ripped, but Izzy was thankful they were taking the brunt of the abuse.

After five minutes of straight running, Izzy slowed and held up a finger to her mouth and pointed to a large oak tree.

The half moon and stars were their only source of light now. Creepy shadows illuminated all around them. Andrea winced as they leaned against the tree.

“How are your feet?” Izzy whispered.

The girl shook her head and wiped away stray tears. Empathy filled Izzy for the other girl. She bent down and quickly untied her shoes. “You’re a lot shorter than me, but I think my shoes might fit.”

Andrea didn’t even argue. She rubbed the soles of her feet before slipping on both tennis shoes.

“Do you hear anything?”

Izzy shook her head and glanced around. It was impossible to tell where they were headed. Unless they had more light, they might as well be going in circles. “Do you think we should keep running or walk?”

Andrea bit her lip. “He might be tracking us by now. Maybe walking?”

Izzy agreed. “Okay. Take one of these.” She bent down and picked up two fairly solid sticks. If he came at them, there was no way she was letting him take them back. She’d rather die immediately than be subjected to a slow, torturous death.

Just as they started to emerge from their resting spot, rustling sounded. They both glanced at each other and froze. Andrea’s eyes widened, so Izzy held a finger to her lips and pointed down. They both squatted low. Izzy knew they’d probably left a trail wider than the Mississippi River behind them.

With the wind and various woodsy sounds it was hard to figure out where the noise was coming from. A loud grunt sounded, then a crash, then a shout. Like maybe someone fell. Izzy held her breath. Maybe it was the police.

“Stupid bitches!”

When he shouted, Izzy’s hopes fell. He was closing in fast. They slowly stood and when more rustling sounded, they moved until they were on the other side of the tree. If they ran, he’d hear them. Izzy pointed toward another cluster of thick trees. “Walk quietly.” She said the words low.