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Chris claimed to be a Sentinel and that she was one as well, which she wasn’t truly buying. He was a big bad warrior type and she was not. She figured that Eric and his goons were Sentinels as well. She had no clue what role the priests, old woman, Joshua and Jill played.

“I think this is the perfect time for us to ask a few questions, don’t you?” Chris asked, sounding annoyingly calm while she was doing her best not to scream, again.

“Let me down and we can talk,” she suggested.

“So you can give us the runaround again? Oh, I don’t think that’s such a good idea, do you, dad?

“I think she’ll make you pay for this little stunt in more ways than one when she gets down, but for right now I think this is probably our best bet to get answers,” he said, and Isabella somehow managed to twist herself in time to see the large man shrug like it was no big deal.

“Won’t Madison be upset that you did this?” she pointed out, slapping her long traitorous hair out of her face so she could glare up at the man.

He simply shrugged. “I assume I’ll be sleeping on the couch for a night or two after this,” he said, tipping his head to the side as if he was listening to something and sighed heavily. “Make that a week,” he muttered, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Then maybe you should…….,” her voice trailed off when she realized something. “Didn’t you lose that hand tonight?” she asked, narrowing her eyes on his hand accusingly.

Ephraim held up the hand, frowning. “It grew back, but I lost my wedding ring,” he said, sounding truly upset and it made her feel guilty knowing that he lost it because of her. Granted he wouldn’t have lost it if they hadn’t brought her there, but knowing that didn’t make her feel any better about it.

“I’m sorry,” she said softly. “I’ll replace the ring of course.”

He tilted his head to the side and after a few seconds shook his head. “Madison says thank you, but she wants to go into town tomorrow to pick out a new set.”

“And you know this how?” Isabella asked, stretching her neck to look around her very limited view.

“Because we can hear each other,” Ephraim explained.

“Like voices in your head?” she asked, worrying her bottom lip as she thought it over.

Ephraim chuckled. “No, we have very strong hearing.”

She frowned at that, but let it go for the moment. There were more important issues here besides what really cool things Ephraim could or could not do and as long as he didn’t come to her looking for blood she was okay with him. Not that she wanted to find herself walking down a dark alley with him late one night, but the man had saved her life so in her book, at least for the moment, he was okay.

“Now, let’s get back to the task at hand, shall we?” Chris said, giving the rope a good tug and grabbing her attention once again. “What were you doing at the park this morning?”

The smartass remark that was at the tip of her tongue almost came out, but she held it back, somehow, knowing it would just prolong this and she really, really wanted to get down now. Her head felt like it was going to explode with all the pressure and she just wanted this night to end.

“I had a meeting,” she admitted.

“At three in the morning at a park?” Chris asked.

“Didn’t I just say that?” she said before she could stop herself and was rewarded by a sudden two foot drop.

“Bastard,” she gasped when her stomach stopped rolling.

“Ooops, sorry. It slipped,” he said not sounding sorry at all, she noted.

She closed her eyes tightly as she was pulled back up.

When she opened her eyes she found herself face to face with the big jerk.

“Now,” he said, resting his hands on the banister as he leaned forward until their faces were less than a half foot apart, “what was the meeting about and most importantly did they get what they were after?”

Since she now had a very good idea what those men that met her in the park were, not that Chris or anyone else for that matter had explained all that to her yet, everything made a little more sense. She was also glad that she hadn’t given them the program, not that they had much chance of getting it once she realized how monumentally stupid it would have been to hand over her program to someone who needed to meet at an abandon park late at night.

“If I answer all of your questions will you let me go home?” she asked, already knowing there was no way she was going to avoid answering their questions for much longer. She really wasn’t sure how much longer she could tolerate hanging upside down like this, plus she wasn’t a complete idiot.

It didn’t take a genius to figure out that these guys were working against the men who’d attacked her.

Okay, so a few hours ago she may have thought they were all working together and that she was drugged, but she’d long given up hope that drugs were responsible for her current situation. Her only chance was to tell them what they wanted to know and hope that was enough so she could go home and pretend that none of this ever happened. It was a good plan, a solid plan, and one she desperately hoped they were on board with.

“No,” he said without any hesitation. “Once you’re done answering our questions you will be transported to one of our compounds where you will be further interrogated. The council will find a purpose for you after that.”

She licked her lips nervously as his words sank in. “Bbut I have a life! I have a job a-a-and other things, very important things that need my attention!” she stammered on when she realized she really didn’t have much to go home to, besides her work and since her work was very important to her and she really didn’t like the sounds of what they had planned for her she was going to do her best to get out of this.

“That life is over now,” he said, giving her a sympathetic shake of his head, one that pissed her off.

How dare he?

“Do I at least get to tell me boyfriend goodbye?” she demanded, at least having enough sense not to lie hugely and say her family would miss her or that she was married, two things they could easily look into.

“Boyfriend?” Chris repeated, looking truly taken back, which shouldn’t please her, but it did. Right now she’d take what she could get and hope that it would somehow work in her favor. “Why the hell would you have a boyfriend?” he demanded as if the very idea of her having a boyfriend was unheard of, which just went to piss her off even more.

“For sex, what else?” she demanded, quite pleased with the stunned expression on his face even as the pressure from being hung upside down for so long was starting to making her stomach flip over again.

“Chris, perhaps you should go and let me-“

“Dad, why don’t you go make sure that Madison is okay?” Chris suggested in an obviously forced tone as he kept his eyes on her and that little muscle below his eye ticked double time.

She swallowed nervously as his intent gaze never wavered from her face. “I’d love to go and check on Madison. So, if you let me down we can all go make sure that Madison is okay and then maybe we can all talk about this like calm rational adults?” she asked, sounding too damn hopeful even to her own ears.

“No, I think you and I will stay right here and have a little talk of our own,” Chris said softly as he reached over, she may have flinched a little, and gently pushed a few errant strands of hair off her face to join the rest of the mess hanging upside down.