Taken by Two

By: Sam J. D. Hunt

Eventually my eyes finally managed to part enough that I could see where I was. The room was dimly lit and vibrating in an off-putting way—as if the bed where I lay was on top of an enormous engine. An airplane, I thought, I’m on a private jet. I was no stranger to luxurious travel—I’d been on planes like this one many times. Rolling out of bed, I crawled over to the door. My legs felt rubbery, as if they lacked the strength to support me. The thin door wasn’t locked. Nathaniel Slater had to have kidnapped me—I vaguely remembered him nearly carrying my limp body from the club—explaining to the bartender, who worked for my father, that he was taking me back to my room to sleep it off. I couldn’t remember anything else, but Hank, the bartender, wouldn’t have questioned Nathaniel’s claim. I wasn’t known to drink to excess, but I was known to take handsome men back up to my suite.

The light from the main cabin hurt my eyes. A large man, the man from my dream, was sitting in a cream-colored leather chair with his back to me. Nathaniel sat on the floor next to the large man, his head in his hands. He still wore the silver suit pants, but the jacket and tie were gone. The wave of his silky brown hair cascaded over his splayed fingers. The other man, his hair a dark blonde caramel-like color, was wearing worn jeans that clung to his muscular thighs. His legs were long—so long that he had to be at least six foot seven, maybe taller. The jeans ended in heavy black leather boots—motorcycle or combat boots, possibly. The man’s powerful arms were covered in tattoos.

“I still don’t get why you took her, Nate. I mean, what the fuck were you thinking?” The husky grit of his low voice pierced the silence as his fingers tensed on the arm of the chair in frustration, or maybe fury. The idea of Nathaniel kidnapping me was terrifying, but my real fear sprang from the ominous man in the chair.

“I-I don’t know, Rex, I’m sorry. But what was I supposed to do—just leave her there?”

“You were supposed to do what you were told, Nate. You fucking tricked me!” His fist slammed down on the side of the chair, causing Nate to flinch.

“I’m sorry,” Nate said so quietly I could barely hear him.

And then…he leaned into the monstrous man, Rex, and rested his head on Rex’s muscled thigh. I leaned back on my heels—the gesture was so intimate.

“It’s okay, I’ll figure it out. I’m just afraid of any complications that will put you at risk. And she is definitely a complication.” Rex’s fingers reached down and ran through Nate’s hair before resting across his back.

My legs were going numb from my weight on them. As I moved to shift the weight, my groggy body toppled over and fell to the plane’s floor in a thud as I drifted back into sleep.

“Wake up, Penny.” Nathaniel Slater was next to me on the bed, wiping a cold cloth across my forehead.

“What…ah…please don’t hurt me,” I begged as I finally came to. “I don’t know who you are, I don’t know anything. Just let me go.”

He shook his head in pity. “I’d never hurt you, Penny. Do exactly as Rex says and you’ll be fine. I drugged you at the bar—but I needed to. I had to have you with us. I’m sorry the after-effects are hitting you harder than most. Can you drink some water?”

He lifted me until I sat up in the bed, my back against a padded leather headboard. “Where are we going?” He held a bottle of water to my lips and ignored my question until I’d drank enough to satisfy him. He wrapped his arm around me and pulled me close. I knew I should resist, but instead I crumpled into his embrace. At the moment, he seemed like the only friend I had. “We’re going home,” he answered simply.

His pale eyes swept across my face—his fingertips tentatively brushed across my cheek. “I’ve always thought you were so beautiful, Penny. I remember when you were dating that jerk Clyde. I wanted to get to know you, but we just never seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Then when I saw you sitting across the bar, I knew it was all going to be just as it should.”

I was shocked—I didn’t realize Nathaniel Slater even noticed me back then. “Clyde was a giant mistake,” I mused, remembering the humiliation he’d put me through. “But holy fuck, Nathaniel!” He swiped my bottom lip with his finger, unfazed by my freak-out. “You can call me Nate.” I sighed, fighting my attraction to him to think. “Nate, let me get this straight—you kidnapped me to get to know me? I’m flattered, but that’s really messed up.” His face reddened as if I’d slapped his cheek. “Kidnapped? Oh my God, no! I took you to keep you safe.” He took a deep breath and pulled me against him again, his face close to mine, the smell of his cologne causing me to stir despite my brain scolding my libido that this was no game. “I want to go home, back to Vegas, now,” I said, trying to sound assertive. With a sigh, he answered, “Can’t do that, babe. Even if I wanted to, it’s too dangerous now. We’re already almost to the compound. You’ve been sleeping for hours.”

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