Kidnapped by the Billionaire

By: Jackie Ashenden

“Then stop asking me what I’d do if you tried to escape.”

She folded her arms, hugging herself. “I could take your gun. Shoot you instead.”

He didn’t even glance in her direction. “Be my guest. If you manage to get it, it’s yours.”

Of course she wouldn’t be able to get it. Though maybe she should try for form’s sake.

“I should add,” he said casually, pulling the thread through another stitch, “that if you take one step toward this gun, I’ll shoot you in the leg and save us both the bother of having to deal with this shit. I haven’t got either the time or the patience for it.”

Violet’s jaw tightened. The fear had begun to dull in its intensity, leaving only a heavy, sick feeling in her gut. She had no doubt he’d do exactly what he said, so unless she wanted a nice gunshot wound to match his, she was going to have to sit tight and wait until he told her what he was going to do with her. If in fact he was going to do anything with her.

“Okay, so what do you want me to do?” She hugged herself tighter. “Just stand around admiring your sewing skills?”

Calmly, he finished the last stitch and knotted the thread, biting off the end. Then he put down the needle and looked at her. “You’re not afraid of me.” His gaze was blacker than space. “You should be.”

* * *

She was already pretty white. Now she’d gone the color of new-fallen snow. Her gaze dropped from his, down to the floor, her arms wrapped tightly around herself as if she was cold.

Good. She should be fucking scared. He had no patience with a hostage who was going to give him grief. He had no patience left at all.

His shoulder throbbed, a deep ache settling into the wound, and he was starting to feel dizzy. Physical pain was easy to disregard once you knew how, but it was the shock that could be a killer. He needed to get warm and eat something, get his blood sugar back up again.

Fucking Rutherford shooting him with his own damn gun.

Elijah leaned surreptitiously against the vanity, eyeing the woman standing opposite him.

He had to admit, he was surprised by her responses to him. He didn’t know her that well, only what he’d seen of her when she’d been wafting around the family home, all chiming bracelets, silk skirts, and musky perfumes, but he’d always had the impression of a pampered girl indulging in a bit of passive-aggressive rebellion, safe and secure of her own position.

He knew fear. Knew what it did to people. Had seen all the possible responses to it over the years. Some people cried or cowered or threw up. Some people became catatonic. And some people rose to the challenge.

He hadn’t expected Violet to be one of those who rose to the challenge. Yet that’s exactly what she’d done, getting all sarcastic, pushing him. If he hadn’t lost everything he’d worked for these past seven years and been fighting the effects of a gunshot wound, he might have been more impressed.

But he had, and right now it only pissed him off.

She looked up at that moment, the color of her eyes intense in her pale face, the sapphire stud glittering in her nose. “Why should I be afraid of you again?” There was an edge in her voice, and he thought it was desperation. “I mean, you said you weren’t going to rape me and if you were going to kill me you would have done so already, right?”

Another challenge. Well, that was one way of fighting fear. Perhaps he had to revise his opinion of her as being passive-aggressive.

He picked up the gun, held it casually in one hand. She was right, he wasn’t going to kill her. Killing was a blunt instrument at best and besides, he hadn’t gone through all the trouble of kidnapping her only to get rid of her. She’d always been his backup plan and perhaps that might still work. As for rape, well, that was for animals and cowards, and he was neither.

However, he had no problem incapacitating her if she was going to prove a nuisance, though hopefully the mere threat of it would be enough to get her to back off.

“Very astute,” he said as he lifted the gun. “Though a nice bullet wound to match mine might have you rethinking that little scenario.”

Her gaze dropped to the gun, then came back up to his again. “You’d really do that?”

“What do you think?”

There was fear in her eyes, he could see that much. And yet … something else. Something like anger. And why not? If someone had kidnapped him at gunpoint, he’d be pretty pissed about it too.

“I wouldn’t if I were you,” he warned softly, before she pushed him further. “You wouldn’t like it, I guarantee.”

For a second, a spark of deep blue flared in her gaze. Then she looked away. “Fine. Whatever. So are you going to tell me what I’m here for then?”

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