Web Site: voice in the desert
what would you do if your fiance is kidnapped on your wedding day?
Fear socked him in the vitals when he couldn’t find her in the cabin one afternoon. The few days he’d spent with her, secluded among the mountains, had been pure heaven. Now he saw hell. He shouted her name. No answer.
Her scream of terror knocked him silly. He raced toward the sound, heedless of his footing over the rocks. It was at the river. He stopped dead.
“Eso,” he screamed at the top of his voice. Eso had Eryka’s head under water. He lifted her out, smiled at him wickedly then sent her back under. Lannap raced toward him, into the water, caught Eryka by her dress and tugged. The wet fabric came away in his hand. He threw the force of his anger into a punch straight into Eso’s jaw. He let go of Eryka.
Lannap dragged Eryka to the bank and set her down, running frantic hands over her, searching for injuries. “Are you all right? Are you hurt?” His voice was hoarse. Eryka panted for breath. Lannap reach for the inhaler that had dropped onto the ground and stuck it between her lips, forcing her to pull.
She gasped. “He…he…” Her breath came in choppy waves of exhaustion. Her face was pale. “He tried to rape me,” she finally got out. Suddenly her eyes darted to his head. He didn’t get the movement fast enough.
Eso whammed the stick into Lannap’s head with anger and force, knocking him sideways. The stick splintered. Lannap’s head oozed blood.
“At least I would have got something for my troubles,” said Eso haughtily. “But oh no, you come and stop the fun. You can’t screw me both ways. I won’t take it. It didn’t have to get to this, you know? I told you nothing was coming from BC, but do you listen? Not a chance. You are too wrapped up in playing husband to notice the bastard is taking us for a ride.”
“Eso, shut the hell up!” Lannap demanded. “Look what you did to my head.”
Eryka looked from one man to the other in confusion. “What is he talking about? Is there something going on between you two?”
“Haven’t you ever asked yourself what the hell you are doing honeymooning in a remote holiday cabin at the base of the Vogels, so far away from anywhere?” Eso threw at her. “You better tell her, Lannap the ever protective husband, because it is all over.”
“What is all over?” she shrieked weakly, rising to a sitting position as both men faced up to each other.
“Shut up, Eso,” Lannap swore, swinging another punch into Eso, forcing his head along the path of the blow.
Eso whipped out his gun. “Don’t you ever tell me to shut up.” He lowered his arm to take aim.
It took only a flash and Lannap rammed into his middle, both men keeling over into the water. Bubbles rose furiously to the top from their struggle. Eryka held her breath. The shot reverberated through the water and into the air. Then all went still. She couldn’t tell who had shot the other.
It seemed endless moments later. The water swelled. A head emerged from the water. Lannap. He had the gun in his hand.
Eryka backed away from him as he stalked toward her. “You killed him…Are you going to eliminate me too?”
“Don’t be scared of me. I wouldn’t hurt you.”
“The kidnap was for real, wasn’t it?” She relieved everything in her hand, filled with shame and fear and disgust. “You planned everything from go. Planned the sham wedding in that church by the roadside, overseen by your friend. He was beginning to get uncomfortable about something. Like the other night. You had to take him out.” It wasn’t a question.
“No. He attacked me first. You were here. I was only defending myself. And your virtue?”
“My virtue?” she echoed, backing further away. “Why would you care when all this while it was the money you wanted.”
He caught her arm and twisted her to face him, the gun stuck against her cheek. There was blood on his mouth. He left some on hers as he brutally kissed her. “Yes, I wanted the money. That was then. But now…I have fallen in love with you. I don’t need…’
“Let her go,” said a voice from somewhere behind her. Lannap looked over her shoulder and his face registered recognition.
“Eman,” he said once, and then froze. Eryka froze too. The bullet whizzed toward her and then all went still. She waited for that moment when she would feel the heat drain from the impact. Lannap looked at her, lowered his gaze to his middle, to the bright red fountain that spewed. He returned his eyes to her face, then fell into her, knocking her to the ground.
She struggled to get out from under his dead weight. A hand reached out to her. She caught it. Eman lifted her to her feet. She couldn’t meet his eyes. Self-disgust filled her. What shame she had brought on him, her father, her family. How would she ever right it?
“I’m sorry,” she said in an inaudible voice.
Eman simply crammed her into his arms for that fleeting second, kissed her hair. “It’s over. Let’s go home.”
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