RAVEN HARBOR ROMANTIC SUSPENSE 4, OLIVIA
Held captive by psychotic madman Clive Garo on a remote island, Olivia frantically schemes a quick escape. After getting a glimpse of Garo's drug and gun-running empire, she refuses to accept that this will be her new life. Knowing that Garo will soon return to claim his hostage bride with visions of a their twisted “happily ever after” in his
mind, Olivia is desperate to devise a plan to run before he comes back. Time is of the essence, because the longer she stays on the island, the more her past life seems to be slipping away from her...
Meanwhile, back at home, everything has erupted into chaos. Daniel and Antonio come to blows. Daniel believes that Antonio's arrogance made way for Garo to kidnap Olivia. But soon they bury the hatchet to focus on the greater good: to find Olivia and bring her home. And Antonio knows where Garo has the perfect hiding place.
Let the search begin…
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Her scream never reached her throat, as if her voice was trapped in her gut. His bony hands tore at her clothing, his icy fingers grabbed at her flesh.
She opened her eyes to darkness, face down in the pillow, suffocating. When she could finally suck in air, coldness pressed itself to the length of her, and panic made her fight harder. Something bound her limbs, tightening with every move she made to free herself. As she came into consciousness, she found she was free to raise her head. But when she went to scream again, it was her grief that muffled her with the realization of where she was. She buried her head in the pillow once more, this time to stifle her own sobs.
The hands tearing at her, the pawing frozen fingers, were only figments of a nightmare. Only sheets restrained her; sheets she’d wound around herself in the night and drenched in her own sweat.
In her lightless cabin, Olivia Sarlin unbound herself from the bedding and sat up against the headboard, her sobs softening with each breath she took. Locating the blanket by feel, she pulled it tightly around her. The cabin was an icebox. The air conditioner had kicked in overnight and run constantly since. It was all she could do to stay warm. She lifted her head back to look through the tiny porthole in the wall above. Though it was still dark, it had to be close to dawn.
The occasional flash of a dim sliver of light from the corridor taunted her. Each ‘open, close, open, close’ swing of her cabin door had her transfixed like a lost sailor to a siren.
Had it opened by itself? Or was the latch faulty? She couldn’t be sure. And she hadn’t dared go near it—she wasn’t exactly sure why. But there was no doubting anyone could have freely walked in during the night.
Her eyes went to the security camera, trained on her from where it was mounted on the ceiling. David had told her she was being monitored 24/7—except when she was in the toilet. There was no camera there. But too small to barely turn around in, it was hardly a place to take refuge.
So, she’d chosen to take back her privacy by keeping the lights off in the cabin as much she could. Because even if there was someone watching, they’d have little or nothing to see in the dark.
The previous morning, she’d been moved to a cabin with a porthole that wasn’t painted over. Small as it was, the gesture had been a meager show of humanity. Had David Jones been responsible for that? She wasn’t about to ask him, nor would she waste her breath thanking him. But because of it, the voyage yesterday had been almost tolerable.
Slip out, slip into the water, hold your breath, go under, and quietly swim away.
She’d rehearsed those words over and again in her mind. To jump ship in the middle of the open ocean was a ludicrous escape plan, of course, but getting away was all she’d been able to think about.
The clamor of clinking dishes alternated loud and soft as her door swayed while the boat rolled over the now gentle waves. What a welcome change from the rough seas she’d had to endure on the voyage. She’d kept little of the food she’d eaten down because if it. Yet, even though her hunger was becoming hard to ignore, the smells of frying bacon and coffee carrying in from the outside hallway only turned her stomach.
The calmer sea this morning provided only a false sense of comfort. She knew that. But she’d bound her tattered hopes to the idea that maybe now there would be an opportunity for escape. She just needed to stay vigilant, because when the moment came, she had to be ready. If the storms returned, she may never get another chance.
How many days have I been here?
There was no way she could gauge, having been sedated at least twice against her will. When she’d been lucid, she’d passed most of that time hugging fast to the toilet. Then finally yesterday she was able to see the horizon, even if it was only the flat line of nothing but ocean. It went a long way to helping her deal with the nausea.
A shudder passed through her. At least her seasickness had kept her mind off the reason why she was on the yacht in the first place. She was the hostage of Clive Garo, confined on one of his yachts, captured for and at the mercy of the grisly plans he had for her. He’d been stalking her for months—maybe longer. It wasn’t until after they’d met that he’d revealed his macabre obsession for her. “I’ve made the study of you my new hobby,” had been his ghoulish confession. And ever since, she’d been unable to shake his tail, hunting her in public, ambushing her at her home, and always watching her from the shadows.
Though she hadn’t seen him since he’d kidnapped her, since she’d come to on this godforsaken yacht, she knew he’d show eventually. When they reached their final destination, wherever that was, there was no doubt in her mind he would be there.
She looked down at her clothing and shivered again. But this time it wasn’t because of the cold. These were the same clothes she’d worn since putting them on days ago, and they were stale with wear. But they weren’t hers. Someone had undressed her that first day she’d arrived at the yacht. She’d been unconscious—drugged by something in the water, and she’d awoken in her underwear. She had no idea who had undressed her and could only hope that it had been a woman. But she had zero recollection of it.
The clothes she now wore had been bought for her—by Clive Garo. Her own clothes were long gone, but while searching for them she discovered a closet of clothing. She’d had no choice but to pick something. And the closet overflowed. Dresses mostly. She’d given in out of necessity and chosen the khakis and thin t-shirt she now wore. And she refused to change them, preferring even to go naked rather than let any of the rest touch her body.
But it had been the face of David Jones she’d seen that first day when she opened her eyes; after whatever sedative that was in the rag they’d held over her mouth had worn off. And David was the only person she’d seen since. She’d been relieved to see him in those first moments. The David Jones she thought was an FBI agent. But he’d played on that relief and strung her along, letting her think he was there to save her. Until he laughed and told her she wasn’t going home. She no longer felt comfortable in his presence. He was the one imprisoning her now. He was her keeper.
Keeping me for Clive Garo.
This was the same David who’d declared he believed Antonio was innocent of all charges. The David in whom she’d placed her complete trust. How could she have been so wrong about him?
His visits to her cabin had been frequent, bringing her food, cleaning up her vomit. And although he hadn’t held back feasting his eyes on her and making lewd comments, David had behaved and kept his hands to himself.
She’d silently borne her imprisonment and the ongoing mental cruelty he’d dealt out, knowing she wasn’t in any position to retaliate—Yet. She was biding her time for that.
And Loulou. Her friend was in love with this corrupt human being, and she had no way to warn her.
And now she was caught in the purgatory of not knowing how much longer the voyage would be, and not wanting to ever arrive at the destination. God only knew what awaited her there.
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