Trap, Secure & Navy SEAL Security(3)

By: Carol Ericson

What changed? Why the commotion downstairs? Why had she been sequestered in the nursery?

She pummeled the door, but only managed to hurt her hands. She scooped up Angelina’s scarf from the floor and wound it around her neck. Taking a turn around the room, she folded her arms across her chest, her fingers digging into her biceps.

A thwacking noise penetrated the room, and she ran to the window. A large, black helicopter descended from the darkened sky. Its lights illuminated the lawn and beyond the manicured grass to the dense foliage that ran to the high walls surrounding the property.

Randi’s breath hitched in her chest, and a chill snaked up her spine. Here and there, members of Zendaris’s security force were scattered along the wall, weapons clutched in their hands.

Was the compound under some kind of siege? And did Zendaris plan to leave her behind to face his enemies on her own?

The air in the room stifled her. She opened the French doors to the balcony that jutted over a flagstone path below. She needed fresh air and freedom, but this route offered no escape, two stories high and with no visible means of reaching the ground.

She wedged her hands on the flimsy railing that encircled the balcony. She’d prohibited the children from coming out here since very little stood between them and a long drop to the unforgiving flagstones.

The moist, heavy air caressed her skin, and she dragged in a breath. The sweet, milky smell of the carnations bordering the lawn tickled her nose just like on any other night.

But this was not any other night.

The helicopter had landed on the lawn, its blades whirring and stirring up debris that danced in the air. If her grandmother were still alive, Randi would go to her, but she’d died over a year ago and still Randi had stayed for the sake of the children. Now Nicky and Angelina had been ripped from her arms.

She heard voices and shuffling outside the nursery door, and she spun around to face the room. The door handle turned slowly, transfixing Randi’s gaze. She held her breath.

Montaña, one of Zendaris’s henchmen, poked his head into the room. In the three years she’d been in Mr. Zendaris’s employ, she hadn’t figured out if Montaña was this man’s real name or a moniker given to him for his size—as big as a mountain. His eyes widened as they scanned the room. Then he caught sight of her on the balcony.

The look he sent her sucked the air from her lungs. She took an involuntary step back.

“W-what do you want? What’s going on?”

Montaña grinned, his gap-toothed smile sending a wave of fear crashing through her body. Montaña never smiled.

He took one lumbering step into the room. The knots in Randi’s stomach tightened, putting pressure on her lungs and nearly cutting off her breath. She felt for the railing behind her and glanced over her shoulder at the drop into darkness.

Clenching her fists, she swung her hands in front of her. “Where is Mr. Zendaris? I demand to see Mr. Zendaris.”

The mountain pointed beyond Randi’s shoulder into the night, toward the whining helicopter.

She swallowed. “Where are the children? I need to see Nicky and Angelina before they leave. I always help them pack.”

Again, like the grim reaper, Montaña silently raised his arm and pointed out the window.

Could she bluster through this? The man was an idiot, a big lump of clay. At least she could outrun him. Dash around him and find someone, anyone with a bit of reason.

Why would Mr. Zendaris want to harm her? The children loved her and she loved them back. He’d commented on it many times in the past. He’d believed the hand of fate had intervened when Randi had shown up in Colombia with her grandmother on the one-year anniversary of his wife’s death.

She clamped her hands on her hips and stamped her bare foot. “I’m going to find the children. I’m going to say goodbye to them. Then I’m going to report you to Mr. Zendaris. This is an outrage.”

Shrugging, the man lifted his hands and wandered into the room. He bent over from his great height to scoop up the book of fairy tales, in which he could easily star as an ogre. He flipped the pages once, twice, and then tossed the book onto the chair where Randi had been sitting, reading to Nicky and Angelina.

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