Abby King has been living a simple life for three years after the horrific incident. When her mother passed away, Abby had left no choice but to agree to the terms of the will. And one thing she’s not prepared for is to marry the extremely handsome Hughes Industries CEO, Seb Hughes, but he has a reputation for women.
Seb Hughes is rich, handsome, and has everything in a snap of his fingers. A relationship is the last thing he wants, but with just one look at a mysterious Abby, his cold heart flutters, and he starts fantasizing about her even if he knows that’s not right.
There’s something about Seb Hughes that Abby can’t shake away—he’s not just a playboy that she should stay away from. He also has a huge heart and an overprotective tendency.
After what she’d been through, maybe Seb is the right person for her—who can protect, accept, and maybe love her despite her dark past.
As I expected, the party Trey Hamilton at the lake house is in full swing. The song of Nicki Minaj is blaring from inside. The lawn is full of teenagers playing football despite the empty beer bottles, red cups, and empty soda cans littering all over.
I shouldn’t be here. I mentally berated myself, but Rebecca was so adamant, and I couldn’t just say no. She’s the closest sister that I ever had. We walk through the crowded dance floor that is already wet and sticky. The smell of boozes, sweat, and cigarettes are wafting in the air.
The mini bar is full of drinks, cans of sodas, beer bottles, pink punch, and bowl chips that could cause you salmonella. Rebecca reminded me not to take any drinks from anyone who offered, so I grabbed a can of soda instead.
Her boyfriend James arrived earlier than us since he came directly from the game. He approaches us with a huge grin on his face.
“Babe, you made it! Thought you were joking,” James says happily after giving her a peck on her lips and a peck on my cheek. “Hey, Mack. Good to see you here and not a boring party your parents usually threw.”
I roll my eyes. He’s right, but that’s my parent’s party, so I had to be there and play a good daughter role, which I’m actually a good daughter.
“I said we were coming, so here we are,” Becca retorts, seemingly annoyed.
“Good, babe. Let’s dance later, okay?” James doesn’t seem to care about Rebecca’s expression.
“C’mere, Mack. I’d like you to meet someone!” James yells when the new song starts to play. He grabs Rebecca’s hand, and I grab her hand as I follow them.
Rebecca pulls her hand back from James’ grip and yells. “Not a chance, babe! I promised her mom that I’d take care of Mack. It means no meeting with horny football players.”
I shrug when I see them start whispering. Rebecca looks more annoyed, but we keep walking through the crowd upstairs to the second floor.
“He’s not a horny, Mack. Just meet him, and if you don’t like him, just say excuses like going to the bathroom or you have a stomach bug.”
I laugh at his lame excuses.
“Jeez, babe. You’re so annoying.” Becca rolls her eyes.
“Babe, trust me, okay? I’m not gonna just let Mack meet a jock because she’s my friend too.” James winks at me. “Relax.”
“Fine. Whatever!” Rebecca is forced to agree.
“Who’s he, James?” I ask.
“You’ll find out soon,” he answers. My brows meet together.
We stop in front of the group of guys that I recognize most of them as his teammates. He introduced me to them since they knew Rebecca.
“Guys, this is Becca’s friend Mack. Mack, meet my teammates,” James says. Everyone waves and says hi, and I wave back and smile shyly.
I feel out of place when everyone talks about winning their game. I know how the game works, but I’ve never watched them play.
Rebecca is already sitting on James’ lap on the couch while I’m still standing at their back, fidgeting.
I tap Rebecca’s shoulder and excuse myself before I leave. I walk down to the living room, where everyone is still dancing, swaying, and jumping like there’s no tomorrow. Everyone looks enjoying the party while I look lost.
“Leaving already?” A husky voice asks from behind that, making me stop to halt.
I turn around, and my eyes land on the broad chest. I move my gaze up to the one and only a six-foot and two inches Trevor “Trey” Hamilton standing in front of me. His short blond hair is disheveled in a stylish way. He has bright blue eyes that glimmer with high cheekbones, a straight nose, full lips curved into a smile, and a chiseled jaw.
Jeez. I’m checking him out, and the only reason why I’m here. When Becca told me that Trey was throwing a party, I was beyond excited and told my parents that I was going to a party.
I clear my throat. “Um, yeah. Just getting some fresh air.” I look away. Lame excuse, I know, because I saw him flirting with Lorrie “Bitch” Morgan slash the cheerleader when I was introduced to his teammates earlier.
“Let’s go then, for some fresh air,” he says with excitement in his voice, and my heart flutters.
I look up and meet his gaze. “Shouldn’t you be with Lorrie?”
“She’s a bitch. I don’t like talking to someone while she’s bitching all night telling me about the cheerleading like everyone doesn’t know about already,” he explains while looking at me in the eyes.
He smiles. “Follow me.”
We scan the crowd to where fewer guys are dancing, which leads our way out of the house. I can’t just avoid not bumping into the couples making out in the hallway—horny teenagers. We keep walking for a couple more steps until we get out of the house and the night is getting cold, and the breeze makes me shiver.
“So, you’re Becca’s friend? I saw you with her at school. You don’t like football, do you? I’ve never seen you with her during the games.”
We follow the stone paths that lead us to the lake. I can still see a few students sitting on the deck.
“Yeah. Becca’s my best friend. I’m not really a fan. It’s hard to watch them as if they’re in a wrestling match. The only differences are running and throwing a football,” I tell him honestly.
“Yeah, too violent for you, so what is your plan for college?”
“I agree. Too violent for you. So what’s your plan for college?” He keeps looking at me, then he drops his gaze to my lips, making me a little bit self-conscious.
“I’m planning on staying here for college. My parents won’t let me attend college away since I’m still not legally an adult.
“Wait. How old are you, Mack?” he quickly asks.
“Sixteen. I know I’m a freak,” I answer as I look at him to see his reaction.
He chuckles. “You’re not a freak, Mack. You just excel, and you should be proud of yourself. Not like other girls who are busy putting makeup on their faces.” Wow, Trey is not bad, after all.
I give him a tight smile. “Well, thanks. How about you, any plan for college?”
“Yeah. Got scholarship, and I’m not going anywhere far too.” He smiles, and I want to giggle so badly because he’s cute. No, he’s hot.
“Congratulations! You deserved it.” I tap his arm playfully.
“Thanks. I’ll get us a drink. Stay here, okay? Be right back.”
I nod and watch him walk away. I check my phone from the pocket of the jacket I wear over the red dress that Rebecca chose for me.
“Wear the red one, Mack. Red is your color. Boys like a girl in red.”
“Are you sure? I have blue, green, and white. I’m not allowed to date yet, so I don’t care if boys like a girl in red. I just want to see Trey.” I check the dresses on my hands.
“Trust me. Red is great on you. Wear it now, and I still have to fix your hair. Then don’t tell Catie.” Her eyes glimmer.
“Mom will know, trust me. Ask from down to bring us something to drink. Press 3.” I take the red dress and hurry up to change.
I stay for a while and wait for Trey to come back. The evening is so peaceful, even if a little bit chilly. I can still hear the music from inside the house. The tree leaves rustle as the wind blows. The smell of fresh air and the moon reflecting on the lake look magnificent.
Not bad, after all. I’ll thank Rebecca later. I hear footsteps coming closer to me, and I turn my head in excitement to think that it must be Trey, but I don’t see anyone.
I feel goosebumps on my skin. The hair on my nape stands as I wrap my arms around myself.
I stare at the moon before I close my eyes slowly to take a deep breath. Before I can start dreaming, hands grab my waist from behind, causing me to yelp in surprise.
I grab the hands and tried to lose them, but they were so strong. I shout for help. My mouth and my nose are instantly covered with a cloth. I struggle, but I can’t breathe, and I can’t hold any longer. I inhale something like a chemical that burns my nostrils and my throat. I can’t fight anymore, and my eyelids start to feel heavy, my body starts getting weak, and my eyes flutter closed.
I open my eyes, but I can’t see anything. Something is covering my eyes. I can’t move either. Then I remembered what had happened, and I started to panic. I try shouting, but my mouth is sealed with adhesive or duct tape. I try to free my hands, but it looks like I’m being chained. I can feel the cold metal around my wrists, and the clinking sound when I struggle to move is terrifying. For how long I’ve been in this position?
I feel cold—so cold, and I can even feel the cold floor on my skin. My ankles are shackled too. I’ve never been afraid in my entire life until tonight, or is it a day? I try moving, but as soon as I struggle, my wrists are burning, and so as my ankles. I burst into a cry, and that’s when I remember my parents. They must be worried.
I cry until I feel exhausted, and I abruptly stop when I hear a sound unlocking the door opens then closes. I hear footsteps—heavy footsteps. I am trembling with fear from the cold.
I’ve never felt so helpless like this. I don’t know what will happen to me here. My throat hurts, and my stomach just grumbles.
A lot of horrible scenarios pop into my head, and at that thought, my body starts to shake from frustrations, anger, hunger, and hopelessness.