For a moment, the world seemed to literally stop.
At least, that's what it felt like to Nancy as she stared up in the leering face of Randy Wolfe. It was a face she had never expected to see again in her life, not to mention this soon. He wasn't supposed to be free. He was supposed to be locked away in some South American prison for many years, if not the rest of his life.
Nancy closed her eyes and opened them again, thinking maybe her mind was playing tricks on her. Sure, she'd been expecting some form of nightmare to greet her, but not this. This was worse than anything she could have imagined. She had faced many criminals in her lifetime, and she was sure the list was long with the ones who would love a little vengeance.
Randy Wolfe would be on top of that list, hands down. He'd terrified her in a way that still gave her nightmares, even after three years. He'd come close—so close—to killing her several times while she'd investigated his involvement in a famous emerald heist—one that he had gotten away with until she'd just happened to take a vacation on the very cruise ship, The Emerald Queen, on which he was the assistant cruise director. He'd been very charming and Nancy had even found herself attracted to him at one point.
But that was until she had discovered the location of the missing emeralds. He'd only worked on the cruise ship until he could find the emeralds, since his partner had managed to hide them from Randy. As soon as Nancy had let it slip she knew where they were, it was as if a switch had been flipped. Randy had quickly gone from the charming, good-natured assistant cruise director to a cold-blooded, calculating killer in a matter of seconds.
He'd managed to trap Nancy on board a cable car, and pushed her out as they made their way up the mountain. It had been sheer luck and quick instincts that had saved Nancy from plummeting to her death. As soon as the cable car had reached the landing, Randy had been taken into custody and charged with numerous crimes, including kidnapping and attempted murder.
When she opened her eyes again, she saw Randy still smiling at her, his teeth gleaming brightly against his tan face. His green eyes danced with anticipation as he stared at her.
"You look a little shocked to see me, blue eyes."
"Obviously," Nancy said. She tilted her head to the side. "How was prison life for you?"
"Quiet," Randy answered. "It gave me a lot of time to reflect on things."
"Like how not to become someone's bitch? You know with those All-American good looks you have, I imagine you were very desirable to the prisoners."
"You're still as cunning and clever as I remember you, Nancy."
"And you're still as creepy and arrogant as I remember you."
Randy let out a chuckle before lashing out and backhanding Nancy across the face. Before she could even cry out, he took her face between his hands, forcing her to look up at him. "My God, you have no idea how much I have missed you, blue eyes." He leaned closer until his lips were brushing against her ear. "It is going to be an absolute pleasure showing you how much."
Panic surged through Nancy—she had no idea what he meant by those words but the implication was there. Using her bound hands, she tried to push him away from her, but he refused to budge. She then lashed out with her feet, satisfied when she connected with his groin. He let go of her instantly, groaning as he braced himself against his desk.
"Stupid bitch," he bit out, raising his hand for another savage blow.
Nancy flinched, bracing herself for the hit, but it never came. When she glanced up again, she saw that Max had positioned himself between her and Randy.
"Get out of the way," Randy said, glaring at Max.
"As much as I enjoy watching this little battle of wills, I have a schedule to keep," Max said, crossing his arms over his massive chest. "I would like the rest of my money."
Randy stood there for a few moments, his fists clenching and unclenching at his sides. Finally, he seemed to calm down and moved away from them, walking to the other side of his desk. Nancy straightened up in her chair just as a pair of hands clamped down on her shoulders, keeping her in place.
Her eyes followed Randy as he opened a drawer in his desk and pulled out a small key. Then, he went to the other side of the room and removed a painting from the wall. Nancy had to work hard to keep herself from rolling her eyes at the safe that was nestled in the wall. She never understood why people thought it was a good hiding spot for a safe—it was usually the first place a thief would look.
Keeping his back towards them, Randy turned the knob for the combination to the safe. Then taking the key, he inserted it into the lock and the safe opened with a soft whoosh. He rummaged in it briefly before taking out several stacks of cash and closing the safe once more. Returning to his desk, he placed the money in front of Max.
"The remaining seventy-five thousand, not to mention a bonus for actually being successful in bringing her to me."
Max picked up one of the stacks and flipped through it. "You sound as if you didn't have confidence in my abilities."
"You hired me because I am the best," Max said as he pocketed the money. "It would be wise never to underestimate me…I'm sorry, but I never did get your name."
"That's because I never gave it to you."
"His name is Randy Wolfe and he's a lying son of a—"
"Shut her up!" Randy yelled, glaring at the man behind Nancy. Her insult was cut off as a beefy hand clamped over her mouth.
"If you'll excuse us, Mr. Grey, it's time that I get my guest settled in." Randy came around the desk and held out a hand to Max. "I appreciate you for bringing her to me and I will be sure to recommend you to my other associates as well."
"You be sure to do that," Max said, turning as his eyes fell on Nancy. For a second, Nancy could have sworn she saw the slightest hesitation, as if he didn't want to leave her. But it quickly vanished as he began walking towards the door.
He's leaving me! Nancy thought wildly as she pulled at the hand over her mouth. She had to plead with Max, get him to try to change his mind. She couldn't let him leave her there, knowing very well if he did, she would never get to go home again.
She bit down on the hand as hard as she could, tasting the coppery tang of blood in her mouth. "Max, you can't go! Please…as soon as you leave me, he's going to kill me!" Hope flared in her chest as Max stopped at the door, his hand on the knob.
Yes! He's listening!
Randy let out a growl and jerked her up from the chair. A knife suddenly appeared in his hand and he pressed it against her throat, cutting into her flesh. "Stop begging, Nancy. It's very unattractive on you."
Nancy ignored him as her eyes locked onto Max's. "Please…you don't know what he's capable of. As soon as he kills me, he'll come after you, Max. You're a witness to this—he doesn't like loose ends!"
Max stared at her, saying nothing.
"Don't listen to her, Mr. Grey. Nancy here will do anything to save herself, even filling your head with lies," Randy said. "You have my word that I am no threat to you. We had an agreement and you met your end of it."
"Max…please." Nancy's heart plummeted as Max squared his shoulders and turned away from her. She could only watch in mounting horror as he turned the knob and walked out of the room, leaving her alone with Randy.
Randy chuckled in her ear, but it was without humor. "I commend you on your last ditch effort, blue eyes. You're bright enough to know this doesn't have a happy ending for you."
Nancy dug her nails into his arm, trying to keep the knife from nicking her skin again. "Then why don't you just get it over with and kill me already. I'm good as dead anyway."
"You really think I'm going to make it fast for you?" Randy began pushing her towards the door. "No chance in hell of that, blue eyes."
"Where are you taking me?"
"I'm taking you to your room."
He took his arm away from her throat, only to grip her arm tightly. Nancy couldn't even think about getting away as she felt the point of the knife dig into her side. She was completely at his mercy as he led her down a long hallway.
Now that the blindfold was off, Nancy could actually take in her surroundings. She was correct in guessing that she was in a home. It was tastefully decorated in a Mediterranean motif, with differing shades of blues throughout. White gauzy curtains hung over the windows and Nancy could just picture them blowing in the light summer breeze when the windows were opened. There was plenty of open space, making it an ideal place to entertain guests.
"How do you like it?" Randy asked, noticing her looking around.
"Who did you have to kill in order to get it?"
"No one, as a matter of fact. I bought it."
"With money that you stole?"
"Stole, borrowed, laundered…however you want to look at it, I suppose." Randy turned towards a set of stairs and ushered her ahead of him. "I never claimed to be an honest man, Nancy."
Nancy stumbled a couple of times, wincing as the knife dug into her side. "Believe me, that is not a word I would use to describe you."
Once they arrived at the top of the staircase, Randy took a right before coming to a stop in front of a door at the end of the hall. Opening the door, he pushed her inside, smiling as she fell to the floor with a grunt. "Sorry about that."
Nancy bit back a retort as she slowly sat up, looking around the room. She would have been lying if she said she wasn't expecting her to lock her away in some cellar or dungeon. He'd taken her by complete surprise by bringing her to a bedroom. A large four poster queen-sized bed dominated the room, a small nightstand on either side. The walls were painted a muted turquoise and there was another door to the left that was partially opened to reveal a bathroom.
"Is this some kind of joke?" Nancy asked, pushing herself up to her feet.
"What do you mean?"
Nancy waved her hands at the room. "This…this room. What kind of game are you playing, Randy?"
"Who says I'm playing a game?"
"I know how you work, Randy," Nancy said, backing away from him slowly. "You enjoy taunting and playing games. It's exactly what you did back in Rio."
Randy gave her a lopsided smile as he took a step towards her. "But you have to admit, you fell for it. Just like everyone else back on that ship."
"You're a good actor."
Nancy let out a small gasp as her back met the wall, but her eyes never left Randy. She had no idea what he was planning to do and she wasn't about to let her guard down for even a second—she'd made that mistake with Max and look where it had gotten her.
"Just tell me what you want," Nancy said, softly. "Why go to all the trouble of hiring someone to find me when we both know you were capable of doing it yourself?"
Randy kept moving forward until he was only inches away from her. He still held the knife in his hand, the light bouncing off the silver blade. As long as he held that, Nancy wasn't going to attempt anything, especially with her hands bound. She knew he wouldn't hesitate to stab her—the awful thing was that he would do it in a way that would still allow her to live.
"You're right," Randy said. He kept his eyes on hers as he lifted the blade and traced the tip along her jawbone, smiling as she shivered. "I could have swooped in and grabbed you at any time. But why do the dirty work when I can hire someone else to do it for me?"
Nancy's heart felt as if it was going to burst out of her chest as she felt the cool metal dance along her skin. "This is revenge, isn't it?"
"Of course it is, blue eyes." Randy continued to trace the knife along her throat, then to her collarbone, following it with his eyes. "Every single day I spent in that rotten prison, I kept thinking about you. What I would do to you when I got out."
"And what did you come up with?"
"Many splendid ways to kill you—I plotted your death so many times in my head." He chuckled as he moved the knife along the length of her arm. "And then I realized how foolish that was—it would only please me for a moment and then it would be over and you would be gone."
"So, you're not going to kill me?"
"No." Randy's green eyes were dancing as he looked down at her. "I'm going to do something so much worse."
Nancy froze as the knife stopped at her hands, fear threatening to choke her. "What are you going to do to me?"
Randy's smile was chilling. Before she knew what was happening, he had cut the ties around her wrists, releasing her hands. Nancy didn't even think as she took his knife hand in hers and squeezed as hard as she could before ducking beneath him and ramming his hand against the wall to get him to release the weapon.
Randy let out a startled yell, jerking away from Nancy as the knife fell to the floor. Nancy made to grab it, but he was quicker and kicked it out of her way before her hands could close around it. Nancy's eyes immediately went to the door, knowing it would be her only escape route. She knew she didn't stand a chance, considering there was no one in the house who would even think about helping her.
She was well and truly on her own.
Nancy shot to the door and was opening it when Randy's hand pounded against it, slamming it shut in front of her. She let out a startled yelp as he grabbed her tightly from behind before pressing a damp cloth against her face. An overpowering sweet smell instantly overwhelmed her senses,
"Just breathe, Nancy," Randy murmured in her ear as she struggled wildly against him. "You'll make it so much easier on yourself."
She let out a muffled cry as she clawed at his hand, fighting against everything to do the exact opposite of what he was telling her to do. Her lungs felt as if they would burst, desperate for air. Randy seemed to sense what she was trying to do and tightened his grip over her face, cutting off the air to her nose to force her to breathe. She threw her hands back, clawing at his face but he still maintained his grip on her.
"That's a good girl," he said soothingly as she finally breathed in the drug.
Her struggles became weaker, her eyes slowly drifting closed as the chloroform worked its way through her system. She barely registered Randy loosening his hold on her as she fell back into his arms, darkness claiming her like a warm blanket.
Randy waited a full thirty seconds after Nancy closed her eyes before removing the drugged cloth from her face, knowing how clever she could be. He didn't want to be caught by surprise, especially when it came to her. Never in his life had he faced anyone more intelligent or resourceful in his life. And while a big part of him resented her for what she had cost him, he also couldn't help but respect her for her tenacity.
Easing her to the floor, he went to the bed and pulled the covers back. Then, walking back to her, he scooped her up into his arms and gently placed her on the bed. He had to be careful with her now—he couldn't allow her any lenience or she would just try to escape. Now that he had her, he had no intention of letting her go until the time came.
Reaching into the drawer of the nightstand closest to him, he pulled out a pair of restraints that they used on patients in hospitals. They were easy enough to attach to either side of the bed and within a couple of minutes, he had her hands secured to the bed. He then repeated the process with her feet.
Standing back and admiring his handiwork, he was satisfied by the fact that she wouldn't be going anywhere. Walking back to the head of the bed, he brushed her hair from her face before pulling the blankets over her body and kissing her softly on the forehead.
"Sleep well, blue eyes," he whispered just as his phone vibrated in his pocket. Sighing, he pulled it out without even glancing at the screen. "Wolfe."
"I was beginning to wonder if you would ever answer your phone," a silky voice said. "You weren't avoiding me, were you?"
"Yes," Randy answered truthfully. He'd been doing everything he could to avoid the other man's call, annoyed by the fact that he felt as if he had to check up on him. "In case you forgot, I don't answer to you."
"I'll relax as soon as you stop calling me."
"Did Grey succeed in getting Miss Drew?"
"Of course he did. I have her with me now."
Randy didn't miss the condescending tone in the other man's voice. "You don't believe me?"
"No. I have no reason to trust your word. After all, you're nothing but a criminal."
"The last time I checked, so were you," Randy said, smirking. "Would you like proof?"
Rolling his eyes, Randy pulled the phone away from his ear and pulled up his camera application. Aiming it at Nancy's sleeping form, he took a picture of her and sent it to the person on the other end of the phone. "Satisfied?"
He could practically hear the smile in the other man's voice. "Ecstatic. Are we still on schedule?"
"I still have a few other calls to make, but I don't see any reason why we can't be ready to begin in five days." Turning out the lights, Randy eased himself out of the room and closed the door softly behind him, locking it tightly.
"And she will stay with you the entire time."
"Of course. Why wouldn't she? I'm the one who did the work to get her here."
"Actually, you just hired someone to do the legwork for you. There's a difference."
Randy closed his eyes, trying to keep his temper in check. He didn't know why he let this man get under his skin in the first place. If he was smart, he would just go ahead and kill him and have one less problem to deal with. "I'll call you as I finalize the plans. Don't call me again."
He hung up before the other man could say anything else.
Walking downstairs, he made his way into his study where his assistant was waiting for him. Randy ignored him as he went straight to the small bar and fixed himself a drink. Taking a sip, he let the alcohol burn a fiery trail down his throat as it calmed his nerves.
"Boss? Is everything okay?"
Settling himself into his leather chair, Randy smiled as he put his feet up on his desk. "Everything is just about perfect, Tucker."
"I heard a commotion upstairs…"
"Nancy and I just had a misunderstanding. Everything is fine now." He took another sip of the whiskey. "Under no circumstances is she to be allowed out of that room, do you understand? I don't care how much she pleads with you."
"Good." Closing his eyes, Randy leaned back in his chair. "You can leave now, Tucker. You should try to get you some sleep."
Randy smiled to himself as he heard the door close behind Tucker. How could things not be perfect—he had Nancy and pretty soon, he was going to be a very rich man.
Practically perfect in every way…
Many thanks to my reviewers: Sophie, Angelvie S, Michelle Gallichio, and Alicia Hardy.
I know I have been updating this story quicker than my previous ones and it's because of you guys. I noticed that this story isn't getting as many hits and reviews and I know it's because it's a Nancy Drew story. I am being very deliberate by updating this story as quickly as I am because I want to show my appreciation for the ones who are actually giving it a shot.
So, thank you all!
As always, I apologize for any mistakes!
Until next time!