Bound by Danger by Brenda K. Davies

Chapter One





Callie huddled in the shadows with the four women who shared this cold, inhospitable place with her. The women were strangers to her, but they all shared the same horrible fate. They’d all been brought here against their will, and she was sure they were about to die.

Callie tried not to let panic get the best of her as she recalled the events that led to her being here with these women. When the van first pulled up beside her on the quiet, country road, and the door slid open to allow someone to slip out, she thought it was Carter barreling through his restraining order to attack her.

She was certain he’d come to make her pay for filing that order, but though she’d been more than a little buzzed, hence the walking, she quickly realized it wasn’t Carter who captured her and put a hood over her head.

She wouldn’t put something like this past him, but no matter how sick and demented he was, there was no way he could have found at least four others—judging by the different voices—to go along with his crazy plan.

Or, at least, she hoped he hadn’t. After Carter, she didn’t have much faith left in humanity, but she had enough to hope he hadn’t been able to find four more psychopaths to help him do this to her.

She’d spent her entire time in the back of the van sobering up as the reality of her situation sank in. She was in a van with her hands bound behind her back and her feet roped to her wrists. Every horror movie and scary news story she ever heard started this way.

When they first grabbed her, she’d thrashed against her captors, but it did little good as she was lifted and tossed into the van. Despite being a little tipsy, she was aware her struggles were frighteningly ineffective against the freaks holding her.

Callie bit her lip to keep from crying out as the van bounced over potholes and weaved in and out of traffic. The further they drove, the more the sounds of a city greeted her. Horns blared, car engines revved, and when they stopped for what she assumed was a red light, she heard the shout of someone telling someone else to do the anatomically impossible with their head.

Uncertain of what to do, Callie’s mind spun as she tried to figure out her best course of action. However, everything she considered terrified her. In the end, knowing that her chances of survival were dwindling with every mile they traversed, she waited until they stopped again before screaming as loud as she could.

She would rather take the chance of being punished than not doing anything.

All her actions got her was a lift of the hood and a foul-tasting rag shoved into her mouth. She tried to spit it out, but a hand clamping over her lips stifled her attempt. When that hand briefly closed over her nose too, it cut off her oxygen and her lungs started to burn. She tried to squirm away, but the hand followed her as the bastard trying to kill her laughed.

Then those fingers moved away and a low, amused voice spoke. “Keep your mouth shut.”

Callie tried to tell him to go fuck himself, but the rag made it impossible, and she was too scared to be defiant. Not only were these assholes insane, but at least one of them took sadistic amusement in toying with her. She had no doubt he would also enjoy torturing her.

Callie refused to sob, even though it was all she wanted to do. However, she would not give them the satisfaction of listening to her break.

The noises of the city became more muffled and she suspected they’d turned into a quieter area, maybe a warehouse district, or something like it. The van bumped over a road full of potholes before coming to a stop. She strained to hear something more, but it was eerily calm until the van door slid open.

Rough hands grasped her arms and flipped her over. At the possibility of being raped, she tried to squirm away from them. No, no, no!

The hands ignored her thrashing as they yanked free the rope connecting her wrists to her ankles before undoing the rope around her ankles. Once freed, she kicked out blindly at her captors but connected only with air.

Hands gripped the rope binding her wrists and hauled her from the van. When they set her on her feet, the movement was so abrupt she swayed and staggered a little before righting herself.

Before she fully recovered, they jerked the hood from her head in a sharp yank that tore free some of her hair. She was still trying to get her bearings when they removed the gag. With her scalp screaming in protest, Callie glared at the faces of the four men surrounding her.

She’d already ascertained Carter wasn’t part of this, but she still searched for his face amongst the stony ones surrounding her. She didn’t know any of them, so why was she here? What had she done to deserve this?

The same she’d done to deserve Carter, absolutely nothing. However, that piece of garbage had found his way into her life. After only three months of dating, he’d shown his true colors, and she ran screaming for the door.

Unfortunately, she hadn’t gotten far from him, and she wouldn’t get far now as the three men and one woman closed in on her. They reminded her of jackals surrounding their prey as amusement glittered in their eyes and they smiled smugly at her.

She had no idea who any of them were, but she’d watched enough true crime TV to know the fact they weren’t hiding their faces didn’t bode well for her survival. She glanced frantically around, but the night and their bodies obscured most of her view. A couple of buildings rose behind them, but she didn’t recognize anything about her surroundings.

You’re never supposed to let them take you to a secondary location. You’re supposed to fight to the death if that’s what it takes, but you never allow them to move you.