Hostage Negotiation

Hostage Negotiation by Lena Diaz Read Free Book Online

Book: Hostage Negotiation by Lena Diaz Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lena Diaz
a heavy black cloth most of the time. He almost never took the cover off when the sun was up. When he did remove it, his face was concealed behind a mask. That’s what gave me hope, that he didn’t want me to see his face. I thought... I thought he’d eventually let me go.” She swallowed hard and looked down at her lap. “But I found out otherwise, after he brought Mary and shoved her into the box with me. I knew he was going to kill me soon.” She shivered. “Mary was my replacement.”
    “Why did you think she was your replacement?” Willow asked. “Was it because she didn’t have her own box?”
    She shook her head. “No. I’d tr-tried to escape once before, and he was furious about that. After he...punished me for...defying him, things only got worse. Once M...Mary showed up, he promised he was going to k...kill me.”
    And this was where the interview had stopped the last time, and the time before that. She started to shake. Her mouth worked but no more words would come. No matter how Willow phrased his questions about Mary, about what happened after that, about how she escaped, she shut down. Her eyes took on a horrified, faraway look as if she were retreating into herself, going somewhere they couldn’t reach her.
    The therapist motioned to the nurse, who hurried over and checked Kaylee’s pulse. Zack knew what was next. They’d call a halt to the questions. And another day would end without them having any more clues that might help them narrow their search, or give them a new lead to follow. He tried not to be aggravated, or let his disappointment show. Because the pale, young woman a few feet away from him was just as much of a victim as Mary.
    With one exception.
    Kaylee had managed to escape. She’d survived. And Mary deserved that same opportunity. If they could just get Kaylee to answer all of their questions, maybe they could save Mary, too.
    Just when it looked as if the nurse was going to wheel Kaylee back to her room, Willow held his hand out to stop her and leaned forward. “You know, Miss Brighton. For the life of me I can’t understand why an attractive and intelligent woman such as you would decide to tour the Everglades by herself. Everyone knows the woods are dangerous. Yet you chose to go on that path alone, without a weapon. Why would a pretty girl like you do that?”
    His tone was so condescending, so accusatory that Zack’s mouth fell open. Everyone stared at the FBI agent in shock, including Kaylee. Willow might be impatient most of the time, but Zack never would have pegged him as one of those people who would blame the victim. As if by virtue of being beautiful, and a woman, she shouldn’t have the audacity to walk somewhere by herself without expecting that someone might attack her. Zack was about to tell the agent exactly where he could shove his questions when Kaylee leaned forward with her fists on her knees, glaring at Willow.
    “I was in a public area, taking the same path any number of tourists take every single day,” Kaylee gritted out. “It’s my right as a human being—regardless of how pretty I am, Special Agent Willow—to walk anywhere that I want with the expectation of being safe. I shouldn’t have to always travel in a group like a pack animal to avoid being attacked.”
    The nurse leaned down but Kaylee waved her back, never taking her gaze off Willow. “I’m staying right here. I want to hear what Special Agent Willow has to say.”
    The agent shrugged. “I’m just trying to understand why you decided to go to that particular part of the Glades. Alone. It’s a simple question.”
    “Then I’ll give you a simple answer, and hope you can grasp it.” Anger hardened her voice. “I always take a week’s vacation from my job at the bank around this time every year. My travel agent suggested some of the recreation areas off Alligator Alley might be a fun diversion before I went to the condo she’d rented for me in Naples.”
    He poised his pen

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