“Jack.” My voice has disappeared, choked by fear. How is he out of jail? Why does he have Mia’s phone? The blood drains from my face, and I feel dizzy.
“You do remember me,” he says, his tone soft. I sense his bitter smile.
“Yes. Of course.” My answer is automatic as my mind races.
“You’re probably wondering why I called you.”
“Don’t hang up. I’ve been having a chat with your little sister-in-law.”
What? Mia! No! “What have you done?” I whisper, trying to quell my fear.
“Listen here, you prick-teasing, gold-digging whore. You fucked up my life.
Grey fucked up my life. You owe me. I have the little bitch with me now. And you, that cock-sucker you married, and his whole fucking family are going to pay.”
Hyde’s contempt and bile shock me. His family? What the hell?
“What do you want?”
“I want his money. I really want his fucking money. If things had been different, it could have been me. So you’re going to get it for me. I want five million dollars, today.”
“Jack, I don’t have access to that kind of money.”
He snorts his derision. “You have two hours to get it. That’s it—two hours.
Tell no one or this little bitch gets it. Not the cops. Not your prick of a husband.
Not his security team. I will know if you do. Understand?” He pauses and I try to respond, but panic and fear seal my throat.
“You understand!” he shouts.
“Yes,” I whisper.
“Or I will kill her.”
“Keep your phone with you. Tell no one or I’ll fuck her up before I kill her.
You have two hours.”
“Jack, I need longer. Three hours. How do I know that you have her?”
The line goes dead. I gape in horror at the phone, my mouth parched with fear, leaving the nasty metallic taste of terror. Mia, he has Mia. Or does he? My mind whirrs at the obscene possibility, and my stomach roils again. I think I’m going to be sick, but I inhale deeply, trying to steady my panic, and the nausea passes. My mind rockets through the possibilities. Tell Christian? Tell Taylor?
Call the police? How will Jack know? Does he actually have Mia? I need time, time to think—but I can only accomplish that by following his instructions. I grab my purse and head for the door.
“Hannah, I have to go out. I am not sure how long I’ll be. Cancel my appointments this afternoon. Let Elizabeth know I have to deal with an emergency.”
“Sure, Ana. Everything okay?” Hannah frowns, concern etched on her face as she watches me flee.
“Yes,” I call back distractedly, hurrying toward reception where Sawyer is waiting.
“Sawyer.” He leaps up from the armchair at the sound of my voice, and frowns when he sees my face.
“I’m not feeling well. Please take me home.”
“Sure, ma’am. Do you want to wait here while I get the car?”
“No, I’ll come with you. I’m in a hurry to get home.”
I gaze out the window in stark terror as I go over my plan. Get home. Change.
Find checkbook. Escape from Ryan and Sawyer somehow. Go to bank. Hell, how much room does five million dollars take up? What will it weigh? Will I need a suitcase? Should I telephone the bank in advance? Mia. Mia. What if he doesn’t have Mia? How can I check? If I call Grace it will raise her suspicions, and possibly endanger Mia. He said he would know. I glance out the back window of the SUV. Am I being followed? My heart races as I examine the cars following us.
They look innocuous enough. Oh, Sawyer, drive faster. Please. My eyes flicker to meet his in the rearview mirror and his brow creases.
Sawyer presses a button on his Bluetooth headset to answer a call. “T . . . I wanted to let you know Mrs. Grey is with me.” Sawyer’s eyes meet mine once more before he looks back at the road and continues. “She’s unwell. I’m taking her back to Escala . . . I see . . . Sir.” Sawyer’s eyes flick from the road to mine in the rearview mirror again. “Yes,” he agrees and hangs up.
“Taylor?” I whisper.
“He’s with Mr. Grey?”
“Yes, ma’am.” Sawyer’s look softens in sympathy.
“Are they still in Portland?”
Good. I have to keep Christian safe. My hand strays down to my belly, and I rub it consciously. And you, Little Blip. Keep you both safe.
“Can we hurry please? I’m not feeling well.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Sawyer presses the accelerator and our car glides through the traffic.
Mrs. Jones is nowhere to be seen when Sawyer and I arrive at the apartment.
Since her car is missing from the garage, I assume she’s running errands with Ry-an. Sawyer heads for Taylor’s office while I bolt to Christian’s study. Stumbling in panic around his desk, I wrench open the drawer to find the checkbooks.
Leila’s gun slides forward into view. I feel an incongruous twinge of annoyance that Christian has not secured this weapon. He knows nothing about guns. Jeez, he could get hurt.
After a moment’s hesitation, I grab the pistol, check to ensure it’s loaded, and tuck it into the waistband of my black slacks. I may need it. I swallow hard. I’ve only ever practiced on targets. I’ve never fired a gun at anyone; I hope Ray will forgive me . I turn my attention to tracking down the right checkbook. There are five, and only one is in the names of C. Grey and Mrs. A. Grey. I have about fifty-four thousand dollars in my own account. I have no idea how much money is in this one. But Christian must be good for five million dollars, surely. Perhaps there’s money in the safe? Crap. I have no idea of the number. Didn’t he mention the combination was it his filing cabinet? I try the cabinet, but it’s locked. Shit.