Sparks fly when small-town scientist Ana Villaneuva and billionaire Simon Townsend meet during her visit to the City, but Simon’s promise of fun and adventure takes a dangerous turn when they are kidnapped by the deadly Silver Warriors. They must work together to stay alive, and use all their skills to prevent their captor’s catastrophic plan to bring chaos to the City.
His words were pure temptation. Ana was sure there would be many things that Simon could show her—and she wanted to see it all. Experience it all. For a brief moment, Ana imagined throwing caution to the wind and going home with this man. She knew it would be unforgettable. And there lay the crux of the problem. A dance and a kiss with a forbidden man would eventually become a pleasant, albeit wistful, memory. But baring her body and soul in an unforgettable night, only to be set aside the next day would be devastating. Ana sighed.
“Today was a moment out of time. A break from my reality. A fairy tale for me.However, I’m going home tomorrow, and quite likely, we will never meet again. So, as it stands, this will be a lovely memory.” Ana chuckled. “With only a small dose of humiliation at the end. What are the chances that Nigel will inform Sara and Jordan about what transpired?”
“It’s probably best not to think about it. You’re right. I…I should go home.” Simon turned and picked up his felt top hat from the side table. She followed him to the front hall. Nigel opened the door and held it open. Simon’s smile faded as he took her hand.
Ah, it’s time for Prince Charming to go home. “You’re no longer smiling. What’s wrong?” asked Ana.
Simon’s hand tightened briefly around hers. “I was thinking about your philosophy on the transient nature of truth. I think you’re wrong about staying silent to see if the feelings pass. What happens if the time to speak goes by and the opportunity is lost?”
Ana considered his words. “Why would the opportunity pass if the feelings are true?”
“There could be extenuating circumstances. The timing could be wrong, and it wouldn’t be fair…Never mind, I’m not as good at philosophizing as you are.” Simon chuckled ruefully.
“Well, I’ve had a lot more practice. But that’s the beauty of philosophy: those thoughts are also fleeting, and in the end, you can just laugh it off.”
Simon’s expression grew serious. “This particular goodbye is not a laughing matter.”
Ana felt an invisible weight squeezing her chest. “No, it really isn’t.” She lifted her face to place a soft kiss on his cheek. His eyes searched her face as though he was trying to memorize it before he released her hand and strode down the walkway towards the front gate.
Nigel locked the door behind Simon and began walking to his quarters.Ana felt strangely bereft. She tried to reason her feelings away. After all, she and Simon had met less than twenty-four hours previously. And really, what had they shared? A dance at the wedding reception, another one here, and some conversation along the way.
She eyed the front door. He had danced with her when he could have danced with anyone. He had listened to her, and had been interested in what she had to say. She had been interested in what he had to say, as well. That certainly didn’t happen very often. And then there was that kiss—a kiss she would be reliving in her daydreams for months and years to come. She had never felt that type of connection with anyone before.
Ana reached out and turned the heavy lock. The gear mechanism turned too slowly for her liking. Who on earth needed so much protection? When it finally opened, Ana pulled on the door with all her might. She stepped out into the night and searched for Simon. He had stepped through the open iron gate and was about to close it.
“Simon! Wait!” she called out, pulling the front door closed. Simon looked up and froze. A broad smile brightened his face.
As she raced towards the open gate, a dark shadow appeared behind Simon. An arm snaked around his neck and a cloth covered his nose and mouth.She saw Simon struggle against his assailant, his elbow moving to strike the body behind him, but Simon’s movements were weak, erratic. He didn’t give up, however, and Ana saw a second shadow appear. She heard the dull thud of the club come in contact with Simon’s head before she could make out what had happened.
“No! Auxilio!” Ana cried out. The shadows were dragging Simon’s dead weight towards a waiting steam-powered car. She had to stop them. Ana ran through the gate, trying to keep Simon in sight. All the homes on Jordan’s street were dark, their occupants long retired for the night. She prayed that someone would wake. “Help! Auxilio!”
She had a burst of inspiration. “Fire! Fire!” Ana screamed into the night. “Fi—”
A hand clamped over her mouth, choking her words, as her back was pulled into a hard chest. She stomped her heel into her attacker’s foot and was satisfied to hear a grunt of pain. The arm around her waist tightened, restricting her ribcage. She tried to take a deep breath but the sharp and familiar smell of rotten fruit filled her nose and made her dizzy.
Oh, no, she thought, this is ether. She redoubled her efforts to get away, trying to turn her head away from the sickening cloth, searching for fresh air, but the hand over her face was clamped tightly. She struggled in vain, her eyes searching for any signs of help around her. The street was deserted at this late hour. She looked up and saw a light from a lamp in a window across the street. She hoped Jordan’s neighbour would sound the alarm.
Ana lost control of her limbs and she collapsed, held upright only by her captor. Her eyelids grew heavy. She hoped Simon was faring better. His head was going to hurt. She squinted one last time at the moving shadows as she succumbed to the darkness.