Book Title: Cross The Line
Author: Julie Johnson
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
Not that he’s bothered to notice.
The curse bursts from my mouth before I can stop it — an involuntary reaction to the tape tearing at my skin. Pain stings my chapped, bleeding lips. My head falls forward, hair cascading in a tangled, dark brown curtain around my face as I gasp for much-needed air. Breathing through my nose for the past few hours has left me lightheaded. Without the tight loops of rope around my midsection I’d slide to the floor like a wet piece of linguine, boneless and weak.
God, my mouth is drier than the Sahara, now that whatever sedative he slipped me is wearing off. I’d give my virginity for a single glass of water. My tongue darts out to catch the trickle of blood oozing from one of the cracks. Sticky tape residue coats my split lips like superglue.
“Take this and shut the fuck up.” He shoves a copy of today’s Boston Globe into my tethered hands. “And don’t cover the fucking date.”
My fingertips curl awkwardly around the top edge, arms gawking at an odd angle against their bonds as I try to maintain my grip without blocking the bold typeface at the corner. My eyes scan the headlines briefly — nothing exceptional jumps out.
Sox Sweep: Red Sox take Cardinals 4-0 in Fenway Victory
Mayor Walsh Approves Anti-Tobacco Bill
Spring Storms Cause Citywide Power Outages
There it is: the rest of the world, carrying on as though nothing happened. As though I’m not tied to a chair in a dark basement somewhere, breathing in toxic black mold spores — they need to get an exterminator down here pronto, this stuff can’t be healthy for your lungs — all while praying to god they don’t kill me.
Because, well…. I can’t die. Not when I’ve barely lived.
I’m only twenty-three. I haven’t gone skydiving or ever been kissed passionately in the rain. I haven’t had a chance to try out a surely-disastrous pixie cut, or tan topless on a beach in the French Riviera. I’ve haven’t gone cage swimming with sharks or told the man I’m crazy about that I love him. Hate him. Want him. Want to kill him?
Oh, who the hell knows.
I’ve never been in a committed relationship. Hell, I’ve never even had an orgasm.
Seriously, I can’t go to my grave without at least one Big O on my record. That’s a crime against humanity.
“Your daddy wants proof of life,” he sneers, snapping me back to reality. “Hold it up so I can see it. You cooperate, you go home. You don’t…”
He doesn’t fill in the rest; doesn’t need to. It’s pretty self-explanatory, as threats go.
I contemplate tossing the paper to the floor at his feet, but I’m not exactly in a position to fight back. I try to lift my arms higher, but it’s not easy to do much of anything with the cord wrapped so tight around my wrists. The skin has gone raw where the rope digs into my flesh and my fingers feel tingly from lack of circulation. Unable to shift on the cold metal seat, everything below the waist is pretty much numb.
Once, I watched a YouTube video showing how to escape if your hands are ever bound with duct tape. Just my luck I’d end up with the one kidnapper in the world who still uses rope to restrain his victims’ limbs.
He strides across the room and flips on a set of overhead track lights, the sudden flare of the bulbs making my eyes water. I squint to keep him in focus as he sets his iPhone on a tripod and aims it at me.
“Smile for the camera, love.” His lips twist in a cruel grin and I wonder for the thousandth time how I missed it — the sociopathic gleam in his eyes, the dark edge to his charm. How could I have been so blind?
The dimples. And the muscles. And dear god, the way he fills out a pair of dress pants…
Frankly, I never stood a chance.
“Come on, Phoebe. You can do better than that.” His eyes narrow. “Daddy will be wanting an update on his darling daughter’s safety.”
“Fuck you,” I spit, glaring at him.
“That can be arranged,” he volleys back flatly, the threat sending a cold tingle down my spine.
“You won’t get away with this… This… whatever you’re planning.” My words sound remarkably steady, considering my insides have dissolved into jelly. “He’ll never pay the ransom.”
“He’ll pay with his money or you’ll pay with your life. ” He leans toward me, face dark with anger, those stunning eyes narrowed on my wide hazel ones. “Either way, the Wests are going to fucking pay.”
My throat convulses.
I’m totally going to die a virgin.
She published her debut novel LIKE GRAVITY in August 2013, just before her senior year of college, and she's never looked back. Since, she has published three more novels: SAY THE WORD, ERASING FAITH, and NOT YOU IT'S ME. Her books have appeared on Kindle and iTunes Bestseller lists around the world.
You can find Julie on Facebook or contact her on her website www.juliejohnsonbooks.com. Sometimes, when she can figure out how Twitter works, she tweets from @AuthorJulie. For major book news and updates, subscribe to Julie's newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bnWtHH