Story Excerpt

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“Do you have a phone I can use?” Tyler really needed to go home.

Charlie had to be going out of his mind with worry. Tyler was only supposed to be going to the city for a couple of days to pick up his school books for the next college term. He wasn’t supposed to get kidnapped. Charlie was never going to let him leave home unescorted again.


Tyler blinked. “I really need to call home and let my family know where I am. They have to be worried.”


Tyler blinked again. “Why what?”

“Why do they have to be worried?”

“Um…” Blink. Blink. “I was kidnapped?”

The man’s brown haired head tilted once more. “Were you?”

Anger flooded Tyler until he felt his cheeks heat up. “Of course I was kidnapped. Do you honestly think I like having a gun held to my head?” Tyler held up his taped wrists. “Or being tied up?”

“How in the hell should I know?” the man snapped as he stepped back from Tyler. “I’ve never even met you before.”

As rescues went, this one was sinking fast.

“Is there somewhere around here where I might find a phone?”


Tyler’s jaw dropped as the large burly man bent down and picked a bag up off the ground and then simply turned and started walking. He didn’t invite Tyler to come along. He didn’t untie Tyler. He didn’t even introduce himself.

He just walked away.

“Hey!” Tyler stumbled after his rescuer. “Where are you going?”

The man just kept right on walking.


"My name is not Mister," the guy threw back over his shoulder.

"Well, if you'd tell me your name..." There was a hint in there. Apparently, big and brawny didn't get hear it. He just kept walking. Tyler hurried to catch up. It wasn't that he necessarily wanted to go with the strange man, but it was better than being lost in the woods.

He still needed a phone.

Tyler chewed at the duct tape binding his wrists as he followed after the infuriating stranger. He had an urge to kick the guy in the butt, but that would probably be detrimental to his ability to breathe. The man looked one of those people that sat around and pulled the wings off flies just for fun.

Tyler liked breathing.

Tyler cried out when he tripped over a root. He threw his bound hands out in front of him, hoping to break his fall before his face slammed into the ground—again. As the hard ground loomed closer, Tyler was grabbed and hauled to his feet.

He gasped when he realized just exactly how big his rescuer really was. Tyler was eye level with the base of the guy's throat. He gulped as he looked up into a frowning face. "Um...thank you."

The man snorted and released Tyler before spinning around and walking away. Tyler's shoulders slumped as he followed once again. He was getting really tired of people treating him like he didn't matter. It was something he had lived with since the day he took his first breath, and it didn't look like it was going to change anytime soon.

Just once, Tyler wished someone would put him first.

Of course, he couldn't expect that out of some nonverbal mountain man. He got the distinct impression this guy would just as soon lose him in the woods than carry on a conversation with him.


Tyler went back to trying to chew the tape off his wrists. That blockhead that had kidnapped him from the bookstore parking lot had put enough tape on his wrists to make a duct tape prom dress.

 He blew out a deep, relieved breath when he got through enough of the tape to get it off his wrists, but he hissed just as quickly at the sting as the tape pulled at his skin when he ripped it off with his teeth. His wrists were red and achy. He looked like the tape had taken a good portion of the top layer of skin as it came off.

Tyler balled up the offending tape and tossed it on the ground. He prayed he never saw another roll of duct tape in his life, not even those printed ones with the designs. The stuff was horrid.

"Are you just going to leave that there?"

Tyler blinked up at the man who had barely spoken more than two words to him, and then down to where the guy was glaring. The used duct tape. Tyler rolled his eyes as he reached down and grabbed the ball of duct tape. he shoved it into his pocket because he didn't really have any other place to put it.


Mr. Personality grunted and went back to walking. When he started to outpace him, Tyler wondered if it really mattered. So, he was lost in the woods. That was actually a better place to be than he was an hour ago.

Since he had arrived in a duffle bag and really had no idea where he was, following the silent man was his smartest move, but no one had ever accused Tyler of being smart. His ability to deal with rude, unfeeling, and violent people was dwindling faster than he had ripped the tape off his wrists.

He just wanted to go home, and the man he was following was no help. He wouldn't even let Tyler use his phone. Assuming the guy even knew what a phone was. Who knew how long the guy had been up here, traipsing around in the woods.

Tyler slowed his steps as he realized he was following some strange mountain man through the woods and he didn't even know his name. For all he knew, this guy could be one of his kidnappers and this could all be some elaborate plot to torture him.

Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.