It was just a prank I didn’t want to be a part of. I never meant to hurt anyone, least of all Johann Weir. You wouldn’t know that he sells literature for a living. He has these wild eyes—eyes that light something up in me—and he must be twice as big as I am, with strong, warm hands. Hands I try not to imagine everywhere.
He scares me. And thrills me.
But now the deed is done, and I have to face the consequences. He says he just wants to hold me here until the police come, but it’s been hours and I’m still here.
Chained to a pipe in his back room like a prisoner.
The only person I have to talk to is Johann, and I tell him dark, shameful secrets—secrets that involve the metal around my wrist and him standing over me. But I can’t stop. I need him to know everything. I need him.
Johann has his own secrets—ones he wants to tell me too. And more than anything, I want to listen. And maybe, before he sends me away, he’ll punish me.
Just a little.
“What are you doing?” I hiss, because seriously this was not what we discussed. She just said she was going to come in here and do a bit of mischief, not burn the goddamn place down. I thought she meant creasing the corner on page seven of War and Peace, and to be honest even that was too far for me. The books in here are absolutely gorgeous. The owner might be a maniac. It all seemed like the very worst thing in the world.
And then she starts in on actual arson.
Oh god, she plans to commit arson.
“I told you: teaching him a lesson,” she says, and I can see it in her hand.
A can of lighter fluid, that she’s getting ready to spray.
“This is not a lesson Marnie. This is suicide.”
“No way you think that pompous jackass is going to do anything? He’s not going to do anything, and besides we can be out the door before he even knows.”
“The door is past where he is right now.”
“Yeah but I bet he’s super slow.”
“I don’t think he’s slow Marnie,” I say, but even I have no real idea how right I am about that. I picture him lumbering after us as we dash down the street. I think of him sort of catching me as I round the shoe place on the corner. I do not expect him to be so quick that he comes up on us before we even know he has moved. That is not just fast. That is pretty much super human and insanely stealthy. For a second I think something mad like did he take off his shoes to do it?
And then all my thoughts are cut off at the knees.
They have to be, because oh my god he just grabbed me. I swear to god he grabs me. His enormous arms go right around my middle, and not in a simple and straightforward restraining sort of way. He actually lifts me clean off the ground. I see both of my feet kick up in an arc, those cute purple Converse suddenly so small and silly seeming. I should have chosen something more adult, I know, and now I am going to be murdered while wearing them. “– Charlotte Stein, Taken
About the Author:
Charlotte Stein is the acclaimed author of over thirty short stories, novellas and novels, including the recently DABWAHA nominated Run To You. When not writing deeply emotional and intensely sexy books, she can be found eating jelly turtles, watching terrible sitcoms and occasionally lusting after hunks. She lives in West Yorkshire with her husband and their now totally real and completely nightmarish dog.