The Criminal's Captive (Unpunished Book 1)

The Criminal's Captive (Unpunished Book 1)

Mackenzie Wiliams

Chapter One

A car horn sounded a block away, causing Tessa to jump. She put her hand up to her chest, inhaling sharply.

"Damn it." Tessa's stomach dropped as more fear ran up her back.

She lowered her hand and started to walk faster down the dark sidewalk. It was just after eleven on a Tuesday night. Not a time she would normally be out walking the streets, but tonight had been hell.

Tessa looked around herself as she walked.

The streetlights lit up just a few small circles on the street and sidewalk. She reached up and grabbed a hold of the top of her buttoned sweater as a chilly breeze blew through her dark hair.

"Fucking asshole." Tessa rounded a corner, heading toward a busier street where it would be easier to catch a cab.

Her boyfriend, well, now ex-boyfriend, had left her in the middle of nowhere after a blow-up argument. Tessa had found several recent texts from women on his phone, and many of them contained nude pictures. When she confronted him, Brad had cussed her out for touching his phone.

"What the hell, Tessa? This is my goddamn phone. You have no right to touch it when I'm busy."

"Who gives a fuck if I violated your privacy? You're cheating on me!"

"Get the fuck out!" Brad slammed on the brakes and flung her door open.

Tessa's first mistake had been to bring up this sensitive subject while in his car, far from home. Her second mistake had been getting out of the car when he told her to. Now, she was wandering around in the dark city, on the wrong side of town, trying to get a ride.

Of course, she had a few friends she could call, but she was too embarrassed at the moment. All of her friends and even her sister had warned her about Brad, but Tessa had always defended him. Now, there was egg on her face, and she'd have to tell everyone the story. Well, eventually. Not tonight. The last thing she wanted to do was tell everyone they were right about her asshole boyfriend.

Tessa sighed in frustration and anger as she came to the end of the block. She looked both ways, not seeing any moving vehicles or people. She quickly crossed the street, her heels clapping against the pavement and her dress flaring up at the bottom.

It was getting colder, and she couldn't wait to get to a street with more light. She knew that about two more blocks away there were quite a few bars. She'd wait there and call a cab or Uber or whatever was the fastest way to get her home. All she wanted to do was forget about this night and forget about Brad.

Just as her feet touched the curb, squealing tires sounded down the street. Tessa's heart jumped into her throat as she spun around. A dark van, with no headlights on, was screaming toward her. She was frozen with fear for several seconds until her flight instinct kicked in.

The only reason she ran and didn't simply stare dumbfounded was because it had no lights on. What possible reason would there be for screaming down the street without headlights on unless they were up to no good? At the very least, she needed to get away from the street if this was a drunk driver who could potentially jump the curb.

Tessa let go of her sweater and started to jog up the next block. Her heels slowed her down, and she contemplated stopping to kick them off. Before she could decide if it was necessary, the van slammed to a stop next to the curb.

She spun around and watched wide-eyed, against her better judgment. A tall man jumped out from the rear sliding door, and her whole body trembled. A scream was stuck in her throat as he took a step toward her. Tessa turned back around but only managed a few steps before he was on her. With little effort, the man wrapped his strong arm around her waist and picked her feet up off the ground.

"Let go of me! What the—" She was swiftly cut off when the stranger placed his free hand over her mouth.

Tessa screamed as loudly as she could, but only a muffled shriek came out from under the man's hand. She started to kick wildly as he turned back toward the van. He was tall and strong. It took little effort for him to return to the van and drop her inside.

The man climbed in after her and slammed the door. "Go!"

The driver stepped on the gas, and Tessa was thrown back against the bed of the old van. There were no seats in the back, just scratchy carpet under her. As she slid to the side when the van took a sharp turn, it nearly gave her a rug burn on her bare knees.

Tessa held her hands out, trying to stop herself from flying all over. She frantically looked around the vehicle, but it was extremely dark. The man who had thrown her in slowly crawled toward her.

"Stay back! M-my dad has connections.

Just let me out, and I won't report you." Her eyes were wide as the man inched closer.

Her mind raced with other vague threats to yell at him.

A bit of light from outside momentarily landed on his face. Tessa held her breath as her legs started to tremble. The man was young, with light stubble shadowing his jaw. He wore a cocky smirk as he leaned into her.

"I know your dad. That's why you're here."

Tessa didn't have any words as the man reached for something off to the side. He turned back to her, and she instantly tried to scramble away. She didn't get far, however. The man grabbed her and twisted her body. She was soon on her back on the van floor.

"Wait! Stop." Tears started to wet her eyes.

"Will you shut her up?" the driver yelled. "She's giving me a fucking headache."

Mackenzie Wiliams's Books