Kyle and Austin's vacation plans go horribly wrong when they become the victims of a home invasion by a group of bank robbers. Rather than simply steal their belongings and run, the criminals choose to hold the couple hostage in their apartment until they can come up with a getaway plan. As the police begin to close in, both the crooks' desperation levels and their tempers begin to rise. Can Kyle and Austin make it out of the situation alive, or will they meet a violent end at the hands of their captors?
“Hey, how do you like your eggs?”
Kyle Jamison blinked a little, not daring to move much in his seat.
“Kid, the man asked you a simple question,” a sharp voice barked. “How do you like your eggs?”
Brown eyes flashed across the table, taking in the sight of his girlfriend Austin’s slack expression and pleading gaze. “Um…over easy?”
“What about you?” a kind voice queried as its owner looked over at the raven-haired woman sitting about three feet from the stove.
Austin’s voice hitched a bit, trying to stay calm. “S-scrambled.”
The tall, stocky man in the kitchen then turned and went to work. Kyle’s stare flickered on either side of the table, where two more men began to devour thick strips of bacon and dunked fresh toast into their egg yolks. “Not bad, Sam,” one of the men called into the small kitchen, complimenting the chef.
“I try,” Sam replied. Soon two more plates appeared on the table, and it was all Kyle and Austin could do to look at them. Whatever appetite the pair had had, it was long gone.
“Go on, eat,” a slender, wiry man said. “He worked hard to make that.”
“I-I’m not very hungry,” Austin stammered, her voice low.
“I said, eat.” The wiry man’s sharp tone left no room for argument.
Unwillingly, Kyle picked up his fork and broke off a section of egg white. He methodically put it in his mouth and chewed, tasting nothing but anger and worry as the bite slipped over his tongue and down his esophagus.
“Well?” Sam asked.
“It’s…it’s good,” Kyle replied, failing to keep the bitterness completely out of his response. His eyes danced over the sight of his late grandfather’s Sig Sauer resting comfortably on the waistband of the man sitting to his right—a short, slightly balding man who calmly ate his meal as though nothing was out of the ordinary.
“Hear that, Al?” Sam chortled. “Still haven’t lost it!”
“Never thought you would, Sam,” the short man said stiffly. “These are pretty decent.”
“Would’ve liked to make waffles, but there’s no iron here….”
The slender man quickly scanned the table. “Eat,” he barked, startling Austin almost out of her seat. Slowly, she speared a bite of egg on her fork, her hands trembling as she did so.
“There. That’s better.” Two more strips of bacon disappeared off the towel-covered platter that Sam had set on top of the kitchen table. “Can’t be letting good food go to waste.”
Kyle nibbled at a section of toast, his mind racing. Food was the last thing he wanted to think about right then. “What…what are you going to do now?” he asked, hoping to get something he could work with out of the men who had taken over his home.
“Settle in a bit. Make ourselves comfortable. Why? There’s nowhere you really need to be, is there?” Al replied.
The young man sank back in his chair. Of all the weeks to take vacation time, he mused, mentally kicking himself as his hands started to comb through his sandy-blond hair. Then again, I didn’t exactly plan for this to happen…I was planning on a couple of weeks at home with Austin coming in from Bay City for a visit...
Suddenly something clattered onto the table, and all eyes instantly traveled to the source—Austin’s fork, which had slipped out of her trembling hand and onto the porcelain plate. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, her eyes fixed down at her plate. “I-I’m sorry….”
“No need to be scared,” Sam said kindly. “Long as you be good, ain’t nothing gonna happen to you.” Bright eyes then flickered up towards the slender man that appeared to Kyle to be the leader of the three. “Ain’t that right?”
The man merely nodded his head, a single tip. Austin meekly set the fork down, still shaking. Kyle stood up, wanting to go over to her, but both Al and the slender man rose with him, their expressions almost daring him to take a step. “Sit down,” the group’s leader ordered.
“Look, she’s scared,” Kyle argued. “If I could just…”
“She’ll be fine. Sit down.”
Across the table, Austin tried fiercely not to cry.
“Hey, shh,” Sam said, placing a hand on the woman’s shoulder. “It’s all right…”
Austin flinched at the touch, shrinking back into her chair as though the man was beating her. “Hey, now, I’m not hurting you,” Sam snapped, his eyes twinkling in anger.
“Please, don’t touch me.”
“You’re gonna have to get used to us being here, girlie,” the group’s leader said briskly. “Cause we’re not leaving for a while.”
Austin stared at Kyle. Kyle looked at Austin. Both were trying bravely not to start anything that might set these men off.
“Take her in the other room, Sam,” Butch said finally. “Al and me need a chat with lover boy here.”
As soon as the words had escaped his lips, Austin panicked. She bolted up from the long oak table and started towards the front door, but only got about halfway across the small living room before a pair of thick hands grabbed her firmly. “Let go of me!” she screamed, fighting against the man who held her. “Leave me…” Austin’s sentence was lost as Sam’s giant hand planted itself firmly against her mouth, muffling it.
“Woman, don’t make me resort to drastic measures,” the slender man barked, his voice icier than the Arctic in January as he drew close to Austin’s heaving frame. “Now, behave!"
Frightened cobalt-blue eyes looked pleadingly at Kyle, who stood mute. Because he was flanked by both Al and the head of the trio, he was powerless to stop Sam from carrying Austin into the bedroom and closing the door behind him. “What’s he going to do to her?” Kyle asked.
“Nothing, if she behaves,” Al said. “Sam’s not that type.”
And that’s supposed to make me feel better, Kyle thought grimly. “What do you want?”
“Right now we’re going to lay low here for a little while,” the slender man said. “So here’s how it goes: if you or your little girlfriend in there does anything—and I mean anything—to tip someone off about us being here, the other one’ll regret it.”
“Hey,” Kyle said, holding his hands away from his chest. “There’s no need to…” The sight of his own pistol wriggling in Al’s hand made him fall instantly silent.
“Kid, I’ve seen enough in life to know someone like you doesn’t usually own a gun. Hell, I bet you can’t shoot the broad side of a barn.”
“Yeah, real rough,” Al chortled. “I saw the size of some of those palaces across the street. How’d you end up with an apartment in this fancy spot?”
“Dumb luck,” Kyle spat. Then he decided to switch tactics. “Look,” the younger man said, trying to stay calm. “Eventually someone’s gonna miss me. I…I have to work…”
“I heard you talkin’ before,” Al said. “Vacation for two weeks. Plenty of time to kill.”
Shit, Kyle thought. Then, swallowing hard, he pointed out, “Why keep us? You know we’re only going to try and escape, or at least try and tell someone….”
“You want your cute little girlfriend to keep breathing, you won’t,” the slender man warned. “A few days, and we’ll be out of your hair. Relax.” To that end, the man settled himself on Kyle’s battered emerald-green couch and flipped on the television, making sure to set the volume at a decent level. “As for the door, son, I wouldn’t,” Al added. “If I have to, I’ll wire it to blow.”