Billionaire Unexpected~Jax -J. S. Scott


Several Months Ago…

“I am not leaving you here alone, Taylor!” I said to my intern, with as much force as I could muster. Unfortunately, my mouth was so dry that my voice was little more than an angry whisper.

After nine days of being held captive in a foreign country with no food and very little water, Taylor and I were both starving and critically dehydrated. We’d pretty much burned through any energy reserves we’d had a long time ago. Just trying to speak for any length of time was a major effort.

I glared at the Lanian rebel who had tried to haul me to my feet after cutting the tight bindings on my legs. I’d flatly refused to get up when he’d ordered me to do it. “Take her,” I demanded as I nodded my head toward Taylor. “I’ll stay.”

I didn’t speak more than a few words of Lanian, but our captor spoke enough very broken English for me to comprehend that my ransom had been paid, and that they were planning on letting me go.

It was also perfectly clear that my intern, Taylor, wasn’t included in this whole release plan, and that was definitely not going to work for me.

“No,” the guerilla grunted, and waved his automatic rifle in my face. “You only.”

I shook my head.

Not going to happen.

This was my geological exploration. I was already missing one member of this small, three-member team. Taylor and I hadn’t heard a word about Mark, the third member of our group. He was the mining engineer who had been expected to arrive in this island nation nine days ago to meet up with me and Taylor. I’d spent every single one of those nine days frantic about what had happened to him. Not only was Mark a team member, but a man I cared a great deal about as well.

There’s no way I’m leaving this damn island until I know what happened to Mark! I have to find out where these assholes are holding him.

Had Mark escaped capture somehow?

Had he been abducted, too, but had already been released?

Or was he barely hanging on like Taylor and I were doing right now?

Not knowing his fate had been eating me alive since the day Taylor and I had been kidnapped at gunpoint moments after our arrival in Lania.

“You come,” the rebel insisted in an angry voice as he bumped the barrel of his assault rifle against my head.

I shook my head again.

Maybe I should be terrified, but the adrenaline necessary to feel that emotion had been drained from my body through deprivation and emotional intimidation.

All that I had left was…resignation.

I was going to find Mark.

I wasn’t leaving my intern here to die alone.

There was no energy left for fear anymore.

I didn’t want to die, but if the bastard did end up shooting me, he’d have no choice but to let Taylor go if he had to release a hostage.

The man let out a savage snarl, and stormed out the door of our small prison.

I cringed as I heard the grating sound of metal on metal as he secured the barricades on the door. It was a foreboding noise that always reminded me of just how precarious our situation was at the moment, and how little time Taylor and I had left.

The small room had gone dark as soon as the door was closed, and the momentary reprieve we’d gotten from the stifling heat while the door was open ended abruptly.

There was almost no ventilation in the one-room structure where we were being held, and very little light got through the minuscule windows near the ceiling. Hell, could I really call those holes “windows”? Taylor and I could barely get our hand through them, and they provided very little air movement to negate the oppressive heat of Lania in the summer.

“You have to go, Harlow,” Taylor said in a scratchy, barely audible voice. “You know you do. If you don’t, Mark and I will probably die before we’re rescued.”

I let out a small groan as I lowered my upper body to the dirt floor next to Taylor, feeling completely spent just from the effort of sitting up for a few minutes.

Dammit! I hated myself for getting Taylor involved in this situation at all. Mark and I were both employees of Montgomery Mining, and had been for years. Granted, I was a research geoscientist now, so I didn’t do a lot of field work anymore, but it wasn’t like Mark and I weren’t experienced with explorations.