Quentin’s restless feeling worsened. An icy chill filled his gut. He walked faster. He had visions of horrible laboratory disasters, chemicals boiling over, toxic fumes wafting from the laboratory. Anything was possible with Emma.
Machines blinked, buzzed, and beeped in her illuminated lab.
Where was she? Had she gone off with her boss? He opened drawers at her desk until he found her purse.
A wave of relief washed through him. No woman went anywhere without her purse.
Was she in Frazier’s office?
Anger pulsed through him. He hated that she worked for a tyrant. While he didn’t know the man, photos of Frazier in the business section of the paper had shown him to be self-assured and well dressed. Like Emma, Frazier had graduated from college. They worked in the same field and understood complex scientific principles.
He closed the drawer containing her purse and studied her desk. This workspace differed from his world. These rows of high-tech machines and thick volumes of procedures might as well be a foreign language. Hell, he couldn’t even pronounce the chemical names on the blank sample form on her desk.
He’d bypassed college to step into his father’s shoes at the family business. He’d rallied his siblings, and together, they’d built Stone Construction stronger than ever. He was not a lesser man for his lack of education.
The cooler air of the lab cleared his head. Why was he jealous of her boss? Emma loved him, not her jerk of a boss.
He returned to the corridor. She was here somewhere. He would find her. He passed the darkened Research and Development lab. As he continued down the deserted hall, the tiled floor changed to plush carpeting. He read the names on office doors until he found the one labeled Joel Frazier, CEO.
He decided against knocking. If his rudeness got Emma fired, too bad. He opened the door, scanning the illuminated office.
Two people occupied the office. Emma was bound hand and foot to a chair. A man, Frazier presumably, held a gun to her head. Her ghostly white face fueled his fear. Quentin swallowed the helpless rage billowing in his gut.
He had no weapon on him but that didn’t matter. If it weren’t for the gun at Emma’s head, he could take the smaller man easily. That gun changed everything.
Emma wasn’t safe. He had to save her. If he failed—no, he couldn’t think about that now. Her safety was his only priority. Bracing fear washed through his body. His arms and legs seemed to weigh a hundred pounds each. The slower he moved, the faster his thoughts raced.
He had to neutralize the gun.
Get the gun.
Save the girl.
His gaze locked on the gun at her temple. “Emma?”
“You must be the boyfriend. Come in, Mr. Stone. We’ve been waiting for you.”
“Who are you?” Quentin edged closer.
“Do as Joel says, Quentin.” Emma’s voice sounded dull.
“What do you want with us?” he asked.
“Isn’t it obvious?” the gunman asked.
“The only thing that’s obvious is the gun at Emma’s head.” Quentin pretended not to see the chair that Frazier indicated.
“That’s because I intend to kill her.” Frazier wiped the sweat from his brow with a trembling hand. “And you, too, of course, Mr. Stone. You have to die.”
He searched for a makeshift weapon, but there wasn’t even a magazine on Frazier’s immaculate desk. “Why don’t you put down the gun? We can work this out.”
“Forget it. This gun is all that stands between me and hard time.”
Quentin stopped about ten feet away. Growing up in construction had taught him a thing or two about fighting. You used everything you had. His reach was longer. Thanks to his brothers, he had years of experience wrestling guys to the ground. If the gun were out of the picture, he could take the man. And he really wanted to pound Frazier for threatening to hurt Emma.
He couldn’t let the man kill her. He couldn’t bear to live without her.
He loved her.
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