Home > The Reckless Union (Arranged Marriage #3)

The Reckless Union (Arranged Marriage #3)
Author: Monica Murphy

 

Chapter One

 


Charlotte


I startle awake with a gasp, my eyelids heavy with fatigue when I barely crack them open to find I’m in an empty room. Taking in my surroundings, I note the cheap white blinds covering the single window, the bent ones letting in the waning sunlight from outside. I shift, tingles prickling along my legs. My feet. My lower half has fallen asleep, my butt killing me thanks to the hardwood floor I’m sitting on. Grimacing, I try to stretch my feet but the rope around my ankles cuts into my skin.

At least the tape isn’t covering my mouth anymore, I think as I take a deep breath. I swear Seamus did that only for the photos he took on his phone. The minute he was finished, he tore the tape off my face with a gleeful expression, his eyes dancing when I yelped in pain.

The asshole.

I have no idea who he could’ve sent those photos to. My family? My parents wouldn’t care. Not really. My brothers? They’re both so busy working deals and conquering New York City, I doubt they’d notice text messages with photos. And Crew is at school, forgotten at Lancaster Prep. Mom forgets to check her phone most of the time and my father lets his messages pile up to an ungodly amount.

If he sent them to Perry, I know my husband would save me. My family might not care, but Perry… he does.

Or maybe Seamus didn’t send those photos to anyone. Maybe he’ll use them later. Or he took them for his own personal pleasure. I don’t know. Worse, I don’t understand him, or know what makes him tick.

Does he plan on keeping me forever?

A shiver steals through me at the thought.

If he sent those photos to my husband, Perry will kill him when he finds us. He hates Seamus with every fiber of his being, as well he should. And you know what?

I do, too.

Without warning, the door swings open and in walks Seamus. Larger than life, tall and imposing and so, so dark. Like an ominous cloud, filling up the space. He stands over me, his hands on his hips, his scowl aimed right at me. It slowly softens, until his lips are curved into the faintest smile.

“Don’t you look pretty all tied up.” That familiar Irish brogue washes over me and I’m immediately infuriated.

“My husband is going to kill you when he sees those photos you took of me,” I spit out at him.

I think of Perry and his smiling face. That look in his eyes he gets right before he kisses me. Will I ever see it again? Feel his lips on mine? Hear his laughter?

Seamus chuckles, like I amuse him. “Kill me? Please. He’s going to take one look at the security footage from your building and think you left with me. Willingly. He’s not looking for you. He thinks you’re cooperating with me—and trying to trick him with those photos.”

No. Perry would know I’d never leave with Seamus without a fight.

Wouldn’t he?

I think of the footage the cameras might’ve caught. How I’m walking through the lobby, turning to face Seamus. Did I look like I wanted to talk to him? I willingly sought him out. He held a gun to my side, but did anyone actually see it?

What if they didn’t?

“Why did you take those photos of me then?”

“Collateral.” His expression turns smug. “I might need to use them later.”

God, I hate this man. Everything that happened between us feels like a lifetime ago. Seeing Seamus the morning of my wedding had been a total shock to the system. Completely unexpected and downright surreal. How could he suddenly appear in front of me on my wedding day? What are the chances?

I’m realizing there’s no such thing as chance encounters.

“So you didn’t send them to Perry?”

“Oh, but I did.” He kneels in front of me, his grin almost feral. “He hasn’t come to your rescue yet though, has he? Guess he doesn’t care about you as much as you thought.”

Seamus rises to his full height, his gaze never straying from mine and I fight the panic that wants to sweep over me. Those photos, the film footage, my being with Seamus—none of that will matter to Perry. He’ll want to rescue me. It’s in his blood—always wanting to help, to rescue everyone in his family, and I’m a part of that now. I’m his wife. He’ll stand by me no matter what.

Even if it looks like you ran away with your former lover?

Swallowing hard, I try to push past the worry that’s making me doubt myself. Doubt Perry.

Doubt everyone.

“I’ll be back.” Seamus leaves the room before I can say anything else, slamming the door behind him and I fall back against the wall, stifling the cry that wants to escape.

Has Seamus gone mad? Seriously, what he’s doing isn’t normal. Or sane.

I’m worried for his mental state, which means I’m also worried about… me. My safety. How is this going to end? I doubt he’s going to let me go easily.

Frustrated, I squirm around, knocking my ankles together in the hopes my feet will wake up. The prickling sensation is excruciating, and it doesn’t help that my head still feels heavy. I wonder if Seamus drugged me with something. I don’t even remember.

Knowing him and how he’s been acting, he probably did.

The room grows darker as the sun sets and soon enough, it’s nighttime. My eyes adjust to the darkness and I press the back of my head against the wall, gazing up at the ceiling and the light fixture above me. At least he tied my hands in front of my body and not behind me, though maybe that was a stupid move. I could undo the rope when I’m positioned this way…

My chest tightens and I realize I might have to face the truth. Maybe Seamus is right. It doesn’t look like Perry’s coming to save me.

I’m going to have to save myself.

This is how Seamus finds me when he reenters the room. I don’t know how long I’ve been at it, or how many ways I’ve contorted my arms, hands and fingers as I try to undo the complicated knots. Sweat dots my forehead and the skin at my wrists chafe thanks to the rough rope material.

“What the hell are you doing?” he asks, his accented voice calm. Like it’s no big deal he has his ex-lover tied up and locked away in a room God knows where.

I don’t look at him, forcing the wave of anger that floods me down so I don’t say something stupid and piss him off. I do straighten my body out though, trying for nonchalance.

No, you didn’t catch me trying to undo the rope. Why do you ask?

“I’m thirsty,” is what I say to him instead, which is the truth.

“I’ll bring you something to eat and drink later.”

“When?”

“Later,” he repeats, his voice firm. He shuts the door behind him and leans against it, contemplating me, crossing his arms in front of his chest. The way he studies me makes me want to squirm but I keep myself still. He remains quiet for so long I start to wonder if he’s going to say anything at all until finally, eight words slip from his lips. His tone low and almost menacing.

“What am I going to do with you?”

Terror filters through my blood, making me tense. There must be some sort of motive behind his snatching me out of the lobby at our building. I assume he has a plan. Who kidnaps someone without a plan?

Maybe he does.

I remain quiet until the silence becomes unbearable and I can’t take it any longer.

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