Read Kidnapped Online

Authors: Annabelle Lake




  Lady Alexis took a deep breath; her heart was hammering so loudly in her chest that she was certain the entire room must be able to hear it. A fleeting glance at the gathered assembly showed that she did not know half the people in attendance; it was not a fact that surprised her, though it added to her anxiety. This was after all, the most talked about wedding of the year. Held in the height of the London Season between the Marquis of Blakely and one of the wealthiest heiresses on the market, it could do nothing
draw attention.

 Looking up and meeting her soon to be husband’s eye, he smiled gently at her, and she felt somewhat reassured. It was true that she did not love Lord Dante Delacourt, Seventh Marquis of Blakely, but neither did she despise him. And by marrying so well off, she was securing her family a place in society.

 As a result of this union, her sister’s would have far better chances at making successful marriages of their own. Alexis kept repeating all those reasons in her head as she heard the Marquis repeating his vows, her palms sweated, and she had to resist the urge to rub them against the side of her beautiful gown.

If she were honest, she wanted nothing more than to run from the church, but as the eldest daughter, she was to be the sacrificial lamb. Finding her families faces in the packed crowd, they were all beaming at her. Alexis tried to smile back, but found that she could not.

 “Do you Lady Alexandra Grant take…?” Here it was, time for Alexis to choke out her own vows. She braced herself to actually say it, but the Priest had trailed off and turned ghostly pale. Alexis was perplexed, looking to her groom she found that his attention was focused on the rear of the church as well, his face an angry red hue.

Craning her neck to see the commotion, Alexis blanched as ten armed men clad in black dominos and long flowing black cloaks strode determinedly up the aisle. The man in the lead stopped mere inches from her fiancé and cocked his pistol, the click echoed ominously throughout the silent church.

 “See here young man, this is a place of God…” The Priest fell silent as one of the men stepped forward and aimed his weapon directly at the clergy man’s heart.

 “Miss Grant, if you would please come with me?” The man, who was obviously the leader, spoke eloquently like a gentleman, and beside her she felt the Marquis stiffen. How did this man know her name?

“I beg your pardon? I do not think so!” Lady Alexis tried to look unafraid by staring down her nose at the man, not an easy task considering he was far larger than she. The bandit gave a derisive snort and reaching out, grasped the long white beaded sleeve of her wedding gown and yanked her forward. Alexis was thrown off balance and pitched towards the man, falling against the hardness of his body he did not budge an inch though she fell most forcefully.

 “I am afraid that was not a request.” He sounded almost regretful,
. Alexis saw the Marquis still standing completely motionless to her left. He did nothing to try and stop the man and her heart sank. She was being kidnapped, and her fiancé was not lifting a finger to stop it.

She saw her father begin to rise angrily from his seat, the leader following Alexis’s gaze looked to his man, who had just primed his pistol and pointed it at her father, and shook his head. The man released the primed hammer and Alexis saw him instead club her father over the head with the pistol when he charged the masked man.

Alexis cried out in fear for her father even as the large man lifted her easily over his shoulder and carried her struggling and fighting towards the door. She could see his men forming a protective guarded circle of weaponry behind them in case anyone tried to follow, a few people rose angrily from their seats, but the last view Alexis had was of the Marquis still standing at the altar the personification of calm. Fury began to build up insider her, how dare her fiancé not lift a finger to save her!

    The masked bandit threw her easily across his saddle a moment before joining her, then spurning his horse into a gallop he took off at breakneck speed, Alexis began to scream bloody murder for someone to rescue her, but soon found she was unable to do both scream and hang on for dear life. Terrified she would be dropped and trampled beneath the massive animal’s hooves; she held on for dear life. They galloped along for what seemed like forever, the houses became shabbier as they came to what was obviously a rough part of London.

There, the man transferred her to a waiting carriage, picking her easily off the saddle though she clung to it for dear life. He deposited her gently onto a rather startlingly luxurious carriage seat. Alexis jumped into action, looking around for anything that could
be used as a weapon as soon as the door was shut on her. Digging frantically under the seats she almost crowed in pleasure when her fingers wrapped themselves around a leather riding crop. Hearing the door begin to rattle, Alexis quickly hid the whip inside her skirting.



   Gabriel opened the carriage door surveying the very angry looking young woman dressed head to toe in bridal splendor. He had not had time to take a close look at her before, but now that he did he felt as though someone had kicked him in the stomach. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Glossy red hair that had once been perfectly coiffed was now in complete disarray, her pins had come loose, and her hair curled riotously down her back like an avalanche of silk. Gabe felt his mouth go dry.

 “What are you staring at?” The woman demanded waspishly, and Gabriel was surprised by the venom in her tone. Not that he could blame her for being a harridan; he had after all just kidnapped her, but the Marquis did not usually prey on women with a back bone. Eying the thunderous look in her unsettling emerald green eyes, Gabriel decided that Evans must not have known her temperament when he had courted her.

 “Do you find something funny Sir?” It was then that Gabriel realized he was smiling like a fool. The coach rocked and began moving and Gabriel’s attention was momentarily drawn to the window. “What do you want with me?” She was obviously exasperated, clearly thinking herself kidnapped by a mute. “Damn you, I asked you a question!” She shrieked at him when once again he did not answer. Pulling the whip from behind her skirting she struck him hard and quick across the face, not wasting a split second of the element of surprise, she then tried to lunge over him for the door.

 Gabriel was in shock, though he caught her easily; she began flailing and struggling in earnest when she felt his arms like steel bands grasp her mid-section. He had expected the woman to cry quietly in the corner not bloody well pull a whip from her skirt and attack him. He cursed foully as her toe found his shin in a rather blood thirsty kick.

 Wresting the whip from her grasp he opened the door and threw it to the rapidly passing cobblestones, breathing heavily from the exertion of keeping his prisoner pinned to his side. “Let me go!” She demanded, panting, as she continued to struggle though she could barely move at all.

“Quit fighting me and I will consider it.” He tried reasoning with her only to receive a blow from the back of her head to his chin; he knew instinctively that she had done it purposely.

 “I will
quit fighting you.” She shouted, bravely defying him, she aimed another kick at him; and with a resolute sigh Gabriel knew he had no choice but to tie the little spit fire up.



     Alexis was furious, so furious that she forgot to be frightened as any gently bred young lady should surely be. The coach bounced, and she shifted uncomfortably against the ropes that bound her wrists together. Her wrists were tied tightly though not so tight that they cut off her circulation, though it was blasted uncomfortable. She tested the knot but found it too rigid to slip her hand free. Her enemy sat across the coach from her, eying her warily. She needed to catch him off guard; to put him at ease.

 Closing her eyes as the idea struck her, she pretended to fall asleep. She heard him snort in disbelief as she promptly squeezed her eyes shut, she knew he did not believe her but even still, she had no wish to look at him.

 Alexis watched through her lowered lashes as the man settled into his seat, producing a newspaper and calmly began to read it as though he were out for a Sunday driver. Anger stirred her blood at the domestic scene. Why should he be so at ease while she was so uncomfortably tied?

Before she realized what she intended she had thrust out a booted foot and kicked the paper from his hand.

 The man turned an angry scowl on her, and Alexis was suddenly very afraid that he might strike her. He did not. Instead, he dug beneath the seat and pulled out another length of rope and began tightly tying her ankles together.

Alexis kicked angrily a few times, but it did no good, tied up as she was.  The day dragged on after that; they seemed to stop several times for fresh horses but each time her kidnapper shoved her lace handkerchief into her mouth to silence her cries; only pulling it out after they had once more departed the inn. He did not leave the coach when they stopped; it seemed he had already learned to be leery of what she might unexpectedly do next.

 Good, Alexis thought with dark satisfaction; she hoped that she made this experience as uncomfortable for him as it was for her.

 It was nearly dark when they stopped once more, this time just as they were about to leave, fresh horses in the traces, the door opened a crack, and someone passed the man a hamper. Alexis could smell the tantalizing scent of food instantly, and her mouth watered, causing her stomach to rumble and cramp uncomfortably.

 The masked brigand waited until they were once more on the road before un binding just one of her hands. Keeping her other hand tied safely to the side of the coach; he offered her a large piece of chicken. Alexis stared at the food in his hand a long moment, debating her hunger over taking the chicken and throwing it at his head.

He seemed to sense her inner struggle and offered it patiently once more with a slight twitch at the corner of his mouth. “You should eat; you will need your strength to try and escape me.” He cajoled causing Alexis to give him a suspicious look before conceding that he had a point, starving herself would do her no good.

     Gabriel watched her eat, it was obvious the woman was ravenous; it had been several hours since he had kidnapped her from her wedding and she had probably been too nervous beforehand to eat.

 Finding cider, fresh bread, thick slices of cheese and a lemon tart for dessert in the basket Gabriel offered it to her, waiting until she had eaten first one thing before offering her another. She accepted the food voraciously; it was obvious she had taken his advice to heart.

 Retying her free hand once she had eaten her fill Gabriel turned to stare out the window, he could sense that she watched him warily; he could also sense that she was exhausted. And soon, despite her best effort to stay awake, and with a little help from the laudanum he had slipped in her cider, she fell into a deep sleep.

 Once she was asleep, Gabriel turned back to study her in the dim light of the carriage lantern. She was very beautiful, not at all what he had expected. Her gown was now wrinkled beyond repair though the curvaceous body beneath it was unmistakable. Gabe watched her breasts rise and fall with sleep and felt a distinctive tightening in his loins.

Turning away he felt ashamed of his behavior, ogling her body while she slept. He had after all put her through unspeakable terror this afternoon, staring back out the window he silently willed the horses to go faster.

     Alexis awoke suddenly when the coach changed pace; it had apparently slowed down to turn. She glanced around blearily, disorientated for a moment; thin dregs of dawn were filtering in the coach, and Alexis’s heart sank at the greyly illuminated scene before her, it had not been a terrible dream after all.

 Pulling futilely on her ropes, she glanced up and found a pair of blue eyes watching her intently. The bandit of the night was gone and beside her sat an English gentleman. He was dressed expensively in a black jacket, red waistcoat and fawn colored breeches. His black Hessians gleamed impressively even in the dim, early morning light. He was a rather attractive gentleman with dark hair that contrasted beautifully with his shockingly blue eyes. Alexis suddenly felt nervous; she was certain that she must look a fright.

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