This is the continuation of Chapter One of my recent suspense novel, Web of Destruction, available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I am sharing the first chapter in four weekly blogs, and will supply links occasionally to any medical or crime-related issues in my work. You can read the first part in last week’s blog: Web of Destruction—Excerpt.
“Are you trying to piss me off?” he yelled.
Her [Dana’s] knees caved as she tried to step back and grab the counter.
Shoved into an old wooden kitchen chair, she was drenched and used the end of her blouse to wipe her face. A quick move forward caused spasms in her chest. With a hand around her neck, he pulled her head up.
“I’m placing a call to the gallery owner where I’ll take your paintings. After you hear me say, Ms. Donato would like to say hello, you will take the phone and say exactly what’s on the paper in front of you. Understand?”
Fists clenched, the muscles in his jaw quivered. A depth of rage like a hungry lion ready to destroy its prey flashed from his pupils.
While he talked, she surveyed the area for the closest exit, observing that the living room spanned too far to reach the front door.
“Do you hear me?” As he drew closer she could almost feel his nose hairs on her cheek. The whiff of alcohol from his breath created painful memories.
“How do you know I have paintings?”
“Last week you were in the papers again. I want your wealth and notoriety and you’re going to help me achieve that. This time, you won’t get away.”
She glanced at the paper he placed in front of her.
“Why don’t I give you the money?”
His eyes penetrated her face a long time before he responded. “We will do it my way.”
From a drawer under the counter, he took out another set of handcuffs and duct tape, leaving them on his side of the table.
“Watch what you say.” He pushed a number on his cell phone.
With great control, she obeyed.
“Mr. Bruschette, Michael Pearson. Nice to speak with you again, Sir. I have Ms. Donato here. I’ll give her the phone, and you’re on speaker.”
Clearing her throat, she took the phone from him and read off the lined tablet. “Mr. Bruschette, thank you for accepting my work.”
“My pleasure, Ms. Donato. I’ve admired your paintings for many years. We’re excited to have you in our gallery. There’s only one other international artist here.”
“The paperwork will be included and I hope to meet you one day, Sir.”
“We hope you will send more of your work in the future. It would be advantageous to both of us if we have a steady flow.”
“I’ll consider that, Sir. Thank you.”
“Good speaking with you, Ms. Donato. Goodbye.”
Desperate to yell help, she knew she’d be dead before anyone got to her. When the rage kicked in, she had to work harder to keep her present goal in mind—to stay alive for her family. The excruciating pain from her chest and face reminded her of his methods of torture.
Satisfied with the call, he turned to put the tablet in the drawer. On impulse, she picked up a heavy glass dish from the center of the table and aimed for his head. It missed him by a quarter-inch when he turned toward her. Stumbling, he knocked her backwards. Her head kissed the corner of the counter, leaving only darkness.
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