Chapter One
Amy hummed distractedly as she walked arm in arm through the mall with her best friend Lucy. Many heads looked up at their approach, but neither girl noticed. Indeed, they looked striking together. Amy was blonde with blue eyes, and all curves, but only reaching a height of 5'5". Lucy was taller, a little over 5'10" with straight black hair and graceful angles. The two had known each other since they were toddlers and loved one another deeply.
Lucy sighed suddenly, causing the still melodious Amy to regard her with concern. Lucy's boyfriend had recently broken off the relationship, declaring that he had feelings for another girl. The jaded female was nearly inconsolable, and, despite Amy's best efforts, she remained that way for days.

"It'll be okay, Luce. You'll see. I always thought he wasn't good enough for you." As she spoke, she tightened her grip on the raven haired female reassuringly. "Besides, you'll find another guy. There are a million of them." She steered the girl out of the way of an oncoming woman with a stroller and continued to pester Lucy. "Anyway," she added, glaring sternly, "I thought we agreed not to think about him. Today is a me-and- Luce-day, so start thinking girl stuff!"

Lucy sniffed back the tears that threatened and grinned gratefully at Amy. "I know. It's just that I can't think straight anymore. And I'm tired of shopping. I can't focus. I could be buying a Santa Claus suite for all I care." She added a dramatic sigh, but allowed her friend to continue yanking her along the tiled floor and towards the escalator.

"Don't be that way. You know you'll have another heartthrob in the next day or so anyway."

The girl sighed, knowing perfectly well that this was indeed the truth. "How do you do it, Aimers? How? You haven't dated in a year and you're always so happy. It's like you're totally immune to guys."

Amy shrugged at this truth. "They're all the same for me. I just get so bored so fast, so what's the point? Besides, if I actually end up dating a sensitive guy, he'll get hurt when I want to break up, so I just don't deal with it."

Lucy nodded. Suddenly, her eyes grew to the size of saucers. "Do you think you..uhh..don't like men?"

She glanced at Luce warningly, but soon squealed in delight and allowed the retort in her throat to die away when she saw a bookstore ahead. "Yes! I thought that thing wasn't going to be open for a few more weeks. Fantastic! Let's go."

Lucy rolled her eyes at the girl's exuberance, and held back slightly. "No, Ames. Please. If we go in there, we'll never come back out. I know you."

"Please!" The blonde begged. "Twenty minutes, tops!"

Without waiting for an answer, Amy dragged Lucy inside and the girls split up, looking at the rows and rows of new books. As always when she looked at books, she felt an excitement growing rapidly in the pit of her stomach. They were all so beautiful! She grabbed one with a particularly interesting title, and brought the book to her nose before opening it. She breathed deeply and smiled. She loved everything about books. The places they took you, the thoughts they shoved into your head, and, of course, the way they smelled.
A low laugh dragged her attention away from the glorious item in her hand. She looked up at the offender, and glared. He had been watching her little display, and obviously found it amusing. She looked him over once, and decided not to kill him. Even she had to admit that it would be a crime against woman kind to destroy such a ..well..hunk. She grimaced at the word she hated, but it was the only word that suited him. He had black hair with amazing blue hues and eyes nearly the same color. They seemed full of mischief, but there was something else. Cruelty? He reached a good foot taller than she, and had a muscular build. He wore black jeans and a grey sweater that hugged his torso. As he laughed, he flashed a row of perfect teeth and the sound was almost welcoming..if hadn't been directed at her just to get her flustered.

"Excuse me? Can I help you?" She said in the primmest manner possible.

"No, no." He admitted. "I just thought that was funny. Never seen anyone smell a book before."

At this, she grinned. It was not in her nature to be distant. She was friendly and funny, and Amy didn't see a reason to act any different around this guy. "Well, I guess you don't know what you're missing."

"I guess not."

"My name is Amy." She extended her hand and allowed him to envelope his gigantic paw around it.

He nodded. "Amy."

She waited politely, but he didn't respond with his name. "And you are?"

"In a bookstore." He didn't add a grin to his words, and she instantly became annoyed.

Okay, if he wanted to be obnoxious, she could play along. "Fine. I think I'll name you then." She tapped a finger against her head as if in deep concentration. "I got it! I'll call you Little Duck." She nodded in self congratulations.

He looked at her with a mixture of confusion and annoyance. "You're crazy."

She grinned. Great. He was irritated. Just what he deserved. But she was getting tired of this game, and she was sure that her twenty minutes were up and that she should go find Lucy. "Okay, then. Bye Little Duck. It was great meeting you." She turned on her heel and walked away.

Kyle watched her make her way towards her friend, and resisted the urge to grab her and yell in her face. He didn't know why the little nickname had gotten under his skin, but he didn't like it. He was used to women swooning for him and was slightly surprised when she found it so entirely easy to tease him and just walk away. He wasn't even sure what made him talk to her from the beginning. He was supposed to be following her. Kyle was an expert at surveillance. She hadn't noticed him tracking her for three days now, so he wasn't sure what made him come out into the open. He shrugged mentally. It really didn't matter.
He was going to grab her tonight, anyway. He frowned a little at the thought. He wasn't used to this whole kidnapping a woman thing. It didn't feel right. First of all, she was young. Seventeen, if he remembered correctly. Second, he had never done this type of thing to a female. He always had a problem with how weak the feminine mind really was. A woman was capable of falling into vapors at the drop of a hat. He always avoided this kind of business because all the sobbing and pleading would drive him mad. And he had a feeling that this girl was going to be as much trouble as she possibly could. But a job was a job. After this, he had enough money saved from his previous excursions to retire a very wealthy man. Kyle sighed, resigning himself to his fate and walked into the parking lot.

Lucy watched her friend talking to the amazing looking stranger and shook her head at how quickly Amy abandoned him. A long time ago, she had accepted that the girl had no hormones to speak of, but this clenched it. The guy looked like a movie star!

Noticing her friend's disapproving look, Amy giggled. "You can have him. Boring guy, though."

"I don't believe you sometimes, Ames. I mean, do you want to be alone for the rest of your life?"

She gave the tall girl a look of mock alarm. "Why? Are you going somewhere?"

They both laughed at this and left the mall, again arm in arm.

Amy watched as her friend pulled out of her driveway. They had returned to Amy's house hours before. She sighed, wishing that Lucy could have stayed the night, but her uncle was spending the weekend, and her mother would disapprove. Lucy didn't need to be griped at right now. Bored, she walked into the kitchen and rifled through the fridge. She groaned when she came into contact with a lovely fudge cake slathered with chocolate frosting. She eyed it and then poked at her slightly swollen mid drift. She knew she wasn't overweight, but she always had to fight off those elusive extra pounds. And eating cake wasn't going to help much. She reached for an apple instead and nearly dropped it when she heard a chuckle coming from behind her.

"Go ahead and have some cake. I brought it for you after all."

Amy grinned at the sound of her uncle's voice. She turned around and gave the older man a hug. She loved the guy. He was always there for her when her mother was acting strange, and he reminded her so much of her dead father that she sometimes ached. "Hey, Uncle Joe."

"Hey, Pumpkin. Well? Are you going to have some cake or not?" His eyes sparkled, knowing her weakness.

She eyed the fridge again and smirked. "Only because I'm sure you'd be hurt if I didn't."

She gave herself and the older man a generous helping and the two sat together at the kitchen table.

"So, how's your summer going?"

Amy rolled her eyes. "Boring. And Mom is acting weirder than ever. I think she has a boyfriend she doesn't want to tell me about. She disappeared the last two nights in a row when she thought I wasn't looking."

He nodded. "How do you feel about her moving on?"

She bit her lip. She took a large bite of cake and chewed, thoughtfully. It had been nearly four years since her father had died. His death had hit both mother and daughter like a tidal wave, and she knew that her mother still hurt deeply over it. "I guess I understand." She said slowly. "I mean, she's been mourning for so long now...." Amy allowed her voice to trail off into space.

Her uncle grinned. "You know, your dad would have been so proud of you." He stood up and leaned over to kiss her forehead. "Well, it's time for the old people to turn in. I'll see you at breakfast."

She smiled at him and watched as he climbed the stairs to the guest bedroom. Groaning at her empty plate, she shoved it into the sink. Pulling out her CD player, she plunked the headphone over her ears and quietly made her way out of the door. This was her evening ritual. Taking a walk late at night always seemed to clear her head. Night time was always so calm. It was as if the entire world was at peace. She needed that feeling. She would just relax and take as long as she needed to sort through the day's trials.
She breathed in the night air, and grinned. Nights like these were a gentle mercy. The sky was clear and the stars shone brightly. The air was cool and calm. Amy started her walk down the street, feeling more relaxed by the second. She stopped by a park, and smiled when she saw the swings. She loved swings. She plopped heavily into one and lazily drew patterns in the sand with her foot. She lifted her face against a stray breeze and let it tickle the back of her neck. Abruptly, she turned when she saw a black object from the corner of her eye. She cocked an eyebrow suspiciously when she saw the van. Amy frowned. She wasn't paranoid by nature, but she wasn't stupid, either. She stood and walked away slowly, going back towards home. She turned slightly to see what the van did. It started to pull away from the curb. She swallowed hard and tried to force her heartbeat to slow. The van came up next to her and gradually slowed. She thought about screaming, but pushed that away. She wasn't going to act like an irrational child. It was probably just some stupid teenage boy trying to scare her. She walked on, ignoring the van that kept at pace with her. She could actually hear the blood pounding in her ears when she saw the sliding side door open. Childish be damned, she thought and screamed for help at the top of her lungs.

"Somebody, HELP!" She yelped.