Home > Capture (Seaside Pictures #1)

Capture (Seaside Pictures #1)
Author: Rachel Van Dyken



THE ELEVATOR JOLTED TO A STOP. With sweaty fingers, I pounded the button to the penthouse floor.

A groaning noise filtered in from somewhere outside the elevator. I gripped the side railing, then slowly sunk down until I was on my haunches, breathing in and out and telling myself it wasn't a big deal. Elevators stall all the time, right? In a few seconds, everything would be fine, and I'd be telling the story to my sister Pris and her movie star husband.

They'd laugh.

I'd pretend to laugh.

And we'd forget about it.

Or they'd forget about it, and I'd have nightmares later that night about being stuck in an elevator while it plummeted twelve stories.

Two minutes went by, maybe three, and the elevator still wasn't moving. I'd never gone to Disneyland, never ridden on any of their rides, but I imagined that the Tower of Terror felt exactly like this moment… pure horror and then suddenly weightlessness.

Please let there be no weightlessness.

Logically, I knew I was fine. Knew I would be fine.

But logic had taken a long vacation from my brain — and had yet to return ever since my parents' death a year ago.

Because logic was that thing that kept me sane, the voice in the back of my head that said, "Hey, it's fine. What are the odds that out of all the elevators in the world, yours is the one to crap out and plummet you to your untimely death at seventeen?"

Logic would have asked about the odds that I got in a car accident? Furthermore, what were the odds that I'd be the only survivor? Apparently, my odds were pretty damn high. In a weak moment, I'd once typed the question into a search engine.

Just like I'd done with every other paranoia I had.

Anaphylactic shock via bee sting? Forty percent.

Getting trampled by a hippo? Higher than getting eaten by a shark. Yeah, let's just say I'm not going to be going on an African safari anytime soon, no matter what my sister's husband thought.

And that was another thing. What were the odds, out of all the people for my straight-laced sister to marry, she'd fall for action hero Jamie Jaymeson? One of People Magazine's sexiest men alive, who also happened to be best friends with rock duo, AD2?

Yeah, you couldn't Google that crap.

Not that it would matter.

The odds of that were next to one in a billion.

So it made sense that my parents were dead, right?

I mean logically?

I hated logic.

I shivered as the elevator made another weird warning alarm. The lights were still on, so at least we hadn't lost power — yet.

Another jolt, like the elevator was caught on something, and then it moved fast, too fast for my comfort, nearly sending me toppling forward into the doors.

It made a dinging noise, then stopped at the top floor.

With a strangled cry, I leapt mindlessly from the elevator.

And made contact with warm, muscled flesh.

The doors closed swiftly behind me, the air tickling the back of my bare legs.

Embarrassed that I was still clinging to some poor individual, who probably wasn't planning on getting accosted by a seventeen-year-old paranoid freak who's idea of fun was looking up a symptom checker at two in the morning, I jerked back, ready to apologize.

But, of course, the words died on my lips.

Because in a world full of odds, mathematics, calculations, and logic, I'd just managed to accost Hollywood's newest heartthrob.

Lincoln Greene.

Smoldering gray eyes, wild reddish-brown hair that reminded me of that Outlander guy, and a body that you could sharpen knives with, all matched together making the perfect male specimen.

And… I was still clinging.

With jerky movements, I released my hands and tucked my long blonde hair behind my ears.

He towered over me.

I took another cautious step back. At this rate, I was going to end up back on the elevator from hell.

His smile was wide, friendly, totally unaffected by my clammy fingers and trembling body. "Dani, right? Your sister's been looking for you."

Ha, so she sent a movie god after me?

Thanks, Pris. Really. It's not like I've been having trouble having complete conversations with a shrink or even our mailman. You had to send him?

My tongue felt thick in my mouth as I managed a weak whimper and a nod. His attractiveness had nothing to do with my inability to speak. It was me. I was at fault. Speaking meant attention, attention meant people would ask me about my feelings, ask why I didn't smile, or why I looked tired all the time. Speaking had officially turned into one of those things that terrified me.

Pris had sent me to so many shrinks I was starting to feel like nobody could help. It wasn't normal for a girl at seventeen to suddenly stop talking.

But I had.

A woman walked up behind him and wrapped a possessive arm around his chest. "Oh good, baby, you found her!"

My eyes honed in on a perfectly sculpted, model-thin Barbie doll with bright blonde hair and hypnotic green eyes. Red nails tapped against her chin as she tilted her head in mock amusement. I might not talk, but I wasn't stupid. She was staking her claim.

If I did talk, I would have told her not to waste her energy or whatever tiny brain power she had left.

I wasn't a threat.

Maybe a year ago I would have been.

Then again, a year ago, I was the most popular girl in school, cheerleading captain, dating the quarterback, and my biggest complaint was that my best friend spilled chocolate milk all over my new, white Coach purse.

"Does it speak?" She giggled.

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