Author: Maria Hammarblad
It's a late winter night when Patricia Risden heads home in her car, on a road she's driven many times before. She doesn't have a care in the world, that is, until a man appears from nowhere, right in front of her.
The next thing she knows is being a prisoner of the unscrupulous Alliance Commander Travis 152; an intimidating man who demands information and complete cooperation. Travis soon realizes his mistake; Tricia doesn't know anything, and she is incapable of even getting a glass of water from the ship's computer.
Infamous for being a ruthless executioner, conditioned since childhood to feel nothing besides fear and pain, he still deems her harmless, and finds enough pity for the lost young woman to let her out of the cell; a decision that will change both their lives forever.
Brief "about the book" from author Lynette Endicott:
Kidnapped is a well-written Science Fiction story of a woman kidnapped from earth and taken on a whirlwind tour of the universe with a captor whose heart is thawed by her innocence. This does not please his commander, who pursues, captures and loses both characters. In the process there is fun, adventure, sizzle, and an introduction to different worlds and their impact, one day, on our own. Be sure to pick up Kidnapped by Maria Hammarblad available from Desert Breeze Publishing.
Time passed and she lost track of it. She tried to call out, "Hello," but no one seemed to care, and there was nothing to do but wait.
The erratic movements of the room still made her feel miserable, but it eventually settled down, and an unknown amount of time later, a portion of a wall seemed to just dissolve, showing the dark silhouette of the man. From her position, sitting on the floor, he seemed impossibly tall, and his clothes impossibly black. Even his boots appeared just to absorb any light that might come their way.
He hunched down in front of her, and watched her pale face thoughtfully. "You're space sick."
Patricia knew agreeing would be the safest thing to do, but she couldn't stop herself. She shouted, "No! I can't be space sick because I'm not in space, because that's crazy! I rolled with my car and I'm just unconscious. Leave me alone."
The man ignored her and reached out with his ungloved hand, plunging her into a fit of panic. She scrambled to get backwards away from him, but there was nowhere to go. "Sit still. If I wanted to hurt you, you'd be dead now."
His words didn't really soothe her; she was still convinced he wanted to kill her, that he'd just snap her neck, and she so wanted to live a little longer. Earlier in her life she had wasted time recklessly, and now every minute seemed precious.
Her expression must have amused him because a shadow of a smile tugged at his lips. It didn't quite reach his eyes, but it was the first emotion she'd seen on his face, and it made her feel marginally better. Maybe he was human after all. She stopped fighting when he pressed a finger against her skin, explaining to her frightened glance, "Pressure point. This should make you feel better."
To her surprise he didn't hurt her, and she did feel better. Once the queasiness receded she even dared ask for a glass of water. Her voice sounded small and pathetic, reminding her of a cornered mouse, but it got steadier after a couple of words, and she had to settle for thinking this was a good thing.
Her warder shrugged and went over to a portion of the wall, pressing his hand against it, making a console fold out of what seemed to be solid metal. He punched a couple of buttons and returned with a cup made from a soft, plastic-like material. Patricia clutched it, trying to force herself to sip, but water had never tasted so good.
The silence in the cell seemed almost tangible and she swallowed hard. She didn't have much hope that pleading to the cold eyes staring at her could be successful, but she still tried her best, "Please don't rape me."
It was her biggest fear after being murdered, and she wasn't at all prepared for his response; he started laughing.
She had the impression he didn't laugh often, and it changed his entire appearance. The handsome side became boyish and even better looking, and the nightmarish part of his face somehow softened. "Rape you? Now why would I want to do that to a skinny little thing like you?"
The response made her feel both relieved and offended. Someone looking like he didn't
even have a thought of having sex with her?
He surprised her again, by sitting down on the floor next to her, mercifully turning the ruined side of his face away. "I'm Travis 152 of the Alliance space control."
The phrase wasn't exactly "space control," but it was the closest thing her brain could interpret it to. And, "Travis?" What kind of name was that for someone like him?
"You're my prisoner, and this is a holding cell. You're charged for interacting with the rebel leader William Reynolds."
He paused, as if checking if his words made any sense to her. Patricia did understand, she understood just fine, and she burst out, "I am an American citizen. Whoever you are, you can't just take me like this."
He answered dryly, "Yes, actually, I can. I did. And it's not like your little planet, what did you call it, America, will be able to do anything about it. I can assure you everything will be much easier if you just cooperate and tell me what you know. Do you have a name?"
Patricia managed to sound cheekier than she felt when she replied, "I'm Patricia Risden. The name of the planet is Earth, America is a country. It's a democracy and we have a constitution, and people will come looking for me!"
He didn't smile, but he lifted an eyebrow, and removed a gadget from his belt. To Patricia, it looked a little like an iPod. It wasn't, of course, unless Apple had developed interstellar connections. "I'm sure they will, but look here."
She recognized the solar system, it was the only thing it could be, and on the little screen it looked like they were making good time on Pluto. Glancing over at him, she wondered if he was lying, but it didn't feel like it.
About the Author:
Born in Sweden in the early 1970's, Maria showed a large interest for books at an early age. Even before she was able to read or write, she made her mom staple papers together into booklets she filled with drawings of suns and planets. She proudly declared them, "The Sun Book." They were all about the sun. She also claimed, to her mother's horror, that her being on Earth was a big mistake and that her alien family would come and bring her home at any moment. This never happened, but both the interest in space and the passion for bookmaking stayed with her.
As an adult Maria's creativity got an outlet through playing bass in a number of rock bands, and through writing technical manuals and making web pages for various companies and organizations. She did write drafts for a few novels, but the storytelling muse was mostly satisfied through role playing online on Myspace.
It was here, while writing stories together with people from around the globe, she stumbled onto Mike. They started talking out of character, and she moved over to Florida to him late 2008. Today the two are married and live in the Tampa Bay area with three rescue dogs.
Besides writing and playing bass, Maria enjoys driving off-road, archery, and Tameshigiri.
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