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Cassandra Ormand
Award-Winning Author of over 56 books.
Award-Winning Author of over 56 books.

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#151 in Cyberpunk today! Help me break into top 100! Only .99 right now.

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The idea of being trapped inside the box until she arrived at her point of destination was beginning to weigh on her. She was thirsty, so thirsty. She knew she wouldn't have anything to drink for hours yet. Maybe this plan wasn't so good after all. If she arrived on the other end in bad condition, sweating, dirty and faint from dehydration...what then?

The box shifted hard, pushing Angelique's left shoulder tightly against the wall of the interior. She tried not to make any noise, tried to remain rigid and still as the box was lifted into the air. She knew she was now on an air-dolly, being transported to the waiting van. If she could just hold out for three more hours....

You're gonna make it.

If she could just make it through the plane trip, she'd be out of the box soon. Then she could breathe again, rest, and think more clearly. She would have time to come up with a way to survive, and maybe even stop Roth.

She braced herself against the sudden slanting motion as the shipping box slid off the dolly and onto the floor of the vehicle. A second later, she heard the van doors close and the engine start. It was a relief to know that she was being shipped as a single unit, flown from a private airport that was not far away. She wouldn't have to wait long before she was in the air, flying to Connecticut.

The ride to the airport was maddening. She tried to use a meditation technique she'd learned recently to calm herself, to keep her blood pressure down and her heart rate within normal range. But every little jostle startled her and raised the ugly fears again.

Thirty minutes later her box was secured in the shipping compartment of a private jet. Fifteen minutes after that she felt the roar of the engines and the angle of attack as the jet left the tarmac and hurtled into the sky. Two more hours. Only two.

Maybe she should stop counting the minutes down. Go back to meditating. If only she didn't have to pee. She stifled a sneeze and tried to think about anything but the growing pressure in her bladder. She couldn't pee in her suit, in the box. Although the packing paper beneath her would absorb most of it, the acrid smell would be a dead giveaway.

Inside the silence of her prison there was little to do except contemplate the terror of the circumstances she had been thrown into. Occasionally, she rotated her ankles briskly in an attempt to keep her blood flowing, shifting an inch to the left, then an inch to the right. She never realized how painful it was to lie in one position for too long. Her arms prickled, and her legs were numb and painful all at the same time. And the dusty packing material had her on the edge of a sneeze most of the time. She had to fight the urge to turn over to keep her blood moving. It was a natural instinct that was so persistent she felt she would scream at times. She tried everything to keep her mind off her body's automatic response to being motionless for so long, and finally settled into solving tough mathematical equations as the best way to keep her mind busy. Eventually, the steady thrum of the jet engines soothed her into a light sleep.

She woke to a sneeze that had been brewing for hours then froze in panic, waiting for someone to notice. But no. No one could have noticed. She was deep in the fuselage of the plane. She was alone. And still in the air. She could tell by the steady throb of the engines. But the sneeze was the least of her problems. The pressure in her bladder had become unbearable.

"You don't have to pee," she told herself. "You don't have to pee."

She couldn't hold it any longer. The pain was so intense. If she could just....

"Oh, God," she whispered. "You do have to pee. You do...."

She couldn't help it. There was nothing else for her to do. She relaxed the sphincter blocking her urethra and allowed the urine to flow. The pressure in her bladder slowly ebbed away, giving her instant relief. But the warm wetness already felt horrible. In just a matter of minutes, her thighs would be damp and itchy from the urine settling into the cloth of her jumpsuit. She could only hope it dried at least halfway before the plane touched down in Connecticut. If it didn't, she would be faced with an even bigger problem.

She stared at the top of the box for what seemed like an eternity, trying to ignore the wetness beneath her derriere and between her thighs, trying to ignore the faint smell of urine, the numbness in her legs and feet, the discomfort in her back, the insanity that was slowly creeping in on her. And then something happened that nearly caused her to scream in complete and utter madness. Something crept up onto her cheek, paused, tickled its way up closer to her left eye, paused again, and sat there.

Eight legs.

It took every ounce of her will not to scream.

A tear squeezed out of her eye, rolled down her cheekbone and fell into her hair. She alternately held her breath and then let it out in short pants, only to suck another breath in and hold it before expelling it in a short gust. It was the only way she could keep from screaming, keep herself from kicking and punching at the box lid and screaming for someone to let her out. She felt like she had enough adrenaline in her body to tear the lid off herself and leap from the plane, anything to get this thing off her face.

The spider sat there on her cheek, not moving. It had obviously made use of the holes she had bored into the wooden sides of the box. And now it was enjoying the darkness of its newfound surroundings and driving her crazy with its soft legs, its furry body.

Don't! her brain silently screamed. Don't think about it! It's not there! It's not there!

Angelique hated spiders with a vengeance. And now one was sitting on her cheek, motionless and comfortable, except for the occasional slight movement of a leg. She was trapped in a box, with very little oxygen, forty-five thousand feet above the earth, with a spider on her face, and she couldn't even raise a hand to swipe it off. The box was so confining that her nose almost scraped the lid. She was afraid to sweep her head to one side in hopes the thing would fall off, afraid of being bitten. If she were bitten, her skin would react like human skin, a welt would appear, and everyone would know that she was no robot.

"Jesus, get a grip," she told herself. "It's just a...."

She couldn't say the word. She decided to stop thinking about it. It's not there. It's not there.

Another sneeze was forming. She wrinkled her nose in an attempt to stop it. The movement disturbed the spider. It bolted down her cheek. Angelique clenched her eyes and mouth tightly shut as it ran down her chin, across her neck, and off somewhere where she couldn't feel its legs tickling her bare skin. She was relieved to have the thing off her face, but she knew it was still somewhere in the box with her. And that was not a comforting thought.

Tears burned her eyes. She was losing her resolve. Panicking too much. So afraid and stressed that she was now convinced she would be met in Connecticut by Roth himself and quickly dispatched, just as he had planned all along.

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A Man Worthy

Drop a pampered rich girl into the Australian outback, add a healthy dose of male sex appeal with no time or patience for the demands of a woman wearing high heels, and you either get a serious battle of wills or a firestorm of chemistry.

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(Book One of Pennington Series)
Impetuous Annabelle Pennington becomes trapped in a scheme of thievery and cunning, the pawn of a jewel thief, and victim of her own heart. 

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