Runaway Attraction. Farrah Rochon

Runaway Attraction - Farrah Rochon

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though she knew she spoke the truth. The reason behind her abduction was as unknown today as it had been when it occurred two months ago, but Bailey was convinced that her attacker had not wanted her dead.

      At least that was what she told herself. The alternative—that her attacker had intended for her to be found not hours but days later—was too upsetting to contemplate.

      Bailey covered her face in her hands, pulling in a deep breath. She looked up to find her mother’s usually confident brown eyes filled with worry.

      “I’m sorry,” Bailey said. “But I can’t do this anymore. Am I supposed to stay hidden away forever?”

      “It’s not forever. Just until whoever attacked you is caught,” her mother said.

      “What if they’re never caught?”

      A heavy silence fell over the room as her words hung in the air. Bailey’s entire being recoiled at the thought of her attacker remaining at large, but it was a real possibility, and every one of them knew it. She forced herself to continue.

      “We have to face facts.” She took in the stern scowls on her brothers’ faces. “It’s been two months since the incident. The chances of the police finding the person who did this are slim to none.”

      “Don’t say that.” The vehemence in her mother’s voice caused Bailey to flinch. But it was spurred by fear, not confidence. “The police are doing everything they can. They are going to arrest whoever did this to you, Bailey.”

      “I’m sure they will,” she said, because that was what her mother needed to hear right now. “But I can’t remain in this prison until they’re found.”

      “No one is holding you prisoner,” her father insisted. “You can come and go as you please.”

      “Of course I can, as long as I have an entourage of muscle heads escorting me.”

      “Hey!” Daniel’s brow creased with affront.

      Bailey rolled her eyes. “Present company not included.”

      “Has the media reported anything about the bodyguards?” her father asked, concerned. “We hired that security company because they assured us the bodyguards would be unobtrusive. We don’t want anyone knowing that you’re under special protection.”

      “I know,” Bailey said. “That’s what matters.”

      She could tell by the set of her father’s jaw that he wasn’t even close to relenting. And when he immediately changed the subject to a national retailer who had approached RHD about launching an affordable clothing line, she knew the matter of bodyguards was now closed.

      Bailey refrained from screaming in frustration, but just barely.

      She reclaimed her seat on the sofa, listening with half an ear as the rest of her family discussed the possibility of working with the national retailer. At any other time Bailey would have been right in the thick of it, but not today. She had more important things on her mind, namely getting back control of her life.

      She’d surrendered the past two months to fear. But if she continued to hide, the person who kidnapped her would win.

      That was not going to happen.

      The best way to reclaim her old life was to get back to doing the things she used to do. She decided to broach an idea she had been mulling over since she’d returned from St. Thomas last week. She waited until the conversation died down before speaking.

      “Before you all leave, there’s something else I wanted to discuss.” Bailey picked up the throw pillow and started fingering the corded edge in an attempt to hide her nerves. “It seems as if the media isn’t about to let up any time soon. So I think we should use the publicity to our advantage.”

      She was faced with a roomful of curious looks.

      She set the pillow aside and folded her hands in her lap. Taking a deep breath, Bailey announced, “I think RHD should put on a second fashion show.”

      There was a beat of silence before Brianna said, “But Fashion Week was just a couple of months ago.”

      “So? Is there a law that states that we can only hold a show during Fashion Week?” Bailey shrugged. “I know it’s one of only a few times a year when all eyes are on the fashion industry, but the downside is that we’re competing with every other design house for press. Even though it’s not under ideal circumstances, the fact remains that the spotlight is on RHD right now. Why not take advantage of it?”

      Her father shook his head. “You’ve been through enough, Bailey. You need to take it easy.”

      “I’ve been taking it easy for two months. If I took it any easier I would be comatose.”

      Her father frowned and Bailey instantly felt like a petulant child. Considering she had been discovered unconscious and feared dead, she felt even worse. She may have been the one kidnapped, but she wasn’t her abductor’s only victim. This ordeal had taken a toll on her entire family.

      “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m just ready to get back to work.” She turned to her sister, whom she could usually count on as an ally. “Think about it, Brianna. This would be the perfect opportunity to reveal the new resort-wear collection.” She held her hands out in a plea. “All I ask is that you all at least consider my idea.”

      She could feel the tension radiating from everyone in the room, but Bailey refused to back down. She needed this. She needed to regain the power she’d relinquished to the bastard who’d turned her life upside down. Getting back on the runway was a surefire way to do that.

      “Are you sure about this, Bailey?” Kyle asked. “You saw what happened today.”

      “I’ll admit I wasn’t prepared for some of the reporters’ questions, but a fashion show is my comfort zone. I can handle it.” Noncommittal murmurs sounded throughout the room. “Please, just consider it,” she practically begged.

      With reluctance lacing his words, her father said, “A special event may not be such a bad idea, but the bodyguard stays,” he added.


      “It’s nonnegotiable, Bailey.”

      “Dad’s right,” Daniel said. “You need to have someone with you.”

      Once again that urge to scream overwhelmed her. She knew her family meant well, but Bailey had never felt more smothered in her entire life, and as the baby of the family, she’d experienced her fair share of smothering. Maybe if she talked to her parents alone, without her siblings offering their two cents, she could get them to budge on their rigid stance.

      The conversation soon turned to Kyle and Zoe’s wedding, which would be held Thanksgiving weekend. Bailey feigned enthusiasm but her heart wasn’t in it. How could she talk about wedding favors and flowers while the rest of her life was mired in uncertainty?

      An hour later, back in the apartment she shared with her sister, Bailey grabbed a bottle of Italian spring water from the refrigerator and walked over to her favorite spot in the apartment—the window seat next to a gorgeous view of Central Park.

      “Hey,” Brianna said from behind her. Bailey jumped so high that water spilled from the bottle. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.”

      Bailey could lie and say that she had not been startled, but what would be the point? She’d spent the past week doing everything she could to conceal her anxiety from her sister, but Bailey knew Brianna could see right through her.

      Mercifully, her sister just put an arm around Bailey and gave her a comforting squeeze. Bailey leaned into the hug, resting her head against Brianna’s shoulder.

      “I’m proud of what you did today,” Brianna said. “I know it wasn’t easy.”

      “No, it wasn’t.” Bailey blew out a tired breath. “But it was necessary.”

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