Kandace and the Beast

Kandace and the Beast by Shay Savage

Book: Kandace and the Beast by Shay Savage Read Free Book Online
Authors: Shay Savage
Chapter 1
    Waves from warm ocean water roll over my feet as I walk through the sand.  It’s an ideal day.  The weather is beautiful, and I don’t have a care in the world.
    There’s the niggling feeling in the back of my head that tells me something isn’t right; something isn’t quite normal.  What am I doing on a beach?  The last thing I remember is a nurse affixing one of those medical wristbands on my arm.  It had “Kandace” scribbled on it along with my birthdate and a code number of some sort.
    The scene around me is incredibly idyllic.  The ocean is the crystal-clear azure of the Caribbean, and the sky is a brilliant blue with just a few wisps of clouds scattered about.  There are seabirds bobbing around on the waves.  The sand is smooth and nearly white, and the temperature is perfectly warm and inviting but not too hot.  The sun heats my skin, but I don’t feel the burning sensation that would tell me I need more sunscreen.
    I glance down at my pedicured toenails as my feet make their way along the shoreline.  I can’t remember going to a salon recently—there hasn’t been the time—but my toenails are a seashell pink and glitter with the sunlight.   I pass sandpiper tracks and seashells, but the beach is otherwise spotless.  I’m wearing a blue one-piece bathing suit with a pair of rolled-up men’s boxers over them.
    I reach down and run my fingers over the hem.  They are way too big for me, even rolled over at the top.  The edges are frayed, and there are little bits of thread reaching out and poking the blue bathing suit.
    Do I own a blue bathing suit?
    The thought is gone from my head as quickly as it entered.  I close my eyes and turn my head to face the warm breeze coming off the ocean.  The seabirds on the waves suddenly take flight, calling out into the wind.  The smell of salt and sea-life fills my nostrils, and I smile.
    When I open my eyes, my perfect setting is marred by a group of four men farther up the beach near a rocky outcropping, dressed in blue jeans and T-shirts.  They look unkempt and rough as they loiter at the edge of the water.  There’s a small boat nearby with its bow pressed into the sand and a long rope presumably attached to an anchor off one side.  The men are a long way off but still look in my direction, watching me approach.  I slow my pace, suddenly nervous.  Where did they come from, and why hadn’t I seen them before?  I slow down a bit more, but my pace seems irrelevant because moments later, the men are right in front of me.
    “Looks like someone could use a little help.”  There is nothing sincere in the voice of the darkly tanned man with a long, black ponytail.  He smiles at me, revealing a couple of missing teeth.  “You need a little help, sweetheart?”
    “No.”  My voice sounds hoarse.  “I’m fine.”
    “You really aren’t.”  A chunky guy with greasy hair leers at me, taking a step forward as a man with dreadlocks bunched up with a piece of twine at the back of his neck starts to laugh.
    He’s right—I’m not fine.  I am supposed to be in the hospital, undergoing treatment for the umpteenth time.  I shouldn’t be here at all, and I definitely shouldn’t be here with these men.
    “I think she needs some company,” he says, and they all begin to chime in.
    “Yeah—I’ll keep her company for a while!”
    “Me, too!”
    “I’m definitely up for that!”
    They all snicker as I take a step away from them.  I know I should turn and run, but my body doesn’t comply with my wishes.  My thoughts are garbled as my mind tries to make sense of where I am, how I got here, and what’s happening.  The danger feels real enough, but I can’t seem to act on my fear.  As I force myself to take a small step back, my arms are grabbed and pulled behind me.
    I have no recollection of the man with the black ponytail moving into position at my back, but he now has me firmly in his grasp.  I feel the touch of

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