Clinging onto a piece of broken wood, Maya Hart’s chaotic mind was filled with the image of Nico Kostros,her handsome boyfriend and his romantic proposal. After she joyfully accepted, he slipped a sparkling diamond ring on her finger. It was a little large and he said he would have the jeweler size it.

She comfortably snuggled into his embrace on a cushioned lounge chair aboard his luxurious yacht. Staring at the exquisite ring she was in a daze. She wrapped her arms around his neck, “Honey, I am so happy.”

Drinking Champagne with the man she loved while looking at the stars, Maya felt as though she was in a wonderful dream.

 Suddenly there was a deafening explosion and the last thing she remembered was being terrified as leaping flames engulfed the luxurious yacht.

 Floating in the water for an indiscernible amount of time, she struggled to stay awake. She dug her fingernails into the wood until they bled. Maya knew if she let go she would sink into the depths of the ocean.

Surrounded by darkness, her body became numb from the bone chilling temperature of the water.

    Maya was awakened by a fierce slap and the sound of a deep and hoarse voice shouting, “Wake up bitch!”

   Maya tried to focus, but her eyes were blurry and her head was throbbing. Tears rolled down her cheeks from the stinging pain as she gazed up at the muscular man straddling her bound body on the ornate wooden chair. Unable to speak Maya blinked a few times fluttering her long black eyelashes.

This response seemed to further infuriate the man. Rafael Kostros’s hate filled eyes were smoldering, filled with rolling flames. His jaw was clenched tight as he barked, “Who sent you to murder my brother!”

   When Maya didn’t answer, he wrapped his large calloused hand around her slender throat and mercilessy squeezed, “Tell me and I will kill you swiftly otherwise you will beg for death as I slowly torture you.”

   Her wan face turned red and purple from his iron grip as her air supply was cut off. She gasped for breath and her eyes widened but she didn’t spit out even one syllable.

Rafael suddenly let go of her slender neck and picked up a razor sharp dagger from a nearby table. Twirling the dagger in his hand he sneered. “You are very beautiful. Should I begin by cutting your face?”

   As he pressed the dagger’s blunt side on her cheek, Maya still didn’t utter a word.

“Still no answer?” He stared at the glaring red fingerprints on her snow white neck, a little more force and she would be a corpse. I need to control my rage to get answers.

   Maya felt the ice cold edge of the dagger against her tender skin and her heart was beating erratically. I am going to die…this man is insane!

She weakly coughed, her throat was damaged from the fire and being in the freezing water. If I could speak I would! With her misty blue eyes wide open she stared at him, terrified aware the madman wouldn’t hesitate to destroy her face. All it would take is turning the knife. She realized if she didn’t say something there was no escaping this terrifying man.

   Rafael could see the undisguised fear in Maya’s eyes and it didn’t seem fake. But she could be putting on an innocent act. After calming down, he hesitated for a moment thinking possibly the woman was simply collateral damage. He softened his tone,“I will give you one chance, speak. Who are you and why were you with Nico on the yacht?”

   Her thin body was quivering from the realization that Nico was dead and this man assumed she killed him. As much as it hurt, in an almost inaudible voice she stammered while sobbing uncontrollably, ”No…no…Nico can’t be dead. I…I.. am his girlfriend, Maya Hart.”

  ??? Rafael was taken aback, his brother was happily married and not the type to have a mistress. For the first time he took a good look at Maya.

Rafael had assumed she was the assassin when his men told him Nico’s yacht exploded and they found this woman unconscious by the edge of the forest. He immediately flew to the island to personally interrogate her.

  Rafael leaned down and with an piercing gaze stared deeply into Maya’s red and swollen eyes. Twirling the dagger between his fingers he turned to an intimidating man in a black suit standing by the door, “Call Dr. James” He then abruptly strode out of the room. 

   Maya watched Rafael leave and breathed a sigh of relief thinking he might believe her words. She glanced down at the beautiful silver dress that was muddy and in tatters. Her heart felt like it was going to shatter. This is a nightmare…I must be dreaming!

When Nico told her he had a special dinner planned on his yacht she went shopping to find the perfect dress.

When he picked her up he embraced her and buried his head in her neck. He seductively whispered in her ear that she had never looked more beautiful. How could this happen? It wasn’t an accident? Someone deliberately…her heart was in a knot…Nico..Nico..my love..you can’t be dead! 

  In the next room Rafael slammed his fist into the wall. His eyes were red and he looked like the King of Hell as he turned towards the two men kneeling on the ground, “Why weren’t you guarding Nico?”

   One of the men lifted his head, “Boss, he told us he wanted to be alone with the woman. If she saw us she would get nervous.”

  “For what you are paid you don’t know how to be invisible!”  He kicked one of the men in the chest and he fell into a heap on the floor clutching his chest.He punched the other man then picked him up by his neck and threw him into the wall. The man slumped down spitting out blood.

Rafael paced around the room then bellowed, “Useless! Get out!”

   After they stumbled out the door, he made a phone call, “There was a woman on the boat with Nico at the time of the explosion,Maya Hart. I want you to investigate the bitch thoroughly and send the report to me immediately.”

  “Have you told Casandra that Nico is dead?”

  “His body wasn’t found in the wreckage. I am going to wait until the search teams finish.”

Rafael wasn’t in a hurry to inform Nico’s wife if there was any possibility that he survived. She was a fragile and delicate woman who revolved her entire world around his brother. Casandra could have a breakdown if Nico is really dead.  

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