Kidnap in Paradise sees Detective Sergeant Kelly Ross getting ever closer to her new boyfriend, James. Their Caribbean holiday gets off to a perfect start but, on day two, Kelly finds a human toe floating in the water. Then, on Christmas Eve, she bumps into a stranger who’s about to change all her perceptions of what she thought she knew.
Meanwhile, thirteen-year-old Jasmine Carpenter has her hands full fighting off Sly Griffiths who is being paid to do her harm. But, on Christmas morning, Sly ends up face-down in his swimming pool and Sergeant Bertram Brathwaite makes a discovery that sends his blood pressure racing to the stars.
Mind you, Bertram’s blood pressure often races when he spends time with Pastor Lucy Alleyne. Pastor Lucy is an avid collector of men, and Sergeant Brathwaite is one of her favourite collectibles. But what does she know about the stranger renting her unused apartment? And why is that stranger so angry with Julie McFee, whose name is something else altogether?
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KIDNAP IN PARADISE
In the silence of the still night air, he heard rather than felt the splatter of droplets splashing down onto his bare feet. It took him a moment to realise it was blood. His blood. He looked up, fear in his eyes. His assailant didn’t move. He just stood there, watching him, features obscured in the darkness of the trees. Like the insects, he was just waiting.
Winston’s head began to spin and his vision began to fade. A deeper, darkness was taking hold of him. His knees shook, and then buckled. He reached out, grasping towards the figure, but his fingers closed on empty air. In desperation, he flailed with both hands, trying to steady himself. Trying to stop himself from falling. But there was nothing to grasp hold of. A moment later, his legs gave way altogether and he felt himself collapse, until the rough earth rose up to meet him with a jolt.
After he hit the ground, things changed again. Now, the pain seared through his body. It was torture. With a struggle, he rolled onto his back. The moonlight gazed down on him through the palm fronds and the Acacia leaves. His attacker was no more than a dark shape, like a hole in the sky. The blade glinted in his hand as he drew it back, ready to finish the job.
In that instant, blind terror gripped Winston. It couldn’t end now, not like this. A man shouldn’t die alone. He should die surrounded by people he knew – his friends – family, if he had any. And there were so many things he still wanted to experience in life. Things he wanted to say, if only he could muster enough breath to form the words. With a huge effort, he filled his lungs with air. “Please,” he gasped. A glimpse of white flashed above him. He sensed, rather than saw, the figure smile.
“Don’t bother pleading,” Sly Griffiths said. “You done me wrong, Winston. A man can’t tolerate that without a firm response. I have a reputation to protect.”
“It was four dollars,” Winston croaked, as the realisation hit him.
“Could have been four cents. It’s not the money, Winston, it’s the principle of the thing. A man has to have principles or he’s nobody. You might want to think about that for a moment.” Seconds later, Sly said, “Okay, time’s up,” and the knife plunged down into Winston’s chest. Winston felt the razor-sharp burn as the knife entered his heart. His vision clouded. He heard the roar of wind in his ears, even though the night was perfectly still. The last thing he saw before everything went black was Sly Griffiths bending over him wearing a triumphant smile.