Mistaken Identity<br/>

Author: Jan Abney
Publisher: Janet Abney
Published: 2010-09-04
ISBN(s) 978-1453812105
Pages: 94 pages
Category: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Genre(s): Romance, Contemporary, Romance & Friendship Read Excerpt >

CARRIE WAS lounging beside the pool after swimming several laps. She hadn't seen Carmichael or Reuben, but knew at least one of them was where they could keep an eye on her. Not once did they give her any privacy outside her room.

Mr. Langford had gone to town that morning for a board meeting. She could expect him home by dinner, he had told her, kissing her forehead as he left the breakfast nook. She left her order with the cook to bring lunch out to the pool, trying to enjoy the luxury she'd been forced into. It wasn’t very hard to do, she told herself, but she missed the life she’d had before.

Thoughts of those she worked with floated to the top of her mind. Would they have a missing-persons out for her? Would someone have seen the flyer Mr. Langford had out for Cynthia, thinking they were one and the same?

Someone who had been around her had to have seen it, that was the reason she found herself in the situation she was trying to enjoy. The man had offered a substantial reward for his wife's safe return, Mr. Langford had told her one evening as they sat around with their coffee, and now the informant was happily enjoying it, not knowing what havoc he or she had caused.

Or maybe it didn't matter to the person. She had worked at the factory for more than four years. Could, or would, the women was she friends with convince someone she wasn't the Cynthia Langford being sought? Surely, if anyone cared to check, her work record would be pulled and things put together. Then she would be rescued.

Rescued. The word went sround hee other thoughts, causing her to stiffle a laugh. Who in their right mind would want to be freed from all this? As this thought went through her head, she heard the pool house door open and close, although softly. Her eyes came up and focused on a man walking toward her, skirting the plants and few chairs between them. He was a younger version of the owner of this kingdom, a young man she had seen in one of the photographs in the library.

"I see my father was successful in finding you." He hadn't waited until he'd gotten close to speak. His timbre vibrated off the glass walls around them. "It's obvious you didn't take me seriously." The woman was a little different, were his thoughts, as he watched her intently. She had obviously changed her appearance some. "You have nothing to say, Cynthia?"

Whatever the woman had done, she saw in him a strong dislike for her. "I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not Cynthia." She was getting tired of telling everyone, having no one listen. "My name is Carrie Phillips, but I know I can't convince you any more than I can your father." The last words came out in a disgusted sigh, yet it held a whimsical sound.

Sitting in a chair near her, he studied her with more scrutiny. "Your eyes are a bit bluer, contacts I suppose." He was reasoning the changes. "You've restyled your hair. It's becoming." His voice lowered in volume, yet the animosity remained. "The weight loss didn't hurt a  thing." The man looked at her to see if there were other physical changes. "You've changed your speech a little, it almost sounds natural." With these words came hostility and he narrowed his brown eyes. "But you can't fool me, Cynthia. I haven't changed at all."

She hated the feeling of being analyzed by this person and his malicious look. Standing, she took three steps forward, diving into the cool water. Resurfacing, she turned, swimming back to the side nearest him. "I don't know what Cynthia did to justify your hatred. It must have been pretty awful. All I know is I've been trying for a week to get your father to take me back home, or at least let me leave. I can't get out of his sight for a moment." The contempt was wrapped around her words. Standing on the bottom of the pool, she rested her arms on the edge, looking up at him much in the same way he had been studying her. "At night he has a guard posted outside my bedroom door. During the day, if he can't be right there, one of his goons will be."

Listening to her, watching her, he asked himself if Cynthia could have changed that much in so short a time. He had doubts about that. It was an uncanny likeness, but this couldn't be his step-mother.

"It isn't that I haven't enjoyed his hospitality, you understand. If things were different, I might even appreciate living here. It's such a change from Akron." Carrie was thinking out loud to herself, eyes still focused on him, not seeing what they looked at. "If I stay here much longer, I'm not sure I'll be able to go back to a working life. Your father is more than spoiling me."

Pushing from the edge, she let her body float, dreamily thinking it was a pity to want to return to what she had of life before.

"Isn't that Cynthia's suit?" He was standing beside the pool, still watching her.

She continue speaking in a quiet voice, answering him. "I wasn't allowed to pack anything I might have wanted of my own personal belongings, you see."

Sitting on his heels, he was becoming curious about her. "How did you come to be here, exactly?"

Not so far from him she was back, lifting herself out of the water, sitting on the edge before getting to her feet. At her lounge chair, she picked up the large, soft towel, patting her face. "I was kidnaped on my way to meet some friends." The matter-of-fact way she spoke would have be hard for her to believe. How could she convince this man what she was saying was true? "You don't think I am Cynthia, do you?" It had just dawned on her, the words he had spoken.

"You're certainly being calm about it." Maybe he had been wrong. If so, he wanted to put this woman in movies. She was a very good actress, if she was Cynthia.

Sitting in her seat again, the hopeful look faded. She could see he was changing his mind again. "Seeing that no one has tried to hurt me, I can't see keeping myself all worked up about it." She related her thoughts on the wanted poster of Cynthia and her friends back home. As she spoke, he returned to his chair. "At first I was terrified, and afraid your father might force himself on me. He really believes I'm his wife." She almost couldn't contain the smile, thinking how it might be, being his wife, with all the comforts she’d had around her the past week. "Although I think he's too old for me, the thought isn't that unattractive. I've never had so much attention, so many people willing to make my life comfortable." Back on her feet, she decided it was time to go in and put some clothes on, as he was still studying her too closely for her peace of mind.

Following her lead, he shadowed her toward the house. The towel she had been carrying on her arm came around her halfway down the path, covering the sway he'd been enjoying. This definitely was not Cynthia, as the other woman's walk had a purposeful swing.

"Are you following me?" She had turned halfway to the second floor, stopping his progress as well.

"I'm interested in knowing a few more things concerning you." His answer came as they continued upward. "I'd like to know who you really are and where you came from. You said Akron. Ohio?"

At her door, she turned. "That's what I said." Giving her personal information to him, she felt as though she was still getting nowhere. "I even tried to get your father to call my parents, but he said I probably paid someone to pretend to be my parents in case anyone called to check on my story. Whatever I've suggested, he has shot down with some rationalization. So, I kind of gave up trying, and am waiting for someone in Akron to put two and two together. I’m sure the law can convince your father he took the wrong woman. I do hope, for his sake, they aren't going to slap an abduction charge on him. He's been nothing but considerate and generous. I almost love the old man, but not in the sense that a wife would." She had rambled on knowing she should have stopped long before.

"Carrie, you say it is?" He watched her head nod. "All right, Carrie, you've convinced me. I only see a physical resemblance to my step-mother, everything else tells me you are who you say you are. I'll try to help you convince my father."

Mistaken Identity   by   Jan Abney   |   See Bio >

Carrie has just broken up with her possessive boyfriend. She's ready to celebrate with a few of
her co-workers. Parking in a garage, she gets out of her car to find two men grabbing and pushing
her into the back of a limousine. All the door handles and window buttons have been removed
from the back doors. There is no way for her to escape.

Traveling all night, Carrie finds herself in a very large house. Mr. Langford, a wealthy man, is
brought into the room where she is sitting with one of the driver's watching her.

"Cynthia." He greets her. In his tone she hears that he has missed her.

"My name is Carrie, Mr. Langford."

But she cannot convince anyone that she is not Mrs. Cynthia Langford, the older man's wife.
After several days, Carrie is resigned to being captive. There is always one of Mr.Langford's
goons watching her, making sure she cannot leave him again.

Lounging around the pool one day, a younger version of her proposed husband came in and
confronted her. He believes this is Cynthia, and he has a hatred for the woman. Carrie explains
how she came to be there, and who she is. Clint begins to see that it is only a physical
resemblance. It's uncanny, and he has to keep reminding himself that this isn't his step-mother.

Helping her get away from the mansion one night, Clint takes her home. She finds she's lost
her job, but what bothers her most is worry that the Langford goons will come back and take her
again. Her worries become reality, but she dodges their attempts. She doesn't want to go back to
the luxury she had found for that week and a half. Though Mr. Langford was kind, and she could
have had everything she wanted, she was comfortable with her life in Akron.

But Mr. Langford wants his wife back, at any cost.

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