PROLOGUE

1982

Something was wrong.

It was the first – and only – thing Hannibal knew as he fought through the layers of darkness in search of coherent thought. Was he asleep? Must be. When had he fallen asleep? That question offered no answer. And where was he, anyway? Memories were slow to return, and all of them foggy.

Cramped and aching from lying in one position for too long, he tried to turn onto his side. No go. Startled, he opened his eyes and found himself staring up at a dirty, water damaged tile ceiling he'd never seen before. An attempt to sit up made him realize he was tied, spread eagle, on the bed.

Aw, hell.

Naked and cold from the blasting air conditioner - not at all necessary in the late fall temperatures - his thoughts were simple. Along with a growing awareness of just how badthis was, he felt both a sense of amusement and indignant frustration. Tugging on the bonds around his wrists, he determined they were cuffs rather than ropes even before he looked at them. She was smart. The amusement was fading.

"Suzanne!" he called loudly, just in case she was still around. He didn't expect an answer, and didn't get one. With a frustrated growl, he pulled himself up as much as he could and studied the ropes around his ankles. That was not good. His chances of getting out of this without help were slim to none, especially considering the screaming pain in his shoulder every time he even thought about moving.

Damn it...

He fell back again, closed his eyes, and breathed deep a few times. No sense getting angry about it. He had bigger and more important things to think about right now than what he was going to do when he got his hands on her. First, he had to figure out how in the hell he was supposed to get his hands out of these cuffs.

Waking up drugged was not a first-time experience for him, but he hated it as much now as ever. The process seemed so much slower and more perplexing than waking from a peaceful sleep. That she had drugged him served as the only logical explanation for the ringing in his ears and the fog in his head. He remembered vague details as the confusion slowly cleared and turned to glance at the clock. The glowing red digits read 6:02. Judging by the light coming through the shaded window, it was six in the evening, not in the morning. Which meant he'd either been here for over twenty-four hours – he wasn't hungry enough for that to be the case – or less than two.

She'd gone for backup, and apparently a phone call hadn't sufficed. If she'd been smart, she would've had them on standby when she got the brilliant idea to knock him out. No way she could've possibly expected to carry him out of here on her own. But two hours was a hell of a long time; had she gone three counties over to get her help? Of course, it was rush hour. And it wasn't like he was going anywhere; she didn't need to hurry on his account.

The more he thought about his current predicament, the worse it looked. How long would it take her to get back? He considered it as he pulled on the cuffs, testing to see how much room he had to maneuver. The bed was only a double and they had some give. Hell of a lot of good it was going to do him when he hadn't the slightest idea where the key was. She'd probably taken it with her; she wasn't a complete idiot. He had nothing within his grasp to pick the lock with and, even if he had, twisting his hand around enough to do it would've been impossible. The cuffs weren't going to break off the thick post of the headboard and his chances of breaking the bed itself were equally slim.

He glanced at the clock again, anxiously. Unwelcome guests of the law enforcement variety would funnel through that door any moment now. He didn't even want to think about that. He certainly wasn't in any position to defend himself.

"Damn it, Suzy," he muttered under his breath. "You're trying my patience."

How the hell was he supposed to get out of here?