Marked in Mexico
An idyllic Caribbean vacation turns deadly when hostages are taken at one of Mexico’s most popular Mayan ruins. The kidnappers believe the abduction will be a simple way to negotiate the release of a colleague from a Texas prison, but the stakes become much higher when they realize one of their hostages is the daughter of a powerful U.S. Senator and another, an ex-Army Ranger who has no intention of playing by the rules.
After a daring escape the Senator’s daughter, Jessica, and the ex-Ranger, Jack, must endure a terrifying manhunt and a desperate fight for survival. While trying to stay alive in the unforgiving jungle they forge a bond that will last a lifetime and find love neither wanted, but were unable to avoid.
The group encountered few other visitors as they walked to the sacred well. At the well, the guide went into detail about how the sacrifices were carried out. Jessica felt he was being a little melodramatic and started to tune him out until he abruptly stopped talking. His silence jolted her back to attention.
The look on the guide’s face sent shivers down Jessica’s spine. His eyes were focused on something behind the group which only he could see. Jessica’s eyes darted from Amber to the other twenty-five people standing around her and could tell they were all aware something was wrong. As if on cue, the entire group eased around to face what stood behind them.
One of the young college girls screamed, but the sound was cut short by the butt of a rifle being slammed to her temple, knocking her to the ground. An old man moved to go to her, but stopped as a gun was raised to his head.
Two gunmen held automatic rifles at the ready and motioned for the group to turn back around and face the tour guide. Everyone quietly complied except for the young woman still lying on the ground, bleeding and whimpering.
Jessica reached for Amber’s hand and squeezed it hard as they looked at the shaking guide with a pistol pressed to his temple. The gunman said something to the guide in Spanish and the guide translated.
“He says do not move and do not make a sound and no one has to die today.”
Everyone obeyed, the silence broken only by the birds singing in the trees, a sound too pleasant for the situation. The gunman again said something and the group eagerly waited for translation.
“Everyone lay face down on the ground and clasp your hands behind your neck. Do not move, do not make a sound and do not look up.”
Jessica hated to release Amber’s hand, but knew they had to comply. She stayed as close to Amber as she could while easing down to the hard-packed ground. She joined her fingers behind her neck and turned her head to the side so she could breathe freely and still see her friend.
She heard a whimper as someone was drug to her feet. The noise was feminine and sounded young, so Jessica imagined one of the college girls had been grabbed. She waited and listened. This time she heard a yelp, followed by a slap, and another person being drug to their feet. Another heavier, clumsier shuffle sounded, but little else.
Jessica lay on the ground, fighting the urge to scratch the itching caused by biting insects, feeling the vibrations of boots hitting the ground as footsteps neared. She bit her lip and held her breath. A gunman grabbed Amber by the hair, crouched down and stared at the terrified woman for a moment before dropping her head to the ground and stepping away.
Momentary relief flooded Jessica that Amber hadn’t been hurt or taken, then the pain hit. A fist yanked her by the hair and pulled her face up. She opened her eyes, looking directly into the cold dark eyes of a gunman. She wanted to scream, but pulled it in before a sound could escape. He scanned her face and he was so close she could smell the acrid odor of cigarettes and booze on his breath. He continued to hold her head up until another man came to his side. The other man looked at her and nodded, and she was abruptly yanked to her feet by her hair.