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Page 51


I didn’t respond. I just stared at her, chewing on a strand of hair stuck between my front teeth. I wanted to say so many things, curse her out, beg her to stop, tell her she would regret this. But I said nothing. I let my hate and my malice speak for me, gleaming from my eyes.

Gina leaned forward, slicing between my wrists, hitting skin as she parted the plastic of the zip ties. My feet next, leaving me unbound and bleeding from cuts on my scalp, wrists, and ankles. I wanted to lunge at her, tackle her, but I didn’t. I would bide my time. Find the perfect moment.

Clearly wary as she cut me free, Gina took three quick steps backward, away from me, watching me. “Too cowardly to attack even now, I see.” She grinned. “Well, it will still be fun. I had hoped you would go for me. I would have enjoyed cutting you to ribbons. But, oh well. This way I get to enjoy the fun a bit longer.”

I stayed in place, chest heaving from the struggle to endure the agony.

After a moment of staring at me, Gina kicked the base of the door with one foot, holding her hands in front of her daintily, as if she’d merely gotten them dirty. The door opened, and she stepped through, handing her knife to Tobias.

“Here. Clean this for me. I’m going to change.” The door slammed closed, and I heard her speaking to Tobias. “Leave her alone for now, Tobias. I mean it. You can have her when I’m done, but not before. If I find you’ve touched her, I will be very displeased.”

I still had to pee. And for some reason, I still held it. I wasn’t sure why. It gave me something to focus on besides the fear and the pain, perhaps?

My bladder was screaming, my knee throbbing, my scalp burning, wrists and ankles aching. Blood streamed down my face, down the back of my neck, the cuts on my head still oozing. I was dizzy from hunger, throat parched, tongue thick and dry.

I wanted Valentine. But I also hoped he would stay away. If he came for me, she would kill him. She was going to kill me anyway. I knew Valentine would come for me, even though he had to know it would be a trap.

I sat up eventually and struggled to my feet, testing my knee. I could hobble slowly, but any weight on the leg had me crying and near to collapse. I moved in slow circles around the room, limping, limping, limping. Keeping the rest of my body loose, ignoring the pain, ignoring the increasingly desperate need to pee.

I was going to die in this room. I was going to be raped, tortured, and then eventually killed. I should just accept it. But I didn’t.

I couldn’t.

I would not let them do to me what they’d done to Lisa. I would attack, make them kill me first. That would be better. Better than being raped.

Valentine. Save me, Valentine, I thought. Please. Please.

Even raw terror can’t keep you awake for ever. I dozed fitfully, jerking awake and then nodding off again.

Time passed, whether in hours or minutes or days, I couldn’t tell.

The door opening jarred me from a daze.

A bulky shape filled the opening briefly, and then the door quietly closed behind Tobias. I watched him approach me on silent feet. He stood in front of me, staring down at me, black eyes leering, crazy, hungry.

“I’m not supposed to be here. But she won’t know. It won’t matter.” Tobias knelt in front of me. Reached out, ran his palm over my scalp. “Nice.”

I kept absolutely still. Noticed the butt of a gun in a shoulder holster, visible beneath his suit coat.

“Lie down,” he ordered.

I remained sitting.

He reached into the pocket of his pants, withdrew a small folding knife. Opened it. Touched the blade to my left nipple. “I say, lie…down.”

An idea formed in my head. A desperate, doomed idea, but something. It would probably get me killed, but at this point, that was better than enduring what Tobias hand in mind for me. So I moved to my back, keeping my knees pressed together. The aching pressure in my bladder was at critical mass. I couldn’t hold it much longer.

Tobias set the knife down beside me and unbuckled his pants and let them fall to his knees. I kept my eyes on his, rather than subjecting myself to the sight of his dick. He leered at me. Gripped his dick in his hand and stroked himself. Rubbed it against my knee. Shuffled forward, knocked my knees apart, and then slammed the inside of my upper thigh with his fist hard enough to leave a bruise. Did the same to the other side. I stifled a cry, forcing myself to remain still. I forced myself to let him get closer. Forced myself to keep my legs open. I kept my eyes on his ugly, straining face as he bent over me, lips curled into a greedy, anticipatory smile.

I felt him at my entrance, thick and hot, but not quite hard. Apparently I wasn’t bloody enough to really excite him; he punched me, a fist to my cheek, a brutal blow that rocked me backward, made me dizzy. His dick hardened then, and then he hit me again on the other cheek. A third punch, and I felt my nose break, blood sluice down my face.

Now he was fully erect and poised at my entrance. His grin was hungry, evil.

I choked on my tears and breathed through the pain as Tobias prepared to thrust into me.

“I like it when you scream,” he murmured, his breath hot and fetid on my face. “So scream loud.”

* * *

VALENTINE

We met at the airstrip and flew from there to Athens, where Henri and his friend split away from the main group without a word. Harris had guided the rest of us to the Marina Zea, to a dock where a rusting fishing vessel bobbed, waiting for us. The captain was a wizened little Greek with skin the color of walnut shells and weathered to a similar texture.

We waited for an hour, then two. Finally, Henri and his friend returned, and I noticed both of them had changed shirts and now smelled of soap.

Henri nodded at me. “Gina’s shadows are now ghosts. We go now, she won’t know we are coming.”

Bags of weapons and Kevlar vests and boxes of ammo were broken out as soon as we reached open water, each of us gearing up. We detoured, stopping at a little fishing village, where Henri’s nameless friend and Andrei—who was armed with Harris’s MSR rifle—departed in a helicopter. I glanced at Henri, an eyebrow lifted in inquiry.

“Andrei is an expert sniper. My friend is an experienced pilot.” Henri gestured at the rising aircraft. “We have a helicopter, a favor from my friend. Now we have support in the sky.”

It was a long trip, and I nodded off uneasily as the old fishing vessel plied the waves, traveling east and south, through the lowering darkness and into the night.

A quiet word in Greek from the captain, and we were all awake immediately, collecting our gear and moving to the stern. Alexei and Matteo pushed the Zodiac into the water as the fishing vessel drifted to a stop. The two mercenaries held the boat in place as the rest of us climbed in, and then we pushed off, the powerful outboard motor buzzing. I heard the splash of an anchor, and the fishing vessel’s lights winked out, leaving us to slip across the Aegean in the moonlit darkness. No one spoke a word.


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