EXCERPT: RUN TO ME
Naked and exposed, she lay on the bed. Angry tears flooded her eyes, blurring the white ceiling fan that whirred above her. With her arms wrenched over her head and tied to the bedposts, the rope around her wrists abraded and tore at the sensitive skin as she twisted and tugged. The binding around her ankles was so tight, she had lost feeling in her feet.
If only they had left her legs free, she’d be able to take out a few of the sons of bitches. But they knew that. Knew how dangerous she was. Knew she’d come here to kill them. She had failed. Waves of helpless fury rolled through her. Twice in a lifetime she’d failed Cole. She hadn’t loved him as she should have, and now her plan of vengeance against the people who killed him had been destroyed by her own stupid carelessness.
She lifted her head, straining her neck, and searched for an out, some kind of hope. She saw none. The room was large and white…a white so intense it hurt her eyes. No color, no warmth. The furniture, carpet, walls, even the drapery, all a shocking white. Her neck aching, she dropped her head back on the pillow. A pristine, colorless prison. For some reason, the lack of color increased the terror building inside her.
Going deep cover had been a stupid idea. Even as she cooked up the plan, she’d doubted her ability to carry it off. She had many skills, going undercover wasn’t one of them. A part of her hadn’t cared…had only wanted to make Rosemount pay for killing Cole. If she’d been able to take the bastard out, even losing her life would have been worth it. Now, that hope was gone.
Rosemount would kill her. How? When? It no longer mattered. The one thing she wanted, worked for…lost to her forever.
An insistent little voice inside her whispered. It reminded her there was someone else who wanted revenge just as much as she did. Someone who felt responsible for Cole’s death. Someone she’d once loved. Would he take over for her? Once he learned of her death, would he come here and wreak havoc for what they’d done to Cole? Would soon do to her?
Sobs built, threatened to explode. Her heart screamed, “No!” She didn’t want that to happen. He was out of this life, out of this business. He needed to stay out of it. She could die easier, knowing that Ethan Bishop was safe.
Across the room, a door swung open, then closed. Footsteps approached. She froze, not wanting him to see her struggle. Refused to let him see her fear. He would want to see her weak and afraid. Damned if she’d give him anything he wanted.
Her eyes narrowed, glaring at the man who’d caused so much pain and destruction. Medium height, slender, almost thin physique. Curly, mousy brown hair, framed a thin, freckled face. Thick, round glasses made his mud brown eyes appear abnormally large. Her astonishment the first time she saw him had been hard to hide. This was the man who’d been kidnapping innocent people for profit? The man responsible for Cole’s death? He looked like he would run from a puppy.
Donald Rosemount was below average in every way…nothing at all remarkable or attractive. Thousands could pass him on the street and never see him. One of the reasons he’d been able to maintain his anonymity. He looked ordinary, common. Unfortunately, he possessed an uncommon evilness.
“Well, my dear, don’t you look nice and juicy.” The slimy smile curling his thin lips made her want to gag. She refused to give him that satisfaction.
Trailing a skinny, death-cold finger up her neck, he caressed her cheek and his smile grew wider. “I’m going to enjoy taming you.”
She hid her quiver of revulsion with words. “Over my dead body, you freaking pervert.”
“Dead? Oh no, my beauty. Admittedly, my tastes are a bit, shall we say, unorthodox, but having you dead doesn’t interest me. There are so many other ways I can enjoy you.”
“Going deaf, asshole? I said. Over. My. Dead. Body.”
Excitement flashed across his face as if pleased at her response. “You’re going to be difficult, aren’t you?” He pulled a small leather case from his pant’s pocket. “I’ve got just the thing to ensure your full cooperation.” Withdrawing a hypodermic needle and a small bottle of clear liquid, he prepared an injection.
Her muscles locked. Drugs? Suddenly death was much more preferable. Why couldn’t he just kill her and be done with it? Or did he think he could get her to talk first? She almost laughed out loud. She didn’t have anything to tell. Hadn’t been in touch with the home office in months. This was an unauthorized op. She hadn’t been approved to come in and kill him. LCR didn’t kill if they could help it.
This wasn’t LCR business. It was hers alone.
A flush of hot pink brightened his cheeks as his eyes glittered with sick anticipation. “Sad to say, this won’t hurt near as much as I would like. I’ve asked time and again that additional pain additives be mixed in, but my scientists swear it dilutes the effectiveness. So I had to ask myself, what would I rather have? See you go through agonizing, hideous pain…but only for a short period? Or do I opt for just a slight physical pain and settle for the satisfying knowledge that an LCR operative is doing my bidding, without any remembrance of who she is or what she used to be?”
Confusion flickered on his face. “I have to tell you, it was a difficult decision. Seeing you writhing in pain would be so damned satisfying. Noah McCall and his people have caused me endless hours of aggravation. But alas, the pain would be short-lived and after a while, could become somewhat boring.” He lifted a bony shoulder. “I do detest boredom.”
Her mouth desert dry, it was hard for her to speak. “Rosie, before we met, I thought you were a halfway interesting creep. Now I know you’re nothing but a wormy slug pretending to be a man.”
The tightening of his mouth was the only indication her words bothered him.
Without permission, her body stiffened as the needle came closer. “Whatever you do, you will pay for it. I promise you that.” A useless threat, but it was the best she could do under the extreme terror pounding through her. Dear God, anything but drugs!
“Doubtful, my little wildcat. But even if I do, it won’t be from you.” He twisted her arm and pressed the needle into a vein.
She screamed. Not pain, it hadn’t hurt. No, it was the pure anguish of being bound, helpless. Sweet God, she promised herself she’d never be helpless again.
Closing her eyes against the smug visage above her, images of her life danced behind her lids. The stepfather who’d raped her, the mother who allowed it, the hope and hopelessness of one foster home after another. And then Ethan…strong, confident, the love of her life, but in the end, just as damaged as she. Then later Cole, her husband, her salvation and her biggest failure.
Images blurred together, a colorful mish mash of sweet memories and gut wrenching sadness: Cole’s beautiful eyes, Ethan’s strong arms, Cole’s disillusionment, and Ethan’s scarred, grief stricken face…
A warm flush of heat and then agony ripped through her. She screamed again.
And then there was nothing. No past. No present. No future. Her life was without form, her memories dissolved, her soul stolen.
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