Jagger broken doll book.., p.6
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       Jagger (Broken Doll Book 2), p.6

           Heather C. Leigh
 
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  “Are you sure?”

  I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and braced my hands on the toilet seat to push my way to my feet. Dizzy with nausea, pain, and lack of food, I stumbled to the door and flung it open.

  “No I’m not fucking okay, Cat! Nothing is okay!” The shadow of my friend took a step back, shock permeating her dark eyes. Good. At least I got an emotion out of her. I moved toward her and she retreated until her thighs pressed against the bed. “I am getting out of this fucking hellhole and you are coming with me, so snap the fuck out of whatever alternate reality you’ve retreated to and get with the goddamn program.”

  El Cuchillo might have weakened my body, but he would never, ever take away my fire, my soul. I refused to become docile and lost like Cat.

  “They’ll kill you,” she whispered, her lower lip trembling.

  “I don’t care. I’d rather be dead than give up.”

  Cat’s eyes shined with moisture and tears overflowed down her malnourished, sharp cheekbones. Finally, she understood. She was returning to me.

  “I don’t want to die, but I can’t live here anymore, Miri.” Her hand darted out and clutched my arm. Cat’s grip was stronger than I expected as she squeezed harder. “Don’t leave me here. I’ll do what I can to help.”

  My breath hitched and my throat tightened. I tugged her toward me and enveloped my best friend in a bone-crushing hug.

  “I’m so glad you’re back, Cat.” She snuffled against my shoulder. I put my mouth to her ear and whispered as low as I could. “I’ve missed you so much. We are going to get out of here. I promise.”

  I released her and she sagged onto the bed, drained emotionally from the seemingly small outburst that shoved her so violently, she crashed through her mental fog right back to reality.

  “How… how can you promise that? I’ve been here for months, Miri. So long I don’t know what day or even month it is.”

  Cat’s voice cracked with despair. But I knew her well enough to detect the tiny bit of hope beneath the anguish. I saw a flash of it in her eyes. I’d been staring at the dull, dingy brown for days. Now her eyes shone with the barest hint of life.

  It was time to tell her about Jag. I had refrained until now, unsure if someone was listening in. If I could mask our words somehow, drown them out. My heart leapt in my chest as an idea crossed my mind.

  “Listen, I’m going to turn on the shower and then we can—”

  The lock jiggled and the bedroom door opened before I could tell Cat any more about my plan. I clung to my best friend. We never knew which one of us they were coming for until we saw who was there. My pulse raced as Raoul stepped into view and his enormous body filled the entire doorframe.

  Here for me, then.

  “No!” Cat cried. She dug her fingers into my ratty T-shirt.

  “Don’t,” I said. Our eyes met and I shook my head. Raoul would hurt her if she tried to stop him. Cat sobbed and loosened her grip. Her hands slid limply to her lap. “I’ll be fine.”

  Cat knew I was lying, but what else could I say? She needed to stay strong. I needed her to keep her newfound spark so we could get out of here. As Raoul slung me over his shoulder like a bag of garbage, I glanced back at my friend. She steeled her jaw and nodded and I saw it in her eyes. Cat was back.

  Even though I was being led downstairs to be tortured, I smiled. I would be strong. Cat would be strong. We would be okay.

  * * *

  “Fuck you!” I hissed as El Cuchillo gripped my hair and wrenched my head back at an awkward angle.

  “Still so feisty.” He chuckled. “I will break you and your boyfriend will watch. He will see the minute you surrender your will to me.” The sick fuck’s eyes lit up as he lowered his face until our noses nearly touched. “It will be perfect.”

  “Whatever,” I snapped like a petulant teenager.

  His sadistic grin slipped and his fingers untangled from my hair. I enjoyed my second of victory. Then he backhanded me across the face. The gaudy ass gold ring he wore must have split my cheek open, again, because warm liquid trickled down my neck and onto the collar of my shirt.

  “I will break you, puta. Then, when you are dead in the eyes like your roommate upstairs, I will sell you to the highest bidder.” So my suspicions were correct. Fear flooded my body and the nausea I had been fighting back came roaring to the surface. I clenched my lips together to keep from puking on the bastard, which would surely earn me a worse punishment than usual.

  “Ahhhh,” he crooned as he slid a finger down my face. “That frightens you, no? I can see it in your eyes. Did you think you would just stay here forever? Why do you think only Raoul has fucked you? Hmmmm?” El Cuchillo continued caressing my face gently, a lover’s touch. Once again, I swallowed against the urge to vomit. “You think it’s because you are too good for that?” His hand went lower until he was groping my breast. “No, it is because none of my men would put their pito in you, a whore that had that filthy Boss’s prick inside you. Only my Raoul wanted to fuck you, and that’s because he likes his women dirty.” He squeezed my breast harder. So hard I clenched my teeth to keep from screaming. “You are tainted, puta.” His hand clamped down forcefully on my breast until my eyes watered, and I couldn’t stop the ragged scream that tore from my throat and echoed throughout the room.

  When I caught my breath and stopped whimpering, his grin returned. “F-fuck y-you.”

  “No, that will never happen, cusca. I have so much more planned for you, and none of it includes the pleasures of the flesh.” The madman turned his back to me. While he did whatever the fuck it was he was doing, I turned to look at Raoul. The man stood stoically to the side, hands clasped behind his back.

  “You,” I growled. “You’re just a puppet with Cuchillo’s hand up your ass, directing everything you do and say.” Raoul’s eyes slid to mine, blazing with fury. Good. “You’re just as much a cusca as I am. He’s fucking you and you don’t even know it.” I knew the word for whore in Spanish and I hoped to get a reaction out of the man. I laughed at Raoul and he snapped. Two strides and he was on top of me, his huge hands around my neck.

  “You listen to me, puta. I will crush your throat with my bare hands and fuck your dead body,” he snarled.

  “Alto!” El Cuchillo’s loud command made both Raoul and me freeze in place. “Estoy hasta la madre!” He was shooting daggers at Raoul. The big man dropped his hands and stepped back to his original position.

  I laughed so hard I became almost hysterical. “See? I told you. You’re just a bitch like me. A goddamn whore puppet with a cock instead of a pussy.”

  Raoul growled and made a move toward me again. El Cuchillo stepped up and Raoul stopped dead. His furious glare bounced back and forth between his boss and me. Eventually, Raoul dropped his gaze first and returned to his spot once more. I giggled.

  “So funny, isn’t it?” Cuchillo asked, his voice dripping with condescension. “You won’t be laughing after today, whore.” He lifted an arm and brandished a knife. A big, sharp, shit-inducing knife. For the first time since I got here, real, hair-raising, blood-curdling fear penetrated to my very bones.

  My heart was beating so fast I was afraid it might burst through my battered and beaten ribcage and take flight. I hadn’t struggled against my bindings since the first day. It was pointless and all it did was feed the bastard’s excitement and tire me out. My pride left the room. I sure as fuck struggled now. Faced with that wicked blade, I fought as hard as I could. The handcuffs dug into my wrists and tore at the thin skin. Fire ripped through my arms and joints as blood dripped onto my hands.

  Cuchillo came closer but my eyes never left that knife. I shrieked and thrashed, the cuffs going deeper into my wrists. At this point, the shooting pains down my shoulders to my hands were merely a secondary concern. My chest heaved as the knife hovered over the dip in my collarbone.

  Blinking back the sweat dripping into my eyes, I glanced up at El Cuchillo. The fucking bastard was smiling. He was li
terally getting off on my fear. Feeding on my terror. Every scream was pleasure, every jerk against the cuffs a sultry stroke that brought him closer to satisfaction, every whimper a lover’s word whispered in his ear.

  Fuck him.

  I stopped struggling and forced my muscles to relax. It took every bit of strength I had—strength I’d earned from years of abuse at the hands of my mother, from scraping and working my fingers to the bone to support myself and Cat in our apartment, from the six months I was kept as Mason’s whore and drug addict—to lift my chin and lock my eyes onto the dark ones of my captor.

  “Kill me. I don’t care. You’re a sick fuck. Go ahead and do it, but I’ll never break.”

  His brow furrowed and his lip curled into a furious sneer.

  “We’ll see about that, puta. We’ll see.”

  5

  Jag

  The most recent video from Cuchillo sent me flying into a fucking wrecking ball of rage. I was so out of my mind, I didn’t remember half of what happened, but I sure as fuck felt it when it stopped. Everything hurt. My muscles, my joints, my heart, my soul. When I finally exhausted myself physically, I collapsed in a sweaty heap on the floor and sagged against the kitchen wall to catch my breath.

  “Boss.” Milo slid down next to me. “You okay?”

  With my elbows on bent knees, I hung my head between my legs and ran a hand across the back of my damp neck. “No, I’m not fucking okay.” I was goddamn drained. Lack of sleep, the images from the seemingly untraceable videos that never seemed to stop showing up in my inbox, the constant searching that came up empty day after fucking day… No. Okay was not a word in my vocabulary right now.

  Revenge. Death. Torture.

  Those were the words on the tip of my tongue every minute of every day. Ten fucking days since she was taken from my arms. Ten days of terrifying videos of the walking dead man hitting, punching, and groping my Miri. His newest thing was to cut off her clothes with a fucking knife and beat her naked body. There wasn’t a single inch of her skin that wasn’t a nauseating shade of black and blue. But goddamn, I was so proud of my doll. She never stopped fighting. Physically, she might have given in, but I could see it in those green eyes of hers. Miri was still there, as fiery as ever.

  Hold out for me, baby. I will get you.

  The front door flew open and heavy footsteps thundered down the hall. Milo leapt to his feet, his massive pistol in his hand and aimed at the doorway to the kitchen.

  “Jesus, fuck. You goddamn morons,” Milo growled. He stuffed his hand cannon back into its holster and leaned against the granite countertop. “Announce yourself next time or you’ll end up with your brains all over the wall.”

  I forced my weary body to my feet as three of my men, Shade, one of Shade’s guys from the warehouse, and One, my best area dealer, entered the kitchen. The large space suddenly seemed small, what with me and Milo, and now the three of them standing around the kitchen table. None of us were exactly small. Five of us in one room were a little overwhelming.

  “What’s going on?” I asked. My eyes met each of theirs and what I saw had my heart leaping into my throat and flutters assaulting my stomach.

  Shade grinned. “We think we found Cuchillo, Boss.”

  “What?” I pushed past Milo and grabbed Shade by the shoulders. “Where? How? Why aren’t we on our way? Fuck, tell me everything.” I motioned for him to follow me and barked out orders as I turned to leave. “Milo, call in the troops.”

  “Yes, Boss,” he replied.

  I strode out of the kitchen and hurried up the stairs, Shade close on my heels. While I changed clothes and strapped on my weapons, including my handgun and three knives, Shade told me everything, from who found Cuchillo, how they tracked him down, to the address of El Cuchillo’s safe house in Victoria, a two-hour drive from both Austin and San Antonio, to how many guys were guarding the property, and what weapons they had.

  “Motherfucker,” I said in awe. “I can’t believe that plan worked.”

  “Yep. You made the right call, Boss. Reaching out made it happen and I really think we’ll get her.”

  Praise from Shade, a man I’d known for years, including the last five he worked for me, was not handed out without reason so I believed he meant every word. I clapped Shade on the back.

  “It will. Don’t say anything to any of the men. We still don’t know who told Cuchillo about Miri and how important she is to me or where to find us. Now,” I adjusted my wrist sheaths. “We have a war to fight.”

  * * *

  “Boss, I should really come with you,” Milo said for the umpteenth time since we arrived at the pre-arranged meeting place outside the remote town of Victoria, Texas.

  I spun on my heel in the dusty parking lot and Milo nearly crashed into me. Shade and Sarge stopped as well, their eyes bouncing between my lieutenant and me.

  “This is how it’s fucking going down, Milo. If you don’t like it, too goddamn bad.” I stepped up into his face, ready to just slit the asshole’s throat and be done with it. “Stop talking, stop thinking, stop fucking doing anything but what I tell you, got it?”

  I held his furious brown glare. Milo’s nostrils flared and the muscles in his cheeks pulsed, but he backed down.

  “Yes, Boss.”

  Halle-fucking-lujah!

  We entered the dark building and wound our way through a few turns until the hallway opened into a large, well-lit structure. I scanned the space and recognized my men, all of them, standing along one wall, shooting hostile looks across the way.

  On the opposite side of the room stood an almost equal amount of men, just as intimidating and untrusting as my guys. I only knew a few of the faces. One in particular stood out.

  He nodded his head toward a door at the back of the room. I returned the gesture and followed the man as he strode with confidence toward the door. Using caution, I slipped my hand into my waistband, ready to pull my nine mil if the guy tried anything funny. He opened the door and stepped aside so I could check it out.

  The room was empty.

  I dropped my hand back to my side. “After you,” I said, gesturing for my guest to go first.

  He grinned and the skin around his light eyes crinkled.

  “Always so careful,” he said with a hint of amusement. “Smart man.” He entered the room and I closed the door behind us.

  We stood on opposite sides, silently assessing each other. It had been a long time since I’d last seen the man. He hadn’t changed much. Still tall, though a few inches shorter than me, his dark auburn hair clipped military short. He wore a crisp suit and I easily spotted the bulge of his weapon under his left arm.

  “So, Boss. Long time, eh?”

  “Yes. It has been a long time, Brick.”

  “Let’s not beat around the bush then,” Brick said. “You wanted my help, I delivered.”

  “You did,” I agreed.

  He stepped forward, pulled out a chair from a small table, and sat. With his hands folded on top of the worn surface, Brick smirked.

  “Have a seat, my friend. Let’s make this deal.”

  I dropped into the other chair and nodded. “You will get everything I promised, Brick. When I get her back, alive.”

  “Those were the terms,” he acknowledged. “But I want the announcement made before we leave.”

  My mouth dropped open. “If we do that, my men may not go along with this.”

  Brick shrugged. “Anyone who doesn’t, will get a bullet to the head.”

  I ground my teeth together. “They’re all armed, Brick. Do you want them shooting each other instead of Cuchillo’s men?”

  He unclasped his hands and rubbed his fingers over his clean-shaven chin. “No. You’re right. We’ll compromise.”

  I folded my arms across my chest. “How?”

  “We will only tell our top man, the one closest to you. Then there will be knowledge of the deal, and should one of us not make it out alive, it can still be completed.”

 
; “As long as Miri is recovered. And…” I leaned over the table. “If anything happens to me, she is to be given a set amount of money and allowed to leave the state, unharmed.”

  Brick watched me with his intelligent eyes. The Houston boss was not a stupid man. “Agreed,” he said.

  I stood and held my hand out. “Then let’s get our men in here so we can finish this and go.”

  Brick grinned and clasped my hand in his, shaking firmly.

  “Yes, let’s. I’m looking forward to this. I’ve wanted to take the little prick out for a long time.”

  “Me too.” I clapped the man on the shoulder. “Me too.”

  Miri

  The time had come.

  Cat was fairly lucid. I was battered and bruised from head to toe, but was afraid if we didn’t try to escape now, at the rate the bastard was beating me, I’d be physically unable to make any sort of attempt in another day or two, max. Our plan sucked, but it was the best we could do with what we had at our disposal. The window wasn’t an option. When I first got here, Cat told me she tried and they were reinforced and unbreakable. That meant we either had to go through the men we heard from time to time outside our room, or find another way out. Luckily, I found that way.

  El Cuchillo’s massive ego was going to be our salvation.

  I went into the bathroom and turned the shower on to cover any noise we made in case they were listening in, which I didn’t really think they were since I hadn’t found a single thing in the room. Like I said, massive fucking ego. No cameras either. The prick was so confident we weren’t going anywhere he didn’t bother putting a permanent guard on the door or any eyes or ears in the room.

  “Cat,” I whispered. She looked up from where she lay on the bed.

  “What?”

  I grabbed a couple pillows and motioned for her to join me in the bathroom.

  “It’s time.” Cat’s eyes widened and she began to tremble.

 
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