Jagger broken doll book.., p.8
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       Jagger (Broken Doll Book 2), p.8

           Heather C. Leigh
 
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  “We need our men to search the perimeter, check the ground. God, Miri could be passed out somewhere, injured… shit.” My voice got progressively louder and my words came tumbling out in a rush. Brick grabbed me by the shoulders and gave me a rough shake.

  “Lower your voice,” he growled. “Unless you want Los Guerreros to know we’re here.” Scowling, I jerked out of his hold, but nodded in agreement. Of course he was right. It was imperative, now more than ever, that I remained calm. I was no good to Miri if I didn’t think every step through before taking action. Running on emotions would only get my people killed and further endanger Miri. “My men are searching, they are contacting your men to do the same,” Brick said.

  “Good. Thank you for that.” I huffed out a relieved breath. “Now what?”

  “Now, my friend, we wait to see if they find your woman anywhere on the grounds. If not, we go in.”

  Brick was so casual, so calm, he made it sound as if it were no big deal to storm a rival boss’s home—a home filled with trained men and dozens of weapons—and grab my girl without everything going to shit. Fuck. My hands twitched, itching to do something, to kill someone, to make someone pay for Miri’s suffering and now on top of that, the suffering of her friend.

  “I told my men to quietly kill anyone who comes close to the perimeter,” I said to Brick. “It will cut down on the number of armed men we have to go through to take the house.”

  “I agree.” Brick snapped his fingers. “Eric?” One of the men in the huddle broke off and joined us. Tall with jet-black hair and massive muscles, I recognized the guy from the earlier meeting on neutral ground. He was Brick’s second in command, his underboss. “Let everyone know to quietly, and I mean quietly, take out any Los Guerreros that venture near the edge of the property. But not if it will alert anyone to our presence. And Eric, keep one or two alive for questioning.”

  I grinned at Brick’s last order.

  Great fucking minds think alike.

  Miri

  I woke to a dry, hoarse hacking fit that sent unending waves of pain across every single square inch of my body. My throat hurt and I could hardly swallow because that fucking bastard El Cuchillo choked me so hard… last night? Earlier today? I had no clue what time or day it was. The light in the room was low, but bright enough that it took a minute or two for my eyes to adjust. Once they did, all hope was extinguished like a dying flame.

  I was back in the torture room. Not tied to the chair, though. No, this time, I was bound to a flat surface—a table or a bar top if I had to guess. I knew I should test my restraints to see if I could get out, but what was the point? I hardly had the strength to keep my eyes open, let alone break free of any kind of ties or chains. Instead, I closed my eyes and waited for everything to end. Preferably soon.

  In the distance, I heard doors banging open and closed. Every once in a while, the eerie quiet was interrupted by quick bursts of guttural Spanish before it fell silent again. Something was happening. Something not related to my escape attempt, I just didn’t know what. The corner of my mouth pulled into a tiny smirk. Maybe Cat got away and they were freaking out over it. Maybe she was sending the police.

  I immediately squelched that idea. There was no more room in my heart for hope. It had gotten me far, kept me going long enough to withstand the daily beatings, the rapes, and the horrific amount of pain inflicted. It helped me formulate a plan to escape, and hopefully, for Cat to get free. But I was done with hope. I was going to die here. It was merely a matter of how and when. The sooner I resigned myself to that fact, the easier it would be to let go—of Jag, of a future, of Cat, of a life that would never be.

  A single tear trickled down my cheek. I wanted to wipe it away so my captors wouldn’t get the satisfaction of seeing me break down, but with both hands bound above my head and tied to something sturdy, the tear would have to remain where it was. I must have dozed off again because I didn’t realize anyone else was in the room until the hard slap landed on my face. Stars exploded behind my eyes and my teeth rattled from the force of the blow.

  “Wake up, puta. It is time.”

  El Cuchillo.

  He slapped me again and my head snapped to the side, my brain rocking inside my skull.

  Bastard. I clenched my teeth and curled my hands into fists.

  Not wanting him to see my fear, I kept my eyes squeezed shut in defiance. There might be no hope for me to get out of here, but I’d be damned if I was going down without a fight. He unleashed on me again, this time with his fists on my tender ribs. I yelped as fire spread from my side, making it difficult to breathe. Still I kept my eyes squeezed tight.

  “I can keep this up all night, stupid cunt,” he growled.

  When I ignored him again, El Cuchillo cursed under his breath. It was clear my lack of crying and pleading was getting to him. He was probably used to meek, cowering women, terrorized and huddled at his feet, begging for mercy. I huffed a dry laugh.

  Meek and cowering? Not this girl. Not in a long time. Not since Jag brought me back from the brink of death.

  “Raoul, traerme mi cuchillo.”

  That got my attention. I stiffened and opened my eyes to glance over at Cuchillo, the one man I despised more than any other. The word cuchillo meant knife. I knew the translation simply because of Jag’s references to the sick bastard’s name. I asked and he explained the meaning behind the San Antonio drug lord’s title. Besides, the knife tattoo every single man in the house proudly wore on his forearm was pretty much a dead giveaway.

  El Cuchillo was going to cut me. Apparently, he earned his name for a reason.

  Chills shot down my spine. My raw, ragged throat tightened and my pulse roared in my foggy head. As much as I didn’t want to show weakness, I wasn’t sure I could remain strong if El Cuchillo began cutting me. Nerves attacked my stomach, twisting it into knots, nausea welling up fast. Terror caused me to tremble from head to toe. I was freezing, yet sweat collected between my shoulder blades, making the flat surface beneath my body slick.

  My lip quivered when Raoul handed a long, shiny blade over my bound and prone figure to his boss’s outstretched hand. There was no doubt Cuchillo did it on purpose to instill fear in me. To allow the victim to see the deadly weapon before it was used on her flesh. To put gruesome visions in my head so my mind would break before he even got started.

  He wanted me afraid.

  He wanted me to beg.

  He wanted me broken. Destroyed. Ruined.

  All so he could film the horrors inflicted on me and send the video to Jag. To break the powerful Boss and bring him to his knees.

  El Cuchillo was so wrong. Boss wouldn’t break. He would gather all of that rage and use it. He would bring his wrath down upon every single man in this house and then some. Jag wouldn’t stop until he had his bloody revenge.

  The rust-skinned man with the dead, black eyes leaned over my face and grinned. He ran the back of the knife against his cheek, the metal scraping loudly on his unshaven face. Without saying a word, Cuchillo made several lightning quick slices and I gasped. The fabric covering my body slid away, leaving me bare.

  “Raoul, puedes irte.”

  Raoul slipped out of the room, leaving me alone with my worst nightmare.

  “So much perfect, supple flesh,” he murmured. The creepy bastard dragged the tip of the blade from my collarbone, between my breasts, and down my abdomen. The pressure wasn’t enough to break the skin, but it was enough to scare me shitless.

  I bit back a whimper and inhaled a shaky breath, concentrating on not moving a single muscle around the knife point.

  “Where to start.” His greedy eyes flicked up and down my body as he hummed a song. The sick excitement reflected those lifeless pits had me swallowing back the urge to throw up.

  Cuchillo’s gaze locked on mine. I held his stare despite my internal voice screaming for me to turn my head and look away from the monster.

  “Let’s improvise, shall we?”

 
With the first touch of blade on skin, every intention I had to remain strong fell apart—and I screamed.

  7

  Jag

  “Shade, tell me what’s going on.” I paced next to my car like a caged tiger, my phone to my ear, waiting impatiently for my employee to respond.

  “Nothing, Boss. None of Los Guerreros have come close enough to our location to dispose of them without alerting the entire compound.”

  “Son of a bitch!”

  Calm the fuck down, Jag.

  After taking a deep breath, I explained to Shade about finding Miri’s friend and what she knew about Miri.

  “So either we need to move soon, Boss, or we wait for Los Guerreros to extend their search perimeter out,” Shade said.

  “Exactly. I’d like to take some of them down before going in. We’ll be sitting ducks running across the flat expanse of lawn with all of those armed men outside.”

  I could hear Shade quietly discussing options with Milo. He returned to the phone.

  “Boss,” Shade began. “We’re in a fairly concealed corner of the yard. If you want, we can take out the closest ones and pull them into the brush.”

  “You’d have to do it quietly,” I replied. “No guns.” I reminded him.

  Despite Hollywood’s glamorous, and totally inaccurate, representation, silencers—or more accurately, suppressors—didn't remove all sound from a gunshot. They muffled the loud pop, but there was still a pretty noticeable click when the trigger was pulled, plus a decent bang when the bullet left the chamber of the gun. So, not silent by any means. My men knew that no guns equaled slitting throats and close quarters combat. The victim would die almost instantly and wouldn’t be able to scream for help. Messy, but effective.

  “Got it, Boss.” Shade hung up.

  I relayed my instructions to Brick.

  “I agree. Taking out the perimeter men, ones who aren’t in direct sight of the others, is a good idea.” Again, Brick called his second in command. “Eric, tell everyone if they can grab any man who is out of sight of the others, to do so. Hand to hand only.”

  “Yes sir.” Eric hurried off to relay his boss’s orders.

  I went to pull out my KA-BAR, ready to search for men to kill, but Brick stopped me with a hand to my arm.

  “We need you alive to get the girl. You must stay here until we can storm the house.”

  The thought of sitting on the sidelines, doing nothing, had me seeing red. My fingers flexed, tightening on my weapon. Rage flared throughout my body, snapping and crackling as the flames grew, my anger seeking a release. “What I need is to kill some of the motherfuckers who touched my girl.” Brick didn’t so much as flinch when I shot him a murderous glare.

  “I understand, my friend. But I want this deal to go through, and for that, I need you and your woman alive. We have soldiers for a reason. You need to trust them to do the work.”

  I growled under my breath, so frustrated I wanted to take my knife and plunge it into someone, anyone. The seven-inch carbon steel blade in my hand didn’t help rein in my anger. Instead, it fed my lust for blood and death.

  “It will all work out,” Brick said.

  I glanced at the man I was depending on to pull this off. Without his help, I wouldn’t get Miri back. Hell, I wouldn’t even be here. Besides, we did make a deal. Brick would be a very wealthy and powerful man if Miri came out alive, so he had no reason to talk bullshit. He wanted her almost as much as I did, for very different reasons.

  I tilted my head back and stared at the stars, brilliant across the sky without the light pollution of a major city nearby. Breathing in and out, my only focus was to calm the hell down and think rationally.

  “I’m good,” I told him once the red haze cleared. Brick lifted an eyebrow and I huffed. “Really, I’m good.” I slid the knife back into its sheath. “I just need our men to hurry the fuck up and slit some fucking throats.”

  Brick grinned and clapped me on the shoulder.

  “That is something we can make happen.”

  Thirty minutes later we heard back from most of the teams spread around the mansion. Thirteen Los Guerreros down, and according to our own count and that of our men, there were nine left wandering the property, still looking for Miri’s friend. I had no doubt Miri was back inside El Cuchillo’s house. Between Brick and myself, over sixty men scoured the perimeter and didn’t find a single trace of her anywhere.

  “I vote we move on the remaining men,” I whispered to Brick. We took turns looking through his pair of military-grade binoculars. “There aren’t many men left and we don’t want them going into the house. Inside, they’ll have the advantage of knowing the layout. Out here, they’re easy targets.”

  Brick nodded and took his binoculars from me, studying the yard. “I agree. We know there are cameras on each corner of the house and by the front door. Our men are wearing dark clothing. They can stay undetected on the cameras and as they kill each target, one of our men will use the flashlight and pretend to be a Los Guerreros searching the grounds. The other will drag the body out of sight.”

  “I’ll call my second.” I moved a few steps away and dialed Shade. After four rings it went to voice mail. I tried again and got the same. “Fuck!” I tried Milo next and he answered on the third ring.

  “Boss…”

  Milo sounded out of breath, which made the hairs at the back of my neck stand up.

  “Milo? What’s going on? Where’s Shade?”

  “They… one of ’em got him, Boss… He’s dead.” It sounded as if Milo had just run a marathon.

  “What?” My head reeled with the information. Shade was set to take Milo’s place as my second in command after this operation was done.

  “I got the guy who did it… but…” Milo gasped for air.

  “Where are you?” I demanded.

  “I’m somewhere in the outskirts of this fucking hellhole,” he snapped. “I don’t know. After Shade, I killed the bastard… and dragged Shade away so they couldn’t get his body.”

  “Son of a bitch,” I ran my free hand through my hair. “Can you make it back to the meeting point?”

  “I don’t know where the fuck I am, Boss.”

  “Shit. Okay. We’re going in very soon. Can you make your way to the perimeter of the compound?”

  “Yeah,” Milo said. “I think so. I see the lights.”

  The ground was really flat, but with scrub trees growing everywhere, Milo might not have been able to find the hideous mansion if he was deep enough in one of the clusters of dense foliage.

  “Good. Go to the perimeter. I’ll call you when we go in.”

  “Okay, Boss. On my way.”

  I hung up and rubbed my forehead. Shade. Jesus Christ.

  “What happened?” Brick asked, concern written into his features.

  “Shade is dead.”

  Brick stood still, allowing me a minute to grieve my friend. I wasn’t stupid though. Brick was going to gain a hell of a lot if we pulled this off, and he was in no way a sympathetic man. He was a drug lord, a cartel boss, a criminal, just like me. This was business to him. A mere transaction. He didn’t stand to lose everything he cared about.

  “Fuck this,” I growled. “We’ve waited long enough.” I glance over at Miri’s friend, still unconscious on the ground. Done with the bullshit, I bent over and pulled out my KA-BAR. “I’m going in.”

  Miri

  “You are very tough, no?” El Cuchillo laughed and twirled the bloody knife in his hand.

  I panted, my naked chest heaving up and down as I struggled to keep quiet. I might scream. I might cry. I might shout until my voice disappeared, but I would not give this prick the satisfaction of begging him to stop.

  “You ever wonder why you didn’t get any drugs like your friend? Hmmm” I didn’t know if he expected me to answer the question, so I remained silent. “Do you know what adjuste de cuentas means, puta?” Apparently he wanted an answer, because the knife point pressed against the cartilage benea
th the thin skin of my throat.

  “N-no,” I whispered, holding my breath to prevent the blade from sliding into my windpipe. Drowning to death on my own blood didn’t sound like a very good way to die.

  But the torture would end.

  As much as I wanted the pain to stop, I held out hope. Cat got away, I heard Raoul tell El Cuchillo earlier. I might not know a lot of Spanish, but the tantrum the little prick threw said more than words.

  “Ahhh let me give you una educación.”

  He circled the table, moving around my head to the other side, the point of the knife never leaving its spot on my throat. The pressure was just enough that I didn’t dare swallow. I felt something warm and wet drip down the side of my neck and knew he’d pierced the skin. My body was covered in similar cuts. There wasn’t a single part of me that didn’t burn like I was dipped in kerosene and lit on fire. I couldn’t even distinguish the bullet graze on my calf from the other injuries.

  “Adjuste de cuentas. It means to settle a score. To get revenge.” He stopped and removed the knife. I swallowed gratefully and gulped down air while I could. The drug lord bent over the table, his dark, hollow eyes scanning my ruined skin. He moved so quickly I didn’t see the flick of the blade until I felt the flesh on my hip split open. I whimpered and bit my tongue, again, to muffle my screams. “Your Boss, your lover,” Cuchillo hissed, “cost me a lot of money. He was stupid to turn down my offer to go into business together. Now he will pay.” He stood straight and pointed at me with the knife. “I will take my payment from you. If I gave you heroin, you wouldn’t feel my knife, puta barata.” He made a face and spit on the ground. “It’s why I won’t fuck you. You are dirty, Boss’s cheap whore.”

  “Fuck you. And I should thank you for not fucking me with your tiny, useless prick,” I rasped. “Just kill me, asshole. I don’t give a shit about your revenge.”

  El Cuchillo froze and the two dark pits beneath shadowed brows made me shiver. “You little cunt. Tiny prick? I should fuck you with my knife.” His lip curled and he moved closer, raising the blade above me. I closed my eyes and steeled myself for the blow that would hopefully end my life.

 
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