Last Breath

Last Breath

Synopsis:

Regan

I never really knew what misery was until the day I was kidnapped and sold for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two months later, I’m at a brothel in Rio when I meet Daniel Hays. He says he’s here to save me, but can I trust him? All I know of him are his sarcastic retorts and his tendency to solve every dispute with his gun. He’s also the only safe thing in my world, and I know it’s wrong to fall in love with him, but I can’t seem to help myself. He says he’ll protect me until his last breath but I don’t know if I should believe him or even if I can.

Daniel

For the last eighteen months, I’ve had one goal: to find my kidnapped sister. I’ve left the Army, turned paid hit man, and have befriended criminals all across the globe. In every brothel I raid or every human trafficking truck I stop, her face is the one I’m desperate to see. In Rio, I find Regan Porter, bruised but not broken and still sane despite her weeks in hell. I should leave her behind or send her home because the last thing either of us needs is to get involved. But with every passing minute, I find I can’t let her go.

 

Excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE
REGAN
The man above me pushes into me with a grunt, his weight heavy on my back. I stare at the wall and think of zombies and play a mental alphabet game. I’m a horror movie aficionado, but I can’t recall if there are any zombie movies that begin with the letter A. Attack of the Living Dead, maybe? It’s a probable title, but I might be making it up.
The man fucking me squeezes my ass and bites out something in a foreign language. Portuguese, maybe. I ignore him and mentally continue sorting through my list of zombie movies. There’s Dawn of the Dead, of course. Night of the Living Dead. Shaun of the Dead. Land of the Dead. But I can’t think of a single movie that begins with A. Arrival of the Dead? Anarchy of the Dead? Surely someone’s had a movie called Arrival of the Dead, haven’t they? Pretty sure there’s a Return of the Living Dead out there, so if they’re returning, they have to arrive at some point. Right?
Someone should really get on to the whole A title thing. I shift my hands on the floor, thinking. Okay, now I can’t think of anything with the letter B, either. Jeez. I suck at this game.
The customer squeezes my hips painfully, drawing my attention back to him. “Cadela,” he snarls out, smacking my skin hard enough to sting as he drives into me again. He’s deliberately trying to hurt me, but in the last few weeks, I’ve become amazingly good at tuning men out.
At least from this angle. When they shove their rubber-covered dicks into my mouth, it’s harder to push the world out and keep my mental narrative running. That’s usually why I bite. Most have learned not to stick their dick in the American girl’s mouth because she’s a biter, but occasionally, I have to remind them.
The man shoots an angry stream of words at the back of my head and pulls on my hair, but I still ignore him because I know it will piss him off. The men that buy my time want a girl that struggles. One that weeps and cries. Pussy is a dime a dozen in Rio, or so I am told by the brothel madam, but fucking a captive American girl that will fight you and weep? That is something special, and they pay extra for that.
And because they do pay extra, I do my best to ignore them, even when they’re hurting me.
He saws into me, slamming his body into mine so roughly I tumble to the thin, dirty mattress that has been my home for the last few weeks—ever since I went to sleep in Russia and woke up here in Rio, nursing a hangover from shitty roofies. Now my owners speak Portuguese instead of Russian, but they still chain my ankle to the wall so I can’t escape.
Some things don’t change.
Grimly, I press my cheek to the mattress and let him pound into me, ignoring the hand tangled in my hair that pulls a little too hard. He wants me to cry and weep and beg for mercy, so I won’t give him the satisfaction. I go back to my mental game instead. Where was I? B? Oh wait, Bride of Re-Animator. That’s a B movie for sure. I move on to C. C is an easy one. Children of the Living Dead. D is easy, too—
The man pulls out of me and drags me up by my hair, shouting at me now. He wants my attention, and I’m not giving it to him. When he pulls me up to his face, screaming, I give him a thin, pained smile and shoot him the bird. Fuck you, I think.You’re not getting tears from me.
I cried a lot in the beginning. I never understood what was happening, really. What I had done to somehow get kidnapped and sold like I was nothing.
All I knew was that I’d driven my roommate Daisy to work one afternoon and I’d settled down to study. I’d borrowed her phone because mine was lost, and I had it on me. Daisy was supposed to call me when she was ready to leave work.
An hour after I dropped her off, two men had showed up at the door. Two tall, frightening strangers in suits with cold eyes. One was blond and enormous, and the other one was slim and ugly. They both had thick Eastern European accents, and I immediately regretted opening the apartment door. By then, it was too late. They’d forced themselves into the apartment, bound and gagged me, and then dragged me into their car. Thirty minutes later, we went to the gas station where Daisy worked and they grabbed her, too.
Later, I was told that Daisy’s boyfriend was mixed up with the wrong people, and that was why she had been taken.
Me? I had been taken because I had Daisy’s phone . . . and because I had a pretty mouth.
Daisy and I were hauled onto a private plane, and before long, I was dragged in the back and raped by the ugly one. Yury. I fought him a little, but he drugged me into a stupor. I guess he didn’t care if his girls struggled or not.
That was about all I remembered. Then, two days later, I came out of the drugged stupor and realized that I was sore all over from Yury’s attentions. I was in a small hotel room, and I was alone with one of Yury’s new friends, who also raped me.
I loathed myself for letting him do such horrible things to me. I wasn’t a virgin, but I wasn’t all that experienced when it came to sex. I’d had sex with my boyfriend, Mike, but no one else. Now here I was, having sex with two men against my will.
Yury never came back. His friend did, though. And after he raped me again, he put a bag over my head, shoved me into a car, and drugged me. It seemed that I had been stolen twice now. Once from the States and now this man was stealing me from my original kidnappers. The shit just kept piling on around here.
The next thing I knew, I’d woken up in a Russian brothel, chained to a wall.
I was terrified, not only for myself, but for poor Daisy, too, who was utterly sheltered and innocent. She was somewhere out there, likely living through the same hell that I was. She could be dead, even.
In the beginning, I told myself that someone would find us. That Regan Porter, all-American college student from Minnesota, couldn’t fall off the face of the earth and not have someone looking for her. Not the girl who once thought her biggest fear was driving into a deer in the middle of the night.
Finding me and Daisy would take time, I told myself. The police were bound to come looking for a pair of American girls that vanished, weren’t they? My boyfriend Mike wouldn’t give up on me. Neither would my family and friends.
So I clung to hope.
I cried all the time the first week in the brothel, and I hoped. I cried every time a man touched me; each rape felt like it was the first one. I cried every night, biting down on my knuckles to stifle my sobs. And I fought back when they touched me because if I gave in, it wasn’t rape, right?

I stopped crying once I realized two things.

I realized no one would be coming. No Daisy. No Mike. No one. They left me here to rot. I had vanished and no one would find me, ever.
I realized, too, that the men that paid to fuck me? They liked it when I cried and fought. They got off on that just as much as they got off on shoving their dicks inside me.
After that, I learned to mask my emotions a bit more. I learned to mentally shut out what men were doing to my body, protecting my mind. They could have my body all they wanted, but that would be all I would give them. So I distracted myself. I rewrote horror movies in my head. I recast roles of my favorite films, switching out actors and actresses and replaying scenarios in my mind. I made up games, like the alphabet one, naming films I had seen and characters from B movies.
I did everything I could to distance myself from what was happening to my body.
Eventually, it wasn’t so bad. I guess. If I didn’t pay attention, I wouldn’t remember faces. Wouldn’t remember men slapping me in the face and yelling for me to put up more of a struggle. I almost forgot that my ankle was chained to a beam in the wall and that I was a prisoner. I lived inside my head.
And I don’t let myself think about the men. They are nothing to me.
If they like fighters, I don’t give them a reason to be rough. The new Regan won’t fight. Won’t even pay attention.
Sometimes, though, they are tougher to tune out. Like now.
The man grabs my hair and drags me to my knees, yelling obscenities in my face. He slaps me across the mouth, and I taste blood.
I want to claw his eyes out, but he’d like that too much. He wants me to fight. I am always at a disadvantage when it comes to these men. If I fought, I’d end up with my cheek pressed to the wall as they raped me harder than before. Fighting is never the answer.
Usually.
The man leans in, his face ugly and lined from too much time in the sun. His brows are thick, and he smells sweaty. “You,” he says in halting English. “Eat my dick.”
“Didn’t they tell you?” I say. “I bite.” And I click my teeth. I’d bitten two men before they got the idea and started warning clients. “Your loss.”
The man gives me an ugly grin and reaches behind him. He pulls a gun out, cocks the hammer, and holds it to my temple.
My breath hisses out of my lungs in terror.
He’s not supposed to have a gun in here. He’s not supposed to have a gun, and I’m not supposed to get damaged by the customers. Of course, it’s a bit too late for anyone to argue.
“You scared now?” he asks. “Eat my dick. No bite. I paid good money.” And he pushes the gun against my temple, harder. His hand twists in my hair and drags my face downward.
I still want to live. The tears I hate pool in my eyes and stream down my cheeks. “Please don’t kill me.”
His smile grows broader, and he directs my face toward his condom-sheathed dick again.
I don’t fight.
•   •   •
After he is gone, I vomit the contents of my stomach into my piss bucket and curl up on my mattress, staring at the wall and crying. I always cry after they leave. It’s my release. I try to think of zombie movies—I never got past D earlier—but my mind is in shock at the moment. The gun flashes through my mind, and I swallow hard, thinking of the click of the hammer.

Swallowing reminds me of his taste, the mix of sweat and latex that seems burned in the back of my mind, and I lunge for my bucket again.

Someone comes to the door a few minutes after I finish puking for a second time. A knock and then the door cracks open. “Regan?”
It is one of the workers here. Alma. She’s nice to me. I sit upright, pushing my hair out of my face. “Hi.”
She looks around anxiously, then smooths her gray maid’s uniform. She wears it every day, and it, along with her nervous demeanor, tells me that she only works here in a cleaning capacity. “Senhor Gomes sent me. He says you will see a very special friend of his after you clean up.”
“Oh goody,” I say in a flat voice. I know what that means. It’s the man that I see even in my nightmares.
I don’t know his name, but I first saw him in Russia. I’d been at the brothel for a few weeks and was still working on tuning out my “clients” when I’d met Mr. Freeze.
Mr. Freeze was different.
At first, I was excited to see him when he came in the room. He looked American and, better yet, spoke with a nasally accent I attributed to New England. If he was American, he was here to save me, right? The fact that he was pale, ice-blond, and remote-seeming didn’t bug me. Nor did the fact that he was wearing such an expensive suit and was followed by a rather frightening bodyguard with a massive form and hooded eyes. I didn’t care who he was hanging around with as long as he got me out of here.
He’d entered my room, a flicker of interest in his eyes as he regarded me from my place huddled in the corner. “Stand up so I can look at you.”
My heart had sunk all over again. Those weren’t the words of a man who was here to save me.
So I’d ignored him. Scared or not, I wasn’t performing tricks for any man.
It had been a mistake. The bruiser had immediately charged forward, grabbing me by my hair and hauling me to my feet. I’d screamed, but no one came running to see what was wrong. No one cared what happened to me when Freeze had me.
I soon learned that no one approached Mr. Freeze. Everyone was terrified of him.
He dragged on plastic surgical gloves and then proceeded to examine me like a racehorse. As his bodyguard held me upright, his hand moved down my legs, checked my thighs, my pussy, my ribs, and my breasts. And then he made me open my mouth. To my surprise, he pulled out a flashlight and examined my teeth.
“Are these your real teeth?” he asked me. “Do you brush twice a day? And shower?”
“Fuck off.”
He slapped my face and grabbed my chin, careless of the blood dribbling from my split lip. “Answer me.”
I didn’t answer. I tried to bite him instead.
He slapped me again, and this time it left me reeling. “Answer me. Do they shave you or have you had laser treatments?” He lifted my arm and examined my armpit, then bent to study my pubic hair again. “Natural blonde. That’s good.”
It was like I wasn’t a real person to him. I was a doll he was checking out to purchase. Or a car. “You want to kick my tires before you take my ass around the block?”
He pulled back and gave me a look so cold that I knew immediately that I’d made a mistake. Now I was dead.
It had been a good run . . . for a while anyhow.
But Freeze only looked at his bodyguard and nodded, and the man released me. I sank to the floor and wrapped my arms around my body, waiting for the inevitable rape.
It didn’t come. Freeze and his guard talked for a long minute in Russian, the words sounding strange in his mouth, though I noticed that no one dared to correct his pronunciation. Then the bodyguard left, and Mr. Freeze stared at me with those cold eyes, watching me.
The Russian housemother came into the room a few minutes later with the bodyguard, and she was clearly nervous.
“This one,” Mr. Freeze said in English. “I like her. I will take her.”
“Fuck you,” I spat from my corner of the room. He wasn’t here to save me at all. He was here to fucking groom me. What an asshole.
“Very well,” the housemother said. “You know her price.”
“It is a rather high price for one that bites,” he said in a chilling voice. “She nearly took off my finger.”
The housemother stopped in place, and then she shot me a killing look. I was going to be punished, I knew it.
“You know how I like my girls,” he told her. They’re still speaking in English, which means he wants me to hear this. “Clean and broken. This one is not clean, nor is she broken.”
“We will keep her clean.”
“And?” He waited.
“I know where we can send her,” the housemother said quickly. “Give Senhor Gomes a month and he will have her gentle as a kitten.”
“A month,” he agreed. “Until then, I want you to have her brush her teeth three times a day. Vitamin supplements with her food. Bathe her daily and make sure someone shaves her twice a week. No hitting her in the face. Condoms for every client. And no drugs. Not even if she asks for them.”
The housemother nodded.
Mr. Freeze got back to his feet and left the room. “I will return to check on her.”
I figured out after that night that Freeze had a blonde fetish of some kind and he liked me. Lucky, lucky me.
He returned once more while I was in Russia, checking my teeth and body andtsking when I tried to bite the fingers he put in my mouth.
The next week, though, everything changed. After three weeks in the brothel in Russia, men came after me with needles full of drugs and a sack they shoved over my face. I’d been terrified, thinking that I’d outlived my usefulness as everyone’s favorite captive American pussy, and now they were going to kill me.
I’d fought, but they’d drugged me before I knew what was happening.
When I woke up, I was in my current room, my ankle chain locked to a new wall, and a dirty mattress in the corner for me. The room was no bigger than a walk-in closet, with a cracked tile floor that slanted toward a drain at the far end of the room and a nice corner bucket for me to shit and piss in. An industrial-sized box of condoms was set at the foot of the bed. There were cracks in the ceiling and no windows. I hadn’t seen the sun in weeks. I wondered if I’d ever see it again.
My new owners had given me clothing, though—an American flag string bikini covered in beads and itchy sequins. And they talked loudly in a different language. By listening at my door, I figured out that I was now in Rio de Janeiro.
And the Rio brothel was run by Senhor Gomes. I remembered that name—Freeze had mentioned it.
Being Freeze’s new little plaything had apparently gotten me sent here to Rio. But captive blond American pussy was as hot in Rio, and neither Gomes nor Freeze cared who fucked me as long as they didn’t mess me up.
Freeze has visited me once while I’ve been in Rio. I bit and fought and spit in his face. It was like he didn’t notice, though. He simply watched me with those cold eyes, checked my teeth, insisted that they wax my eyebrows into shape, and left.
He’d wait for me to be broken.
The customers in Rio are no different than the Russian customers. They like to rough a fighter up. They like to hit and smack around a girl before they fuck her. I’m sure there are nice men out in the world that just want to screw and cuddle, but that’s not who come to the whorehouse of Senhor Gomes. They’re here because they like to be rough with girls, and I’m here because Freeze wants to break me. But I’m not broken yet.
I sit upright, and Alma comes to me with a towel and a shower cap. We’ve fallen into habit already, and I move to the corner of the room, above the drain and as far as the chain will let me go. Today isn’t shaving day, so I pull my hair into the shower cap and she turns on a water hose that is connected to the sink in the room. She hoses me down like an animal, and I feel a little more of my humanity die with this ritual.
Paying customers don’t want to touch a dirty whore. Everyone uses condoms, not just because Freeze says so, but because they don’t want to catch anything I might have. Fuckers.
Once my awful shower is done, I towel off, trying to ignore the fact that the towel smells like someone else’s perfume. I don’t want to think about how many other whores have used it before me. I let down my hair, and she hands me my American flag bikini again. It’s faded and grimy, but I never get to wear it for long.
Then, I’m given a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, and I brush my teeth obligingly, then spit into the grate. Ironic that now I get to spit instead of swallow.
Alma gives me an apologetic smile and grabs the towel, refolds it, and leaves the room quietly.
I curl up on the mattress, hugging my legs to my chest, and wait. There will be another man soon enough, and then Freeze, so I enjoy the moment of silence while I can. My lip hurts, a bit puffy from where the last man hit me, and I touch it with my fingertips, wincing.
Then, I lay my head back against the wall, thinking. My mind is filled with the gun and the man I was forced to service, and my stomach roils uncomfortably again. I swallow hard and force myself to think of zombie movies, instead. E. I don’t know what movies begin with E. This one will require some thought. Maybe something with Enemy in the title.
I ponder this for minutes, staring at nothing, when there is a knock at the door again. I get to my feet automatically. God, I hope it’s not the man with the gun again. I don’t think I could stomach seeing him twice in one night.
But when the door opens, it’s not Freeze.
The man that steps in is unexpected. He’s accompanied by Senhor Gomes, the master, a man I have only seen once but hear about all the time. Gomes looked me over when I arrived, and then left, as if I were an uninteresting piece of property.
The man with him is tall, good-looking, and wears a casual suit. He’s got nice brown hair, sharp eyes, and I can tell immediately from the cast of his features that he’s American.
What the fuck. Not again. Not another American jackass. It doesn’t matter if he’s American—he’s here to rape me like all the others before him. Except this time? I’ll know all the nasty, shitty words he yells into my ear.
And later, when he’s done with me and leaves, I’ll feel even dirtier because he’s only made things worse.
He looks me over, his gaze sliding to my star-spangled bikini, and I can’t help myself. “What’s the matter,” I ask, “international pussy not good enough for you?”

© 2014 Jen Frederick



Last Breath

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