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DESCRIPTIONThe Kremlin’s Sveltlana vows to break up a human trafficking ring and find her beloved Boris. She allows herself to be kidnapped, and then is tortured, repeatedly raped and degraded along with 2 dozen other women. If she can only find and save Boris... but where is he in the labyrinth of unspeakable horrors? Can she save herself from the unending cruelty before she gets sold?EXCERPTBound and helpless in the back of the van, my training takes over and I force myself to relax. I focus on the path we take as best I can, using the senses not denied me. The jostling of the undercarriage is rough against my skin. The thin clown costume offers little protection, but I am able to sense every bump in the road. Thus, I can tell when we pull off of smooth pavement and onto a gravel lane.My captors don't talk much. I get the feeling they're nervous. The little bits of fleeting conversation I do catch are all business; “Turn left.” “Don't go that way. There's a police checkpoint.” “Keep it on the double nickel, fellah.”I do catch one of their names, at least. Irish turns out to be named Miles. My ears prick up when I hear them discussing me.“She's a quiet one,” says the Latino.“Some of 'em are. Some of 'em scream their heads off and then you have the good ones, like this lass.”“Lass?” He snorts. “Her license says she's thirty-three. Wouldn't call that a lass.”“Bah, you're talking out your ass, Eduardo.” Funny, he doesn't look like an Eduardo. “She's got a lot of good years on her yet, and let me tell you....”I bite down hard on the towel in my mouth, fists clenched into fists as he laughs lasciviously.“...her poon tang pie is tight as a Jew's pocket and sweet as German chocolate cake! You know, I have a lot of furlough earned up. Might be that I trade it in for this lassie myself.”You, Mr. Miles, have just earned yourself a very painful death. It struck me as a bit ridiculous, trussed up and helpless as I was, to be making vows of vengeance, but doing it still made me feel better.“I wouldn't take one of these broads,” says Eduardo. “No way. They're all...weird and shit, once they get done with the training.”“Weird?” Miles chuckles derisively. “Compliant, you mean. Compliant and very, very horny.”“If you say so, Mr. Miles.”Miles is causing me some concern. It takes a certain type of man to ravish a woman in the middle of a street, one who crosses lines and doesn't even blink. There are many other things, vile things, he is likely capable of.
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Novel of lust, submission, and revenge
Published by Lot’s Cave
Kidnapped, Trained, and Mad as Hell, © 2015, by Kristine Lichtlider
All Rights Reserved
Cover by Moira Nelligar
All Characters In This Book Are Age 18 Or Older
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only and may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this ebook with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this ebook and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to the Lot’s Cave website and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
A Lot’s Cave Novel
My fingers are rapidly going numb, exposed to the chill wind as I use my hand to keep my long coat shut tight. It's been a long time since I've been in Moscow at winter, and it's just as cold as I remember. Maybe colder.
I can see the lights of the Kremlin in the distance, beautiful at night. The outside appearance doesn't even hint at the nest of vipers within. I savor my anger, because I'm frozen half to death and it helps keep me warm like a shot of vodka.
Not for the first time since I began my midnight sojourn, I wished for a car. The problem is my own vehicle is so obviously a government car that I can't use it. Not for this kind of work. No, the people I'll be seeing tonight would not respond well to government intrusion. I suppose it's for the best that this is a freelance gig, after a fashion.
I turn a corner and am blasted by a strong gust that threatens to tear the fabric from my hand. Stubbornly I hang onto it, and am able to make out my destination through the tears brought on by the frigid air. A tacky neon sign depicting a woman with bare breasts buzzes in the night. Stepping over what might be a passed out drunk or a dead drunk—it's hard to tell with an inch of snow over him—I arrive at the front door.
The doorman peers out of a tiny rectangle set high in the heavy steel door. One look at me and he's swinging it open wide. I'm not exactly dressed like a stripper, in my sturdy black khakis and turtleneck sweater, not to mention my sensible shoes, but what other kind of woman would be knocking on their door at this hour?
Indeed, he seems to have mistaken me for someone else, swaddled in winter clothes as I am.
“Dmitri wants you waiting tables until one, then you're set to go on stage,” he holds a hand out for my coat. Such a gentleman. Too bad I can't respond in kind.
As soon as my furry hat comes off my head, his eyes widen in surprise. His mouth opens, chest swells as he prepares to raise an alarm. Using the ridge of my left hand, I pop him once across the trachea. It's not hard enough to shatter his windpipe, but he won't be singing drinking songs for the rest of the night.
My knee crushes his testicles against his pelvis, and once he's doubled over from that attack I send him into unconsciousness with a knife hand chop across the back of his head. Stepping over a prone body for the second time that night, I enter the club itself.
The music's loud, a thudding bass that I can feel in my belly. Eyes turn toward me, mostly aglow with lecherous intent. I've been told that I'm beautiful, but of course a woman never really believes that. Just under six feet tall, I'm taller than most men when I'm in heels, with long blonde hair I keep in a braid most of the time. After I was done with my Spetznas training, I vowed never to cut it again. My features are considered fine, delicate even, with the pale white skin of my Lithuanian heritage. Add in the fact that I keep myself in quite good shape for a woman in her late thirties and I suppose I might be enticing to an inebriated individual.
I elbow my way past a couple of would-be suitors and belly up to the bar. The barkeep, a massive man built like a tree stump with legs, flicks his eyes over me. In an instant he deduces that I don't belong there.
He plays it cool, though.
“What's your poison, Tovarisch?” He says with a thick Croatian accent.
“Vodka, and a beer chaser,” I say, adding a smile. For the time being, I'll let him believe I am unaware I've been made.
“Come to Moscow often?” He asks, offering me a cigarette. I take it in my still-tingling fingers, noting the smooth, rich aroma. This pack probably cost more than a week's worth of kerosene. I lean forward and allow him to light it for me. The smoke drifts toward the ceiling, making lazy progress until it's caught in a draft from a vent. Then it's blown into oblivion.
“Not in the winter,” I say and we both laugh.
“You looking for work?” Of course, that would be a logical reason for me to be there, but I'm growing impatient. Also, I don't much care for strippers and don't want to pretend to be one even for a moment. Seriously, I have less respect for them than I do for hookers. At least the prostituki give you what you pay for.
“No,” I say, still smiling. I take a long drag on my cigarette, blow the smoke pointedly in his face, and lean on my elbows. “Actually, I'd kind of like to speak to Sikorski.”
He flinches as if I've slapped him. Even those denizens of Moscow who have the courage and the need to meet with a member of the mob wouldn't be so obvious about it. I've crossed a line, and will probably have to hurt people soon, but that's all right.
I hate mobsters more than I do strippers.
“Just a minute,” he says. Then he turns to a barmaid in a G-string and whispers in her ear. Wiping off his hands, he doffs his apron and comes around to my side of the bar. “I'll take you to him.”
Now I know I'm being set up. A long time ago, when I was just out of basic training, I remember learning how to make lighting quick assessments based on quick and subtle observation. Thus, I can tell by the way the barkeep swings his arms wide at his sides that he's wearing a gun at his belt. He doesn't seem nervous, which means he's either a real pro or he's underestimating me because I'm a woman. Ridges of scar tissue along his knuckles say he's not afraid to get into fisticuffs.
I follow him through a long, narrow hallway, shrouded in smoke. I can hear people coughing behind the curtains that line the hall, and smell the thick acrid smoke of their opiates. At the end of the hall is a set of double doors. He pushes them open, and then stands sideways so I can move past him.
The interior is posh, with thick blue carpets and matching velvet drapes. Four men sit around a highly polished table, playing American poker. They glance up at us, eyes narrow and cunning.
“Where's Sikorski?” I say, putting my chin in my hand thoughtfully, while I cradle my elbow with my other hand. It looks like a non-threatening, passive posture, but I can get my hands into guard position instantly if need be.
“Sikorski is a busy man,” says the barkeep. The doors thud shut, and the men carefully fold up their hands and lay them face down on the table. “How about if we keep you company a while, eh little princess?”
I can feel my eyes narrow. No one, and I mean no one, calls me princess.
Barkeep moves up behind me, clapping a hand on my shoulder. Without turning, I drop my hand to my side and grab his nutsack in a crushing grip. When one has cultivated power in one's hands that allow for the crushing of walnuts between thumb and forefinger—as I have—this is a most effective maneuver. I add a vicious twist and pull, then release him to crumple whimpering on the floor.
His fellows are up and moving, chairs hitting the carpet with muffled thuds. The first man to stretch his hand toward my throat ends up with a compound fracture of his thumb. Another rushes in behind him and I bend at the waist, allowing him to slam into my shoulder. I use his own momentum and straighten up, flipping him over my head to smash through a glass coffee table. It explodes into a thousand glittering crystal shards.
I take a pretty solid right cross to the jaw, but roll with it and somersault across the carpet. I angle my path so when I unfold to my feet I'm in the perfect position to crack the fourth card player with an uppercut to the chin that drops him cold.
The man who struck me manages to grab me, pinning my arms to my sides from behind. I snap my head back, relishing the wet crunch as his nose crumples like foil. His hands drop away, and I finish him off with a reverse crescent kick, snapping his head to the side.
The man with the broken thumb is in the best condition, so I drag him to his feet and slam him back first on the card table. Money and alcohol go spilling onto the carpet as I persuade him that silence isn't always golden.
In short order, he leads me up a twisting staircase to the top floor. My boot smashes the locked mahogany doors open, peppering the carpet with splinters.
Sikorsky looks up, and his eyes narrow in recognition. He puts a hand on the behemoth man's arm next to him, and the latter stops reaching for his pistol.
“Well, well, well,” he says, grinning though I can tell he's quite nervous. “Look what came in from the cold.”
“Mr. Sikorsky,” says the big man, looking back and forth between us, brow furrowed in confusion.
“It's all right, Viktor. She would only hurt you anyway.”
When Viktor looks dubious, Sikorsky laughs.
“You're in the presence of a living legend, Tovarisch. Meet Svetlana Breshnev, the only woman to ever earn the Maroon cap.”
Now Viktor is gawking. Earning the Maroon cap involves defending yourself—unarmed—from three determined attackers at the same time. Attackers who have had the same training as you, and—in my case—are much larger and stronger. I allow myself to feel a little pride and even smile.
“What brings you to Moscow, my dear?” Sikorsky takes a cigar out of a shiny silver case and neatly snicks off the end with a knife. The move is supposed to intimidate, but I can see how his hands shake. “Last I heard you were dealing with that little temper tantrum the Ukrainians are throwing.”
I resist the impulse to glower. Being taken off assignment was a sore spot for me. Yes, my mother was born in the Ukraine, but the Kremlin knows I'll do my duty. I always have, and I always will. You see, the rest of the world may think us boorish bullies, but the fact is they don't understand Russia or its people. The level of toughness, of grit, that even the most mild mannered of us develops requires a stern hand to rule over.
“I'm on a different assignment now,” I say, being bold enough to perch my bottom on his desk. “And I've been told you are just the man I need to see.”
Sikorsky takes a pull from the cigar and lets the smoke linger in his mouth. When he blows it out, I can see a cunning light in his eyes.
“So, what will it take this time?” He reaches in his desk and I am on my feet in an instant. Smiling, he moves much more slowly and allows me to see the item he withdraws: A large bundle of rubles held with a rubber band. “Let me make you an offer; you walk out that door, and I buy you a Porsche.”
“You can't bribe a Spetznas, Sikorsky.” I sit back down. “Relax. I'm not interested in you or your 'activities' here in the Motherland. I'd rather talk about your new friends in the human trafficking business.”
“What about them?” Sikorsky is still trying to play it cool, but he's begun to sweat. His left hand tugs at the handkerchief in his blazer pocket.
“An agent disappeared while investigating them. I want to find him.”
Sikorsky's eyes light up, and he visibly relaxes.
“I will help you in any way that I can,” he says with an oily sneer.
“You're agreeing awful easily,” I say, leaning on his desk until my eyes are inches from his. “You know what I will do to you if you lie to me, yes?”
He can't repress a shudder, and his bodyguard looks like a lost little boy. We Spetznas have a certain reputation, and for the most part it's deserved. After all, we've all been trained in how to torture people without leaving a mark on their skin...
“I won't.” The conviction in his voice is almost comical, and I allow myself to smile. “The truth is I'm only marginally involved. I only provided a bit of security at the docks I own.”
“You mean, you took a cut,” I say. “I'm going to find our man, Sikorsky, and if I can't I'm going to find out what happened to him. When I do, I'd better be certain you had nothing to do with it.”
“I know better than to cross off a government agent.” Sikorsky holds his hands up, palms facing out. “I'll tell you all I know, I swear on Lenin's beard.”
“So tell me.”
I end up nibbling on some peanuts in a glass bowl during his tale. It seems that there are a number of differences between this human trafficking ring and others I've dealt with. Usually, the women abducted are drug addicts, homeless, or the disenfranchised. They're not so much held captive with physical restraints as they are by logistics. Often, they're taken to a country where they can't speak the native language, thousands of miles from their home. Thus, the captives grow to depend on their captors, and to most people's eyes would seem free to come and go as they saw fit.
This bunch is not fitting into the status quo. For one thing, the women who go missing come from all walks of life: housewives, students, lawyers, and secretaries. Also, they tend to sell their captives to just one client, who keeps them for life, instead of pimping them out on the streets.
“They're not human,” says Sikorsky, adding stiff shot of vodka for emphasis. “When I was at the docks, I saw inside their cargo. The women were bound and chained like animals, and looked as happy as if they were headed off to the slaughterhouse. I was glad when they moved their operation out of our fair country.”
“So where have they gone?”
“Where the police are incompetent, and the governance soft and stupid,” he says with a shrug.
“And where would that be?”
“America, of course,” he says with a laugh.
* * * *
I'm on the next red-eye to the states. I call in a few favors and get to fly what we call 'government' class. Basically, I'm not searched before boarding, so all of my nasty surprises are still stowed safely away inside my clothes. Also, when we arrive at the states, I shuffle off the plane disguised as the baggage crew. Since I'm not on an official assignment, I can't rely on the Kremlin covering for me, and have to enter the country illegally.
The info I got from Sikorsky has me in St. Louis. Using cash, I buy a rusted Ford Tempo off a junk lot and fill up the tank. The brakes need work, as they whine at every red light, and the upholstery has pet stains—and smells—all over it, but the engine runs well enough.
I end up across the river in Illinois, driving up the old River Road until I'm in a place called Madison County. It's a land of high bluffs, dense trees, and limestone quarries. The people are friendly enough. I've worked hard to speak English without an accent, and since my skin is snowy white most of them accept me without batting an eye.
I rent an apartment in a run-down, shady subdivision, and set to work. I picked this area for a reason. It's roughly in the center of a spate of recent missing persons cases. Once again the victims seem to have nothing in common other than being pretty women. Using a map of the area, I try and extrapolate their methods.
Most of the women disappeared in the middle of their normal routines. That would indicate that the traffickers have studied their victim's habits for at least several days, if not longer. What's odd is that there are no witnesses to any of the abductions. Then I consider the landscape, with so many old dirt roads and dense copses of trees. I've made more important people disappear with less to work with.
After I have a rough idea of where the traffickers are doing their hunting, I begin the next phase. I have to get into character. These men are professionals, from what Sikorsky told me, and they would likely spot a Spetznas just by the way we carry ourselves. It's hard, much harder than the prep work I've done so far. Years of honing my muscles to obey lethal purposes does not yield nonchalance.
It takes a couple of hours, but soon I have my character figured out. Svetlana Breshnev becomes Lana Brown, a student at the nearby University, aficionado of all things fitness. I'm NOT about to let my toned, supple body go to waste just for a role.
The next order of business is getting a routine so I can be snatched out of it. I take a job at a local watering hole, putting up with pinches and slaps on my bottom, but only as much as a willful American woman would. My boss is an old railroad worker with no teeth and less common sense, but he does play it relatively straight with me.
I go through all the motions of having a life. Setting up a bank account under my false name, going to the gym on a rigid schedule five nights a week, and spending time at the college.
Then boredom sets in. I'm at it for two weeks and there's not even a hint that I'm being followed. I begin to think that maybe this was a bad plan. There must be a lot of pretty young things out there, and I'm a fool to think that I'd show up on the trafficker's radar in so large a pool of potential victims.
It all changes one day during the third week when I notice the tail. I doubt that anyone else could have detected them, because they really are quite skilled. They follow my car, but always at least a block away, riding in a nondescript black sedan. I can't get a good look at their faces, of course, but I get the inkling I'm dealing with seasoned pros.
They follow me for another two weeks, to the gym, to school, to work. I decide to make myself a little more vulnerable, and start jogging early in the morning before the sun has risen. Still they don't make a move, and I'm beginning to wonder if I've been made.
I'm at work when they finally set their plan in motion. The local high school team has recently won their homecoming game, and spirits are high. The streets of the small town I have taken residence in are packed with people, jubilantly shouting, drinking, and mingling. Live bands play music on almost every corner, while clowns toss out candy to the children. It's a festive, manic night, alive with energy.
It's also the perfect environment to make someone disappear, but not if I'm busing tables all night. I end up faking a sour stomach, which doesn't go over well with my boss. After I vomit all over a table—a little bit of ipecac syrup does the trick—he's more than willing to let me leave.
Once I'm free of work, I walk around the carnival-like proceedings. I try to take dark alleys, and stay away from crowds, but there's only so much of that you can do without rousing suspicion.
Then it occurs to me I can make myself even more vulnerable. I stop in a dive bar and get on a mean drunk. It's risky, of course, to have dulled reflexes, but I'm tired of waiting.
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