Read Claim Me Online

Authors: Anna Zaires

Tags: #Adult

Claim Me (9 page)

BOOK: Claim Me
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All I’m left with are the memories and a potent, impossible longing to see him one last time before I die.

T
he blanket is pulled
off me, and strong hands tug at my underwear, tearing it off as my dress is flipped up. A heavy male body presses me down, and my wrists are pinned above my head. At first, I think I’m dreaming of Lucas, but then I smell it.

Cologne.

Lucas never wears cologne.

My eyes snap open on a surge of panic, and a hoarse scream bursts from my throat—a scream that’s instantly muffled by a large palm over my mouth.

“Quiet now,” Kirill whispers as I writhe hysterically, trying to throw him off. “We don’t want to disturb anyone, do we?”

His hand over my mouth is crushing my jaw, and his other hand is squeezing my wrists so hard I feel my bones grinding against one another. With his legs pinning mine to the bed, I can’t move or kick, and nauseating terror rips through me as I feel his erection rubbing against my bare leg.

“We’re going to have a little fun,” he says, his dark eyes gleaming with cruel excitement. “For old times’ sake.”

And forcing his knee between my legs, he lowers his head.

22

L
ucas

I
raise my fist
, signaling for Diego and Eduardo to stop as I peer through my night vision goggles at the building in front of us. For a black site, it’s surprisingly small—just a ramshackle one-story house in a heavily wooded rural area.

“Are you sure this is the place?” Diego whispers, crouching next to me. “It doesn’t look like much.”

“I’m guessing most of it is underground,” I say, keeping my voice low. “I see two SUVs in the shed in the back, and I don’t think Ukrainian villagers drive SUVs.”

We left our own car in the woods a half-mile away to scope out the location and figure out our plan of action. Whatever we do, we need to be quick and discreet, so we can be out of the country before UUR realizes we were here. Thanks to Peter Sokolov’s contacts, we landed at a private airport undetected, and we have to be able to leave the same way.

“Go around the back and keep an eye on the place from there,” I tell Eduardo, who has come up behind Diego. “I’m going to try to hack into their computers remotely.”

He nods and disappears into the bushes, and I take out the device I brought with me. One of the benefits of working with Esguerra is having access to cutting-edge military intelligence technology—like this remote data skimmer.

Opening my laptop, I sync it with the device and tell Diego, “Good news: we’re within range. Now we just need to let the hacking program do its magic.”

It takes more than an hour to break through the firewalls, but gradually, my screen fills with all kinds of data, including blueprints of the house and a live video feed of a dimly lit hallway.

“Is that from inside their building?” Diego asks, looking over my shoulder.

“You bet,” I say, watching as two men walk past the camera. One of them looks unusually young, barely a teenager, which throws me for a moment—until I remember that UUR is in the habit of recruiting children.

I click on the next video feed and see what looks like an interrogation room. It’s empty except for a metal table and two chairs. Next, I access a camera in what must be a security room. There’s one heavily armed man sitting there in front of a row of computers. I click to the next feed, which shows yet another hallway, and several more feeds that reveal cell-like rooms. To my disappointment, all those rooms are empty.

This facility must not be heavily used.

I click through a few more camera feeds, comparing the rooms I see to the blueprints on my screen, and jot down notes on how everything is positioned. In the process, I come across two more men—one that’s built like a heavyweight wrestling champion and a leaner one who appears to be in his forties.

“Only five agents so far, and one of them is a kid,” Diego says over my shoulder. “If that’s all, we might be able to take them.”

“Right.” I click through a few more feeds, making notes on the interior of each room, and pause when I come back to one of the empty cells—or at least a cell I’d thought empty before. Now I see I was wrong: there’s a small mound on a cot covered by a blanket.

“Is that—”

“Yes, looks like they have a prisoner there,” I say, peering at the grainy feed. It’s definitely a person-sized mound; I should’ve noticed it the first time. “Hold on, let me see if I can get a clearer image.”

Activating the hacking program’s remote control feature, I isolate the portion of surveillance mechanism that controls the camera in that room. Carefully, I angle it so it’s pointed directly at the cot. The person, whoever it is, is unmoving, as if passed out or asleep.

“Okay, so six people,” Diego says, “if we count this prisoner as a threat. Pretty decent odds, especially if we catch them by surprise.”

“Yes, I think so,” I say, clicking over to the next image. Originally, I planned for us to just gather data and leave, but I can’t pass up this opportunity. It’s possible that one of these agents knows Yulia’s whereabouts. My ribs choose that moment to twinge with pain, but I ignore the dull ache.

Even with me injured, we should be able to take five or six opponents.

Turning on my earpiece, I say, “Eduardo, I need you to plant some explosives on the northwest and southwest corners of the house. Use enough to take down the walls but not destroy the whole house. We want to capture as many of them alive as we can.”

“Got it,” Eduardo replies, and I turn to glance at Diego.

“We’re going in right after the first blast,” I say. “Get ready.”

He nods, taking out his M16, and I turn my attention back to the computer. Within a minute, the hacking program takes control of the surveillance feeds outside, replacing the image of Eduardo stealthily approaching the house with a nonthreatening view of night-darkened trees and bushes.

Now we just need Eduardo to set the charges.

As we wait for that, I check all the internal video feeds again. On the hallway feed, I see one of the men walk toward the cell with the prisoner. It’s the agent who’s built like a wrestler, alone this time. With mild interest, I watch him enter the cell, place his gun in the sink on the other side of the room, and step toward the covered figure on the cot. He bends over it and, to my surprise, unzips his jeans.

What the fuck? My attention sharpens as he pulls the blanket off the figure—which I now see is female—and flips up her dress. With the way he’s standing, the camera doesn’t allow me to see much of the prisoner, yet my chest tightens with anxious premonition.

“Kent?” Diego says, but I’m not listening to him. All my attention is on the computer screen as I frantically work to angle the camera.

The man straddles the prisoner and grabs her wrists—thin, delicate wrists that look impossibly breakable in his bear-like grasp. The camera tilts, angling to the left, and I see tangled blond hair and a beautiful pale face.

My heart stops for a split second; then feral fury blasts through me.

Yulia.

She’s here—and she’s being attacked.

23

Y
ulia

K
irill’s breath
is hot and fetid on my face, and his massive bulk is like a mountain on top of me, crushing me into the cot. My insides heave with horror and disgust, and I feel my mind sliding toward the dark place where I don’t exist and can’t feel this.

No.
With stark clarity, I know that if I go there, I’m lost. I’ll never emerge from that darkness. I have to stay conscious. I have to fight.

I can’t let him destroy me again.

Suppressing my instinctive inclination to struggle, I let myself go limp, my wrists relaxing in Kirill’s brutal grip. I don’t react as he drags his tongue over my cheek, and I don’t tense as he parts my legs, settling heavily between them. He needs to think me dazed and tamed.

It’s my only chance.

I feel his cock, hard against my bare thigh, and nausea rises in my throat, my long-ago meal threatening to come up.
Just a second longer
, I tell myself, keeping my muscles relaxed.
Don’t rush it. Wait for the right moment.

The right moment arrives when he shifts on top of me and his face ends up directly over mine. I peer at him through a tiny crack between my eyelids, and when he lowers one hand to grab my breast, I strike.

With all my strength, I jerk my head up, smashing my forehead straight into his nose.

Blood spurts everywhere as Kirill recoils with a startled shout. Any other man would’ve clutched his broken nose, but he just rears up, snarling, “Bitch!” and smashes his fist into my jaw.

My head whips to the side, the blast of pain stunning me for a second. I see stars at the edge of my vision and taste coppery blood. But Kirill is not done with me yet.

“Fucking bitch!” The next blow is to my stomach, his fist like a wrecking ball hitting my kidney. “Always thought yourself too good for me, did you?”

I can’t reply; I can only wheeze through the agony as I curl up to protect myself. He let go of my wrists to hit me, I realize dazedly, and as he raises his fist again, I twist my upper body to the side. His fist grazes my cheekbone instead of shattering it as he’d likely intended, but my ears still ring from the blow. I twist again, trying to throw him off, but his lower body is like a boulder on top of me.

Fight, Yulia, fight.
The words are like a desperate chant in my mind. I strike upward with my fist and manage to hit his jaw, but his eyes just glitter brighter as he catches my wrists again. I can see the rage and madness in their dark depths, and I know I won’t walk away from this alive.

“You’re going to pay for that,” he says in a low, guttural hiss, and I feel his hairy balls on my thigh as he forces my legs wider, his fingers cutting off all blood flow to my hands. His cock presses against my entrance, and I scream, bracing for the inevitable horror of violation.

Boom!

For a moment, I’m sure that he hit me again, that the deafening noise is my facial bones cracking, but the dust and plaster raining down on me dispel that impression. Kirill jumps off me with a curse, his cock sticking out of his unzipped pants, and staggers back a couple of feet as another explosion shakes the room.

Seizing the chance, I roll off the cot and scramble to my feet, ignoring the throbbing pain in my face and side. There is a sharp crackle of gunfire above us. Kirill freezes in place, his gaze swinging madly between me and the door. He has to realize the facility is being attacked, and I feel his hatred for me warring with his sense of duty. He should be out there, defending his colleagues, but what he really wants is to make me suffer.

The latter impulse seems to win out.

“You fucking traitor,” he grits out, the veins in his forehead bulging, and then he steps toward me, his fist raised for a blow.

Reflexively, I duck, and at that moment, another blast rattles the room, throwing Kirill off-balance and causing more plaster to rain down on us. A creaking, groaning sound seems to emanate from the depths of the building itself, and one corner of the room suddenly crumbles, bricks and plaster falling in an avalanche less than a meter from me.

Gasping, I jump to the side—and then I see it.

A brick with a rusted metal rod embedded in it.

I leap for it, sliding on my stomach across the debris-littered floor. Bits of rock and plaster scrape my bare legs and belly, but my hands close around the metal rod, and I jump up just in time to smash the brick across Kirill’s face as he rushes at me.

He staggers back, catching himself on the sink, and I again hear the furious staccato of automatic gunfire above us. This time, though, the deafening noise doesn’t stop. Whoever the attackers are, they have serious firepower. I don’t get a chance to wonder about their identity, though, because I see Kirill reach into the sink and pull out a gun.

Reacting in an instant, I let go of the heavy brick and throw myself to the side, rolling across the floor toward my attacker. I hear the shot, feel the burning sting of the bullet as it grazes my arm, and then I’m smashing into Kirill’s knees at full speed.

He must not have fully recovered from my earlier hit, because he staggers back again, and his next shot goes wide. I scramble to my feet, my ears ringing from the shot and the gunfire above, and grab his right wrist, twisting it sideways in an effort to break his hold on the gun.

In the next instant, I’m flying across the room. He backhanded me with his other hand, I comprehend hazily as I slam into a wall. Air whooshes from my lungs, and I wheeze in paralyzed agony as Kirill points the gun at me, his face twisted with manic rage.

He’s going to kill me.

The knowledge injects adrenaline straight into my brain. Without further thought, I throw myself at Kirill, my arms extended in a desperate grab, and my hand closes around the cold metal of the barrel. I feel it buck under my fingers, hear the deadly whine of the bullet, and then I’m falling.

I’m falling, but I’m not dead.

I land on top of Kirill, stunned, my hand still convulsively grasping the barrel. I can’t believe I’m alive. Instinctively, I yank at the gun, trying to pull it out of his grasp, and to my shock, I succeed. Clutching the weapon, I crawl backward off Kirill’s massive body, and it’s only when I’m a couple of feet away that I understand what happened.

A portion of the ceiling collapsed on top of him, knocking him out. There’s a thin trickle of blood on his temple, and plaster all around him.

Kirill is unconscious, maybe even dead.

Dizzily, I climb to my feet and point the weapon at him, trying to steady my violently shaking hand. My vision is blurry, and every thought seems to require inordinate effort. All I’m aware of is hatred. Black and potent, it pulses through my veins, taking away all rational thought. My finger tightens on the trigger, almost of its own volition, and I watch as the first shot rips a bloody hole in my rapist’s side.

His body jerks, and I shoot again, pointing the gun between his legs. His deflated cock and balls explode in a spray of bloody meat. My dizziness intensifies, my head swimming with pain, and I clench my teeth, determined to remain conscious long enough to finish him off.

A fresh burst of gunfire above draws my attention, and I realize suddenly that I still have no idea what’s happening or who the attackers are. Almost immediately, I recall something else.

Misha.

My brother was here earlier.

Icy terror cuts through my haze. Could Misha still be here? Could he be
upstairs
, in that war zone with the unknown enemies?

Before I can even process the thought, I’m already out the door, sprinting down the basement hallway.

I have to get to Misha.

If he’s still alive, I have to save him.

As I round the corner to the stairs, I collide with a person running toward me. We crash into each other, and as we tumble to the floor, I realize with shock that it’s Misha—that my brother was sprinting toward me. He lands on top of me, and before I can catch my breath, he climbs to his feet, breathing heavily.

“Misha!” Fighting my dizziness, I scramble to my feet. I’m still holding Kirill’s gun, but I manage to grab Misha’s arm before he can step away. “Are you hurt? Are you injured? What’s happening?” My questions come out in a frantic mix of Russian and Ukrainian, but Misha just shakes his head, his eyes wide and uncomprehending. He seems to be in shock; under the dirt and blood covering his face, his cheeks look sickly pale.

My heart hammers as I run my free hand over him, looking for gunshot wounds or broken bones, but other than a few scratches, he seems to be in one piece. Relieved, I grab his arm again and tug him into one of the rooms off the hallway. “Come on. We have to get out of here.”

“You… they…” He seems to have trouble speaking. “They just—”

“Yes, I know, come on.” I drag him into a small cell that resembles the one I was just in and look for a place to hide. There isn’t one, and my stomach sinks as the gunfire upstairs stops, and then resumes with even greater violence.

“Misha.” Gripping my gun tightly in my right hand, I raise my left hand and gently touch his cheek. My baby brother is already a couple of inches taller than me, and if his lanky frame is anything to go by, he still has quite a bit of growing to do. He’s also shaking uncontrollably, his skin icy under my touch. “Mishen’ka, do you know a way out of here?”

He swallows. “No.”

“Okay.” I’m shaking myself, but I keep my voice calm so as not to add to his terror. “Do you know what’s going on upstairs? Who’s attacking?”

“I don’t know.” His shaking intensifies. “They just… They killed Uncle Vasya and—”

“Obenko is dead?” Despite everything, I feel a slight pang in my chest. Pushing the illogical emotion aside, I lower my hand and ask, “How many are there? Did any of them say anything?”

Misha shakes his head again, his eyes brimming with tears. “They killed Uncle Vasya,” he whispers, as if unable to believe it. “And Agent Mateyenko.” His face crumples, just like it did when he was a toddler.

“Oh, Misha…” I step closer, swallowing my own tears. “I’m sorry.” More than anything, I want to hug and console him, but there’s no time, so I say, “We have to figure out a way out. There must be—”

I’m interrupted by the sound of heavy footsteps pounding down the stairs. Misha tenses, and I see terror flash in his eyes. “They’re coming for us. They’re going to—”

“Shh.” I hold up my finger to my lips as I step back and cast a desperate look around the room. I don’t know if Kirill’s gun was fully loaded when he got to my cell, but even if it was, there can’t be more than a couple of bullets left. Still, I could potentially use those bullets as a distraction so Misha can get away.

“Come,” I whisper, grabbing his arm. “The minute you see a chance to run, you run. Understand?”

“But they’re—”

“Quiet,” I hiss, towing him down the hallway. When we reach the next room, I shove my brother in there and whisper, “Don’t make a sound.”

And gripping the gun with both hands, I turn back toward the stairs, ready to meet my fate.

BOOK: Claim Me
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