Authors: Lora Leigh
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Praise for the novels of Lora Leigh
“Leigh draws readers in to her stories and takes them on a sensual roller coaster.” —Love
“Leigh writes wonderfully straightforward and emotional stories with characters that
jump off the page.” —The Road to Romance
“Fraught with tension from the first page to the last . . . a love story of the deepest kind
with a very emotional and sensual base. Combine all these elements together, and
[you’re] guaranteed an intriguing story that will have you glued to the edge of your seat.”
—Fallen Angel Reviews
“Blistering sexuality and eroticism . . . bursting with passion and drama . . . enthralls and
excites from beginning to end.”
—Romance Reviews Today
“A scorcher with sex scenes that blister the pages.”
—A Romance Review
“Thrilling . . . explosive . . . a perfect blend of sexual tension and suspense.” —Sensual
“An emotional read.” —The Best Reviews
“Hot sex, snappy dialogue, and kick-butt action add up to outstanding entertainment.”
—Romantic Times (Top Pick)
“Ms. Leigh is one of my favorite authors because she creates new worlds that I want to
visit and would move to if only I could.”
“The writing of Lora Leigh continues to amaze me . . . electrically charged, erotic, and
just a sinfully good read!”
“Wow! This was one hot . . . romance. The lovemaking is scorching.” —Just Erotic
Berkley titles by Lora Leigh
(with Angela Knight, Alyssa Day, and Virginia Kantra)
BEYOND THE DARK
(with Angela Knight, Emma Holly, and Diane Whiteside)
(with Emma Holly, Shiloh Walker, and Meljean Brook)
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
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(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
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(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product
of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely
coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any
responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Copyright © 2008 by Christina Simmons.
eISBN : 978-1-436-23741-3
Tippytoes, for everything you’ve done,
Five Years Ago
“Little American whore.” The kick was harder this time, aimed at the tender flesh of
Chaya’s stomach, driving the breath out of her and causing her to send a tortured cry
through the small cell she had been tossed into.
Her cry. She knew it was her scream, strangled and agonized, but it no longer sounded
familiar to her. Reality had receded the day before, and it hadn’t yet returned.
She had been dragged from her car just outside Baghdad, blindfolded, and shoved into a
van. And that had been a walk in the park compared to the hours since.
“How much easier would it be, whore, to simply give us what we need?” The muzzle of a
handgun caressed her cheek. “You could die then. Quickly. There would be no more
pain. Wouldn’t that be nice? No more clamps attached to tender parts of your body. No
more electricity. No more kicks. All you need to do is tell us who contacted you. Tell us
the information they have.”
The voice was an insidious whisper inside her head as she felt herself crying. Curled in
on herself, shuddering with sobs.
Oh God, please don’t let them hurt her anymore. She could feel the bruises along her
body now, the swollen tenderness of her nipples, the fragility of bones that couldn’t take
much more abuse without breaking.
They hadn’t broken her yet. Had she managed to convince them she didn’t know? That
she was unaware of the illegal weapons pipeline they were buying their guns and
explosives through? That she knew nothing of the information she had been sent to
retrieve about the spy within Army Intelligence providing access to those weapons?
And what did she do with the information that only one person had known where she was
headed and why?
“So easy,” a voice crooned, and she focused on the accent. It wasn’t Iraqi, she knew
Iraqi. It wasn’t Afghani. There were tonal differences in the voices, even when speaking
the same language. She knew the difference. This voice was a whisper of something else.
Someone else. She knew this voice.
Another blow landed and a scream tore from her as the toe of the boot connected with her
ribs. Terror washed through her like an oily, dark wave of suffocating heat. They would
break them next. If her ribs broke she wouldn’t have a chance of escape. Naked, bruised,
and hurting, hell yeah. She could escape given half a chance. But if they broke her ribs?
If they caused internal bleeding? She would never make it.
“Maybe we will get to keep this one awhile,” the voice mused, laughter filling the tone.
“I think maybe she enjoys our caresses, yes?”
No. No. She shook her head, dry heaves shaking through her, torturing her as the spasms
ripped through her body.
“You do not like our touch?” False sympathy filled the voice as he bent to her again.
“Maybe we use you and fill your belly with seed. We take your brat then and place it in a
pretty stroller filled with explosives and park it in front of your White House. Who can
resist a baby’s cries, eh?”
She fought to breathe.
Reality. Reality was birth control that had been administered before this mission. Reality
was backup, somewhere. Her team didn’t want to lose her or the information she had, but
they could only rescue her if they knew she was missing. If the officer she had discussed
the trip with had reported that she hadn’t returned.
Reality was, she was beginning to suspect that officer may well be the leak they had been
searching for in Army Intelligence.
Reality. She had to hold on, just a little bit longer. She had to find a way to escape, a way
to get that information back to her superiors despite the disillusionment and the betrayal
that seared her soul.
She felt a hand on her thigh, moving along the back of her leg, fingers touching her,
Rage and terror blazed through her mind. Kicking out she fought to avoid the touch, tried
to hurt or to maim, to piss him off enough to keep him away from her. She would prefer
to be kicked. She would prefer the broken bones.
“Tell us, Greta.” The voice sighed then, resignation in his tone as she heard the shuffling
around her. “Raping you would not be a pleasant experience for some reason. And raping
you broken and unable to fight holds even less appeal. But if you do not give me what I
need, I will spread you out here and I will let these guards use you. They will use you
over and over again, until your body is so defiled that even your own people will know
nothing but disgust for you. Is this what you want?”
The false gentleness in his tone built the fear inside her. He was going to do it. She knew
he was. She had known all along that he would take this step. What better way to torture
a woman? When the electrical clamps to her nipples and clitoris hadn’t worked, he had
gotten more inventive. His men hadn’t raped her, but the painful device he used had.
She couldn’t bear more pain.
“Such a beautiful woman.” He sighed.
Saudi. The accent was Saudi. She couldn’t see him, her eyes were so swollen now she
doubted she could see daylight if she was in it. But the accent, the voice.
“Nassar,” she whispered, dazed, sobbing. “You betrayed us, Nassar?”
And it only supported the fact that the man she suspected of betraying the Army was a
traitor. Her husband. Nassar was his friend. His contact. And so, obviously, his
Silence filled the void for long moments. Nassar Mallah. She remembered him now. He
was a contract agent for the CIA and one of their most trusted moles. Handsome,
charming, his black eyes always twinkled with humor and a smile always curved his lips.
She had never guessed, never known he was a traitor.
“Ah, Greta.” He stroked her cheek again, but she had distracted him. He was no longer
stroking the abused flesh between her thighs, no longer threatening to open her again, to
destroy her with a helplessness she couldn’t accept.
“Why?” Shudders were working through her, and she knew she was finally going into
Or perhaps they had meant to kill her slowly like this.
“Kill her.” She felt him rise to his feet. “Use her however you please first, but when you
leave this cell, she is to be dead.”
“No. Nassar,” she cried out his name weakly. “We trusted you. We trusted you.”
“No, you trusted me. Fool that you were.” She heard the shrug in his voice. “Enjoy your
last minutes, Greta. I doubt they will spend much time enjoying your broken body. But,
with these four, you never know.”
The cell door clanged shut. Her fingers tightened around the makeshift knife she had
managed to sharpen against the stones earlier. It was gripped in her hand, tucked along