It's a blog carnival where writers get a few nano seconds to shine in their little slice of the electronic cosmos. This is a 1190 word excerpt from my story in progress. You can find my story blurb and information at the bottom.
Something wet and heavy slapped Shaine in the face. Gasping, she scooted back until her head hit the wall. Through the water in her eyes, she could see two people looming above her, one who held a bucket that still dripped. Shock clawed at stomach. Someone had dumped a bucket of water on her while she was sleeping.
Just like Manny had.
There’d been no escape that time and she’d sworn that it would never happen again. Ever.
With a snarl of rage, she drew her leg back and kicked at the closest body with everything she had. Lightning fast, her attacker leaped back, seizing hold of her ankle as her leg kicked up and free of his body. He flipped her onto her stomach with a savage wrench on her ankle, dragged her to the end of the bed and released her. Her knees hit the floor hard. Tears of pain filled her eyes and she clenched her teeth to keep from crying out.
Her arms were yanked behind her back, something cold and heavy clamped around her wrists. They hauled her up by her armpits. A rasp of material dropped over her head, and then they were manhandling her, one of them on each side, pulling and pushing and shoving. Fury fueling her fear, she deliberately rammed into one of them and felt the distinct softness of a breast.
On the heels of that revelation, she was shoved face-first against a wall and the world blanked out for a moment. The next thing she felt was a sideswipe kick to her ankles and the sensation of the floor rising up to smack her right shoulder and temple. While she lay there gasping, someone pulled off the material covering her head and bright light stabbed her vision.
Confusion and apprehension made her eyes open. Not a foot away from her nose was the toe of a boot. Expecting a kick to the head, she rolled violently away. Then, from the floor, she followed the line of the boots to legs in black fatigues, to a black-shirted chest, to the long russet hair that nearly brushed a pair of wide shoulders. It was him. Daren. Staring down at her with his empty, beautiful eyes.
"What did you notice about your attackers?" he asked.
Shaine's mind went blank and then the implication of the attack sank in. This was some sort of a test. Somehow, he’d found out about Manny and was using it against her. It was a lesson. Just like deportment or computers or weaponry. And although only seconds passed for her to understand the situation, it felt like forever.
She ignored the despair that sat heavy in her chest and curled her lip in contempt. "Only cowards attack when you’re asleep," she said in her toughest voice.
Unnerved by his steady, intense gaze, she shifted, used her hands to push herself up to a sitting position. Damned if she’d sit at his feet like a flunky. It brought her nearly nose-to-knees with him. Because he didn’t move, she was forced to scoot back to keep meeting his eyes.
"There were two of them. One with a soft middle. Felt it when I rammed into his stomach. So?"
He hadn't caught, or chose to ignore, her reference to a male attacker. It gave her the idea that he wasn’t aware she knew at least one of her attackers was a female. That he didn't even expect her to know.
"There wasn’t time to notice much of anything. Like I said, I was asleep."
"You haven’t even begun to tell me what you know."
"I might remember more if I was released," she said and stood awkwardly. Having her hands behind her back affected her balance. She turned to glare at her attackers. "That is if they—"
But they were gone.
He was behind her now. She felt the warmth of his fingers as he pressed the spring on the cuffs and freed her wrists. Turning, she backed away, putting space between them. Beside her was a block of steel mounted on the curved wall. A heavy chain dangled from the top. Identical apparatuses were mounted around the room, each about five feet apart. She didn't dare wonder what they were used for.
"What else?" he asked, still looking bored and arrogantly confident. They might have been discussing the weather.
"One is shorter than I am, smaller. He held the bucket and let the other man do most of the work." She smirked at him. "Shorty will have quite a bruise."
"And the other attacker?"
Shaine remembered lightning reflexes, lack of hesitation, a fierce, steel-like grip. Helplessness. Panic that almost paralyzed her. Realizing that she’d just shown that to him, she dropped her gaze to her feet. "The other man was built like someone I used to know, someone who thought his tough act would keep me from seeing the spineless creep underneath."
She raised her head again and gave him what she hoped was a look free of emotion. Like his. "That type of man is usually overconfident. Never thinks about the consequences. Doesn’t expect any."
Daren returned her look silently and she felt herself flush under his intense scrutiny. He seemed to know what she hadn’t said and it gave her an unsettling feeling of intimacy. Of all the reasons, places and situations, why this one? Why him? But she kept her mouth closed and finally, looked away.
"You can come back in," he said, looking at the doorway behind her.
"I don’t think I can tolerate a second performance. If all I'd had before was a suspicion, this little drama clinches it." She raised her chin and imitated one of his cool looks. "Should I turn around and act surprised that shorty’s a girl? Or should I just ask why a re-enactment of my rape attack is going to make one damn bit of difference in any of this?"
Although his expression didn't alter at all, she saw him blink. It was an odd thing to notice since blinking was as common as breathing, but until this moment, she hadn't realized how little his face changed.
"You didn't tell me everything," he said.
She curled her lip. “Didn’t want to spoil anyone’s fun.”
He walked to where she stood leaning against the wall, his gaze less bored now, but still intense. Shaine fought the urge to move away.
“You have to remain focused even in a moment of a crisis. Emotions, especially those tied to your past, can get you killed.”
Her words carried the sound of her anger and scorn. “Do you think Priest is going to try and rape me, then?”
He looked like he was considering her question, then: “You could have broken out of the cuffs any time you chose. Why didn’t you?”
A tremor of shock raced across her shoulders and she felt her face heat. “Show me how,” she demanded. She tried not to sound grouchy, but she hoped he understood she wasn’t conceding defeat. Never that.
But if I had my choice, I'd create a new genre called Rospionagith (romance + espionage + thriller)
Shaine is the gifted clay sculptor and painter of the Death by Moonlight series, based on the demons of a painful past she has unwittingly allowed to define her existence. Known only as M. Dagget, Shaine avoids contact with the outside world by adopting personality and costume disguises. Unfortunately, she has a brother who decides his life is worth more than hers when he betrays her to a private organization whose objective is to assassinate its biggest contributor. The organization's best operative, Daren, is assigned to break through Shaine’s personal and sexual boundaries in order to turn her into an assassin.
Sickened and terrified to the core by what the organization wants of her, and by her growing feelings for Daren, Shaine agrees to their terms: kill or die.