Behind the Ranges, Book VIII
Neither Gabe nor Regina was looking for danger...when it found them.
eBook ISBN 978-1-60174-100-4
Trade Paperback ISBN 978-1484942055
"...presents the land, the era, and the people with a truth that is sometimes grim. But she also portrays the kindnesses and valor we like to remember about our history. Just as [it] entertains and informs with romance and adventure, so does the series."~~Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today
Three men stood over him. His vision was blurred, so they were only dark shapes in a rain-shrouded night.
A knife flashed. He stiffened, expecting the hot slash of sharp steel, but the only thing cut was the rope between his feet. He commanded them to kick, but they merely twitched uselessly. Again a metallic flash, and his hands fell apart. The ropes around his wrists were jerked loose and torn away.
The men spoke over him, but in a gutter patois he couldn't get his mind around. One laughed. Another walked away, but returned in shortly carrying a staff. He tapped it on the ground and it gave a harsh metallic ring. All three laughed.
"The Seine does not easily give up its victims," said the one with the cultured voice, speaking, inexplicably, in English. "Still, it has been known to occur. If you live, I desire that you remember what happens to those who attempt to fool Fabrice Heureaux. Maurice, if you please?"
With a sudden, swift swing, the one holding the staff brought it down, hard, on his stiff knee.
For an instant he felt nothing, then his scream shattered the night. It was quickly lost in the loud laughter of his captors. For a long time there was nothing else in the world but the pain and the laughter. Both went on and on, endlessly.
"Again. I want him to die knowing that his leg is destroyed." The French-accented voice was cultured, gentle, politely nightmarish.
The staff struck him again, sending shards of agony along every bone, every tendon. He let go and felt himself spin into unconsciousness.
Sometime later, the cultured man spoke again. "Vite. Dans la rivière."
River? What river? He was lifted again, held by his benumbed wrists and useless feet. His thoughts spun as he was swung in a wide arc.
He flew through the air, with only time to pull in a lungful of air before he struck the water.
And sank, helpless in the grip of a strong current and the knowledge that he had no idea how to swim. Old terrors lurked at the edge of his consciousness, ready to capture him and carry him to his death.
He opened his eyes, but the darkness was absolute. He felt for his boot knife, but it was gone.
As he flailed in an airless medium that had no up, no down, he accepted that he was going to die. Gina.
Oh, Gina, if only...
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