If you dislike the Tír na Cali setting, this is going to be everything you dislike and more.
Rique woke up in a cold room, half-covered by a blanket.
He remembered the woman, the hot dog – he knew better, damnit, he knew better – then falling over into her arms. He remembered waking briefly, tied up and in some sort of moving vehicle. He remembered the prick of a needle.
Drugs. He’d done his damndest to avoid anything remotely drug-like in the three months he’d been out on the street – not so much as an aspirin had crossed his lips, and he hadn’t let a needle get anywhere near him. After his dad… that wasn’t important now. What was important was getting out of here before things got really fucked up.
More fucked up. A quick peek told him he was naked under the blanket, a quick exploration of the room told him that there was absolutely nothing in there except him, the bed, and a dresser. No clothes. Not even a water glass. And no window.
The door was locked, but it took him five minutes to take apart a bed spring enough to make a lock pick. The bedroom outside the first room – which could have been a closet, really – revealed clothes, women’s clothes but they would fit, and he wasn’t in any state to be picky.
They also revealed that his head had been shaved while he slept. Not just his head – his hair was a finger-thickness long now, but he had no hair at all from the neck down anymore. Not even stubble.
What kind of sick fucks had he ended up with?
A glance in a mirror answered that, too. In addition to his stolen clothes, he was wearing a collar. A metal collar, skinny, light, and locked around his neck.
Five minutes with his lock pick left him shaking his hand, swearing, and convinced that fucking with the collar was going to take different tools and a pair of rubber gloves. He was also damn certain that he was in California.
California. He stared at the mirror. Shaved head. No beard, but he’d barely had one of those to start with. Slave collar. It all looked like he was getting sold into the sex trade.
But he was in someone’s fourth-floor walk-up, which really wasn’t the place you tended to stash sex slaves, as far as he knew. And he’d been left unguarded and unrestrained.
The collar would be tricky, but the woman’s closet revealed a supply of high-necked things, including one that didn’t make him look quite so much like he was covering up a collar. He slipped on the shirt, stole her jacket, and tried the front door.
Unlocked. These people had to be the most inept kidnappers ever. Rique bopped down the stairs, took the back door, and headed out onto the street. He could lift some cash, get a set of bolt cutters and be in the wind before they even noticed he was gone.
Reggie glanced at her phone. “He’s on the street. We’ll give him twenty minutes.”
“You are one sick fuck, Reg.” Roberts was grinning at her; he liked this as much as she did.
“Of course I am. Do you think I made it too easy?”
“Maybe a little. Next time make him work for it.”
And, taking a page from Rion’s book:
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