Saving Brigit [The Passionate PIs 2] (Siren Publishing Menage & More) [NOOK Book]

Overview

[Menage & More: Romantic Adventure, Multiple Sex Partners, Dubious Consent, M/F, F/F, Sex Slaves] Pakistan is nowhere Thia Williams ever thought of visiting. But when her friend, Brigit Thatcher, disappears there, Thia rushes to help. To locate Brigit, Thia joins forces with mercenary, Rashid Salid. They soon learn that Brigit is being held in a brothel hidden in a remote, mountainous area of Tajikistan controlled by a mysterious man known as The Claw. On route to Tajikistan, Thia's lover, Derek Hawkins, catches up to her. He doesn't like ...
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Saving Brigit [The Passionate PIs 2] (Siren Publishing Menage & More)

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Overview

[Menage & More: Romantic Adventure, Multiple Sex Partners, Dubious Consent, M/F, F/F, Sex Slaves] Pakistan is nowhere Thia Williams ever thought of visiting. But when her friend, Brigit Thatcher, disappears there, Thia rushes to help. To locate Brigit, Thia joins forces with mercenary, Rashid Salid. They soon learn that Brigit is being held in a brothel hidden in a remote, mountainous area of Tajikistan controlled by a mysterious man known as The Claw. On route to Tajikistan, Thia's lover, Derek Hawkins, catches up to her. He doesn't like that Thia relies on another man for help. Even more, he's in Tajikistan on an undercover assignment to find American missiles stolen by The Claw and knows the dangers she may have to deal with: powerful men with unleashed passions. Thia pushes aside his arguments and her own misgivings. To get Brigit home, she's willing to do whatever it takes. However, saving Brigit turns out to require more than Thia or Derek ever imagined. "I grew up with the ultimate "steel magnolia" mother. Smiling and gracious always, she also had strength and determination many men would envy. That's led me to write about that same kind of woman-two of them in Saving Brigit, Thia and Brigit. Selfless in their pursuits, they fight, they stand strong, and they prevail. Mother would be proud!" ~ Francis Drake ~ ** A Siren Erotic Romance
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606010495
  • Publisher: Siren-BookStrand
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Series: The Passionate Pis , #2
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,187,193
  • File size: 844 KB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Omar Mamoud picked up his cell phone from the bedside table and walked quietly to the bedroom door of his Las Vegas apartment. There he paused and looked back at Brigit Thatcher's sexually spent body curled in the center of his king-sized bed. The leather restraints hung loosely from the bedposts. As soundly as she slept, he thought he could make the call from the comfort of his bed, but just to be safe, he moved into the kitchen.

His bare feet made no sound on the imported Spanish tiles. Though the desert temperature already soared outside, the tiles cooled his feet. The air flowing through the house did the same to his naked body. He'd become spoiled living in the United States. These days, Omar preferred sizzling heat only in bed, with someone like the woman sleeping there now. He'd take his fill of her again. And again, and again, until he delivered her to his associates and the bargain was struck.

He pressed in a number and waited for the connection to be made. The line crackled, and then he heard the ring tone.

"Yes?" His brother's voice was tired, yet firm. Or maybe the poor connection made him sound tired. Tajikistan lay on the butt of the world. It was a wonder they even had telephones.

"She has agreed to come."

"Good. Make it soon."

Omar tensed. "He hasn't defiled her?"

"No. For now our sister is safe." His brother made a sound, as though he spit. "But it won't always be so. Do not anger him again. He pays you, and you cheat him. That is why he took Raisa."

"I know what happened," Omar answered. Anger clouded his mind. Yes, his job was to procure women for the Claw to use in his brothel hidden high in the mountains ofTajikistan. And true, he had not fulfilled his duty last month. One time. That was no reason for the Claw to take his sister. She was pure. "You are sure he has not defiled Raisa?"

"He has put her with the women who care for the females. But he has sworn if you do not present him with a white woman within a week, he will send her down to the whores who service the staff."

May Allah damn his soul. "Do not worry, brother. The woman I have will please him. She's pale as winter sunlight. Her legs are long enough to wrap around a man, and her mouth is large and willing."

"When do you arrive?"

"We leave tomorrow for Islamabad. I'll call and tell you when to pick us up."

"What did you tell her to convince her to come? Or have you told her anything?"

Omar laughed low in his throat. "I didn't have to convince her at all. She is excited about learning our culture."

His brother joined in the laughter. "If she does not know it now, she will soon learn her place in the world."

"She will adapt. She is practically a whore now."

"Do not forget what is at stake--our sister's future."

Omar gripped the phone. "You overstep, brother. I know what is risked." He disconnected, anger again boiling to the surface.

He threw the phone across the room. The Claw had no right to kidnap Raisa. Omar had worked for the Claw's organization for years, starting very young and from the bottom, proving his worth with each task. And now with one failure he captures Omar's little sister? The flower of their family? It will not stand.

He exhaled. Who did he fool? This apartment, the designer clothes he wore, his car, the life he had come to love--his work for the organization paid for all of it. Even the woman in his bed came compliments of the Claw's money, which he spread around.

He might not be able to hurt the Claw, but he could expend some energy on the woman, Brigit. His cock began rising before the thought fully formed.

He walked back to the bedroom. For a moment, he watched her sleep, and then he rolled her onto her back. She didn't awaken. Not surprising after the workout they'd had. She'd soon learn Tajiki men had stamina--and large appetites. He served as her first master, but he would not be her last. He wondered if she had any idea of what lay in store and decided she couldn't.

Picking up a restraint, he slipped the leather cuff over her wrist. He did the same with the other three straps until her slim, five-foot, six-inch body lay spread-eagle before him. Still she did not wake.

Her blond hair splayed across the pillow and framed her small face. Her pubic hair appeared as strands of gold, coiled into a thin mat above her promising pussy. Against his black sheets, her skin contrasted as day did night.

Only when he crawled up between her legs did she lazily open her eyes. She pulled at her arm, but when she discovered he had locked her in, she relaxed.

Normally he might kiss her stomach or woo her to their encounter. Now he remembered her purpose--to secure the release of his sister. It would be a simple exchange. Her flesh for his sister's freedom, as long as she remained undefiled. That made Brigit valuable not as a woman, but as a piece of merchandise, to be used, but not to be loved, any more than one would love a shoe.

"You will take me," he ordered. He reversed position, placing his stiff cock over her face with his mouth hovering over her pussy. Western women enjoyed sex more than women in his country. He found their enjoyment stimulating. No doubt that was one reason for the high price paid for Western women, and especially Americans. They all started as arrogant bitches swearing they'd never bend to the man's will, but eventually they all did. Omar believed the Claw's clients liked Americans because breaking them posed particular enjoyment.

He dropped his mouth to her labia and licked. Immediately, the scent of her arousal filled his nostrils, exciting him beyond measure. His hips moved up, forward and down, rubbing his erection along her jaw, her cheek, her lips. Her tongue streaked along his length, leaving fire in its path. He flexed again, and this time, her mouth captured him. He pushed deep, to the back of her throat and a bit farther. He pulled out and then he thrust, at the same time swiping his tongue along the lips of her pussy.

This is what you are. A receptacle for my rod. A means for me to take pleasure. You now know your purpose.

He dipped his tongue into her pussy and lapped at her cream. Thick and flavorful, it coated his tongue. His cock plunged her mouth. Surrounded in wet heat, he plumbed the depths between her lips. His tongue did the same.

Her hips rose as far as the leg restraints allowed. She was close. Had her mouth not been full of his cock, she'd be panting now, moaning, begging.

He took her clit into his mouth and sucked hard. She threw back her head, almost losing his shaft. He adjusted, sinking into her mouth again. Making her suck him while she came let her know who controlled whom.

She wouldn't stop coming. Long seconds after she started, he could feel her convulsions. He pumped her mouth at a faster pace, no longer working for pleasure, just for mastery.

Finally, he pulled out. She gasped for breath, panting, even now seeking him again. He was right. She was already a whore.

Quickly he turned, driving into her pussy, raising himself far above her on strong arms. He withdrew, then pushed in again with a strength that came from knowing she would bow to his wishes. Confidence flowed from the knowledge he commanded her.

Again he drove, deep and hard. She cried out, not in pain, but in desire. Her eyes looked up, heavy-lidded and glazed with longing.

In he pushed. Out. In. Out. In.

He reared back and gave the ancient cry of victory. The sound came from deep in his throat and reverberated through the apartment. For a moment, an expression of fear crossed Brigit's face. Then she came, gripping his cock like a vise, milking him until he filled her with his seed. Pulsing on and on inside her body, he gave her all he had. Then he collapsed.

When his cock fell free, he rolled off her. He hated to give up this woman. She served him well. But there was more at stake than his pleasure. "We leave for Islamabad in the morning."

"So soon," she said, her voice slow and sleepy. "Do you think your family will like me?"

He turned his head and looked at her bound hand and foot, yet compliant, rosy-skinned from her orgasms. Cum coated the inside of her thighs. "They will like you fine. In fact, I have spoken to my brother and know already that you are exactly what he hoped I would bring home."

"Oh, good. I was afraid I wouldn't fit in."

He chuckled. "Do not fear. You'll fit in perfectly."

* * * *

Light sparkled on the San Francisco Bay, making it appear a plane of shimmering glass. The breeze blew fresh, and the sailboat skimmed the surface of the water at an exhilarating pace. Thia Williams leaned back on her elbows, her hair streaming behind her like raven's wings. Wearing only the bottom of a thong bikini bared a good bit of skin, but Thia liked the feel of the afternoon sun on her body.

"Would you like a drink?" Her friend with benefits, Derek Hawkins, captained the boat with skill, as befit a man who spent loving hours on the water.

"Not as much as I'd like you," Thia answered.

He came to stand over her. His green eyes glittered with humor, while his fingers deftly released his cock, hard and long and ready. She licked her lips. His hand stroked the length of his erection. She came to her knees in front of him.

"Pleasuring you is always my pleasure, too," he said. Then he reached for her head and guided her open mouth to the crown of his cock. He surged forward, deep into--

"Thia!"

Thia opened her eyes. She sat at her desk in the corner office of C&H Accounting, the firm she owned. Out her window, a small slice of the bay did indeed sparkle in the distance, but not for her, not today. For the rest of the afternoon, she had the annual report to read and approve. With a sigh of resignation, she swiveled her office chair around to face the desk. Her admin and best friend, July Thatcher, put a cup of coffee on her desk.

"Sorry," Thia said. "I zoned out."

"I noticed. I went out for coffee and you went...?"

Thia's cheeks heated with embarrassment. Though she and Derek had been seeing each other for some months, the things they did together still caused her to blush and burn with desire. "I was thinking of sailing on the bay."

July raised her brows. "You were thinking of being on something, but not the bay, I think."

"July," Thia said on a strangled laugh, "you're awful."

"No, just realistic. And a little romantic. You and that man seem to fit well together."

Thia smiled and gazed at nothing. July harrumphed. "When I said 'fit well,' I wasn't thinking of--"

Thia laughed. "I know what you meant. My mind isn't always on you-know-what."

July sighed. "Sex, Thia. It's called sex. You're a grown-up. You can say the word."

"Well, yeah. It's just never been with anyone the way it is with Derek. This is all new. I feel like a kid again."

"Speaking of which, my niece is acting like a kid instead of a rational adult."

"Brigit? Haven't classes started? I thought she'd be knee-deep in drama classes and Shakespeare."

"I was afraid going to school in Las Vegas would be a distraction, but even more, those artistic types are all emotion. They jump at doing things on the spur of the moment. They're not logical and sensible like accountants. I mean, look at you. Sure, you've started doing crazy things like going off on boat trips with a man you don't know, but you've spent most of your life being sensible."

Thia didn't say a thing, but she was thinking plenty, like how much she'd missed out on during those "sensible" years.

She smiled. "What's Brigit done? Signed up to dance in one of those 'special' Las Vegas clubs?"

Instead of returning Thia's smile, July twisted her hands, frowning. "Not that, thank God. But instead of coming home for her break, she's gone off to visit her new boyfriend's family."

Thia recalled times her husband wouldn't go on trips with her. Often Brigit went instead. When Brigit was thirteen, they'd cruised through the Panama Canal. Later, when she first got her driver's license, they went on a driving tour back to Thia's home in Ohio. That was when they'd really bonded as friends. They'd planned a trip the year Thia's husband died, but had to cancel. Brigit was a delightful traveling companion, unlike some teenagers who complained constantly about not being able to do exactly what she wanted. If there was one thing Thia had learned, Brigit was a stable, levelheaded girl.

"I don't see anything too awful in that, July. I'm sure she'll be fine."

"But, Thia, the guy lives in Pakistan. I'd be surprised if Brigit watches the news, but even she should know the government discourages travel to that part of the world. And for women? The culture is much different than what she's used to."

"But she's going as a guest, right? I'm sure her boyfriend will watch out for her."

"I don't know." July stood and started for the door, coffee in hand. "I have a bad feeling about this,"

"You worry too much. Remember what it was like at her age? If I knew then what I know now, I'd have loved an adventure like that."

"Are you sure? My sister in law is worried, and I said I'd ask your opinion. After that DEA thing you were on, they think you know everything." Now July did smile at her friend and boss.

Thia picked up the account record of one of her clients. "Give her a week or two, and she'll be home with all kinds of fascinating stories."

"I hope you're right," July said as she closed the door.

* * * *

"Omar, why are we stopping?" Brigit stared out the back windows of the SUV. Once more she thought of how different he'd been here than when they'd met and loved in Las Vegas.

Omar had withdrawn almost the moment they arrived in Islamabad. His brother, Ahmad, who met them at the airport, had been harsh and aloof, at the same time casting dark looks her way. They'd gone to what she thought was Omar's home. The men had congregated in one room, talking loudly and drinking some black, syrupy concoction he'd said was coffee, and the women had stayed in another room. Brigit hated the arrangement. The women looked at her with suspicion, and she didn't understand anything they said. She'd called home that night to report she'd arrived safely, growing homesick with the sound of her parents' voices and wishing she'd spent her whole vacation in San Francisco with those she loved and where people spoke English.

The next day, Omar told her a horrible thing had happened--his sister had been kidnapped. He said he and Ahmad had to travel north to rescue her. As awful as she felt for his sister, Brigit knew a moment's relief. Surely he wouldn't want her there, intruding during this time of crisis. She'd go home early.

But when she offered, he'd taken her in his arms and held her close, whispering he wanted her to stay. Kidnappings were fairly common in his part of the world, he'd said, and when it was over, they'd have time together.

"Besides," he commented, "did you not say you wanted to learn our customs and see where I come from?"

"Isn't this your home?" She gestured around them.

"This is a cousin's house. I am from a little place north of here. Come with us. I know my mother wants to meet you."

So she hadn't escaped. Instead, she'd climbed into the back of Ahmad's SUV and they'd taken off, leaving whatever civilization Islamabad represented far behind in the first thirty minutes. That had been two days ago.

She had no idea if they were still in Pakistan. Her questions had been met with silence by Ahmad and evaded by Omar. They'd traveled into the mountains, into places so steep the sun didn't penetrate, then out onto ridges so razor sharp she didn't see how the vehicle maneuvered without sliding into deep gullies.

At night, Omar had set her sleeping mat at a distance from where he and his brother slept. The first night, he'd kissed her goodnight but explained that in deference to his brother, they couldn't sleep together. She didn't understand, but figured it was part of their culture, so she didn't complain. However, she couldn't help feeling lonely when the two men sat beside the fire each night, conversing in a language she didn't understand. Worse, her skin crawled when Ahmad stared at her with a mixture of hunger and disgust.

Now, they'd pulled into a space scarcely large enough to accommodate the SUV. Ahmad turned the key and then checked his watch. He muttered something to Omar, who answered. Then Ahmad turned to her. "This is where we pay the ransom for our sister," he said in clear English.

"You knew how to speak English all this time?" More than amazed, Brigit was angry, at Omar as well as Ahmad. By knowing his brother understood all they'd said to each other--and all she'd muttered to herself over the last few days--Omar had humiliated her.

"Thank you very much for respecting me, Omar," she said, crossing her arms and turning away.

"You don't know what respect is," Ahmad spit out.

"Ahmad, stop. We are near the end of our trials. Do not concern yourself with her." Omar hadn't even looked at her since they'd come to a stop, and now he said not to bother with her?

She should have known. Her friends told her Pakistani men had regressive views of women, but Omar had been so nice, so open and understanding. And the sex had been exotic, kinky. She'd discovered an untamed side of her personality she hadn't known existed.

"Oh, but brother, I want to bother with her." Ahmad scooted around in his seat so he could see her. His eyes raked her in so blatant a manner, she wanted to draw up her legs and hide herself.

"There is something my brother neglected to tell you," he said. "He works for some people, some very dangerous people. They paid him to do a job, which he neglected to do." Ahmad shot Omar an accusatory look. "Because of that, his employers kidnapped our sister. Now they demand ransom. That would be you." He smiled in a way that made Brigit want to wipe the grease off her skin.

"What?" Surely she'd misheard. "What do you mean, 'me'?"

"A white woman, young and beautiful." He shrugged as though that part was up for debate when it came to her. "They do not care if she comes willingly. You did. So much easier that way."

Feeling trapped, she asked, "Omar, what the fuck is he talking about?"

"Do not fret, Brigit," Omar said. "We had a good time while it lasted. You said you wanted to learn about our culture--which, by the way is Tajiki, not Pakistani--and now you shall have years and years to learn. If you behave yourself, that is. Otherwise, I am sad to say, your learning curve will be quite short." He got out and then opened her door. "The time has arrived. Get out."

She scurried to the other side of the wide seat, as far from the open door and him as she could get. Her heart galloped in her chest. Spots appeared before her eyes and her breath came in gasps. This couldn't be real. She couldn't be in the middle of nowhere being traded like a sack of potatoes.

"You'll never get away with this," she shouted. In her haste to escape Omar, she'd forgotten Ahmad, who now opened her door and dragged her by one arm from the backseat. She screamed. He slapped her so hard she bit her lip. The coppery taste of blood filled her mouth.

Omar shouted angry gibberish at Ahmad, who yelled back and then tossed her to the ground.

Ignoring the sharp rocks and chill of the air, she scrambled to the side of the road and half ran, half fell into the ditch. Tears streamed unchecked down her face, but she hardly knew it.

The sound of shoes on gravel had her looking over her shoulder. Almost at a stroll, Omar came after her. Snapping her head left and right, she looked for anywhere to run. With a sinking heart, she realized there was no place. Bracing her hands on her knees, she dropped her head, panting.

"That is right," he crooned. "Come back now. You see the fruitlessness of running."

"Why? Why did you do this to me? I thought you--" She stopped before saying the words. She'd thought he loved her. How stupid she'd been.

"We fucked. There was never anything more. You were good. In fact, you have a real talent, which is why I chose you." He took her arm and pulled her back to his chest. His voice next to her ear sent shivers down her spine. "You see, here in the mountains is one of the most exclusive brothels in the world. Men come from all over to sample the wares, and white women are a particular delicacy."

No, no!

His hands stroked down her side, under the waistband of her jeans, and around and down to her crotch. He stroked, and his finger slid into her slick passage. Her breath hitched at his touch, and the goose bumps that had covered her arms below her sleeveless blouse moments ago now prickled with heat.

His chuckle rumbled through her. "You are amazing. Even now, threatened with the notion of being fucked by any number of men, I smell your arousal. Your cunt dampens your panties. If I had the time, I would take you right here and now and share you--yes, share you!--with my brother."

He turned her toward the road and marched her up the slope. "But alas, there is no time."

Goddamn him. The moisture leaking from her pussy had betrayed her. He smelled her desire, the desire he instigated even now. She must be crazy. She'd thought she loved him, but at this moment, she'd kill him and take her chances finding a path out of the mountains.

He stopped her beside the SUV. Ahmad had moved off, staring through binoculars into the mountains.

"Omar," she whispered. He had dampened a cloth from their canteen and wiped her cheeks and lip. "Don't do this. Remember what we had in Las Vegas? It can be like that again. Please, please. Let's just go."

His gaze hardened. "Brigit, if I want you again, I shall know exactly where to find you. Did you not hear Ahmad? They have our sister. If I do not deliver you, she will be defiled. Raped," he clarified, "made impure. She might as well be dead if a man fucks her before marriage."

Her mouth dropped open. "You fucked me before marriage."

He shrugged and began undressing her. She hardly noticed, she was so infuriated.

"You were already impure."

"Goddamn men. Think they're the end-all and be-all on Earth. If I had my way--"

"But you don't," Ahmad said harshly.

Not only had she not realized she'd spoken out loud, she hadn't heard his return.

"They are coming," he said to Omar.

"Who? Who's coming?" Fear tightened her throat.

Since she hadn't cooperated in removing her clothes, Omar had deftly cut them from her. Now he yanked her hands behind her and tied them, much as he had when they'd played at BDSM. But this was no game. Things were happening so fast, confusion kept her from reacting.

Ahmad approached with a large white cloth.

"No! Wait!" Her mind raced to find any reason to delay in a situation that had already spiraled out of control. "What about my luggage, my things? What about my parents and--"

Omar slipped a gag in her mouth, tying it behind her head. Ahmad hunched in front of her to tie her ankles, just as she began kicking and twisting away. Falling onto the sharp stones knocked her breath from her, and her fight did no good. Ahmad still managed to secure her ankles, and the two men stood her on her feet.

"Your things have already been disposed of. Your parents will find it is difficult for Westerners to get information in this part of the world. They may try, but they will discover nothing. There is no trace of you in Islamabad, and soon there will be no trace of you here."

Ahmad threw the cloth over her. They looped something around her throat and tied it tightly enough to keep her from taking a deep breath. Together, they lifted her into the cargo section of the SUV and closed the door.

Moments later, the vehicle started and began a slow crawl up the hill.

Brigit had no sense of distance or time. By the time they stopped, her only wish was to breathe freely again.

They removed her from the car and stood her so that she could lean against the SUV for balance. Voices called from a short distance, and Ahmad answered. Suddenly, more voices, all male, surrounded her.

The rope came off and then the sheet. Gagged and bound, she stood naked in front of three strange men. They examined her, turning her this way and that, and then spoke to Omar. He nodded. They signaled to someone up the road.

A car door slammed and Ahmad called out. Before the strange men again covered her head with the sheet, she caught a glimpse of a petite girl about her own age, running into the outstretched arms of Ahmad. Omar joined them in a group hug, never giving her a second glance.

Motherfucker. She wanted to spit on him.

Her naked body covered once more and the hated restraint around her throat, one of the men slung her over his shoulder and walked several yards before tossing her into another vehicle.

An eternity could have passed before the vehicle stopped and someone carried her into a building, down a hallway, around corners, through doors, and on and on before depositing her on a bed of some sort. Battered and bruised, she lay quietly while a man unwrapped, ungagged, and untied her. Then he departed, leaving the clanging of a metal door ringing in her ears.

Unbound for the first time in what seemed like hours, Brigit lay quietly, letting the blood flow to her hands and feet and allowing her eyes to become accustomed to the light. The light bulb hanging from the ceiling was bright and unforgiving.

She examined her surroundings. The cell was no more than a few feet wide and only slightly longer. The walls were concrete gray. The cot on which she lay was nothing more than bare army-style--a thin ticking mattress covered with a white sheet and a blanket folded at the bottom. A toilet and sink took up one corner, not three feet from the bed. At least the ceiling was high, but that was the only thing about the room with any sense of space. She'd be able to stand and pace, but not for more than a few feet without turning.

Before she had time to plan what to do next, a slot opened in the door. Dark brown hands pushed a tray onto an attached ledge.

"Fifteen minute," a man said in broken English. "Put back when you finished."

Brigit jumped to her feet. "Wait!" The opening closed, shutting out all sound. She pounded on the door. "Wait! Open up! Help me, I've been kidnapped!" Her fists were balls of pain by the time she stopped, and there'd been no response.

The door was metal with no handle. Brigit swung around seeing no way to open the door, no window, no one to listen or care what happened to her. She slid down to the floor. Drawing up her knees and wrapping her arms around them, she cried, letting out the despair she'd felt since Omar told her on the mountain ridge what he had planned for her.

Omar! She'd actually thought she loved that pig. They'd met and entered an intimate relationship right away. He'd catered to her every wish and answered all her desires in bed, even needs she hadn't realized she harbored. He said he needed her so many times, she'd believed him. Now she knew why he needed her.

"Bastard!" But disappointment and pain filled the word instead of hatred. Fresh tears ran down her cheeks.

The cover for the door slot opened. Brigit swiped the moisture from her face and stood, not caring that she was naked.

Hands reached through and grasped the tray of food she hadn't touched.

"Wait a minute," she rushed out, "please. Please help me. I don't belong here, there's been a mistake."

The only response was a grunt. The opening closed. Within seconds, the light went out.

No amount of screaming, crying, or pounding brought a response. More tired than she'd ever been, Brigit felt her way along the wall until she stumbled into the foot of the bed. She crawled up, pulled the blanket over her, and curled into the fetal position. For the first time in many years, Brigit went to sleep crying for her mama.

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