Knight Takes Pawn by Martha Sweeney Blog Tour
Title: Knight Takes Pawn
Series: Red Knight #1
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Since the beginning of the war, which was almost over three decades ago, the air has had been stale and musty, still smelling of burnt metal. All resources needed to survive are severely limited, causing many Jaruians to pillage one another just to get a single meal for the day.
There are some who wish to end Jagger’s power and they’ve started to infiltrate his organization. Money, amongst other things, are just a farce that Jagger uses to dangle in front of his subjects to keep the population in line and distracted. Those who want to see the end of Jagger’s reign want to take control over the depleting natural resources in order to save the planet and the Jaruian species.
Natalie gets caught up in Jagger’s twisted game of power and control when she’s taken from her sovereign. Against her will, like all women who are caught, Natalie is thrown into the Jaruian sex trade. With her new, unwanted job responsibilities, Natalie takes a stand, willing to die fighting for her life rather than be used. When an opportunity presents itself, is Natalie willing to do whatever it takes to free herself or remain only a pawn?
WARNING: This series contains sensitive material. Reader discretion is advised.
The taste of copper coats my tongue as a ringing echoes in my ears. My head throbs from the blow administered after the dacker flailed his body backward, slamming me against the wall. I almost lose my grip on the now sweat-slicked chain, but I refuse to let go. He bucks a second time, forcing my head to fly back and collide with the barrier again. Though I’m wedged between him and the cold, gritty wall, I can tell that he’s on his last few breaths of life.
His fingers frantically claw at the metal that’s wrapped around his neck as his body becomes stiffer with each passing second. Faint gurgling sounds escape his open mouth as he desperately tries to suck in air. His body starts to slump, but my tired muscles flex harder, coaxing his fate to settle in more quickly. After about ten more seconds, his fat, greasy body collapses to the floor.
Positioning my right, bare foot in the middle of his back, I yank even harder on the chain. When the coloration on his face starts to change, I finally begin to slacken the reins. My arms shake violently from how long my muscles have been tense.
While I wait for the others to return, I sit on the edge of the bed with my back against the headboard as my knees are curled up to my chest. I’m unable to cry because that’s what I’ve done the majority of the time for the past few days since they captured me.
I’m not sure how much time passes, but some time later, two guards from earlier come barging into the room which is locked from the outside. They shout profanities and some other words I can’t make out, obviously commenting on the scene displayed before them. It’s not that I can’t understand them; they’re speaking Jaruian. It’s that my brain doesn’t focus on any single word as they bounce around in my head like a set of drums.
One of them comes close to me. His arms whipping around in the air as more unheard words escape from his rank hole. I don’t bother to look at him and continue to stare at the man I just killed. I’ve never taken a life before and I’m not sure how to feel about it. Mixed emotions run through me, but regret is not one of them. It was either him or me, and I chose him. The asshole paid money, I’m not sure how much, to have his way with me for a few hours.
My head flying to the left is paired with a sharp stinging grabs my attention. I don’t whimper. I don’t cry. Everything that has happened to me the past few days feels even more surreal now.
“The boss will hear about this, bitch,” one of the voices threatens.
I guess his slap brought me back to reality, allowing me to finally comprehend their words. My eyes lift to find his. I stare him down, hoping that he sees the anger and hatred in my gaze. He inches his face closer to mine, but I don’t budge.
“Let her be,” the other one states.
“What for?” he questions. “She dacking killed him.”
“The dacker had it coming,” the other says. “Boss didn't like him that much. He always marked up the girls bad enough where they’d be out of commission for a few days. He was costin’ us money.”
“Whatever,” he huffs, turning away from me. “Help me get him out of here.”
I’m left inside the room without another word. The only sounds that are distinguishable are the door lock being switched into place, the faint percussion of music seeping in through the walls, and my heart pounding in my chest.
The small, makeshift bedroom with a bathroom, that is missing a door, still wreaks of that bastard’s body odor, causing me to dry heave a little. I’m not sure if I’m above or below ground since there isn’t a window in my tiny domicile.
I was knocked out right after they grabbed and bagged me just a few blocks from my home. When I woke up, I had a massive headache that could have been from either being hit over the head or drugged—perhaps both. Sensations of being fondled during my transportation fade in and out each time I dream or am touched by anyone, especially men.
Not long after I arrived, they had a group of women clean me up. My clothes were removed and they bathed me in a large, cement bath that was embedded in the middle of the floor of the room. I timidly kept my body covered as much as I could as they washed and rewashed my body to get rid of all of the dirt and stains. My hair was washed twice before they ushered me to another area. The women hand dried my body with small hand towels and then had me lay down on a leather-bound table where they then proceeded to wax my legs, underarms and genital region. My hair was trimmed next and styled before I was given a thin, skimpy dress to wear without a bra or panties. The women chatted quietly on occasion as they tended to me and most offered me an apologetic smile when we made eye contact.
Once I was ready, the ladies knocked on the door I originally entered. Two guards reached forward, grabbing my upper arms forcefully and escorted me away. They flanked me on either side as we followed one in front of us with one more trailing behind. I was then led to the room where I currently reside and given some food. They gave me just enough to take me away from the edge of hunger, but not enough to fully nourish me.
Two meals came each day with a small snack in between them. The food wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t good either. They gave me some juice a couple of times, but mostly water. If I needed more to drink, I was left drinking from the questionable sink in the bathroom with the use of my hands. Utensils were never given with my food, even if the option was not finger-food.
Yesterday, I was inspected by a male doctor while two other women were in the room. None of them said anything other than the doctor directing me to stand or move as he checked my body. He was very thorough and took a lot of notes.
Each night I’ve slept, it hasn’t been much. I wake to every little noise, worried that an unwelcomed intruder will arrive. I wasn’t exactly sure what they wanted from me, what they had planned, but I had a pretty good guess and it was confirmed when they let that bastard into my room tonight.
A familiar sound draws me from my thoughts and I stare at the closed door, hoping that I was only imagining it. The wooden door creaks open and three men walk into the room. My throat dries and my palms begin to sweat, nervous by their blank expressions. I recognize the two from before, but not the third. I silently pray to the Gods, if they even exist, that he’s not the next customer in line.
“What is your name?” the unfamiliar man asks.
My body trembles with fear as I can’t find the ability to answer him; nor do I want to.
“It doesn’t matter,” he says softly after a few more seconds of waiting for me to respond. He shifts closer and sits on the foot of the bed.
I watch him carefully, concerned with what he may do to me.
His eyes drift down to the spot on the ground where my victim previously laid. “Is that where it happened?” he asks, gesturing in front of him. “Is that where you killed him?”
I don’t follow his hand as I try to gauge his tone and expression. He almost seems amused rather than pissed at the fact that I killed the man.
His eyes lift to my face and his eyebrows raise a little.
His gaze drifts down my body and back up. “Where did the chain come from?”
“He brought it in with him, sir,” one of the goons states. From the sound of his voice, it’s the dacker who hit me.
“Who let him bring in his own toys?” the man, who seems to be in charge, asks sharply.
They both remain quiet.
The one in charge slides closer and reaches forward toward me. I flinch, but it doesn’t seem to surprise him. He waits a few seconds before taking my chin. My gaze returns to him. The look in his eye tells me that he doesn’t intend to hurt me. His large, rough hand gently guides my head to turn a few inches to the left and then right. “Which one of you struck her?” he questions a little more calmly.
“Breaker, sir,” the one who didn’t hit me states.
“Quiet,” Breaker seethes through his teeth.
“Leave us,” the man directs.
“Sir?” the one called Breaker questions.
The man in charge shoots to a standing position and without another word, the two guards comply. Once the door is closed behind them, he turns back around and faces me. “I’m not a fan of my good paying clientele being killed,” he states calmly.
I don’t comment, fairly confident that he’ll do something to me regardless if I do speak and doesn’t care what my response would be.
“Do you know who I am?” he inquires.
My head bobs slightly, confident that I know his name; Jagger.
He takes a step forward and studies me for a moment. “You did do me a bit of a favor, though,” he states eerily. “He was costing me some money…more than what he was paying now that I think about it.”
I squeeze my hands together more, nervous about how this can play out.
“But, I still can’t have my clients being killed when they pay to have their way with you.” He pauses for a few seconds. “Though…it was his own fault for bringing in the chain.”
Staring at him, I’m not sure what he expects me to do. I will fight to the death to protect myself.
“I’m guessing you aren’t sorry,” he assumes. “And, why should you be. He would have broken you…physically…but, I’m not so sure that he would have broken your spirit.” He takes two steps forward and places his left hand under his chin as he supports one arm with the other. “And, I’m guessing that you’d put up another fight if I sent another client in here, wouldn’t you?”
I don’t comment, but I’m sure he can read my thoughts when he looks into my eyes.
After a few moments of silence, he says, “However…I think I just might have an idea that would work for the both of us.”
She lives in sunny California with her husband and enjoys writing poolside most months out of the year.