Confessed (Vargas Cartel #3)

BOOK: Confessed (Vargas Cartel #3)
5.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



Vargas Cartel Series, Book 3



Lisa Cardiff




Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Cardiff. All rights reserved.

First Print Edition: October 2015



Limitless Publishing, LLC

Kailua, HI 96734


Formatting: Limitless Publishing


ISBN-13: 978-1-68058-302-1

ISBN-10: 1-68058-302-6


No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.




To my sisters.












Chapter One





My eyes fluttered open.

A maze of fuzzy shadows greeted me.

The pungent smell of ammonia flooded my senses.

My arms and legs prickled.

A film of humidity coated my skin.

My head throbbed in time with the rest of my body.

Hunger clawed at my stomach.

Thirst shredded my throat, making it nearly impossible to swallow.

I reached for my skull, and my arms shook with the effort. Metal shackles decorated my wrists like rusted bangles. Chains secured to the cement block wall dangled from metal rings on my shackles, clattering against the concrete floor every time I moved.

I traced my hairline with my fingers. Blood crusted on the side of my face and hair. My cheek felt puffy and sore to the touch.

I remembered fighting with that man on the street in Playa del Carmen. I remembered him striking the side of my head with his gun, but after that, everything was blurry like a fragmented nightmare. Non-distinct memories flashed through my mind like photographs.

A long car ride with a musty pillowcase over my head.

Arguments about where to take me.

Being pulled out of the car as my knees scraped across the dirt.

A phone call to Ryker.

Then, nothing…until now.

Keys rattled outside the metal door at the far side of the room. Seconds later, the deadbolt clicked, and the hinges squealed as the door sprung open. A fluorescent light overhead flickered to life with a slight hum. I squeezed my eyes closed, protecting them from the sudden burst of illumination. I heard the faint tapping of cockroaches scattering away from the light.

Buenas tardes,
Miss Covington.” The gravelly voice echoed off the walls, and I pried my eyes open.

“Hello,” I said, my voice scraping like sandpaper across my vocal cords.

“Do you remember me?”

I nodded, and pain shot through my head. “You’re Juan Alvarez.”

“Good.” He flipped open a silver colored folding chair propped against the wall and settled into it, his ankle crossed over the opposite knee. His stomach hung over his wide black belt. “We had to sedate you, so I didn’t know how much you’d recall from our first meeting.”

My lips parted as images flitted through my brain one after another. Juan Alvarez had threatened to rip off my fingernails and deliver them to Ryker along with other body parts if he didn’t return Anna Alvarez back to her family. Then, I lost it. I screamed. I kicked. I bit. I tore out his hair, and I ended up here—chained and caged like an animal.

My lips curved upward into something resembling a smile when I noticed the scratches carved into his cheek. I did that. I curled my hands into fists like a professional boxer. I narrowed my eyes into predator-like slits. If I weren’t chained to the wall, I’d attack him again. “I remember enough.”

“Right.” He stroked the side of his face, then stood. He paced back and forth in front of me without saying a single word. Dirt crunched under the weight of his black loafers. The tassels on the tops of his shoes swung back and forth like a hypnotic pendulum.

Without warning, he stopped moving, and his hands threaded into my hair. He yanked my head backward, and it collided with a dull thud against the wall. I chomped on my lower lip to stifle a whimper. It fucking hurt. My brain scrambled, and the corners of my eyes stung with dehydrated tears, but I refused to cry. I refused to show weakness. It wouldn’t help me. I’d melt into a blubbering puddle of fear, and I needed be coherent in order to survive.

“I don’t tolerate disobedience. You try that shit again, and I’ll fucking kill you. I don’t give a shit who your family is or who your boyfriend is. You’ll be nobody after I chop you into a million unrecognizable pieces and feed you to the coyotes.

His sour breath wafted across the side of my face, and I gagged. A lopsided smirk split his bloated face. The gold crown on his front tooth winked at me, taunting me.

I nodded, clenching my teeth to stop them from clacking together as full body tremors possessed me.

“Enrique,” Juan spat as he glanced over his shoulder. “She’s ready for you.”

“Ready?” I whispered with my stare glued to the door.

A man with wavy dark hair that brushed the top of his shoulders strolled into the room. He wore faded baggy jeans and a black muscle shirt. Colorful tattoos of cartoon-inspired naked women and phrases in Spanish decorated his forearms. A bandage circled his right bicep. He couldn’t have been more than five years older than me, but something about him scared the shit out of me.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said as his eyes traveled the length of my body. He pulled a cigar out of his pocket, snipped the end and lit it, his inky eyes never leaving mine.

“Enrique is my son. He’s going to do the honors. I’m just here for the entertainment.” Juan untangled his hand from my hair and sat back down in the folding chair. “I like having front row seats to these events. I find them inspirational.”

My eyes widened, and I scooted backward, suctioning my spine to the wall. “No,” I whispered, shaking my head back and forth. “No. I’m sorry. I won’t do it again. I promise. I’ll be good.”

“It’s too late for apologies,” Enrique said. He sucked on the end of his cigar, and his cheeks hollowed, highlighting the knife-edged angles of his face. “But it won’t be too bad this time. This is a warning. Next time…” He shrugged. “It’ll be much worse.”

He crouched in front of me, brushing the side of my jaw with his knuckles. “Such pretty skin. Not a single blemish. Personally, I like a woman with a few scars. They give you character. They tell a story about who you are and where you’ve been. When I’m done with you, you’ll definitely have a story.”

My heart battered against my chest bone, and a parade of uneven pants escaped my mouth. Like a thief, fear crept through my body coating my muscles in ice. I inched backward again, hoping and praying against all logic that the wall would open up and transport me anywhere but here. Where was a portal to another dimension when I needed it?

“Do you know what happened here?” He pointed to the bandage on his arm.

“No,” I muttered, my voice almost inaudible. My words were thick and fuzzy.

He flicked his cigar, and the ashes landed on the neon yellow laces of my running shoes. The ashes glowed orange, then faded to gray dust a few seconds later. “I guess you wouldn’t.” He sucked his lower lip into his mouth and his spike silver labret piercing lurched forward like a snakehead. “Your boyfriend shot me as I watched that worthless piece of shit, Rever Vargas, drag my sister down the steps of our church. Can you imagine abducting someone from church?” He clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth twice. “And here I thought the Vargases were all about honor and respect. Imagine my disappointment when I realized they’re animals just like the rest of us.”

My eyes widened as I stared at the bright white bandage. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know,” I whispered. Against all logic, I hoped it would make him reconsider his plans for me.

He tipped up my chin with two fingers and rubbed his calloused thumb across my lips. “Don’t worry about me, sweetheart. I’ll have a scar, but I’ll be fine in no time.”

He took another drag of his cigar and the sickly sweet smell of tobacco curled into my nose. Coughing, I turned my head to the side.

“So,” he said, pushing my sleeve up my arm. “I’ve been thinking about how to get even with Ryker Vargas for shooting me and discipline you for your outburst this afternoon.”

My stomach freefell like an elevator with its cables severed. “How?” I said. The word splintered as it rolled off my tongue.

He smiled, but it didn’t reach his vacant eyes. “We’ll have matching scars.”

“No,” I cried, yanking my arm away from him, but it didn’t matter. He snatched it back easily enough. I couldn’t escape.

He rolled his lit cigar between his index finger and his thumb for a suspended moment. Then, he grabbed my arm, imprisoning it against his thigh, and he plunged the glowing tip into my bicep.

I screamed as the cigar sizzled against my skin. Fire shot up my arm, and my muscles recoiled like a rubber band. The cloying smell of cigar mingled with the smell of seared flesh and burnt hair. My body jerked as shockwaves of pain radiated up and down my arm, echoing in my ears like a drumbeat.

“Please stop. No more,” I begged as tears crawled down my cheeks.

“Oh, I’ll stop.” He pulled the cigar away from my arm and relit it with a flick of his silver lighter. “When I get bored of this.”

My heart stuttered. “Oh my God. Please, no more.”

I tugged my arm back, but Enrique stepped on the chain shackling me to the wall, and the rough metal edges of the cuff tore into my underside of my wrist. He dug his finger into my blistered wound. Curses tangled with screams flowed like a river from my mouth.

“Two more should be good unless your reactions disappoint me, in which case, I won’t stop with your arm.” He tilted his head to the side. “Now that I think about it, I do enjoy branding my victims.” He brushed his fingertips down my arm. “Do you think Ryker would mind looking at an A while he fucks you?”

I whimpered and my vision slanted.

“How many places do you think I’ll be able to brand you before your boyfriend delivers Anna back to us?”

Panic zipped through me. I squeezed my eyes closed, and my throat narrowed to a pinprick. “I won’t move again. Just finish what you started.”

He flicked his finger against the middle of my forehead. “No cheating, Miss Covington. You have to watch so you fully appreciate my artistry.”

“No,” I gasped, hooking my fingers in the hem of my shorts.

“Open your eyes or I will staple your eyelids to your eyebrows,” he growled.

Spittle showered my scrunched up face. I bit the inside of my cheek, swallowing back all the insults I wanted to hurl at him. They wouldn’t do anything except bring me more pain. “Go ahead,” I said as I cracked my eyes open one by one. My mind floated as I circled through memory after memory, trying to hold on to anything to stop the pain and the anxiety as I waited for him to brand me again.

“Buena chica,”
he muttered, his voice dripping with ridicule as he pressed the cigar into my arm adjacent to the first mark.

Tears blurred my vision as I willed myself to stay still and keep my eyes open. Flames of agony rippled through my arm as my skin wilted like burning paper, curling up at the edges. My eyes locked on his. A smile twisted his lips into a sadistic sneer, and he lifted the cigar again. His black eyes glittered with a sick satisfaction as he lit it again and inhaled.

“Una vez más,”
he said as smoke exited his mouth in uneven puffs.

The cigar smashed against my arm once more. I didn’t move. I didn’t respond. Hate coursed through my veins, and I plotted my revenge. Disjointed thoughts tumbled through my mind, each one more warped than the last. I visualized carving the lines of his tattoos with a knife until a river of blood poured from his arms and neck. I mentally pierced his eyeballs, plucked them out of their sockets and stuffed them down his throat until his suffocated. I imagined his severed body parts scattered across the room.

I was deranged. My thoughts turned my stomach, but something about conjuring ways to torture and kill Enrique brought me clarity and purpose. It kept my mind from dwelling on the pain, and it gave me the incentive to keep fighting instead of succumbing to the defeat crushing my chest.

Then, it ended.

He removed the cigar from my arm for the fourth and hopefully final time. I sucked in a breath, filling my lungs with much-needed air. He caressed the side of my head, and I flinched. His touch made my stomach roll.

“Don’t touch me,” I hissed through my teeth even though I knew I should’ve kept my mouth shut and feigned compliance.

He sighed as he pinched my cheek, his dirty fingernails digging into my skin like two arrows. His putrid breath misted over my face. “Don’t be tiresome. I can do whatever I want with you. You’re our prisoner. You’re mine until I decide otherwise.”

I scoffed and ripped my gaze away from his penetrating stare. He could do what he wanted with me. I knew that, but it didn’t mean I had to like it or acknowledge it.

Smiling faintly, he stood and tossed the cigar onto the floor. He ground the heel of his black boot into the fat stub. “That’s all for today, but I’ll be back tomorrow to finish the A. Two more should do it.”

I glanced at my arm for the first time since he finished. Four circular burn marks marred my bicep, creating something that loosely resembled an upside down ‘V’. I glared at him, wishing I could kill him with my hands instead of settling for killing and torturing him in my mind.

“Have a good night,” he said as he turned to face the door.

“Wait. I have to go to the bathroom.”

BOOK: Confessed (Vargas Cartel #3)
5.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

High Tide by Inga Abele
Overclocked by K. S. Augustin
Sweeter than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliott
Who I Am by Melody Carlson
Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
Stage 6 by James, Dylan
Convergence by Convergence
The Dwelling: A Novel by Susie Moloney
The Ruby Tear by Suzy McKee Charnas