By: Tara Crescent

“I’m sorry,” I said. I pasted a thoroughly fake, yet convincingly worried smile on my face. “I was just thinking about my sister.” Again, this excuse worked on Madame Lorraine, as I knew it would. After all, this entire elaborate auction she ran was her way of dealing with what had been done to her own sister so many years ago.

She was far more idealistic than I was. I wondered if she really believed that if there were enough consensual slave auctions, men wouldn’t need to kidnap young girls from their homes and torture and rape them. Me, I was more cynical. I’d seen the dark side up close and it wasn’t something you forgot.

I’d zoned out again. I took the address she gave me and I promised to be there at ten in the morning.


In keeping with my cover story of someone who was watching every penny, I was staying at a cheap hostel on Khao San Road. Lucien, always cautious that someone might be watching our every move, was staying at a different hostel a few doors away from mine. I called him from a burner phone when I reached my room.

“Well?” he asked me.


“Are you all set? Are you ready?”

For a few seconds, I wondered if Lucien actually cared. If I told him how afraid I was that I was about to be trapped again, would he tell me not to worry? Would he hold me and promise to find another way to get to Dylan? Would he assure me that everything would be okay?

But I wasn’t naïve and I had no ability to delude myself.

We all had ghosts in our pasts. Like Madame Lorraine, Lucien had a sister to avenge. Claire. She’d been taken the same way I’d been taken, abducted from a crowded parking lot by Dylan McAllister’s henchmen. She had been sixteen though, too young for what had happened to her. In keeping with the pattern, two years after her abduction, Dylan lost interest in her and sold her to a brothel in Saudi Arabia.

She had killed herself the first chance she got and Lucien was forever haunted by her memory and his abject failure to save her.

Lucien would never rest as long as Dylan was alive. He would never give up. This was why we’d made common cause, why he’d taken me and trained me so that I would be able to kill with the same fluid ease as he did. Because his thirst for revenge was matched only by mine. I burned with a need to make sure that Dylan McAllister suffered for what he put me through. A flaming compulsion to kill him drove everything I did. All I ever wanted was to stand over him and hold a gun in my hands and to watch him plead and cry, like I had the first day.

Then I would offer him the same mercy he’d offered me. None. I would pull the trigger and he would be dead.

My shoulders straightened and my voice filled with resolve. What did my fears of a slave auction matter in the light of what I had to do? Dylan needed to die and that was the only thing that was important. “I’m ready.”


While Ellie Samuelson had travelled many times to Bangkok, Jenny Fullerton had never visited the city. Jenny Fullerton had never left the USA until she nervously boarded a plane to Bangkok to sell herself to the highest bidder in a consensual slave auction.

You are Jenny Fullerton, I told myself sternly, looking in the small bathroom mirror, but the face of a stranger stared back at me. My hair was now the brunette hues that Alexander Hamilton was supposed to prefer, not the reddish-rust colour I’d been born with. It had also been straightened till it hung flat down my back. My eyes were still green, thank heavens. Changing their colour was out of the question – the surgery existed to do it, but it was risky and blindness wasn’t part of the Kill-Dylan-McAllister plan. And of course, coloured contact lenses were too easily detectable.

No gun, not in Thailand. Too complicated and risky. No knives. It hurt me to leave the Bowie knife taped to the underside of the toilet tank cover, but there was nowhere I could hide it on my person, not with the undoubtedly scanty clothing I’d be wearing at the auction. All I had was my body and it would have to be enough. I’d been taught to fight in the underground fighting halls around the world where men who aspired to rise to the MMA ranks trained. The many thousands of hours I’d spent learning kickboxing, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, these would all have to suffice.

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