An escape plan foiled….
A determined woman….
One last tiny sliver of hope….
Jack will find me.
The Fed wants answers. And Caroline is determined not to provide them. They pull out all the stops, testing her sanity, testing her strength, testing her humanity.
Jack will find me.
Subject to cruel and merciless treatment at the hands of a government she once trusted, Caroline clings to her sole lifeline, her only chance at maintaining her tenuous hold on reality: her memories of her husband, Jack, her children, Marguerite and Sophie, and the friends who mean the world to her.
Jack will find me.
But what happens when hope starts to fade? How long until her interrogators cross over into the unspeakable sadism she fears ? How long before she finally breaks apart?
Part Two of a Six Part Saga. Conscience (approximately 115,000 words) is not a standalone and must be read after the first book in the Bellator Saga, Dissident. All books in the series end in a cliffhanger. For readers 18+. This book contains adult situations including graphic violence, explicit (consensual) sex and light BDSM, psychological and physical trauma, and an oftentimes raw, dark, and gritty plot.
They’d start out nice and then devolve if they didn’t get what they wanted. She knew better than to think that they’d abide by the policies and procedures that were in place when she was working for the DOJ. Not if they weren’t Mirandizing prisoners. It was an entirely new ballgame. And she wasn’t going to play.
Howard frowned at her. “We’ve seen the classified information you obtained.”
Stay focused. Give them basic identifying information. Talk about the furthest topic from what they want to hear.
“My legal name is Caroline Joan Gerard,” she said quietly.
His eyes narrowed. “What?”
“I was born at Highland Park Hospital in Highland Park, Illinois on September 4.”
The two agents exchanged glances.
“Who were you working with?” Bradbury asked.
More people than you think, asshole. “I graduated from St. Mary School in Buffalo Grove, Illinois.”
Bradbury glared at her. “How did you get on a government server?”
Very subtle. They thought she’d turned into a hacker in order to obtain classified information. Interesting. Were they bluffing, or did they know?
“I am an alumnus of Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois,” she said.
“Who were you working with?”
Time to have a little fun. “Adlai Stevenson was the governor of Illinois from 1949 to 1953,” Caroline said blankly.
“Excuse me?” Howard laid some papers out on the table in front of her. He was getting angry. “Where did you get these?”
She knew better than to look at the documents. She stared down at a different part of the table. “He ran for president twice on the Democratic ticket.”
Bradbury reached across the table, pulling her chin up so she was facing him. “Tell us what you know.” He turned to Howard. “This bitch is messing with us.”
Of course she was. She’d written her senior thesis on Adlai Stevenson. She could carry on for hours if she had to. She’d barely covered enough for a lame Wikipedia entry.
“He unofficially ran again in 1960 but was defeated by JFK,” Caroline said.
Bradbury punched her in the nose and tears sprang to her eyes.
“Move on,” he told Howard. “She’s fucking around.”
“Where are your children?” Howard asked.
An interesting segue. They weren’t going to play nice. At all. They probably thought they could somehow trick her into talking if they threatened her family. Caroline closed her eyes, trying to remain focused. She would never betray the ones she loved. Howard and Bradbury would figure that out quickly if they were worth their salt.
“Adlai Stevenson is widely regarded as leading the resurgence of the Democratic Party in the 1950s,” she said.
Bradbury punched her again and the blood started to flow. Fantastic. He plopped down on the table next to her, presumably to seem more intimidating.
“Where’s Senator Sullivan?” he asked. “We know she has your children.”
Caroline’s nose was bleeding profusely. She tried to wipe at it with the back of her hand and spat out some blood. “Stevenson served as ambassador to the United Nations before his death in 1965.”
Bradbury pulled her up from the chair by her hair, dragging her across the room. “Stop talking about fucking Adlai Stevenson,” he growled, shoving her up against the wall.
His threat came across as comical, for reasons she couldn’t quite understand. She again failed to hold her tongue. “Why would I want to fuck Adlai Stevenson? He’s dead. That’s gross.”
Caroline knew that laughing at her own joke would mean she’d get an even bigger ass kicking but she didn’t care. They weren’t going to start being gentle with her. Howard was sitting back in his chair quietly observing their entire exchange. Bradbury shoved her up against the wall again.
“Do you think this is funny?” he asked.
Another giggle escaped her lips. “Kinda.”
He reared back and punched her in the jaw. Her head thumped back against the concrete. She saw stars.
“Do you still want to laugh?” He kneed her in the stomach and she doubled over and fell to the floor. “Make another bullshit comment. Try it.”
She’d proven her point. He’d unfortunately done the same. “I’m finished,” she gasped.
He knelt down near her head, drawing his gun. How the hell had she missed that they were armed? Was everyone in this place packing heat?
“Where’s Governor McIntyre?” he asked. “And if you say one more fucking word about fucking Adlai Stevenson you’re getting a bullet to the brain.”
Caroline decided to test that theory. “Who’s Adlai Stevenson?” she said automatically.
Bradbury stood up and kicked Caroline in the side of the head. “If you don’t want to talk, it’s your funeral,” he said, right before she blacked out.
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About Cecilia London
Cecilia is my pen name. I may or may not live in San Antonio, Texas. I’ve been known to apply quotes from ‘The Simpsons’ to everyday life. I live for baseball season.
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