Tropical Corruption A full length Kristen Maroney novel
As the tourist season ramps up, Kristen is haunted by the fate of an innocent man who has fallen into joblessness and drink because he is tarred with the same brush as convict brother. She finds the unfortunate a job, only to stumble upon a heinous plot hatched by an unscrupulous corporation. Ruthless construction contractors would destroy the fragile coastal ecosystem and ensnare Kristen's lover Conrad in unwitting criminal behavior. Before she can figure out what the corporate sleazes are up to, she is kidnapped and tortured. Feeling lifeless and degraded, she cannot find it in her to untangle the web that threatens to destroy Conrad. Unimaginable power and wealth overwhelm her, and she longs to run and hide. Will evil destroy her in the end?
Here's an except, but beware! You may not want to wait until Tropical Corruption appears in 2018!
One night after Belinda and Elena had gone home, I closed the shop and sat on the porch steps feeling that I had nowhere to go. There was still daylight, so I was surprised when a battered yellow and black Fiat pulled up and two rough looking men started toward me. They weren’t large, but I could tell by the bulges under their shirt tails that I was in trouble. The one who came at me the fastest had burn marks on both arms, and his partner’s smile revealed broken brown teeth. Before I could get to my feet, they grabbed me by the arms and pressed a foul-smelling rag over my nose and mouth. I tried to struggle and fell into a black hole.
When I awoke it was it was pitch black. My head pounded, my tongue was thick, and I couldn’t move my arms or legs. Fighting panic, I forced myself to take stock. I lay on my right side. My eyes were open and not covered, I realized, so I must be in a blacked-out room. I couldn’t discern so much as a shape. My mouth was uncovered too, so clearly there was no point in screaming. I did have feeling in my extremities; the reason I couldn’t move was that I was hog tied, which explained the throbbing in my legs. For a while I concentrated on not vomiting, since if I did, I wouldn’t be able to get away from it. After a period of time that I had no way of measuring, my attention shifted to a painfully full bladder. Humiliated and terrified, I soon had to let go. The air was chill and damp, and the puddle that formed under my thigh added to my discomfort. Was I going to be left there? How long before I died? I chased away those thoughts and focused on my wrists. With my thumbs, I discovered that I was bound with something slick, probably duct tape. I used my fingertips to test the surface on which I lay. It was rough and damp. Concrete?
I wiggled my bound wrists as much as possible and continued touching the floor, in search of something to rub the duct tape on. Nothing. I discovered that if I shimmied my way forward, the bindings neither loosened nor tightened. So, I inched along in what I hoped was a straight line. Pretty soon, I’d scraped my right arm and leg raw, but I kept going. After a while, the constant motion did loosen the duct tape. I rested periodically and then resumed my creep. The effort increased the pain, which now radiated through my torso, as well as my extremities, but I couldn’t stop because that would be giving up. Which, I’m glad to say, is not in my nature.
I was just thinking I’d made headway, when I heard the clatter of a chain. An anemic rectangle of dirty yellow light slid into the room. I heard footsteps but didn’t dare raise my head. Clammy with sweat, I waited. Two pairs of dilapidated cowboy boots planted themselves a few inches from my nose. I felt someone bend over me, and in a blast of cheap tobacco, onion, and rot, a voice inquired, “Awake now?” Fric and Frac, I thought.
“You piss yourself? Izzat any way for a lady to act?” Frac said.
“She no lady,” laughed Fric. “She a nosy puta with limp dick casino boyfriend.”
“Not a puta if he’s a limp dick,” I rasped. I couldn’t believe I’d said it. I hoped my hoarse muttering was unintelligible.
“Yo, hijo, she a funny puta.” Frac snapped the blade out of a silver stiletto knife and leaned down. I almost peed again, but he just slid the tip under the duct tape and freed my ankles. Then he sliced the piece that bound my ankles to my wrists. Fric grabbed my hair to pull me to my feet. I yelped in pain and struggled to get my legs under me but they were asleep. I lurched sideways and sat down hard. Fric took another fistful of hair.
“Easy, hijo, puta work on her back. She no in shape.” Fric giggled, and they each grabbed an arm to drag me through the door. Dim as it was, the light hurt my eyes, so I couldn’t see where I was until they’d bumped me up a set of stairs, the tops of my feet hitting the edge of each step. I began to focus when they stood me up against a wall and unlocked another door. Fric turned me around and shoved me through it. I landed face down on a grimy linoleum floor.
“Water,” I rasped.
“Aw, puta thirsty,” Frac said. Fric giggled again and left the room. Frac stood me up and pushed me into a greasy upholstered chair with no cushion and broken springs. After laying hog tied on a wet cement floor it was a relief. Fric came back with a rusty pail and threw water in my face. It smelled like dog shit, and now so did I. I supposed it was a fitting addition to my own stink.
“You wanna know why you here?” Frac said.
“Sure,” I croaked. He slapped me hard across the face. Then he leaned down so his eyes were level with mine.
“You never lie to me. Every lie, something worse happen.” He straightened up. ”You wanna know why you here?”
“I’m guessing Cariburton sent you.”
“Very good. You see? No slap. Why Cariburon want to talk to you?” I wondered fleetingly if Felix had turned me in, but that didn’t make sense. Word could have gotten around that I’d stop by Marita’s office, though.
“I asked Marita what it was like there.”
“Good again.” He slapped me even harder, once in each direction. “You maybe sorry for that?”
“Yeah, ok, I’m sorry.” Frac took an unfiltered cigarette from his shirt pocket and lit it. He inhaled and studied me as smoke drifted from his nostrils. He turned the cigarette around in his hand, unbuttoned my blouse, and pressed the lit end between my breasts. I screamed. When I didn’t stop he slapped me again. I quieted down but couldn’t stop sobbing. My chest was on fire. The cigarette in his mouth, Frac took a glove from his back pocket and slipped it onto his right hand. Fric giggled.
“I’m really, really sorry. I won’t ask any more questions, I promise!” Frac studied me again and then landed a vicious punch to my jaw. My head bounced off the back of the chair and things went black for the second time that night.