Haze of Obedience (Behind Closed Doors #3) - Maggie Cole



Slavery requires the highest form of obedience. Anything your master demands, you comply to without hesitation or question, or there are consequences to bear.

The mere threat of those ramifications can be enough to sway you to obey. But often, submission is created by the hardest lessons learned. And they leave scars and break you, piece by piece, until you don't think there is any fight left in you. Mix in addiction, corruption, and greed, and you have a potent wheel of toxic power so strong that the average person wouldn't have a chance to survive it, much less escape it.

But my girl isn't average. They didn't snap her into pieces the way they thought. She won't live the rest of her days as the compliant workhorse they planned for her to be.

There are one hundred events scheduled for her to perform in one hundred days, including embassy parties in Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala, and Belize.

The boiling of my blood only gets hotter each night that passes, and she's not in my arms. I know what will happen every night she leaves the stage. Vengeance I've never felt before swirls in my veins, fighting the patience I've acquired over the years.

The hunter in me knows how to scout, stalk, and trap my prey. And the sniper knows how to assess each situation then calmly wait to annihilate my enemy. But the killer in me reacts fast and without hesitation. That is the beast who’s dying to rip every man who has ever touched her shred by shred. It's the demon I need to control. One wrong move on my part and she's dead.

Sometimes, I hear her voice in my dreams and see her singing on stage or sobbing into a pillow. It's those visions that tear at my heart and test my restraint.

Her reality is a mirage to the world, which only sees the fame she's acquired. No one on the outside would ever question her freedom or call her a slave.

The Global Leaders have stolen her rights and claimed her as theirs. They believe they own her. Now, they have a bigger problem and aren’t even aware of it—they underestimated me.

They may have captured my little diva and thought they eliminated me, but I'm coming for her.

That means I'm coming after them.

One thing you should never mess with is a man's woman. And especially a country boy's.



Two Years Ago

Patchouli flares in my nostrils, and if I could close my eyes any tighter to not wake up, I would.

But I can't.

The pounding of my headache from the previous night's alcohol and drugs is like a bowling ball sloshing against my skull.

You need to stop letting them load you up.

What's the point?

At least it's bearable with it.

Why are you blaming them? You took everything all on your own last night.

Inhaling deeply, patchouli fills my airways, and nausea washes over me. I drag myself off the bed and try to focus on figuring out where the bathroom is.

Where am I?

Things are fuzzy, and I shudder when I hear his gruff voice say, "Bathroom is that way."

I don't want to be reminded of him, but I turn. Dark eyes, black hair to his shoulders that is still pulled back in last night's ponytail, and the gold chain around his neck come into focus.

Jonas Torres.

He points toward the door, and I run, covering my face and barely make it to the toilet in time to get sick.

You have to quit this crap.

Sweat pops out on my skin, and when I'm done, I rinse with mouthwash and brush my teeth with a spare toothbrush I find on the hotel counter.

When I finish, the reflection in the mirror looks like me, but I no longer know who I've become.

From the time I was a little girl, all I ever wanted to do was sing and entertain the world. Early on, I saw how people's faces would light up with happiness, or their eyes would glisten with emotion whenever I belted out a tune. My soul would come alive whenever I performed, no matter how big or small the crowd.

Those were the days of ignorant bliss.

The poor, rural town in Mexico I grew up in didn't have much going on. My parents and siblings were all farmers. At age ten, they trained me to work in the fields. It wasn't anything major, just berry picking, but I hated every moment of it.

My family told me to stop dreaming. We were poor. Girls like me didn't make