"How did I get into this mess?" Josie asked herself.

But it was a rhetorical question. She knew only too well how she had gotten into such serious trouble. It was all her own fault.

Joe had told her in no uncertain terms that she was not to come to Boca Lynda and look for Gary; she was to stay in Bay City. But she had disobeyed Joe's orders, and now she was in prison.

"Idiot!" Josie said to herself. "If Gary had wanted you here, he would have taken you with him and Cameron."

The guard lit a cigar and blew the smoke in Josie's face.

Josie coughed, then muttered, "Son of a bitch."

"What was that?" the guard asked.

Josie answered, hastily, "Nothing."

The guard grunted.

"Well, it doesn't matter what you said. In a few more hours, you won't be able to say anything. Not ever again."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Josie asked.

"You've been sentenced to die at midnight."

"Wait a minute," Josie objected. "How could I have been sentenced? There was no trial."

"The sentence is automatic," the guard explained. "We have a law that no woman may come here unless she is accompanied by at least one man who agrees to be responsible for her. Any woman who comes here without a man is sentenced to death. It makes no difference," he concluded, "if she is the queen of her own country. Here, she is nothing."

"But that's..." Josie stopped herself abruptly. "No sense in antagonizing the guard," she thought. "Maybe, if I play my cards right, I can talk him into letting me escape."

The only thing wrong with that plan was that Josie didn't have any cards to play. Or did she? There was one thing she could offer. After all, her own mother...

"Shame on you," Josie reproached herself silently. "Shame on you, Josephine Anne Watts Sinclair, for even thinking about..."

But if she could find no other way out, would she offer even that?