Home > Pennies (Dollar #1)(9)

Pennies (Dollar #1)(9)
Author: Pepper Winters

“Gone shy on me? Fine.” Removing his threat, he sat back. “You’ll talk. You’ll see.”

The relief around my bones throbbed with every heartbeat.

I’ll do my best that you’ll never hear my voice again.

“I see we’ll have some breaking in to do, but don’t underestimate me, girl. You don’t want to mess with me.” Pulling a black file that I hadn’t seen wedged beside him, he unzipped the leather shell and pulled out a sheaf of paper. Waving it in my face, he smiled. “This is you. The sum of your life. Your friends on social media. Your family photos. Your personal messages. Every silly thought and ugly reminder of your past.”

His soft voice stupidly lulled me until he exploded in a violent outburst, throwing the paperwork across the wood and silver-trimmed cabin. “Gone! All of it. You are no longer that slut. You’re my slut. You’ve been given the name Pimlico, and from now on, that’s all you are. Got it? You’re name-less, family-less, and mine.”

His hand raised, and the lessons the traffickers had taught kept me subservient. I cowered before his strike, already giving him the control he so desired. He whacked me around the ear, causing a sharp ringing inside my skull.

I bit my lip, holding back any cry or tear, bowing forward to send a wave of brown hair to hide my face.

I needed to vanish. To disappear.

He didn’t seem to care that I didn’t scream or beg. Rubbing his hands together, he grew calm again.

Too calm.

He acted as if we were on a business date, discussing a transaction beneficial to both of us.

I wanted to teach him what was beneficial: his balls in my left hand and an arrest warrant in my right.

Alrik—as if I’d ever call him Master A? (the sadist prick)—ran a palm over his clean-shaven jaw. “It’s only fair I tell you something about me, seeing as I know everything there is to know about you.” Buffing his nails on his shirt, he sighed as if this entire thing was boring him. “I’m taking you to my home in Crete. There, you will do what I want, when I want. You will not refuse unless you enjoy agony.” His eyes hollowed with no mercy. “Then again, perhaps you like pain. Do you, Pimlico? Answer me; don’t be coy. Do you secretly enjoy being hurt?”

I stiffened as he stroked my knee again, threatening with reminder of what he’d already done. “Whatever empowerment you hope being silent gives you…think again.” His hand gathered my dress, bunching it up my thighs.

No. Please, no.

I squeezed my eyes, waiting for his gruesome fingers to climb between my legs. But he stopped. Hovering on my delicate skin, he grunted, “You will talk to me. Eventually. But don’t worry, if you only learn to scream, I can work with that.”

Reclining backward, his vile touch gave me a reprieve as he picked up his glass. Taking three long sips, he twirled the breakable flute with a lingering smirk. “Forget everything about your past and only remember this. You are my toy; my most prized possession. Don’t forget how much I paid for you and what I expect in return.”

His words fell to the plane’s floor like loaded grenades.

I waited for them to detonate and destroy me, but whatever freedom I’d found by locking myself away prevailed.

The silence stretched like a dirty pause, but I didn’t care. If I was to remain true to my voiceless future, I had to befriend silence and find sanctuary in whatever awkwardness it created.

However, Alrik wasn’t prepared to do such things. His eyes narrowed as he leaned into me. “Are you not going to ask what you can expect in return?”

Every instinct commanded me to shake my head. To reply in some way. But I fought that, too. Verbal and nonverbal communication were now forever forbidden. Just as I’d locked away who I was, I would banish all memory of companionable connection.

He growled beneath his breath. “The more you defy me, the more you’ll pay when we arrive.”


Away from my home and mother. Away from everything I’d been.

I could control my outward response, but I couldn’t control my heart bucking suicidal in my chest.

Alrik sighed heavily, snapping his fingers for another glass of champagne. Instantly, a dew-covered flute with sparkling liquor was delivered directly into his outstretched paw.

Enjoying a sip, he said, “Seeing as you won’t ask, I won’t tell. But just so you know, by the time the week is through, you’ll be on your knees wishing you’d been smarter. You’ll chant yourself to sleep begging to know what comes next.”

He painted a horrible picture. A future I wanted nothing to do with.

A few heartbeats thundered past, my chest rising and falling, tickling my nipples against the toilet paper words stuffed in my bodice.

My note to No One.

I was stupid to find comfort in those silver-scribbled scraps. But I did. My back straightened, and my fingers linked demurely in my lap.

This bastard was just a man.


Yes, he could hurt me. Yes, he could make me beg for death. But we were the same species. Same adversaries.

And one day soon, I would figure out a way to win and be free of him.

Alrik toasted me with his champagne, not offering me a drink or dinner. His gaze travelled over every inch of me as the plane banked to the left. “We’re almost home. I can’t wait to show you around.”

He chuckled, enjoying being the joke creator and punch line to the new narration of my life. “Once we get there, you’ll realise how much you wasted my openness to talk. Poor Pimlico…you really should’ve asked.

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