Home > Third Debt (Indebted #4)(3)

Third Debt (Indebted #4)(3)
Author: Pepper Winters

“I’ll sign whatever you want renouncing my claim.”

“Jet—” Cut growled, stepping closer, calm and resigned. “What’s done is done. Time to suffer the consequences.”

He discussed taking my life as if I were the household trash and not his flesh and blood.

I turned my back on him and looked out the window again, reliving the procession of cars that’d stolen Nila from my world.

She’d given me so much, yet taken more than I could bear.

It wasn’t fair.

Life is never fair.

I snorted.

My life is over.

“Jethro—” His temper snapped my name in half. “Unless you want a bullet in your brain, I suggest you come with me. As terrible as you think of me, I don’t want to hurt you.”

I spun around. “What?”

My heart raced in false hope.

Moving closer, he waved the gun. “Come without a fuss. You don’t want your sister to see a mess in here…do you?”

Whatever hope had gathered in my heart ruptured. I flinched at the thought of Jaz witnessing a gruesome dispatching.

“I’ll come with you.” Crossing the distance between us, I wrapped my hand around the muzzle of his gun. “Put it away. It’s not needed.”

Silence webbed around us.

Cut sighed and holstered the weapon in the back of his trousers. “Good boy.” The compassion in his eyes was so wrong. He did care for me—more than he would admit.

Normally, my condition meant I had no choice but to listen. To feel. To understand.

Not this time.

My body shut down, already killing off sensitivity and accepting fate. Thoughts of beating him up and running filled my mind. It didn’t have to end this way. But if I left Hawksridge, I would still have to live with the nightmare I’d been born with. And after falling for Nila, my reserves were empty. I wanted a rest.

I was fucking tired of everything.

Cut stood aside, waving at the door. “After you.”

“No, after you. I’ll follow. I gave you my word.”

Cut scowled but finally nodded. Wordlessly, he made his way to the door and looked over his shoulder to ensure I obeyed.

This was it, then.

On the cusp of winning, I’d lost everything.

So be it.

I followed.

“STOP THE CAR. Please, stop the car.”

The policeman shook his head, gripping the wheel and taking me further away from Jethro. “Sorry, Ms. Weaver. The next place we’ll stop is London.”

The sway of the vehicle sent goosebumps over my skin. Every spin of the tyres thickened my blood with dread.

What will Cut do to him?

How could I leave?

Straining in my seat, I winced. The bruises on my ribcage from CPR, the flaring heat in my throat from drowning, and the headache from confusion all competed with the fisting sensation around my heart.

I tapped the policeman on his shoulder. “Please, this is all a big misunderstanding. Take me back. I want to go back.”

Now. Immediately. Before it’s too late.

“Don’t worry. Just relax. Everything is as it should be,” the officer said.

I just walked away! How could I do that?

“No, it’s not. I don’t have time to explain, but I need you to take me back.” Debts and death and diabolical Hawks didn’t scare me anymore.

Only the thought of what Jethro would face scared me.

I wouldn’t let him suffer alone.

What can you possibly do to help?

I ignored that thought and the panic it brought. I was useless, but I had to try. It was the least I could do. He cared for me. He sent me away and put himself in my place.

Damn him for sending me away!

The officer lost his cordial nature, turning stiff with annoyance. “Miss, I understand that you’ve lived through a great deal, but the Hawks are not a family to be trifled with. We’ve acted on the wishes of the media and your family, so don’t say you did not wish to be rescued when the world knows what you’re tangled in.”

My eyes bugged. “The world knows what?” When he didn’t answer, I pried, “How did my father get you to come?”

The policeman glared at me in the mirror. “Your father and brother didn’t make us do anything. We went to them—we had to do something. Your sibling was out of control.”

My heart hurt. My head hurt. I couldn’t make sense of this mess.

Pressing my fingers against my temples, I begged, “Please, whatever you’ve heard, pay no attention. They have it wrong. Just—please take me back.”

Take me back so I can save him. He needs me!

My soul cried for lying about my brother—the one person who had my wellbeing in mind—but my loyalties had changed. Somewhere along the way, I’d chosen Jethro over everyone. He was my curse, my challenge, my salvation, and I wasn’t going to leave him when he needed me the most.

I’d forced him to notice me. I’d forced him to lean on me.

And now I’ve left him without any help.

The car didn’t slow. We kept driving…mile after mile of rolling hills, grazing deer, and dense forest. The car remained silent.

Fear gave me palpitations. Frustration gave me shakes. I hated that I wasn’t in control. I hadn’t been in control my entire life, and this was just another instance in which men believed they knew better.

First my father. Then Jethro. Now these assholes.

I wanted to scratch out their eyes and slam on the brakes. I wanted to scream and teach them just how capable I was.

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