Home > Fourth Debt (Indebted #5)(8)

Fourth Debt (Indebted #5)(8)
Author: Pepper Winters

“You never have to doubt, father.” Jasmine’s frosty voice sent goosebumps over my skin. “I’m ten times the man my brothers were.”

Who was this person? This cold-hearted harpy who didn’t care. How could she sit there and speak to the man who’d killed her brothers, let alone agree to torture me.

He’s dead.

He’s dead.

He’s free from this insanity.

I couldn’t control the frothing animosity any longer. My lips pulled back. “You’re all monsters. Every single one of you. You’ll all pay.”

Cut sighed, “You were told to leave, Ms. Weaver. I suggest you listen.”

Bonnie swatted the back of my calves with her stick. “Move, you little guttersnipe.”

“Wait, grandmamma.” Jasmine wheeled herself in front of me with a few expert manoeuvres. “I have something else I want to say.”

The room sucked in a breath, all of us waiting.

Her gaze fell on mine, dead and empty. “You, Nila Weaver, are the reason my best friend is dead. You are the reason I am now sister to only one brother. And you are the reason my family is falling apart.” Her face darkened, manicured eyebrows shadowing angry eyes. “I asked you once to let the debts take place. I asked you to give your life for him—like it has always been. But you didn’t listen.”

Rolling away, she waved at the door. “Go to your room and think about that. Because this time, I’m not giving you a choice.

“This time, I’ll make you pay.”

I WOULD NEVER sleep again.

Not while Daniel roamed the corridors and Cut held my life in his hands. I would never relax while they breathed. I would never drop my guard while they plotted my demise.

But while they plotted, I plotted.

Together, we would meet in hell, and I was past caring who would win. As long as I exterminated them, I would happily trade my life for justice.

Twelve hours passed.

Twelve hours where my heart bled for Jethro and every minute erased his imprint on this world.

Twelve hours where I’d been alone.

I hadn’t seen anyone but Flaw. He’d knocked on my door around 9:00 p.m., bringing venison stew and crusty baguettes. He’d looked as bad as I did—his piercing eyes fogged with stress, his dark hair a turbulent mess. He was a direct mirror of grey disbelief and desolation. I’d wanted him to stay—to protect me if Daniel decided to pay a nocturnal visit, but the moment he’d delivered my dinner, he left.

Food was ash inside my mouth, but I forced small bites, painstakingly swallowing and providing energy to the only weapon I could rely on. Once I’d eaten every morsel, I’d sat cross-legged in the centre of my bed and tightened my grip around the ruby-encrusted dirk.

I couldn’t lie down because Jethro's smell laced my sheets.

I couldn’t close my eyes because his handsome face and blazing love haunted me.

And I couldn’t relax because I needed to be ready to attack if any Hawk came for me.

Only, they never came.

Daybreak brought a smidgen of peace, illuminating Hawksridge—yet again, hiding the filthy evil that seemed so obvious at night.

My cheeks itched from the salt of my sadness, and my head ached from dehydration.

For one heart-ripping moment, I permitted myself to fall face first on the bedding where Jethro had told me everything. I allowed grief to grab me with thick arms and smother me in terrible tears.

I relived his touch and kisses. I punished myself with memories of him slipping inside me, of him saying he loved me for the first time. I came completely undone as I hugged my knife and inhaled the last reminders I would ever have of him.

I had no photographs, no love letters.

Only a few texts and recollections.

They weren’t worth any monetary value, but in a blink, they became my most prized possessions.

Once I’d shed a final tear and drugged myself on his subtle flavour of woods and leather, I hauled myself out of bed and into the shower. Stepping into the hot spray felt like a betrayal to Jethro—as if I washed away the past, moving into a future without him.

I thought I’d cried my final tear, but beneath the waterfall, I purged again, letting my tears swirl down the drain.

I will kill them.

And I will dance on their graves when I do.

Dawn morphed to morning, one hour blending into another, drifting me further from Jethro’s memory.

I tried to leave. My body was weak, needing fuel, mimicking my aching heart with emptiness. But the doorknob refused to spin.

They’d locked me inside.

Could I break it down? Destroy it? But why should I waste my fury on an innocent door when Cut and Daniel deserved to be torn into smithereens?

So, I did the only thing I could. I sat on my chaise and gripped my cell-phone with chilly fingers, begging for a miracle to happen.

Text me, Jethro.

Prove it’s all a big mistake.

Over and over, I repeated my prayer, only for the stubborn phone never to answer. It remained blank and unfeeling, the battery slowly dwindling. The battle to keep going drained me to the point of exhaustion.

I could call for help. I could ring the police chief who’d taken me back after the Second Debt. But they’d wiped my file when I did the Vanity Fair interview. I’d cried wolf and they wouldn’t believe me—especially as most of them were bought by Cut.

Plus, I can’t leave Vaughn. I couldn’t risk giving them ammunition to hurt him.

Indulging in the past, rather than dwelling on a desolate future, I opened every text he’d sent, reliving the rush and sexual frustration of forbidden whispers.

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