Home > Final Debt (Indebted #6)(17)

Final Debt (Indebted #6)(17)
Author: Pepper Winters

At one point in the ceremony, a woman with bare breasts and white paint smeared on her throat and chest reverently placed a flower headband on Cut’s head.

He nodded with airs and graces, smiling indulgently as the woman merged back with her tribesman.

My skin prickled, a sixth sense saying I was watched.

Squinting past the brightness and sting of the fire, I searched for the owner’s gaze.


Daniel lurked on the outskirts of the fire, his eyes not on the half-naked women but on me. His lips parted, gaze undressing me, raping me from afar. In his hand rested a crudely made cup, no doubt holding liquor.

One song turned into a mecca of soulful salvation. A young girl broke away from the dancing women, moving forward with a small bowl and a blade.

I sucked in a breath as she looked at Cut and pointed at me with the knife.

A knife?

Why the hell does she have a knife?

Cut nodded, tugging my leash. I tried to fight it, but it was no use. Effortlessly, he forced me to present my tied hands.

My lungs seized as the girl bowed at my feet, placing the bowl on the dirt. Unfurling my palms, she kissed each finger, murmuring a chant that sent spiders scurrying down my spine.

I tried to tug away, but Cut held me firm.


The girl flashed her blade.

I gritted my teeth. “No—”

Before I could stop her, she sliced the flesh of my palm and held the bleeding cut over the bowl.


Pain instantly lashed over the wound, stinging and raw. Blood welled, dripping thickly into the girl’s collection.

“Why did you do that?” My voice bordered on rage and curiosity. My hand begged to curl over the wound and protect it.

The girl didn’t reply; she merely waited until a small crimson puddle rested in the bowl before letting me go.

The music turned to a fever, the men pounding their drums, the women kicking their heels. The little girl returned with her bloody prize, dancing and howling at the moon as voices rose in an ancient euphony.

My entire body was on fire.

My blood flowing fast.

My skin flushing bright.

My fear twisted into intoxication.

I wanted to join them. To become wild.

My wound was forgotten. My predicament and future peril ignored.

The moment the girl took my blood, I’d become more than just an outcast in this foreign land, I’d become one of them.

Cut sucked in a breath, something odd and not entirely unwelcome throbbing between us. He tore his gaze from mine as the girl finished her pirouette and with a squeal the bowl landed in the fire, shattering against hot coals, hissing with burning blood. A potent smell laced the air as the dance turned crazed, choreographed by gravity-defying shamans.

To be somewhere where life wasn’t about TV or work-stress or mundane normalness—to see people having fun and partying—intoxicated me better than any experience.

The night came alive with singing and stomping feet and the unravelling power inside billowed faster. I wanted to get up. I wanted to dance. I wanted to forget who I was and let go.

This was an experience of a lifetime and my lifetime was almost over. My mother was here. My grandmother was here. Every ancestor had somehow come to life and existed in the flames of the enchanted fire.

We all lived the same path…and failed. I was supposed to be the last Weaver taken but time no longer held sway on my plans. It charged forward, dragging me with hardship, hurtling me toward a conclusion I didn’t know how to stop.

A woman appeared in front of me. Coconut beads and crocodile teeth decorated her neck, draping between naked breasts. “You. Drink.” Shoving a crudely made bowl beneath my chin, she tipped the milky substance toward my lips.

I reared back, shaking my head. “No, thank you.”

Cut tugged on the rope, his face alive with power. “Drink.”

I pursed my lips.

“You must.” The woman tried again.

I turned my face away. The liquid smelled rank and rotten.

“You will drink, Nila.” Lashing out, Cut fisted my hair, keeping my head in place as the woman once again held the bowl to my mouth.

I scrunched my face, protesting. The silty liquid splashed against my lips.

I didn’t know what it was, but it was powerful—the otherworldly smell warned me I wouldn’t be the same if I ingested it. I wouldn’t like the results if I gave in.

Stop! Please, stop.

The woman tried again, bruising my mouth with the rim of the bowl. Crushed up leaves and smashed up roots lingered on the bottom, splashing with her attempts. The woman cursed in Swahili, looking at Cut for help. “She won’t.”

“She will.” Still holding my hair, he reached with his free hand and captured my bleeding palm. “Open.” With ferocity, he dug his fingernail into the fresh wound. I did my best to prevent drinking, but his hold was agonising.

The heat and pain wrenched my mouth open, and a gulp of disgusting liquid shot down my throat.

My eyes watered.

My stomach retched.

I spluttered.

The woman nodded with satisfaction. “Good.” She stood, slipping back to her fellow dancers.

Alone, Cut hugged me, kissing my cheek. “Good girl.” His tongue slipped out, licking a droplet off my lower lip like a lover would his bride. “Let it transform you. Let it own you.”

I shuddered, fighting his embrace. “Let go of me.”

Cut chuckled, kissing the corner of my mouth. “Don’t fight it. You can’t fight it.”

Most Popular
» Nothing But Trouble (Malibu University #1)
» Kill Switch (Devil's Night #3)
» Hold Me Today (Put A Ring On It #1)
» Spinning Silver
» Birthday Girl
» A Nordic King (Royal Romance #3)
» The Wild Heir (Royal Romance #2)
» The Swedish Prince (Royal Romance #1)
» Nothing Personal (Karina Halle)
» My Life in Shambles
» The Warrior Queen (The Hundredth Queen #4)
» The Rogue Queen (The Hundredth Queen #3)
billionaire.readsbookonline.com Copyright 2016 - 2024