LONG TEASER FROM SECOND DEBT
This was one of my favourite scenes to write in the INDEBTED SERIES.
Probably because it all came to a head in the romance department and it has horses in it 🙂
* Containers spoilers if you haven’t read this series…which you can start for FREE with Debt Inheritance.
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1w3FtOq
Money was supposed to make life easy but it was more of a curse than a blessing. And I’d never felt it so acutely as I stood on the side-lines of the polo match and watched the man who owned me galloping up and down.
For the first time since I’d met him, he looked…happy.
His face was blank of all responsibility.
His body liquid and graceful.
His eyes warm and golden as he leant over the withers of his horse and whacked the ball so hard it skidded like a comet down the field.
Out there he escaped everything he lived with and the hatred I felt toward him—the disgust and despair at finding my family buried on the moor—softened.
I couldn’t hate someone who lived in the same cage as I did. I couldn’t hate someone for being a simple tool for his father. And I definitely couldn’t hate someone who spent his whole life looking for a way out.
Before, when we’d arrived, and sunlight had streamed in as the ramp of the truck opened, I’d suffered a relentless need to run. People and open spaces and cars all waited to help me flee from the Hawks. It would be so easy—wouldn’t it? To somehow escape the attention of my guards and dart to a bystander with tales of ludicrous debts and inhumane treatment.
I could be saved.
I could go home.
But I’d paused and asked questions that I doubted I would ever find answers to. Why did my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother stay? Surely, they would’ve found opportunities such as this and escaped?
I knew the reasons for my procrastination: I wanted to be the last Weaver taken. But my ancestors…what was their reasoning? Did they perhaps share the same goal I did—did they believe they could change their fate or murder the Hawks instead?
Did they fail?
Am I destined to fail?
The smack of the ball resonated like thunder as Kes hooked his stick around an opposing player, giving Jethro time to swoop in and shoot the ball toward the goal.
My heart raced as Jethro’s firm legs wrapped around his galloping steed. His gloved hands wielded his stick like a dangerous weapon, while his concentration level sent a flush of wetness between my legs. I wanted to become so precious to him that he looked at me with the same unbarred happiness.
My wonderings of boosting a car and fleeing faded with every heartbeat. Watching Jethro be free gave me the truth I’d been looking for.
I was an idiot to stay. To not take the fateful opportunity.
But I’d come to the conclusion: I would rather be an idiot and win, than a coward and run.
I didn’t think I would like polo. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’d never witnessed something so intense, so visceral.
The rumbling earthquakes formed by eight horses thundering past would forever live inside my soul. My dreams would always conjure Jethro how he looked right now—capable, joyous, completely perfect in every way.
Another strike and the ball shot past, followed by a mass of muscle and men. The clatter of sticks colliding and grunts of players fully in the throes of sport sent my tummy frothing with bubbles.
I’d been told to stay in the gazebo under the watchful eye of Flaw. But I grew bored and resentful as Flaw orchestrated a magical event of disappearing diamonds followed by huge sums of cash changing hands.
The moment the bugle had sounded, I’d rushed out to witness the game. And now, watching the sea of sweat-glistening men, I’d found heaven.
Jethro suddenly looked directly at me. His arm jerked, pulling the reins tight and causing Wings to toss his head mid-gallop. My entire body tingled as Jethro just stared. We held eye contact far longer than was safe, and the moment he was too far away, I felt bereaved—as if he’d stolen my heart and taken it flying up the field with him.
I wanted to chase after him. I wanted to steal Moth from Kes and fight beside Jethro, rather than against him. I wanted the rush, the fear, the intoxicating knowledge of invincibility. But most of all, I wanted what Jethro had
I wanted to be as happy as him. To be at peace like him.
I wanted to stare into his eyes while he was truly himself—no games, no lies, no debts.
Kes suddenly stood up in his stirrups, high fiving Jethro for effortlessly scoring another goal.
Jethro smiled. He positively glowed. He was resplendent.
Then the bugle trumpeted and the game began anew.
His happiness turned sharp with aggression. He and Wings moved as one—gliding so smoothly it looked almost telepathic—pirouetting mid-gallop to intercept the ball and steal it. Jethro…or should I say Kite…dominated the entire game.
He truly is one of a kind.
Tears came to my eyes as I finally acknowledged what lived beneath my hate.
My lust was slowly evolving, slowly growing. And I wished I had the power to stop it.
But I had as much power as stopping my heart from tripping into love as I did from tearing myself from the match. I fell into disgrace.
By the end of the first half, my knickers were damp and my heart ached. Every muscle hummed as if I’d been beaten, and I couldn’t stop the small voice repeating over and over:
You’re falling for him.
You’re falling for him.
You’re falling for him.
But no matter how hard I tried, the words enemy, tormentor, and adversary ceased to have meaning.
Other words came instead: ally, accomplice…friend.
When the bugle blared, signalling half-time, I sagged in relief. I needed to find a cool dark place and glue myself back together. I couldn’t let anyone—especially Jethro—see me in such broken pieces.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Wings cantering toward me. Jethro sat proud and regal atop him, his golden eyes blazing with passion and need.
My stomach somersaulted.
He wants you.
I shook my head. He couldn’t touch me. Not when I was so…delicate. There would be no way I could halt the mess inside and find my way back to sanity if he touched me.
It’s the only way.
Leaving the border of the arena, I darted through the crowds and away from my feelings and the man I couldn’t face.
Ladies giggled as the gates were opened to carry on the time-old tradition of stomping on the divots caused by the horse’s hooves. Music floated across the sun-drenched field from large speakers.
I left it all behind.
Walking briskly past the Hawk’s private gazebo, I caught the eye of Flaw. He crooked his finger, motioning me to go inside. I shook my head and pointed to the perimeter of the grandstand, indicating I needed some space.
He frowned then weaved through customers, who’d no doubt bought a smuggled diamond or two, and made his way toward me.
No, I need time alone.
I broke into a jog.
My ballerina shoes coasted over the thick grass whereas ladies in heels struggled, their pretty shoes sinking into the mud.
Before the match had started, I’d been in my element—drinking in the designs of their gowns and improving on styles that intrigued me. All around, women clustered in beautiful fabrics, laughing beneath hats that dripped with organza and hand-stitched lace flowers.
Now those same fashions were in my way as I wriggled through the dispersing crowd and ducked down the side of the grandstand.
No one disturbed me as I kept my eyes trained on the ground and didn’t stop jogging until I rounded the back of the tiered seating and disappeared into the hushed world of scaffolding and churned earth.
The second the shadows claimed me, I breathed a sigh of relief.
There was no one here apart from stacked chairs and boxes of polo equipment.
I could let go of my iron control and indulge in a moment of self-pity. I was screwed up, and I had to find some way of fixing myself.
You’re not falling for him.
I found a place to recline and hung my head in my hands. “You can’t be, Nila. Think of your family. Think about why you’re here. About your promise.”
My voice fell around me like the tears I wanted to shed.
You know how wrong all of this is.
You know what he means to do.
I groaned, digging my fingers into my hair and tugging. A single tear rolled down my nose. It hovered on the tip like a jewel, before splashing to the dirt below.
At least I was hidden. Jethro wouldn’t find me, and by the time we returned to Hawksridge, I would’ve torn out my heart and destroyed all notions of having feelings for him.
I would do what was necessary. What was right.
I just hope I have the strength to do it over and over again.
Taking a deep breath, I drifted further into the gloom. I liked my hiding spot. I never wanted to leave.
You can hide from him, but you can’t hide from your feelings.
“Shut up,” I scolded myself. “Don’t think about him. Not anymore.”
“If it’s me you’re thinking about—I command you to ignore your advice.”
My heart flew into my mouth. I spun around.
Jethro stood behind me. Scuffs stained his tan jodhpurs and mud splattered his polished high boots. He’d rolled up the cuffs of his billowy sleeve shirt and removed the velvet waistcoat revealing the shadows of his stomach beneath the translucent fabric. His five o’clock shadow was rough and ragged while the bones of his face spoke of stark desire and even starker emotion.
My entire body stiffened. My lungs refused to operate, suffocating me inch by inch.
His eyes met mine and everything we’d been avoiding crackled with uncontrolled potency. The unseen force was tangible, powerful—almost visible with ribbons of lust that pebbled my nipples and sent a clench of furious desire through my core.
His breathing escalated as we stood locked in place, bound together by the swirling cloud of need. We didn’t speak—we couldn’t speak.
His tongue licked his bottom lip.
Our eyes refused to unlock. The more we stared, the deeper our connection became.
I couldn’t look away.
His smell of musk and leather shoved me from my dangerous precipice, and I slid down and down into scandal.
I’m not falling for him.
I’ve already fallen.
Jethro sucked in a breath, his fingers opening and closing by his sides.
I couldn’t go on like this. Feeling this way. Hating and loving this way.
I couldn’t lie anymore.
My heartbeat drummed in my ears, behind my eyes, in my every fingertip. My tattoo blazed, the diamond collar tightened, and I knew out of everything that had happened, after everything the Hawks had done, this was the moment where I lost.
This was why I couldn’t run.
I fell in love.
I turned my back on everyone but myself.
I gave up any notion of ever leaving.
I moaned low in my chest.
Such a simple, subtle whisper.
But it was the starting gun to the explosion that was imminent between us.
The air went up in flames, gusts of heat erupted as passion singed my very soul.
He propelled himself into me, his large hands capturing my cheeks and holding me prisoner as he walked me backward until I stumbled against the scaffolding.
His touch was a bonfire. His hold was freedom and a cage all at once.
His forehead crashed against mine, his nose kissing my nose, his breath replacing my breath.
In that simple fusion of flavour and souls, we gave up. We gave in. We answered the same pounding conclusion—the same unmentionable dilemma.
We can’t do this anymore.
His head tilted and I trembled in his hold as his fingers dug painfully into my cheekbones. I panted for his kiss. I moaned for it. Almost cried for it.
But he paused for an eternity, breathing hard and fast as if he couldn’t believe the preciousness of what was occurring.
This was a gift. A charm. A wish come true.
I’d become enraptured by my capturer. My tormentor. My would-be murderer. I only had eyes for him. My heart only beat for him.
Where does that leave me?
What does this mean?
Jethro groaned, his touch trembling as if he’d heard my silent questions.
I should’ve had more self-control. I should’ve found a way to stop this.
But I shoved away my fears and willingly slid the final slope into madness.
I arched my chin, grazing my lips against his.
Then, he melted.
His fingers slinked from my cheeks to the back of my skull. I cried out as his tongue tore into my mouth and his hands fisted in my hair. With fingers full of my black strands, he tugged my head back, forcing me to open wider, kiss deeper—give him everything.
I’d like to say I retained some resemblance of myself. I’d like to admit that, while I’d fallen, I still knew who I was.
But that would’ve been a lie.
There was no me without him.
I knew that now.
And it butchered me in ways no threats or torture ever could.