Pennies (Dollar #1) - Pepper Winters

WORD OF WARNING

Pennies (Dollars #1) is a DARK ROMANCE. This means there will be hard to read scenes, graphic language, and sexual content (both implied and explicitly written). Please do not read if falling in love with a man who dresses in monster robes rather than knightly armour offends you. This is not a fairy-tale. This is a black abyss that must be climbed blind before deserving the light. Along with literary darkness, this is book one of a five book series. Each subsequent novel will be released every few months (so your fingernails don’t tire holding onto the cliff-hanger), and each is full-length. Please also remember not all answers are given and not every character is as they seem. There are beasts adorned in angel clothing and angels hiding in beast’s fur.

Remember that.

You have been warned.

Don’t say you weren’t told.

Read at your own peril.

Fall in love with Elder Prest at your own risk.

Are you ready?

You sure?

You really, really sure?

Okay then…enter the world of pennies and dollars.

FREEDOM.

Such a modest word.

It carried very little importance for those who had it. But for those who didn’t, it was the most precious¸ prized, and promised hope of all.

I supposed I was lucky to know what freedom felt like.

For eighteen years, I’d been free. Free to learn what I wanted, befriend who I liked, and flirt with boys who passed my rigorous criteria.

I was a simple girl with ideals and dreams, encouraged by society to believe nothing could hurt me, that I should strive for an excellent career, and no one could stop me. Rules would keep me safe, police would keep the monsters away, and I could remain innocent and naïve to the darkness of the world.

Freedom.

I had it.

But then, I lost it.

Murdered, resuscitated, and sold.

I lost my freedom for so many years.

Until the day he entered my cage.

Him, with the black eyes and blacker soul.

The man who challenged my owner.

And set my imprisonment on an entirely different path.

DEAR DIARY,

No, that didn’t sound right. Far too light-hearted for my tale.

Dear Universe,

Scratch that. Too grandiose.

To The Person Reading This.

Too vague.

To The Person I Wish Would Help Me.

That would get me in trouble. And I refused to sound weak. Not if these words were the only thing a stranger would remember me by.

To…

Tapping the broken pencil against my temple, I did my best to focus. For weeks, I’d been confined like a zoo animal being acclimatised to its new cage. I’d been fed, washed, and given medical attention from my rough arrival. I had a bed with sheets, a flushing toilet, and shampoo in the shower. I had the basics that all human and nonhuman life required.

But I wasn’t living.

I was dying.

They just couldn’t see it.

Wait…I know.

Inspiration struck as I came up with the perfect name to address this sad letter to. The title was the only right in this wrong, wrong new world.

To No One.

The moment I pressed those three words onto my parchment, I couldn’t stop the memories unfolding. My left hand shook as I kept the toilet tissue flat while my right flew, slowly transcribing my past.

I WAS EIGHTEEN when I died.

I remember that day better than any other in my short life. And I know you’re rolling your eyes, saying it only happened three weeks ago, but believe me, I will never forget it. I know some people say certain events imprint on their psyche forever, and up until now, I haven’t had anything stick in such a way. You see, No One, I guess you could’ve called me a brat. Some might even say I deserve this. No, that’s a lie. No one would wish this on their worst enemy. But the fact remains, only you know I’m not dead. I’m alive and in this cell about to be sold. I’ve been hurt, touched, violated in every sense but rape, and stripped of everything I used to be.

But to my mother? I’m dead. I died. Who knows if she’ll ever truly find out what happened to me.

The scribbling of my pencil stopped. I sucked in a ragged breath, trembling hard as I relived what I’d been through.

My will to stay breathing had vanished. It’d taken them a while to break me, but they had. And now that they’d achieved their goal, I was nothing more than cargo waiting for the transaction to line their pockets.

For days, all I’d had for entertainment were my chaotic thoughts, awful memories, and overwhelming panic of what lay ahead. But that was before I found the