Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

Indebted Epilogue (Indebted #7)

Pepper Winters

  Indebted Epilogue (Indebted #7)

  Copyright © 2015 Pepper Winters

  Published by Pepper Winters

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, including electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

  This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it to the seller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

  Published: Pepper Winters 2015: [email protected]

  Cover Design: by Ari at Cover it! Designs:

  Proofreading by: Jenny Sims:

  Images in Manuscript from Canstock Photos:


  Pepper Winters is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today International Bestseller.

  Her Dark Romance books include:

  Monsters in the Dark Trilogy

  Tears of Tess (Monsters in the Dark #1)

  Quintessentially Q (Monsters in the Dark #2)

  Twisted Together (Monsters in the Dark #3)

  Indebted Series

  Debt Inheritance (Indebted #1)

  First Debt (Indebted Series #2)

  Second Debt (Indebted Series #3)

  Third Debt (Indebted Series #4)

  Fourth Debt (Indebted Series #5)

  Final Debt (Indebted Series #6)

  Indebted Epilogue (Indebted Series #7)

  Her Grey Romance books include:


  Ruin & Rule (Pure Corruption MC #1)

  Sin & Suffer (Pure Corruption MC #2)

  Her Upcoming Releases include:

  2016: Je Suis a Toi (Monsters in the Dark Novella)

  January 2016: Sin & Suffer (Pure Corruption MC #2)

  2016: Super Secret Series

  2016: Unseen Messages (Standalone Romance)

  2016: Indebted Beginnings (Indebted Series Prequel)

  To be the first to know of upcoming releases, please join Pepper’s Newsletter (she promises never to spam or annoy you.)

  Pepper's Newsletter

  Or follow her on her website

  Pepper Winters


  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  About the Author

  Acknowledgements, Sneak Peeks, Question & Answer

  Other Books by Pepper

  Deleted Sex Scene from FINAL DEBT

  KITE007: COME TO bed.

  Needle&Thread: I’m working. Almost finished on this dress.

  Kite007: I don’t care. Come to bed. My cock is hard. My arms are empty. I want to fuck you.

  Needle&Thread: So bossy.

  Kite007: And you’re back to being a tease with your naughty nun outfit.

  Needle&Thread: I’m neither a tease nor a nun. For your information, I’ve been designing a very important outfit tonight.

  Kite007: Teasing again. I might have to come down there and spank you.

  Needle&Thread: You can spank me, but not here. You’re not allowed to see.

  Kite007: Now I’m hard and pissed off. What are you hiding from me?

  Needle&Thread: My wedding dress, oh so impatient husband-to-be. Or did you forget about our marriage next week?

  Kite007: Fuck. Say that again.

  Needle&Thread: What? Marriage? Wedding Dress? Husband-to-be? I’m going to be your wife soon; you have to stop being so demanding by text message. Otherwise, I’ll just delete your number.

  Kite007: Your teasing is driving me insane. I’m touching myself, Needle. I want you lips where my hand is and my tongue between your legs.

  Needle&Thread: I want that, too.

  Kite007: Come to bed.

  Needle&Thread: I have a better idea. Come find me. Come claim me. Come fuck me as your naughty nun before I become your wife.

  Kite007: Your wish is my command…better start running, little Weaver. I won’t be gentle when I find you.

  Three Months Before…

  HAWKSRIDGE HALL REMAINED the same but slowly evolved as more minutes passed. Furniture that’d seen countless generations bound by contracts were no longer clouded with debts and ill wishes. Drapes and tapestries that’d witnessed countless days of sadness, suddenly looked upon freedom. Weavers lived with Hawks and no debts or screams collected.

  Rooms were transformed, Bonnie’s parlour renovated, and the drab and dreary aura dispelled.

  Bonnie had done a lot of wrong, but training Jasmine was not one of them. My sister’s lessons were exemplary and together we took on the mammoth task of running the estate.

  I was heir but I willingly shared the role. Primogeniture and old-fashioned standings had no bearing on us anymore.

  Together, we patched up the Hall and put bygones with bygones. However, there was one thing I had to do myself. The hastily-written Will and video declaration from Cut superseded the previous ruling of his death ever being suspicious. I travelled on my own to a new lawyer firm. Not the ones who’d looked after my family’s interests and debt catalogue for generations. I had plans for that firm. I would deal with them soon enough.

  In the meantime, I wanted new contacts—above board and legal.

  After shadowy background and vague description of my father’s wishes, I lodged the updated version with them with their assurances they would ensure Hawksridge and my future wouldn’t be harmed.

  One more thing off my list, but so many still to go.

  I also strengthened our alliance with the local authorities to ensure no more nasty misunderstandings and assured them Vaughn’s prank with social media and public nuisance wouldn’t happen again.

  Returning to the Hall, I sought out Nila for comfort.

  Whenever we were apart, dealing with life and difficulties, I missed her. Without even realising it, she’d become my world, my salvation, and my heart never stopped skipping whenever she was close.

  My quarters were empty without her. My arms were useless without her in them.

  The past couple of months, I’d grown used to having her in my bed, showering in my bathroom, and leaving her half-finished creations in little heaps around the room.

  She had quirks I found endearing. Habits I adored.

  I fucking loved her.

  Everything about her.

  My condition hadn’t grown easier to bear. Leaving the estate and dealing with strangers was the hardest part. Listening to emotions I had no right to listen to. Feeling arguments and worry from people I didn’t know stripped me bare, ensuring I drained Nila when I had her back in my arms.

  I couldn’t watch TV or relax with a movie. I barely tolerated music.

  But Nila tolerated me.

  For some reason, she didn’t mind when I told her to be quiet and just let me hold her. She didn’t argue when I took her silently to bed and tease
d her mercilessly so I could settle into the lust and desire she felt for me.

  She gave me everything with nothing barred.

  She made me more whole and centred than I’d ever been.

  She made me…better.

  THREE MONTHS HAD passed since everything ended.

  Three months since Kestrel died.

  Three months since Jethro stopped his birthright and the Debt Inheritance.

  Jethro dealt with lawyers and other estate business. Jasmine ran the household. My father helped clear away evidence of the ballroom bloodbath and paid the mercenaries who had helped save my life.

  We were all busy, traipsing onward, living…

  Hawksridge was no longer a mausoleum housing smugglers and psychopaths—its halls were now light and airy, its rooms full of tentative laughter and love.

  Spinning my black diamond engagement ring, I smiled. We hadn’t set a date yet but life had been good to us. Tex had renewed his efforts to find Jacqueline, and Vaughn had been a regular visitor to see Jasmine. We’d all found a place within this new world.

  A gentle tap on the greenhouse octagon door wrenched my head up.

  Jethro had left me for an hour to deal with more paperwork. The requirement of running such a large estate was never ending.

  I would be lying if I said entering the muggy warmth had been easy. The scars on my back twinged. The crack of the whip as Jethro hit me for the First Debt hovering in the stagnant air.

  Orchids and white jasmine perfumed the air, granting peace where before there’d been only pain. I hadn’t been back since that day, but it didn’t give me nightmares with unresolved issues.

  I found closure by trailing my fingers on the post where Jethro had tied me. I smiled softly as I weaved old memories with new—knowing my plan of making him care had worked.

  We’d begun this as enemies, fighting against each other.

  But we’d ended up as partners, stopping the war side by side.

  The tapping noise came again, hidden by foliage on the other side of the octagon.

  I stood up just as Jethro stepped into the room, his golden eyes more amber honey in the gentle sunshine of the glasshouse.

  “I looked for you in our wing.” Jethro’s gaze narrowed on the whipping post in the centre of the octagon. Newly budded flowers and juvenile vines helped hide its original occupation. “I never expected to find you in here.”

  Moving toward me, his touch landed on my shoulders, digging deep with need and love. “You okay?”

  Sunlight highlighted his silvering hair, glittering like some expensive thread. His cheekbones cut shadows, his brow etched with contours. And his lips…his lips were slightly parted and damp from his tongue.

  Ever since Cut had taken his last breath, Jethro had changed. Not significantly but enough to notice subtle evolutions. He held himself higher, not proud like the rightful heir to his fortune, but like a man no longer crippled with negativity and hatred seeping from the air.

  He looked younger, wiser, calmer, gentler.

  I smiled softly, lifting my hand in invitation. “I am now you’re here.”

  His fingers slinked through mine, sending arcs of electricity into my heart. He squeezed, bending his elegant legs to sit beside me, dragging me back to the bench.

  I sat willingly, melting into his side, inhaling his unique scent of woods and leather.

  Hip to hip, thigh to thigh, our hearts beat to the same rhythm.

  Sighing contentedly, I snuggled into him, kissing his throat as his arm wrapped around my shoulders, gluing me tighter against him. “What are you thinking about?”

  I closed my eyes, letting the gentle warmth of late spring’s sunshine eradicate any leftover history. “You can’t tell?”

  Jethro shook his head. “It’s scrambled. You’re sad but not. Happy but calm.” He pulled away, looking into my eyes. “You’re focusing on too much too fast.”

  My lips twitched. “Ah, finally a way to fool you. I was beginning to think I’d never be able to keep a secret.”

  His face darkened. “You promised there would be no need for secrets.” Anxiety stiffened his body. “Is everything…okay?” He waved at the room. “Did you come here for a reason? Do you still hate me for that day? For hurting you so much?” His voice lowered with regret. “Fuck, Nila. I’d give anything to rewind the clock and—”

  “Shush.” I cupped my hand over his mouth. His five o’clock shadow rasped beneath my palm. “Everything is fine. I’m just…sitting still. If that makes sense. I’m letting my thoughts wander without thinking, finding ends to things that need to be finished.”

  Imprisoning my wrist with his fingers, he tugged my hand away from his mouth. “That makes perfect sense.”

  His fingers drew lazy circles on my inner wrist, sending delicious shivers over my skin. Looking at the blooming flowers and exotic breeds, he fell silent.

  For a while, we didn’t say anything, both of us lost in our own thoughts. Every breath I took scattered rainbow-diamonds over our laps. My Weaver Wailer—or should I say Hawk Redeemer—was the last piece, the final symbol that the past few months weren’t a nightmare but real.

  And I’d survived them.

  Even if there was a way to get it off, I didn’t want to. I’d grown accustomed to the weight. I wore its fracturing rainbows with pride, and I liked the thought of the diamonds being my friend instead of my enemy, gracing my body until I took my last inhale.

  Jethro kissed the top of my head. “I have something for you.”

  “Oh?” I pulled away, looking into his gorgeous face. “Do I need to be worried?” My thoughts filled with teasing. We’d all been so serious; it was time to play again. My lips spread as I asked, “Is it time for another de—”

  “If you ask me if it’s another debt, I’ll put you over my knee right here and spank you.” His voice flirted with gruff and sexy.

  My eyes flittered to the post, a coy smirk widening. “You know you could spank me on the pole and replace the First Debt with a better ending.”

  His throat contracted as he swallowed. “What better ending?” His eyes flashed dark. “If I remember rightly, I almost raped you after that debt. I felt sick to my fucking stomach for ever thinking that way, let alone being turned on by hurting you.”

  He looked away, shaking his head in disgust. “I don’t understand how I got off on that. How I could ignore your pain and find anything remotely erotic about it.” He curled his lips. “You called me a sadist, remember? I refuted it, but once I’d finished tending to your back, I wondered if you were right. How could someone like me—someone who’s gone his entire life absorbing other’s thoughts—suddenly be turned on by another’s agony?”

  My heart fluttered. I hadn’t given it much thought. But the more I studied Jethro’s abhorrent self-confession, the more an answer unfurled inside my mind.

  He felt what others did. He had no choice. And yet he’d still been under the influence of Cut’s conditioning just enough to block out avalanches of sensation.

  Would it make sense he’d picked up select thoughts? Drank in my desire for him, my aching, burning need when he’d taunted me with history and barely-given kisses?

  I looked at my fingers, twining together in my lap. “I think I know why.”

  His eyes shot to me, his eyebrows raised with questions. “Know what?”

  “Why you were turned on that day.”

  He tensed. “It was a sick thing to do. Out of everything I did to you, masturbating on your back still fills me with shame. I wish I could take it back.”

  Twisting to face him, I stroked his cheek. “Before you berate yourself, stop and think. Did you never question why you desperately needed to come? Why you wanted me so badly?”

  He froze.

  I laughed. “Come on, Kite. You know your condition inside and out, and you’re telling me you can’t figure what caused that minor incident?”

  He growled, “It was hardly minor.”

  Not waiting for
me to reply, he soared upright, untangling himself to pace. “I don’t understand. What are you saying?”

  I stood too, smiling as if I had the secret to everything—which, in a way, I had. I thought he’d figured it out that day. That was why he’d been kind to me afterward, why he’d softened even when he was told not to. “You enjoyed hurting me that day because of me.”

  “Yes, because of you,” he snarled. “I got so fucking hard over you. And I hated you for it. You made me enjoy your pain when I normally run from feeling anything remotely intense.”


  Jethro slammed to a stop. “You’re not making any sense. Spit it out.”

  I moved toward him. “You felt what I felt. Yes, it hurt. Yes, that whip was my worst nightmare and the lashes felt like a bazillion bees stinging my back, but before it grew too painful, I wanted you. God, I wanted you. I was so wet. If you’d stopped after a couple of strikes, I wouldn’t have fought you. I would’ve willingly spread my legs and taken you because all I could think about was how much I needed you.”

  Jethro’s mouth fell open. “You’re saying I fed off what you were feeling that entire time?”

  “Toward the end, I’ll admit I hated you. I wanted more than anything for it to stop, and when you tried to take me, it was the last thing I wanted to happen. But, Jethro, before that. I genuinely craved for you to touch me. I begged for it. But you never cracked. You wouldn’t even kiss me.”

  “Fuck.” He dragged a hand over his face. “I honestly thought I’d lost it. For months, I feared who I’d become because of what happened that day. I stayed away from you for weeks afterward, because I didn’t trust myself. I thought I’d get off on hurting you more. I was fucking terrified I’d finally turned into Cut.”

  My heart beat harder for him, wishing I’d known so I could’ve comforted him. Then again, we weren’t exactly friends yet. He’d suffered on his own, but perhaps that was the way it had to be for him to finally realise there was something rich and deep and undeniable between us.