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Third a Kiss (GODDESS ISLES Book 3)

Pepper Winters




  Goddess Isles

  Book Three


  New York Times Bestseller

  Pepper Winters

  Third a Kiss

  Copyright © 2020 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. Libraries are exempt and permitted to share their in-house copies with their members and have full thanks for stocking this book. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

  Published: Pepper Winters 2020: [email protected]

  Cover Design: Ari @ Cover it! Designs

  Editing by: Editing 4 Indies (Jenny Sims)


  Pepper currently has twenty-eight books released in nine languages. She’s hit best-seller lists (USA Today, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal) thirty-three times. She dabbles in multiple genres, ranging from Dark Romance to Coming of Age.

  For more information, please visit:


  Goddess Isles Series - 2020

  Once a Myth

  Twice a Wish

  Third a Kiss

  Fourth a Lie

  Fifth a Fury

  Monsters in the Dark Trilogy – Available Now

  Tears of Tess – FREE BOOK

  Quintessentially Q

  Twisted Together

  Je Suis a Toi

  Indebted Series – Available Now

  Debt Inheritance – FREE BOOK

  First Debt

  Second Debt

  Third Debt

  Fourth Debt

  Final Debt

  Indebted Epilogue

  Dollar Series – Available Now

  Pennies – FREE BOOK






  The Master of Trickery Duet – Available Now

  The Body Painter

  The Living Canvas

  Truth & Lies Duet – Available Now

  Crown of Lies

  Throne of Truth


  The Ribbon Duet – Available Now

  The Boy & His Ribbon

  The Girl & Her Ren

  Standalone Spinoff

  The Son & His Hope


  Destroyed – Grey Romance

  Unseen Messages – Survival Romance


  Pure Corruption Duet – Available Now

  Ruin & Rule

  Sin & Suffer


  Can’t Touch This


  For 2020 titles please visit


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

  Pepper’s Newsletter


  Facebook: Peppers Books

  Instagram: @Pepperwinters

  Facebook Group: Peppers Playgound


  Third a Kiss Blurb:

  “There was hate once. Hate born from dangerous attraction and fate’s cruel design.

  There was love once. Love destined to kill us if we didn’t surrender to our war.”

  Eleanor Grace suffers an awful affliction. She’s falling for a man who doesn’t deserve her affection or her forgiveness. But there is no cure, so she does something reckless, stupid—she throws safety to the sea and leaps into danger.

  Sully Sinclair suffers the same affliction. He’s falling for a goddess who will never earn his trust or his heart if he can help it. However, he wasn’t prepared for the lengths she’d go. How far she’d push to either stop such a bond or kill them both trying.

  An elixir given to a monster.

  A goddess running for her life.

  An ending neither of them can survive.



  Third a Kiss Blurb:

  Dedicated to:


  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Pre-Order FOURTH A LIE




  Dedicated to:

  This book belongs to romance.

  The darker and hotter, the better. Without romance, without those butterfly flutters, heart-tripping whispers, skin-flaying touches, life would be boring.


  MY LIFE HAD BEEN a series of calculated, risk-tabulated endeavours.

  My brother had taught me that.

  From my first memory, I’d known spontaneity would get me killed. Laugh, and I might get punched. Speak, and I might get kicked. Drop my guard and forget, and I would almost certainly be punished.

  That lesson stayed with me throughout childhood, growing from self-preservation into utmost law. It didn’t just engrain itself on my psyche; it grabbed a brand, stuck it in a fire, and seared into my every cell.

  I didn’t do reckless. I didn’t do impulsive. Every step in my life had been premeditated, planned, and controlled.

  Until one night, when I’d had a dream about a place called Euphoria. Where a mortal man could fuck any female he wanted. Sky, sea, fiction, or fact. Any illusion, any fantasy, a place where rules bowed to your desires, gravity kneeled to your wishes, and life was no longer full of monsters but magic.

  And in that dream, I shared this new Zion with a girl. A girl with long hair the colour of rich coffee. A girl with leggy length, a strong soul, and magnificent quicksilver eyes. A girl who begged me to touch her, lick her, worship her.

  And for the first time since I was born, I did something spontaneous, impetuous, and oh, so fucking dangerous.

  I took her.

  I let myself sink int
o the dream. I fell for a figment of my imagination and fucked a goddess I would never be able to find.

  When I woke up, I mourned the loss of such a dream. I spent a week wishing I could return to such a place, to find such a creature, to be happy.

  But such a place didn’t exist. Such a girl didn’t exist. And that denial of everything that I wanted became a driving force to twist the impossible. Thanks to the scientific gifts I’d learned through methodical education and instinctual evolution, I created an elixir. I conjured Euphoria. I brought forth a new dimension…all thanks to a dream.

  But no matter how skilled I was at pulling myth from reality, I couldn’t fabricate the dream-girl who’d stolen my heart.

  The goddess I wanted more than anything. The girl who would forever condemn me to loneliness because no one would ever compare.

  Euphoria was real, but I wanted nothing to do with it because I wouldn’t settle for a fucking lie. I wouldn’t code a fantasy or change the face of another to indulge in because if I did—if I allowed myself the illusion that she was real—I’d turn my back on reality to stay with her.

  I’d turn my back on all the souls I’d helped save. All the souls who relied on me. All the souls who came before me and my goddamn loneliness.

  So, I allowed others to play in my elixir-explicit playground.

  I clung to the lessons my brother taught me.

  I stayed iron-fisted, guarded, and restrained.

  Until the night I dreamed of her again.

  A silver-eyed enchantress who haunted me.

  And I typed an email sending out a half-conscious, sleep-hazed request.

  Find me a girl with long dark hair, alabaster skin, and silver gaze.

  I forgot about such a request until I earned a reply months later.

  We found her. $500,000 and she’s yours.

  And I did the second most impulsive thing of my life.

  I bought her.

  I welcomed her.

  I wanted her.

  The minute she stepped foot on my paradise, I knew I’d fucked up. I hadn’t believed such a creature existed. I stupidly thought no human girl could compare.

  But Eleanor Grace was the one who was incomparable. Instead of ethereal silver eyes, her grey ones were equally bewitching. Instead of glowing skin and the faint halo in my dream, her honesty and spirit were what drugged me.

  I’d gambled with fate and lost. I’d asked for something I could never survive. And she’d been delivered straight from my fantasies and directly into my nightmares.

  Thanks to her, spontaneity became a disease I couldn’t escape. Rash choices, hasty conclusions, careless decisions. Each one was her fault. Each one broke me a little more. Each one destroyed my sanity.

  But then she went and committed the worst thing of all.

  She fed me elixir.

  She shattered my premeditation. She annihilated my careful control.

  She made me fucking wild.

  And then, she ran.

  A girl I’d dreamed about, thought about, kept on a pedestal inside my mind for years, drove me into the dirt where beasts belonged.

  And. Then. She. Fucking. Ran.

  So…I gave up trying to control myself.

  I welcomed the pain of chaos.

  …I chased.

  Chapter One

  MY BARE FEET SANK into soft sand as I bolted from Sully’s office.

  My dress flared out around my legs, fawn glitter and champagne gems all winking in the sunlight. The heavy material made me trip as I careened around a corner and ran as fast as I could.

  Grabbing handfuls of the train, I threw myself into a gallop.

  Most of me didn’t want to run.

  This wasn’t my plan.

  I’d fed Sully his elixir, purely to force him into admitting that what we felt toward each other wasn’t normal. This sparkling chemistry? This heart-haunting bond? I had to believe it was worth fighting for, despite our diabolical beginning. I had to trust that I hadn’t lost my mind by falling for a man who traded cash for my life.

  There’s more to him than that.

  I know there is.

  My breath came in erratic spurts.

  My legs slowed.

  I don’t want to run.

  I’d only done so because of the way he’d begged me. At the absolute carnage on his face. The undeniable terror that he felt.


  I stopped on the path, turning around to face the way I’d come. My footprints had scattered sand onto the purple orchids bordering the lane, my dress suffocating my straining ribcage with its beaded jewels and organza.

  If I ran…then all of this would be for nothing.

  Sully would ride through the elixir just as I had that first day. He’d use himself until he could think straight…or he’ll use another.

  And then, when he was back to being more man than monster, he’d restart negotiations with Roy Slater to sell me.


  I let go of my dress. It puddled around my feet, blending into the sand so it looked as if I’d morphed from the beach itself and been given breath thanks to the thousands of jewels imbedding me.

  I have to go back.

  Goosebumps ran over my spine as a snarl sounded. A snarl echoing with pure lust.

  I shivered.

  I’d been elixir’s prisoner three times now. I’d become familiar with the insidious takeover. The rush of lust followed by the stupid belief that you could control the effects. The pain when you accepted you couldn’t. The need when you broke with that first release. The shame at your horny inhibitions. The sickness at your traitorous body. Until finally…the perfect peace when you let go. When you said yes instead of no. When your body joined with another’s and found everything that it’d been looking for.

  He’s in pain.

  I shook my head; a frangipani flower fell from the strands and floated to the ground.

  He’s in pain because of me.

  He’d done this to me. Therefore, he deserved it.

  He was about to sell me. Therefore, I had every right.

  He told me to run to keep me safe. Therefore, I…I have to go back.

  He’d told me to run for my benefit, not his. I’d offered myself. He’d refused. He’d proven something fundamental in that moment.

  He cares.

  He cared if he hurt me. He’d care if he killed me. He cared too much…that’s why he was going to sell me.

  That thought was brighter than lightning.

  Was that true?

  Could he feel the depth that I did? Could he be battling everything I was?

  If that was true, then running would destroy our single chance at honesty.

  This was my only opportunity to make Sully see. To make both of us admit we couldn’t keep doing this.

  Whatever we were, whatever we felt…it ends…today.

  And maybe, just maybe, if we survived each other, it could be a beginning and not the ending he’d chosen. We could talk. We could just…be.

  Bracing myself, I gathered up my dress and stepped back the way I’d come. I wouldn’t back down from this. I would suffer the consequences and the climaxes. I wouldn’t punish him the way he’d punished me.

  I’d give him what he needed.

  I’ll give him me.


  A dark, deadly growl. A snap of a snarl.

  My head swooped up. My eyes caught his as he slammed to a stop, blocking the path. His suit hung in tatters. His blazer had been thrown off behind him. His shirt flayed open, torn buttons hanging off broken threads, his belt slinging haphazardly from belt loops, his fly unzipped, and feet bare from his normal pristine shoes.

  For the first time since I’d arrived, Sully Sinclair glistened with sweat. His cold-blooded persona had succumbed to the island heat, dousing his skin in moisture.

  My heart threw itself into torment, racing, and smoking, growing its own pair of legs and begging to run. I massaged my chest where it kicked and coughed,
doing my best to stay calm.

  I’d done this.

  I’d applied makeup and dressed in a gown and stared at my reflection, knowing I was sacrificing myself to a ruthless, rabid beast.

  Yet committing to an idea and then coming face to face with the ramifications were very different things.

  Sully took a step toward me.

  A single step.


  Ever so slowly.

  As if still fighting the vapid manic urges. “Get to your villa. Lock your fucking door.”

  I licked my lips at the brokenness of him, the filthy greed and feverish longing. “You came after me.”

  He shook his head, squeezing his eyes closed as another wave of lust buckled his body. When he opened his gaze again, the blue glowed otherworldly, sickly, dementedly. “No. I’m—” He groaned. “I’m trying to get to my villa before…” His fists clenched. “I can’t be close to—” He raised his gaze, snarling, “Go! What the fuck are you waiting for? I told you to run. So run!”

  “I’m done running.” I spread my hands. “I was coming back…for you.”

  He buckled over, wedging one hand into his belly and another on his cock. “Fuck you and your broken self-preservation.” With a growl, he stood up straight. His hand never left his cock, though, throttling it with white knuckles. “This is my last warning. I’ve fought as long as I can. I’m seconds away from giving in, and you’re still goddamn here.” He stumbled as he pumped himself, coaxing a release. Knowing he couldn’t stop it, he chose to chase it instead. “Run away, Eleanor. Get as far away from me as you can because—” He groaned again, low and hungry as his belly clenched. “If you don’t, I will tear you limb from motherfucking limb. I will crawl inside your body. I will fuck you until you scream.”

  Elixir must live in his voice because my body liquefied instead of froze.

  I wore no underwear beneath my gown.