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Sin & Suffer

Pepper Winters


  Pure Corruption MC

  Ruin & Rule

  Monsters in the Dark

  Tears of Tess

  Quintessentially Q

  Twisted Together

  Indebted Series

  Debt Inheritance

  First Debt

  Second Debt

  Third Debt

  Fourth Debt

  Final Debt



  Title Page

  Also by Pepper Winters



  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

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  Chapter Thirty

  Chapter Thirty-One

  Chapter Thirty-Two

  Chapter Thirty-Three

  Chapter Thirty-Four

  Chapter Thirty-Five

  Chapter Thirty-Six



  Pepper Winters


  Thank you to those who took a chance on my work, for enjoying my slightly twisted world, and for letting me into yours.



  I thought fate finally agreed that I’d paid enough.

  That justice would set me free.

  That the woman I’d loved since childhood would be mine again.

  Once again, I was fucking naïve.

  Cleo made me sin and she made me suffer.

  With her resurrection came deceit and war.

  But then they took her.

  Stole her.

  And my carefully laid plans for vengeance were now my reality.

  They’d brought everything I was about to do on themselves.

  They had no one else to blame, nowhere else to hide.

  War had begun.

  It’s time to rewrite our destiny.

  Chapter One


  He was a bully.

  Ever since his voice deepened he’d been mean and short-tempered. Mom told me that he was at a point in his life where he had to lose himself to find himself. I had no idea what she meant. I just … I just really missed my best friend. —Cleo, diary entry, age nine


  A curse or a blessing?


  A helping hand or a hindrance?

  The things I’d forgotten and remembered had been both enemy and friend—solace and pain. They’d been constant companions, fighting over me for years. Amnesia traded my first life for a new one—with new parents, new sister, new home. But then the boy with the green eyes brought me back—showed me the path to my old world and a destiny I’d forgotten.

  For eight years I’d struggled, always fearing I’d left loved ones behind. I’d hated myself for being so selfish—knowing my brain had deliberately cut them out in an act of self-preservation. I’d always wondered what I would do when I finally remembered everything … if I finally remembered.

  I didn’t have to wonder anymore.

  Even after the consequences of following a mysterious letter, the snake pit of lies, the confusion of blended pasts, the rough way Killian had treated me—I wouldn’t change a thing.

  Those trials were a worthy payment for my broken memories. I was whole again … almost. I was on the right path to patching my life together and finally understanding it all.

  However, as I stared around the freshly painted room, all alone and imprisoned, I wished that I was stronger, smarter. I didn’t suffer from fear or terror of what would become of me, but I did suffer regret—regret for not anticipating retaliation, for not being prepared.

  Enough! Focus. This isn’t the place for stupid reminiscing.

  I forced myself to shove aside worries. Now was the time to fight harder and stronger than ever before.

  I’d endured one captivity: a caging of my mind with no walls or locks but with endless darkness and unknowing. Now my mind was intact for the first time in years, but I had a new prison.

  I’m not bound by rope or chains, but I’m trapped all the same.

  I sighed, smoothing Arthur’s black T-shirt I wore. Before, the cotton softness was comfort and safety—the perfect wardrobe to wear beside my sleeping lover. Now, it was vulnerability and no protection.

  Locked in a room, stolen from Arthur’s arms, I was lost, lonely, and most of all bristling with fury. I would’ve traded everything I owned for the strength to destroy the men who’d taken me. I’d end their evil tyranny and pay them back for not one wrongdoing but two. They’d burned down my house. They’d murdered my parents. They’d tried to kill me. And most of all they’d destroyed the boy from my past.

  So many tithes to pay.

  And I had every intention of stripping what was owed and balancing the scales of justice once and for all.

  The truth is despicable.

  My eyes fell on the forged police report Rubix Killian had given me to read. He expected me to buy his lies?

  Stupid, stupid man.

  He’d done me a favor. His lies had set my memories free. I saw it all now. Nothing was hidden and everything revealed.

  I’d never been a victim. Even as a little girl, I’d always fought and spat, inheriting the swift temper said to be the curse of having blazing red hair. Even when I was lost in the blank sea of amnesia, I put faith in my tenacity, trusted my instincts, and followed my heart.

  Now my instincts were screaming a message I’d never heard before.

  This will never stop.

  Unless you stop them.

  The past would forever suck me back if I didn’t deal with the men who continued to puppeteer me at their whims.

  They have to die.

  They couldn’t be allowed to live because they would never be satisfied. And men who could never be satisfied could never be trusted.

  Arthur “Kill” Killian, my childhood lover and green-eyed Libran, wanted these men dead.

  He’d plotted and schemed for eight long years to claim closure and payback for all that they’d taken.

  He wants their blood.

  And now … so do I.

  My name was Cleo Price. I’ve had so many names. Sarah Jones died the moment I willingly embarked on this crazy odyssey—just like Cleo had died the night she crawled from a burning building. The FBI had tried to keep me safe until they found the true culprit of my attempted murder. But now Cleo had been reborn, and not only did I remember my upbringing … of burly men, cigarettes, and battles fought on the backs of Harleys and choppers … but I also remembered the glue forming our communes: revenge.

  Revenge to those who threatened our loved ones. Swift punishment to any traitor. In our world, society’s rules didn’t matter. We followed our own black-and-white laws with no leniency and swift punishment.

  And these men deserved severe punishment.

  After what they’ve done to me … to Arthur.

  Vengeance wasn’t just Arthur’s c
ross to bear anymore—not alone at least.

  I remember what they did to him.

  I no longer saw blankness when I tried to recall. I saw everything that happened that fateful night, and it was up to me to save him from his own self-loathing.

  Arthur Killian killed my parents.

  He pulled the trigger and ended their lives.

  But it’s so much more complicated than that.

  However, at the same time, it was exceedingly simple. He was innocent and I would make sure the guilty paid. I would ensure their wickedness was struck out for all eternity.

  Sitting taller on the bed, I embraced my cold conviction and turned my thoughts to present matters.

  How many hours had passed since I’d left Arthur bleeding and unconscious?

  Was he still alive?

  Could he come after me?

  He’ll come for me if he’s able. I didn’t doubt that for a second. But I also couldn’t wait around for him … just in case. Don’t think like that.

  Climbing off the single mattress, leaving behind the daisy-decorated sheeting, so similar to my old childhood room, I circled the small space searching for any weaknesses for escape.

  I’d done this already when I first arrived.

  How long ago was that?

  And just like before the door was still locked.

  The window still barred and sealed shut. Its pane painted black from the outside, obscuring all illumination and passage of time.

  The only light was a bedside lamp just bright enough to read the police statement that’d sent Arthur to jail for a crime he didn’t commit.

  Well, he did commit it …

  Sighing, I spun in place. The room was a tomb with no way out.

  I wished I hadn’t been so stupid. My recklessness had brought me here. I’d come like a lamb to the slaughter the moment I was summoned.

  Here I was—at their mercy, while Arthur was bleeding and alone … possibly dead.

  Stop thinking that way.

  Taking a deep breath, I prepared for whatever came next.

  Any weapons?

  My eyes skated over the unhelpful bedspread and empty dresser.

  No weapons.

  Engine noises purred outside the blacked-out window conjuring ancient memories of being lulled to sleep by the grumble of motorbikes and masculine voices.

  My heart flurried, stretching within the thought.

  I’m home.

  Gritting my teeth, I shook my head. I wasn’t home. I might be across the compound from the charred remains of my own house, but this wasn’t home. Not anymore. Not after the massacre and betrayal.

  These men weren’t my friends. They weren’t my childhood saviors who I’d trusted blindly.

  They were the reason I’d lived the past eight years in a different country. Why I’d spent my teenage years in foster care, and why my brain was broken.

  Scott “Rubix” Killian had taken great pleasure in welcoming me back into his lies and treachery.

  A sharp tang existed in the back of my throat—the residual effect of being drugged. I didn’t know what they’d shot into my veins, but its effects lingered far longer than I wanted. I struggled against the sluggishness in my blood, trying to keep my thoughts in order.

  Don’t give in.

  I yanked on the door handle again. Still locked.

  Making my way to the window, I pried at the sill. Still unmovable.

  Dropping to my knees, I tried ripping up the carpet, desperate for a weapon or freedom, but the threadbare covering was glued firmly.

  Frustration sat like a vise around my lungs.

  “Dammit!” Climbing to my feet, I ran my hands through my hair. “There has to be a way out.”

  But there isn’t.

  I had to concede.

  I was locked in there—for however long they wanted, and there was nothing I could do about it.

  Chapter Two


  I was a stalker.

  Shit, I’d even researched the definition to see if it was true. It was. I willfully followed, watched, and coveted Cleo Price. There. I admitted it. I was in love with a child. I had dirty thoughts about a girl who didn’t even have boobs yet. But that didn’t stop me. It made me worse. Because not only was I a stalker, but I was an addict, too. An addict for any glimpse of her, any sound of her voice, any hope that I could ever possibly deserve her. —Arthur, age fourteen

  “What the fuck?”

  I tried to sit upright, glaring at Grasshopper and Mo. “Let me up, you assholes!”

  The room refused to stay still. The edges of my vision were fuzzy and the god-awful pounding in my skull wouldn’t give me a fucking break.

  “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” My breathing was broken and short; my eyes burning with light from the diabolical fluorescents above.

  Where the hell am I?

  Where’s Cleo?

  Rage battered away my pain, granting me temporary power. I shoved aside arms holding me down and swung at the faces of my captors.

  My knuckles met flesh.

  A bellow sounded in the square, white room. “Christ, man!”

  The incessant beeping sliced through my eardrums turning my headache into a brass fucking band of horror.

  I’d never been one to panic but I couldn’t control the overwhelming sensation that something awful had happened.

  Something I needed to fix straightaway.

  The door suddenly swung open.

  I paused just long enough to take in the balding man with a stethoscope around his neck and baby-blue scrubs, before struggling with renewed determination. “Damn bastards. Let me up!”

  The doctor inched warily into the room. “What on earth is going on in here?”

  “He’s just woken up, Doc,” Hopper said, trying to grab my shoulders but unwilling to risk another fist to his jaw. “Ain’t got his bearings yet.”

  “I’ve got my fucking bearings, asshole. Let me up!”

  “You gotta do something, before he makes it worse,” Mo growled. His lip was bleeding, his nostrils flared in pain.

  Did I do that?

  The headache turned feral, crumpling me in its agony as if I were nothing more than a sardine can. Clutching my skull—finding bandages instead of hair—I bellowed, “What the fuck is going on? Someone tell me before my brain explodes out of my goddamn ears!”

  My heartbeat clanged to one name. A single name siphoning through my blood over and over again.

  Cle … o.

  Cle … o.

  “You’re in hospital, Mr. Killian. I need you to relax.” The doctor used his calm-the-unhinged-patient-down voice as he crept closer. Grabbing the chart from the foot of the bed and scooting backward as if he would get bitten or infected by being too close to me, he flipped the pages and scanned the notes.

  I couldn’t breathe properly.

  I couldn’t see anything in my peripheral vision, and that damn fucking beeping was getting on my nerves.

  “Someone shut that thing up!”

  Grasshopper ignored me, coming to the side of the bed and bravely laying a hand on my chest. “Kill, you have a concussion. Doctors said if you move too much before the swelling goes down, you might do some serious damage.”

  My headache came back with ten-ton pressure.

  “Concussion? How the fuck did I get a concussion?” My eyes flew around the room.

  I wasn’t in my bedroom, that was for fucking sure. White morbid walls looked like a bleached coffin, while an outdated television hung like a spider just waiting for death. The entire place reeked of antiseptic and corpses.


  I’m in the fucking hospital.

  Clutching my head, I tried to gather my temper and relax. Screaming only drove pins of agony through my eyeballs and terrified answers away. “Speak. Tell me.”

  Mo looked at Hopper, unsuccessfully hiding the nervousness in his eyes. They waited for me to explode again. When I didn’t, Mo admitted, “Eh, y
ou were struck in the head.”

  My headache tripled its efforts to turn me into a vegetable almost as if on cue.

  Then … everything came back.

  Finding Cleo after all this time.

  Loving Cleo after all this time.

  Holding Cleo after all this fucking time.

  She’s not dead.

  She was never dead, just missing.

  They took her!

  I soared out of bed. The wires, the sheets—nothing had any power to hold me in my wrath. “Where is she?!” Shoving aside Grasshopper with superhuman strength, I swallowed hard as the room spun like a fun house. “They have her! Goddammit, they have her.”

  Grasshopper, Mo, and the doctor sprang on me, each grabbing an arm or a leg. I grunted, buckling beneath their weight. In ordinary circumstances, I would’ve let them win. I would’ve been rational and collected and listened to what they had to say.

  But this wasn’t ordinary circumstances.

  This was motherfucking war!

  My father and brother had broken into my house, got past security, and taken the only thing of value I had left.

  They’d stolen her from me all over again.

  “Shit!” I screamed. “Shit, shit, shit!”

  “Kill, calm down!”

  “Let us explain!”

  “Get the fuck off me.” No amount of arms could hold me down. Adrenaline tore through my blood, giving me a merciless edge. My vision might be faulty, my head might be broken, but I still knew how to fight.

  They weren’t listening to my voice. Perhaps they would listen to my fist.

  With no effort at all, I punched the three men in a connecting roundhouse, and tore at the IV in the back of my hand.

  Yanking it out, blood spurted over the white sheets and linoleum floor. The stark crimson spread macabre patterns, whispering of murder and revenge as I launched out of bed, battling sickness and vertigo. “Someone better start talking.” I breathed hard. “Now. Right fucking now.”

  Mo and Hopper stared transfixed at my bleeding vein. “We should patch you up, dude.”

  Waving my hand, splattering the bed with more red droplets, I snarled, “Leave it. It’s not important. I don’t even feel it.” Strangely, that was the truth. There was nothing that could overpower the pain of knowing they’d taken Cleo. That agony was enough to drown me. Over and fucking over again.