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Third Debt

Pepper Winters

  Fourth Debt (Indebted #5)

  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:

  Proofreading by: Erica Russikoff:

  Final Proofreading by: Ellen Blackwell & Ellen Windom

  Images in Manuscript from Canstock Photos:

  This story isn’t suitable for those who don’t enjoy dark romance, uncomfortable situations, and dubious consent. It’s sexy, it’s twisty, there’s colour as well as darkness, but it’s a rollercoaster not a carrousel.

  (As an additional warning please note, this is a cliffhanger. Answers will continue to be delivered as the storyline resolves. There are six in total.)

  Warning heeded…enter the world of debts and payments.

  If you would like to read this book with like-minded readers, and be in to win advance copies of other books in the series, along with Q&A sessions with Pepper Winters, please join the Facebook group below:

  Indebted Series Group Read



  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 Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  About the Author


  Other Books


  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)

  Her Grey Romance books include:


  Upcoming releases are:

  7th July 2015: Ruin & Rule (Pure Corruption MC #1)

  Late 2015: Forbidden Flaws (Contemporary Romance Standalone)

  Late 2015: Final Debt (Indebted #6)

  Late 2015-Early 2016: Je Suis a Toi (Monsters in the Dark Novella)

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

  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

  FUNNY HOW LIFE plays practical jokes.

  The past few days—that had to be a fucking joke, right?

  No logical answer would make sense of what I’d seen, heard, and lived the past seventy-two hours.

  My sister.

  My best friend and twin.

  This was what she’d been living with? This was how she’d been treated?

  This was what she wanted to return to?

  Motherfucking why? Why would she ever want to return to this insanity?

  We’d been raised in a broken home, chained to an empire that absorbed us right from birth. But we were kept safe, warm, and loved. We grew up together. We shared everything.

  But now…I had no fucking clue who my sister was.

  But then she came to me.

  A woman I never knew existed.

  The most stunning creature I’d ever seen.

  Only she didn’t come to me on feet or wings of an angel. She rolled into my life and demanded my help.

  And for better or for worse…

  I helped her.

  “LET ME GO!”

  Daniel cackled like a mad hyena, his fingers stabbing into my bicep. Without breaking his stride, he stole me further away from the parlour and into the bowels of the house.

  I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to go anywhere with him.

  “Take me back!”

  He can’t be dead!

  Just because he lay unmoving and bloody didn’t mean he was gone.

  That’s exactly what it means.

  I shook my head¸ dislodging those awful thoughts. He’s alive. He had to be.

  I couldn’t tolerate any other answer. I refused to live in a world where evil triumphed over good. That wasn’t right—life couldn’t be that cruel.

  It’s always been that way.

  My mind filled with images of my mother. My father’s desolation. My broken childhood. Evil had puppeteered us from day one. Why should now be any different?

  He’s not dead!

  I swallowed a sob.

  Please don’t be dead…

  I fought harder. “Let me see him. You can’t do this!”

  Daniel cackled louder. “Keep begging, Weaver. Won’t do you any good.”

  He’s not dead!

  I locked my knees, fighting him every step. “Stop!” Looking back the way we’d come, the door to the parlour seemed so far away—a bright beacon at the end of a festering corridor. “They were your brothers, you insane psychopath. Don’t you feel anything?!”

  Please let me go to him. He has to be alive…

  Please let my twin stay alive…

  Let all of this be a nightmare!

  I couldn’t cope with Jethro murdered; I’d go clinically insane if they killed V, too.

  “I feel relief. I no longer have to put up with their simpering bullshit.” He flashed his teeth. “Cut did us all a favour.”

  Cut will die.

  He was evil incarnate. He deserved to die in excruciatingly painful ways.

  I refuse to believe they’re dead.

  “I said stop!” I wriggled harder, only succeeding in Daniel’s fingers tearing into my flesh. Goosebumps covered my skin while ice steadily froze my veins. Every second was endless torture. I couldn’t live without Jethro.

  It can’t end like this!

  “You won’t win, Weaver.” Daniel tugged harder. “Accept what’s fucking happened and obey me.”

  The vacantness I’d endured when Jethro and Kes collapsed hadn’t lasted long. The moment Cut had give
n me over to Daniel—the exact second he’d delivered my life into his sick son’s control—I’d lost that blanket of numbness.

  Agony I’d never experienced cracked my heart into tiny irreplaceable pieces. My every thought bled with murder and death. My wails had mixed with Jasmine’s. Vaughn’s curses and shouts drowned out by grief.

  It was a never-ending loop.

  He’s dead.

  He’s dead.

  He’s left me.

  He’s dead.

  He’s dead.

  He’s gone.

  God, I wanted it to stop. I wanted this to end—for the curtain on this madhouse production to fall and for the director to shout ‘cut.’ For it all to be make-believe.

  But what if it’s true?

  He’s dead.

  He’s dead.

  He’s abandoned me.

  I sagged in Daniel’s hold, bombarded with incapacitating sadness. If it was the truth, what else mattered? Why did I care what my future entailed when I no longer had anyone to fight for?

  Vaughn…fight for him.

  Tex…fight for him.

  My lungs crushed. I could fight for them—but ultimately, they didn’t need me. Not like Jethro had needed me. He’d finally opened up to me—finally let me in and given me a new home in his love. But now I’d been cast out all over again; I couldn’t stomach the empty wasteland without him.

  He’s dead.

  He’s dead.

  He’s lost…

  I tripped, succumbing to the weight of the boulder on my back, the rock of eternal grief. I didn’t bother trying to stabilise. I wanted to curl up into a ball and never move again.


  “For fuck’s sake.” Daniel hoisted me on to my feet. “Get a grip! Walk. Do what I say or—”

  “No!” My voice ripped down the corridor, frigid with fear. Somehow, my mourning lashed into a violent whip, lacerating my insides with fury. “I’ll never do what you say. You might as well end it now because I refuse to listen to scum like you!” I scratched his hand holding my arm, but just like Cut when he’d dragged me from Jethro’s bedroom, he didn’t twitch or respond. “Never! Do you hear me? I’m done.”

  Desperation tore raging holes inside my mind. I wanted to collapse by Jethro’s side and scoop up his blood and feed it back to him—to force him to come back to life. I wanted to hold my twin and tell him it would be all right—to wash away his panic. And I wanted to say goodbye to Kestrel—to send him to the ether knowing how grateful I was for what he’d done.

  But I couldn’t do any of those things.

  Daniel’s pincer grip caged me, leaving me to rot in his deluded embrace.


  Sick and twisted bastard.

  My temper screeched out of control, and for the first time in my life, I gave in to it. I opened my arms to the tornado of loathing and screamed at the top of my lungs. “Fuck you, Daniel. Fuck you! Fuck you and fuck Cut and fuck all of you!”

  The world stopped.

  Daniel froze.

  I trembled.

  Then, he slapped me.

  My head snapped sideways. His handprint decorated my cheek with blazing fire, and everything spun out of control.

  “You little cunt.” He yanked me forward. His inertia gave me no choice but to stumble into him. “Have your little tantrum. Go on, scream and make a spectacle of yourself. But it won’t change facts.” Trailing his fingertips over my flaming cheek, he murmured, “You just contradicted yourself. First you said you wouldn’t obey me, but then you said you’d fuck me…” He chuckled. “I’m taking the ‘fuck you’ part literally.” Digging his fingers into the sides of my cheeks, he kissed me. “You don’t have to listen for me to fuck you. You don’t even have to obey me. Whatever power you had over my brothers is over, Weaver. You’ll see.”


  Letting my face go, he grabbed my arm and tugged me down the corridor.

  Further and further from Jethro, Kestrel, and Vaughn.

  Further and further into hell.

  He’s dead.

  He’s dead.

  He’s nothing…

  Everything inside shrieked with disbelief. He couldn’t be dead. He just couldn’t. I needed to see him again. How could I go on when I didn’t believe what had happened? How could I hope to breathe and exist when all I wanted was to give up like he had?

  I swallowed another tsunami of tears. My soul didn’t believe. But my circumstances said otherwise. This was my life now—this endless misery.

  “You won’t get away with this.”

  Daniel snickered, looking over his shoulder. “Get away with what?”

  Murdering my future.

  Murdering any chance of happiness I ever had.


  Only thing is…they’ve gotten away with it for centuries.

  Every step I died a little more, leaving my beating heart beside Jethro as his body grew cold. The further apart we became, the less human I felt. It was as if the tether binding us would snap at any moment, leaving me smarting, empty, and alone.

  He’s dead.



  Cold tears stained my cheeks, putting out the fire from Daniel’s slap.

  Thick lethargy hijacked my limbs. Sleep…it beckoned me. All I wanted was to fall into its fluffy cradle and disappear.

  Daniel dragged me deeper into the house, past foyers and alcoves, and into a wing I’d never entered.

  Every step pained me; every breath a blade. My eyes never rose from the monogrammed carpet. I wanted to give up, but an incessant need to fight never left. I forced myself to stand up to him, no matter that it was pointless. “Your father just killed two of your family members. Aren’t you afraid he’ll do it to you? Too many people know, Daniel. The media, online—”

  “You think a few fucking tweeters and social media posts can stop us?” He propelled me into his arms with a vicious yank. “I thought you’d stopped being delusional.” His lips turned into a sneer. “Then again, you willingly came back. That makes you a dumb bitch who deserves what’s coming to her.”

  I came for him.

  But now he’s gone.

  I recoiled in his arms. The last liveliness in my heart vanished. I’d witnessed the love of my life die in front of my eyes. I’d been audience to two murders and too many ruined lives. I couldn’t…I couldn’t cope any more.

  I sank…

  I gave in.

  I evaporated inside.

  I’m in shock.

  Daniel chuckled, continuing to tug me down corridors I didn’t recognise. I stopped paying attention, following like a good sheep, stumbling over a threshold I’d never crossed before.

  He shoved me forward. “Welcome to your new home, bitch.”

  I tripped forward, arms whirling, mind fighting against vertigo.

  A loud slam ricocheted from behind me. A door. A prison gate.

  I spun around, breathing hard. I didn’t have any words or energy left. I was sick, terrified, heartbroken. But through it all, I was numb.

  I’d accepted my fate, acknowledged the truth, and finally seen what it all meant.

  He’s truly, truly dead.

  Daniel stalked toward me.

  Automatically, my feet shuffled back—not from conscious instruction but some primal need for self-preservation. In reality, I no longer cared what happened. It was as if I watched myself from the safety of the ceiling, peering down at the poor unfortunate Weaver, no longer caring what happened to blood and bone when I no longer inhabited it.

  He’s dead.

  He’s dead.

  I want to die, too.

  Daniel never stopped corralling me around the space. Through blurry eyes, I took in the rich emerald brocade on his four-poster bed, the priceless antiques, and moss-coloured walls. The shades of green looked like we’d traded indoors for some woodland glen.

  He was the hunter, raising his shotgun to shoot
the dismal deer.

  I’m that deer.

  His hands outstretched; face alight with manic lust. “You’re all mine now, Weaver. Locked in my room, bound to my rules, at my mercy. Fuck, this is gonna be good.”

  My ears rang with his voice. My eyes smarted with his appearance. I wanted to leave—to chase Jethro into the stars. Suicide didn’t compute. Taking my own life didn’t register. It wasn’t a matter of life and death, killing or surviving, but about transcending from one world to another.

  He’s not dead.

  He’s just…evolved.

  And I didn’t want him to leave without me.

  We were a pair. A duo.

  I’m done with this existence.

  My mind was gone—unfocused and slow. But my body still wanted to survive. My feet tripped backward for every one of Daniel’s, but there was no finesse. I moved like a robot with no one at the controls.

  From my sanctuary in the ceiling, I pitied the delusional girl below. Why was I backpedalling? Why prolong the inevitable? The sooner Daniel caught me, the sooner he would hurt me and ultimately send me to Jethro.

  Let go.

  Let it happen.

  The numbness inside would block external pain, surely.

  It was best to stop everything. To stop thinking, stop breathing, stop surviving.

  My knees locked. I stood steadfast.

  Daniel quirked an eyebrow. He stalled when I didn’t continue our morbid dance. Cocking his head, he searched for a trap. “Giving up so easily, whore?”

  I didn’t respond. Not a whisper of a shrug or a flicker of an eye. I stared right through him—at a new dimension that promised a fresh beginning with Jethro and an end to hardship.

  Daniel growled under his breath. “You’re seriously just giving up?” Stomping forward, he grabbed my hair, fisting it in his sweaty hands. “You’re not going to fight me like you did my brother?”

  I was right.

  No pain registered. No agony or discomfort.

  My senses were meaningless decoration.

  “Fight back! Where’s the fucking sport if you just give in?”

  He tugged my hair, raising my eyes to his. If I focused, I would’ve brought his putrid face into vision. I would’ve cringed at the sharp bone structure, small black goatee, and swept back dark hair. If I still had my sense of smell, I would’ve inhaled his musky excitement, unable to be hidden beneath thick notes of aftershave. And if I had sense of touch, I would’ve felt his body heat infecting mine, seeping into me like a disease.