Read Online Books/Novels:
Enthralled (The Enslaved Duet 1)
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
It was the biggest day of my life.
|Books in Series:|
|Books by Author:|
“I want to be inside your darkest everything.”
It was the biggest day of my life.
I know most people say that about something joyous; a graduation, a wedding ceremony, the birth of their first child.
My situation was a little different.
Sure, it was my eighteenth birthday, but it was also the day I was sold.
And I don’t mean sold metaphorically. As far as I was concerned, my soul was still intact although my father might have been selling his in return for the thousands of dollars he would receive for my body. He wasn’t that worried about it. And honestly, neither was I. If Seamus Moore had a soul at one time, it had long ago dissolved into cinders and ash.
You’re probably wondering why I went along with it. Even as I sat in the beaten-up red Fiat my twin brother, Sebastian, had just fixed for the fortieth time beside my potentially soulless father who was singing along to Umberto Tozzi as if it was a normal day, I was wondering the same thing. My eldest sister Elena was taking a free online ethics course, and even she didn’t know the moral answer to the question my life had been reduced to—was exchanging one body worth the price of multiple person’s happiness?
I didn’t really care that she didn’t have a response. To me, it was worth it.
“You remember what I told you, carina?” my father asked over the tinny swell of sound from the car speakers.
“In English,” he reprimanded gently with a crooked smile in my direction. It was as if I was just being a silly child and teasing him with my mini rebellion. I wanted to tease his skin with the edge of a cold blade, but I held my tongue between my teeth and bit down hard until the fantasy dissolved in pain.
“Tell me,” he continued.
His hand found my slim thigh, and his steely fingers wound around it in a rough squeeze. I was used to his physicality, and it did not intimidate me, not now when I faced a potentially much more dangerous future. But I indulged him anyway.
“I am not to look his eyes—”
“In his eyes,” he corrected.
“In his eyes. Or speak unless I am directly spoken to. I will obey him in all things and keep him in comfort. I understand, papa, it is like Italian marriage, but with a contract instead of vows.” I was fluent in the language, but stress ate at my erudite mind like termites.
He grunted, unamused with my droll comparison. Even though Seamus was not Italian—his Irish accent, deep red hair, and ruddy complexion would always betray him as otherwise—he had assimilated himself into every facet of the culture until being Italian had become a kind of religion to him. And my father’s version of a priest? Let’s just say, you’d never want to meet Rocco Abruzzi, the man who ran a large gambling operation for the current Neapolitan capo, Salvatore Vitale. He was unassuming enough with flaccid features and brows that sagged over wet black eyes, but he had unusually large hands and he liked to use them to deal cards, diddle women, and pound in the faces of those who reneged on debts, those like my father.
Seamus drew a hand over the lingering bruises on the right side of his jaw with fingers that were scabby and missing their nails. There was only one reason, in his mind, that I was being sold. And that was to pay off his incredible debt to the underground leaders of Napoli. For years, I wished that they would just finish him off, slice him up and drop him into an alley somewhere for someone to find and kick at, too afraid to report the murder to the police. A few times, when he had been missing for long enough, I thought my fantasy had come true only for him to show up the next day, bright eyed and bushy tailed as if he had been at the spa, and not on the run from men with wet eyes and bloody hands.
“You must speak English with him, carina, in case he does not speak Italian.”
I straightened at the information, not because I was uncomfortable speaking English. Seamus had made sure that all of us could speak it to some extent and I had studied rigorously for the past two years with Sebastian. If we were going to get out, English was going to be a thread in our lifeline. No, what had startled me was my own father’s lack of knowledge about who was waiting for us in a villa inside Rome.
“You don’t know who is buying me?” My grinding teeth made my words gravelly, but I knew he could still understand me.
My heart was in my stomach, and that was in my throat. I felt like one of Picasso’s strange imaginings, my body twisted up with tension and fear so that I couldn’t even recognize myself as human anymore. I was trying to focus on anything but the great and terrifying unknown of my future—the dust motes in our dirty car, the smell of alcohol leaking from my father’s pores, or the way the hot southern Italian sun burned through the windows like flames.