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Gluttony (The Elite Seven #5)
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My life has been served to me on a gold platter to be devoured by my silver spoon.
Money, money, and more money. It’s the backbone of the Goddard name. I’m the only son, so it’s all mine for the taking.
But sometimes money isn’t enough. I always want more, yet nothing seems to satisfy me.
My father has made sure I become a part of The Elite Seven. Where most candidates are chosen, I was given my place. Everything comes at a price, though. Luckily, I can afford any price—no one has more money than God.
The Elite Seven have their initiations. My assignment is personal and beneath me: steal a car and send a warning. It’ll hurt my best friend in the process, but we both made a pact going into this. There’s no line we won’t cross.
My task makes an ugly turn and I nearly take a life. Such a small, unimportant person—someone no one would even notice was gone. She’s a problem my money and power can easily sweep under the rug.
It’s what my father wants. It’s what my brothers want. But when she finally opens those big, innocent brown eyes, I realize I’ve found what I’ve been searching for my entire life. I don’t want my little problem to disappear…I want to keep her.
Accept your sin wisely, for the tasks given to earn your place are not for the weak—they’re for The Elite.
Money is my legacy, but I want something money can’t buy.
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t h e e l i t e s e v e n
Since 1942, The Elite Seven Society have created and guided influential leaders, molding the country into something better. This society was birthed by Malcom Benedict, II who wanted more for Americans. More wealth. More influence. More power. Some leaders have the skills, but not the influence, and that simply wasn’t fair according to Mr. Benedict. He invested his own money and time to construct a society that bred the best of the best, year after year.
But to be the best, you must be ruthless.
Good leaders make sacrifices. Sometimes the sacrifices are hard, but the rewards are plentiful. Mr. Benedict made sure to indulge these leaders with their utmost desires. A devout Catholic himself, he designed a society that rewarded his leaders with the sins that were frowned upon. If they were giving up love and happiness and joy for the betterment of the country, they deserved something in its stead.
Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony, and Lust.
Choosing leaders for this society means that it takes intense focus. Only seven are to be selected, and the investments and time are showered upon the new seven chosen every four years. The predecessors of each group of seven choose people who fit the sin that will mold them into who they are needed to be in the future—what America needs them to be. This is after a detailed study of many potential candidates. The university’s acting dean behaves as a liaison for the society bringing the college applicants to the predecessors so that the selection may begin. The society members who are going out will bring forth a candidate that the society votes on and approves.
After they are chosen, the initiates are given a token and an invitation to initiation. The initiation will be a test to their character and ability to do what’s right for the betterment of the society. Once the initiates pass their test, they are discreetly branded with the mark of the society, and are groomed through challenges during the course of their elite education to breed them into the influential people they were meant to be.
Once in The Elite Seven, there is no getting out. The money and power are their reward. Should they choose to stray or break the rules, the society strips them of everything. Anything they once had will be removed. Opportunities will never arise. They will no longer have the support of the society. To this day, there have been no known occurrences of anyone from the society having to be banished. This elite group of people are what every young man and woman aspire to be a part of. While the group is a secret society, they are whispered about amongst the privileged folks in the country. Anyone who is anyone knows of the group and secretly hopes it’s their son or daughter who are selected, for good fortune is showered on the family for decades to come.
Sixteen years old…
“Mr. Goddard, you shouldn’t have more,” Wendy, our house servant, chides my father.
He smacks her hand, making her drop the spoon into the dish. She jerks back, shocked. I watch with disgust as my father helps himself to another massive serving of Wendy’s homemade bread pudding smothered in rum sauce. “I pay you to make the food, not keep it from me,” he grunts. He swipes his thumb along the edge of the dish to collect the buttery sauce and slurps it off.
Mom chuckles as she sips her wine, already feeling her buzz. “You know Four loves bread puddin’.”
Wendy purses her pink lips and narrows her eyes at me, challenging me to have more of the same shit that will send my father to an early grave. Food. I smirk at her. I’ll have more if I fucking want more. And to prove I can eat what I want and not look like my dad, I help myself to another helping of her home cooking. She shakes her head at me in disappointment before exiting the room.
“How’s Rhett, darlin’?” Mom asks absently, her southern drawl thicker the drunker she gets. Her brown eyes are glassed over, and her hair is disheveled. She’s lost some weight recently, and spends a lot of time in the French Quarter with girlfriends. Something tells me there’s more than what meets the eye going on with her.
“Fine,” I grumble as I wolf down another plate of Wendy’s spicy crawfish jambalaya.
Dad’s chair squeaks as he sits back in it. He’s massive, and I’m not sure when it happened. One day, he was a normal man, then I blinked to find Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars sitting across from me. My stomach roils as I watch him lick his fingers. A sauce stain dots the front of his dress shirt, and I cringe.