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Millions (Dollar #5)
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“Tragedy, turmoil, and the ultimate sacrifice. It’s not a question of what I’m willing to sacrifice but who to deserve her…
Can love truly conquer all? Even when so many truths say no?
The last book in the USA Today Bestselling Dollar Series.
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LIFE WASN’T KIND to anyone.
Some days it pretended to be kind, granting gifts and favours, delivering dreams and fancy, but the next, it snatched it all away.
That was reality.
I knew that. Elder knew that.
We both saw the world for its truth, cutting through its many lies. I think that was why I hated him when we first met on the streets of New York. He carried the same toil. The same bitterness. The same heavy shame I did—shame we’d converted into hate and temper.
We’d scrapped over territory and possessions and sometimes, we fought just because we were tired of being hurt by a universe that’d utterly forsaken us.
They said the human race was inherently designed to hate similarities in others. If someone had the same temper as you, instead of recognising that fact, you just hated them. Same legs as you, you’d say they were too short; same nose as you, you’d fixate on how out of proportion it was. Not because you hated that person but because, in some unspoken part of your soul, you hated yourself.
Our fatal flaw was to pick on ourselves. To tear ourselves apart by tearing others apart who remind you of you.
Strange but so fucking true.
Elder reminded me of me, so I despised him.
I reminded him of him, so he abhorred me.
Together, we beat the shit out of each other, and in a way, we beat the shit out of ourselves until one day…that self-loathing we didn’t acknowledge just gave up, and we accepted what we hated most about ourselves was also the part we needed the most to survive.
After that epiphany, a friendship-truce was formed—or something akin to friendship anyway. We stopped trying to kill each other. We switched from enemies to grudging acquaintances and slowly to confidants.
Up until tonight, I still saw myself in Elder. I saw my past in his eyes and my heartbreak in his own. But as I’d stood in the shadows and watched him dance with Pimlico at Hawksridge Hall, I finally had to concede that he’d evolved.
He was no longer like me, and I didn’t despise anything about him because nothing left of him mirrored my own. He’d started his journey of redemption and acceptance. Finally trading tragedy for true fucking love.
He’d left me behind by finding something he could never buy or steal. I was happy for him but also blisteringly jealous.
Jealous he’d found what I’d lost so many years ago.
Jealous he had a lifetime of fuck-ups and fix-ups to look forward to with the one person who would become his best-friend and partner.
I was out of the job.
I was no longer his mirror, bouncing his mistakes back at him.
I was alone again and quickly drowning beneath everything I’d ignored for far too long.
Grateful for the empty car, I huffed at the whiff of sex and champagne still lingering from dropping Pimlico and Elder off.
Only a few seconds had gone by since they’d climbed out and scaled the gangway, their bodies entwined and hearts sickly besotted, but time had an odd way of making it seem as though I’d been alone forever.
In a way, I had.
I’d been lost for decades, and now that they were disgustingly consumed with the other, I had no one to obliterate the memories gleefully descending.
Tomorrow, I’d get the lowdown from Prest on what exactly had changed. How he said fuck it to a life of misery and threw in everything he had left to the girl he’d rescued. But tonight, I had every intention of being on my own—just the way it should be.
Driving the car down the wharf, I caught another glimpse of Pim and Elder laughing on the deck as they stumbled toward his quarters like lovesick idiots.
I bet a fucking seagull could crap on them and they wouldn’t notice.
Rolling my eyes, I pressed on the accelerator, speeding down the impressive length of the Phantom to put the car away. The side already yawned wide, and I turned onto the heavy-duty ramp, delicately easing the vehicle into the belly of the vessel.
The familiar switch from land to sea never failed to make my heart beat faster. Unlike Elder—who I swore was part fish—I didn’t like the ocean. I didn’t like the instability beneath my feet. I preferred the firmness of dirt and rigidity of steel.
But on that fateful night when he’d stolen a winning lottery ticket and I’d somehow convinced him to borrow it—if not outright claim it—he’d invited me to explore a new opportunity: remain homeless by choice, punishing myself with a life of emptiness after having so much, or stand beside him and fight in a war that wasn’t my own.
Some men might’ve said no—especially when he’d mentioned a faction out for his blood and almost certain injury when they found him. But why hold the illusion of a life when really…it was just a big fucking sham?