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The Initiation (Darkness Within Duet #1)
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Harper Miller doesn’t want to handle what has happened to her over the past year. Her father left, her mother killed herself, and she still has to be the good girl, the one that doesn’t make waves, who is always nice. But one day, something changes.
No, it’s not something. It’s them.
Draven, Axel, Jett, and Buck. All of them are dangerous, scary, and most people avoid them at all costs. She knows they’re bad news, but Draven’s not willing to take no for an answer, not from her.
For Draven, he and his friends had this idea of finding the one girl that would complete their circle. One girl for all of them. Harper is that one girl, but first she has to go through their initiation to become one of them, to be able to bear their names, and to stand proudly.
All they ask is she remain loyal to them and them alone. No squealing to the cops. No backing down. And above all else, no running away.
All she has to do is give herself, mind, heart, and body. She can keep her soul. It’s dark anyway, just like theirs.
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Harper Miller stared out of her bedroom window just like she had for many years, in a different house, a different room. A house that was once her home but not anymore. The night was dark, but then it had always called to her. The only light cast was by the moon, and that was because of a power outage in the town of Stonewall, a once-promising town for tourism, real estate, and beauty. In recent years, that had changed. The town was no longer a place for promise but a death sentence.
There were crooks, criminals, and abuse at every corner. Harper knew her father was a lawyer. He’d helped many of the men in this town get away with murder and fraud.
Pressing her face against the window, she saw them. The four men waiting for her. They were not boys. True, they all went to high school, but the small group of four were anything but boys. She didn’t know what had changed in them, but they were deadly.
Not too long ago that danger would have scared her. She’d try to run, to hide away from what they were, but now, there was no hiding. She yearned for the peace that came over her because being around them meant she was still alive.
She’d heard other students refer to them as being fearless, deadly, dangerous. No one was allowed to join their little gang. It was just the four of them, until tonight.
They waited by the tree in the front yard. They were dressed in black, each of them staring up at her bedroom window as they had been doing for the past nine months.
Nine months of planning.
Of getting ready for this moment.
She already had the ink on her back declaring herself theirs. That had been an experience she had no interest in repeating.
Harper had no doubt that the rumors at school would run wild. That was all people cared about. Their image. Bringing others down. Making others feel small so they could rise up. She hated it. Hated the world. Hated her family. Hated everything that she could think of. Anything that got in her way. Men, women, kids. None of them were of any importance to her.
A year ago, she’d have said differently.
A year ago, she wouldn’t have looked down at her front lawn at the four men waiting for her and eagerly awaited what was coming to her.
She’d have still been going through the motions, still in pain, but she’d have been a good girl, always doing the right thing.
Only, doing the right thing stopped having any meaning to her.
All it did was make her so angry, so pissed off, and she hated the world around her.
Pulling her hair up into a tight ponytail, she opened her window and climbed out to what awaited her.
They were her salvation.
Her fight for survival.
They would belong to her just as she did to them.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this, but she had no choice. They were the only ones to understand, to get her, to know her.
There was no turning back.
The initiation had begun months ago.
One year ago
“I don’t want you causing trouble,” her father, Ian Miller, said as he pulled up outside of his mansion.
Harper stared up at the large, pristine-looking house that fit in on the streets of Stonewall. One look and instantly she knew she was in the wealthy side of town. The nice side. The place everyone wanted to be and those that were there were happy to make others feel small.
She held her bag in her fist.
Of course, there would only be the best for his new wife, the twenty-something blonde he’d left her mother for years ago.
“I’ve never caused trouble,” she said.
Anyone who spoke of Harper Miller always talked about her being a good girl. A nice girl. The kind of person who was nice to everyone, sweet, kind, generous. Her mother had taught her to be nice.
“There’s enough badness in the world, Harper. The least you can do is be a reason for someone to smile.”
She adored her mother. Even after the divorce, her mother found a reason to keep on smiling.
That had all been a lie.
She stared out of the window as she recalled the tub, soaked with her mother’s blood, the water spilling over the edge.
For a few seconds once she saw her mother’s dead body, she didn’t react. There was no fear. No pain. Just … shock.
She couldn’t register what she’d seen, what was right there in front of her.
None of it made sense.
Then reality set in.
Her mother had slit her wrists in the bathtub while Harper had been at school.
Harper didn’t know if she did it first thing in the morning, the moment she left, or just before she arrived. She hadn’t taken too long to get home. She never did.