Emerald Bruises (The Jewelry Box #2) Read Online Pepper Winters

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, BDSM, Billionaire, Contemporary, Dark, Erotic Tags Authors: Series: The Jewelry Box Series by Pepper Winters

Total pages in book: 100
Estimated words: 101988 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 510(@200wpm)___ 408(@250wpm)___ 340(@300wpm)

Second book in the Dark Romance series, The Jewelry Box...

“I made a bargain with a monster.
A vow to save both our lives.
I thought our commitment would stay true.
It didn’t.”

I’ve spent my entire life alone.
I’m well used to loneliness and the endless pain of having no one.
Sure, we made a bargain. We shared our secrets and made a vow.
But I warned her not to do one tiny thing.
One very important thing.
For a while, she obeyed me.
Until the night she didn’t.
And now…the connection we shared?
That alliance we forged?
It’s broken.
I’m broken.
And by the time I’m done with her…she’ll be broken too.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************





Two things I’d been afflicted with since I was old enough to know I was different.

Different from the boys in the playground—boys who had mothers who hugged and loved them.

Different from the men in the bars—men who could laugh and flirt without feeling sick to their goddamn stomachs for what they truly wanted.

Loneliness and nausea.

My barometer of right and wrong.

Loneliness pushed me into the dark.

But nausea kept me in the light.

I hadn’t realised how much I relied on those two afflictions.

How much I needed to live in constant motherfucking pain.

Until the moment both emotions switched off.

The moment Ily kicked me in the nose and fought me with all her terror and heartache, my moral compass well and truly shattered.

I’d been wrong when I thought I’d been born with a broken one.

My compass had just been different from everyone else’s.

I’d carried it my entire life—relying on it to keep me normal.

Loneliness was my North.

Nausea my South.

East and West, my right and wrong.

But now…I was lost.

Plummeting into perpetual darkness where I’d always belonged.

No, not just darkness…


Freedom from sickness.

Freedom from loneliness.

Free to be entirely…


Chapter One




Even on my darkest days when I wondered why I’d been abandoned on the steps of a hospital, I’d always been grateful to be alive.

I might have been born unwanted, but I’d been cherished from the moment Krish spotted me. I’d become a sister and a daughter. I’d been kissed and hugged, doted on and adored. If anything, I was grateful to my birth mother for giving me up because I’d found exactly where I was supposed to be.

So no…at no point in my blessed, happy life had I ever heard the whispers of giving up.

Until now.

“Fade away,” hissed a drugged delusion.

“Die so you don’t have to feel the pain,” whispered a roaring tiger head mounted on the wall.

The dead zoo crushed me from all angles, puncturing me with antlers, horns, and tusks. Even if Peter hadn’t forced psilocybin down my throat, I would’ve struggled in this room.

Struggled not to hear the phantom screams of death.

Struggled not to be affected by the stagnant energy of slaughtered things.

But with the drugs?

I didn’t stand a chance.

Henri’s voice trickled down and down into my soul.

“I told you what would happen, little nightmare. I told you what exists inside me. I told you.” Over and over again, his raspy, drunken voice repeated. “I told you what would happen. I told you…”

A vortex.

A spinning, sucking hellhole binding me to the X-shaped cross where he’d imprisoned me.

I shuddered as his tongue slid over my cheek one last time, catching stray tears before he pushed away.

He sighed as if he hadn’t taken a proper breath his entire life. He flexed his shoulders as he finally slipped into who he truly was. The illusion of him with bat wings and vampire fangs returned, painting a morbid fantasy of his shredded, skin-webbed wings fluttering behind him, kicking up dust motes, and sending feathers of dead birds shivering.

I blinked and tried to see past insanity. Tried to cling to sanity.

But it was no use.

I only saw a fallen angel.

A devil born from a man.

With a huff, Henri unwound his fingers from my throat. They fell away, trailing down my chest before he put distance between us, coating me in ice after he’d burned me with brimstone.

I couldn’t breathe as he stumbled back, alcohol stealing his steadiness. With a groan, he raked both hands through his hair and looked at the domed ceiling. With his head tipped back and blood streaking his upper lip from my kick, he looked as if he implored the heavens to give him a second chance. To let him fly into the clouds and save him from the despicably dark things crawling through his spirit.

But no deity answered.

No spearing ray of light appeared.

The fog swirling by his legs only grew thicker, congealing like blood as his chin tipped down again, and he sucked in another huge breath.

His hands balled. His tattered wings retracted and folded down his back, the bone-clawed tips kissing the bloodstained carpet below.

And then…his eyes locked on mine.

“I told you what would happen, little nightmare. I told you what exists inside me…”

Every atom inside me froze, all while my hallucinations grew stronger.

The unexplainable attraction I held toward Henri chose that moment to tear out my stupid, useless heart. His grey gaze was the hook, puncturing the pathetic organ. His cold smirk the line, tugging on my ribcage. And his blackened voice the final yank, ripping me from existence, delivering me flopping and gasping at his feet.

“I’m finally free.” His voice echoed in my buzzing mind. “Free.”

I trembled as he smiled. Not the fake, perfected smile of a cop playing the role of a sadist but a monster who was truly, finally free.

He’s free, and I’m…


“Let yourself die. This is just the beginning…you don’t want to endure the end,” a hummingbird whispered.