In Dreams – Darkly Ever After Read Online Mila Crawford

Categories Genre: Dark, Mafia Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 40
Estimated words: 36965 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 185(@200wpm)___ 148(@250wpm)___ 123(@300wpm)

I live in a world where women are a commodity. The only value we have is as bargaining chips for men who crave more power.

We are to be silent, unseen, to do as we are told.

But I don’t want to be anyone's property. I want to be the one in control of my destiny.

But my past doesn’t want to forget me and my present wants to consume me.

I am the object of desire for three dark and deranged men who show no mercy and know no limitations to their depravity.

Three men who will do anything in order to make me theirs.

To them I am a commodity. A shiny toy to be encased behind glass. Too fragile for the world around me but breakable at their whims. If need be I’ll remain their little sleeping beauty.

*In Dreams is a dark reimagining of Sleeping Beauty.

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

Chapter 1


(Five Years Ago)

“I’ll protect you, Briar.”

Those four words are all I need to hear, and the entire world disappears. We aren’t hiding now. The loud booms of grown men’s voices tearing at each other don’t seem to matter. All I need is Ezra’s arms around my shoulders, and it all disappears.

My mom said Ezra and I gravitated toward each other from the moment I put my pudgy little hand around his little finger. Apparently, Ezra looked at my mom and told her he was going to marry me—the Mafia princess promised at birth to the son of her father’s right-hand man. But as we grew, Ezra saw me as nothing more than a friend, and I gave up on the dream.

I’m eighteen now, and he’s twenty-one. He’s filled out over the last few years. His skinny arms are no longer frail; they’re like mini boulders. The floppy hair that fell in a heaping mess around his eyes is now slicked back, highlighting his cat-like gold and green eyes. I’m not the only one who thinks he’s the most beautiful boy in the universe. Other girls and boys do too.

“I fuckin’ warned you what would happen if you got in bed with them!” Mr. Walker yells at my father.

I slide the door open a little more to get a view of the room. My father bangs on his desk, and his glass of bourbon shatters on the ground, now surrounded by amber liquid. “It was a good deal, Adam. A sure bet.”

Mr. Walker paces the room, his fingers gliding in his hair as he tugs at the loose strands in frustration. “There’s no such thing as a sure bet. You’ve fucked us. You bet with all our lives.”

I inhale sharply, and Ezra slams his hand over my mouth. My whole body erupts with goose flesh as his hot breath tickles my skin. “You don’t want them to catch us, Fawn. Having them chasing you won’t be the same as when I do, I promise.”

He pushes back as my hand moves up his thighs, but fear overcomes the sting of his rejection.

I push through my emotional turmoil, grip his finger, and squeeze firmly. “I’m scared.”

My whisper lingers in the darkness, a truth that extends past what we’re witnessing with our fathers. I’m petrified of life without Ezra by my side. Parting from him causes a burning in my stomach that lodges without mercy in my throat.

My body ignites as he wraps an arm around my waist and hauls me to him. “No matter what happens, even if you never see me, I’ll always make sure you’re protected.”

His touch is such a rarity now. I close my eyes and enjoy his warmth for a moment. Ezra used to touch me all the time, never sexually, but always with love and tenderness. Then things changed. I don’t know what I did to repel him. One day we were inseparable, and the next, he barely talked to me, spending his time with Dariyus Baran and Malachi Richler.

“She may be eighteen, Richard, but we both know she’s still a child.”

Mr. Walker’s booming voice shakes me from my self-indulgent thoughts. “Who is he talking about?” I whisper, turning my face toward the only safety I’ve ever known.

Ezra’s gaze shifts from mine quickly, making me believe I’m hallucinating. Ice pellets lodge in my veins at my father’s next words.

“It won’t get that far. Briar will be fine.”

Ezra’s hand curls into a fist and his knuckles dig into my stomach. I’m confused. I don’t know what I have to do with Daddy’s business dealings. Questions bubble in my throat, clawing, desperate to get out, but Ezra tightens his hand over my mouth, making it impossible to speak.

“What if it does, Richard? What if there’s no going back?”

“I’ll figure it out.”

Mr. Walker’s voice is loud. He says a bunch of profanities before I hear words that freeze me in motion. “You can’t figure it out, Richard, because you sold your daughter to sexual slavery with your choices.”

“I’ve got time,” my father whispers.

“Three years isn’t enough to pay back what you owe.”

My father buries his head in his hands. “Then she’ll belong to him.”

Tears form in my eyes, and anger festers in my heart. This is the reality of my world. A cruel place where men decide, and women are nothing but fodder for their whims.

I grip Ezra’s forearm and peel his hand off my waist. As soon as his grip loosens, I run. My feet pound the ground in rapid succession without a clue where they’re running, only that it’s away from here—from the prison my father has subjugated me to. From the knowledge of being alone, unwanted by Ezra. At this moment, I know I want more from life than they have planned for me.

I run into the forest, where the trees shield me. This place has always been my sanctuary and my escape from the world around me. I’m not the daughter of Richard Stanley here. I’m not told by my mother to wear looser clothing or less makeup. Here, I’m simply Briar Rose.