There hadn’t been a single moment in the past eight years when I’d awoken and wished I could forget.
Every morning had been a struggle to remember.
Every night a battle between needing to know and needing to forget.
I’d tried to trick my mind into remembering, but either I was too stubborn or too afraid, because it never worked. And . . . as the days turned from hell to heaven and Arthur fell back in love with me, I didn’t really mind that a chunk of my life was missing.
I had him back. Larger than life and even more perfect than any recollection could do justice.
I was content with that.
But living in the silver haze of amnesia, with no past or present, came with its own burdens and trials. It meant I couldn’t find my true self, but it also granted unusual freedom. Freedom because I couldn’t find my true self. I had the latitude to be stronger, braver—all because
I had no notion of who I’d been or what I was risking by choosing
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like that indulgent laxity . . . that power.
It’d granted me silent strength to chase Arthur even when he seemed unchasable. And it’d helped me find the truth that I’d been missing all these years.
But now, pinned to a table with men gawking at my half-naked form, I wished I could disappear into the void where my mind had vacationed for so long.
I wished I could delete whatever was about to happen.
I struggled against the fingers around my wrists, unable to look up at the men holding me down. My cheek squashed against the table; my toes ached as I dug into the tiled floor, trying to stop myself from sliding and becoming completely helpless.
Rubix stood behind me. The heat of his thighs against my T‑shirt and the roughness of his fingers sent my heart spiraling.
Please, don’t let this happen.
Rubix was many things, but a rapist? Would he stoop that low?
The unequivocal answer reverberated through my head.
Especially if such a thing would hurt the one person he hated above all. Arthur would never be able to forgive himself if I was violated so terribly.
It will kill him.
My heart shattered into kaleidoscopic pieces at the thought of destroying Arthur in such a way. Me? I could brave it. I could heal. But him? He’d never be able to look at me again without suffering such awful guilt.
“Why do you hate your son so much?” I whispered, fearing his answer.
Rubix chuckled. “You never guessed?”
Never guessed? “No.” How would I ever guess something so wrong?
“He was supposed to be like me. Instead, he was like her.”
“What?” My forehead furrowed. “Like her . . . your wife?”
“Yes,” he snarled. “So fucking soft. She was always so meek—riddled with indecision and then later with disease. Arthur was supposed to make me proud—but all he did was make me a laughing stock.”
“All because he preferred to use his brain over his fists? Because he chose to go to school instead of smoking crack with the rest of the lowlife prospects?”
Rubix tucked my hair behind my ears. “No, pretty Buttercup, because he chose your family over his own.”
My stomach ruptured. “He didn’t choose us over you. You gave him no choice. Arthur wanted to be good rather than follow morals he didn’t believe in. That doesn’t make him soft. That makes him strong.”
Stronger than you’ll ever be
Excerpted from SIN & SUFFER by Pepper Winters.
Copyright © 2016 by Pepper Winters. Used with permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.
4.5 stars – intense and dark but with glimmers of light
I’m a huge fan of Pepper Winters books and she has certainly not disappointed us with this book, the second in a 2 part series – you will need to have read Ruin & Rule before reading this one.
In true Pepper style, we were left with a cliff hanger at the end of Ruin & Rule – Dagger Rose had attacked Kill & stolen Cleo away and he wakes up in a hospital bed, concussed and not 100% sure what has happened. When he realises all hell breaks loose and he has to get to Cleo no matter what the cost to his health.
I was instantly pulled into this story and if possible, the love that Kill and Cleo have for each other felt more intense during this book. They are both damaged but ultimately survivors and there broken pieces fit perfectly together completing them, making them whole. Kill wants to protect Cleo and keep things secret but she is tougher than he realises and hates being kept in the dark. I did sometimes wonder how they were going to come through all the twists and turns in the plot that Pepper threw at us but trusted that we would come through it although not likely totally unscathed.
Pepper’s stories are always so unique and I love the fact that they can be hard and gritty and have you on the edge of your seat but also be tender with glimmers of light and hope. One of the things I liked the most was that despite being an MC book, it was different and we got to see that how there was more to a motorcycle club then guns, fighting, crime and drugs. That they could live cleanly and within the law for the most part, straying only when action is required. This was an intense and dark read but despite this, Cleo & Kill’s love shone through it all and I thoroughly enjoyed the conclusion to this series.
On a personal note she loves to travel, has an addiction to creme brulee, and is married to an incredible Canadian who puts up with her endless work hours and accompanies her on signings. She’s also a firm believer that the impossible can become possible.
She came from a past Arthur “Kill” Killian never forgot. She made him sin and made him suffer. She tugged him from the shadows and showed him he wasn’t as dead as he thought. And with her resurrection came betrayal, deceit, and war.
But then they took her. Stole her. Imprisoned her.
Now Kill’s carefully laid plans for vengeance are complete. He craves action, retribution-the blood of his enemies. War has begun. War is all they’ll know until they’ve paid their penance. He will get her back-and rewrite their destiny . . .
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