Faith Appleton doesn’t like Gabriel Finch.
He's dangerous, scary, and getting involved with him would be the worst thing to do. When he knocks on her door late one night, he has an ultimatum. Her brother, who she is guardian of, is an addict. For drugs, he was willing to sell his sister and their home for anything he could get his hands on. To save her brother, she has to become Gabriel’s toy.
Gabriel is used to getting what he wants. From the moment he first met Faith, he wanted her, but he knew she would never fall for a man like him. He’s cold, hard, and knows only the harshness of life. To get what he wants, he is also willing to lie.
Her brother didn’t come to him offering up his sister. Nigel came to him for help. He wanted to get clean. So Gabriel will give him that, and in return, he is going to have Faith. She thinks it is just for one month. No, Gabriel has other plans. He wants to keep her, and the way to do that, get her pregnant.
Faith hates him. He’s a horrible person. A jerk. Mean. Vile. At least, that was what she first thought. Gabriel is never horrible to her. He is kind, considerate, sweet, charming, but she knows there is a deadly man inside. A man she couldn’t possibly fall in love with. He refused to wear a condom. She should hate him. But … she can’t hate him.
She has fallen in love with a man she had sworn to hate.
“What’s happened?” she asked.
He’d not spoken a word. She didn’t know if this made her appear weak, but she really didn’t care. She needed him to answer her.
“How long has your brother been addicted to meth?” Gabriel asked.
Faith opened and closed her mouth, startled. She knew Nigel dabbled, and she hated how her thoughts even made it seem like she was okay with him taking drugs. She wasn’t. All she had ever wanted was the best for him, but now, that seemed almost impossible.
“I … no, he … no,” she said, pressing a hand to her stomach, and the other to her lips. What did she say? “Where is he?”
“Why do you want to know?” Gabriel asked.
“What do you mean, why do I want to know? He’s my brother.”
“Are you going to punish him? Smack him on the ass? Ground him?”
“He’s … nearly nineteen years old.” And she’d never smacked her brother.
“Exactly. He knows there’s no firm hand coming.” Gabriel looked around her sitting room.
She hadn’t put away the pictures of her parents, their family. She and Nigel hadn’t taken many in recent years. There was nothing new or exciting around her family home.
She folded her arms across her chest and glared at him. “Do you know where Nigel is?”
“Yes,” Gabriel said.
His blue gaze turned to hers, and Faith felt frozen to the spot. She had blue eyes as well, but hers were not quite as sharp as Gabriel’s. This man had seen and done a lot of bad things.
Nibbling her lip, she waited for him to speak. This was bad. Everything was telling her that this was bad.
“I was at a card game tonight and your brother came in. He was a mess. Sweating, pale, he looked like he hadn’t eaten a decent meal in weeks. He stunk bad, but he was there to beg for money. Telling me he would give me anything I wanted. In fact, he turned his attention to the whole table of men and said he needed a loan.”
Faith couldn’t believe it. Her brother begging for money.
“What did you do?” she asked.
“I asked him what he would give me in return. He said there was this house. He could give us the deeds, and when none of us showed any interest, he said he had a sister who was still a virgin.”
“What?” Faith asked. She had the deeds for the house locked tight in a safe deposit box. When Nigel began to act irrationally, she had made arrangements so he couldn’t steal the deeds and take the house from her. Their parents had paid for the house and left each of them a small trust fund. Faith still had some of hers left, but Nigel had spent through his within weeks. It wasn’t a large amount of money, which is why Faith had always been cautious about spending hers. She’d wanted it to last.
Not only had he offered them the house, he’d offered them … her.
“You can’t be serious?” she asked.
“I’m very serious,” Gabriel said, taking a step toward her.
She refused to back down.
“Did you … refuse?” she asked.
What the hell did that even mean?
“Where is he?”
Gabriel was right in front of her now. He made no move to touch her. “Nigel is in a safe place, but he will only remain in that place if you agree to my conditions.”
What was happening? Where was Nigel? What did he mean by safe?
“What conditions?” she asked.
He smiled. “For the next month, you agree to be mine. You don’t argue. You don’t fight. You are mine, and if you think to act dumb, then know, when I mean mine, I mean, you’re mine to fuck, to play with. Your body is my toy and I can use you any way I want.”
“And if I refuse?”
She knew, deep down, refusing wasn’t an option. If she refused, it would mean bad things for Nigel.
He smiled and it wasn’t a kind smile, it was deadly.
“Nigel has been a rather difficult boy, and he owes a lot of people money. If you refuse, it’s simple, I don’t pay his debts. I’ll let them take it out on him. I’m sure a pretty boy like him would earn a good living working the streets.”
Faith looked at him. “I hate you.”
“I don’t care. I told you it would come to this. I warned you. You’ve got until tomorrow to make your decision.”