Devil’s Bargain by Natasha Knight
She calls it a devil’s bargain. I call it a deal she can’t refuse.
I was owed a debt and I expected payment.
One night in my bed. My rules. The debt cleared, and she could walk away.
There are worse things. And besides, debtors can’t be choosers.
The night started as it should. She obeyed as she should.
But then something happened. Something I was wholly unprepared for. And what I saw changed everything.
I broke my own rules after that. And I didn’t keep my end of the bargain.
Because walking away was no longer an option I would grant her, no matter the cost.
Excerpt Devil’s Bargain by Natasha Knight
I reach out, place my hand inside his. It feels warm and rough and when he closes his fingers over mine, his grip is firm.
Because I know what I must do. I know why he brought me here.
You owe her nothing.
I manage to get to my feet, and he’s got to be a good foot taller than me. Even with my pumps, the top of my head barely reaches his chin.
Heads turn as Hawk, his presence at my back enough to guide me, leads me toward a door at the back of the room where a man stands sentry. He opens it at our approach.
“Go on,” Hawk says from behind me. He’s standing closer than I realize and a shudder runs through me at the feel of his breath on the back of my neck.
I hear the faint hint of his accent. I heard it throughout our conversation, stronger sometimes than others.
I walk inside and the lights go on. I realize I’m in his office. I don’t want to be impressed or amazed, but this is spectacular.
“This way,” he says, beckoning for me to come. He looks down at me and I think how strange his eyes are. Different colors. One is a mossy-green, the other half green and half crystal-blue. The green is warm, the blue ice-cold.
But I know any warmth I think I see is in my head. This man, he’s all sharp edges. It’s like someone took a beast out of the wild and put him in a thousand-dollar suit thinking it would somehow tame the animal inside. Somehow contain it.
“Melissa?” he says my name and I realize I’m staring.
“She was going to do that? Let you sell her? To pay you back?”
“You want me to do that in her place?”
“I’m merely giving you an option. It’s your choice entirely.”
“You want to strip me, put me on that stage and sell me to pay a debt that’s not my own?”
He cocks his head to the side like he’s annoyed. “Like I said, I’m giving you an option. Don’t push me, Melissa. My kindness only goes so far.”
“Yes, kindness. Besides,” he pauses as his gaze drops to my mouth, my chest. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you drew more than what’s owed.”
“Is that supposed to make me feel better? To make this sound somehow more appealing? Not like what it is?” My voice is quaking, it’s as unsteady as I feel.
He shrugs a shoulder like he couldn’t care less and checks his watch. “Your answer.”
I’ve never been in a world like this before. A world of money where a quarter of a million dollars is something you loan out. Where men like Hawk rule and women are put on auction blocks to be sold to the highest bidder.
Hawk. Is that his first name or his last name? I don’t even know. But I do know that I don’t belong here. I don’t belong in his world.
“Melissa,” his voice is firmer. “What’s your answer?”