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The world that was once known is gone. In its place is a society where the rich rule, and the female population is auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Xavier saved me, purchasing me off the auction block and making me feel human again. Although I knew he wanted me, could see it in the way he watched me, he never touched me.
I had money and power, and I used those to my advantage, to purchase women from the auction under the guise that they were for me. But they weren’t. I purchased them to set them free. I’d been doing it for years without romantic attachment to any of them … until Claire came into my life.
Warning: Set in the same world as Mine To Keep, but a total standalone, this story is a safe read with a happily ever after. It might be short, but it promises to make you blush and reach for a fan. There is no OW/OM drama, just one alpha hero who knows what he wants … the heroine.
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I shivered, the thin gown I was wearing barely keeping the chill off my body. I couldn’t see much aside from the bright lights that illuminated the stage. There were several other women behind me, some of them crying, others so emotionless I wondered if they were already broken.
All of us were property.
This was the world I lived in, where being a fertile female made me someone else’s property.
I knew out there, in the crowd hidden behind shadows, were wealthy men of all ages. They’d purchase us, do whatever they wanted with us. We’d be nothing but chattel to them, a shiny new toy for them to use … to abuse. The society I lived in was barbaric, where humans could be taken against their will and sold off to someone who had the right amount of coin.
That thought had fear freezing my body.
How I wished I lived in a time where this was only read about in fiction, where it wasn’t a reality. How I wished I could go to the past, where society wasn’t fucked-up and people weren’t starving.
Would the person who purchased me use me as a sex slave, strictly to get them off? Or maybe they’d use me as a breeder, a vessel to carry their heir and pass on their lineage. Either way, all I wanted to do was run off the stage and escape, but I knew I wouldn’t make it. I knew I would be captured before I even got to the front doors.
I felt my hands shaking, and soon my entire body followed suit. It was a silent auction, one where I wouldn’t know who purchased me until it was far too late.
It was already too late.
And so I closed my eyes, focusing on something else, somewhere else. I thought about the small camp of “runaways” I’d been staying with, men and women who were against how the world was, how the government could sell humans as if they were nothing more than a new toy.
I stood there, my eyes closed, my thoughts on being free, on being alone in the woods where I could pretend that where I was, wasn’t the end of the line for me. I didn’t know how long I stood there, not focused on anything but myself, but I finally felt someone take hold of my arm and cart me offstage.
I was led into the back hallways, pushed into a room where I was changed into a thicker gown, my feet shoved into flats, my hair haphazardly put into a messy bun. I had a bracelet snapped around my wrist, a number etched all around it … my new owner’s purchase number.
And so it is. I am a piece of property.
Once I was dressed and ready for my hell-on-earth future, I was again led toward the back. There I saw two double doors wide open, the breeze washing over me and almost making me cry. I could see the woods just behind, so close yet so far away. I wanted to run, but I didn’t want to make this harder on myself. I didn’t want to make my life even more miserable than I knew it already would be.
It can’t get any worse. Death would be far more humane.
And then, once I was outside, I tugged on the two men leading me. They tightened their holds until the pain lanced up my arms. There, waiting no more than a few feet from me, was a dark car, shiny, reeking of money. The back door was opened by what I could only assume was a servant of the man awaiting me inside. God, would he be old? Would he be gentle or cruel and violent to me?
Nothing was said, no words spoken. I was, after all, nothing more than chattel to them.
Once in the car, my eyes adjusted to the darkness. I could see his big body across from me, the shadows partially hiding his face. My heart was beating so fast, and I felt sweat start to cover my body in fearful beads of emotion.
The vehicle started moving, and I curled my hands into tight fists, afraid to breathe, let alone say anything. And then he leaned forward, the light finally making a swatch across his face. He was brutally handsome, with dark hair and even darker eyes. I saw the tattoos that covered his body, not something that was practiced much anymore, but seeming to make my heart beat harder, painfully fast.
He was older, maybe in his thirties, still much older than my mere twenty years. But he appeared wiser, as if he’d seen more than he should have, experienced more than he’d wanted to.
And then he leaned forward, grabbed my hand in his much bigger one, and I swear I felt fire kick across my skin. The cuff of his jacket rode up slightly, and I saw the tattoos painting his wrist and creeping up his forearm.