All Olivia wanted was food, money, and a roof over her head. What she wasn’t expecting was three handsome, dangerous, and downright sexy men to come into her life! When a war splits the world, the poor have been hit hardest. Olivia gets picked up off the streets and brought to a place called the Village, where she has the opportunity to live in the community and stay safe if she follows their rules. One of the Village rules? She has to marry three men who have been chosen for her: Matt, Xavier, and Thomas. Each of them has a dangerous side, but each of them will also have to go to the ends of the earth to protect her. Will the dark, dangerous secrets of the Village make Olivia leave her union?
Age Rating: 18+
I was used to loneliness by now. I had been homeless for months with no way of getting a job or paying for anything.
Towns, villages, jobs, and people had been wiped out. I had survived. The war between nations was over, and now the rich prospered and the poor had to struggle on.
Food banks were full, soup kitchens had little to offer, and begging didn’t get you far.
There was one thing I could do—something my nana would have died if she’d known what I ~had~ to do.
I stood and waited for a car—a car with (hopefully) a wealthy man who would offer me money for one night, or maybe wouldn’t even want me for the whole night.
It was dirty work, and it was seedy, but it was all I had left. Nothing else to sell.
The street was cold as I leaned against the window of the adult film store, which was one of the only places open in town. I waited.
Thankfully, Hazel, a girl I knew, had been kind enough to let me shower and get myself looking less like I had some disease.
The light breeze was causing my copper-colored hair to move and flow effortlessly with it. I felt my chapped lips, which I was sure were visible under the bright red lipstick that I had borrowed.
I knew the sparkle I’d once had in my green eyes was long gone.
My dress was a deep-blue satin number, something else Hazel had loaned me. The spaghetti straps did little to warm me, and neither did the length of the dress, which came to the tops of my thighs.
I watched as cars passed me by, and I watched other girls get in and out of cars. I stood and waited for my turn. As much as I hated it, I had to. Or I would starve.
I looked at an elegant sports car that pulled up. I walked seductively toward the car. The driver was a woman with dark hair and a dark complexion.
“I charge double for women,” I confessed as I walked toward the clearly well-off lady and her brand-new car.
“What’s your name?” the woman asked me.
“Are you a cop? Because if you are, my name is Jane Doe.” I stepped back a little, not trusting this woman, and she laughed a little.
“Oh, sweetie, I’m not a cop. I’m Lyra, Lyra Smyth, and I have a proposition for you.”
“Go on.” I never stepped closer to her. Instead, I remained a safe distance from her, just in case. I thought I could easily outrun her.
“My husband has a place, a safe place for people like you. He wants to look after people who need to be looked after. Us women are treated like goddesses. Look at the car I drive.” The woman gestured to her very nice car.
“What kind of place?” I asked. I didn’t trust anyone who promised a happily ever after.
“Well, it’s safe and away from the hardship you’re living in now. The men work for the company my husband runs, and we women, well, we reap the rewards of the men,” she explained.
I wanted to believe that I could live somewhere and be safe, but it didn’t seem real—none of this did.
“What have you got to lose? You could stay here and suck a guy for a fiver or come with me and be safe and possibly happier than you ever thought you could be.”
I looked around at the streets I had stood on for months. I thought of the men who had forced me, hurt me, just at the idea of getting a couple of pounds to buy some food or rent a dirty hotel room for a good night’s sleep.
Then my sleep was never good. I would always have regretful dreams of what I had done to earn my bed.
“You’re going to murder me. I can feel it.” I walked around the two-seater car and got into the passenger side.
“I’m not going to kill you. I wouldn’t risk ruining my manicure by burying you,” Lyra scoffed as she sped away from the hellhole I’d been living in.
We sat in silence as her little car sped through the streets. She was a confident driver, and she seemed to love the power of the car.
“Where are we going?” I asked finally.
“Tell me your name first, just a first name. Your second name is redundant once you start living with us,” Lyra explained as her eyes stayed laser-focused on the road ahead.
“Olivia, my name is Olivia, but most call me Liv.” I sighed.
She smiled at me for a second before focusing back on the road.
“Well, Liv, we are going to the halfway house, where we wash you up, feed you, and then we decide where you will live within our Village.”
This sounded so strange, but the idea of warmth, food, and possibly new clothes didn’t have me concerned. I was desperate to eat.
The halfway house was a manor in the middle of nowhere. Lyra drove up a huge driveway, and all the lights inside the home were on.
“Do you live here?” I asked as I admired the old building.
Lyra chuckled lightly beside me.
“No, this is where my husband works. I live in a house in our Village,” Lyra explained as she turned the car off and got out. I followed her.
Lyra walked with confidence up the stone steps to the huge house. She tapped some numbers into a keypad beside a set of double doors.
This was crazy; I was utterly mad I had chosen to calmly go with this stranger. My heart was pounding in my chest as the doors buzzed open, and Lyra led the way into the grand entrance of the house.
The floor was all marble, and chandeliers hung from the high ceiling. A red-carpeted staircase dominated the room. It reminded me of the staircase in the Titanic film.
There was a painting of a man with Lyra. At the top, the staircase split to the left and the right.
“That is me and my husband, Noel, at our wedding.” Lyra beamed as we walked to the middle of the staircase and admired the painting.
I looked at Noel. He was older than Lyra, who was a little older than me, maybe in her thirties. Noel had striking blue eyes and white hair, but he was stunningly handsome.
“Lyra! My darling!”
I looked up at the right staircase, where the suited man appeared.
“Noel, this is Olivia. I found her tonight.” Lyra gestured to me as Noel approached with a smile and a warm handshake to match.
“Let me have a look at you, Olivia.” Noel looked me up and down, seeming to make a decision about me.
“I think she would be great at the Village.” Lyra beamed as she put her arm around her husband’s waist. He put his arm around her as she tucked into him.
I stood, waiting for Noel to say something as he continued to eye me up and down.
“What did you do before Lyra found you?” Noel asked.
I sighed—I knew I had to be honest. I had to make him feel sorry for me to possibly give me something to eat and a home.
“I fucked men for a living, and I hated every second of it,” I admitted. Noel nodded and looked down at Lyra and then back at me.
“Then I assume you had a life prior to that?” he asked me.
“Of course, I was training to be a lawyer, but with what happened, everything collapsed. I couldn’t get loans, so I had to do what I had to do to stay alive and fed.”
I was upset that I had missed my calling, but life had destroyed so many, and I’d just had to get on with it like everyone else.
“Your family, where are they?” Noel asked.
“My parents died, and my sister is… I have no idea where, and that’s all I have.”
Noel nodded as if he understood. The world had changed, and the war had created so much loss and destruction.
“Lyra, take Olivia to the right side of the house and get her fed and watered. I will get her movement to the Village organized.” Noel smiled at both me and Lyra.
I was happy, and so was Lyra. She jumped up and kissed her husband’s cheek before taking my hand and leading me up to the right staircase.
“I’m going to the Village?” I asked. Lyra nodded as she led me to a dining room where there was a cold buffet ready to be devoured.
“Yes, everything will be organized for you. Now, eat. I’m going to get you something warm to wear.” Lyra left through the door on the left side of the room.
The dining room was just as grand as the rest of the house. The long windows had deep-burgundy drapes. A large fireplace gave the room the warmth of the roaring fire.
I sat at the long banquet table and ate the food that was laid out.
I knew this could be a trap, a trick—but in my eyes, this was better than the streets I had been living in.