THE WORLD WAS a dangerous place, but I was worse.
The human race left the dark ages behind—technology improved and ruined our lives in equal measure, and the devils in society hid with better camouflage.
As the years rolled by, and we left our barbaric ways behind, people forgot about the shadows lurking in plain sight. Men like me morphed into predators in sheep’s clothing.
We preyed on the weak with no apology, and everything landed in our fucking laps. Civilization cloaked us, hiding the animals at heart.
We traded caveman mentality and murder for suits and softly spoken curses. I hid my true temper beneath a veil of decorum. I mastered the art of suave.
People who knew me said I was a gentleman. They called me distinguished, accomplished, and shrewd.
I was all of those things, but none of them. We might live in a civilized world, but rules and laws didn’t apply to me. I was a rule-breaker, curse-maker, life-stealer.
The projection was a farce—but even the worst of us had someone who owned us. Whether family, honour, or duty.
I’d embraced my inner barbarian, yet was governed by a hierarchy and when the Hawk matriarch snapped her fingers, we all came running.
Including my arsehole of a father, Bryan Hawk.
There, in the cigar and cognac laced library, I learned a truth that forever changed my life.
My family owned another.
An IOU on their entire existence.
Who gave a shit why a wealthy family called the Weavers were indebted to us? Who gave a damn that they’d royally fucked off my family and earned the wrath of my ancestors?
All I cared about was the news I’d inherited something more than just money, possessions, or titles.
My twenty-ninth birthday gave me a pet. A toy.
A responsibility I didn’t want.
Debts I had to extract from unwilling flesh.
A job to uphold our family honour.
One mistake six hundred years ago put a curse on her entire family.
One mistake sold her life to me in a mountain of unpayable debt.
I inherited her.
I preyed on her.
I owned her life and had the piece of paper to prove it.
And my task…