Taking her is my right.

Breaking her, my duty. 

I was always going to choose Helena. I knew it the instant I saw her. 

She’s different than the others. There’s a darkness about her. Something wild inside her. And it calls to the beast inside me.

But she isn’t what I expect. With every word and every touch, she pushes me, burrows deep under my skin, challenging the rules, upending history. 

And all the while, I see how my brother watches her. He wants her, and as the rules stand, she’ll become his in one year’s time. 

Except that I have no intention of giving her up. 

Prologue

Helena

I can’t open my eyes. 

It’s like a dream where you will yourself to wake, to escape, but you can’t wake up, and there is no escape. 

Water drips somewhere nearby, behind me maybe. The sound echoes off the walls. 

The stomach-turning scent of decay permeates this place and all I can think is I’m back on the island. I must be. And in that mausoleum. 

They’ve buried me alive in that mausoleum.

The scene changes then, taking me back to the library, to where my sisters and I stood on our blocks. Where he took his time looking us over. Took his time as he decided. 

I remember his eyes, the darkness inside them.

And I feel his touch, his fingers on me, on my sex. 

And I remember my arousal. 

I struggle against the memory and it changes again and I see my parents. 

My mother. 

Much like our enemies, we Willows are a family plagued by lies and deceptions. 

First, it was my parents who betrayed me. Sold me like a prize pig.  Sebastian’s words, not mine. But it hardly matters who spoke them.

Then, it was Sebastian. 

He told me to trust him, and I did. He told me he had a way out, and I believed him. 

But he’s been lying all along. 

And I’ve been a fool all along.