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Crowned by Fate (Crowned #2)
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He asked me to love him, so I engraved his name onto my heart.
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Death. The word that passes our minds infrequently. How will it happen? Will it hurt when it does? Or occasionally, I’d think about the date. Knowing that I had already lived through the date I would die sixteen times. The eerie feeling of being right on the reaper’s doorstep twenty-eight times is a feeling that would haunt me every year.
Only it doesn’t have to anymore. Because that date has come.
Water engulfed me as I slid deeper and deeper in. Black. Dark. Empty and silent. No waves crashing, no screams. Everything is just so silent.
I opened my eyes, my long dusty brown hair floating around me. I can’t breathe. I can’t see past the murky waters.
This is it.
I’m going to die.
I’m no longer waiting for death to take hold of my languid soul, I’m there. Door wide open.
I sunk deeper and deeper into oblivion. The unknown. The darkness that holds no promises…
Not all truths should rise.Some should be doused in lies and remain buried. – Isa
To sin, you would need to believe, because evil cannot exist without the faith of good. I am not good. I am not well. I am something that has been caged inside of a dark cell for years. A cell that has no key, no access code, and no escape route. It lives within me, between the twisted knots of my brain.
I wake, shivering, my lips trembling and my teeth chattering. Why is it cold? It’s so so cold. I stumble off the bed, fisting the clean white sheets with me and wrapping them around my body. My hand comes to my stomach, where there was once a swollen bump, it is now flat, with no evidence of me bearing a child. What is this? What is my name?
I scan the room. I’m so cold. There’s a metal bed. A fireplace, stone and inbuilt into the silent echoes of white walls. Unlit. It’s so cold. There is a load of logwood beside the front mantle, bark scaling off and scattered over the ground. I shiver again, goose bumps breaking out over my flesh. Under my toes is a plush red rug, the color of…
“Blood…” I whisper to myself, as memories crash into my brain at a hundred miles per hour.
My name is Isa Royal.
Bryant Saint Royal is my husband.
I didn’t have to fear death, I am death. It follows me everywhere.
It’s so cold. Air whooshes past me, and my body violently shivers with its embrace. The door creaks. Wooden, like a cabin. The windows, sealed with icicles, slip down the other side of the glass, melting away.
I’m in a cabin, but how and why? There’s a double bed that I’m curled up in in the lounge room.
I tilt my head, confused. The front door swings open and a man enters, kicking it shut behind him.
“Oh, it’s fucking cold out,” he says casually. Too casually.
I squeeze the sheet, a scream slipping from my mouth. “Who the fuck are you?”
The man. He’s large, broad, and hairy. His beard is long, but his eyes are pretty. They slant softly around the edges, but the color pierces me like a flying dagger, target: me.
“Quiet.” He drops some logs down near the open fireplace, the flames licking through the air. I don’t want to ask more questions. Confused and dazed, I crawl backward until my back hits the wall. Sweat coats the palm of my hands, a tightening in my chest that I can’t loosen.
“Why?” I whisper, my hand coming to my head. My hair is brushed, curled in perfect curls and when my fingers touch my lips, I can feel the cream from the lipstick smudge off. “Where am I?”
The man doesn’t answer.
He moves around the cabin, and I watch in pure fascination as he shuffles with precision despite his size. A wooden table, an outdated stone style kitchen, a two-seater fabric couch, and no TV. A large portrait painting hangs on the wall. A woman. Dark hair that drops over her slender shoulders and a collarbone that looks to be sharpened by a scalpel. Her face is a warped mess of oil colors stirred together to conceal her identity. I don’t know why, but I resonate with the painting. Transfixed and entranced by the art, I reach out to touch the wilted canvas, needing to touch her face.
Movement catches me off guard, snapping me out of my trance. I spin around, the flames from the fire licking my back. “Do I know you?”
“No,” he answers, clipped. Not a man of many words.
I swallow my nerves. “Where’s the bathroom?”
He points a big finger over my shoulder. “Second door on the right. If you’re not out in five minutes, I’m coming in.” I slide past him, heading straight for the room he directed me to. I don’t want him near me right now. Not until I know who he is.