Fable of Happiness (Fable 2) - Page 13

“It’s for your own protection. And mine.”

He chuckled under his breath. “Of course, it’s for yours. You know what you’re doing is wrong. You know I will do anything to protect my family. If that means being hurt by you or finding a way to end you, I’ll do it.”

“Kas...” I breathed his name, uttering it like it was magic to end this curse.

It didn’t end the curse, but it did do something.

It made him crumple to his knees again.

His fury extinguished. His fight erased. He bowed before me, shut down and submissive. “Christ, I’m sorry. I’ll behave. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—” He choked. “Just please, I don’t understand what you want from me. Tell me, and you’ll be pleased. I’ll be whatever you want. As long as you keep my family out of this.”

Oh, God.

I rubbed at my aching heart as I watched such a strong, scarred man come apart.

I fell in love in that heartbeat.

Not because of his damaged mind or his aggressive ability to make me come alive beneath him...I fell in love because of his selflessness.

It wasn’t a romantic form of love.

It wasn’t a platonic form of love.

It transcended all of that.

It was love that bloomed in my chest like it would for any creature willing to put themselves in the path of pain for the sake of others.

I fell in love with his sacrifice.

And I couldn’t be there anymore.

Backing away, I mumbled, “I’ll...I’ll go find you something to eat. You need to eat. You’ve been asleep for a long time.”

I ran before he could reply.


MY NEW MASTER PUT food in front of me.

Strange food that Storymaker’s chef would’ve died before letting a guest eat. Raw carrots with honey and a pile of cut strawberries. No sauce. No freshly prepared roasts or cakes.

Where were the decadent meals all guests enjoyed? Where was our one meal of deliciousness after being such good toys to them?

We’d grown accustomed to our reward. The one meal where we were allowed to indulge. A feast for the servants of Fables.

“Please...you have to eat.”

I looked up, catching the eyes of the woman who I now belonged to. I couldn’t understand how this had happened. Where were the guards? Where were the other guests? Where was Storymaker?

My mind was fuzzy, refusing to give me pieces of time.

It flickered with images of Quell as a little girl when we’d first met to her as a young woman on the night we’d said goodbye.

It swirled and blended, tormenting and teasing with reality.

Was this woman Quell?

They looked similar.

Could I have been struck over the head while I rescued them? Could I have died like I’d predicted, and this was some form of hell?

Who is she?

My wrists ached from the rope binding me. Dried blood smeared over my forearms and knuckles from where I’d tried to get free.

Whoever she was, she wasn’t my beloved Quell.

My friend would never imprison me. She knew better than to tie up an already captured soul.

The woman pushed the plate closer to me, careful not to come too close herself.

She was wise in that.

Smart not to put herself in grabbing distance because I honestly didn’t know what I’d do if I got my hands on her. Most of me buckled beneath the habituate programming I’d grown up with, but other parts of me—parts I didn’t recognize or remember—howled with commands to end her.

Sitting on her knees, she didn’t look relaxed. Her muscles stayed locked and ready to leap and flee at any moment. But her hazel eyes were kind. Far kinder than any eyes I’d ever seen.

It made the chaos inside me pause.

Just for a second.

Emptiness filled me.

Confusion. Disorientation. I couldn’t get a grip on this new existence.

“Here.” She rolled a water bottle into my legs, getting tangled in the blanket she’d given me. What sort of master went out of her way to make a bed with all creature comforts I could want? I was warm and clean. My wounds were tended to. Wounds I didn’t remember earning, but then again, I didn’t remember anything it seemed.

Nothing right, at least.

My new life was full of turbulence.

“Take these too.” She tossed a packet of pills into my lap. “They’re high strength anti-inflammatories. You need to take down the swelling on your brain...or at least, I think that’s what’s causing the hallucinations. Plus, they’ll help with your headache.”

Swelling on my brain?


What the hell is happening to me?

I snatched up the pills, popping them from the packet with tingling fingers thanks to being tightly bound. “How do you know I have a headache?” I decided against telling her about the ringing in my ears, the odd taste in my mouth, the weakness in my left side, and the constant nausea. I also suspected my left arm was broken, made worse with her rope tying me tight. I knew the dull ache of a bone injury and recognized the symptoms.

Tags: Pepper Winters Fable Erotic
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