“I never expected you to go along with this,” he murmurs against my skin. Then he draws back from me, lets go of my wrist.
I sit up, rubbing my arm, and glare at him as he picks up his phone. A few taps, and he holds it up to show me another page.
My blood goes cold.
It’s another auction. One still in progress, according to the scrolling header. I recognize this photo, too.
Cecelia Badiary, reads the header, her full, formal name. I am 19 years old. The youngest daughter of Calvin Badiary. I live in California, where…
I close my eyes. I can’t read the rest. I can imagine. I’m a sweet innocent babygirl virgin. Buy me, so you can be the first man to fuck me. My Daddy won’t mind.
I cannot believe my father would stoop so low. And yet, here is the proof, right in front of my eyes.
“Your mother and Cecelia have no idea that she is being auctioned,” Farrow explains, shutting off his phone and pocketing it. “Her auction doesn’t end for another month. But you don’t need to worry. Cecelia never needs to find out she’s up for sale. She never needs to go through what you are now.”
I lift my chin, glaring at him. “How can you guarantee that?” I snap.
“Because,” he answers, infuriatingly calm, “if you do everything that I say; if you please me for this month, then I will buy out Cecelia’s auction. I’ll release the money to your father, clear all his debts. I won’t touch your sister—no one will, and no one will ever need to know about this.” He taps his pocket. The phone, and that evil, fucked-up website inside it. “Your sister can go on living her life, unaware of the danger she so narrowly missed.”
Farrow shrugs and leans back in the seat. “Or, you can fight me. Resist me. Misbehave for the whole month. And then some other man, a man you don’t know, probably one of your father’s older business associates, someone with far less morals than me, will buy your baby sister. He’ll have his way with her—and I guarantee, he will not give her nearly as much freedom to choose as I am giving you.”
That ice-hot gaze of his bores into mine. But that infuriating smile stays put.
Because damn him. He already knows what I’m going to say, even before I do. I scowl, clench my fists tight. But I say what I need to. What I must, to protect her.
“One question,” I say. “What do you get out of it?”
His smile widens. “Revenge.”
Another shiver races along my spine. I remember the alley, the night I wondered whether he was the good guy or the bad guy. Definitely the latter.
“Fine. I’ll go with you,” I spit through clenched teeth.
Farrow only laughs. “I know.”
I don’t know where we are. At least a few hours from Dad’s estate, so probably still New York, though it’s father upstate. Deep in the woods, to judge by the view when Farrow finally opens the door and I step out of the limo. Forest, as far as I can see in every direction. It’s quiet now, at night, and the moon skims over the trees, a sharp crescent, glinting against a backdrop of a thousand stars. More than we usually see, even in our relatively small town.
It would be beautiful if I weren’t so furious about being here.
I climb out of the limo and join Farrow on the walk toward the house. It’s massive, but not in an ostentatious way. It’s like it was built for this location—it’s old-fashioned, wood-accented. With its vaulting carapaces and elaborate windows it blends into its surroundings. It’s enchanting.
It also looks expensive. Ridiculously so. Especially when he leads me up the steps and a butler opens the front door, bowing us into an elaborate foyer with marble floors and a huge chandelier above which catches the light and throws it across the several-stories-high ceiling in bright rainbows of color.
“Mr. Lochlan,” the butler says, bowing, and I feel another pang in my chest as I think of Gerard.
Did he know what my father was planning? He must have if he left the house empty for this man. For Farrow Lochlan to come and claim me. Dad must have ordered Gerard to leave. That’s probably why he looked at me that way when he said goodbye… His eyes full of regret…