You Will Break by Ember Michaels is coming November 14, 2019 and we have the breathtaking cover to share along with a sneak peek at the first chapter!
The ultimate sins must be paid for in blood and it’s time to paint the town red.
When betrayals are unearthed and tragedy strikes my solid foundation, secrets are brought to light and one fact becomes clear—Wilson Moreno must die.
But taking down the man who made me won’t be easy.
For years I sat undetected, doing his dirty work while quickly becoming the perfect threat to take him down.
And now it’s time to take back what’s always been mine.
There’s only room in Hell for one devil and I have no plans of giving up my throne.
And I’m prepared to break any soul that thinks they can take it.
Rain gently fell as we all stood on the edge of the property to pay our final respects to Brittany. Everyone tossed white roses into the grave before murmuring their goodbyes and walking back to the house until only Bennett and I remained.
I glanced over at him. His expression was hard and full of anger, the muscle in his jaw clenching and unclenching as he stood there staring at her casket.
“I’m sorry this happened, Bennett,” I murmured.
He didn’t respond. He hadn’t said much since we’d discovered her body and when he did, he was always in fits of rage. I had no idea what was going on in his mind, but I knew it wasn’t good. This situation was only going to get worse because I knew the main thing he wanted was revenge on whoever did this. And Bennett reacting out of anger never ended well.
After a long bout of silence, he finally tossed his rose into the grave. “Everyone responsible will be sorry,” he muttered, his voice cold. A shiver rolled down my spine despite the warm temperature around us, his voice even chilling the rain.
“So what’s going to happen now?” I asked.
His eyes never left the grave. “My father wanted a war…well, now he has one,” he stated. “Let’s go.”
I ground my teeth and tossed my rose into the grave, turning and following him across the damp grass back to the house. My mind churned with so many thoughts, all of them focused on Savannah. There was no telling what Wilson would do to her. What if he killed her the night he took her? It was already bad enough that she’d ended up in this situation because of me; I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if something happened to her.
“Um…we’re still getting Savannah, right?” I asked cautiously.
He scoffed. “Your friend is the least of my worries right now. I have bigger things to worry about.”
I stopped in my tracks and frowned. He continued walking a few steps ahead before he finally stopped and turned to look at me.
“She should be your concern. If he kills her, her death will be on your hands,” I stated.
“She won’t be the first one or the last. Now let’s go.”
“That isn’t fair,” I snapped. “You said—”
“Aurora, I’m not in the fucking mood to go back and forth with you. If I have to drag you in this house, we’re going straight to the Retribution room. And with the way I’m feeling right now, you don’t want to go in there with me,” he said.
Though his voice was calm and even, his eyes blazed with fury. My mind immediately flashed back to my last lesson in the Retribution room and phantom pains shot across my left side. He held my gaze, his face clear of emotion but his eyes ordering me to move.
I gripped the handle of the umbrella a little tighter and pursed my lips. Every fiber of my being wanted to argue with him, to curse at him for going back on his word, but I knew it would just result in a punishment even worse than my last one.
“Are we going to stand here and have a fucking staring contest? Let’s fucking go,” he barked.
“You’re fucking ridiculous,” I muttered under my breath as I stomped past him. He fisted my hair in his hand and yanked me back, nearly snatching me off my feet as I stumbled backwards.
“I’d advise you to watch your mouth,” he growled. “Consider this your first and last warning. We clear?”
I glared at him. “Sure, Bennett. I’ll be sure to be your obedient little bitch and not say a single word without permission, sir,” I drawled sarcastically.
The muscle in his jaw ticked as he stared at me. “You never fucking learn,” he said and pushed me forward. “Get the fuck inside.”
We crossed the large backyard in silence. I walked a few steps ahead of him, fuming. Whatever Bennett I’d met at the safe house was long gone, now replaced with an angry man who was out for blood. I’d already known this would happen, that he’d just revert back to the Bennett he was here at the house once we got back. But a small part of me wished that the man I saw back there would come back. The one who didn’t want to be a psychotic killer puppet. The man that Stephanie had fallen in love with. I had to face it; after Stephanie’s death, Bennett probably wasn’t capable of loving anyone else in fear that they’d end up with the same fate as her. That only made my job a lot harder.
We entered the house and I stormed into the living room where everyone else was gathered. Bennett glared at me, his eyes telling me to lose my attitude, but I didn’t give a shit. I propped myself up on the arm of the chair furthest away from him as he stopped in the middle of the living room and looked around at all the solemn faces gathered there. All previous conversation had ceased when he’d entered, everyone looking to him.
“I want them all dead,” he finally said, his low, deep voice resonating around us. “Every person that was responsible for Brittany’s death, I want them all dead.”
The men around me all muttered in agreement and I only shook my head. Fucking men and their egos were going to get us all killed and I damn sure wasn’t going to sit by and not say anything.
“Killing everyone isn’t going to solve anything and you know it,” I said.
All eyes fell on me, the silence so loud that I could hear my heart racing in my chest. Bennett slowly brought his eyes to me, a frown on his face.
“I don’t remember asking you for your opinion,” he said.
I rolled my eyes. “Bennett, I know you’re upset right now, but you’re thinking with your emotions and you’re only going to cause the death of your men.”
“We protect our own and when one of us is attacked, we only pay back the favor,” one of the men said as he stood, glaring at me.
“And you think Wilson Moreno is going to care about the men you kill? He’s already proven he has no regard for human life,” I snapped.
“Aurora, just sit there and shut the fuck up. I didn’t ask you for an opinion and I damn sure don’t give a fuck how you feel about what I plan to do,” Bennett said, his voice harsh.
“You can be mad all you want, but I can’t just sit here and listen to you throw together a suicide mission,” I said, throwing my hands in the air. “If you’re trying to hit him where it hurts, killing his men isn’t it. He cares more about his money and business than he does about you and anyone that works for him.”
“Oh boy,” a female voice said.
Bennett put his hands in his pockets and took a few steps closer to me.
“I warned you outside about your mouth,” he said slowly, his voice low but still loud enough to be heard.
“I’m simply telling the truth, Bennett. You’re going to get people killed. Killing those people won’t bring Brittany back and it won’t change anything. You can’t—”
My words were cut short when he slapped me hard, sending me to the floor. He reached down and fisted my hair, yanking me up to my feet. My scalp burned as he pulled, tears stinging my eyes as he forced me to meet his gaze.
“Let me explain something to you,” he growled. “Whatever delusions you still have about what happened at the safe house? Let go of them. Just because I gave you a few orgasms and told you a little information it doesn’t change what you are.”
A single tear rolled down my cheek as I glared at him, more so out of anger than pain.
“Glad to know the old Bennett is back in action,” I ground out.
He smirked, the sinister look sending a chill down my spine. “That’s the thing. He never left. And if you thought for a second that he had, then you’re more stupid than I realized.” He turned to everyone else, keeping his grip in my hair. “The girls have prepared refreshments in the kitchen. I’ll be back in a few moments. ”
The conversation started back up as he dragged me away from the living room. As soon as we hit the kitchen, I panicked. We were heading to the Retribution room and I was terrified at what he could possibly do to me in there.
“I swear I try to give you the benefit of the doubt. I thought you learned from your last punishment, but you know what they say. A hard head makes a soft ass,” he said with a shake of his head.
I winced as he pulled me along, my scalp burning with the tension on my hair. “You just don’t want to hear the truth about your plan,” I said as I tried to pry his fingers from my hair. “You’d be stupid to think that your father would care if you killed his men.”
“I don’t care what my father thinks about that. I’m doing it because I want to, not to get back at him. It’s not any of your business anyway.”
“It is my business when he has my best friend,” I snapped, just as we approached the door. My heart raced a little faster in my chest, memories of my last time in here appearing in my mind.
“Aurora, your friend is nothing but a common whore here. She can be replaced and therefore, not my top priority now or ever.”
“That’s not what you said at the safe house,” I ground out.
He chuckled and opened the door to the Retribution room, pushing me into it. “Stupid woman. You should know better than to believe the devil’s lies,” he simply said.
My heart nearly stopped in my chest when he turned on the lights. Whoever cleaned up the room afterwards did a good job; there was no trace of my past suffering anywhere in the room. But despite the lack of old evidence, it didn’t stop the memories from flooding my mind. The anger in his eyes and in his movements. The fury behind his punches and kicks. The rage behind this thrusts as he raped me. I wrapped my arms around myself, willing myself to continue breathing, the memories overwhelming me.
“One thing I’m starting to learn about you is that physical punishments aren’t seeming to get through your dense fucking skull,” he said, breaking me out of my thoughts. “So I think it’s time to turn it up a notch.”
I couldn’t stop the shiver that ripped through my body at his words. Considering what he’d done to me before, what could possibly be worse? Death?
He pointed at the corners of the ceilings. “There’s cameras in this room,” he said as he moved over to the drawers.
“For what?” I asked, hating that my voice shook.
“For multiple reasons,” he said with a shrug. My heart raced in my chest as I watched him, terrified of what contraption he’d pull out of the drawer. Instead, he turned with a small machine attached to leads, leather cuffs, and two remotes. “Take off the dress.”
“Take off the dress,” he repeated.
I swallowed hard, tears springing to my eyes. “Please,” I whispered.
“Take off the fucking dress,” he said again, his gaze hardening.
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I slowly lowered the thin straps of my dress off my shoulders and pulled it down my body until it pooled around my feet, leaving me in nothing but a thong before him. Bennett pressed a button on the wall and a single chain released from the ceiling. I shook as he moved toward me, roughly grabbing my wrists and attaching the cuffs to them.
“Look, I’m only trying to look out for you and your men,” I rushed out as he pulled me toward the chain that dangled. “I don’t want you lose any more people—”
“The more you talk, the worse you’re making this,” he said. I bit my lip, unable to stop the terrified tears that fell.
He walked me over to the chain and attached my cuffs to it. His face was blank of any emotions, which made everything even more terrifying. He squatted down my body and hooked his fingers along the sides of my thong, pulling them down my legs.
“Please don’t do this,” I croaked, unable to hold back my fear.
He didn’t respond, instead moving behind me. I sobbed as he stuck the leads to my skin, not wanting to be electrocuted again.
“Please don’t shock me,” I begged. “I swear I won’t say anything else!”
“This isn’t going to electrocute you, but it will hurt,” he said, moving back around me. He squatted down in front of me again, forcing my legs apart. I whimpered when he inserted something thin and cool inside of me and clipped something onto the lips of my vagina to keep it inside of me.
“What is this?” I asked.
He placed the small white box on my stomach and wrapped a strap of velcro around my waist, securing the box in place.
“You’ll see,” he said and then stepped away.
I watched him as he moved back over to the wall and pressed the button again, retracting the chain until my arms were held over my head.
“I thought you learned your lesson last time, but apparently that wasn’t enough to make you learn,” he said, taking his hand off the button when I was in the position he’d wanted me in.
“I did learn,” I protested.
He shook his head. “You didn’t. But that was my fault because I shouldn’t have given you another side of me. I thought you’d have more common sense than to think you’d be anything more than the pet you are, but again, that was my fault. So now I’m going to remind you of your place.”
“Bennett, please,” I begged.
He pointed at the cameras again. “These cameras are always recording.” He turned to look at me and grinned. “So you’re going to watch a little video.”
The blood drained from my face as he grabbed one of the remotes and turned on the large flat screen on the wall in front of me. Despite the many times I’d been in here, I never noticed the television. Perhaps because I was always more focused on my punishment than the actual things on the walls of this place, but I knew this would only be the source of another punishment, not entertainment. Would I have to watch Alice’s murder over and over? Someone else’s torture? Savannah’s torture?
But my question was quickly answered when the television came on and Bennett and I were on the screen. Anxiety built up inside of me as I watched him drag me into the room before locking us in.
“This supposedly was the worst day of your life and yet you still carry on like you didn’t learn your lesson,” he said, grabbing the other remote. “So I’m going to let you relive this day for a few hours until you remember your place and it’s seared in your head that you’re not equal to me.”
“I know that!” I exclaimed.
He shook his head. “You don’t, but you will.” He walked over to the door and pressed a single button on the remote in his hand. I squeezed my eyes shut, bracing myself for the pain but nothing happened. “That machine is in sync with this video. You’ll know what I mean soon.”
“Please don’t do this, Bennett! I’m sorry!” I cried.
“You’ll learn one way or another, Aurora. And the more you fight it, the harder the punishments become.” He turned to leave, but then stopped. “One more thing. You aren’t Stephanie and you never will be. Always remember that.”
And with that, he turned up the volume to the television and turned off the light.
“Bennett! Don’t leave me in here!” I screamed before breaking down in tears. But I knew he couldn’t hear me. I could barely hear myself due to how loud the tv was. The sounds surrounded me, the speakers booming with Bennett’s voice as he yelled at me. I squeezed my eyes shut, not wanting to see the way he broke me that day. But no matter how hard I tried to block it out, I still felt it.
Now I knew what he meant when he said the machine was in sync with the video.
Anytime I was hit in the video, the machine sent a sharp pain in the area the blow was delivered. Over and over a sharp pain punched me in my left side, the pain just as great as it was when he’d actually attacked me. Tears rolled down my cheeks uncontrollably as the torment continued and it when stopped momentarily, I greedily took deep breaths to try to calm myself.
But the worst hadn’t happened yet.
I sobbed as I watched him drag my battered body over to the punishment bench, roughly strapping me to it as he continued to berate me. I didn’t even recognize the woman there. She was long gone, her eyes dead as she fought to stay conscious. I remembered the despair I felt in that moment, praying that he’d kill me when he was finished with me. I’d prayed that this was the end, that I’d finally wake up from this nightmare and be with Heath. And I remembered being so angry that God didn’t find me worthy enough to take, instead leaving me with a monster after he’d taken everyone I’d loved. Maybe Bennett was right. I was stupid to think that he could ever change. I was stupid to think that he’d ever honestly open up to me in a way that would work in my favor.
You could never win or outsmart a true devil.
A sharp pain ripped through my insides at the same time Bennett entered me in the video. The pain continued, nearly taking my breath away. The scream that erupted from me when I could finally make a sound didn’t even sound like me. The intensity of the pain seared me to my core, feeling as if he was inside of me again, ripping me apart as he broke me all over again. Reminding me that I was nothing. Reminding me that I was of no value. That I was replaceable just like Savannah and any other woman here. Reminding me that I had no power and I wasn’t his equal.
The video was on a loop for what felt like forever, the pain continuous until my entire body hurt and I could no longer scream or shed another tear. And after the final time, after he’d asked me if I was ready to follow the rules, the tv finally turned off, casting me in darkness.
I hung my head down, my skin covered in sweat and my eyes puffy and sore. Every single limb hurt and my pussy ached, the muscles still spasming.
“How could you do this to me, daddy?” I whispered, a single tear rolling down my cheek. “How could you damn me to this kind of fate?”
Everything I felt that day came rushing back in. Anger, shame, loneliness, and emptiness. Watching how he broke me over and over shattered the little bit of myself that I thought I had. He reminded me of my place. I was no longer an individual and as long as I remained here, I wouldn’t be.
Who was I kidding? I couldn’t save Savannah. I could barely keep myself out of trouble to even save myself. I was stupid to think I could concoct a plan to get Bennett to change. People like him didn’t actually change and now I saw that. The only way I’d survive this place was if I just accepted my fate here and listened to Bennett when he told me to worry about myself.
His words echoed in my head. Are you ready to follow the rules?
I hadn’t answered him in the video because I’d passed out, but if he asked me again, I would.
Are you ready to follow the rules?
I let out a shaky sigh, every part of my body screaming as fatigue settled deep into my bones. Was I ready to follow the rules?
“Yes,” I whispered as my last tear fell. “I’m ready to follow the rules for real this time.”
Ember Michaels is a dark fiction author from South Carolina. When she’s not writing, you can find her binge-watching crime shows, hanging at the beach, and devouring books from her favorite authors! Be sure to follow her on social media!