Mason Thatcher gave me chills when I first laid eyes on him. The good kind. The kind that makes your body ache and your heart hammer.
What’s better is that he looked at me the same way.
There was a hunger in his eyes that wouldn’t be sated, and a confidence in his stride that told me I could never run from him. Back then, I didn’t want to.
It’s not fair that his touch eased my pain.
That his lips on mine made my worries vanish.
That his love gave me a reason to breathe again.
With him, I felt complete, as if fate had given me a second chance.
Then I learned the truth: the sins and secrets of what really brought us together.
I knew it was too good to be true, but I could never have imagined he’d be capable of something so cold and cruel. That he was the reason my world crumbled.
There’s no way we can go back to what we once had and it’s not as easy as walking away. He can’t risk me telling his secrets.
I don’t know what choices I have or how I’ll survive this.
What he’s done is unforgivable, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to let me go.
Unforgiven is the second book in the new series, Sins and Secret Series of Duets by Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author Willow Winters. It is book 2 of a 2 book duet although other standalone duets will be featured in the series. It is not necessary, but highly recommended that you read book 1, Imperfect, before reading Unforgiven.
I get chills when I look at him,
My heart filled with dread.
He ruined me and left me scarred,
Yet pulled me in his bed.
He lied to me and made me weak
and hid his sins from view.
The truth always comes out;
It’s time he gets his due.
Fear, sadness, regret?
I have nothing left but hate.
How dare he say he loves me.
Forgiveness? It’s too late.
I’ll make you forget everything but my name and what I do to you tonight.
Mason whispered the words so close to my ear, sending a shiver of want through my body. It’s everything I desired when I met him. He made that promise to me the first night and I so easily fell into his bed.
Desperate to feel anything but the heartache and misery I’d succumbed to.
If only I could take it back.
If only I knew this man was the cause of my pain.
I stare at him on the other side of his bedroom. His broad shoulders are lit by the dim light of the room as he sits on the edge of the reading chair in the corner. His elbows rest on his thighs as he hunches over with his head in his hands. His fingers rub back and forth over the back of his head as if there’s a thought inside his mind he can’t quite reach.
He won’t look at me; he stares at the ground in complete silence.
My body aches with restlessness and my eyes burn a desperate need to cry but have nothing left.
I try to scoot my body up on the bed to soothe my sore arms, but the rope tied around my wrists chafes and tightens with the sudden pull. I wince and suck in a breath through clenched teeth; my shoulders are screaming in pain.
Hours must have passed by now since I found out the truth. Hours of me screaming and fighting him, clawing at him and trying to escape his strong grip. Hours of being tied to the bed.
Only minutes since he’s come back into the room though. Minutes since he’s opened that door and let his eyes rest on me just how I am. Pathetic, weak and completely at his mercy. Captive to a man I loved who hid a secret so dark and corrupt it’s ruined me. I’ll never be the same. There’s no way to recover.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
Minutes since he’s lowered himself to the chair without a word to me. A chair I brought from my home to his. A chair I’d cried so many tears in after my husband died.
“I hate you.” The words slowly cut their way up my sore throat. They’re barely heard, so raspy and weak from the constant screaming.
He slowly lifts his head, his corded muscles rippling. For the first time since I’ve been with Mason, after months of falling in love with him, I feel real fear.
The sharp lines of his jaw look more intense in the dim light, the shadows only making them seem more severe. His grey eyes are like daggers as he imprisons my gaze.
I can’t breathe; I can’t look away.
“You don’t,” his voice is rough, deep. Stronger than before. But it’s a lie. All lies.
I do. I hate him more than I could ever express.
Finally, I gasp for air, breaking his gaze and staring at the ceiling in the room. Even that little movement makes the raw wounds at my wrists hurt. I don’t show it though, I try to hide it.
I gave this man everything, never hiding a piece of me. I won’t be so foolish again. Never again.
“I hate you more than you’ll ever know,” I murmur to the ceiling in an eerily calm voice.
I hear the creek of the floor and my eyes whip to him as he stands.
He rises so slowly. His muscular frame seeming so much larger than before. He was always dominating and intimidating, but this is something darker… something so much more.
I have nothing to protect me, not even a cover. He tore the comforter off and I’m left in only the baggy, thin-cotton t shirt and underwear I was wearing this morning. The chill is getting to me. My body feels cold. So fucking cold and tired.
The bed dips and groans as he leans a knee on it, just a foot away from me. I struggle to pull away, but I’m stuck here. Tied to the fucking bed and held against my will.
“I love you, Jules,” his words are a mix of strangled pain and determination. He’s a broken man with a tortured soul.
I’ve met men before who are considered to be wound tightly, waiting to go off like a bomb. Constantly on edge and ready to fight. But Mason’s not like that. He’s loosely wrapped around the spindle and nothing but a mess of tangles. The thread’s sharp to the touch and there’s no hope at unknotting them without cutting yourself.
I never knew how deeply he’d wounded me. I had no idea that while I was busy mending myself and leaning on him for support, he was behind me watching me bleed out, but saying nothing. The closer he got, the deeper the wound, but that didn’t stop him.
I let my head drop to look him in the eyes. It makes my heart swell with an unbearable pain to have him so close to me, to see how injured he is but knowing it’s nothing compared to what he’s done to me.
I truly loved him. I thought fate had given me a second chance. I knew it was too good to be true.
“You’re a sick fuck,” I spit the words at him, narrowing my eyes and waiting for him to strike me back with the same venom I’ve given him.
I listen to him breathe so calm and even, I watch his chest rise and fall and then look back into his cold eyes.
“Maybe,” he answers me before rising off the bed and turning away from me. My heart sinks low in my stomach, my body temperature dropping so quickly, my entire body shivers. It hurts. It physically hurts to see his pain but it hurts more to know what he’s done to me.
The wood floors creak as he heads towards the door. Leaving me here and not giving me any indication of what’s to come.
“Aren’t you going to say you’re sorry?” I whisper the painful words.
He opens the door part way, stopping in his tracks as he registers what I’ve asked. He turns slowly to look back at me over his shoulder, his hand still on the carved-glass doorknob.
“I told you I’m sorry; you were never supposed to know.”
“You’re only sorry that I found out?” I ask him with equal amounts disbelief and agony.
His eyes dart to the plush, carpeted floor and the bedroom door groans as it opens slightly more.
He glances up at me, as if debating on telling me something. It would be the truth, I can see it, I can feel the intensity. But he says nothing, swinging the door open and walking through with even strides, before slamming the door shut behind him.
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Willow started writing after having her little girl, Evie, December 2015. All during her pregnancy with Evie she continued to read and she only wanted to read romance. She was reading a book a day — sometimes two.
In January 2016 Willow was staying up late with Evie and just thinking of all these stories. They came to her constantly so she finally sat down and just started writing. She always wanted to do it so she figured, why not? Today Willow cannot be happier for making that decision!