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Fourth a Lie by Pepper Winters

June 13, 2020

Fourth a Lie by Pepper Winters

Right now, love was an idea, a promise, a word. It could be snatched away as quickly as we’d conjured it.

-- Synopsis --

Fourth a Lie by Pepper Winters
“There was a truth once. Truth we shared in the dark and scribed scars upon our hearts.
There was a lie once. A lie that shattered our hard-earned truth apart.”


Eleanor Grace did the unbelievable. She fell for a man who trades in women, dabbles in myth, and has the morals of a cold-hearted beast. However, love isn’t enough where past sins are concerned, and only pain can follow.

Sully Sinclair did the impossible. He gave his trust to a goddess who has the ultimate power to break him. Unfortunately, paradise is just an illusion, his islands aren’t impenetrable, and now he has to pay the price.

A fledgling connection.

A war they can’t stop.

A future that doesn’t bow to fate.

Add Fourth a Lie to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50277188-fourth-a-lie

-- My Two Cents --

Once a Myth ➤ https://bit.ly/30BgIwP
Twice a Wish ➤ https://bit.ly/2XPaA1T
Third a Kiss ➤ https://bit.ly/2UCMmGg

I'm currently feeling baffled, mystified, concerned, and a bit scared. What in the heck just happened?!

Now that Sully had acknowledged and accepted his love for Eleanor (and her's for him), the stakes have become even higher. His enemies are now her enemies. And when his deadliest foe puts a target on her head, the only thing Sully can think to do is ensure her safety. In the end, absolutely no one is safe. Beaten and terrified, how will these lovers endure?

My pain was his, and his was mine. Fate’s nasty trick where love was concerned. Fall for someone, and you didn’t just fall for their heart and happiness but also their flaws and fury.

I loved how even in the midst of almost certain defeat, Sully and Eleanor couldn't have been closer. While being tormented and betrayed, their love and chemistry and utter oneness were impossible to stifle. Even at what should have been his breaking point, when his body should have been shutting down, Sully pushed himself further to protect and serve his love.

The chemistry between us. The connection. The bond. It hurt. It hissed from his skin to mine. It electrified, it condemned, it hummed along its conduit with a lick of lust and love—a link that shared our pain, our promises, and every other pitiful thing we’d become.

I was absolutely riveted by this installment of the Goddess Isles series. The danger, the intrigue, the suspense, the horrifying torture... all elements that allowed time to pass me by all while I couldn't look away. How could I turn my eyes from what would happen next? Especially when I had no clue and couldn't even guess where this story was going. Was it possible that Sully's brother would come out on top this time? Who would survive???

-- Purchase Links --


-- Excerpt --

Prologue


SULLY SINCLAIR USED MASKS and murky morality to hide who he truly was. Our first meeting painted him as the villain, the procurer of women, and the ruthless mogul of his Goddess Isles.
However, day by day, spark by spark, his masks slipped, one by one, revealing that I wasn’t a lunatic to fall head over heels for such a monster. I was justified because he was worthy.
Worthy of trust and love and a happily ever after.
I wanted to fight for that. To give him that. To give him me.
But...all things worth fighting for demanded pain.
Pain that sometimes cost far too much.
I wished we’d been immune to such a trial.
I wished Sully was an only child.
I wished he didn’t have a brother called Drake Sinclair.
Where Sully wore devilishness to hide his decency, Drake wore decency to hide his devilishness. He was Satan walking amongst goddesses. Lucifer with no redemption. Pure evil in Sully’s paradise.
And what was worse?
He ruined it all. The spark, the bond, the happily ever after.
Sully made me come alive.
Drake made me want to die.
He stole everything.
He killed everything.
He murdered...us.

Chapter One


“EVERYTHING YOU LOVE DIES, Sinclair. Everything you treasure is gone. That’s your true curse. The one you can never run from.”
I pinched the bridge of my nose, doing my best to squeeze out the voice of my nightmare. The nightmare I’d had just before the bomb destroying Serigala ripped me awake.
I’d hoped the warning was some version of closure from my distrusting brain, throwing the masks of my past in my face, freeing me from lies and deceptions. A strange kind of acceptance that I was in love, that I’d felt joy, that I’d been happy mere hours before this shit-covered disaster came knocking.
But I was wrong.
It’d been the opposite.
I couldn’t shed those masks because they were a part of me. They were my armour against a world I could no longer survive in, they were my tools to reap death and decay on those who deserved it.
Those masks were walls between Eleanor and our forever, condemning me with truth that I was fucking delusional to think I could keep her, suicidal to give my heart to her, and utterly demented to think I could claim hers in return.
I’d done this.
I’d fallen for her and fallen from my power.
I’d adopted, rehabilitated, and nursed so many innocent creatures and now they were chum in the sea, mangled paws and broken tails, missing ears and blown apart skulls.
I’d made a promise to keep them safe.
Safe?
Christ, my safety came with extermination.
Nothing was safe around me.
Nothing.
Especially not her.
Three hours.
He gave me three hours to save her.
My disgusting, gore-painted hands curled into fists as I leaned back and bashed my head against the plush helicopter upholstery.
Eleanor.
It didn’t matter if I had three hours or three years, it was all the same—just a matter of time before I hurt her.
If I keep her...she’ll die.
It was inevitable.
Inescapable.
My nightmare wasn’t closure...it was forewarning.
An omen filled with premonition and intuition that no matter how much time passed, no matter how hard I tried to find redemption, I hadn’t been forgiven by fate.
I hadn’t earned her.
I’d never earn her because I’d never fucking change.
I liked my life. I hoarded my privacy. I enjoyed playing with myths and falsities.
I was just as bad as the guests who visited.
I was owed no singular forgiveness for what I was. I wasn’t any worse or better than my brethren. My one saving grace was I preferred the animal kingdom over my own and tried to buy better karma through their protection.
And I kept failing fucking spectacularly at it.
Humans were the disease. Animals were the pharmacon.
Eleanor was human.
I was human.
Drake was human.
And because Drake was a psychotic bastard and I was a love struck fool and Eleanor was a girl trapped by me, we all had blood on our hands. We were all responsible for this animal carnage because Eleanor had distracted me from my calling, Drake had found my weakness, and I...
I’d been too busy being fucking happy to notice.
Fuck!
Groaning with fresh nausea, I glowered out the helicopter window. Down below with black-shrouded oceans and star-dusted shores, life went on, things got eaten, new life was birthed, and a goddess existed who’d almost convinced me of the impossible.
The impossibility of us.
I bent forward again, digging hands through my hair, not caring I spread viscera and biohazard, contaminating every part of me. Yesterday, I’d been making sarcastic quips to Jinx in Nirvana. I’d felt joy. I’d laughed. I’d indulged.
I’d forgotten about everyone and everything.
I’d allowed the very thing that I despised about the human race to intoxicate me.
I’d become selfish.
I’d become greedy and narcissistic only thinking of my life, my lust, my love.
I’d given in to every dream and fantasy I had, thinking I could finally have peace.
And now...
I snarled in the din of helicopter blades. Fury tangled with loss, despair blended with violence, and every wall I’d dropped, every mask I’d shed, every denial I’d erased stabbed me with a thousand blades.
Eleanor.
She’d done this. She’d made me become this.
This...man. This blind, stupid man who’d forgotten his responsibilities and commitments. I was wrong to think her hex on me was purely about us.
It wasn’t.
It was about my life. My future. My animals who’d died because I’d fallen in love.
And that...? Fuck, that was a price I wasn’t prepared to pay.
Not again.
An avalanche of hate slithered over my shoulders, chilling me. My bones froze over, cracking with frost and filling with loathing for Drake. For me. Even for Eleanor.
She’d made me love her.
She made every drop of my frosted blood panic for her safety.
She came first.
Over everything.
She meant more.
Over anything.
And look what fucking happened.
I wanted to jump out of the helicopter and strike myself down for ever thinking I could be an all-powerful protector. That I could continue living in the world of man and not one day fall to the very same crimes of my own species.
Those animals would still be alive if it wasn’t for me.
Drake needed to die.
Slowly.
Painfully.
Piece by piece.
That was a stone-chiselled certainty...but the rest?
The rest of my fuck-ups and failings? The fact that my heart belonged to a woman who had made me weak? The goddamn truth that I’d fallen for a goddess who’d shaken apart my dynasty and left my borders wide open for attack?
How did I fix that?
How did I go back to who I’d been?
How do I stop the undeniable urge to sacrifice everything if it means I can keep her safe?
Dropping my hands, I sat tall again. I was a fidgety, violent mess trapped in a tiny cabin, rapidly losing control, quickly fraying with the sickening desire to murder.
My thoughts were stretched and snapping, colliding and igniting.
Cal sat quietly beside me, knowing not to interrupt.
He’d seen me on this knife-edge. He’d seen me this restless before. He’d felt what’d happened when I snapped and watched what I’d done when I broke.
I’d left a trail of corpses in my wake for payment for ten animal lives. A mix of mouse, monkey, and rabbit from a cosmetic group in Chicago. I’d made national news for the disgustingly gruesome and frankly morbidly-inspired retribution I’d delivered.
I’d been arrested.
I’d been trialled.
I’d been released because I had something that they didn’t.
Money.
Lots and lots of fucking money and with money came untouchability.
But not this time. I
nstead of coming after me, Drake had gone after my most vulnerable. I’d been too much of a cunt, priding myself on playing god with his happy harem, patting myself on the back for saving the lives of beasts, birds, and so many broken creatures that I believed my immortality acted as an umbrella over those in my care.
Bullshit.
Motherfucking bullshit!
I punched the fuselage in an explosive strike.
Cal flinched beside me, his voice piercing my ears via our headsets. “Just to distract you from your chaotic thoughts, I’ve called ahead. The guards have set the snares. They’re armed. They know their position and protocol. She’ll be fine, Sully.”
I snarled in his direction. “What makes you think I’m worried about her?”
He snorted. “If you could sprout wings right now, you’d be down there with her already.”
“I’d be looking for Drake.”
“Well, whatever your first priority, she’ll be fi—”
“She won’t fucking be fine. Not while she’s mine.”
He shrugged as if this was a shrugging fucking matter. “Everyone has family they’d rather keep hidden.” His lips twitched, delivering a twisted joke, hoping it shattered my rage but only added to it.
I was not in the mood to let go of the shit I’d seen.
I was not going to be pacified just because I had men on my payroll who knew their jobs and were proven in merciless warfare.
The things inside me?
The fact that I would die for her? The knowledge that I would turn into anything, sacrifice anything, destroy everything for her...it made me a highly dangerous individual.
It made me volatile.
It made me unpredictable...even to myself.
She can’t be near me.
“I want her gone.” I glowered out the window as we began our descent. “Now.”
His voice crackled, offering solutions to my fury. “We’ll arrange for the goddesses to be sent to Lebah. They’ll be close by and safe while we deal with Drake.”
“There is no we.” My knuckles cracked as I fisted my hands. “His pain belongs to me and every fucking creature he’s just snuffed out.”
“Fine.” Cal nodded curtly, his reflection bouncing off the window. “I’ll evacuate the guests too. They can go to Angsa. The fortified encampment there will keep them out of harm’s way for a day or so. We’ll ensure those who want to go home have transport available.”
Two islands named after creatures with wings. One with feathers and one with membrane. A swan and a bee. Both far too delicate and defenceless.
My goddesses and guests could go there.
Frankly, I was done with humans for the time being. They could be casualties in this war; I didn’t fucking care.
But Eleanor...she wasn’t going with them.
She’d done this to me. She’d stripped me down to my final mask and shown me how lacking I was. I was a man who’d turned off his empathy toward his own race, only to cripple beneath the swarm of it for fragile animals.
I’d once told her that too much empty could kill a person and not enough would kill someone else.
Well...my empathy had become a double-sided weapon and I didn’t want to be responsible when I wielded it.
I didn’t want Eleanor in the crossfires because she...she was the one exception.
I fucking loved that woman.
If she died...I’d die.
After all, she was the owner of my defective heart.
Therefore, all my promises, ill-fated joy, and unbearable pleasure were over.
“Tell the pilots they have a flight to Java in one hour.”
Cal stiffened beside me. “You’re sending her to the mainland?”
I tensed, doing my best to stop my heart from leaping from my mouth. “She’s going home. I’m done.”
His silence was as damning as his sarcastic ‘sir’.
My goddess island came into view, the helicopter sank, and I gathered up all the masks that Eleanor had stripped from me with bloody, gory hands, and put them back on...one lie at a time.

-- About Pepper Winters --

Pepper Winters is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today International Bestseller. She loves romance, star-crossed lovers, and the forbidden taboo. She strives to write a story that makes the reader crave what they shouldn’t, and delivers tales with complex plots and unforgettable characters.

After chasing her dreams to become a full-time writer, Pepper has earned recognition with awards for best Dark Romance, best BDSM Series, and best Hero. She’s an #1 iBooks bestseller, along with #1 in Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, and Erotica Thriller. She’s also honoured to wear the IndieReader Badge for being a Top 10 Indie Bestseller.

After releasing two books with Grand Central, Hachette (Ruin & Rule and Sin & Suffer) Pepper is a Hybrid Author of both Traditional and Self-published work.

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