The Sinner's Bargain by Claire Contreras

Description : The Sinner's Bargain
THE WORD “OWN” stayed on Amara’s mind long after it left Colin’s mouth. He made her repeat it back to him, as if he needed an affirmation of what he already knew. It didn’t sit right with Amara. When you own a pet, you promise to look after them, feed them when they’re hungry, make sure they’re okay. In exchange for this, animals are loyal to you. That was one of the reasons Amara had an issue with his sudden feeling of ownership toward her. Humans are fickle beings. We take what’s given to us with very little intent of giving back.

“You’re scaring me,” Amara whispered, trying to hold in the tears as he glared at her. He’d already made it clear that he didn’t believe they were real tears. He didn’t believe that she could care about him if she’d lied and left him the way she had.

“Am I?” he asked with a rueful chuckle she’d never heard from him before. His eyes were dark and slightly narrowed on hers, as if he was trying to figure out who the woman in front of him was. As if he hadn’t known her his entire life. As if they hadn’t shared a bed together countless times.

“Why am I here?” she asked, looking at her surroundings. She hadn’t known what to expect when she’d walked into the apartment. The only thing she knew was that Samuel had sent her here, to him.

Colin smiled and stepped away, tucking his hands into his pockets. His wavy hair was unruly and was down past his ears, longer than he usually had it. When his right hand sneaked out of his pocket again, it was to scrub over the days-old beard growing on his face. He looked a mess—a refined mess—but still a mess.

“I hired Samuel to get you here. I’ve jumped through hoops to get you here, Amara,” he said, turning...
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