Home > Forgive Me My Sins (Augustine Brothers #1)

Forgive Me My Sins (Augustine Brothers #1)
Author: Natasha Knight








Present Day



* * *


“Forgive me.”

They were the first words he spoke to me. I can still hear them, still see the look in his eyes as he took my hand and said them. I couldn’t turn away from him.

Not until I saw the flash of the blade he produced out of nowhere.

I blink, and the room comes into focus. I open my hand to trace the thin scar across my palm, the raised flesh bumpy. Does his match mine?

The surprise of it had shocked me at first, then the pain. The latter should have been familiar, but strangely, it wasn’t. It depends on who’s holding the knife, I guess.

A key turning in the lock on my door disrupts my thoughts and draws me into the present. I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror, dark hair around a too-pale face and eyes lined heavily with black. Little Kitty, he calls me. It sounds almost tender, but it’s not. It’s his mockery of me.

I don’t have time to think about it as Sister Catherine opens the door, the key dangling from a chain at her belt. She never has bothered to knock. I brush my hair and watch her in the mirror as she surveys the room. My bags are packed, and I’m sure she can’t wait to be rid of me.

Behind her, Mr. Abbot, the groundskeeper, stands in the doorway.

“Take it all down,” she tells him sharply. “Load it into the car.”

My heart thuds against my chest because it’s time. This is it.

“Not that one,” I say, pointing to the oversized, still-unzipped tote on the bed. It’s the one with the things I actually care about.

Mr. Abbot looks to Sister Catherine, who shrugs and approaches me. She takes the brush from my hand and stands directly behind me at the vanity. I watch Mr. Abbot sling my duffel bag over his shoulder and lift the two suitcases. They have wheels, but he carries them anyway.

“Goodbye, Mr. Abbot,” I call out. He pauses at the door and glances at Sister Catherine, who tugs too hard on my hair. He gives me a small but warm smile.

He was always kind to me.

The door closes, and I look up at Sister Catherine’s pursed face. It’s not quite resting bitch face—more of a forever-constipated face. I mentioned once they have things you can buy over the counter for that. She did not appreciate it. Remembering the moment makes me smile.

“We should have had this cut,” she says, tugging the brush through.

“Too late,” I say with a smirk. She’s made sure I knew exactly what a burden I was from day one. Exactly what she thought of my kind, as she put it, and I always reminded her how easily she took money from my kind.

My kind being my fiancé, the heir to a crime family. This was where the Augustine protection had come in handy. She had limited power over me. I could say what I wanted to say, and all she could do was lock me in my room and deprive me of dinner as punishment. Yes, she’d made the last two years of my life as hellish as she could, but she couldn’t really touch me. I’ve survived worse than her.

I wince as she tugs and pulls, but I bear it. My eyes fill up, but I don’t let a single tear fall.

“You’ll do well to remember to keep your mouth shut with your husband.”

“He’s not my husband yet,” I say, earning another tug. I turn the diamond ring on my finger, trying to keep my face neutral, trying not to show how anxious I feel—how much I dread what’s to come. Because it’s only a matter of time until he is my husband, and there’s no way out of it.

She puts the brush down and sets her hands at her back.“Stand up.”

I glimpse the thin leather strap that hangs from her belt, which is another thing I was protected from. I’ve seen what she’s capable of doing with that strap.

I stand, turning to face her. I’m taller than her, and she doesn’t much like it.

She looks me over, and I want to ask her why she hates me. Why she hasn’t helped me once or offered even the smallest comfort. It’s not like I chose this, or like I can stop it.

No one can.

Because five years ago, I was promised to Santos Augustine. We signed the contract in blood, mine and his, while our families watched.

I touch my thumb to the scar as Sister Catherine’s hard gaze meets mine. I press my fingernail into it, the pain grounding me.

She looks me over, likely making sure I’m wearing the dress I’ve been told to wear. I am. She nods and turns to walk out. “Come.”

I put my brush into the bag on the bed and zip it, slinging it over my shoulder then following her out of the room that’s been my prison and my sanctuary for the last two years. I don’t look back. I can’t.

Because today is the day that contract we signed is fulfilled. No one—not my father, not my brother, not even fucking God can stop what is about to happen. Because Santos Augustine is God, and he made clear five years ago and at every opportunity leading to this day, that I belong to him.









5 Years Earlier



* * *



Marnix De Léon is a fucking coward, and it turns my stomach to have to look at him. In contrast, my father stands tall and proud. To anyone not present in this room, you’d expect the opposite—De Léon with his head held high, with my father’s bowed low, face in shadows. I’m not sure you’d expect the Augustines and the De Léons in the same room at all, actually. Not as equals anyway, but here we are.

The Augustines have returned from exile, patriarchs of each family present and accompanied by attorneys, as if the transaction we’re carrying out is in any way legal.

The next generation is here too. My brother, Caius. Me. De Léon’s son, Odin. No women, though. They’re not necessary for this part. Not yet.

Even then, we only need the one—although she’s not quite a woman yet. That’s the part that bothers me. It makes me lose sleep at night, but I know what I have to do, what role I’m meant to play.

And she will be a woman soon enough.

“Santos.” My father calls my name.

I shift my gaze past Caius to him. Should Caius be the one named on that contract? He would be if it hadn’t been for me. My father adopted Caius when he married our mother. I am not first born, but I am blood-born. Caius stands like a statue, hands folded in front of him and face as unreadable as ever as I proceed toward the older men. I wonder what my brother is thinking. Would he want this if it was his to take? If she was his to take? Spoils of war.

“Father,” I say.

De Léon’s irritated gaze follows me as I step up to the desk. You’d never know looking at him that he buried his brother-in-law today.

I don’t bother acknowledging him. He fucked up. Overreached. This is the consequence of thinking too highly of oneself, believing oneself untouchable. No one is untouchable.

De Léon turns the fountain pen over to me. I see where the ink of his signature is drying, smeared where the crease of his fist had rubbed against it. He signed with a flair I’m not surprised to see. He’s arrogant. We’ve always known that about Marnix De Léon. That arrogance has led to his downfall.

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