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Paying Daddy’s Debt(4)

By:Alexa Riley

I don’t even think I can talk if I want to. The tightness in my throat is too much. I want to run, and I need air. My hands start to shake.

“You’re eighteen. Consider the money I took as payment for your room and board.”

More tears fall down my cheeks, and for once I see a little compassion cross his face, a trace of guilt for what he’s done. My father has never been outright mean to me. Neglectful? Yes. But never cruel.

“I needed the money, Jasmine.” He shakes his head and walks over to my window, opening it and catching me by surprise. “I owed someone. You want to visit me in the hospital?”

I shake my head. I may not know love toward my father, but I don’t want him hurt. I don’t want anyone hurt.

“Dinner in the microwave?”

“Yes.” I finally get a word past my lips.

With that, he turns and leaves. I drop onto my bed and the tears keep coming. The open window offers no comfort.

I’m trapped.



I stand outside the dirty building and shake my head. I double-check my phone and make sure I have the right address. My private investigator gave me all of the info, but I needed to be sure. After I’ve confirmed it, I walk up to the door and hit the buzzer on the stoop for the top floor.

There’s no answer, so I try again. Right when my patience runs to its thinnest, there’s a voice.


“Mr. Gold. I’m Ash Carpenter. I’d like to talk business with you.”

“Fuck off,” the guy says, and the line goes dead.

I hold the buzzer down again, and this time I don’t wait for him to speak.

“I owed your father some money and I’d like to talk to you about how to repay that debt.”

There’s a half a second of hesitation before I hear the lock click. I grab the door and head to the top floor, ignoring the filth along the way. This is no place for Jasmine. She should be in a palace. Not some run-down shithole. Her father should be working two jobs to make sure that’s happening, not pissing away all his money.

I’d had her followed after the first time I saw her. I wanted to know everything I could, and if possible, any weaknesses that would lead to me acquiring her, to find some way to make her mine. It didn’t take long to find out who he was and even less to find a weakness. He owed money all over town. He used his father’s good name to take out loans he’d never be able to gamble himself out of.

I was disappointed to find out about the life she had been leading and that there wasn’t some protective father that I would have to fight to have her. It only angered me more. I should be having to gear up for war against a man who would never let his sweet little girl go, but I had a strong feeling this wouldn’t be much of a fight. I know I’d die to keep her safe, to make her mine.

Deep down I knew exactly what I’d use this information for. No matter what I tried to tell myself, I came here tonight with one goal. And I plan on seeing that through.

When I get to his front door, it’s already open a crack and he’s peeking out.

“Who are you?” he asks, skepticism and hope clear in his voice.

“I said I’m Ash Carpenter. Can I come in?”

He doesn’t answer but steps back and pushes the door open. I walk in and look around at the bare place. He’s probably sold everything that’s not nailed down to feed his addictions.

“Listen I don’t know—”

I raise my hand, and he stops talking. I want to get straight to the point. No reason to pussyfoot around it. I’m here for her and nothing else.

“You’ve got a laundry list of debt on every street corner of this city.” I reach into my suit pocket and pull out a stack of papers and drop them on the table. “This is everyone you owe so much as a nickel to, and believe me, they want to collect.”

“Who the fuck are you? Why are you here?” His face is red with anger and shame. No man likes another in their house calling them on their shit.

I watch his fists clench at his sides, but he’s a weak man and I’m twice his size. There’s nothing he could do to physically threaten me and we both know it.

“You’ve gambled away more than you’ll ever be able to pay back. Not even if you live to be three hundred. But I have the financial means to make it all go away, and it’s hardly a drop in the bucket for me.”

I watch his throat move as he swallows but doesn’t speak. Interest is clear in his eyes.

“You may be asking yourself why I would do this, and there’s only one reason. You’ve got something I want, Mr. Gold. Something I need you to give me.”

“I don’t have anything,” he says through gritted teeth and shakes his head. How could he not remember the one precious thing he has? Goes to show how undeserving of her he.