Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cover Reveal - Number Thirteen by Bella Jewel

Title: Number Thirteen
Author: Bella Jewel
Expected Release Date: March 17, 2014
Genre: Dark Romance
**AUTHOR NOTE - This is NOT a BDSM Romance**
We're thirteen girls, captive, slave to our master. A master we've never seen. Obedience will become all we know in our shallow existence. It is the only emotion we're permitted to feel. When we're bad, we're punished. When we're good, we're rewarded. Our scars run deep. Yet we survive, because we have to... because HE teaches us to. All of us are special, we feel it with everything we are. He has us for a reason, but it's a reason we don't know. We've never seen his face, but we know that something deeply broken lies beneath the darkness. With every touch, with every punishment, we know it. Then something changed. He showed me who he truly is. Now I want him. I'll go against everything I know to be with him.
A monster.
My monster.
Loving him is a sin, but a sinner I am. I won't stop until I see every part of him. Even the parts he keeps locked deep down inside.
I am Number Thirteen, and this is my story. No one said it was pretty, or right, but it's mine.
My boots crunch in the yellow autumn leaves as I walk towards the schoolyard. I didn’t want to come today, but Momma told me I had no choice. She said school is for smart kids, and if I don’t go, then how am I ever going to get smart? I could get smart, the man on the television tells me everything I need to know. But she claims that I can’t make friends with the man on the television, that the only way to make friends is to go to school. I could have told her that I don’t need friends to be successful, but she’d only tell me I’m being silly.

So I came to school.

  I didn’t tell her that there are bullies here, or that every day they push me around and shove me into lockers. That would make me sound weak, and now that my dad is working, and my brother is away because he didn’t like the school here, I’ve had to become the man of the house. There’s no room for weakness.

Momma tells me bullies pick on the kids who are victims. I think she’s wrong. I’m not a victim; I’m just a kid. They pick on me because I’m different. I don’t look at the girls like they do; I don’t try to sneak out to parties. I’m only thirteen. I’m just there to learn, then I go home and I take care of my family, because, I’m the man of the house.

Like I said.

The shrill sound of the school bell ringing, tells me I’m late. I pick up into a jog, rounding the corner and into the schoolyard. It’s a cool winter day, and I have to pinch my coat together to stop it from flapping in the icy breeze. I can see the students piling in the front doors, and I turn my jog into a run. I’m focusing so heavily on the doors, that I don’t see them. A strong hand lashes out, catching hold of my sleeve and tugging me into the alleyway that runs down beside my school.

I always knew this alley was dangerous.

My body is slammed against a hard wooden fence, and I set eyes on my bullies. Four of them. They’re all bigger than me, all of them on the football team. They’re from a few grades up, and they’ve just turned sixteen. The leader of the group, Marcel, steps forward first. He scrunches his nose in disgust, as if I’ve just dragged myself out of a gutter, as if I’m offending him. He leans in close, and I can smell cigarettes on his breath.

Smoking is not cool.

“You’ve been trying to avoid me, Will. Did you really think you could hide at home with Mommy, and never have to come out again?”

I stare at him, wondering why he chose me to pick on. I didn’t even know his name until he flagged me down and shoved my head down a toilet six months ago. I was just a kid, keeping my head down, studying and learning like I should. Now here I am, pressed against a fence, wondering why they decided I was good enough to take extra special effort to attack. I don’t bother answering him; it’ll only make him worse. My answers won’t make a difference. If I answer, I’m wrong. If I don’t answer, I’m wrong.

“Are you fucking mute, you little cunt?”

My body jerks. I hate that word, it’s so…vulgar. I let my eyes move to the four other guys standing like protective pack animals around Marcel. I don’t know their names; they’re not significant enough. The tall boy with orange hair looks nervous, like he knows what’s about to happen could put him in a world of trouble - but he’s still here, still making the choice to stay. The other two guys are stony faced, and fully aware of their part in this attack. I still don’t answer him. If I just let them beat me, it’ll go away quicker.

“You’re a freak, Will, do you know that?” Marcel hisses, leaning in closer.

Of course I know that. I wouldn’t be pinned against a fence if I didn’t know that.

Bullies are so dumb.

Marcel raises his fist, and brings it down over my face, cracking my nose so hard blood spurts onto his shirt. I don’t cry out, because that’s what he wants, but the pain radiating through my head is nearly enough to make me beg. Nearly. Marcel takes hold of my shirt, and his grey eyes scan my face. He’s panting, as though I’ve shoved him into an alley and challenged him. Like this is my fault. The world is twisted like that, and it’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way.

“You know,” he growls, locking eyes with me. “I heard my girl saying how handsome you were the other day. Do you know how much it sucks to have my girl saying that a freak is handsome? Especially a freak that’s only what? Thirteen years old? Your dick would be no bigger than a tube of damned lipstick, yet she thinks you’re handsome!”

I wouldn’t know how much it sucks to have a girl say that, because I don’t have a girl.

Again, bullies are dumb.

“Don’t answer me, you little twerp. It doesn’t matter. I will make sure by the time you leave this alley; you’re not handsome anymore. I won’t have my competition being some little weasel that can’t even speak.”

I taste blood filling my mouth, and my nose is pounding so heavily I’m almost sure I can hear my own heart in my head. I don’t take my eyes from Marcel. They say look danger right in the eye; it gives you power and strength. I don’t feel powerful right now, in fact, I don’t really feel anything. Someone like me doesn’t fight, I’m the underdog, and underdogs are weak. Everyone knows it.

Marcel reaches into his back pocket, and pulls out a pocket knife. The heart that feels like it’s in my head begins thumping even harder. I try not to show fear, I try to stand tall and take what he dishes out with strength, but that’s not so easy when your attacker is waving around a pocket knife.

“She said it was your eyes,” he begins, lazily tracing circles on his palm with the blade. “She said they’re the most stunning eyes she’s ever seen. Like the ocean.”

I didn’t know my eyes were like the ocean.

He takes hold of my shirt, yanking me close. “No one is more appealing to my girl, than me.”

They say bad things happen in slow motion, they’re right. I feel Marcel throw me down onto the floor. I feel every movement as my body slammed into the dirt. I feel his body weight coming over me, his knees pinning me down as I squirm. I feel his friend take my arms, pulling them above my head, while another puts a hand over my mouth. With my nose pouring with blood, that makes it difficult to breathe.

I feel the knife ripping into my skin as I thrash my head from side to side, and I can feel the blood pouring down the sides of my face. Each time he attempts to stab me, I move and the knife only slices through the skin around my eye. My pained wails fill the alley, but no one comes to help me. No one is around in the one moment of my life that I need them.

I know what I’ll remember most about that day, and that is the moment he finally manages to drive the knife into my eye.

I don’t feel pain, not right away. Instead I hear the popping sound, as his blade pierces right through. Then I feel pressure as he twists. It’s only when he yanks it out of its socket, that I start to scream. Then the pain is unlike anything I’ve ever felt.

Words cannot begin to explain the horror I feel as darkness begins to invade my body. I know my face is covered in blood, because it drips down to soak my hair. I know I bite his friends hand so hard I nearly take off his finger.

I don’t know what they’re saying, or even acknowledge the moment when they run away. All I know was that I am bleeding to death in an alley, missing an eye. Red fills my vision as the blood begins to cover every part of my face. I know I’m still screaming, even though I can’t hear it. All I can hear is an excessive ringing in my ears. I can’t even move my hands to cover my eye, in an attempt to protect the empty socket. I can do nothing but lay and scream, witnessing a pain that I’ll never witness again in my life, and wondering what I did to deserve it.

No one deserves to die.

But I do die that day.

And in my place, a monster is born.

About the Author:
Bella Jewel
Bella Jewel is an Aussie girl through and through. She spent her life in Western Australia, growing up in many different areas of the state. She now currently lives in Perth with her husband, children and mass amounts of pets. She's crazy, fun, outgoing and friendly. Writing is her passion, she started at the young age of 18 but finally got the courage up to publish, and her first novel Hell's Knights was released in August 2013.

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