Home > Release Me (Duff Coven #1)

Release Me (Duff Coven #1)
Author: Jayda Marx

Prologue

Brodie

 

I placed my basket on the ground and stretched out my back for the sixth time since leaving home. It was a long walk to Hamish's farm and I was struggling to carry the bushel of potatoes I was delivering to him since it weighed half as much as I did.

I was the smallest person in my family when it came to both height and brawn. My two brothers, Joseph and Angus, were each a foot taller than me and had strong frames. They, along with my father, worked circles around me on the farm; seeding, harvesting and packing faster than I could ever dream of doing.

I tried my best, but I just couldn’t keep up. I was different from the others, and they never let me forget it. To them, I was a burden and an inconvenience. They normally kept me in the house to do the “woman’s work that better suited me”, like cooking, cleaning and laundry, but they’d call on me if they needed something for the farm, like delivering potatoes to our neighbor when they were too busy.

I wiped my brow and hoisted my basket onto my hip again to continue my trip. Hamish’s farm bordered ours; he’d been our neighbor all of my life. He had a few crops, but mainly reared sheep for their wool and meat. He was a nice enough guy, but he didn’t speak much. He minded his own business, spending his days working the fields and his evenings with his wife and his daughter, who was a little younger than me.

I smiled when I came upon the far end of his fields and saw that Hamish was inside a small pen with a few of his sheep, shearing their wool to keep them cool in the warm summer months upon us. I was glad he was here instead of at his home; it’d save me about half a kilometer of walking.

My feet stopped on their own accord when Hamish stood up from his stool and whipped off his t-shirt, tossing it to the ground below. Ohh wow. The man’s torso rippled with muscles, tanned from working countless hours in the sunshine.

This was yet another way I was different from my brothers. When we went to town to sell our goods, they’d drool over the women, making lewd remarks while my father laughed and winked at them. But I was never tempted by soft curves or fair lasses; my eyes were drawn to firm bodied men, bulging muscles and bristled jaws.

My family didn’t know about my urges or inclinations. If my brothers or father found out that I was gay, they’d surely beat me senseless - or worse, so I kept things to myself. It was a lonely life, but at least no one could stop my imagination. I fantasized about running away from this place and finding a strong man who accepted and loved me; who kept me safe from my father’s belt and my brothers’ fists.

My daydream was interrupted by something even better; the sight of Hamish taking a long sip from a water bottle before tipping his head back and spraying the water down the front of his body. Droplets trickled down his skin, bouncing over his mounds of muscle. He was beautiful.

I should have made my presence known, dropped off my delivery and went about my merry way, but I couldn’t. I was rooted to the spot, observing the most incredible thing I’d ever witnessed.

Hamish sat back down and tended to his sheep. The flesh of his back bunched and shifted as he commanded the animal. I’d never seen a man with such effortless power, and I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I’d never do or think anything disrespectful towards Hamish, but I couldn’t stop myself from admiring his form.

“Oi,” sounded before there was a hard shove on my back which nearly sent me to the ground. I turned around to see Joseph and Angus looming over me, their dark eyes piercing through me.

“Paw sent us to see what was taking you so long; he said your dumb ass probably got lost going next door,” Joseph uttered. He looked between me and Hamish and back. “What the fuck are you doing?”

“I was just delivering these potatoes,” I replied, nodding down to the basket I held.

“Bullshit,” Angus spat. “You were staring at Hamish like a clarty jobby jabber.”

“That’s what you are, isn’t it?” Joseph taunted, shoving me again. “Nothing but a useless jobby jabber.”

The offensive term for gay men made my blood boil, but I was too scared to speak up. “I was just taking a break. I didn’t even notice him there.”

“Liar!” In a flash, Angus rammed his fist into my face. Stars burst behind my eyes as I stumbled backwards and fell onto my ass on the grass while he and Joseph snickered. “Go take the load to Hamish, Joe. I’ll stay here with the princess.” Joseph laughed again before grabbing the basket and hustling down to Hamish’s pen.

The second he was away from our side, Angus kicked me in the gut. I cried out and hugged myself as he crouched down in front of me. “God, you’re pathetic. What do you think Paw will have to say about your peeping?”

Blood splattered from my lips when I begged, “Please don’t tell him.” Angus stood upright and kicked me again, and I sprawled out flat on my back. He stared at me in disgusted silence until Joseph returned from his delivery.

“This wee shite just admitted to peeping,” Angus informed him. “He’s as queer as a beak on a sheep. What should we do about that?”

“Hmm…” Without warning, Joseph’s foot cracked against my side. Pain bloomed throughout my chest, but I held my tears back, knowing they’d only make things worse. “I say we take him to Paw.”

“Please, no,” I begged, but the two of them just laughed. They each hooked their elbow under one of my armpits and dragged me backwards to our home.

My heart beat wildly in fear as they tossed me onto the hardwood living room floor. Paw shuffled inside and his eyes narrowed with fury as my brothers told him about what they saw. He crouched down in front of me just as Angus had done, his nose no more than an inch from mine.

“You’ve been a curse on this family from the day you were conceived.”

It was far from the first time I’d heard it; my mother had many difficulties during her pregnancy with me, and my father begged her to abort me. She refused, and ended up passing away shortly after my birth. It was no secret that he blamed me for taking away the only woman he ever loved, and that my older brothers hated me for taking away their mother.

I wished I could have met her. I often wondered what my life would have been like if she’d survived. I heard from people in town when they reminisced with Paw that she was a kind, gentle soul. Apparently my father was too, once upon a time, but he totally changed after his wife died. I often thought that maybe she should have aborted me; everyone would have been better off.

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