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North Bound Nights by Victoria Nicholas (North Bounds 1) Book

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North Bound Nights by Victoria Nicholas (North Bounds 1) Read Book Online And Download

Overview: When things can’t get worse, they sometimes do.

At least for Ella, they do. Ella’s mom dies, and she can’t afford the funeral costs, rent, or food.

And Ella has secrets and a slight obsession. Her best friend Charlotte doesn’t know it yet, but Ella has already proven how far she will go to keep Charlotte for herself.

When she has lost all hope, Charlotte gifts her a night of working at the Nest. A lottery-like chance for employees to earn an obscene amount of cash.

But nothing in life is free.

Ella doesn’t have much left in her life, but she does have Charlotte. But Ella isn’t the only one who wants her.

Mr. North, a mysterious billionaire who has everything, wants more than just Ella.

He wants Charlotte.

What will Ella give up for money, and how far will she go to keep Charlotte for herself?


North Bound Nights by Victoria Nicholas (North Bounds 1) Book Read Online And Download Epub Digital Ebooks Buy Store Website Provide You.
North Bound Nights by Victoria Nicholas (North Bounds 1) Book





North Bound Nights by Victoria Nicholas (North Bounds 1) Book Read Online Chapter One


I hurl my cell phone, and it crashes to the ground with a loud thunderous crack as rage consumes me. I'm going to vomit. My insides are heaving. My brain is on fire, and I hurt everywhere.


My mom is dead.


It feels as if my soul is ripping itself from my body.


I collapse to my knees and let out a scream. Crawling to the bathroom takes everything I have, and I don’t have much. I’ve barely made it to the toilet before heaving up my guts.




The hot vomit spews from my mouth. 


We all knew it wouldn’t be much longer. The chemo stopped working. It doesn’t make it hurt any less. And it sure as hell doesn’t make it any better knowing the end was near.


Seeing my regurgitated ramen swimming in the toilet causes me another round of an unrelenting expulsion of my innards.


Once I've emptied my stomach, I stand unsteadily on my feet.


My pathetically small bathroom leaves no room for the imagination, nor any room, period. However, the sink is close enough to the toilet that I could wash my hands while sitting on my porcelain throne if I wanted to. This toilet is the only throne that befits a poor little princess like me. I can’t believe people see my face and automatically think I’m some pretentious princess. They’d all laugh if they knew the truth. I shake my head, hating the way I feel.


I don’t want to feel anything anymore.


I splash frigid water onto my face and in my mouth. Then, remembering my phone, I rush to my bedroom. It's not a far distance to travel. My apartment is incredibly tiny, barely more significant than a dollhouse.


I grab the heap of what's left of my phone off the floor. Luckily my case saved most of my phone. I can't believe how stupid I am.


I still have tears streaming down my face, and my heart aches like never before. I fumble to put my phone back together and press the power button. I hold my breath trembling as I wait for the screen to power on for me. Then, thanks to the powers that be, it comes to life. I can't afford another phone.


I can't afford anything.


$56.24 is currently what my bank account holds. I won’t get my paycheck for this week until I pick it up from work this evening. And even that won’t be much to get by with the ever-increasing inflation.


After leaving my phone with its lonely zero notifications on my bed, my body stumbles towards my white kitchenette. The kitchen is void of anything personal and precisely to my liking of all things in general. I open my beaten-up decades-old white refrigerator, hoping to find refuge, and instead find desperate disappointment.


I swig a few sips directly from the orange juice carton. My eyes close, savoring the refreshing chill that nips as it travels down my lava-filled throat. The citrus flavor erases all traces of my vomit. The inside of the refrigerator is as deep and empty as I am.


My refrigerator consists of yogurt cups, a carton of oat milk, a jam, and a chocolate squares bag. The white cupboards hold even less. My cabinets have only six cups of ramen, oatmeal, a half-gone loaf of bread, a peanut butter container, marinara sauce, and spaghetti noodles. Everything is a generic brand.


I’m so tired of noodles.


Luckily my stomach is too upset to eat.


I pace my apartment, growing restless. It takes approximately fifty steps from my front door to pass my kitchen, living room, and bed. A wall of white curtains is what divides my bed from the rest of the apartment.


 


A pair of glasses  Description automatically generated with medium confidence

I retrace the steps over and over while my head spins.


My mom is dead.


My mom is dead.


My mom is dead.


This thought is all my mind keeps repeating. My mom is gone.


My brain fogs and my vision spins as I tumble back and forth through my memories and reality. In an instant, I’m back to that night it all began. No stars or moon to shine any hope down on me the first time I heard the door click open when I should have been home alone. I was used to being alone and hungry, but I wasn’t used to what happened next. Jerry, the boyfriend of the summer, pacing back and forth outside my door, finally stopped. I remember it with striking clarity. The blue clock with the chipped corner reading 2:15 a.m., the door closing, the lock clicking in place and clipping away my innocence forever. The bed shifted, his colossal body sliding into place against mine on my meager twin mattress. His body odor colors my vision. A urine-soaked couch holding bits of beef jerky is all I see.


Alcohol on his hot breath, his voice a whisper, "Don't say a word. Your mom is gone. She isn't home to save you. Do you feel my knife?" as he presses the cold tip of his switchblade beneath my night shirt and against my bare skin under my rib cage.  


"You tell your mom, and I'll cut you both. Tonight is our little secret. Nod if you understand," Jerry slurred.


I nod my head so hard that my teeth clank together in pain.


The blade leaves, and his warm hands yank my underwear off as if this isn't the first time he has taken someone's underage daughter. Who was before me? Rough hands replace the knife under my nightshirt. Who was the first? How old was she? They roam over my skin, leaving a burning sensation in their wake. He claims everything and leaves nothing untouched. His weight smothers me. I'm drowning. 


Pain lances through my body as my mind jumps forward through the worst memory of my life. This man stole my body, taking the last of me, leaching my soul with each taste and painful thrust. It doesn’t take him long to finish, and he leaves me with my bloody split lip and blood-soaked sheets when he does. The clock reads 2:22 am. It only took seven minutes to ruin my soul. 


My mom is dead.


My mom is dead.


My mom is dead.


Every time my mind repeats that line, I’m closer to being back in that tiny dark room that smells of stale cigarettes, cheap booze, and cat piss with an undercurrent of mildew. Ironically we never owned any cats. The carpet is stiffened and sticks to my hands as I hide under a pile of dirty clothes in my closet, seemingly still safer than being outside the shitty apartment my mom rents with her new summer boyfriend.


This time, I’m seventeen. Old Greg has stuck around a little longer than usual. I guess he prefers younger meat to sink his teeth into weekly.


His footsteps come closer. He circles my bed like a vulture. My threadbare blanket allows my left eye access to see him pace my room. And I watch even though I wish I could close my eyes. My heart clobbers against my ribs haphazardly as blood pummels throughout my veins. I swear he can hear it. My sweaty hands grip the hem of my denim dress, threatening to rip the already thin material.


“Where are you, you little cunt? I know you’re here. I saw your backpack on the couch. You can’t hide,” he sneers at me.


His narrowed dark brown eyes scan the room, relentlessly seeking me. Dirty blonde hair hangs in greasy strands down to his ears. Old Greg must be off work because his bloody butcher uniform is nowhere in sight. Finally, he rips my thin blanket off my bed, throwing it to the floor. I inch my feet closer to my bottom and close the distance between my chest and knees, squeezing as hard as possible to keep my shaking to a minimum.


The new forty-something-year-old sleaze-ball that thinks it’s fun to make a seventeen-year-old girl call him daddy, as he steals more of her innocence, has come back for more.


He ducks down to look under my bed. The dirtiest part of my room is the closet. As if taking notice of this fact, his bloodshot bleary eyes shoot to my hiding position—the nostrils of his hooked nose flare.


He stumbles to his feet, roaring, “I found you, you little bitch. I’m going to make you pay for wasting my time.”


Mom is gone, working another shift at the gas station tonight. The men she dated were all the same. They all wanted the same things from me and took it the same way.


Frozen in place, I don’t move until his hand has my hair in a knot, dragging me towards the bed. Screaming and fighting, I don’t go down as quickly as I usually do.


He punches me in my face hard, almost knocking my teeth loose. Blood pools in my mouth and down my chin. Before I can catch my breath from the impact of the blow, he punches me again, this time in my stomach. I fall back onto the bed. Old Greg’s hands are taking off his belt, and fury burns through my body like an exploded nuclear warhead.


Never-ending nights of waking in terror dripped off me, leaving puddles in my wake for so long. Finally, my mind catapults, ricocheting inside my head, and the realization that I’ve been a victim far too long hits me. My soul is worn to nothing due to these culminating moments.


My stolen innocence counts for something. My body is my own, and I will use it to my power, not some man. Only existing to be a male’s pleasure is not living. I’m missing a key component, though. Because the real question is, why are men allowed to take such things in the first place? I will never again let a man control my body. I can’t keep being taken advantage of in every aspect of my life.


The scream that erupts from me cracks like lightning, never hitting the same place twice as it bounces around my cramped pain bound room.


“NOOOO!”


His eyes register shock for the first time. I grab the pink porcelain lamp next to my clock on my rickety cork table nightstand with the yellow table cloth, gripping it hard in my hands before crashing it down on his face.


Blood spurts from a large gash in my hand, matching the bloody gash on his forehead. He stumbles back, falling to the matted carpet near my bedroom door.


“You will never touch me again. You will leave and never come back here. I will KILL you, motherfucker!” I shout, my voice growing hoarse.


Old Greg doesn’t question me. Instead, blood trickles in a thick stream down his face and onto his shirt. He idly wipes it away before getting to his feet.


“If you don’t go, I will tell everyone what you’ve been doing to me for months. I will RUIN you.”


“This isn’t finished, girl.” He turns and exits my room, leaving bloody prints and smears in his wake.


The power that coursed through my veins filled me with a renewed purpose. I would take as I pleased. I would rid the world of men like Jerry and Old Greg. That night, with just some crushed sleeping pills and opium mixed into his alcohol, I made sure Old Greg would never touch me or any other girl again. After I finished him off at his place I packed my bags and left, never returning. If Mom was gone, then I was gone too.


I shake my head hard, trying to shake away the memories as tears continue to rage a war down my cheeks.


My mom is dead.


My mom is dead.


My mom is dead.


It's on a torturous replay. It is playing on a loop, and I want it to stop.


I glance at the white walls in my living room. They hold only a few photographs, all of Charlotte, my best friend of four years. A black and white photo of Charlotte stares back at me. She is wearing her favorite yellow floral sundress in a field of flowers. Long chocolate locks billow about her as she twirls, caught forever in that moment laughing with me. The summer sun temporarily kissed her usually pale skin, turning it into a nice tan. Charlie’s happy-go-lucky carefree smile is the balm to my skinned knees of a heart. 


I must get out of here. Suddenly this is the only thing I can think. My skin is itching and burning. It's crawling. And I'm not going to feel better until I leave this room. Maybe if I leave the room, I can leave the pain.




I’m out of my hole-covered purple nightshirt in seconds. I throw on a short summer dress, not even bothering with a bra. And slap on one of the few pairs of shoes I own, my worn-down brown sandals, onto my bare feet. I race off to my best friend's apartment. 


 

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I'm sweating by the time I get there, not just from the sun's heat. Anxiety isn’t always evident to the everyday eye, but today mine is obvious. I must look like a crackhead needing a fix as I aggressively mash my fingers repeatedly on the buzzer button on Charlotte’s apartment building. And in a way, I need a fix. I press the buttons as fast as possible, but it still takes a few minutes before the buzzer grants me access to the building. 




My feet hurry up the steps. I focus only on putting space between myself and my pain. Finally, I reach her apartment on the third floor. The doors open as I approach them. I came to see Charlotte. So, when I see Bradley instead, it surprises me. 


He allows me entrance, stepping aside as I approach her small foyer's threshold.  My eyes covertly scan what I can see of the rooms and don't see Charlotte in the immediate vicinity.


Before I can ask him where she is, he's answering me in his southern hick twang, “Hey Ella, Charlotte's not out of class yet. She'll be here soon, though. I used my key to let myself in to wait for her. I mean, it's cool if you wait here too. If you wanna.”



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