But this time, he's short on cash.
He needs the shipment now, so he offers me collateral.
He loans me his slave.
Now that Pearl and I are so close, I can't condone this type of exchange. It's wrong.
But she wants me. I can tell.
And I definitely want her.
*Buttons and Shame is told from Cane's point of view, but Crow and Pearl have their own POV's to develop the overall story**
The payment can't be settled with money or favors. He only wants one thing. Me.
Every action gets a reward. A button. Once I fill his jar with three hundred and sixty-five buttons, he'll let me go. He'll let me walk away.
But I have to earn every single one. By submitting to the darkest, cruelest, and most beautiful man I've ever known.
** TRIGGER WARNING ** There are some dark and disturbing scenes of abuse and punishment.
The more I fall for Crow, the more I want him to do the things that I want. Dinners, dates, and evenings at the beach.
Everything comes at a price, and quickly the hoard of buttons I worked hard to earn are depleted.
Will this go back and forth forever? Or will someone run out of their buttons first?
When I saw my escape, I took it. Now I'm in New York City and trying to get my life back on track. Despite the tracker in my ankle, Crow hasn't come for me. He hasn't even called me. I told him the depth of my feelings but he cruelly rejected them.
Maybe he's forgotten about me.
One day, I walk into my apartment and spot the pile of buttons on the counter. I never left them there, and there's only one explanation for their presence.
Maybe Crow hasn't forgotten me after all.
And now I have to pay his debt.
All I have is twenty bucks in my pocket and the clothes on my back. The bank took the house, and my last living relative was murdered. Knuckles threatened to torture me if I ran. He's counting down the days until he'll claim me...making me treasure my final days of freedom.
But I'm not going to wait around. I'm running like hell.
The greatest lingerie designer in the world is looking for new talent for Barsetti Lingerie. I'm not exactly model material, but maybe I can get a job doing something...and get paid under the table.
But when I meet the infamous Conway Barsetti, he has other plans for me.
Did I just run away from one monster into the arms of another...?
Now I’ll take something from him—something irreplaceable.
But even when Joseph doubles the amount of money he owes me, I don’t give her up.
Nope. I have an image to maintain.
So I keep her.
And I’m not giving her up.
This isn't what I want.
This isn't how our relationship is supposed to be.
I end things because I have no other choice.
But I struggle to cope with my misery, to sleep in an empty bed without her beside me.