Maeve O’Malley has been known her entire life as the unfortunate girl, suffering a tragedy at a tender age. Only to suffer another when she is kidnapped by Mason and brought to The Chamber, there he takes everything from her. The only thing that kept her sane during her capture was knowing that her family, and most important, her fiancé Keegan would be there to help her heal. When Maeve is released and returns home she finds that life in Ireland turns out to be less of the fairytale that she dreamed it would be.
Now Maeve must decide if she is a victim or a survivor as she muddles through living her life after The Chamber. With a little help from an unexpected ally, Maeve may find out that she is strong enough to finally turn her luck around.
Chapter 1-Counting the Days
It has been nine months since I was nabbed from the athletic club and brought to The Chamber. That is: two hundred and seventy days; six thousand four hundred and eighty hours; three hundred eighty-eight thousand, eight hundred minutes; and twenty-three million, three hundred and twenty-eight thousand seconds. Yes, I am counting, because each and every passing, precious second, minute, hour, and day means that even though I have lost a little more of myself, I am closer to going home. Closer to shedding the name Ivy and all of the horror that comes with it. That is, if Mason stays true to his word our first night here, and we are actually released. I’m not sure that there will be enough of me to make it home. But whatever is left, I will drag it home and my love will help me become whole again.
You see, I am not as strong as the other girls. I have always had what my mother called “a fragile constitution” growing up, probably because I am not a stranger to traumatic events.
Mason has amassed quite the spread. Most of the girls here are strong, and will most likely leave this tragic experience even stronger, with battle wounds that they will wear as badges. I believe that those are the type of girls that the sadistic Mason Wilde should shoot for, because his aim was off on a few of us.
Me, Violet, and Sunshine are the weakest links in the chain, and we may not survive.
Raven is my roommate and I have seen her in action. She is calculating, always watching, always studying. She hasn’t shed one visible tear since the day we got here. She may look like a beauty queen, but she is tough as nails. Sapphire, I swear, is enjoying herself here. I wouldn’t be surprised if she asked to stay on and work here at the end of our year.
If there is an end.
Sky, who I believe belongs in our group of weaklings, is so damn positive I’d think she was on drugs, if I thought she could get them here. So just because of her cheery attitude, I place her among the strong. Then there is Flame. She has her very own knight in shining armor for a guard. Not that she needs one—she is unbreakable. I am shocked that the rest of us have made it this far.
I pull out my pad and paper and begin to scribe another letter to Keegan. We would be nearing a year of marriage if I hadn’t been taken.
My Dearest Keegan,
I can’t imagine what you must be going through not knowing what happened to me. Nine months is a long time. I can only hope that you are still waiting for me, that you believe I will come back to you. This place is hell. I hope our love is strong enough to survive the things that I have suffered here, because the only way I will overcome this is knowing that I have you.
You know, in the beginning, I used to pretend I was with you every time I was with one of them. It worked for a while, but I think my brain caught on and won’t let me lie to myself anymore. Each day I am breaking into pieces.
Three more months. I need to survive three more months. I will see you soon. I believe that. I love you so much and can’t wait to become your wife.
I don’t know if I will ever show these letters to Keegan. Mostly, I write them for myself. They allow me to speak aloud what is on my mind. Keegan really is the very best part of me. We met when his family moved to Dublin. I was eighteen, Keegan was twenty. We hit it off well because we both shared an American and Irish connection. Keegan was born in Dublin, a Flanagan, but grew up in the States. His father is Irish, his mother a famous American actress who met his father while filming a movie in Ireland. I was born to Irish parents, an O’Malley, and I have the red hair and freckles to prove it. I am a ginger through and through. But I am not Irish born. I have citizenship in both countries, but I was born in America, and my family moved back to Ireland when I was in fifth grade. Keegan and I became fast friends, sharing some of our favorite American and Irish customs.
Before I turned nineteen we were a couple. It was only natural that I wanted to marry him. He was what my mother and I called “dashing.” Worldly, ambitious, romantic, and adventurous. He was the kind of guy who made you feel alive whenever you were in his presence. I can’t remember a moment where he was unkind. In a word, he was perfect. Now, in a few months I will be returning to him—hopefully—and I pray that I am still enough.