Lessons in Sin - Pam Godwin Page 0,1

King to pay his tuition, but he was the final straw with my mother.

And here I was, facing the fallout.


Oh, I should have them. I should have a handwritten, tattered-around-the-edges journal full of them. Most eighteen-year-old girls did. But I wasn’t like other girls. I wasn’t allowed to make mistakes or have regrets.

Somehow, I was supposed to learn life’s lessons by being perfect.

What a load of shit.

“You think I can’t get into trouble here?” I stormed toward her, fuming. “I’ll find a way, Mother. I’ll find another Robby Howard—”

“Mention his name again, and you’ll be writing to him in prison.”

“Writing to him?” I screwed up my face, incredulous. “I don’t want a relationship with the guy. I just want—”


“—sex. For once in my life, I want a little fun and excitement.” Desperation drove me to my knees at her feet. I clutched her hand on the armrest, my tone taking on a pleading edge. “I want to experience normal girl stuff, explore things, experiment, and stretch my wings. I want to live.”

“Stand up.” She yanked her hand away, her blue eyes crystallizing with ice. “On your feet.”

“Please. You can’t leave me here. I’m begging you.”

“Constantines do not beg or kneel. Get. Up.”

“I’ll stop begging when you listen to me.” I pressed closer, my chest pushing against her rigid legs. “Can’t you feel the weird darkness in this place? The oppression?”

“Don’t confuse oppression with structure and discipline. You need a strict environment.”

“Fine. Send me to Pembroke. Keaton loved it there. Or another co-ed prep school. Anywhere but here. This school feels all wrong. It’s creepy and sad.” I shivered, hating the quiver in my voice, but I needed her to believe me. “It’s in the wood, the bricks. It’s the chill in the air. Cruelty lives in these walls.”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake. That’s all in your head.”

“Is that what you told Elaine?”

Her face paled, and for a fraction of a second, I swore I saw an emotion I’d never seen in her flawless features.


I didn’t know what happened to my sister, but when she was sent away for religious schooling, she didn’t come back the same. My mother knew what had driven Elaine into depression and drug use. Elaine had gone to her multiple times, begging for help.

“She confided in you. Whatever she told you about Reverend Lynch’s school, I know it was terrible.” My chest tightened. “And what did you do? Did you tell her it was in her head?”

“Enough.” She stood abruptly, pushing me away as she stepped back. “Get up.”

“You can stop this.” I scrambled toward her on my knees and gripped the hem of her pencil skirt. “You can prevent the same thing from happening to me.”

“Spoiled, melodramatic child.” She captured my wrist, pulling, squeezing the bones too hard. “Stand up before you embarrass—”

The door opened, and a dark, imposing figure filled the gap.

My mother released me, and I fell back on the wooden floor, my breath caught in my throat.

A man stepped in, dressed head to toe in black. His shoes, slacks, and button-up shirt absorbed the shadows in the hall, the somberness of his attire serving only to accentuate the stark white collar at his throat.

He was a jarring shock to the senses.

I’d never seen a Catholic priest in person, but I had a mental picture of what one ought to look like. Scrawny, old, unattractive, bitter, prudish…

Good Lord, this man decimated every stereotype in my mind.

The starched black clothes failed to conceal his hard physique. He was well-built without being bulky, entrancing without camera filters. Lean muscle flexed at the seams, the threads molding around toned limbs. His shirtsleeves were pushed to his elbows, revealing sculpted forearms, and the definition continued through his legs, trim waist, flat stomach, and broad chest.

Okay, so he loved Jesus and worked out. Not a crazy notion. What scrambled my brain, however, was the outrageous perfection of his face. He had that chiseled jawline that women loved about my brothers. The blunt angles, square shape, and hint of shadow that the sharpest blade couldn’t quite scrape away.

He wore his brown hair in finger-raked dishevelment, short on the sides with the longer strands on top, arranged to look messy. A trendy style. Youthful. Not that he was young.

Maturity lined his features. No wrinkles. But there was a distinguished air of authority in his glare. A hardened glare that could only be attained with life experience. He was closer to my brother Winston’s age. Mid-thirties, maybe. Way too old to catch