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The Vow (Audiobook)

The Vow (Audiobook)

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Synopsis

★AMAZON TOP 20 BESTSELLER★

I made a vow… and he won't let me escape it.

Riggs is possessive and cruel, twisted beyond all measure.

I knew it, yet still trusted and loved him.

Then he betrayed me.

I can’t forgive what he did.

So I try to break what’s between us…to exit his dark world without a second thought.

Yet the lonely nights torture me, reminding me what it felt like to be his, proving he’s right. Once you’re in his world, there’s no getting out. It becomes ingrained into your soul.

And Riggs’ obsession with winning me back doesn’t help. Nor does my weakness to visit the club.

Each of our encounters hurt more, leaving unanswered questions.

How can he love me and do what he did?

Why do I keep returning to his arms?

It’s a cycle I’m terrified will never end—part of me doesn’t want it to.

The Vow-Chapter One

Blakely Fox Madden

Sunlight streams through the small slits of the shades. It's barely morning. I've tossed and turned all night, with stale air in my lungs, hardly able to breathe. Now, all I can think about is Riggs fighting the waves on his surfboard and the calm chaos twinkling around him.

What am I going to do without him?

Is this really it for us?

It has to be. What he did was unforgivable.

I turn the burner phone on, cringing as I scroll through the messages for what feels like the hundredth time. No matter how often I listen to my voice, see risqué photos of my body, or read the taunting messages, it doesn't change my reaction. Every second is another slap in the face.

The picture of me in my wedding dress blowing Riggs a kiss, beaming with happiness, almost kills me. Riggs claimed it was his favorite, and everything about that moment makes me start to cry again.

I thought my entire life was complete when he snapped that photo.

Was it only to make my father angry?

No, Riggs loves me.

Does he?

Everything I thought I knew about Riggs and our relationship shatters into smaller pieces. The longer I stare at the moment I thought I had it all, the more betrayal seeps into my bones.

I tear my eyes off the photo and reread the messages. My father's angry threats and Riggs's taunting ones become blurrier. When I can't see the screen through my tears, I toss the phone on the bed and force myself to get up and shower, standing under the water in a haze until it turns cold.

I dry off, get dressed, and fight the urge to get back into bed, hoping Noah's not awake. He wouldn't stop pushing me to tell him what Riggs did, but I couldn't. How would I even begin to explain what my husband—the man I committed forever to—did?

Cringing again at my new reality, I go out into the main room. Noah's drinking coffee, working on his laptop, and a pain shoots through me. I always loved walking into the room and seeing Riggs working. Looking at Noah is another reminder I'm far from our Malibu beach house, and everything I thought about my marriage is now in question.

Noah looks up, questioning softly, "Hey, are you okay?"

I straighten my shoulders and lift my chin. "Yeah. What time is it?"

"Barely five."

"Why aren't you still sleeping?" I ask, trying to keep him off the topic of my issues with Riggs. Plus, I didn't expect him to already be working. I'm used to Riggs being up early, but I know he doesn't sleep well. The image of Riggs calling out in his sleep over his nightmares pains me, and I wince inside. 

Noah shrugs. "I don't sleep too many hours."

What is it with these men who barely sleep?

I need tons of it. And lately, I need even more. Except last night when I couldn't rest, I've never slept so many hours. I'm always exhausted, but I assume it's from all the work at the studio and Riggs's relentless sex drive and dedication to wearing me out.

Noah demands, "Blakely, I need you to tell me what happened between you and Riggs."

I'm unsure why I don't want to divulge anything to him, but my gut's telling me not to answer him. So I respond, "It's not a big deal. I'll figure it out."

A stern look appears on his face. His voice matches his expression, and he claims, "I'm here to help you, Blakely. But in order to do that, I need to know what I'm protecting you from. So tell me what's going on."

My emotions creep up, and I fight my hardest not to cry again. I claim, "There's nothing to protect me from."

"Yes, there is," he insists.

"No, I'm fine," I assert, shaking my head.

He scowls. "What did that bastard do to you?"

"Don't talk about my husband like that," I scold, then my cheeks heat. I look away. My heart races faster.

Why am I sticking up for Riggs?

Tense silence fills the air. I can feel Noah peering at me.

I find my confidence and lock eyes with him, forcing myself to ask, "Do I have any money coming in yet?"

Noah's eyes turn to slits. "You don't have access to a bank account?"

My cheeks turn hotter. I lift my chin and lie, "We talked about going to the bank but we hadn't gotten around to it yet. Things have been too busy."

"Sure he didn't," Noah says in disgust.

Embarrassment and shame fill me. I let myself be in this situation. I allowed myself to give Riggs all the power. Even the contract I signed said he would fully provide for me, and as hard as I worked to escape my father's grasp, I didn't blink twice to hand my independence over to Riggs.

Noah gives me a pitying look and shakes his head. He informs me, "It'll be a few months before royalties kick in."

I look away, scrunching my face. I'm so stupid. How could I have been so stupid?

Noah stands up and walks toward me. He grabs my hand. "Blakely, you can stay here as long as you need to. And don't worry, I'll take care of you."

I pull my hand away from his. I don't want anyone taking care of me. That's how I got into this situation. I never should have let Riggs take care of me like he did.

I loved him taking care of me.

Look where that got me.

"I should have known he would try to steal your earnings," Noah declares.

Fire lights in my belly. I snap, "Riggs would never steal money from me. He did everything in his power to ensure my contract was in my best interest."

"Then why do you have no access to money, Blakely?" he questions.

Shame pummels me. I scold myself for not staying independent. I knew better than to trust anyone after dealing with my father.

Still, I continue to stick up for him and confess, "Riggs gave me cash, and I knew where in the house he kept it. I could grab whatever I wanted at any time. He never let me go without anything. He always took care of me."

The image of Riggs telling me to take money to the studio, even though everything was always provided for me, hurts.

He didn't try to keep me penniless. There's no way he would have given me cash when I didn't even need it if that were his intention.

There's only one instance I even used the cash. I had Rhonda from Naked Pipes run out and buy me a box of pregnancy tests.

Oh shit. I never took the pregnancy test.

A whole new set of fear and anxiety hits me. A week ago, I realized I hadn't had my period in months. So I secretly asked Rhonda to get the tests for me.

The notion I could be pregnant left me feeling anxious. I didn't know how Riggs would react if I had a baby growing inside me and we were together, much less if we were apart. He made it clear in his contract that he didn't want me getting pregnant, but we're also married, so would that change his mind about having a child?

Plus, the challenge of launching my record while knocked up didn't exactly seem like a good idea. So I kept putting off taking the test, trying to convince myself that no matter what, Riggs and I would figure it out.

Why did I not take the test?

I've got to get another one.

I can't ask Noah.

Oh God, I don't want him to know.

Noah interrupts my thoughts, interrogating, "Did you sign a prenup?"

"What? No!" I blurt out, offended he would think Riggs would make me do that. One thing Riggs has always been is generous with his money.

"So he can steal yours," Noah mutters.

"Stop it! He doesn't need my money," I declare.

Noah's face hardens.

I cross my arms and hug my chest, feeling overwhelmed.

Noah repeats, "Don't worry about money, Blakely. I'll get you a divorce attorney. You can take Riggs to the cleaners."

Offended, I assert, "I don't want his money, and we aren't getting divorced!" My pulse creeps up. I have no idea how I would ever forgive Riggs or get past this, but the idea of divorcing him just hurts too much.

Noah's eyes widen. "Don't be stupid. You're young with your entire life in front of you." His phone buzzes. He glances at it and clenches his jaw. Then he stares at me and roughly answers, "Matt, what is it?"

Goose bumps pop out on my skin.

Noah declares, "Ban him from the building."

More bad feelings fill me. There's no doubt he's talking about Riggs.

He's here.

I struggle not to run out of Noah's condo and go find him.

A moment of silence passes, and Noah barks, "I don't care if he threatens to have the cops raid the place. His wife isn't his property. He's not coming near her, and tell him if he attempts to, I'll file a restraining order."

My mouth turns dry. I put my hand over my stomach, feeling ill again.

Is this what I really want?

To never go near Riggs again?

To never see him and not talk to him?

What he did wasn't right, but I've always known Riggs was screwed up. I should have known he was capable of using me.

Maybe, this entire thing is my fault. Besides, he never lied about wanting to destroy my father. Perhaps I'm the stupid one for not making him tell me how he would execute my father's demise.

Noah hangs up the phone, warning, "He's not coming near you, Blakely." He walks to the window and glares through the glass.

I follow and look down, my gut churning faster. Riggs is fighting off three security guards, shouting as they push him away from the building. I put my hand over my mouth, and tears fall rapidly down my face.

He looks like he hasn't slept. His hair's a disheveled mess. He's so angry, and I'm scared he'll do something stupid with long-lasting consequences. One thing I'm not is oblivious to Riggs's temper. "Noah, please stop them," I beg.

Noah gives me a shocked look, then denies my request. "Absolutely not."

"They're going to hurt him," I claim.

Noah grunts. "Will serve the bastard right."

"He's my husband!" I cry out.

He turns to me. "And what did he do to you? You ran from a charity event through a sea of reporters and then you fled with me. You had me take you to your house so you could fill a suitcase of barely any of your possessions. So tell me what he did to you because that's a pretty extreme reaction."

I glance back down at Riggs. My entire insides shake.

He's finally backing away, but he's still pointing and shouting at the men, and I can only imagine the threats he's giving them.

"Tell me what he did," Noah pushes again.

More warnings not to tell Noah anything fill my head, swirling with too many other questions. I haven't even processed everything that I discovered.

Noah slides his hand on my back, and I jump away.

He holds his hands in the air. "Hey, I'm on your side, Blakely."

I step farther back, saying nothing. I have to get a pregnancy test. I need to figure out what's going on.

If I'm pregnant, that doesn't change what Riggs did. It's still unforgivable.

Noah tries again. "Blakely—"

"I don't want to talk about it."

"But—"

"Look, I need to go to the studio for my session," I interject.

"We can cancel it," he states.

I shake my head. "No." I spin and go into the bedroom, toss my cell and the burner phone into my purse, then return to the living room. I ask Noah, "Can you arrange a ride for me, please?"

"I'll take you. But are you sure you really want to go?"

"I do," I insist, needing to get out of this house and away from Noah and all of his demands and questions. In some ways, he's just like Riggs, yet he's the exact opposite.

Noah finally caves and leads me out of his condo. We go to the parking garage and he opens the door to his Mercedes.

I slide inside and cringe. It feels pompous, like my father's car. I've gotten used to Riggs in his Porsche. It just fills me with more sadness. It hasn't even been a day, and I miss him so much, yet I'm still so hurt and angry with him.

I'll never get past what he sent my father.

If I'm pregnant, I'm going to have to deal with him.

I'll raise the baby on my own.

Another pain hits me. My parents neglected me in too many ways. I always assumed if I was pregnant, I'd give my child everything, including two parents who were together. Now, it can't happen.

I'm not pregnant.

Why haven't I gotten my period, then?

The image of my parents at the event fills my mind. They looked horrible. I know it's been a few years since I've seen them, but I have no doubts that Riggs did that to them.

I try to remind myself that my father's awful and my mother is an out-of-control alcoholic and not much better. But still, she looks like she's a few steps away from dying from her alcoholism or wasting away from not eating, and it was shocking to see her in that state.

Can I ever be okay with Riggs going to the extreme lengths of destroying them, even if they've always been toxic and never had my best interest at heart?

They're evil.

They're my blood.

Would he use our child if he was okay using me?

The ache inside me grows. Our love seemed real, but how can it be if he was okay using me as a pawn in his retaliation against my father?

Noah tries to talk to me in the car, stating, "Listen, I know things are—"

"I don't want to talk right now. Please let me ride in peace," I interject.

He clenches his jaw.

I turn away and stare out the window. He stays quiet the remainder of the ride.

When we get to the studio, I pull Rhonda aside and into an empty office.

She gives me a sympathetic look. "Honey, are you okay? Your eyes are bloodshot."

Embarrassment rears its ugly head again. I fight through it and glance behind me, ensuring we're alone. "I need a favor from you."

She arches her eyebrows. "Sure. What is it?"

My shame grows. I admit, "I-I don't have any money, and I promise I'll pay you back."

Pity fills her expression. She steps closer and lowers her voice, asking, "Blakely, what is it? Just tell me what you need."

I close my eyes for a brief moment, then lift my chin and look at her. "I need a pregnancy test. I never took the one you gave me."

She glances at my belly, then nods. "Okay. Don't worry. I've got you, girl." She gives me a hug, squeezing me tight.

It feels maternal, and I almost lose it again, but I control myself.

She retreats, stating, "I'll be right back."

I wait for her to walk away, then try to compose myself as best as possible before moving toward the recording studio.

Ears steps out of his office a few feet from the door. He shoots me an uncomfortable expression and my stomach flips. He tries to cover it up, booming, "Hey, superstar."

I force a smile. "Hey."

He briefly studies me, then says, "Look, I don't want to get involved in your business, but I've known Riggs a long time."

My stomach curls. I put my hand on it and lean against the wall, closing my eyes.

"Blakely, you okay?" Ears questions.

Tears fill my eyes. Something about Ears feels safer than Noah. It shouldn't, knowing he has a long history with Riggs, yet I admit in a shaky voice, "No."

He shifts on his feet, lowering his voice. "He's losing his shit. Why don't you talk to him?"

I swipe at my cheeks, confessing, "I-I can't right now."

"You want to tell me what he did?" Ears asks.

I open my mouth and then shut it, shaking my head.

Silence grows until I break it. My voice cracks, and I demand, "Keep him away from me. I mean it."

Ears takes a deep breath, then exhales. "Okay. But, Blakely, you can't stay with Noah. Riggs will kill him."

"I would never do anything with Noah," I snap.

Ears's eyes widen. "Didn't say that."

"You insinuated—"

"No, I said that Riggs will kill him. You, of all people, know how possessive he is," Ears states.

I can't argue, but I don't know what else to do right now. I have no money. I firmly declare, "Noah's been kind enough to let me stay in his guest bedroom. Until my royalties come in, I have no other options."

Ears tilts his head, the crease in his forehead growing.

"What is that look for?" 

"Riggs will give you money. He wouldn't want you to not have any," he claims.

"I don't want his money."

"You're married. It's yours too," Ears insists.

I put my hand over my face and breathe, trying to stop the queasiness in my stomach.

Ears suggests, "Let me talk to him for you."

I lock eyes with him. "And say what?"

He sighs. "You need money, superstar. You can't stay with Noah."

"I don't want to stay with Noah, but I have no other options," I assert.

"Let me work on your housing situation, then," Ears says.

I'm too drained to think. I finally nod. "Okay. Thank you."

"Great. Why don't you go into my office and try to sleep? I can pull the sofa out into the bed," Ears offers.

"No, thank you. I'm going to do my job," I assure him, then push past his large frame, not wanting to talk anymore. I go into the studio and into the recording booth.

For over an hour, I try to throw myself into my work, but it's almost impossible. My voice doesn't sound right. I'm unable to follow the directions I'm getting from Ears and Noah.

Rhonda finally comes into the studio and knocks on the window. I excuse myself and leave the room with her.

She says, "It's in the bathroom in the cabinet."

"Thank you," I reply gratefully.

She hands me a bottle of water.

I take it, go into the restroom, then close and lock the door. I find the box of pregnancy tests, take a deep breath, then down the bottle of water.

My pulse throbs so hard in my neck that I think I'll have a stroke. I follow the directions and unwrap the test. I pee on the stick, place it on the counter, and then set my timer on my phone.

Too many worries plague me. I pace the bathroom, trying to get Riggs's face out of my mind, but I can't. The alarm blares through the air, and I freeze.

This is it.

Please don't be pregnant, I chant to myself with my eyes closed at least a dozen times, with images of a little boy who looks like Riggs filling my mind and making my heart hurt more.

I force myself to look down at the stick, then pick it up and stare at it, with too many emotions exploding inside me like it's the Fourth of July.

  • Length: 9 hrs and 37 mins
  • Narrated by: Connor Crais & Ava Lucas 

AMAZON TOP 20 BESTSELLER

 I put the note on her pillow and begrudgingly leave, vowing that I'll do anything and everything and stop at nothing to earn her forgiveness.

For the first time in my adult life, I'm scared I might lose. And my wife isn't replaceable. She's not a deal, money, or some other thing.

She's my life.

The fear reminds me of how I spent my childhood, and I curse myself for the stupidity that got me here. I'm unsure how to fix this, which only deepens the growing panic inside me.

Find out what happens next in The Vow

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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐" This was a great end to this duet; we get some twists and turns that have the reader gasping out loud. I really enjoyed this story and give this 5 stars."-Reviewer

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "A fabulously hot, complicated and well written Book 2. WELL DONE.. 5+ stars."-Reviewer

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