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A million dollars for a year of marriage…
Jasmine Lee is screwed. She can barely afford her rent, much less her father’s medical bills. She needs cash, fast, or she’s going to lose her dad.
Enter Shepard Marlowe. The tech mogul needs a wife and he’s willing to pay. A million dollars for a year under his beck and call. Her freedom for her father’s life.
It’s a good deal. Even if the Shepard is a beast. Angry, guarded, overbearing… and more irresistible than Prince Charming.
How is it possible she craves someone so merciless? His touch sets her on fire. His promises wind her tight. And when he issues dirty demands… her body begs her to obey.
She can marry the bossy billionaire. But can she fall into his bed without falling in love with him?
Dirty Husband is a standalone arranged marriage romance inspired by Beauty and the Beast. It features a brooding alpha hero with a secret, a feisty heroine, and enough heat to melt your Kindle.
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I shouldn’t be here.
This chapter of my life is over. Done. No matter what he thinks.
Sure, we’ve only spoken ten words in the last five years, but I still know how Shepard Marlowe operates.
It emanates through the building. Bounces off the shiny silver sign. The clean grey carpet. The glass walls.
The one thing that inspires him: money.
The receptionist taps her headset, putting her conversation on hold. “Right this way, Ms. Lee.”
She stands and leads me through a busy hallway. Straight to the corner office.
“Can I get you anything?” She rattles off a list of espresso drinks.
I nod a yes to something. I don’t need the caffeine—I’m already shaking—and I’d prefer tea. But I do need something to occupy my hands.
Something to keep me from touching him.
It’s been so long since I’ve seen him in person. Longer since I’ve heard his voice, smelled his soap, felt the softness of his lips.
But then there isn’t a softness to his lips. Not anymore.
I sit in the expensive leather chair. Cross my legs. Smooth my skirt.
It’s wrong. Too tight. Too normal. Too unsophisticated.
Most days my business attire—button-up shirt, pencil skirt, practical pumps—feels like a shield.
Today, knowing he’s on his way?
My heart thuds against my chest.
My head screams leave now, before it’s too late.
But my body?
It shares none of my caution.
I cross my legs the other way. Uncross them. Try to shift my thoughts to practical places.
It doesn’t work. My head fills with memories.
His lips on my neck. His hands on my waist. His voice in my ears.
You feel so good.
The opening door draws my attention.
I turn, expecting the assistant or a lawyer.
But it’s him.
“Jasmine.” His voice is as cold as his clear blue eyes. He looks down at me with vague familiarity. Like I’m a colleague he hasn’t seen in a few years. A colleague who irritates him. “I’m glad you made it.”
I bite my tongue so I won’t snap.
He moves into the room, but he doesn’t take a seat. He stands next to the big leather chair beside mine. “I wasn’t sure you’d come.”
His eyes meet mine. It’s a different stare than the one he had when we were kids. That boy was sweet, loving, soft.
He’s cold, angry, hurt.
God, his eyes are still so blue. So beautiful. But that coldness—
It makes my heart ache.
I try to hold his gaze. Try to think up something to say. Some small talk to convince him I’m ready for this. Whatever it is.
His gaze is too intense. I have to look away. To the clean carpet. The supple fabric of the chair. The shiny patent of his shoes.
Eventually, the door opens. The assistant—she has a name, but I can barely remember mine at the moment—steps inside. Holds up two tiny espresso cups.
“Ms. Blackstone will be here shortly.” She sets both cups on the expensive oak desk. Nods enjoy. Disappears.
She’s everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Never imposing, always friendly, always smiling. Skills I recognize. Skills I mastered a long time ago.
Skills I need right now.
I take a small sip. Bright espresso. Creamy milk. A hint of softness. But not enough to dull the bitterness.
Shepard looks down at me, the tiniest hint of curiosity in his eyes.
He wants something.
I shouldn’t be here. It echoes through my head again, but it’s too late. My body is already buzzing. It’s already screaming for him, remembering every kiss, every touch, every fuck.
I uncross and recross my legs. It does nothing to ease the ache below my belly button, but it does draw his gaze.
His eyes flit to my tan skin.
He swallows hard. Steels himself.
“I’m on my lunch.” I’m not sure what he wants. Only that he’s confident he’ll get it. Which is ridiculous. He’s the one who hurt me. Why does he think I want anything to do with him? “I don’t have a lot of time.”
I know why. It’s money. It’s always money.
All the men I work with think the world revolves around them. Because it does.
Shep’s family was well-off when we were kids. But now?
Now he owns half of Manhattan.
He can destroy me with the snap of his fingers.
Of course, I’m here.
Shepard takes a seat across from me. He folds one leg over the other, making a four with his limbs. Then he leans just a little closer. Just close enough I smell his soap.
Rich. Earthy. Money.
He’s every part the distinguished professional. Navy suit, turquoise tie, brown dress shoes.
But there’s a tiny hint of the boy I loved in his clear blue eyes.
“I have a proposition for you.” His voice stays even.
I pretend as if I’m more interested in my drink. “Yes?”
His voice just barely softens. “I need a wife.”
“A wife?” My heart thuds against my chest, drowning every thought in my brain. “You need a wife?” I repeat the words. They make even less sense this time.