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No woman should ever dread her wedding, but staring into her husband’s eyes, Abby can see the hatred shining back at her. She’s been blackmailed into marriage and now belongs to a man who thinks she’s a gold-digging whore. Not the best circumstances to start a marriage.
James has a secret and has been blackmailed into a marriage he doesn’t want in order to keep his private life out of the press. Even as his wife sweetly smiles at him, he can’t allow himself to believe that she’s innocent in all of this. He has a plan to make sure this marriage doesn’t last long, and he’s going through with it!
Abby doesn’t trust James, but she doesn’t want to be miserable and wishes there was something she could to do to help him—and herself.
What is his secret? Why would he marry her to protect it? And why is James more than happy to have another man join them?
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Abby Bryant stared at her husband and tried not to flinch at his glare. She didn’t know what was worse, the dirty looks he was giving her or the fact she wished this wasn’t her wedding day. Her parents hadn’t exactly given her a choice. They’d threatened to have her thrown in a hospital as a danger to herself and those around her. She didn’t want her freedom taken away, so she’d gone through with whatever plan her family had, the whole time trying to figure out a way to make it all stop. To stop them from ruining her life. She knew they were capable of doing it. They had a friend at the hospital who promised to “take really good care of her” and who could make sure she stayed there as his plaything for a really long time.
With no possible way out, she’d gone along with them. She’d failed. Now she was married to James Darcy, billionaire, mean jerk, and sex on legs.
Yes, she saw how hot he was and how women flocked toward him as if he had some kind of homing beacon for them.
Even as she sat beside him, the wedding reception in full swing, she felt the stares they were getting. She completely understood it.
She was a nobody.
Someone who didn’t have a title, wealth, or anything.
Yet, she’d been forced to marry him, and she didn’t have the first clue as to why.
At least the guests seemed to be having a good time while she wanted to be anywhere but near him. Her lips still tingled from the kiss they’d shared. It was kind of embarrassing that the only things she knew about her husband were all she’d read in the paper or what her parents had decided to tell her.
Biting her lip, she watched a couple of young teenagers laughing their heads off, clearly enjoying themselves.
She wanted to touch her mouth, but she kept her hands in her lap, trying not to make any sudden movements for fear it would draw more of his attention. Why had he wanted to marry her?
Her parents hadn’t given her any reason, just that she had to do as she was told.
Stay still. Stay perfectly still.
She hoped someone would either come and ask her to dance or at least take him away.
Abby didn’t know how much longer she’d be able to sit and pretend she was happy. It would all be over soon. So very soon.
Not too soon.
Your little virgin card goes bye-bye.
Her hands were a little clammy thinking about that. Their first kiss had been in front of a church full of strangers. She hadn’t been alone with him, ever. Every single little detail of her wedding had been organized by either his staff or by her parents.
She spotted her mother and father, big, joyous smiles on their faces.
All the while, she felt sick to her stomach.
When a man approached the wedding table, she didn’t know what to do, especially when he smiled at her and offered his hand.
“Care to dance?”
Was this normal?
Was she supposed to accept his hand?
Should she even look at her husband for advice?
This was her wedding day. She shouldn’t be dancing with anyone else.
“No, I’ll take my wife onto the dance floor,” James said.
Before she could say or do anything, he had her elbow in his grip and she was being pulled onto the dance floor.
She wanted to fight him, but that was the last thing she’d do, as it would draw attention to them. For several seconds neither of them spoke, not that she’d be able to find any words to make any coherent thought.
He placed her hands around his neck.
To anyone who cared, they looked exactly like the press was painting them. A fairy tale story of a wealthy billionaire falling in love with a pauper.
“Was he a friend of yours?”
“The guy that just asked you to dance.”
“I don’t have a clue who he is.”
“Figures. We’re at our wedding, and no one has a fucking clue as to who anyone is. Don’t speak to anyone. Understand?”
“There’s no one to speak to,” she said. She didn’t want to look into his eyes so she kept glancing past his shoulder. He had nice eyes though, when they weren’t staring at her with that hatred she’d come to recognize.
Some of the pictures she’d seen of him online were … flattering. He had a nice smile. It was the kind that made people aware that he was thinking devilish things.
His thumbs stroked the base of her back, and she tried not to think about his touch.
About how nice it felt or that she was even a little bit attracted to him.
“You’re going to have to do everything you can to keep him happy,” her mother said.
“I don’t know him.”
“It doesn’t matter. In this day and age, you can work with what you’ve got.”