When Annabella Blanca finds herself on the doorstep of her new home, she is terrified, yet hopeful of what her new life will be.
Griffin Stone has locked himself away from the world. One minor mix-up, and all his carefully built walls come crashing down.
When love finds its way in to even the darkest of hearts, will it be enough to stand the greatest tests? Can beauty own the beast?
Warning: This book contains a scarred hero, a virgin bride, insta-love, and tons of sex.
CHAPTER 1 *Annabella*
Alive. I don’t think I’ve felt this alive since my father’s death two weeks ago. While I’m afraid of what’s to come, I welcome the feeling. It’s better than the numbness I’ve been living in. Anxiety was a constant knot in my stomach these days. The fear of not knowing what was to come was the hardest part. My heart was pounding so hard against my ribcage I’m almost sure the driver can hear it.
Tearing my eyes away from the lush green hills, I focused back on Logan. When he’d picked me up from the agency in Seattle, he said that his boss, Mr. Stone, had sent him to retrieve me. I have not met my future husband yet, but I felt a pang of disappointment when it sunk in that he did not turn up to meet me himself.
I dressed my part to the best of my abilities; a yellow sundress with white polka dots that came to a stop slightly above my knees along with a pair of simple white flats. A lady at the agency even helped to curl my usually straight, long black hair, tying it up in a white bow to match my dress. I started to second-guess my choice of wardrobe after seeing the look the driver had given me, mumbling something about how “you don’t look like what the boss usually orders”.
One thing I can assume, just from my driver, is that my husband-to-be must be a very, very rich man. Coupled with the fact that this is one of the nicest cars I’ve ever seen and overhearing John at the agency say that I’d fetched a higher price because my virginity was still intact. I wasn't trying to hold on to it, really, I just never got a chance to have a life outside of my family. Growing up in Mexico City, my father and mother rarely let me out of their sight, which is understandable from some of the horror stories I’ve heard over the years. My father did his best to hide me away, even going to the extent of having my mother homeschool me.
After mother was killed by Mexican drug cartel when I was fifteen, I took on her role in the family. Father loved her dearly and was utterly destroyed by her passing. He merely existed afterward, and I often felt that he’d only kept living to keep me safe. That was up till two weeks ago where he had a massive heart attack, causing my little world to come crashing down.
I am completely alone in this world. That loneliness was probably the main reason why I was in this car to begin with.
I sat at father’s bedside for three whole days before he’d finally slipped away from me. I had absolutely no idea what I would do without him. I’d never been so terrified in my life. The thought of returning to my home without him, without his protection, it just wasn’t going to happen. I would die, or worse. While father may not have let me out of the house much, I still hear the screams, the gunfire and the police sirens outside my window every day. Father said they left us alone because he paid his dues, whatever that meant. I have no money, my Spanish isn’t fluent, and my bright blue eyes give away the fact that I’m not one hundred percent Mexican.
When I shared my fears with father’s nurse, she gave me a man’s card. A man who could get me out of Mexico and give me a whole new life in America. Mother was American and often spoke wonderful things about her country. I grew up speaking English, with Spanish as my second language. Mother always said we would move to America together one day, but that dream died the same day she did.
And that was how I found myself faced with this choice. I kept asking myself if this made me a whore. While I might not be selling myself to a different man each day, I was still selling myself to one. I wonder how he’s like. My parents’ marriage was a beautiful one. They loved each other deeply and I longed to have that with someone; to make a home and fill it with children, to love without living in fear each day. While we may not have had much, father and I had love and now, I have no one. I should be thankful I had even made it out alive though. I am never going back.
Father always said I was the most stubborn person he has ever met. I drove him crazy with my constant chatter and always needed to have things done a certain way, but he said that I would make a wonderful wife one day. I made it my goal to make father smile after my mother passed away. Nothing made me happier than when I could get a laugh from him. I’m still not sure if I ever truly did though. Maybe if my mother were still alive, he would have fought harder to stay, had the will to live.
I’m determined not to lose the battle this time. I will be a wonderful wife—that’s the plan, anyway. I’ve talked to some of the girls at the agency before I was picked up. I asked a lot of questions about what I should do and what American husbands would like from their wives. Most of the things they told me were sex related but I took as many notes as I could. After all, most of the women there were call girls. If anyone knew how to make a man happy, it would be them. The agency not only did mail-order brides, they also housed women who men could rent by the hour. Some of the women tried to talk me into staying, saying that I would be freer there rather than being trapped in a loveless marriage. I had my U.S. citizenship because of my mother, but I wanted protection. And love. They laughed at the idea of a happy-ever-after, claiming I was being naïve, and that if a man had to get a mail-order bride then there must definitely be something wrong with him.
I figured maybe he was just lonely. But what if he’s a cruel man? my mind kept asking me. Logan, the driver, seems nice enough. We may have only spoken a few words to each other but he put me at ease. Would such a nice man take me to someone who would cause me harm? Maybe I really am naïve…
Drawing my eyes up to the rear view mirror, my gaze met Logan’s. Embarrassed at being caught staring at him, I went back to looking out the window. The sun has almost fully set now and instead of vast green fields, there are now hundreds and hundreds of trees blocking everything else out.
“We’re almost there, sugar,” Logan said in a slow drawl, pulling my eyes back to him once again. “You sure you wanna do this? You look like you’re about to bolt from this car. You must be new. I’ve never seen you before.”
I’m unsure of what he meant. Has my future husband been married through the agency before?
“Has Mr. Stone been married before?” I asked, curiosity getting the best of me.
Logan released a bark of laughter along with a forceful no.
I guess that means he’s been using the call girls then. I’m not sure which is more unsettling, the thought of my husband using call girls, or that his driver thinks the idea of him getting married is laughable. These thoughts aren’t doing much to help settle the pounding of my heart.
“Here we are. Welcome to Creston Falls.”
Logan slowly pulls the car up to a big black gate that looks to be about fifteen feet tall. Rolling down the window, he punches in a code and the gate opens. As we pulled up the long, rocky drive, I took in the majestic sight. The mansion resembled a castle out in the middle of nowhere. If this is to be my home, I have no idea how I am ever going to keep this place clean.
Stepping out of the car, I tried to settle my thoughts. Out of the corner of my eyes, something moved by one of the windows, catching my attention. Stepping forward, trying to get a better look, I saw a shadow of a man back away from the window.
Turning to Logan, I asked, “Was that Mr. Stone?”
“He’s the only one home right now, so I reckon it was. Go on in, I’m sure he’s waiting for you. I’ll park the car in the garage over there,” he said, pointing to a large building to the left of the mansion. “When you're done, have Mr. Stone call me or walk on over and I’ll take you back to the city if you like.”
Before I could ask what he meant, he hopped back in the car, leaving me to my fate. Taking a deep breath, I took the final ten steps to the door and slowly opened it.
I’m Alexa Riley! Mom, wife, and business woman by day and smut writer by night. I specialize in the Dirty Date Night reading. I wrote my first book, Owning Her Innocence, because well, I just couldn’t find any daddy books to my liking. So I sat down and just started writing, bringing the fantasies I find myself often dancing to in the dark of night to life, one page at a time.
Alexa Riley is my alter ego. I can’t let the other soccer moms know what I’m up to or the guys at work for that matter. Little do they know that they’ve got nothing on my dirty talk.
I’m here to give you a quick fix of filthy dirty smut. Got a few hours to kill? Then I’m what you’re looking for.