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Arranged Marriage

What would you do if you were promised to one man when you were just eleven years old…but your heart belongs to another? Olivia Russo has only been in love once. The lovers get pulled apart by circumstance, and her family pressures her into a strategic arrangement. But what will Olivia do when her lost love returns?

Age Rating: 18+ (Violence, Sexual Abuse)

Warning: this book contains material that may be considered upsetting or disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

Original Author: MACKENZY

Note: This story is the author’s original version and does not have sound.

 

Arranged Marriage by MACKENZY is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.

 


 

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1

Summary

What would you do if you were promised to one man when you were just eleven years old…but your heart belongs to another? Olivia Russo has only been in love once. The lovers get pulled apart by circumstance, and her family pressures her into a strategic arrangement. But what will Olivia do when her lost love returns?

Age Rating: 18+ (Violence, Sexual Abuse)

Warning: this book contains material that may be considered upsetting or disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

Original Author: MACKENZY

Note: This story is the author's original version and does not have sound.

Olivia

I was called to my dad’s office on my eleventh birthday. There would be a party later today with all my friends and family.

The house was busy with cooks in the kitchen cooking all my favorite foods, as well as maids running around setting up tents out back where the tables would go.

I had told my parents I didn’t want a birthday party, but Dad wouldn’t take no for an answer. He wanted to go all-out for my birthdays.

I am spoiled, but I never liked it. Getting whatever I wanted never appealed to me.

When walking in, I look around the room to see Dad sitting behind his large mahogany desk, my mom standing next to him with a sad smile on her beautiful face.

Why is Mom sad?

There is a man and woman in the room seated to the left, both looking at me with approving smiles on their faces.

What’s that all about?

I walked in and took my seat when I noticed a boy standing to the left of the woman.

He has his head down, hands clasped together in front of him.

I couldn’t get a good look at his face, but he had dark brown, wavy hair that was a little long in the front, shorter on the sides.

He looks tall for his age, standing taller than the woman seated next to him.

He was breathing heavily, knuckles white from how tightly his hands were clasped together.

I look to my dad and smile.

“Olivia, we need to discuss a few things with you.” Looking down for a moment while he shifted in his chair, Dad cleared his throat.

This made me nervous. Dad had never looked so worried before.

“This is Mr. and Mrs. Romano and their son, Antonio.” He gestures to the three other people in the room.

I look toward them, smiling. “It’s nice to meet you. Are you here for my party?” I tilt my head.

Mr. Romano smiles sweetly at me, nodding his head. “It is very nice to met you too, Miss Russo, and yes, if you will have us?”

“Of course you can come, but it might be boring for you adults.” I shrug.

They all let out a small laugh except for the boy, who I now know as Antonio. He is looking at me with his deep blue eyes that show no emotion whatsoever.

Bad day?

The look on his face starts to make me uncomfortable, so I look away.

“Olivia, Mr. and Mrs. Romano are here today to discuss a merger between our families, as well as our businesses.

“You understand that because you have no brothers, we need a male to take over from me when the times comes?”

I nod my head in understanding. I know I am unable to take over when my dad steps down, but it never bothered me.

“I understand,” I say as I try to think of why we are having this conversation.

“We have come to an agreement that Mr. and Mrs. Romano’s son Antonio will be taking over the businesses once I stand down,” he says as he gestures to Antonio.

I look over at him. He looks away from me almost instantly. This boy is going to take over the Russo family business? Why him? Why not one of my cousins?

“I am sorry if I offend you in any way, Mr. and Mrs. Romano”—I look back to my dad—“but why not Nick or Michael? Why can’t they take over from you?” I ask.

Dad smiles and nods. ”I understand your way of thinking, Olivia. It would be logical to leave the Russo business in the family.

“But with the merging of our families, we would be the most powerful family in America. This would secure a permanent hold in our dealings back home in Italy,” he said, leaning back in his chair.

“So we would become untouchable in the eyes of the law and other families?” I asked. If that was the case, then this was everything my dad had been working toward.

“Exactly,” he says with a smile.

“You are a very smart girl, Miss Russo, and you are also very knowledgeable about the families,” Mr. Romano said.

“We have never kept her in the dark with anything. To keep someone naïve in this family would be a dangerous thing to do,” Mom speaks up.

In the beginning, both my parents wanted to keep me in the dark about what my father did, but my grandfather was against it.

He never believed in keeping his family hidden away from the truth whether they were a boy or girl.

“We agree, it helps the children be protected a lot easier,” Mrs. Romano said.

There was one thing I didn’t understand though. How was it possible for a member of another family to run both? The family would never accept it.

Ever.

“I can see you are thinking of how this merger would take place.”

I look up at my dad and nod. He could see I was trying to work it out but couldn’t.

“This is where you and Antonio come in,” he said, taking a big breath.

And that’s when I knew. A merging of two families by marriage.

I stood up, looking at my dad. “Marriage,” was all I said with tears threatening to fall down my face. No! It had to be a mistake! But the look he was giving me told me it was not.

“Olivia…”

“No, Dad! Please!” I begged him. I could hear my mom sniffing beside my dad, but there was no point begging her. This was Dad’s decision, and there was nothing she could do to help me.

I felt sick. How could he do this! I am his daughter!

“The only way both our families will achieve this is for you and Antonio to marry when you are of age…”

“Of age! Eighteen!” I was shocked and angry. I would become a wife at eighteen!

“No,” Mr. Romano said, snapping my head toward him.

I stared at him, tears falling down my face.

“It will not be at eighteen, Miss Russo,” he said, standing up from his seat and walking toward me.

I have heard about Mr. Romano, that he is a horrifying man, but only to those who would do him, his family, or his businesses harm.

The truth was, the man petrified me.

“We have agreed that the marriage will take place when you are twenty-one.

“I understand this age isn’t any different, that it is still young, but this gives you a chance to finish your schooling and have a normal teenage life.”

A normal teenage life! Is he kidding me!

“My son is a decent young man, and I would never put a young woman in any sort of situation where she was not kept safe and loved,” he says, smiling at me.

“All of that is well and good, Mr. Romano, but I don’t want to marry someone I don’t know and love.” I looked at Antonio.

He was still not looking at me but at his father, still not showing any kind of emotion whatsoever.

My future husband!

NO!

“Love can be found over time,” Mrs. Romano said, standing up, coming to her husband’s side. They looked at each other with so much love.

“You will learn to love Antonio, just as he will learn to love you. Believe us when we say, it can work with patience and trust.” She spoke softly.

I looked at them then back to my parents. They both looked drained, with small smiles on their faces.

I have no choice in this whatsoever. I can stomp my feet and scream, but it still won’t matter.

Becoming more powerful than he is already is obviously more important than his only daughter’s happiness.

He wants me to marry a boy he doesn’t know and take the word of a man he considers a “friend.”

I will never forgive him for this!

They are selling me just to become untouchable. If I were born a boy, this would all be different.

I have never felt being born a girl into this family was a bad thing until this very moment.

I nod my head, because it is the only thing I can do. I can’t speak, or I will scream. I step back, walking toward the office door.

“Olivia,” Dad calls as I cringe. There is sadness in his voice, but I don’t care.

He is meant to be my father! How can he do this to me!

“Friends and family will be arriving soon for the party. I have to go,” I say without turning around. I close the door behind me, walking to my room as I let the tears fall from my eyes.

Lucky I know where I am going, because my vision is a blur. My head is pounding as my mind won’t stop going over what just happened.

Happy birthday to me…

***

Antonio

When I was told I would be marrying the only daughter of the Russo family, I was beyond pissed.

What was a sixteen-year-old supposed to do? Be happy about this bullshit! Fuck no! But there was no way out.

Dad explained to me what it all meant, that I would one day be the head of the most powerful family in America and Italy.

I just had to marry Olivia Russo. I wasn’t going to fall in love with her. She was probably some spoilt brat who got what she asked for every time by screaming or stomping her feet.

I could bed other women and keep her there when the time came to have an heir.

That was fine if I got to be the head of the families. She was just another business deal to me, nothing more.

Of course, I didn’t tell my parents any of this. My dad would kick my ass for disrespecting a woman the way I just did. I had respect for women, but not when it came to this.

Don’t get me wrong, I will respect her. She is the daughter of Nikolas Russo, and that demanded nothing but respect. But when it came to my “needs,” there would be no room for it.

I got out of the shower, walking into my room where Ashley was still in my bed, wrapped in my silk sheets, her swollen pink lips and matted hair on display.

She looked so fucking good that if I didn’t have to go meet my “future wife” I would fuck her again in a heartbeat.

“Babe, you need to get dressed and leave. My parents are expecting me downstairs in twenty.”

She looked up at me with annoyance. “Can’t this meeting or whatever wait? It’s Saturday, and I won’t be seeing you till Monday at school,” she said, sitting up, crossing her arms over her chest.

I haven’t told her what this meeting is really about because I had no idea how to tell her.

How do you tell your girlfriend that you are to marry another?

Walking toward her, I let out a breath. ”I have no choice in this. I have to go.” I kiss her forehead.

I walk toward my wardrobe as she heads to the bathroom.

When the door closes, I run my fingers through my hair, letting out a frustrated sigh.

Fuck my life.

Getting dressed in my black Armani pants suit and white button-up dress shirt, I grab my jacket and wait for Ashley to finish getting ready.

I can hear her moving around behind my bathroom door as I start to think of a way to bring this whole marriage thing up.

I can’t do it in a public place because I know she will flip out and cause a scene. Maybe we could take a walk. Or have her come over and break it to her here.

It doesn’t matter where we are—this isn’t going to end well.

My thoughts are interrupted as the bathroom door opens. Ashley walks out in her skinny blue jeans and pink tank top, her hair pulled up in a messy bun.

She gives me a smile as she sits on the edge of my bed, fiddling with the straps on her sandals.

Ashley is hot as hell. Tall, slim frame, bright red hair, and blue eyes. Any man would be over the moon to have her, but I know her feelings for me are stronger than my feelings for her.

I like her a lot, but I know I’m not in love with her.

Don’t think I even know what love is, really.

Once she is finished, we walk downstairs, where we are greeted by my parents.

To say they like Ashley would be a lie. My father really didn’t care because it would all be over soon, but my mother was a different story.

Tough as nails, that one.

“Hello, Mrs. Romano,” Ashley says as we make our way to the front door.

My mother looks at her with a passive look. “Are you ready to go, Antonio? We can’t keep Mr. and Mrs. Russo waiting any longer,” she says as she walks out the door to the car where my father is.

Told you.

Ashley just rolls her eyes as she continues to walk out with me.

“She still hates me,” she mumbles while looking down.

“Don’t worry about my mother, okay? All that matters is what I think,” I say, kissing her cheek as I signal Mick over to drive Ashley home.

Once in the car, we make our way to the Russos’ property. It was my future wife’s eleventh birthday today, so there would be a lot of people in and out of the house.

Not that we will be attending the birthday party, of course.

Hell no.

“I’m guessing you haven’t told Ashley about Miss Russo yet?” my mom says, raising her eyebrows at me.

I shake my head. “No, I have not. Not quite sure how to tell my girlfriend I am being forced to marry a girl I don’t know,” I spit back, rewarding me with a heated look from my father.

I quickly apologize to my mother before my dad can say anything.

“You should do it sooner rather than later, son. You don’t want the young lady to think she has a future with you when she does not,” he says as Mom rolls her eyes at the “lady” part of the sentence.

Just because Ashley is sixteen and not a virgin, she disapproves of her. Ashley wasn’t a virgin when we started dating, and that was a very big no-no in our family.

Young girls should not act like men. A woman’s virginity was a special, sacred thing that all the women and men in the family took seriously when it came to their daughters or future daughters-in-law.

Old-school Italians.

Ashley was my first, so I liked the idea that at least one of us knew what we were doing.

I hate to admit it, but my father was right. I could keep Ashley around, but she would never be my wife. She would be my mistress and nothing more.

“I will talk to her soon. I just need to find the right time and the right words to say,” I tell them both, looking out the window as we arrive at the Russo residence.

Driving up to the front gate, you couldn’t see the house at all. It is surrounded by large trees to keep people from getting a closer look at the place.

As the black iron gates opened, we drove up the driveway.

The house came into view after about two minutes of driving. There stood a very large Italian-style villa.

The three-story white stone house was covered in green vines, with small purple flowers falling from the walls of the house.

The front yard was very modest, with not a lot happening. Just a large house with green shrubs off to the sides where the house gates were. It didn’t scream rich and arrogant.

Interesting.

You would never know a billionaire lived here, nor one of the most powerful families in the Italian Mafia.

It was actually quite beautiful, felt like you were in Italy. You could smell the sweet smell of flowers in the air, along with freshly mowed grass.

If her father and mother were this modest, maybe their daughter was the same?

Careful, Antonio.

As the car came to a stop, we all started climbing out. I could hear music playing in the distance, as well as soft chatting coming from one side of the house.

We made our way to the door, ringing the bell. Within seconds, a young man opened up, a smile on his face.

“Good morning, Mr. and Mrs. Romano. Do come in,” he said as he stepped to the side, letting us in.

We walked into a large living room where people were running all around, smiling and laughing, carrying white chairs and trays of glasses through the area.

The atmosphere was a happy one due to the birthday party that was about to take place later on that day.

“I will let Mr. and Mrs. Russo know you are here. Please, take a seat. Would you like anything to drink while you wait?” the young man said.

“Thank you so much, but we will wait,” Father said while we took a seat on the large white sofa.

The young man walked off down a small hallway that led to a set of stairs.

Looking around the living room, I couldn’t help but notice there was no fancy decor to it.

It was grand but not overdone. There was a large stone fireplace in the center, with black candle holders on either side and a giant gold mirror hanging above.

The area was quite open, with a few plants around the place, a black wooden coffee table in the center, with three white sofas gathered around it.

The whole side of the living room was a giant glass door. You could see outside that people were setting up for the party.

There were three large white tents side by side where people were running in and out.

Before I could take any more in, my father was called. “Vincent! Stella! It’s great that you have come!”

I turned to see a large-built man coming toward us.

Holy fuck, its the Hulk!

He was a huge man that towered over my father.

Any other man would be scared or intimidated by the sight of him, but what my father lacked in size, he made up for in his power to be a very ruthless man.

“Nikolas, it is good to see you again!” my father said, embracing him. “Stella, hope you have been well?” he said, giving my mother a small nod and smile.

“We are well, my friend. This is our son, Antonio Romano,” my father said proudly, gesturing me to come forward.

“It is nice to met you, Mr. Russo,” I said, shaking his hand. His hand enveloped mine, and I almost had to send a search party to look for it.

“It is nice to meet you too, young man. Come, we will do this in my office. My wife is sending for Olivia as we speak.”

Oh, that’s right.

I almost forgot this was all about me marrying his daughter.

I followed behind my parents as we came to a large wooden door. Walking in, I took my place next to my mother, waiting for Olivia to arrive.

Mr. Russo sat behind his desk as his wife walked into his office and stood next to her husband.

“Olivia will be here shortly,” she said, smiling at us.

Mrs. Russo was a stunning woman with long black hair that was curled at the ends, with bright green eyes and porcelain skin. She stood tall and elegant beside her husband.

There was a knock at the door, and my hands instantly became clammy. I put them in front of me and looked up when my breath caught in my throat.

Oh. My. Fucking. God.

I couldn’t take my eyes off the impossible creature that just walked through the door. She looked like a goddess!

She was a younger version of her mother, but Mrs. Russo didn’t hold a candle to the way her daughter held herself as she walked farther into the room.

She had thick black hair that had a natural wave to it that fell to the middle of her back.

She had the same green eyes as her mother, but they were an emerald green that shined brighter with a perfectly staright nose and plump pink lips.

I had to put my head down so I was looking at the floor rather than her.

She was to be my wife one day, but as of right now, she was an eleven-year-old girl, and the way I was reacting to her was not right.

She then spoke, and her voice sent a shiver down my spine. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

She spoke with intelligence and grace and was very much aware of what was happening within the families. I wasn’t expecting that at all.

Not dumb, but verdict is still out on the spoilt brat part.

What I was expecting was for her not to be okay with this whole arrangement. She made her feelings on the matter clear, and I couldn’t help but feel a bit rejected.

She wanted nothing to do with this marriage, and neither did I. So why was I feeling this way?

I was caught up in my own turmoil when I heard her leave the room. I looked to the office door and then back to Mr. and Mrs. Russo.

Did she just leave?

“She is quite an extraordinary young lady. You must both be quite proud of her,” my mother said with admiration in her eyes.

I had to agree. She took my breath away.

And more.

“We are very proud of her and the young woman she is becoming. Thank you, Stella.” Mrs. Russo said.

“Are you okay, Nikolas?” my father spoke as I turned to see sadness fall on Mr. Russo’s face.

“She is disappointed in me. I’m not used to seeing her looking at me like that. But she knows I would have never considered this unless it wasn’t a must.

“My wife and I love our daughter more than anything, and I hope you will look after her and keep her safe, young man. I don’t want this to end up hurting her in the long run.

“If you are anything like your father, then we will have no problems.”

He looked at me, and I can tell you now, I almost pissed my pants.

Don’t. Piss. Him. Off!

“I understand your concerns, Mr. and Mrs. Russo. I will not do anything to cause harm or pain to your daughter. My parents taught and raised me better than that.

“I might only be sixteen, but I will grow to become a better man and prove to you that I will be the man my father raised me to be.”

Both my parents smiled at me, and both Mr. and Mrs. Russo gave their approval. Now all I had to do was wait till she was twenty-one.

This would be the first and only time I would see her till our wedding day. She must remain “untouched,” and even though we were to be married, I was not allowed anywhere near her till then.

See you soon, wife.

 

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2

Olivia

Ten years later…

Some people would be happy they finished college. It was the start of their futures. A break into the world that had so many possibilities for them.

But not me.

The only thing the world offered me was a marriage that would be taking place in just a few short weeks.

What a shitshow.

I turned twenty-one a month ago, and that signaled the end of my life as I knew it. I told my father I did not want to celebrate my birthday, and he didn’t fight me on it.

He knew why.

To say our relationship was the same would be a lie. After my eleventh birthday, I became distant toward my father, only talking to him when I had to.

Man didn’t have a choice.

It was hard in the beginning, but once I left for college, it became easier.

I hated feeling this way toward him, but I couldn’t help it, and no one blamed me for it.

I was now of age, and I was to become Mrs. Olivia Romano.

It was all bullshit.

Everything had changed because of this marriage!

College was meant to last four years, but I had to complete it in three so I could marry. It didn’t bother me to do it, but the reasons behind it did.

I was smart, so I could have done it without the marriage forcing me to.

I had a dress fitting today with my mother and Mrs. Romano at Kleinfeld Bridal Shop in Manhattan. I was less than pleased, but I had to do it.

I never pretended to be happy about this day, and everyone knew it, but I never showed any disrespect toward my parents or the Romanos.

After my shower, I got dressed into my black pantsuit and white blouse with a pair of red high heels. I put my hair into a bun and headed downstairs to meet my mother.

“Good morning, sweetheart. Are you ready to go?” she greeted me with a kiss on the cheek.

“Good morning. Yes, I’m ready,” I say, grabbing my purse and phone from the table.

Let’s just get this over with.

We walk out of the house and climb into the back seat of the car.

I had my usual six bodyguards that came with me everywhere. The serious six!

It was quite normal for me whenever I left the house to never be left alone. It was like that everywhere I went, and I understood the reasons behind it.

They were all very nice men. My parents would throw an annual get-together once a year for all who worked for us. It was a great way to get to know everyone.

They were more like family to me.

We were all a very close family, and I loved it. But that would all change once I was married and had to move out.

It was horrible that I would no longer wake up in the same room anymore, or walk the hallways and help in the kitchen.

I’m going to miss the sweet potato fries.

We came to a stop, and I looked out the window to see the bridal shop. Waiting for the all clear, mother and I hopped out of the car, making our way into the store.

Once inside, we were greeted by Mrs. Romano. “Good morning, Olivia,” she said, giving me a warm hug, kissing me on the cheek.

“Good morning, Mrs. Romano,” I greeted her back.

“Oh, please, call me Stella, sweetheart. ‘Mrs. Romano’ makes me feel old,” she says while laughing.

I smile and nod as she makes her way to my mom.

I watched as my mom greeted Mrs. Romano. She is such a wonderful woman. She had a kind heart and funny personality. She could be quite dirty as well.

Which I loved!

We all walked to the back of the shop, and I was ushered into the changing room along with the dress I had helped design.

I may not want this marrage to happen, but it would be my only wedding, and I wanted my dress to be designed by me.

It was so nice of them to give me at least that.

The ladies helped me into it and brought me my shoes. Before I walked out, I took a good look in the mirror.

Wow!

The dress was stunning.

A simple elegant design in the front with a bateau neckline, low waist, and an original play of illusions on the back.

The lace on the back of the dress plays with the tattoo effect and the sensuality of the skin. It also had a small lace train as well.

The dress fit me like a second skin, showing off my curves.

I took a deep breath and walked out to show the others. I walked and stood on the platform in the middle of the fitting room and looked toward my mom and Mrs. Romano.

Tears filled my mom’s eyes as she sat there looking at me. A smile danced on her face, and I couldn’t help but smile back at her. I did feel special in this dress.

But I won’t tell them that.

Mrs. Romano was smiling brightly at me. “You designed this dress, Olivia?” she asked as I nodded my head yes.

“My child, you have done an amazing job. Turn around so I may see the back?” There was excitement in her voice.

I turned around and was greeted with a floor-length mirror. “It is perfect, sweetheart, absolutely perfect. How does it fit?”

“It fits fine. I don’t think it needs any alterations, just needs to be dry-cleaned and shipped to the house,” I say, turning back to face them.

“I agree. The dress fits you like a glove, darling. Have it cleaned and sent to this address as soon as possible, please,” my mom told one of the saleswomen as she took the address my mom gave her.

I walked back into the changing room and got dressed. We were to have lunch after this, and I was starving!

Sweet potato fries!

Handing the dress off to one of the ladies, we made our way out of the store and back into the car. Mrs. Romano got into her own car, and we all made our way to the restaurant.

I was glad that was over with. I was happy with the dress, but I was even more happy to be out of it knowing what it all meant.

Resting my head back, I closed my eyes. I wonder what Antonio was like ten years later. Was he rude? Arrogant? Cruel? I hoped not.

I knew my father would not agree to this if he was any of those things.

But people change over time. He would be twenty-six now—a man, not a boy.

***

Antonio

Thrusting in and out of Ashley under me was an amazing feeling.

The way her walls clamped around my dick brought me to my climax as I held onto the headboard with both hands while slamming into her over and over again.

Gonna need a new one soon!

Her loud moans filled the room, and it was sweet music to my ears. I looked down to see her eyes closed with a smile playing on her lips and her nails digging into my shoulders.

I could feel my balls tighten as my thrusts started to become urgent.

I started shooting my hot seed into the condom that was wrapped around my cock as I let out a few curse words.

Trying to get my breathing back under control, I began to pull out and rolled over onto my back.

Breathe, Antonio, before you fucking die!

“That was amazing, Antonio,” she said to me.

I look over to see that her lips are swollen and hair a knotted mess from the two rounds we had just gone through.

“Yes, it was,” I say as I run my hands over my face.

I got up and disposed of the condom. I then hopped into the shower and cleaned myself up. I felt hands wrap around my torso and a face on my back.

Ashley and I have been on and off for the past ten years. Once we got back from the Russo residence, I told her the truth and that this relationship would end up going nowhere.

To say she took it well would be a lie. She was pissed about the whole thing, and I couldn’t really blame her.

We broke it off but then got back together a few months later. Then I broke it off before I left for college.

After that, I ran into her again, and we have been fucking ever since. I wouldn’t go as far as to say we are together, but we do sleep with each other when the time is needed.

I know she understands I’ll be getting married in a few days and that this will probably have to stop.

If we continued to sleep with each other while I was married, my father would kill me—not to mention Mr. Russo.

The Hulk would crush me into a fine powder.

I had promised everyone I would give this marriage a go, but I might keep Ashley around.

I highly doubt Olivia would sleep with me straight away, or at all, and I was a man with needs that Ashley was more than happy to help with.

I wonder if she is as beautiful as I remember her to be? I remember the feeling she gave me and my mindset at the time, after meeting her.

The feelings that scared the shit out of me.

I still, however, get this feeling whenever my father or mother talk about her. It’s like I can’t help but eavesdrop and find out everything there is to know about her.

I did overhear mother talking about a dress fitting she went to with Olivia and her mother a few weeks ago. She said Olivia looked stunning.

I shake my head as the hot water continues to fall over me. All I can see is an eleven-year-old girl when they talk about her, not this stunning beauty according to my mother.

I snapped back to reality when I felt Ashley’s hands move down toward my cock and grab it.

Fuck!

I move her hands away and turn around. I can’t do this now. I have dinner with my parents in an hour, and I can’t be late.

Plus, I needed Ashley to leave before anyone saw her.

“I have plans,” is all I say and step out of the bathroom.

Ashley being Ashley follows me out of the room, dripping wet, as I grab a towel and wrap it around my waist.

“This is about that slut!” she snaps as I feel her anger rising.

Whoa! Calm down, lovely!

“She isn’t a slut, Ashley. You know this as well as I do, so don’t call her that,” I say, shaking my head.

“She is taking what is mine, so yeah, I think ‘slut’ is a nice fit for her,” she says as her hands go to her hips.

Did she just say I was hers?

I sigh, turning around to face a very mad and very red-faced woman.

“I am not yours, Ashley. I haven’t been yours since before I left for college eight years ago. You knew what this was, nothing more than sex, and that’s it.

“I am getting married in a few days, and there is nothing that will change it,” I tell her.

Well, wasn’t that the wrong thing to say.

“Really? Not mine! You are mine, Antonio, and don’t you forget it! If it weren’t for this whole marriage then we would still be together!

“And this is so much more than sex, so if you think we are stopping once you are married to that whore, then you are mistaken! You always will be mine, Antonio Romano!”

With that, she dresses and walks out of my room.

Fucking hell!

I should have never picked this back up with her. I knew she loved me, but this is getting out of hand and fast.

I run my fingers through my hair and get dressed in my jeans and black top. Making my way to my father’s office, I knock and wait to be called.

“Come in,” my dad says, and I open the door and walk in to take a seat in front of him.

“Good afternoon, son. I just need to finalize some of this paperwork and then I am all yours,” he says, not looking up from the yellow folders that are piled on top of his desk.

“Not a problem, Father,” I say, looking at him. He has aged a bit in the past ten years. Some would call it old age, but I call it stress.

Take a look at my future.

This job is not an easy one, and now I am looking at a man who will be me in the next thirty years.

He needs a holiday soon. The last time we went anywhere was when I was eighteen and we went to Mexico for my birthday.

Ooohhh, Mexico! Now that was a wild week.

He has worked hard his whole life; it is only fair I take over soon so he and Mom can relax and enjoy retirement. He is only forty-nine years old, but he looks much older these days.

“Okay, all done,” he says, sorting out the papers still on his desk.

He looks up at me and smiles. “Are you ready to go down for dinner?”

I nod and make my way to the door and down the stairs till we both reach the dining room.

“Sorry for keeping you waiting, my love,” he tells Mom while kissing her.

Normally, a lot of children would complain about their parents showing affection in front of them, but I rather like it. After all these years, they still love and respect each other.

Better growing up watching your parents kiss, than watching them fight consistently.

“Don’t make a habit of it.” My mother winks at him and lets out a small laugh as he slaps her ass.

I shack my head at this forty-nine-year-old man acting like a teenage boy. He only gets this way around Mom. He says she always makes him feel younger.

After that, we all sit down and wait for dinner to be served.

“So, how are you feeling? Only two more days, son,” Dad says, looking at me with a smile.

“I don’t know how I feel really. It is just something I have to do,” I say, taking a sip of my wine.

“You will try to make this marriage work, won’t you?” my mother says.

“Of course he will. There is too much riding on this for him not to.” He looks at me. “Olivia is a beautiful young woman, and I believe you will have a happy marriage ahead of you.

“You just need to give it time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Mom rolls her eyes at his last statement, and I can’t help but chuckle a bit.

That is my father’s motto. He says it at least four times a day.

“We both understand what you are feeling, sweetie. I hated the idea of marrying this old prune,” she says, gesturing to my father.

I couldn’t help but laugh while my fathers eyes almost popped out of his head.

“Old what!” he says, shocked.

“Oh, shh. Like you were thrilled to marry me at the time?” she tells my father while raising one eyebrow.

“No, I wasn’t, but was the old prune part really necessary?” He mumbled, crossing his arms in front of him.

My father is a man-child.

My mother just shrugged her shoulders. “Your father and I were against this whole thing. We wanted nothing to do with each other.

“I remember for the first few months I would avoid him at every turn.” She let out a small laugh.

“But one day, there was a breach at the house. They cut the alarms, so I had no idea what was happening. They broke into our bedroom and tried to take me. I was beyond scared.

“I remember screaming for your father, and before I knew it, he was there, ripping the men off me and killing them with his bare hands. I remember watching him as he protected me.

“I remember the look he gave me once he came to see if I was okay.”

She then looked to my father and smiled. My father was smiling brightly back at her.

“I fell in love with him that day and didn’t try to avoid him anymore. I knew despite everything that he would always keep me safe and loved, and I have never looked back.

“I’m not saying the same thing will happen with both you and Olivia, but your father and I are proof that it can work. Just give it time.”

I was still looking at my mother. They are the only people that do know what I am going through. Maybe after time, my feelings will grow into something more? Maybe the same thing will happen with her too?

Nah, not possible.

I nod my head as I stand and walk to hug my mother.

“I will try,” I whisper in her ear.

“Thank you, son,” she says, embracing me.

I pull back and take my seat. “How is the wedding coming along?” I ask, expecting some big, fancy spectacle.

“It is coming along quite nicely. The ceremony will take place at Saint Paul’s Church, then a small quiet reception at the Russo Estate.

“Olivia didn’t what the day to be a circus—only family and close friends, nothing more. But it will be elegant.”

I nod my head and continue to eat dinner. I was expecting an over-the-top wedding with all the bells and whistles. Guess I was wrong about that too.

“On the day, you, your father, and the groomsmen will get ready here before heading to the church. The cars will be here at 10 a.m. sharp, so make sure to get plenty of sleep the night before.

“We will be at the church by 11:30 a.m.. Gives you thirty minutes to calm your nerves before she arrives.”

“You women have done it all then,” my father says with a smile.

“Can’t leave this day in the hands of men, or nothing will get done,” my mother says, winking at my father.

After dinner is finished, I head to my room and let the darkness overtake me. Today has been a hard day, and it is only going to get harder for me.

***

Vincent (Mr. Romano)

Finally relaxing in bed after a fucking shit day, I close my eyes and try to relax my mind when I feel the soft hands of the love of my life resting on my chest.

I instantly calm down and look at her. God, how did I get so lucky? I run my fingers up and down her arms, and we relax into each other.

“Do you really think Antonio will give this marriage a chance?” she asks, not looking at me.

She knows my answer.

“No, I am sure he won’t. He is still sleeping with Ashley, and I doubt that will end once he is married.” I sigh and shake my head.

“What are we going to do then? Olivia has turned into the most stunning woman and has a heart of gold. Antonio will only hurt her, and that is something we must not let happen.

“What will Nikolas do if he finds out about Ashley? He isn’t going to go easy on him for hurting his daughter,” she says as worry and fear grip her.

“Maybe that’s what he needs,” I say and look down.

Her eyes are wide and mouth open. “You can’t be serious! Vincent! He will beat him to within an inch of his life if he finds out.”

She pushes away from me as I pull her right back into my arms were she belongs.

“We have been speaking to him for the past ten years, Stella. He understands the consequence if he crosses Nikolas Russo. What more can we do?

“Once they are married, that’s that. We can’t interfere like we do now.”

She looks down at her hands and nods.

She knows just as I do that we have given Antonio plenty of time and warning about this and that he will be digging his own grave if he hurts her in any way.

“Sleep, my love. Tomorrow is another day.” I kiss her lips and drift off with her sleeping in my arms.

 

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The Millennium Wolves

Sienna is a nineteen-year-old werewolf with a secret: she’s a virgin. The only virgin in the pack. She’s dead set on making it through this year’s Haze without giving into her primal urges — but when she meets Aiden, the alpha, she forgets all about her self-control.

Age Rating: 18+

The Tech Billionaire’s Assistant

Octavia Wilde knows exactly the kind of person her boss is: a ruthless billionaire who only notices other people when they fail him. Raemon Kentworth has never hid that—why would he bother? He’s one of the hottest guys on the planet and on his way to owning it all. Things like caring about his employees are beneath him…that is, until he meets Octavia. Now all bets are off.

Age Rating: 18+ (Trigger Warning: Kidnapping, Violence.)

Artemis’ Gift

Penelope is human, but after being raised by a werewolf Alpha…well, let’s just say she’s different from other humans. She also carries the mark of the Huntress, which gives her special abilities. Still, Penelope never dreamed that her powers would have any effect on the Alpha King, Sirius, who hates all humans—or that there would be a bond between them. What will Sirius do when he finds out that his destined mate is human? Will he choose hate…or love?

Age Rating: 18+

The Goal

She’s good at achieving her goals…College senior Sabrina James has her whole future planned out: graduate from college, kick butt in law school, and land a high-paying job at a cutthroat firm. Her path to escaping her shameful past certainly doesn’t include a gorgeous hockey player who believes in love at first sight. One night of sizzling heat and surprising tenderness is all she’s willing to give John Tucker, but sometimes, one night is all it takes for your entire life to change.

But the game just got a whole lot more complicated. Tucker believes being a team player is as important as being the star. On the ice, he’s fine staying out of the spotlight, but when it comes to becoming a daddy at the age of twenty-two, he refuses to be a bench warmer. It doesn’t hurt that the soon-to-be mother of his child is beautiful, whip-smart, and keeps him on his toes. The problem is, Sabrina’s heart is locked up tight, and the fiery brunette is too stubborn to accept his help. If he wants a life with the woman of his dreams, he’ll have to convince her that some goals can only be made with an assist.

Luna with Green Eyes

Cressa had what she considered to be the perfect life. A loving family and a loyal pack, what else could a werewolf need? That all changed the day a sadistic Alpha arrived and claimed she was his. Now, on the run and fighting for her life, there’s only so much she can take, but will she break or become stronger than ever?

Age Rating: 18+ (Content Warning: Abuse, Violence, Sexual Abuse)

Sharing Delilah

Delilah has spent her entire life searching for her mate, which is ironic because as a powerful witch, one of her duties is to help werewolves find theirs—not an easy task! Now she’s being sent to a pack run by two alphas, brothers Seth and Cole. The brothers aren’t good at sharing, especially when it comes to women… Imagine how much worse it is when they discover their mate is the same person!

Age Rating: 18+

Note: This story is the author’s original version and does not have sound.

Lessons from a One-Night Stand

If you’re a guy like me, and you find yourself having banged your sexy new boss—the school principal—in the back of your Jeep one drunken night, here’s a few takeaways based on my experience…

1) Always get her FULL name.

2) Consider asking what she does for a living.

3) Find out why she’s moved to town. Get details. Details are crucial.

4) Don’t alter her bio in front of an auditorium of high school students unless you know she has a sense of humor for that sort of thing.

5) If you ignore Lesson Four, apologize instead of flirt when you’re sent to the principal’s office.

6) NEVER sleep with her again.

7) Pay attention to this one—it’s the most important of them all. Don’t fall for your one-night stand.

Class dismissed.

Lilly’s King

Earth is under attack from a race of monstrous aliens who want nothing more than the total destruction of humanity. Lilly and her younger sister are caught right in the middle of it and are facing certain death…until the gorgeous warrior king Bor arrives from another planet and saves them. His mission is to protect all humans, but now he only has eyes for Lilly. Will his duty stand in the way of love, or will he sacrifice everything for her?

Age Rating: 18+

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