When Cora Thanos and Noah Vaillant are forced to get married as part of their parents' business contract, they think things couldn't be any worse. Noah swears he won't touch Cora as long as he lives, and Cora thinks the same. But Noah can't deny Cora's incredible beauty. Likewise, Cora can't help but feel attracted to the man she supposedly can't stand. As crazy exes and greedy relatives close in on them, Cora and Noah will have to band together to survive and find the love they've always dreamed of.
Age Rating: 18+
Cora’s father, Adonis, was the owner of a thriving vineyard. His wine was world-famous, but it wasn’t always that way. For years he’d struggled, until he met Oscar Vaillant.
When the man showed up in Greece and sampled the wine, he knew Adonis was close to being bankrupt. He agreed to give Adonis the money to keep his business alive.
Oscar even helped Adonis promote his wine all over the world. But there was one catch. Adonis had to promise his firstborn daughter’s hand in marriage to his only son.
Since Adonis’s wife, Maya, was expecting and knew they were having a girl, he agreed.
Adonis was also expected to keep his daughter away from other men to make sure she remained a virgin until she married Oscar’s son.
The deal was made, and the wedding was to take place on her twentieth birthday.
When Cora became old enough to understand, her parents drilled it into her head that it was her duty to marry the man who was chosen for her.
She was homeschooled and had few friends. She grew up shy and quiet, never speaking back to her parents.
Noah Vaillant grew up and lived in the south of France. People would say he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father was a wealthy real estate broker who owned businesses all over the world.
He also owned several bars and restaurants in France, which he let Noah take over and run, along with one of the best hotels around.
The son was drop-dead gorgeous. He played the field and always had a different woman on his arm. He liked the single life, loved sex, and never wanted to settle down with one woman.
He knew about the arranged marriage and only agreed to it when his father said he would disown him if he didn’t, leaving him broke and penniless.
The icing on the cake was when his father said he would someday turn over his dynasty to him.
The wedding was to be held in Greece. Then, he and his bride would fly back to France and move into the home he’d bought a couple of years ago.
To this day, he had no idea what she looked like and hoped she was a little attractive. After all, he did have a reputation to uphold. How would it look to others if she was plain?
But no matter what, he was not going to make love to her. It was going to be a sexless marriage as far as he was concerned.
He had no idea there was another part of the deal that he needed to fulfill to get what his father promised him. But he would soon find out.
The night before the wedding, Cora was sitting on the cushioned bench by her window, looking out at the stars twinkling above in the sky.
How she wished that she could have grown up like other girls, going to school, making friends, and dating. But sadly, she was kept home, always surrounded by her parents.
The only time she went out was with them. In a few short hours, she would be a married woman. She was afraid. Afraid of what her future would be like married to a stranger.
Would he be kind and gentle or would he be cruel and keep her as a prisoner in his home? She didn’t even know what he looked like. All her father said was that he was a handsome man.
She turned her head toward the door when she heard a knock and saw her mother walk in carrying a tray. There was a mug and a small box sitting on it.
“Hi, sweetheart. I brought you some tea to help you sleep. You need to look your best tomorrow for your wedding.” She went over to the bench and placed the tray down.
“Mom, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and I don’t want to get married.”
Maya lowered her head and rubbed her forehead. “Sweetheart, it is a done deal. There is no getting out of it now.”
“Mom, please talk to Dad. It’s not too late.” She looked at her mother and saw the worry lines on her face.
Her mother was still a very beautiful woman, her hair dark. Being almost sixty, she looked much younger.
“Cora, we will have no more talk about it. We must not upset your father.” She looked up and smiled at her daughter. “Noah Vaillant has sent you a gift. He wishes you to wear them now. Go on, open it.”
Taking a deep breath, Cora reached for the box. Opening it, she saw a beautiful diamond ring with a huge stone and small diamonds that ran down both sides. There was also a matching wedding band.
Maya took it from Cora’s hand. “He has excellent taste. This here must have cost him a fortune,” she said. Taking her daughter’s hand, she placed the rings on her finger.
“Yes, they are beautiful. He is a very rich man and will be even more so someday. You will never want for anything.”
“What about love, Mom?”
She looked at her daughter with a raised eyebrow. “What about love?”
“Mom, shouldn’t people be in love before they get married? I have never met this man and I know nothing about him.”
“Sweetheart, love has nothing to do with it. It is an arranged marriage.”
“Did you not love dad before you married him?”
“I guess it’s time you learned the truth about your father and me. Our marriage was also arranged by our parents.
“I did not know him and I was not in love with him, but as time went by we grew very fond of each other.”
“Just fond of each other? Are you telling me that to this day you are not in love with Dad?”
“We care about each other, I respect him, and that’s what’s important: to respect your husband. My darling, love is just a fantasy. Those who think they are in love end up being hurt and disappointed.”
Cora sat there listening to her mother talk, shocked when she realized there was no love between her parents.
But now that she thought about it, when she was growing up, her father was always a bit cold toward her mother. There was never any show of affection between them.
Her mother, on the other hand, catered to her father, never arguing or talking back. Whatever he said, that was the way it went. “But I want a marriage where there is love.”
Maya took Cora’s chin in her hand. “You have been reading too many romance books and watching too many love stories on TV. Marriage is not about love; it is about respect.
“Tomorrow you will become Mrs. Vaillant. As his wife, there will be certain things expected from you. First, you must respect your husband and obey him.
“Second, it is your duty to let him get pleasure from your body. I only hope that he will be gentle with you the first time. Never deny your husband. Make him happy and I’m sure he will be good to you.”
Cora’s face went pale and her heart started racing. She had never really given sex much thought until now, and it scared the hell out of her. “Mom, I’m a virgin and I’m afraid.”
“I know you are, baby. The first time it will hurt a little and you will experience some pain, but after the first couple of times, you will start to feel some pleasure.
“You might even enjoy it. Some women do and some don’t. Now you drink your tea and get some rest and I’ll see you first thing in the morning. I do love you. Good night.”
After her mother left, Cora sat there looking at the rings on her finger. She knew nothing about sex. Hell, she had never even been kissed by a boy, so she had no idea what to expect.
She had seen some TV shows where the couples were having sex, but it didn’t show much. No, she did not want a loveless marriage or to have sex with a man she was not in love with.
Okay, so she was being forced to marry a stranger, but that didn’t mean that she had to be like her mother and give in to a man she did not know or care about.
Noah was sitting in the family jet with his parents and his best friend, who was standing up with him at the wedding.
They would soon be landing in Greece, where they had booked a hotel room to stay in before the wedding.
“I still can’t believe you’re going along with this ridiculous marriage. Do you even know what the girl looks like?
“She could be a real dog for all you know,” Barry said, taking a long swallow of his whiskey.
Noah rubbed his chin as he looked at his friend. “I really don’t have any choice. I don’t give a damn what the girl looks like because I have no intention of having sex with her.”
“So what about all of your female friends? I don’t think they’re going to be happy when they find out that you’re a married man.”
Looking back at Barry, Noah smirked. “I honestly doubt that they will care if I’m married or not. I think that will even attract more babes my way.”
Barry looked over at the other end of the plane where Noah’s parents were sitting. “I just can’t believe that in this day and age, there are still such things as arranged marriages.
“Have they not told you anything about this girl that you’re about to marry?”
“Not really, they said she turns twenty tomorrow and she’s apparently still a virgin. Poor girl, it looks like she’s going to remain one for a very long time.
“I tried googling a picture of her but there’s nothing about her anywhere. No Facebook account, no Twitter, nothing.
“I can’t believe they’re making me take her to their villa in Spain for a week’s honeymoon. What the hell am I supposed to do with her for a week?”
“Don’t be such a prick about it. Take her sightseeing, keep her so busy that she’ll be too tired at night to expect sex. Then again, if she’s half good-looking why not go ahead and bang her brains out?”
Noah looked at his best friend and shook his head. “Because then she will expect it all the time. After all, I am that good,” he said, winking at Barry.
“God, Noah, you are one arrogant son of a bitch,” he replied, laughing.
As the plane was landing, Noah looked over at his parents. They were both in their mid-sixties and still in great shape for their age.
His father was tall, lean, and quite muscular. His mother was a petite blonde who also kept herself in excellent shape, but a lot of that was cosmetics.
The two spent a lot of time apart from each other, usually taking separate vacations. There wasn’t a whole lot of love between them, but neither one wanted to divorce.
Divorcing would mean having to give up a huge chunk of their wealth, and neither one was willing to do that.
He never had any real proof, but he always knew that both of them had had several different lovers throughout their marriage.
After the plane landed, they all got into the limousine that was waiting for them and were taken to the hotel.
During the walk through the hotel lobby, Noah couldn’t keep his eyes off of all of the beautiful women. Even Barry was drooling.
“Too bad you can’t get a piece of the action tonight since you’re getting married in the morning.”
Noah looked at his friend and smirked. “Who says I can’t?”
“I say so.”
Both Noah and Barry turned around to find his father standing there. “Father, would you deny me one last fling?”
“You listen to me and listen well. We are in Greece, where Mr. Thanos is well known, and many of these people will report back to him if they see you doing something inappropriate.
“You can keep it in your pants for one night. Just go to your room, have a couple of drinks, and get a good night’s sleep.
“It’s going to be a very long day for you tomorrow and I don’t want you screwing things up.” He looked over at Barry. “I expect you to keep my son company and out of trouble.”
“Yes sir,” he replied. When the older man’s back was turned, he saluted him. “Damn Noah, I don’t know how you put up with your father. He treats you more like a servant than he does his son.”
“Let’s just go to our room.” Yes, he too hated the way his father treated him. Noah thanked God he had his own home and didn’t have to live with him and put up with all of his crap.
After getting settled into his room, Barry showed up with a bottle of scotch and two glasses in his hands.
“We may not be able to go out and party, but we can have a few drinks tonight and watch some porn.”
Sitting down on the sofa, Barry turned on the TV and found the porn site he was looking for while Noah poured them each a large scotch.
Even though it was getting late, they ordered some room service. They were both half in the bag when they decided it was time to turn in.
Barry stumbled back to his room and Noah went over to the bed and flopped down. He groaned when he looked at the clock and realized he had to be up in less than five hours.
Closing his eyes, he was fast asleep within minutes.
He opened his eyes when he heard the banging at the door. With his head throbbing and his throat dry, he climbed out of bed and went over to open the door.
“Stop banging on the fucking door,” he cursed. There were his father and mother, standing with scowls on their faces.
“Do you know what time it is? And you smell of booze,” Oscar snapped at him.
Noah moved aside to let his parents in. “Give me a break, I still got plenty of time before this stupid wedding starts.”
“Son, I want you to go take a shower and I will order you up some coffee. You must sober up and not be late for your wedding.
“We do not want to insult Mr. Thanos and his family,” Emma said, practically pushing him toward the bathroom.
“Okay, Mom. You don’t have to come in with me you know.”
“Noah, your mother and I will be waiting for you downstairs in the dining room. I expect you to be on your best behavior and to be respectful.”
“Don’t worry Father, I’ll be a good boy,” he replied sarcastically.
When he came out of the shower with a towel wrapped around his waist, Barry was there and so was a large pot of coffee. “Pour me one of those, will you buddy?”
“Damn dude, you look as bad as I feel,” Barry said as he handed him a cup of coffee.
Finishing his coffee, Noah got changed into jeans and a shirt. After he was dressed, he and Barry headed downstairs to meet his parents. “I wanted to thank you for coming with me.”
“Noah, are you kidding me? There’s no way I would miss a trip to Greece. And to think that I get to stay here for a few days while you go off on your honeymoon.
“I’ve even got my eye on one of the maids in the hotel, so I know I’m going to have fun, but I’m not so sure about you,” he said, laughing and earning a punch in the arm from his friend.
“Hey dude, not so hard.”
After having breakfast, it was time to go back to their rooms and get into their clothes for the wedding. Noah was not looking forward to it.
He had heard about Greek weddings and wasn’t too thrilled about them. For one thing, the only people he knew were his parents and Barry.
Everyone else was going to be a stranger, since no one from his side was going to be there, which was fine with him. It’s not like he was excited about this marriage or even wanted it.
So why would he want anyone he knew there? He just wanted to get the whole thing over with so that he could go back home.