Love Arrangements - Book cover

Love Arrangements

O.C. Andrea

Prologue

ANGELA

My life was spectacular. You could say I was a so-called modern bohemian artist, although not a struggling one. Far from it, I was ridiculously rich.

Obviously, I intended to make the most of it. Fresh out of college with an arts degree, I would usually spend my days painting.

My nights, on the other hand, were almost always spent at some fabulous artsy party with my friends and fellow painting enthusiasts. Or at various posh events accompanying my grandmother.

Did I enjoy the latter ones?

Not in particular, but I could never say no to Nana. No one knew me or understood my passion like she did, always being there for me, no matter what, through all of my highs and lows.

Sure, you’d probably think all those ritzy events were just convoluted setups designed to land me in some convenient marriage.

Fortunately for me, that was not the case, despite all the pressure my grandmother was under to secure a fitting successor. A capable one, able to take over as a young-blooded but sharp-minded CEO, thus allowing her to retire.

Essentially, everything I wasn’t. Still, she didn’t budge.

So was I really the heir that my grandma wished for her multimillion-dollar empire? I’d say definitely not. I had no business bone in my body. Then again, neither did my mother.

Probably why she disappeared one night when I was one, never to be heard from again. But not before dropping me off at my grandparents’ door and bolting without a word.

The shock made my grandfather’s mental condition worsen and eventually claim him for good. But Nana loved me nonetheless and spoiled me rotten. Everyone knew she adored me, and I adored her just as much.

Which is part of the problem that landed me here. Where is this, you might wonder? A mental institution. Yup. And contrary to popular belief, it had nothing to do with my lifestyle.

I mean, sort of. But I should probably give you some backstory.

It all started the day my grandma died. And I lost it. Completely going off the rails and spiraling, with reality eluding me entirely. Or so I thought.

So, here I am. Totally at his mercy. And let me tell you—despite his angelic appearance with his overall picture-perfect face and delightful body, his gaze burns my skin.

Dr. Xavier Knights despises me; that much is clear. But I can’t and won’t give up. No matter what, I’ll never give up. I need him as much as he needs me. Besides, this isn’t a real marriage. And it’s sure as hell not for forever.

This is a business deal—nothing more, nothing less. Though time is something I don't have, and he’s proving to be a tough nut to crack.

One way or another, he’s going to sign that contract. He’s my only hope of claiming my life back and getting my revenge.

I am, after all, Alitta Carson’s granddaughter. And she was anything but a quitter. Nor am I.

XAVIER

I was never supposed to be here. This was never my plan.

I always dreamed of taking over my dad’s company and when the day finally came, obviously, that plan went to shit, and the rug was pulled from right under my feet.

It all started with one random newspaper publishing a defamatory article about my father. Then the IRS came knocking just days later. Everything they found pointed to my father embezzling money.

He swore he wasn’t at fault, but innocent men don’t flee the country in the middle of the night. Or at least not without as much as a peep at their own flesh and blood.

One month later, a so-called angel-in-disguise made the executive board an offer they couldn’t refuse. So, I lost the only life I ever knew, and Knights Industries was no more—in the blink of an eye.

Have I mentioned I also became a pariah overnight?

Of course, I did. Nobody believed my dad was able to pull everything off solo, including his magical disappearing act. But they couldn’t tie me to anything. Still, that hasn’t stopped the Manhattan elite from shunning me entirely.

So, I had to use the little connections I still had and all my charm—because, let’s face it, I am a handsome motherfucker—to land this godforsaken job.

Do I love working in a mental institution? Not by a fucking long shot. But it’s not like I have the money now to open my own practice.

I should have listened to my dad’s sixth wife and gone for a plastic surgery residency. I would have been loaded.

But no, I had to be the good son and always follow the plan, always run with the script, and always surpass expectations. And look how fucking perfect it all worked out for me!

The only silver lining was finding out that my old man had apparently set some cushion money aside in my name in an escrow account. It wasn’t a lot; it was just something to fall back on.

But something had nagged me all along. Various papers making wild claims weren’t something new, so why was this so different? This had foul play written all over it. My intuition was never wrong, so I did some digging.

Was I shocked to find out that our biggest rival took over our company and most definitely had a hand in the entire defamatory process? Not really.

However, finding her granddaughter inside my office for a psychiatric evaluation on what was supposed to be my day off? Call me fucking speechless.

Though everything else that followed really knocked my breath out for the first time in my life. And I was too stunned to speak, let alone think.

A one-year partnership. Getting my coveted CEO position back. Revenge. My life and status restored. Not to mention Angela Carson is definitely a looker, to sweeten the deal.

She’s giving me everything I ever wished for. Actually, even more; all I have to do is sign on that dotted line. It’s that simple.

So why does that feel like I’m selling my soul? Probably because I fucking hate her and I’d rather rot in this hellhole than help her.

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