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Hard. Dominant. Overbearing & Insufferable.
The man I agreed to marry.

My biggest mistake has a name.
Tobias Moretti. Tall, dark and dangerous and the head of the largest crime family this area has ever seen.
Brooding, mysterious and so hot he melts the resolve of any woman he meets.
Did I mention he was rich? Then again, my billion-dollar inheritance may have something to do with the deal we just made.

Marry him and escape my hated past.

Play the trophy wife in public and then get on with my day in private – alone.

No other men and a life with everything I could ever want - except love.

How can you miss what you never had in the first place?

At least I’d have my freedom – think again.

It turns out my freedom is the last thing I can have. Guarded by men in black suits and forbidden to go out alone.

A trapped bird in a cage filled with luxury.

Then it changes.

The terms of our contract have been re-written. He wants a wife but not in name only.

Yes, my biggest mistake wants it all. He wants to own my mind, body and soul and I don’t get a say in the matter.

Tobias.

I like to own the best that money can buy.

I like to surround myself with beauty and Art.

I want the best and don’t care how far I go to own it.

She is about to discover that I always go a step too far.

She has given up everything to be my wife but there is still one valuable asset she owns that causes the feral beast in me to growl.

Her innocence.

My world is a dark and dangerous place full of nightmares that never go away.

My princess is about to wake up and discover the prince who rescued her from the tower is the beast in disguise and I will look forward to her hearing me roar as I claim the innocence of my virgin bride.

Yes, I can live without love but I can’t live without that and nothing is going to stand in my way because what Tobias Moretti wants – he gets, over and over again.

 

From the Amazon top 100 bestselling Author Stella Andrews, a dark tale of love, lust and twisted happy ever afters. Full of heat and no holding back. Fast-paced and thrilling, delving into a world where the shadows claim your soul. One wild ride with a HEA guaranteed. Lock the door and put your feet up – you’re going nowhere.

Chapter One

1

ANASTASIA

 

I see them coming. The sleek, dark cars, rolling into the drive, one behind the other, here to seal my fate. Powerful machines that hide their occupants from a world that would be a much better place without them in it.

I watch with morbid fascination as they come to a slow stop and the passenger doors on each individual car open. Identical men in black suits step into the light, shielding their eyes from the glare of the sun with the blackest shade.

There’s a silent menace that surrounds them, and I shiver.

But they are not the ones here for me.

 He is.

The man who has yet to show himself but I know lurks inside the middle car like a King closely guarded by his minions.

My fiancé.

My heart beats so fast I’m sure he can hear it and can probably taste my fear because it’s there, deep within me, growing by the second as I contemplate what a mistake I’ve just made.

I signed my life away to move from one prison to another.

“Anastasia, they’re here, get your things.”

I don’t turn around because my mother no longer calls the shots. She gave up that right when she engineered this sham of a marriage.

“Did you hear me, hurry, we don’t want to keep Mr. Moretti waiting.”

I carry on watching from the window and he still doesn’t emerge from the car. Can he see me? Of course, he can. I expect it amuses him to see his caged bird waiting to swap one cage for another. He is probably reveling in the moment he gains another possession to add to his pile.

The men stand with their backs to the cars as if waiting for orders, and they probably are.

“Anastasia, I said, hurry up—now.”

Mom’s voice is high and panicked. She won’t rest until I’m safely inside one of those black cars and out of her hair because I’m in no doubt she is scared. Any sane person would be when a monster comes calling. Not me, all I feel is curiosity.

She moves across and pulls my arm and I stumble a little. In a tight, angry voice, she whispers, “Don’t make me pull you out of here by your hair, you ungrateful child.”

I have no tears to waste on this pathetic excuse for a mother, so I snatch my arm back angrily and snarl, “Tell him to come and get me.”

“What?”

Mom’s voice is shocked and I smile inside. “Come and get you, are you mad? Nobody asks Mr. Moretti to do anything, don’t be a fool, Anastasia and just get your things and go, they’re waiting.”

“I said, tell him to come and get me.”

I stare out of the window and take some pleasure in picturing him inside his car, having to wait. I’m guessing he never has to wait. In fact, I’m surprised he’s even here at all. He could have sent a car and carried on with his day. Maybe he has but then again, I know he’s there, watching me from behind the tinted glass, probably growing more irritated by the second and it amuses me to play with the last shred of power I hold.

So, I stare at the middle car and giggle inside as I’m tempted to give him my middle finger. Then again, how would that look? His new wife setting in place the tone of their relationship before it’s even got off the ground.

“Anastasia, honey, please, don’t make me ask him.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s not right, he may change his mind and then where would we be?”

I shrug. “We would be fine.”

A gentle voice says softly, “Honey, are you ok?”

The tears prick like acid behind my eyes as the only woman I love inside these walls voices her concern. Martha, my former nanny, and now our housekeeper enters the room.

“I’m fine.” I inject a little warmth into my voice because she has earned it over the years. She’s been more like a mother to Angel and me and deserves some respect. “Can you ask Mr. Moretti to come and collect my cases, please Martha?”

My mom’s sharp intake of breath makes me smile inside and I can only imagine the look they share as Martha leaves the room as quietly as she entered it.

Mom hisses, “You always were a difficult child, there’s no reasoning with you when you’re in one of your moods. If this all goes wrong, it’s your fault you ungrateful bitch.”

Once again, I say nothing because I’m tired. Tired of trying to live up to her high expectations. Tired of trying to win her approval by allowing her to push me around and tired of life. Am I being difficult, hell yeah, because this is the last piece of control I have? After today I’ll have none because Tobias Moretti will have what he wants, mom will have what she wants, and once again, it will be because I let them.

The door slams and I breathe a sigh of relief. She’s gone.

Pressing my face to the window, I don’t care if he sees me. He must know this isn’t my choice, and yet he is still seeing it through. I’m not stupid, even though they all think I am. I fight the bitterness that’s sat with me my whole life. Now I have something of value a man such as him wants, and this is the trade-off. Marry Tobias Moretti and he gains control of my shares in Johnson’s plastics, a company formed by my father and now ran by my sister and her boyfriend Sebastian Stone - my former fiancé. Yes, life’s a bitch and I had the misfortune to be raised by the biggest one of all. Mirabelle Johnson, widow of Harvey Johnson, a vile man whose only pleasure in life was making money and screwing around behind his wife’s back. How ironic that his daughter will marry a man exactly like him because this marriage is an arrangement. A business deal that sets me free from my mom and free to live my own solitary life away from her.

I doubt I’ll even see my husband much, which is fine by me because I don’t even know the man. Only what I discovered when I stalked him online.

Tobias Moretti, tall, dark and dangerous and the head of the largest crime family this area has ever seen. He hides behind respectability, buying up failing businesses and turning them around. But it’s well known that the real business he runs is underground. Nobody messes with the Moretti family—they would be a fool if they did. Which is why I feel the excitement building inside as I make the man himself wait and listen to my immature demands.

Martha walks across the drive toward the middle car and I see her talking urgently to one of the men in suits. I can only imagine her apologetic request and my heart hardens. How dare they wait outside without even the courtesy of pretending to care for my feelings?

The man knocks on the window of the middle car and I watch the window lower and he leans down and speaks to the person inside. I hold my breath as my heart beats frantically inside and feel the excitement grip me as I picture his anger. Will he come? This will be interesting.

Then the man straightens up and I watch in disbelief as he reaches for the handle and swings the door open. My mouth goes dry as a leg swings out, closely followed by a man dressed in a well-tailored suit. He looks up and our eyes meet across the distance, and there’s no mistaking the power in those eyes. Two dark pools of danger defy the sun and stare right at me. The man they belong to makes my soul weep and my heart pound mercilessly inside me. You’re a fool. My inner voice mocks me as I stare at the man I’m to call my husband and I see the promise in those eyes.

As my heart beats furiously, my legs tremble and my breath hitches, I know that man is dangerous and now I’m in more trouble than I ever thought possible.