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Christian's Bride (The Bargain)

Christian's Bride (The Bargain)

Ava Jean

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“What are those for?” she asked, referring to the cuffs dangling from my fingers, her eyes showing scared and intrigued. She looked so fragile yet sinful and so unearthly – my sexy, innocent fireball. “Your wrist and ankles, baby,” I whispered into her ears, the bulge in my pants threatening to break out. …. Alexia’s painful past made her an object of scorn until a billionaire sex freak took her as his bride—A bargain. Alexia had nothing to lose even though Christian was everything her innocent heart warned her against. Cold, excessively rich, dangerously handsome, and a playboy. Christian’s attraction to Alexia was palpable, intoxicating, sinful, and consuming that the hair on her skin stood up from the slightest touch. Christian was reluctant to defy the rules he had set to make Alexia his, but winning this broken, beautiful woman’s trust would be his greatest battle. But then again, rules are meant to be broken, yeah?

Chapter 1 Prologue

Chapter one

From the way he was dressed, I could surmise that Albert was here for the wedding—he looked charming as usual. His Armani gray suit gave more compliments to his color but why did my heart feel like jumping out of its cage?. My heart squeezed in my chest. I feared I wouldn't be able to breathe ever again.

"Why the hell are you late for your wedding?" His father thundered while his mother did a once over at him and busted into a disgusting fit of laughter.

"He was taking his time obviously" she whined in mockery.

"Albert… what happened?" My voice came out tiny and cranky. My eyes were puffy and red from unshed tears and I wasn't sure what I would be like after all this humiliation was done. I placed my hand on his arm but he flinched away, causing my hands to fall limply by my side.

His mother snickered and the clamoring in the church heightened—Thea stood transfixed on her spot.

"If you are ready, let us commence the wedding already," Father Christopher said through the public address system. I heard him clearly and so did every other person in the church but none of us moved. Was he clueless? "Our soon-to-be couples, if you are…" Albert interrupted the old priest from finishing his statement.

"Yes, let's get started," Albert said, walking towards the altar. What should I do? Should I go after him? For fucks sake why would anybody show up at his wedding —claiming to be ready to get married in a pajama slide?

"Okay, let's go get you married, '' Mrs. West spurred, clapping her hands dramatically. Mr. shifted from his wife to his son in distress. He was silently begging for the both of them to call off this madness. What did I ever do to make Mrs. Macaroni West hate me this much? From pouring drinks on my body to…. I broke out of my reverie from the sound of someone hearing their throat. Thea subtly pinched me to get my attention. I looked up and saw both Albert and Father Christopher waiting for me at the altar. The flag was waving in all shades of red but I ignored it and went still and like I hadn't thought in my wildest dreams ever, I was getting married subconsciously.

"The vows," The priest said, causing me to be aware of my situation once again. Another chance to salvage the last of my dignity but… the atmosphere was thick and the tension palpable. I was anxious as I sweated in all the unimaginable places. I cleared my throat as I got ready to say my vow.

"I, Alexis Marier Luiz, chooses you Albert West to me my husband before in this congregation—to love and to cherish, to have and to hold for better or worse, from richer to poorer, in sickness and in health, through all the time of our lives until death do us part" I finalized my vow.

Thea heaved a sigh of anguish and mumbled "what the hell Lexie?" Her breath fanned the neck at the back of my neck, a slight reminder of what I was supposed to do but I ignored it. The audience was going wild in murmurs and Mrs. West was having the time of her life, as she watched me repeatedly make a fool of myself. The atmosphere wasn't right and Albert didn't look all-ready but he was here with me on the altar, willing and ready to get married to me; to hell with whatever anybody has to say.

Albert cleared his throat as he got ready to say his vows. He brought out a piece of neatly folded paper from his pocket before flashing me a smile. Surprisingly, he turned to face the congregation.

"My greetings to all of you and my apologies for keeping you all waiting" Albert started but broke off to remove a neatly folded paper from his pocket. Was that proper? I mean was it okay to acknowledge your guest in that manner while taking your vows?

Turning to look at me he continued…

"Alexis Marie Luiz, you are the most amazing woman I know and the prettiest too. You taught me things that I'm grateful for. I won't lie, you sharpened my senses and because of you, I'd come to understand what it means to love. ``His voice was baritone and so husky, kissing away every form of anger and embarrassment I felt before now. God, I never knew he could be this sweet. I slightly turned to look at Thea and she had this "this wasn't what I was expecting kind of look" well, not just you girl, me, and every other person here in this church. Mr. West had a relaxed smile, the priest looked like he was officiating a real wedding, and Mrs. West, well, she was indifferent.

"I'm grateful for what you are to me and for teaching me what it means to love—it is because of this I realized the trueness of what I feel for you" he looked up from the paper and held my gaze. "I'm sorry it took this long to realize this, but I can't continue with this facade. Whatever I feel for you is not love. I won't lie we had a sort of connection but it was mostly forced. I was only trying to reciprocate your vibes"

Holy Cow! What the hell was going on? I would hear whispers and uproar but none of them was comprehensible.

"I didn't want to be dramatic and wanted to end this earlier before your proposal but you were so clingy and hung up on me… I didn't even know how we got here. But now I do and I know I don't want to be your husband"

What sort of a joke was this?

"Albert please don't do this to me" my voice was tiny yet carried a massive volume of plea.

"I can't and won't marry you, Alexis Marie Luiz. Here's your ring"

********

I'd always shunned suicide. My life hadn't been the best but it was pleasant enough to want to see it through until a few months ago. Most often than not, I'd judged suiciders for being irresponsible but now, here I was, up here on this high roof ready to end my disgusting life. Disgusting because my life right now was unbearable, uncomfortable, and saddening—rumors are supposed to end but after three months, it seemed there was no end to mine. If anything, it was more lies coming forth after the other. I was too tired to put up with the torture of the world. Joining my parents would be better.

I decided to opt for a little quiet moment before my death since ending my life suddenly felt scary but unfortunately for me, the door to the terrace was just shoved open so hard. The door slammed shut again and footsteps moved swiftly across the deck. I don’t even bother looking up. Whoever it was more than likely won’t even notice me back here straddling the ledge to the left of the door.

I sighed quietly, closing my eyes and leaning my head against the stucco wall behind me, cursing the universe for being so unfair.

I finally allowed my eyes to make the journey to the silhouette leaning over the ledge. The first thing I made out of his features was his height—even leaning over the rail, I could tell he was tall. His broad shoulders created a strong contrast to the fragile way he held his head in his hands.

He appeared to be on the verge of a breakdown and making contemplations about ending his life just like me. Maybe we could do it together? That way it would be easier right?

Before I concluded, he spun around and kicked one of the patio chairs behind him.

I flinched as it screeched across the deck. He kicked the chair repeatedly, over and over. Rather than give way beneath the blunt force of his foot, all the chair did is scoot farther and farther away from him and I envy its resilience. Just what stuff was it made of?

I stared at the guy a moment longer, miserably taking him in. He was just standing there, staring down at the chair. His hands weren't in fists anymore. They were resting on his hips, and I noticed for the first time how his shirt didn’t fit him very well around his biceps. It fits him everywhere else, but his arms are huge. His sleeves were rolled up to reveal his tattoos—hot tattoos. He fished around in his pockets until he found what he was looking for and—in what I was sure is probably an effort to release even more of his aggression—he lit up a joint.

He took in a long drag of his blunt and turned back toward the ledge. He noticed me on the exhale. He stopped walking the second our eyes met. His expression was no shock and he turned around confused and almost restless.

He was about ten feet away, but enough I could see his eyes— it was impossible to miss them, as they slowly dragged over my body without revealing a single thought other than shock. His gaze was narrow, his mouth was drawn tight and his shoulders were straightened as though he was on high alert.

“How the hell did you come here?” he asked. I felt his voice in my stomach. Voices should stop at the ears, but sometimes—not very often at all a voice will penetrate past my ears and reverberate straight down through my body. He had one of those voices. Deep, confident, creamy, and… what the fuck? What happened to "no man and no love''? I mentally chastised myself. With an arched brow, he brought the blunt back to his mouth and took another hit.

“Excuse me?” I finally said. I hated my voice. It sounded too weak to even reach his ears from here, much less reverberate inside his body.

He lifted his chin which got tighter. He glanced at my position then back at my face

He turns a little like he can’t look straight at me. “How. The. Fuck. Did. You. Get. Up. Here” he spat, gritting his teeth as though my sight was the most irritable thing he had ever seen. Not me—males are the irritable things. Heartless and cold!

“I don't know…Well all I remember is getting tucked on my bed by my momma but I woke up to find myself here” I replied in a pouty-cringy little voice. He didn’t find the humor in my response but took a couple of steps closer.

“I don't have time for importers, woman! You are about to commit suicide on my property and you dare joke about it in my face?” He motioned for me to get down again. “Go kill yourself somewhere else”

Damn! I hadn't thought about that? Finding a dead body on someone's property would probably take more than three months of rumors and police involvement right? " I'm sorry…"

"Just shut the fuck up and get down!"

I rolled my eyes and swung my legs over. I hopped down and wiped my hands across my jeans. “Better?” I said as I walked toward him.

He lets out a rush of air as if seeing me on the ledge actually had him holding his breath. I passed him to head for the side of the roof with a better view, and as I did, I couldn’t help but notice how unfortunately cute he was.

No. Cute is an insult.

This guy is beautiful. Well-manicured smells like money, young, and well-built. His eyes crinkled in the corners as they followed me, and his lips seemed to frown. When I reached the side of the building that overlooked the street, I leaned forward and stared down at the cars below, trying not to appear impressed by him. I could tell by his haircut alone that he was the kind of man people are easily impressed by, and I refuse to feed into his ego. Not that he did anything to make me think he even had one. But he was wearing an expensive Armani suit—more expensive than those of Albert…fuck!

I heard footsteps approaching from behind, out of the corner of my eye, I watched as he took another hit of his blunt. "This is a private property—my private property with high security. How did you get here?" His voice was a drug in itself. I wanted to apologize and explain how I didn't see a warning sign or any security for that matter but the guy had a truckload of ego and I didn't want to add to his stack.

“You have a nice roof,” I told him "ain't you too young to have something like this? Are you a drug dealer?" He lifted an eyebrow, waiting for me to talk sense and after weighing my behavior, I thought it would be best if I did. “I wanted fresh air. Somewhere to think. I pulled up Google Earth and found the closest apartment complex with a decent rooftop patio.”

"There were no guards when you came?"

"None" I shook my head. As I did an involuntary tear slipped from my eyes and I quickly wiped it off. Something about his demeanor changed as he finally took his time to drink me in.

“Why did you need fresh air?” he asked.

Because I got dumped by my fiance on our wedding day after spending all I got for the preparations and now I might lose my house—the only thing my parents left for me if I don't clear my loan. I faced forward again and slowly exhaled. “I think it is best if I leave your property. I'm sorry for imposing” I made to leave but got pulled back by a strong arm and collided with a hard chest. Raw electrifying surges gushed through my body from the contact that I almost lost my bearing. I looked up to see the warmest green eyes staring down at me. He slightly brought his finger to move a single strand of my fallen hair to the back of my ears, cupping the side of my face with his wide palm. "Yes, I'm young and rich: my wealth is legal"

I opened my mouth to speak but my voice died out.

"We are both young and seemingly need to drown off our worries. Instead of dying with it why not let it out with some bottle of shots or shouts? Instead of letting it out to the universe that wouldn't spare two fucks about it why not moan it in my ears and get a fuck? I'm a good listener and I pay attention to details?

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