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The Reluctant Bride
Published by: Dangerous Press
Publication date: April 19th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Everyone’s for sale, including me. One moment I’m the forgotten daughter of one of the most wealthy families in the country, and the next I’m the blushing bride in an arranged marriage. My fate is sealed in my wedded union with a complete stranger.
In public, Perry Constantine is the life of the party. Easygoing. Adored. In private, he’s brooding. Dark. Angry. But so am I. It’s a contest of wills to see who will break in the bedroom first, and while I try to remain strong, I find myself craving the very man I swore to hate.
“Good morning,” I say as I take a step back from my mother’s embrace. Can’t linger too long or Winny will say something snide and rude.
He doesn’t say a word beyond a nod of acknowledgement at my arrival. His expression is stern, yet impassive. I never know what he’s thinking, and it’s disconcerting. I’ve learned from that though, and do my damnedest to wear the same expression when I’m dealing with Halcyon business for Win.
Or when I’m trying to get out of a sticky situation with a woman. That happens more often than I care to admit.
“Have a seat, darling,” Mother says, indicating the chair on the other side of Winston. I do as she says, settling into the leather chair that’s more comfortable than the one I sit in at my desk every damn day. “How was your weekend?”
I can’t tell her it was full of debauchery that included too much alcohol and too many women, but I avoid the paparazzi at the more popular clubs to keep it under wraps.
Instead I smile at her and say, “It was fine.”
Winston snorts. I’m sure he knows what I was up to. Wonder if he misses it. If I had his hot wife to come home to every evening, I wouldn’t miss that lifestyle at all.
“That’s nice.” Mother smiles, revealing straight white teeth that nearly blind me. Looks like someone just visited the dentist. “I hear you’ve been given new projects at Halcyon.”
I chance a look at Winston but he’s not paying attention to us. Too busy tapping away on his phone.
“I have.” I try to tamp down my excitement before my brother calls me out for behaving like a hyperactive puppy. “I’m handling all the angry calls that come into the office.”
Mother frowns. “Angry calls?”
I nod. “We piss off a lot of people in this city. There’s a lot of damage control going on. And not always of the—violent variety.”
The knowing look on her face is obvious. She’s just as ruthless as Winston. Swear to God that’s where he got it from, not Dad. Clearing his throat, Winston sits up straight, resting his arms on top of the table.
“Enough with the pleasantries. Let’s get down to business.”
“Winston,” Mother murmurs.
I frown at the both of them. “What exactly is this business we’re discussing this early in the morning anyway?”
Mother clears her throat as well, glancing over at Winston before she turns her attention on me. “It has to do with…you.”
I frown. “What about me?”
“Perry, darling. You’re not getting any younger.” Her expression is dour, as if she’s discussing something that displeases her. “It’s time for you to settle down.”
I snort. So does Winston.
“I’m only twenty-four,” I remind her. “Winston didn’t marry until he was forty.”
“Thirty-nine,” he corrects.
“Whatever,” I say to him, returning my attention to our mother. “There’s no one I want to settle down with anyway, so I can’t.”
“Ah, but you can.” Her smile is serene. “I’ve found someone for you, Perry. And you’re going to absolutely adore her.”
Wait a minute.
Back the fuck up
New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author. A believer in kissing. A believer of love.
I also write contemporary romance as USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson.