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Fiancé on Paper
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ON PAPER, IT’S PRETEND. BUT MY HEART KNOWS WHAT’S REAL
His proposal came in a little black envelope with thirteen unlucky words:
You still owe me that favor, doll, and I’m cashing in.
In a normal life, I’d never get hitched to Calvin Randolph. Not with his heart-stopping blue eyes, infamous player reputation, and an ego bigger than the part of his anatomy he loves boasting about the most.
Been there, done that. All except the last part, which he’s left to my shameful imagination for seven years apart.
Of course, the fake fiancée contract I just signed is anything but normal. Neither was the tragic day our schoolyard romance died, when he made an unspeakable sacrifice.
He saved my life. He paid a terrible price. Now, I owe him big.
He’s come to collect in make believe: the blushing lies, the sideways glances leaving me breathless, the teasing kisses every time his teeth grab my bottom lip in front of the world.
It shouldn’t be this hard.
It’s just pretend. It’s just a few weeks. I can totally resist the demanding, cold, obscenely handsome man he’s become.
We have our rules. But the simple one I kept to myself might be harder: don’t fall in love.
I already did that once. I know the risks. I won’t let it happen.
Because if his charm steals my heart again, if I let him go all the way when his lips trace scary promises on mine, this paper engagement becomes real enough to ruin us…
Alpha male heat advisory, emotional powder keg, and hard won Happily Ever After inside! This is a standalone full length novel with no cliffhangers. Discover the fire and mystery Wall Street Journal bestselling author Nicole Snow brings to romance!
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Look Who’s Back
Something in his makeup made him an utter bastard, but I owed him my life.
It’s my heart I refused to give up without a fight. If only I’d known from the very start Calvin Randolph never backs down.
Not in love. Not in business. Not in any corner of his battered existence.
I’ll never understand it.
Maybe he’s missing the gene that stops a normal man from sinking his hands into the earth and ripping it to messy, screaming shreds until he gets his way.
Perhaps defeat just never made sense in his head.
Or possibly it’s because this was just meant to be. There’s a natural mischief in every heart that loves bringing together what’s complicated, dangerous, and totally incompatible in a blinding impact.
Oh, but I still wish I’d known, before our blind collision became love.
We would have prevented so much suffering.
I’m in no mood to pull a jet black envelope out of my mailbox. Not after an exhausting day dealing with corporate legalese and a language barrier that’s like a migraine prescription. Especially when said legalese is a hodge-podge of English and Mandarin bullet points outlining bewildering trade concepts that make me want to pop aspirin like Junior Mints.
But the coal colored envelope isn’t what ends me. It’s a single word, the one and only scrawled on the front in bright pink, without so much as a return address or a stamp to accompany it.
No one’s called me that in years. Seven, to be precise.
I have to steady myself against the mailbox when my heartbeat goes into my ears. For a second I’m afraid I’ll faint.
It’s incredible how the only man who’d ever call me a name I haven’t heard since high school still has a freakish ability to reduce me to a knee-shaking, cement lunged mess so many years later.
My fingernail slides across the seal, digs in, and splits it open. I tear gingerly, like I’m expecting a snake or a tarantula to jump out. There isn’t enough room for creepy crawlies, I suppose, though I wonder about the hard lump in the corner, rubbing it against my palm.
The constant noise in the hall of my cramped Beijing flat has faded from a roar to a whisper. It’s hard to focus on the slim white note I pluck out when I’m trying to remember how to breathe. There’s no mistaking the handwriting.
They’re his words. I’d recognize them anywhere, even after so long.
Blunt, mysterious, and taunting as ever. He keeps it short and sweet – assuming there’s anything sweet about reaching down inside me, and yanking out a dozen painful memories at once.
It’s been too long.
You still owe me that favor, doll, and I’m cashing in.
“Marry me?” I read it again, shaking my head.
If this is a joke, it isn’t funny. And I already know it isn’t. Cal wouldn’t break a seven year silence for a stupid laugh. It’s serious, and it’s a brand new kind of terrifying.
My eyes trace his three insane sentences four times before my knees give out.
I go down hard, banging my legs on the scuffed tile, dropping the envelope. The object anchored in the corner bounces out with a clatter as loud as a crashing symbol, leaving a haunting echo in my ears.
I look down and mentally start planning my goodbyes. It’s a gold ring with a huge rock in the middle, set into a flourish designed to mimic a small rose. I don’t need to try it on to know it’s probably my size.
I flip the note over in my hands before I lose it. There’s a number scrawled on the backside in the same firm, demanding script. CALL ME, says the two words next to it in bold, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world to ask for a mail order bride in less than ten words.
As if it hasn’t stopped my heart several times over.
I can’t believe he’s back.
I can’t believe he’s found me here, on the other side of the Earth, and decided to drag me back to the hell we both left behind.
I really, really can’t believe what he’s asking me to do.
But it’s my fault, isn’t it? I’m the one who said I’d do anything, if he ever needed it.
Without him, I wouldn’t have my dream career working trade contracts in China for a prestigious Seattle company. I’d be lucky serving tables with the criminal stain on my record if he hadn’t stepped in, and saved me when it seemed hopeless.
There’s a lot I don’t know.
Like why he’s gone emergency bride hunting, for one. Or what he’s been doing since the last dark day I saw him, crying while they hauled him off in handcuffs. I don’t even know what kind of devils are in the details if I actually agree to this madness – and it’s not like I have a choice.