Till Death Do Us Trope

CHAPTER 1

Arabella

I fidget with my dress, feeling a little out of place.

“Told you that you should have let me dress you up tonight, Ara,” my friend Julia yells over the music in the loud club we are in. I look down at myself, thinking maybe she was right.

She’s dressed to kill, fitting right in like she belongs. I look like I might be going to church. Her strapless miniskirt hugs her curves, showcasing off her perfect body.

Julia and I are like night and day. She is tall with curves in the right places, short black hair that is styled in a perfect bob, showing off her shoulders and highlighting her cleavage. Her dark, sparkling eyes and blemish-free mocha skin finish off the flawless package.

I’m the opposite. I’m more than on the short side. It doesn’t help that I can’t wear heels to save my life. I have a habit of tripping over my own feet with perfectly good flats. My hair is long and so blonde that in the summer it almost turns white in color. The color of my hair and my fair pale skin make my bright blue eyes seem too big for my face. And well, I do have curves, but more than I really should have. Hence why I’m in a simple white dress that hugs me at the top and flares out at my waist. The tulle of the skirt gives it even more fluff. But like always, my boobs are still trying to bust free. No matter how hard I try, I can never keep them locked away. I swear they have a mind of their own. To get a top that comes close to fitting them, I have to go a million sizes too big and I look even bigger than I am.

“He seems to like it.” Julia smirks at me. I follow her line of sight to see a man leaning up against the bar, his eyes trained on me. His dark eyes meet mine and my heart starts to race. I’m frozen for a second.

“He’s so fucking you with his eyes,” Julia says next to my ear, shaking me from my trance. I snap my eyes from him and bring them back to her. My face feels warm and I don’t think it’s from the one amaretto sour I’ve had since we got here. Then again, maybe it is. I’ve never drank before. “This is what we talked about, Ara,” Julia reminds me. “This is what tonight is about. Don’t want to go off to college with that virginity. Those frat boys will sniff that shit out. Have a man your first time. He’ll know what he’s doing. Not some drunk college boy putting notches in his bedpost.”

I know we talked about this before we left. We graduated high school today. Julia met some guy who said he worked the door at Eres Mía. The club was only a year old and one of the hottest around, or so Julia had informed me. It was twenty-one and up, but he told her he’d get us in. And he had. Not only that, he got us a special table in the VIP area. It was roped off and actually had a guard standing in front of the rope.

My cheeks heat even more at Julia’s words. I love her to death. We became best friends in the sixth grade at the private all-girls school we went to. She was always full of life and personality. I was shy and didn’t have any friends because I was the new kid. She sat down right next to me and started talking and never stopped. She pulls me out of my shell and I love her for it. Sometimes she can be a little too wild for me, but tonight I caved to her idea of going to a club. Maybe meeting a guy. Though I didn’t really think I would follow through with it. Until now.

I glance over my shoulder to see the man who has his dark eyes trained on me. He looks like more than a man. He fills out his expensive dark gray suit. I know it’s expensive because my own dad owns hundreds.

Everything about him seems dark. His eyes, his hair, and the power that is flowing off him. I can tell just by looking at him he’s a man in charge. It rolls off him in heavy waves. I’ve been around enough of them to know what that’s like. Men like this make up the company my dad keeps.

A smirk pulls at his lips, revealing his perfect smile. I bite my lip and glance back to Julia to see if maybe he’s really looking at her. As I do so, our security guy steps out of the way as a server comes up and sets down another round of drinks and two shots.

“Vodka.” Julia sings the word. My eyes widen, but she reassures me. “It’s fine. Swallow and chase it with your drink fast. You won’t even taste it.” I raise my eyebrows at her. “Okay, you’ll taste it, but you won’t die.” I laugh.

“To the next journey of our lives.” She holds up the shot glass as she says the words. It makes me pause for a moment because I don’t know what my journey is. I know what other people want—well, more specifically what my father wants. College. I’m not sure that’s what I want, though.

“To the unknown,” I hedge, as we clink our shot glasses together. The bitter taste hits my lips, sliding down my throat as it turns into a burn. I pick up my drink and chug it down, trying to get the taste out of my mouth. Julia giggles next to me, then screams “Hell yeah!”

I shake my head at her. A giant smile lights up her face and I see it’s not at me. She’s looking at someone else. Just as I turn to see who she’s looking at, she announces, “I’m going to dance. Have fun.”

The man from the bar is standing behind my chair. The guard must have let him in. I look up at him. He seems even bigger than before. I know my eyes grow wide. He places his huge hands on the back of my chair, and his warm honey-whiskey smell fills my lungs.

“I’ve been waiting for you.” His voice is deep, just like I imagined it would be. But I wasn’t prepared for the goosebumps that break across my skin at the sound of it. My mouth falls open a little. I’m speechless. I’m not used to men coming on to me, and that’s clearly what he’s doing.

I don’t need words because his mouth falls onto mine. His tongue swipes into my mouth, and I let it as my whole body loosens. He pulls me easily from my chair, and instinctively I wrap my legs around him while letting him dominate my mouth. I close my eyes, enjoying the feel of his body against me.

“Kiss me back,” he growls, pulling away for a moment, then taking my mouth again. I do as he says. His command lights something deep inside me. I moan as our tongues tangle together, his warm whiskey taste filling my mouth.

I hear a ding and realize I no longer hear loud music. The sound of it is faint now. My eyes flutter open, and I see we are stepping into an elevator.

“What are you doing? Where are we going?” I pull back when I finally understand we aren’t in the club anymore but in a back hallway.

“Don’t stop kissing me,” he warns me. I look into his eyes and see they aren’t as dark as I thought they were. A soft bronze color surrounds his pupils. I get lost in them, and his mouth comes back to mine.

Heat rushes through my body like nothing I’ve ever felt. It’s as if I’m on fire. I find myself moving against him. My eyes fall closed again and I get lost in this man who has taken over my body. Every clear thought I should be having has vacated my mind.

Softness meets my back and his mouth goes to my neck. He licks and sucks, and a feeling I’ve never felt before washes over me. Moans leave my mouth.

“What are we doing?” I ask mindlessly. I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but I also don’t want to say no either. This is like nothing I’ve ever felt before.

“Little love, don’t tell me to stop. I’ve waited a long time for this.” His words only partly penetrate my brain. I can’t think with his mouth on me like this. I think my neck might be a weakness I didn’t know about.

“I don’t want you to stop. It feels so good. You feels so good,” I admit.

“Fuck,” he growls against my neck. “Let me get this off you. I don’t want to rip your graduation dress.”

“Hmm,” is all I can say in response. I’m not listening to him; I just want his mouth back on me.

I hear the zipper on the side of my dress descend. He slips my straps down off my shoulders, then pulls the dress down my body. I reach for him, want him back on top of me. I love the warmth of his body. The smell of him. His size makes me feel delicate and small.

“Fuck,” he mutters again. I open my eyes to see him standing at the end of the bed. His suit jacket is gone and he’s unbuttoning his shirt, but his eyes are running all over my body. I feel some flashes in my head, like reality is intruding, reminding me of what’s really happening here, and I feel self-conscious for a moment.

“You’re the most decadent thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” From the look on his face, I believe him. “Take your panties off. Show me you want this.”

I feel sexy and wanton in this moment. I’ve never felt like this before, and my momentary self-consciousness is a distant memory. I’ve never felt more alive. I want this. Even if it’s only a one-night stand. I slide my thumbs into my panties and slowly slip them down. When I bring them down to my knees, he grabs them and finishes the task for me.

“Part them.” His voice is even deeper now, and I do as he commands. Something inside me wants to please him. I need to see if that hungry look he now has stays on his face when he sees even more of me.

I slowly part my thighs, and he hisses in response. Before I can really read his face, his mouth is between my legs. My body jolts, and my hips try to come off the bed, but he stops them.

“I can’t go slow, little love. I need this. I can’t take the agony of wanting you any longer.” His mouth goes to my center, sucking my clit into his wet warmth. A single finger enters me, and I cry out at the pleasure. Everything is happening so fast. Emotions and feelings pump though my body, and I cry out at his firm assault of my clit. My nipples grow even harder. My hips jerk as an explosion rocks my body. I cry out; the pleasure is fiercer than anything I’ve ever felt.

When I finally come to, I open my eyes and see he’s looming over me, a hungry look on his face, but he smiles as his hard length presses against me.

I’ve never done this before,” I tell him.

“You think I’d ever let another man touch you?” I don’t understand his words, but I haven’t understood much since I laid eyes on him.

“I should have taken my time worshiping you. I regret rushing this tonight, but my control—” He closes his eyes like he’s pained.

“Take me. I want this,” I admit. I do. I feel more alive than ever. I’m not as shy as I normally am. Maybe it’s because I want it so much. Want him.

He pushes inside me. I moan and contract around him. Even my body is trying to take him.

“Sorry, little love,” he says before his mouth lands on mine and he pushes forward. I cry out at the sharp pain, but he drinks in my whimper. His body stills for a moment, but he keeps kissing me.

He pulls back. “Tell me you’re okay.” His eyes are pleading.

“I’m more than okay,” I whisper. The pain has passed and something else is growing in its place. I feel myself start to clench around him again, over and over, my body demanding his move.

“Fuck,” he snarls.

“You curse a lot,” I tell him on a moan.

“You’ll get used to it,” he grunts. “Wrap around me, little love. I want to feel you everywhere on me.”

I’m already doing it before he can finish what he’s saying wanting to feel every part of me on him. He moves inside me. I feel fuller than I ever have in my life. He moves his hips, touching something inside me that sends pleasure radiating up my spine.

“It’s happening again,” I moan. I feel my orgasm pushing down on me again. The first one was fast and hard, I already know this one is going to be deep and mind-blowing.

My eyes lock with his. I can’t read his expression. He looks agonized.

The pleasure hits hard—intense and life changing. I scream, and everything goes dark.

CHAPTER 2

Arabella

My eyes flutter open. Light streams through giant windows. The night before dances through my mind. I move a little and feel last night between my legs, a sweet ache resting there. I roll over and see the bed empty, and I wonder where my sexy stranger went. I bite my lip worriedly. What do I do? Suddenly, Julia comes to mind.

“Crap,” I mumble to myself. I totally ditched her. I roll over, looking for my purse. I find it, and sitting up, I grab it but don’t see my phone inside. Double crap. Did I forget it last night? I look down and see I’m totally naked. I stand up and search for my dress, and find it bundled on the floor. I swiftly throw it over my head and zip it up, making sure my boobs are in place. I search for my underwear but can’t find them anywhere. Oh well. I slip on my flats and grab my purse.

I wish I could call Julia because we never talked about what to do after the fact. This was a one-night stand, right? My heart hurts a little at the thought. He was so sweet last night, but I woke up alone. I glance at the sheets and see the evidence of my virginity on them. He knew I was a virgin. That he just left me alone in bed hurts, but then maybe I’ve read too much into this.

I need to get out of here. I need to talk to Julia. After slipping from the room, I make my way down the hall. All the walls are plain, white. It almost feels like a museum. When I get to the end of the hall, I see an elevator and rush toward it, wanting to make my walk of shame as fast as possible. I push the call button over and over, but nothing happens. Suddenly, two hands land on either side of me.

“Where do you think you’re going, little love?” The deep voice from the night before vibrates through my body. I turn in his man-made cage and look up at him. My heart skips a beat. I can feel heat hit my cheeks.

“I thought I should leave?” I croak, but it comes out as a question. I don’t want to. Something about this man makes me gravitate toward him, but I know nothing about men when it comes to something like this.

“You’re not leaving. I’m making you breakfast,” he tells me, a command in his voice.

“I really want to stay, but I can’t find my phone and I need to text my friend Julia to tell her I’m okay.”

“I texted her last night for you,” he says simply.

“You have my phone?” I ask. He nods. “Can I get it back?” I venture. He doesn’t answer my question.

“I’ve made your favorite, French toast and bacon.”

My stomach grumbles at his words.

“How did you know that’s my favorite?” I tease, thinking he just made a lucky guess. Who doesn’t love French toast and bacon? He just shrugs once again, not answering me.

“You’re not leaving,” he tells me. I smile at how much he wants me to stay. Maybe this isn’t some one-night stand after all. I reach up and trace his lips with my finger, remembering all the wonderful things he did to me with those lips.

“I don’t want to leave either,” I admit. “I’m just going to run home and change and I’ll come right back. I promise.”

He bites my finger, then sucks on it before letting it go. My whole body heats.

“You’re not leaving, period.” His voice grows deeper, and there’s an edge to it now. The hairs on my arms stand up. “If I let you walk out of here, it will be trouble to get you back here. Trouble, and time I’m not willing to waste. I’ve already had to wait to get you here. I’m not waiting anymore.”

His face hardens.

“I said I’d come back.” I whisper the words, unsure of what’s happening.

“He won’t let you,” he rumbles.

“Who?” I ask, even more confused now.

“Your father.”

“I-I…” I trail off, at a loss for words. I’m eighteen. I’m sure my dad doesn’t want to find out I’m dating and even having sex, but it’s not like he can stop it. I’m supposed to be going off to college soon. I’m sure he knows it’s going to happen. Maybe not with someone so much older than me, but still.

“How do you know? You don’t even know my father,” I throw back at him. He raises his eyebrows like I’m wrong. “You know him?”

“I’m Romeo Trope,” he says smoothly, and everything inside me freezes. I know that name. It’s a name I’ve heard my dad mention before. I don’t know much about my dad’s business acquaintances, but I know this is a man he hates more than anything.

“Don’t look at me like that, little love.” He smiles “I’ll take very good care of you, but know this, you will never leave me.”

CHAPTER 3

Romeo

I watch Arabella Scarlet eat her breakfast and I think about all I’ve done to get her here. Last night was over way too quickly, but I have to stick to the plan. I have to get her into international waters as soon as possible so that her father can no longer lay claim to her. Right now he doesn’t have any idea she’s become my possession, and I have to use that to my advantage.

“Can you tell me what’s going on?” she asks as she pushes her empty plate away.

I walk over and take her hands in mine, unable to stand the distance anymore. “I can’t tell you everything yet, but I’ve watched you and I’ve waited for the time when I could have you. That time came last night and I won’t let you go.”

“You don’t even know me.” Her words are meant to be defensive, but in her eyes I can see the hope that I won’t push her away.

“I know everything about you, Arabella, and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to protect you. Especially from the monster you call a father.”

“I don’t understand. He’s a good man. He’s always been decent and kind to me,” she says as her eyebrows pull together and she frowns. “He’s not a monster.”

“He’s a man who will use whatever he has to in order to get what he wants, and that includes you, little love.” I trail a hand down her cheek and she leans into my touch. “He wants to sell you to the Duke of England, and I won’t have it. The duke is known for taking on a wife who mysteriously disappears a month after their nuptials. But no one questions it because of his status.”

I can practically see her mind spinning with questions, but her frown deepens. “I’ve heard of him. But my father never said—”

“You were just a pawn in his game.” I cut her off and pull her into my arms. “But from the moment I saw you, you’ve been my entire world.”

Scooping her up in my arms, I carry her back to the bedroom. I lay her out on the bed and pull away her scrap of a dress from the night before.

“You should only be draped in the finest of silks,” I say as I kiss down her belly and spread her thighs.

She’s wet and willing as I kneel between them and slide my hands under her ass. I lift her pussy up to my mouth and inhale before I give her one long lick. Her body shudders, and I watch as a blush blossoms across her chest.

I feast on her nectar as I bury my tongue in her no-longer-virgin cunt. Knowing that I was the one to take her innocence and I was the one to breed her only heightens my own arousal for her. My cock is hard and dripping in my slacks, but I don’t have time to satisfy him. This moment is only about her pleasure before we have to go.

“Romeo!” she cries out as her legs tighten and her climax approaches.

I strum her clit like a mandolin as I lick as far as I can inside of her pussy. Her thighs squeeze me before she cries out and I taste her sweet release. I want to follow her over the edge. I want to thrust my cock into her and stay there for a month, but I can’t. There’s no time.

“So perfect,” I whisper against her tender lips.

Kissing her pussy one last time, I pull myself from the bed and go to the closet. I select one of the dresses I bought for her and bring it over to where she is sprawled out on the mattress. I hold up the pink silk and she smiles at me.

“Where are we going?” she asks with heavy eyes. “I thought I was staying locked in your tower.”

“I want to marry you as soon as possible. The longer we wait, we leave the chance open that your father will try to take you back to wed the duke.”

“So I’m either going to be married to you or married to the duke? Don’t I get a say in this?”

“I’m afraid you’re just too tempting.” I place a kiss on her lips and then deepen it as her arms wrap around my neck.

Suddenly there’s a loud crash from the other side of the room and I look up to see five men dressed in all black rappelling in through the window. They all pull out knives and throwing stars when they land, ready for an attack.

“Give us the girl and no one gets hurt,” one of them says from behind a hood covering his face.

“Never!” I shout and shove Arabella behind me, trying to think of how I can possibly defend her from ninjas.

“Romeo, don’t let them take me!” she screams, and I turn around to see five more men have snatched her from behind me. “Romeo!”

They’ve got me surrounded. How did they get past all my security? How did they know where to find her? I thought I was so careful last night, but I grabbed her in haste and didn’t pay attention to eyes on us.

“Arabella!” I bellow as I catch a flash of pink being carried away as she’s taken from the room.

I charge at the men, but I’m swarmed then overpowered. They pin me to the ground and one of them brings a can of what looks like pepper spray to my face. I open my mouth to shout, but as soon as the spray hits my face, I pass out cold.

My last thoughts are of my little love and getting to her. Nothing will ever keep me from her.

CHAPTER 4

Arabella

I stand in Romeo’s living room, shaking. I’d grabbed the sheet to cover my body before one of the men pulled me from the room. I have no idea what’s happening.

Suddenly, my father walks into the room. “Dad?” I rush over to him.

“It’s okay. I got you.” He pulls me into a hug. My dad has always loved me. I know he can be cold at times, but the hug is a little surprising coming from him. He’s not big on affection.

“What’s happening?” I look up at him. His face is hard and doesn’t match the sweet embrace he is giving.

“You got mixed up in something you shouldn’t have.” He steps back and looks me over. It’s clear what happened with Romeo and me. My face flushes red when I see the blood stain on the sheet wrapped around me.

“He was so sweet to me.”

“Stealing a young girl’s innocence is not sweet. Neither is plotting to take a daughter from her father.”

I lick my lips, unsure how to respond. “Is it true you were going to give me to the duke? Like some old-school arranged marriage? You would do that to me?”

“I wanted you to meet him, yes. I thought you’d be a good match. Now I’m not sure he’d want a touched bride.”

His eyes go back to the blood stain, making me wish I had the dress Romeo gave me.

“He said he kills his wives.” I tell my father.

“Don’t be naïve, Arabella. He tried to fill your head with lies to use you.”

“We found something, sir,” one of the many men standing in the room says. I’d forgotten about them. My mind wanders to where Romeo is. If he got hurt. If he was using me. Last night felt so right. The way he touched me wasn’t cruel. It was sweet and loving.

My dad follows the man, and I do the same, keeping the sheet tight to me. We enter a room that looks like an office and I freeze. Pictures of me coat the walls. They are everywhere.

“Looks like he cloned her phone. He was listening to her calls, reading her emails and texts—clearly tracking her.”

I gasp.

“As long as your phone is around you he can hear everything. He can even open the camera and have a look around.”

This is all too much. “Why was he doing this?”

My dad doesn’t answer me. I follow his line of sight to see what he’s studying. It’s a calendar with yesterday’s date circled. As I read the words, I hear nothing but the deafening roar of blood rushing in my ears. In big black letters: Arabella ovulating.

My hand goes to my stomach. My dad turns to look at me, his hand going there too before he storms out of the room. I follow him again back into the living room, where to my horror I see Romeo tied to a chair.

“Wake him up,” my father barks.

One of the men steps up, pulls something out of his pocket and runs it under Romeo’s nose. Romeo jerks awake. Before he’s even opened his eyes fully he’s screaming my name as if he’s in pain.

I go to take a step toward him, drawn to him like a magnet even after seeing what was in the other room.

My father shoots me a hard look, and I stop in my tracks.

Romeo’s eyes fly open and fix on me. He tries to push himself up, but two men hold him down, pushing his shoulders. He fights them for a moment.

“Get her some fucking clothes,” Romeo snaps.

“We need to talk, it seems,” my dad says, ignoring his order.

“Arabella. Our bedroom. Now. I have clothes in the closet for you.” Romeo ignores my dad in return.

I do as he says. I need clothes, after all. I rush down the hall, find the dress, and slip it over my head. I see flats and slide those on, too. I rush back to the living room.

When I get back I see Romeo’s lip is bleeding. He seems unbothered by it, his eyes focusing on me immediately. They go soft for a minute before he returns his attention to my father.

“She’s mine,” he tells him. His words are low and deadly and make a chill break out over my skin.

My dad laughs. “I only woke you to tell you that you’ll never see her again.”

Romeo actually growls. I can see the veins in his neck and arms as he pulls against the ropes around him.

“We all know how much family means to you, Romeo, and I’m going to take the baby you put in her last night and make sure you never lay eyes on either one of them.”

My father grabs me by the arm hard and starts to pull me toward the front door.

“Sir, the stalker office?” one of the men holding down Romeo asks.

“Leave it. It will be a good memory for him to not fuck with me anymore. That he’ll never have them.”

“Arabella!” Romeo bellows my name. “I’m coming for you,” he yells as the door slams shut.

CHAPTER 5

Romeo

No one noticed the knife I palmed as one of them got close enough to hit me. Carefully I wiggle it behind my back now and cut the ropes that hold me in the chair. Everyone is distracted as Arabella is taken from the room and I hear the men planning what to do with me.

Before they can react, I pop out of the chair and use my years of martial arts training to fight all of them at once and leave them on the ground, moaning, with me standing over them. Not one hair out of place.

The sound of a chopper has my attention and I bust through the emergency exit and up to the rooftop in time to see my love flying through the sky.

“Romeo!” she screams, and I can barely hear her over the noise of the whirring blades.

For a moment I stand there and think about what to do, then I spot a scrap of paper clinging to a nearby piece of metal. I grab it up and read it to see it’s an invitation to a costume party.

“That must be where they’re taking her,” I say to myself, since clearly I’ve defeated everyone else that was a danger to me.

Pulling out my cell phone, which is conveniently still in my pocket, I race down the stairs and to my waiting sports car that is the newest and best on the market.

“Trope here,” I say into the phone when the person on the other end of the line answers.

“Hello, Mr. Trope, how may I help you?” says my older, completely sexually unattractive assistant, Penny.

“Arabella’s been taken from me. I have good information she’s going to attend to the masquerade ball benefiting poor people. I need an invitation and a costume.”

“But Mr. Trope, the ball for poor people is the hardest masquerade to get an invitation to in the whole world.”

“Goddamn it, Penny, don’t give me excuses, give me results.”

“I’ll do my best, Mr. Trope.” I hear a ridiculous amount of computer keys being hit and she gasps. “The Duke of England is said to be attending.”

“I knew it,” I hiss into the phone. No one would let Arabella go. He still wants her. Even if she wasn’t a virgin anymore.

“Be at the gate at nine p.m. sharp. I’ll make sure you’re cleared,” Penny says.

“Thanks. And Penny…” I say, and pause for an unusually long moment for no reason. “Make sure I’m dressed to kill.”

***

The drive is long, but it’s nothing I can’t handle to arrive at exactly the right moment. A black box containing a tuxedo and a mask is handed to me as I approach the gate and then I’m buzzed through. Penny did it again. I should give her a raise, but I can’t remember where her office is located.

I change, and blend into the crowd when I approach the front doors. Security is checking invitations, so I slip my hand inside my jacket and present the paper I found near the chopper. For a moment I think he’s going to stop me, but the guard looks it over and allows me to pass.

Glancing back, I catch him speaking into a microphone at his wrist, and I know that can’t be good. I’m already on alert, but I have to have my Arabella back. I won’t allow her to be sold to the Duke of England.

As soon as the thought enters my mind, I see him across the room. My heart lurches in my chest as I spot Arabella behind him. She’s dressed in a strapless dark red ball gown with her blonde hair piled high in curls. She’s got on a gold sequined mask, but I would know her shape anywhere. For a moment I see her lean toward the Duke and I think that she’s here with him. But a closer inspection lets me see that her hands are bound in front of her, hidden from the view of others.

I edge around the room, plotting how to get her back. If I can somehow create a diversion I might stand a chance. Frustration gnaws at me, until I see exactly what I should do.

Dance-off.

I slip the DJ a few bills and go to the center of the room. I reach up and pull my mask off, and the crowd gasps.

“Romeo!” Arabella shouts and tries to come after me.

The Duke of England ties her to his throne and then steps down off the stage until he’s standing in front of me. I widen my stance, ready for the attack.

“I challenge you to a duel,” I say, and point to the DJ

The bass begins to thump and the Duke takes his mask off, too, throwing it to the side.

“I accept,” he says, and we begin to circle one another. “Winner takes the girl.”

His smile is dark and I don’t trust him, but I’m in a dance-off for my life and I have to find a way. There are witnesses right now, and as long as I can keep Arabella in my sights, there’s a chance I’ll walk out of here with her.

Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” comes on and we begin. The Duke of England has moves, but mine are better. I didn’t moonwalk my way through the ’80s for nothing. The crowd cheers and Arabella shouts words of love to me.

As the song ends, I’m gasping for air and I’m a sweaty mess, but the crowd is cheering my name.

I jump on stage and untie Arabella’s hands and pull her to my side. I press my lips to hers, kissing her with all that I have. I can’t be separated from her again, and I have to get her out to sea. I need to marry her and bind her to me, and I can’t do that on land.

“How did you find me?” she asks.

I cup her cheek and press my forehead to hers. “Little love, I’m a smooth criminal.”

“Seize them!” the duke yells as hundreds of guards pour in. “If she won’t have me, she won’t have anyone. I’m sentencing them both to death!”

“Can he do that?” Arabella asks as she clings to me.

“Maybe?” I say, looking around.

I don’t have much of a chance, but if what we have between us is real, then we can make it.

“Hold on to me, Arabella,” I say, grabbing the curtain behind her.

she obeys as I lift her up and kick open the window. I stand on the ledge and look back to the guards swarming us. The Duke of England shouts for them to stop us, but it’s too late.

I jump with her in my arms.

CHAPTER 6

Arabella

My heart feels like it’s going to pound out of my chest as I hold on to Romeo. He flies through the air and then lands on his feet easily. He must have panther in his DNA. He takes off running as soon as he touches the ground, and I bounce in his arms like popcorn.

“Put me down,” I tell him. “We can move faster if I’m on my own feet.”

“No,” he growls and keeps running. “I’m never letting you go again.”

His grip on me tightens even more and I know at this moment nothing could take me from his hold. I place my nose into his neck, breathing him in. I hold on to him even though I’m not completely sure I’m safe with him, but something deep inside tells me that I am. It’s the feeling of knowing unicorns are real. I don’t care what science says, I know it in my heart.

But I’ve been proven to be a bad judge of character, so what do I know? I trusted my father my whole life and that all crumbled down around me today when he handed me over to the duke like I was nothing more than cattle to him. He passed me to him and let go without so much as a backward glance. I finally saw my father’s true colors. Whatever gave him more money and power, that was what he was after. I knew he could be cold, but I didn’t know how cold until now. He’d never directed his villainous ways at me, and suddenly he transformed into the Penguin from Batman. I should have smelled something fishy sooner, but I realize that I’ve always given him the benefit of the doubt.

I think about last night and how he called me a spoiled brat when I protested going to the duke. He said that I shouldn’t put up a fight and I should do as I was told since I had been deflowered by Romeo. But I’m a strong, independent woman who is totally in control of her life, even though I’m eighteen and don’t have an education, a job, or prospects. I’ll figure that out later.

Romeo’s warnings about the Duke of England had rung in my ears and I was terrified to be in the same room with him. His eyes raked over me like he was imagining the things he was going to do with me. And I know it had nothing to do with playing Uno, because I’m really good at it and he would lose. I tried to escape, but they tied me to his chair. I stayed beside him in misery, scared of what was to come.

I missed Romeo even though I wasn’t sure I should. For all I knew he was using me as well. I could be a pawn in whatever game all these men were playing. How did I know they weren’t using me to hurt each other?

When I saw Romeo break through the crowd my heart soared like the first time I read Harry Potter. Even though I knew in my soul he was there to save me, I still had questions. After all, we’ve only spent about twelve minutes together, but who am I to fight destiny?

“Did you try and get me pregnant?” I blurt out, needing to know.

I feel Romeo flinch for a second, but he keeps on running. He doesn’t answer me. I know he heard me so I let the question lie between us.

Before I know what’s happening, he comes to a stop and I hear glass shatter. A car alarm goes off, and I’m deposited into a seat. He reaches over my lap and under the dash to pull on some wires to make the alarm stop. Guys always know this trick without being taught. It’s science.

“What’s happening?” I ask, but Romeo once again ignores me as he buckles me up and goes around to the driver’s side of the car and gets in. Maybe he has a hearing problem after all. I should probably speak louder next time.

He reaches under the dash once again and pulls different wires out. This time the car comes to life, and that must be the other science thing men are taught.

“Hold on,” he tells me as the car takes off.

The acceleration is so fast it almost takes my breath away. He pulls into the traffic dodging cars like this is The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which was awesome and really underrated.

While speeding down the road, he takes out his cell phone and hits a button, then a woman’s voice fills the car.

“Sir,” she says by way of greeting. Rude much?

“I’m going to plan E,” he tells her.

“What about B, C, and D?” she asks. A little bit of panic enters her voice now, and I’m wondering if I should be worried, too. Everybody is supposed to panic at the same time, right?

“You heard me. The rest of the plans are shit. Make it happen.” With that he tosses the phone out the window.

He must have a lot of phones in his pockets the way he throws them away. Jeez, I hope they’re prepaid.

“Who was that?” I snap loudly. I don’t even mean to say the words out loud, they just fall out of my mouth. I’m jealous over a man that I’m not sure I should trust. But, hey, that’s love, right?

His eyes dart over to me for a moment before they go back to the road as he dodges a car while shifting lanes.

“No one,” he says, and I fold my arms in a pout. I stare out of the window angry at myself just as much as I’m angry with him. There’s a lot of anger, okay?

“Little love,” he tries, but I ignore him.

After a moment, I feel the car slow down as he pulls to the side of the road. When he comes to a stop, I glance behind us wondering what he’s doing. We are still on the highway, and the way he was driving made it seem like someone was chasing us. I guess there’s time for a tender moment when you’re on the run.

His hand comes to my face, making me look at him. His lips look soft and sweet. It reminds me of the one time we were in bed together. Before everything fell apart at our feet. We had a moment in time, and I want that back. I need the pieces of my fairy tale put back together.

“I’ve waited years for you, Arabella. I’ve watched you every day and made sure you were always safe.” My mind flashes to the room that was filled with everything about me. “You’re the only one for me, and you have been for far longer than you should have been. I don’t even see other women. I actually have to check with a doctor about that, because it might be a medical condition.” He shakes his head then looks back into my eyes. “My mind is only filled with you. You take up all the space. I’m sure you know that already based on my dramatic attempts to rescue you.”

There is so much tender love in his eyes that I can’t deny him. And why would I? He’s hot as hell, as rich as a king, and probably knocked me up.

“I’m not moving this car until you tell me you’re not jealous of my assistant,” he says, wrapping his arm around my waist.

“Okay. I’m not,” I whisper. The fact that he had a room dedicated to stalking me should freak me out, but isn’t that what true love is? Stalking someone until they give in to your demands? Sure, for some women that calls for a restraining order, but for me it’s romantic.

“Kiss me to prove it.” He doesn’t move, but I lean forward and do as he says.

When my lips meet his, it’s only to brush our mouths together. Before I know what’s happening he’s pulling away from me and flooring it. The car takes off, but that one little peck isn’t enough for me. I lunge at him, needing more.

He doesn’t stop me as I unbuckle and straddle him. Hey kids, don’t try this at home.

“I didn’t let you kiss me because I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop,” he says.

His eyes meet mine and it’s like he doesn’t even need to look at the road to drive like a race car driver.

“You should put your seatbelt on,” he tells me, but doesn’t try to move me off his lap.

“You shouldn’t tease,” I whisper against his lips as I lean down and go at his mouth.

This time I take the kiss I want, the one I know he wants to give me. I don’t care that he’s driving down the middle of the highway. A woman has needs. My tongue pushes past his lips, my body waking up once again. Before him I didn’t have all these urges. Now I feel like I’m a cat in heat. The moment he entered the ballroom tonight my nipples tightened. My mind might be muddled about what this all means, but not my body. She knows exactly what she wants, and she’s going to take it.

His tongue meets mine and he growls low in his chest. I move my hips as I rub my pussy against his slacks. I wish there weren’t clothes between us. I wish for skin to skin. I want to forget all the madness and fall back into what felt right and real. I want to go back to when it was only the two of us in the whole world and nothing else mattered. I need him to give me the sequel of our first time in bed, and I need it now.

“Hurry,” I tell him. I feel the car take a sharp turn as I unbutton his shirt and start kissing his neck. He grunts when my fingers touch his skin.

Sooner than I thought possible we’re out of the car. Never underestimate the power of the pussy, am I right, ladies?

Before I can blink, my back is pressed against a wall and my eyes fly open. It looks like we’re in some kind of underground bunker.

I hear the sounds of buttons being ripped, and then I’m being moved again. Romeo walks us into some kind of room and slams the door behind him.

The look on his face is primal and raw as he drops me down onto a bed.

“I told you I was coming for you.”

CHAPTER 7

Romeo

How convenient that there’s a bunker close by. We can stop in the middle of our getaway to have hot dirty sex without worrying about running for our lives. There’s no need to worry about how this bunker appeared, or really anything about it. It’s only important that it’s here for us to have a safe place to get down.

The ship I have waiting for us is still a day’s drive, and I won’t make it that long without putting my dick inside Arabella. I have to marry her in international waters to ensure that she’s bound to me forever. Details on that are sketchy, but trust me, I’ve done my research.

“Did anyone touch you while you were away from me?” I ask as I rip the dress and her underwear from her body.

“No, Romeo.”

“Good. I don’t want to go back and murder everyone.” I pull off my clothes and move down between her legs. “I’ve been away from your pussy for far too long. It’s time I get reacquainted.”

I press my nose to her mound and inhale the scent of her sex. Her need is mouthwatering and I look into her eyes as I open my mouth over her cunt and kiss her there.

Sweet lord, I had forgotten how magical her pussy tasted. She’s my little unicorn with candy floss between her thighs and a body made for me to ride.

She cries out as my tongue wiggles between her folds and finds her little nub. I suck it into my mouth and then lick it over and over. I slide two fingers inside her because she’s aching to be filled just as badly as I am to do it. I work them inside her like I would my cock and eat her pussy like it’s the last supper.

Her body clenches and her mouth opens in a silent shout as her orgasm hits her. She lets out a happy sigh and hums as it rolls through her, and I’m rewarded with the sweet taste.

“Turn over. I want to take you from behind,” I say as I sit back and lick my fingers clean.

She rolls over, but I’m impatient to fuck her, so I grab her hips and raise her ass in the air. I thrust into her and start pounding hard and fast while she’s still trying to get into position.

“Can’t wait,” I grit out between my teeth as I fuck into her like a machine.

My cock is in charge and he’s got one mission—to get off as many times as possible before the sun comes up, and get Arabella pregnant while we’re at it. Having a ring on her finger will seal the deal, but a baby in her belly will bind us for eternity.

“Are you going to get me pregnant?” Arabella asks as she looks back over her shoulder.

“Yes,” I grunt as I cum inside her but keep on pounding. I’ve got at least two more loads in me before I want her to get on top.

Her cheeks flush as she spreads her legs wider. She’s making it easy for me.

I lean over her body and kiss my way across her shoulder and neck. I move my lips to her ear and whisper all the filthy things I’m going to do to her in this bunker. Her pussy squeezes me and I reach around to pet her clit while I fuck her. She’s slick from my first load, and I’m about to give her another. She’s tightening up on me, and I have to thrust harder.

“You want me to fight my way in, don’t you?” I ask as I bite her earlobe. “Don’t you worry, little love. I’m going to get in there no matter what.”

Her pussy pulses and she cries out as her orgasm hits her and I let go with her. I cum so hard I see stars, but I don’t let myself stop now. The need to rut into her is heavy on my shoulders and I won’t quit until the deed is done.

“Bite the pillow,” I growl as I sit up and thrust hard. I slick up my thumb in our combined release and drag it over her tight pink ring. “Every part of you is going to be mine.”

I press against her ass, and after a moment she relaxes and lets me in. I fuck her there with my thumb while my cock does the work on the business end. She’s so full and it makes her pussy impossibly tighter.

Muffled cries echo through the bunker as her pleasure skyrockets. She might have thought this would be something she wanted, but her hips are moving in time with mine. She’s getting off on it and so am I.

I can’t hold back as her body pulses and begs for me to go over the edge with her. I wanted it to go on longer, but it’s too good and I can’t fight it. As I hold my cock inside her as far as I can go, she shouts into the pillow, her orgasm hitting harder than anything she’s had before. I grunt and growl as I spray my seed inside her, forcing her body to breed.

She gasps for air as I move us down onto the bed and I spoon her from behind. I don’t want to pull out of her warmth yet, but I know she needs a moment to recover.

“How did you do that?” she asks, bewildered.

“I’m a man. These things are known among us. Haven’t you read a romance novel before?”

“Of course, I should have known.” She looks back to me and I place a soft kiss on her lips.

“I love you, Arabella. And tomorrow, I’m going to make you my wife.”

“Oh, Romeo. I love you, too. This is such a whirlwind.”

“Of course it is. And just wait. There’s more to come.”

CHAPTER 8

Arabella

I stand looking up at the giant ship…or boat. I’m not sure what to call it. This can’t be the boat Romeo was talking about.

I didn’t want to leave the bunker this morning. I felt safe wrapped in Romeo’s arms as if the rest of the world had fallen away. I didn’t have to think about my father or all the things that were happening. I could just get lost in Romeo.

“What, you didn’t have a bigger one?” I tease, looking up at Romeo. He smiles down at me. He seems a bit on edge, though, but who can blame him with ninjas on our trail. Hopefully ninjas can’t swim.

“Of course I do. But it’s docked in the Bahamas.” My eyes almost bug out of my head. He shrugs like it’s no big thing, but I’m not complaining. What girl doesn’t want a billionaire with several ridiculous modes of transportation.

“How do we even get on this thing?” Because I’m getting on. I’m in love with this man and, hey, there could be snacks on there.

“Easy.” He swoops me up in his arms, making me squeal. I wrap my arms around his neck, holding on tight. Then a little bridge descends from the boat, and a man in a black butler’s suit is standing before us.

“Sir, everything is ready.” The man watches us for a moment, and his eyes linger on me before he takes a step back. Romeo holds me even tighter to him.

“Thank you, Alfred,” Romeo says as he steps onto the bridge and carries me aboard the ship. When we get to the top he places me on my feet. The ship looks even bigger now I’m on it.

“Jumping jelly beans, is that a freaking pool?” I shout. I glance around. “And a freaking cannon?” Actual cannonballs lie next to it, ready to go. I take a step toward it, wanting to look at it.

“Keeping you happy and safe is my number one priority. So yes, there is a pool and a cannon.” Romeo wraps his arm around my waist, guiding me back to him.

“Pull us out,” he says to the butler, Alfred, who I notice is staring at my boobs and I don’t think he caught what Romeo said.

Romeo’s arm leaves my waist and he prowls toward Alfred. “I see this is going to be a fucking problem. I’ll make sure you keep your eyes off what’s mine.” He grabs Alford by his suit jacket and sends him sailing over the side of the boat. I hear a loud scream followed by a splash.

“Who’s going to drive the ship?” I exclaim. I attempt to look over the side of the ship, but once again Romeo has his arms around me, stopping me. He hits a button and the bridge starts to rise.

“Alfred.” Romeo says.

“Yes, sir.”

I scream and jump a little when a man, almost identical to the one who was just thrown off the boat, stands there ready for service.

“Pull us out,” Romeo says once again. The man nods and turns to do what Romeo said.

“Not going to throw me off anytime soon are you?” I ask.

Romeo laughs against my neck before he starts placing open-mouthed kisses there. I moan.

“I have other ways to get you wet, little love.” He bites my neck and my knees go weak. I feel the ship start to move.

“Alfred,” Romeo says, pulling back from me.

“Yes, sir.”

I scream again and jump. Oh my god, he’s got an army of Alfred’s! I should probably be more concerned about his ability to either clone humans, or create a cyborg army. Isn’t that the plot of Terminator? I didn’t see any Skynet logos so I let it go. I’m so just going to roll with it.

Romeo gives a small chuckle at my scream. “The priest is here?” he asks.

“He is ready when you are.” He nods before disappearing again, and I wonder if maybe butlers are like retired ninjas and that’s how they move so fast.

“Then I’ll go get my soon-to-be wife ready.” He swings me up in his arms.

“I know how to walk, you know,” I say, even as I lay my head on his shoulder.

“Get used to it.” My eyes are on him, but I can tell we’re in the bowels of the boat and going deeper still. I find that my eyes always slide to him no matter what’s happening around us. A door opens and before I know it I’m on a bed with Romeo hovering over me.

“I’ve waited years to have you. Makes a man a little crazy.” His eyes search mine. Everything about this is crazy, I think. “You’ll see that I’ll have as much of me on you as possible and as often as I can. Are you ready for that?”

I lick my lips. “Yes. I’m ready for that,” I admit, even though a part of me thinks Romeo wouldn’t have given me a choice. Not that I care, because when you’re hot and super rich you can pull that off.

I actually love how much he can’t keep his hands off me. My home life wasn’t affectionate and now I can see how lonely I was, because I’m clinging to him, too. I’d go anywhere just to be by his side.

“I’ll always be good to you. Give you everything you want. So now you’re going to get your wedding dress on and come up to the deck of the ship and marry me.”

“You’ll give me anything?” I bite my lip.

“Anything.”

“Well, I really want to shoot that cannon.”

CHAPTER 9

Romeo

I stand on the bow of the boat in my tuxedo as I wait for my bride to join us. I gave her a few moments alone to put on the wedding dress I had brought here for her. Of course I bought her wedding dress. How else would should have gotten one? Picking out the wedding dress of your bride without her knowledge is terribly romantic.

I’m ready to make this legal and then get back to dry land.

The Alfreds move around making sure everything is perfect as we gently sway on the open water, land having disappeared from sight long ago. They want this day to be perfect because I demand it. And when I ask for ridiculous, impossible things to appear, goddamn it, they better.

Arabella steps out from below deck and walks up to join me. She looks utterly breathtaking in her long, flowing white dress. Her blonde hair is down around her shoulders in perfect waves and every inch of her is radiant. I want to wrap her in my arms and hold her close, but I know if I do that, we won’t make it to the ceremony.

“Smile,” Alfred says.

We turn to him, posing for the picture. I wrap my arm gently around Arabella’s waist and put my lips to her ear. “I’m going to ruin you tonight.”

Her body presses against mine and I want her so badly I might just take her right here in front of everyone.

Alfred snaps the picture then slowly lowers the camera, revealing a look of horror on his face. My chest tightens as he points his finger behind us and screams “Pirates!”

I turn around to see a ship almost as big as mine approaching. While mine is thick, theirs is long and slim. Isn’t that usually the case when comparing boat size?

I see the skull and crossbones flag on the crow’s nest and I hold Anabella close as I ponder how we’re going to get out of this.

“Your wish to fire that cannon is about to come true,” I say as I pull her to the stern of the boat and bark orders at the Alfreds.

“Are you serious?” she cries as I place her in front of it. “Are we really going to shoot another ship?!”

“There can’t possibly be another way,” I answer, pulling out my hand-held telescope and using it to look across at the approaching ship. “Damn. I can see the Duke of England. I knew he wasn’t going to let you go so easily.”

“What are we going to do, Romeo? You can’t let him take me.”

“Never,” I declare, wrapping my arm around her waist and dipping her dramatically before kissing her. “Minister!” I shout when I come up for air. He comes over to us, his hands shaking. “Keep the ceremony going. I don’t care if this ship is sinking, I’m going to make Arabella my bride today.”

He looks at me with wide eyes but begins to read from his papers. Everyone around us is running around, readying the ship for battle. You wouldn’t think a fancy yacht would have this kind of equipment, but you’d be wrong. I’m prepared for even the most ludicrous scenarios.

“DO YOU, ARABELLA SCARLET, TAKE ROMEO TROPE—”

The minister’s shouts are cut off by the boom of a cannon. There’s a splash in the water between our two boats and I look to Arabella, who shrugs with a sheepish blush on her face.

“Firing the first shot might have not been the best strategy, little love,” I say.

“I just got excited.” She bites her lip and holds out her hands. “Oops.”

There’s another boom as a cannon flies over our ship and misses us completely. Everyone is shouting now as cannon fire commences. The minister is chasing around behind us, screaming the vows over the chaos and we are repeating them as we run.

“In sickness and in health,” I pant as I grab some more gear from the bow of the ship and pass it off to Alfred. “And I’m not saying until death do us part, because she’s not getting rid of me so easily. I plan on never being dead.”

I wink at Arabella as I take her hand and she giggles, trying to keep up.

Another boom echoes, and this time the ship rocks. I look to the back of the boat to see we’ve gotten some minor damage, but our cannons are hitting their target. I don’t know how much longer the Duke can sustain his attack.

I drag Arabella up to the wheelhouse where the intercom system is. The minister stays hot on our heels, talking nonstop.

When I get into the room where all the controls are I reach out and grab the communications system. I send out a signal to the Duke’s boat and wait a beat before I hear the crackle of his voice on the other line.

“Give up the girl and we’ll let you live,” he barks.

“Never!” I shout back, pulling Arabella even closer to me.

I squeeze the radio tight in my free hand and bring it up to my mouth while I keep my eyes on her. “You’re too late, Duke.”

“Sir,” Alfred calls, and I look over at him. “We’ve got our backup armada on the way. The Duke is running out of ammunition, but they’re getting closer. I think they might try to board the boat. Do you have a plan?”

“Romeo, do you have any idea how we are going to get out of this?” Arabella says, worry and panic in her voice.

The minister says the final words of the ceremony and I look into my new wife’s eyes, knowing finally, at long last she belongs to me.

“I do,” I say, answering everyone in the room.

CHAPTER 10

Arabella

“I do,” I echo before Romeo kisses me so deeply I feel it in my toes.

The minister clears his throat and Romeo breaks the kiss to look at him. “You’ll need to consummate the marriage in order for it to count.”

My cheeks redden but Romeo nods. “Then that’s what we’ll do,” he confirms, scooping me into his arms and carrying me down the stairs.

“How can we consummate the marriage at a time like this?” I shout, seeing the other ship approaching us.

“That’s ridiculous. There’s always time for me to make love to you,” Romeo says as he walks into the bedroom and kicks the door closed behind us. “But right now, I’m going to fuck you.”

I bounce on the bed when he tosses me onto it, and then he begins undoing his pants. He’s not even bothering to take off the rest of his clothes as he pulls me to the edge and flips me over onto my hands and knees. Cool air runs across my cheeks as he pushes up my dress and pulls down my panties.

Before I have a chance to catch my breath, he’s balls deep and riding me hard.

“You’re mine now, Arabella. Forever,” he grunts as he pounds into me.

The feel of his thick cock entering me and claiming what it owns has me dripping wet for him. “Yes, Romeo.”

My thighs shake as he thrusts harder and faster. He takes me roughly and it’s unlike anything we’ve done before. This isn’t just him fucking me. This is him stamping his name on my body for all of eternity. I belong to him just as much as he belongs to me. It’s so much more than him bending me over and having his way. It’s a primal need that he can’t stop. His passion skyrockets my own, and without being able to control it, my orgasm comes out of nowhere and hits me hard.

I cry out into the small room, my scream of pleasure muffled by the blanket against my mouth. Romeo grunts and I feel his warm release spread inside me as he pulls out quickly and flips me back over. He’s holding his cock, slick with our combined desires, and pants for breath.

“Pull your panties up. We’ve got company.”

Just then I hear the thumping of boots on the stairs, and I panic. I do as Romeo says and pull them up as he tucks his throbbing cock in his pants. I look at it longingly, wishing we could have had longer.

“Just give me until the end of this chapter and you can have my cock again,” he says.

“What?” I ask in confusion. Chapters?

“Never mind. We’ve got more important things to worry about.” He pulls me into his arms dramatically and grabs a sword from a nearby table. “Pirates.”

I don’t bother asking where the sword came from, it’s useless by now. I just recognize that we needed a sword and now we’ve got it.

The door slams open and there stands the Duke of England with his own sword held at the ready. I swear this is like something out of an old romance novel.

“Give us the girl and we won’t sink your ship,” the Duke demands with a sneer. It’s then I notice he’s wearing an eyepatch. Well, at least he’s dressed for the part.

“Never!” shouts Romeo as he pushes me behind him. “The marriage has been consummated. It’s no use, Duke. She’s already carrying my baby. Your royal cock is no good here.”

“My royal cock will have what it wants!” he shouts and lunges for Romeo.

The two swords clash and the sound of metal on metal rings out. They dance around the room and for a second I wonder why everyone is so obsessed with my vagina. I just shrug and then move to stay out of the way.

The two men fall out of the room and onto the stern of the boat. I have to remind myself that’s what the rear part is called. I can’t just say back of the boat because that would be confusing for all the nautical people that are reading this.

I cling to the rope near the edge, trying to stay back. It’s probably the worst location for me because I’m dangerously close to the water, but I literally have no sense of self-preservation.

Romeo trades insults with the Duke as they go round and round. Just as the Duke closes in, he raises his sword high and I scream. Fear and panic send me off balance and my foot slips off the edge. I lose my grip on the rope. Romeo reacts faster than I ever thought possible and stabs the Duke through the heart just before he catches me.

He pulls me back on board as the Duke falls over the edge of the ship into the water, the sword still stuck in his chest. He sinks down, and bloody bubbles float to the surface.

“He’s dead,” Romeo says, stating the obvious. “He’ll never come after what’s mine again.”

He pulls me into his arms and I hold him tight, trying to get the grisly image out of my head. When Romeo’s grip loosens, I see some of the Alfreds untying the pirate ship as the rescue armada shows up.

“Get us out of here,” Romeo orders, and everyone does as he commands. “I need to get my bride home.”

His eyes are so tender as he looks at me. I melt into him, letting all the worry and anxiety about the past few days melt away. Has it only been days since we met? It feels like exactly ten weeks.

“Where are we going?” I say as once again he scoops me into his arms.

“I’ve made several homes for us across the globe. And I intend to make love to you in every one of them, my wife.”

I glance down at the band on my finger and see his sparkling in the light. Something about finally being married to the man of my dreams is like a fairy tale, and I wrap my arms around him, holding him just as tightly as he’s holding me.

Finally, I’m safe. Finally, I’m free.

Or so I think…

CHAPTER 11

Romeo

The armada escorts us to land, and from there I carry my new bride ashore. My house is at the top of the hill, but I’m in peak physical condition, so I have no problems sprinting the entire way and making it to the top with her still in my arms.

I carry her over the threshold, bringing us the best of luck in our lives and our marriage. I can’t wait to carry her to our bedroom and strip her bare as I make love to her all night long. The thoughts of what I’m about to do to her come crashing down when I walk in and see her father standing in the living room.

“Dad? What are you doing here?” Arabella says.

I don’t put her down. Instead, I hold on to her tighter, not wanting to let her go. She’s mine and no one will ever take her from me again, but a man can’t be too careful.

“I’m sorry,” he says, bowing his head. “I heard that you were married at sea.”

“Word travels fast when it comes by boat,” I say, but I don’t know if that’s true or not.

“It’s true,” Arabella says proudly. “We’re legally bound. There’s nothing you can do to stop our love.”

“I don’t want to. I’m here to apologize. I was wrong to try to keep you apart,” he states. That surprises me. Just a few days ago he was trying to sell her off.

I narrow my eyes at him and my bride remains silent.

“Let me explain. I owed a great deal of money to the Duke of England. And now that he’s dead, my debt is forgiven. I know now that what I did in order to repay those debts was wrong. And I want to do what I can to make it right.”

“You can leave. That’s the only thing that will make this right,” I growl and place Arabella on her feet and move her behind my big body. “You get out of my fucking house right now before you suffer the same fate as the Duke. You can bring as many ninjas in here as you want. We both know that in the end she and I will be together.”

“I can see there’s no place for me here.” There’s real sadness in his eyes, but some things can never be forgiven.

I don’t correct him or try to stop him as he walks past us. Maybe one day, if Arabella wants to reach out, we can try again, but right now I’m not in the mood.

“Let’s get you some food,” I say to my wife, taking her hands in mine and kissing the backs of each of them before leading her toward the kitchen.

“This home is so beautiful,” she marvels as she looks out at the sea.

“It’s one of many, my love. And fully stocked anytime we want to use it.” I wonder for a moment if all my houses just have refrigerators of rotten food sitting in them until I decide to visit. Oh well.

“Like magic.” Her laughter dies in her throat when we walk into the kitchen and she sees Candy, my personal chef.

This goddamn house is just full of surprise guests.

“Why is there a stripper in your kitchen?” Arabella whispers to me without taking her eyes off Candy.

“Our kitchen, little love,” I correct. Arabella raises an eyebrow and I look over at Candy. “I think she’s baking a cake.”

“In a sequin bikini?” Arabella’s voice is getting angrier and more high pitched by the second.

“I hadn’t even noticed what she’s wearing,” I say, shrugging. I don’t pay attention to anyone but my Arabella. “Before this moment I don’t think I could have told you what she looked like.”

“Well, she’s no longer needed,” my wife growls as she stomps over to the cook and stands to her full height.

I lean against the door and keep my eyes on my woman. I have no concern for anything but her happiness. Seeing her get worked up is kind of adorable, though.

What does it matter if the cook is or was a stripper? It’s not like I’m even here to notice her. I travel to all of my houses and most of them have a shrine to Arabella. Even now in this house, a portrait of my love hangs over the fireplace. I knew one day she’d be mine, so I went ahead and had one commissioned for every home, which I told everyone was perfectly normal.

The only thing I care about when it comes to food is that it’s in front of me on demand at an unreasonable speed. I don’t need details, I just need results.

Arabella tenses then relaxes, and I notice the kitchen door slams shut. I guess I need a new chef. Luckily I snap my fingers and one appears. This one is a short chubby man with a curly mustache. Perfect.

“Make us dinner,” I order and walk over to my wife and scoop her up in my arms. I can’t go more than a moment without literally sweeping her off her feet. Hey, my name is Romeo, after all.

I sit down at the dining room table with her in my lap and a gigantic plate of spaghetti is placed in front of me. I knew I liked the new chef.

“Is that settled now?” I ask, kissing Arabella on the tip of her nose.

“It was either take off the sparkly G-string or get the fuck out. She made her decision.”

“I think she made the right one,” I whisper, and my little love nods.

I scoop up a noodle for her, letting her take it between her lips. I take one for myself, and as I chew on it, I see the noodle tightening between us. The more I eat, the tighter it gets, until we both can see that we’re chewing on the same noodle.

Suddenly the new cook is singing in Italian, and our lips get closer and closer. It’s like something out of a movie. Perhaps one that featured a beloved scrappy dog and the beauty of his dreams.

The chef pulls an accordion out of nowhere, and the moment is so perfect that I can feel it in my chest.

As our lips touch, the thumping in my chest that I thought was love changes to something almost painful. I place a quick kiss on Arabella’s lips even though she pushes to deepen in. Her eyes are concerned, but then they widen in shock as I clutch my chest. I’m unable to form words as the pain intensifies and my eyelids grow heavy.

“Romeo!” she shouts, but it’s as if the noise is far away in the distance.

I can only hear the slowing of my heart as I fall out of the seat and my world goes black.

CHAPTER 12

Arabella

“Romeo!” I scream again as he slumps in the chair.

I shake his shoulders, but all it does it tumble us to the floor. Okay, so now he may have a head injury, too.

“Alfred!” I scream, hoping someone will hear me.

Pounding boots enter the kitchen and I’m nudged aside as two of the servants go to work on Romeo. Oh god, this can’t be happening. We were finally married. I thought this was the time where we could finally be together without all the drama. Think again.

“He’s been poisoned,” one of them says, holding up a glass tube that turns green, then blue.

“Is he going to be all right? How do you know?” I blurt out, needing answers.

“I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. I just got this really cool chemistry set on Black Friday,” he says, putting away the tube while the other man performs CPR.

“What?” I cry as the two of them try to save my husband’s life.

“I’ve got a heartbeat,” the one giving CPR shouts.

“Don’t worry. The ambulance is on the way,” the other says, a phone to his ear.

Who could have done this? Why won’t people just let us live in peace? Is it too much to ask for a moment of quiet? It would probably make for a boring day, I suppose.
I hear a whisper. “Little love.” I gasp.

I reach out, taking Romeo’s hand and look into his eyes. They’re barely opened, just tiny slits as he tries to choke out the words.

“Arabe—” He tries to say my name, but I shush him.

“Save your strength. Help is on the way. You were poisoned.” Suddenly suspicion is crawling up my neck and I see that Romeo is in no shape to handle this.

Going with my gut instinct, I turn to face one of the Alfreds. “Go and get the stripper cook. She’s packing her things in the guest house. And send someone to find my father. I’m sure he’s not too far away.” Alfred nods at me and leaves as another one takes his place. “And you, go and make a bed for Romeo in the living room. Then have everyone assemble in there.”

I’m about to Nancy Drew this motherfucker and find out who tried to take the love of my life from me.

Gripping Romeo’s hand tighter, I lean down and kiss his cheek. His breathing is shallow, but his pulse is strong. I hope it’s strong enough for the both of us right now.

The paramedics barge in, and once again I’m shoved out of the way. I know it’s to save Romeo, but they could be a little more polite about it.

They immediately check the chemistry set and agree that he was in fact poisoned. I’ll be damned, I guess those things are pretty accurate. Once that’s confirmed, they hook him up to an IV and carry him into the living room.

The servants have arranged a bed for him, and he’s placed on it, along with the blankets tucked around him. Some of his color is coming back, and I can only thank god that he only ingested a small amount. When Romeo is stabilized, the paramedics leave and two of the servants stay with me as I make sure Romeo is comfortable and the drugs are being flushed out of his system.

“Mrs. Trope.”

I turn around to see the servant I sent away earlier take a bow. Behind him are the cook and my father. He steps out of the way and the two people who most likely did this step forward.

“Which one of you did this?!” I shout, clenching my fists. I’m full of rage that someone would dare hurt the man I love, the father of the possible baby growing in my belly, the man who has quickly become my entire world. I won’t allow this to go unpunished.

My father won’t meet my eyes, but the cook is looking at me defiantly. She’s traded in her bikini for a sequined ball gown. I can’t say I hate it, but it seems a little inappropriate for mid-afternoon.

“You are nothing to him,” she says in a French accent while she turns up her nose at me.

Romeo growls from the bed, but I place my hand on his chest to calm him.

“And you?” I ask, turning to my father. “What do you have to say about this?”

“I-I…” he stammers, wringing his hands. “I came here to make peace. To smooth things over.”

“And I’m supposed to believe you? Not so long ago you were selling me off to someone with better business connections.” I turn to the cook. “And you!” I say, pointing a finger. “What kind of over-the-top fly girl dresses like a stripper while frying bacon?”

She shrugs and flips her hair. “You know nothing about cooking.”

“I know enough to know that bacon grease can melt silicone and those tits of yours should be more careful.”

She gasps and puts a hand to her cleavage.

“Arabella, princess,” my father pleads as he looks to the cook and then to me. “Try to understand.”

“Understand what?” I say, narrowing my eyes. This is like a bad rendition of the game Clue.

“He made us do it,” the cook says, crossing her arms and looking at my father with contempt.

“Who made you do it?” I ask in confusion, looking between the two of them.

“Me,” a voice says from the other side of the room, and I stare in shock as the Duke of England walks into the living room.

He’s soaking wet with a sword sticking out of his chest, and there is murderous anger in his eyes.

“This can’t be?” I gasp and take a step back.

“Oh, it can be,” the Duke sneers, taking a step forward. I scream as he pulls the sword from his own chest and somehow manages to raise it above his head. “If I can’t have you no one can!”

“Why don’t you fucking die already!” I whip around to see Romeo sit up in bed with a bazooka in his hand. He pulls the trigger and the Duke flails as the bullets hit him and he falls back on the ground.

“Romeo!” I cry out as I throw myself into his arms. “I thought you were going to die. Then I thought I was going to die. How many more times can we escape life-threatening situations?”

“I don’t know. Maybe only a few more weeks. It feels like it’s coming to an end,” he says, kissing my forehead. “It’s okay, little love, calm down. I’m all right and I’m going to take care of everything.”

“Thank god you’re all right.” Relief floods me knowing that once again he saved the day.

He stands up and looks at my father and the cook. “If I ever see the two of you again, you’re going to end up like the duke.” The two of them nod and leave the house together, only this time they’re escorted out.

Romeo releases me and walks over to where the Duke is laid out on the floor. Blood is beginning to pool around him. I assume it’s from the bullets and where he ripped the sword out. Seriously, who does that? Romeo takes aim and before I know what’s happening he puts two bullets in his head and then turns to look at me.

“I don’t want him popping up again. Double tap, baby,” he says, and winks at me.

“Double tap,” I agree, and throw myself into his arms.

***SIGN UP NOW TO NOT MISS THE NEXT CHAPTER***

22 Comments:


  1. Michelle dyer said:

    Just read this on your website I have already left my name and email address but never received this yesterday by email Is it a problem being in the uk.
    Loved it

    Reply

    1. Melissa Schneider said:

      Im in the USA and didnt receive it, either. Ive just been checking here to see when it was added.

      Reply

  2. Mary Ovalle said:

    OMG! I can’t wait to continue reading!

    Reply

  3. Ash K said:

    I want the next chapter toooo!

    Reply

  4. diksha goyal said:

    I loved it. can’t wait for next chapter

    Reply

  5. BookLover said:

    Hi, Loved the chapters, please send the next one too! 🙂

    Reply

  6. Nazneen said:

    I really love the way you write. Especially, the heroes. I love how they are possesive jealous & MADLY, CRAZY in love with the heroines. Thereare many possesive, dominant male characters but your male leads have that different kind of possesiveness, dominance, jealousy & crazy love. I really want to read a book like Everything for her. Oz is my favourite hero from your books. Also, this new serial, Till death, do us trope is really intresting..It is making me desperate & chapters are very short..plz make it lenghtier atleast..

    Reply

  7. BeYoung said:

    I am so glad that I am on this list because as always it is SWOON worthy.

    Reply

  8. Karla said:

    I didn’t get the email for chapter 4, but im so happy it’s here. This story is amazing!!!

    Reply

  9. Melissa Schneider said:

    Oh my goodness. I dont know if I want to sign up for the chapters or wait until its finished so I can binge read it. What a decision!

    Reply

  10. Jaime said:

    Wow
    Just wow

    Need more now!

    So love this and all your other books.

    Huge fan of their shifter series.

    Reply

  11. Ionie Grey said:

    I obsess with your books. and i love love the male characters. just sitting at my desk at work and read this story i hope to get the next chapter next week….
    as soon as one of your books come out i want it.

    Reply

  12. Erika said:

    I loved it!!!!!
    Can’t wait for next chapter!!!!!!!

    Reply

  13. Hanna said:

    I am laughing so hard right now. It’s like a really bad action movie – I love it! The Ninjas, the dramatic pause, it’s amazing. Thank you for putting a big smile on my face today.

    Reply

    1. Nathalia said:

      yes! I thought I was the only one, but what about the dance off, I was literally crying. lmao

      Reply

  14. Stacy Pierson said:

    These are hysterical!!! Omg! My mascara is running I’m laughing so hard!

    Reply

  15. Mildred Campana said:

    Love your serial novel. It’s so outside the norm and I wait with bated breaths for the next instalment. Wednesday will never be the same again. It’s something else when an email can start your day in an funny mood.

    Love you very alpha hero and innocent but not a push over heroine.

    Reply

  16. Bettina Mang said:

    It is wednesday, where is my next fix😉

    Reply

  17. Jackie said:

    I have finally caught up. This-This right here is freaking hilarious!
    I feel like M.J would be proud!

    Reply

  18. Melissa said:

    “Just give me until the end of this chapter…” I swear I almost wet my pants laughing at this line, and continued to giggle through the rest of the chapter. Alexa Riley stories are always amazing fun.

    Reply

  19. Anica said:

    Wow.. It’s fun, entertaining, hilarious and sexy. Definitely sexy. Alexa Riley show how witty they can be. I love how they articulate the story by incorporating different aspects. Anyway can’t wait for the next chap!

    Reply

  20. Melissa said:

    Snapped his fingers and a chef appeared … where does one learn such wonderous magic.

    Reply

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Of course I can be anything I wanna be... That's how delusions work. Smut Author & Daddy Aficionado.

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