Til death, p.1
Til Death, p.1Bella Jewel
Published by Bella Jewel, 2014.
Table of Contents
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Copyright © 2014 Bella Jewel
’Til Death is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places and events portrayed in this book either are from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, establishments, events, or location is purely coincidental and not intended by the author. Please do not take offence to the content, as it is FICTION.
A massive thanks to all the blogs on my tours. You’re amazing for taking the time to share and review for me; you’ll never know how much that means to me.
A SUPER special thanks to Kylie from Give Me Books for the FREAKING epic release day blitz she set up for me. I freaking adore you.
A massive thanks to the gorgeous LM CREATIONS for this cover. I love it like you wouldn’t believe; you’re amazing and the BEST to work with.
A super huge thanks to JUSTIN KEETON for being gorgeous enough to nail this cover; you’re an amazing model. A mega thanks to photographer GOLDEN from FURIOUSFOTOG for creating this gorgeous piece of artwork by taking the photo of Justin.
To Lauren, my crazy, awesome editor. You do such a great job. I couldn’t do it without you. I adore you, lovely.
To my girls, Belle Aurora and Sali. For always reading and helping me create the best work I can. For always talking to me and making me smile. I love you two, my besties.
And of course, to my admin, MJ, for ALWAYS keeping my page running beautifully. I couldn’t do it without you, girly.
And, last but certainly not least, to my loyal readers. You make this real for me; never stop giving such love and passion. You make our journey so amazing.
COVER DESIGN BY LM CREATIONS – Like her page here - LM Creations
PHOTOGRAPH BY GOLDEN CZERMAK – FURIOUSFOTOG – Like his page here - Furious Fotog
MODEL – JUSTIN KEETON – Like his page here - Juston Keeton
This one is for all the beauties who have had their hearts destroyed by a beast.
Please note that the content of this book is purely fictional, and I, as the author, in no way believe it could happen in real life nor is there any fact to it.
Let me tell you a story. It’s one of those stories that will make you hate with a passion that will scorch your soul. It might even make you hate me. After all, I married him.
Marcus, that is.
The man who came into my life like a hurricane and flipped my world on its axis. The man who I love so deeply, he’ll scar me in a way that’s irreversible. He’s the man who destroys lives, yet makes them beautiful all at the same time. My Marcus will change your world, too. If you let him.
And you will let him, because that’s just his way.
I love him in a way that’s toxic. I know it because no matter how much my heart screams at me that something isn’t right, I can’t stay away. Marcus is hard, he’s broody, he’s not soft and he’s not gentle but when he’s inside me, deep inside, I feel him. I feel everything he refuses to let me see. And it’s amazing. It’s also how he got under my skin and stayed there.
What started as a one-night stand quickly turned into my world. I can’t tell you how it happened, or even why, I just knew I couldn’t get enough of him. It didn’t matter what he did. Before I knew it we were married. A week later I moved in with him. Everyone in my life was happy for me. Except maybe Marcus. He just remained as he was, impassive and deep, so deep I couldn’t get in.
They say your body tells you when something becomes dangerous — that it hums with awareness. They would be right. I felt it; I felt the shift, and I knew the moment I entered Marcus’s world that he was going to take my soul and likely crush it. I fell for a man who most women wouldn’t fall for, because he reeks heartbreak. He isn’t the hearts-and-flowers kind of guy, he doesn’t hold you, or call you sweet names, or make you feel like you’re the only reason he breathes.
In accepting this, I became the girl they all talk about — you know the one. The girl you shake your head at, wondering why she stays, wondering why she’s there. How come she’s so stupid? What could she possibly see in a jerk like that? That’s me. Though at first, I didn’t realize it. I fell in love with the devil. I didn’t know it at the time; even if I did, I can’t promise I would have done things differently. It took time for me to see what Marcus was; to see my love was one-sided.
But that’s what it was, you see. Love. Deep, binding love I couldn’t let go of.
He consumed me. He took my heart in his hands and he’s holding it there.
There’s no way I can turn away from him.
The Katia I am now, she’ll disappear into a world of hurt and lies. She will no longer be. He’ll take me and he’ll twist my world until it’s no longer beautiful, but ugly. So ugly it’ll bury me deep. There’s a good chance I’ll never come out of it unscathed.
But I’m getting too far ahead. I have to start you from the beginning.
My fingers drum against the dark pine desk as I stare over at the balding, sour-faced lawyer who is humming as he reads over my grandfather’s will. A will I’ve been called in to hear out. The old bastard hated me, but clearly he decided I’m good enough to be included in his precious will, a will that has the family in tithers. Everyone wants a piece.
“Mr. Tandem, thank you for coming today.”
Nothing in my expression changes as the lawyer speaks, his voice low and professional. He looks up at me when I don’t answer, his lips pursing as he lets his gaze run over me.
“Can we get on with this?” I ask, shifting. “I’ve got things to do.”
He clears his throat. “Of course. I imagine you’ve figured out why you’re here.”
“Actually,” I say coolly, crossing my arms, “I have no idea.”
“Well, as you’re fully aware, your grandfather recently passed. I understand you’ve been helping run his business for the past ten years.”
“Alone,” I point out. “That old piece of shit did nothing but sit on his sorry ass and let everyone else do the work for him. Now he’s dead and the only thing they all care about is gettin’ a piece of what he may, or may not have left behind.”
“Either way, he’s left strict instruc
“Get on with it,” I snap, giving him a narrow-eyed glare.
“Very well. Your grandfather has stated that he’d like his business to be handed down to you. You’re the only one left in his direct family line since the passing of your father, and therefore the one he wishes to take on his business.”
Well, the old man was good for something after all. Not that I thought he wouldn’t push something onto me, I’ve been involved in it for a long time. My stepbrothers are meaningless to the old man, I’m it.
“Fine. I’m already running it as it is.”
“There’s something else,” he says, pulling at the tie around his throat as if it’s suddenly too tight. “He’s stated very clearly that there is one term that comes with his request. You won’t become the head of the business, with everything being signed under your name that is, until you’re . . .”
“I’m what?” I bark.
I stare at him, waiting for him to laugh and tell me he’s joking, but his expression remains impassive.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” I scoff. “You’ve got it wrong.”
“It clearly states that until you’re married, the business will remain in the hands of his closest friend, Walter Johnson. You will keep your position, however you won’t take over all the finances and management of the company.”
Fucking Walter, the scheming prick. He’ll run it into the ground before I get the chance to do anything. He’s already in the head chair, making me work my ass off, and the fucker will make sure he stays there if I don’t do something. He’s rolling in money now, after all. I’m the only one who holds any passion for this business. The only fucking one. It’s my lifeline; I’ve been in it since I was twenty, and I’ve got a solid lifestyle based around it.
In a scratchy tone, I mutter, “You’re sure it says I’ve got to be married?”
“I’m sure, sir. You have a period of twelve months to do this, before it’s signed over to Walter.”
I love women. All women. But I don’t like ’em hanging around. If you’re looking for commitment, you won’t find it here. I’ve done only one woman in my life more than once, and it was simply for convenience. Love isn’t for men like me. I don’t have the time or the interest. Love is for the weak. Women are too difficult and I’m too much of an asshole. I don’t hide this fact and I certainly don’t pretend to be anything else. I’ve seen where relationships go wrong, and I want no part in them.
“Anything else you want to stab me with?” I grate out.
His eyes flicker, and he swallows. “There are conditions. You can’t just marry and then divorce. . You have to be married for a period of two years. If in that time you divorce, the company automatically goes to Walter.”
You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.
That sick son-of-a-bitch.
He knew — he fuckin’ knew it was one thing that would challenge me. He had a sick mind when he was alive and it would appear that has continued, even after death. He’s testing me, pushing me to the limit like he always did. I walk away, losing everything I’ve worked for in the last ten years, or I fight and I own what’s been mine all along. The business is my life, and the fuckin’ bastard knows it.
“Anything else?” I growl through clenched teeth.
“One more thing, sir. If it’s found out you, ah—” He swallows, “—paid for a wife, that will also be enough to sign the business over to Walter. The woman must be there willingly, and live with you during that time.”
That piece of shit. He knew me better than I thought. He knew the first thing I would do was go and snap up a stupid woman who I could pay off. My jaw tightens and my chest expands with rage. I can already see the look on Walter’s face if the company is signed over to him. He’s always hated me. He won’t fuckin’ win this.
Damn the old man. He’s wanted me to settle down for years, always hating my bachelor lifestyle. He often told me that even if I didn’t want it, to run a business and hold a respected name in society, then I had to grin and bear it. He was married from the age of twenty to a raging bitch that died two years ago. Even after that, he went ahead and acted it up for the sake of the papers. It doesn’t surprise me he would go to these kinds of lengths to make sure I’m stuck with a woman.
“Very well,” I say, standing. “I’ll be sure to get right on it.”
The lawyer gives me a disgusted look. “And how do you suppose you’ll do that?”
I smirk at him. “Simple. I’ll find a wife.”
Click, click, click.
My heels are only one sound on the bustling street as I make my way towards my best friend, Dusty’s, birthday bash. Voices chatter noisily around as people excitedly head to their Saturday night destinations. I can’t help but smile at the people I pass, excited to finally be out of work and into the world of relaxation.
I’m a personal assistant to an overbearing boss that runs a large shipping company. My days are hectic and the only down time I get is on the weekend. Even then, I’m not guaranteed complete peace. Take today for example, where I was called into work to help my boss with a presentation when all I wanted to do was stay in bed.
I smile as I near the bar I’m meeting Dusty at. He’s already standing out the front, dressed all in black, looking suave and super handsome. He grins, rushing forward to throw his arms around my body. I laugh, letting him lift me and spin me in a big circle.
“Happy Birthday, Dust.” I giggle when he places me on my feet once more.
“Girl, you look fine!”
Dusty is the nicest, friendliest, sexiest gay man I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. We became friends a little more than five years ago, and have been tight ever since. I met Dusty in a bar, crying into his drink, so to speak, because he’d been dumped. We got chatting, we got drunk, and a friendship formed. He called me the next day and now here we are.
“I had to work all day.” I frown.
He scrunches his nose up and waves his hand around in disgust. I giggle as his dark blue eyes dance with amusement.
Dusty gathers an equal amount of male/female attention. Upon first glance you want to rip his clothes off and lick every inch of his body, he’s that good looking. He’s got black hair, black as the night, and this brings out his dark blue eyes. His skin is a cross between pale and light olive, not quite either. His body is tall, muscled and exceptional.
“Girl, you work too much. Want me to have a word to your boss?” He winks.
I grin and wrap my arms around him, pressing my cheek to his chest. “Nah.”
He hugs me close. “You’re overworkin’ yourself,” he murmurs into my ear, all playfulness gone.
“I have to. Mom needs the money and—”
“I know, honey, but you don’t deserve this kind of stress either.”
I pull back, smiling up at him. “I’m fine.”
“You work sixty hours a week, minimum.”
I wave a hand, rolling my eyes at his slight over-exaggeration. “I’m here now.”
He gives me a skeptical look and then puts a smile back on his face. “Tell me,” he says, hooking his arm through mine, and turning me towards the bar, “where the hell did you get those gorgeous shoes?”
“Katia, I swear, you get prettier every time I see you!”
I’m wrapped in the embrace of Candy, my best female friend, though I don’t get to see her a whole lot because she lives two hours away. She’s bright, bubbly and sweet. Her personality is addictive. She’s smart as hell, too. Working for a massive company that apparently hires out bulk amounts of machinery.
“I could say the same,” I yell over the music, pulling back.
She smiles at me, flashing a row of perfect w
Candy is beautiful in the girl-next-door kind of way. She’s got mousy-brown hair, hazel eyes, flawless skin and a great body. She’s not a bombshell blonde, or an exotic beauty, but she’s so damned lovable and pretty I want to spend my days squeezing her cheeks.
She scoffs. “You and me are like the dog and the poop.”
I snort and begin laughing. “What?”
“You’re the dog, all pretty and cute, I’m the poop. Alone, the dog doesn’t think it’s that good, but really, he makes everyone else look like his poop.”
I stare at her, blinking. “Are you joking?”
She giggles. “No! Girl, you make us all look like poop.”
I roll my eyes.
“Don’t you roll your eyes at me, and ohhh, where did you get those shoes?”
I grin and hook my arm through hers, telling her about the shoes and how it was just my luck they were in this color.
“Ah!” she sighs. “Lifestyles of the rich and famous.”
I snort. “I had to save for five months, and I found them in a second-hand shop! Anyway you’ve got an amazing job. How is it going, by the way?”
She smiles, tucking a lock of hair behind her ears. “I love it, really I do. I mean, it’s only been a week, sure, but so far it’s going super. The boss though—oh my God, you should see him, Kat. He’s gorgeous.”
“Oh, do share. I need some mind candy for my spank bank.”
She gives me a horrified look. “What’s a girl like you, who looks like you, doing with a spank bank?”
“I don’t have time to get a boyfriend.”
“But you could get laid . . .” She points out.
I shake my head from side to side, backing up. Candy enjoys match-making. No, I mean she really enjoys it. She thinks she has a knack for creating these perfect relationships. She doesn’t. The last guy she set me up with farted during dinner. Farted. Then he laughed like he didn’t just fart in an expensive Italian restaurant. It was a truly beautiful moment. No really, there’s nothing wrong with a giant fart in a restaurant.
Til Death by Bella Jewel / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes