Owning the BeastBy: Alexa Riley
CHAPTER 1 *Annabella*
Alive. I don’t think I’ve felt this alive since Father’s death two weeks ago. And although I’m afraid of what’s to come, I welcome the feeling. It’s better than the numbness I’ve been living in. Anxiety was a constant knot in my stomach these days. The fear of not knowing what was to come was the hardest to deal with. My heart was pounding so hard against my ribcage that I was almost sure the driver could hear it as well.
Tearing my eyes away from the lush green hills, I turned my focus back on Logan. When he’d picked me up from the agency in Seattle, he said that his boss, Mr. Stone, had sent him to retrieve me. Now, I have not met my future husband yet, but I felt a pang of disappointment when it had sunken in that he did not turn up to meet me himself.
I had dressed my part to the best of my abilities, a yellow sundress with white polka dots that came to a stop slightly above my knees along with a pair of simple white flats. A lady at the agency had even helped curl my usually straight, long raven hair, tying it up in a white bow to match my dress. I started to second-guess my choice of wardrobe after noticing the look the driver had given me, mumbling something about how “you don’t look like what the boss usually orders”.
One thing I could assume, just from my driver, was that my husband-to-be must be a very, very rich man. Coupled with the fact that this was one of the nicest cars I’d ever seen in my life and overhearing John at the agency say that I’d fetched a higher price due to the fact that my virginity was still intact. I wasn’t trying to hold on to it, really, I just never got a chance to have a life outside of my family. Growing up in Mexico City, Father and Mother rarely let me out of their sight, which was understandable from some of the horror stories I’ve heard over the years. My father did his best to keep me hidden away, even going to the extent of having Mother homeschool me.
After Mother was killed by Mexican drug cartel when I was fifteen, I took on her role in the family. Father loved her dearly and was utterly destroyed by her passing. He merely existed, and I often felt that he’d only kept on living to keep me safe. That was up till two weeks ago where he had suffered a massive heart attack, causing my perfect little world to come crashing down.
I am completely alone in this world. That loneliness was probably the main reason why I was in this car to begin with.
I sat at Father’s bedside for three whole days before he’d finally slipped away. I had absolutely no idea what I would do without him by my side. I’d never been so terrified in my life. The thought of returning home without him, without his protection, it just wasn’t going to happen. I could die, or worse. While Father might not have let me out of the house much, I could still hear the screams, the gunfire and the police sirens from the outside every day. Father said they left us alone because he’d paid his dues, whatever that meant. I have no money, my Spanish isn’t fluent, and my bright blue eyes give away the fact that I’m not one hundred percent Mexican.
When I had shared my fears with Father’s nurse from the hospital, she gave me a man’s card. A man who could get me out of Mexico and give me a whole new life in America. Mother was American and often spoke wonderful things about her country. I grew up speaking English, with Spanish as my second language. Mother always said that we would move to America together one day, but that dream died the same day she did.
And that was how I found myself faced with this choice. I kept asking myself if this made me a whore. While I might not be selling myself to a different man each day, I was still selling myself to one. I wonder what he’s like. My parents’ marriage was a beautiful one. They loved each other deeply and I longed to have that with someone someday; to make a home and fill it with children, to love without living in fear each day. While we might not have had much, Father and I had love, and now, I have no one. I should be thankful I had even made it out alive. I am never going back.
Father said that I was the most stubborn person he has ever met. I drove him crazy with my constant chatter and my need to always have things done in a certain way, but he always said that I would make a wonderful wife one day. I made it my goal to make Father smile after Mother passed away. Nothing made me happier than when I could get a laugh from him. I’m not sure if I ever truly did though. Maybe if Mother was still alive, he might have fought harder to stay, to live.
▶ Also By Alexa Riley
- · Taking the Fall: The Complete Series
- · The Final Fall
- · Taking Her Turn
- · Keeping Her Warm
- · The Runaway Mail-Order Bride
- · Double The Ache
- · The Lost Slipper (Fairytale Shifter Book 3)
- · Growling for Mine
- · Taking What's His (Forced Submission Book 4)
- · Blackmailing the Virgin (An Alexa Riley Promis...