Dangerous:Made & Broken (A British Bad Boy Romance)(9)By: Nora Ash
Not that that was a surprise—the son of London’s biggest crime family had gone to see a therapist, undoubtedly expecting to never be confronted with it again, only to now be forced into marrying the very same woman—possibly the only person in the world who knew that Blaine Steel had a weakness.
And I… I was beyond shocked. Not to mention annoyed at myself for not even bothering to ask who would be waiting for me at the altar. Though to be fair, I’d spent the week locked up in my own flat with no phone or computer access, effectively a prisoner. I’d been too terrified to even think about who I’d be marrying, and neither my father nor my brothers had bothered to inform me of such an unimportant detail. All that mattered to them was that they would now be related to the biggest crime family in the country.
I swallowed thickly as I stared, wide-eyed, up at Blaine. I’d run away from home the day I turned eighteen so I could escape this exact fate—so I wouldn’t end up married to a man as ruthless and dangerous as the ones in my own family. Yet here I was, staring into the eyes of a man I knew without a shadow of a doubt was the living embodiment of every nightmare I’d ever had. My groom.
One of the redheaded groomsmen demonstratively cleared his throat, which made both Blaine and I jolt out of what probably looked like a staring match to the onlookers.
With one final, dark look, Blaine took my arm and turned us toward the altar, where the priest stood ready to bind us together for all eternity.
I didn’t think it was possible to be any more terrified of my fate than I already was, but the look Blaine gave me held so much fury and resentment that the only thing that made me capable of following him the final few steps to the altar was the fresh wave of adrenaline coursing in my blood.
He hated me.
* * *
The ceremony was a blur, and I have no idea how I made it through the entire thing without my anxiety making me break down into a sobbing mess. All I really comprehended through the pomp and circumstance was the sound of my own pulse drumming unsteadily in my ears.
Blaine must have led me through it, though, because when I finally snapped out of it, it was in the middle of the reception. I was seated at a table with a pretty, but untouched, dessert on my plate in a room full of laughing people I mostly didn’t know or had spent years hiding from. Everyone was dressed up, there were flowers everywhere, and music underlined the chattering and laughter.
It looked like the perfect wedding, I numbly realized. Picture perfect, in fact.
If only the guest list wasn’t made up of some of the worst criminals in the country and the bride hadn’t been kidnapped and married off against her will.
A hysterical giggle bubbled out of my chest, only to die in a wheeze.
“You doing okay there?”
I snapped my head around to the speaker, dimly recognizing one of the redheaded groomsmen as he leaned over from a few seats away. The spaces between us were vacated, and I realized the dinner was over and most people must have left their seats for the bar, or perhaps to mingle—or whatever people did at arranged business weddings. Including my groom.
His eyes were the same color as Blaine’s, but light and cheerful rather than broody and angry.
“No.” The same frantic giggle escaped again, and I shook my head to make it stop. “Not even remotely. But the flowers are nice, aren’t they?”
The groomsman cocked his head, his eyes turning slightly less cheerful as they roamed over my face.
“I’m getting Blaine, hang on,” he said before he got up from the table and walked off toward what looked like the bar.
Great. Seeing Blaine was about the last thing I wanted, but extraordinarily poor problem-solving skills aside, at least the redhead tried. It was the first time anyone had shown any consideration for my well-being since I walked in the door to find my father in my flat, and it was enough to shake me out of the shock that had kept me shielded from the world.
It was odd, really. I had spent the entire week so terrified that my mind had shut me away from everything that happened around me, practically leaving me a living doll. I had gone through the motions when my mother arrived to take measurements for my wedding dress and while she and some distant cousins got me ready earlier this morning. I hadn’t even objected while the people I feared most in this world took away my freedom and my choices to sell me off like a farm animal.