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Ella Miller had the childhood of a princess until she lost her mother. Her father remarried soon so little Ella could have a mother. Alas, her new mother came with two step-sisters who made her life a living hell. She thought Joe, her first boyfriend would rescue her from this life but he ended up cheating on her. Distraught, she goes to the coolest rooftop bar in New York with the aim of losing her virtue once and for all to this hot stranger who mistakes her for a prostitute. The following morning, she leaves money behind as revenge but fate had other plans. Her only job at a Fortune 500 company was about to end unless she got a billion dollar client account; but her hopes were squashed when the CEO of Holt Enterprises proposed a 12 month contract marriage in exchange for a 12 month contract with her company. Playboy billionaire James Holt is calm and composed as a lion but this girl, Ella, invoked his anger when she tipped him for a night he’ll never forget. He vows to find and punish her in every way possible. Shall James be able to tame Cinderella or will it be the other way around?
Chapter 1 Introduction
“Are you done crying?” Mary, my step-mom raised one of her sharp eye-brows and taunted me. I looked up to find her staring at me by the door. At 48, she thought she was no less than Elisabeth Taylor. Wearing a slinky pink night suit putting her surgical breast implants on full display, I doubt if any part of her was real.
This was one of the usual days where she would remind me how wretched and unlucky I was for the family, not that she ever had anything nice to say.
But for me today was Cecelia, my mother’s death anniversary, when my world turned upside down exactly 12 years ago in 2007 after she passed away from a long standing battle with cancer. I was only 13 years old, still too young to understand and grasp the reality of the situation.
Wiping my tears off, I wrapped my night robe, got up from the bed and started walking out of the room.
Where do you think you are going? Mary stares at me asking the question as she puts her hands on her hips to emphasize her point.
“I have to go early to the office today”, I replied back without making any eye-contact. It was time for work and I did not want to get into any kind of argument with her.
“Make sure you clean-up the utensils and prepare the food before you leave. I want fresh strawberries, blueberries and mangoes served with zero fat yoghurt topped with pumpkin and sunflower seeds for breakfast and chicken Caesar salad for lunch. Ask your sisters what they would like to eat; they leave for college and work at 8 am” she orders me in a threatening tone.
I nod my head and walk out of my tiny room. As I walk down the stairs, I drift back to my childhood. Mamma would come to my beautifully decorated bedroom; kiss and wake me up from bed, dress me up in pretty clothes and tell me that the world was my oyster. There would be my favourite blueberry pancakes for breakfast post which my father would drop me off to school.
On weekends, Daddy would take us on long drives along the coast. We would often go on hiking camps to the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park. I have saved all the pictures in a family album safely tucked away from Mary’s clutches. I am afraid that she might destroy any happy memories which did not include her and these pictures were my prized possessions.
My childhood bedroom was taken over by Bridget and Beatrice-my stepsisters and I was moved to a small room where old furniture, used clothes and stock items were piled up.
Over a period of time, I had converted that tiny room into a time-machine. Every time I entered the door, I would travel back in time where baby Ella was safe and protected in her parent’s love. Sometimes, I wish my father would have thought just a little bit more before he made such a hasty decision.
Chapter 2 “Cinderella”
Richard, my father, was a strong man who worked for the United States government until he died after a severe case of stroke four years ago in 2015. I had etched their names in ink on the inner sides of my wrist near my pulse remembering them with each heartbeat.
My step-mum did not care about me at all, for her I was the maid of the house. Mary’s first husband had abandoned her after the birth of her second daughter post which they were living for years in absolute poverty on social support.
After sweet-talking herself into marrying my dad in 2010, she and her two daughters had moved in with us. Dad thought that she will make up for my mother’s loss and will make for a maternal figure in my life but from Day one she had turned my life into a living hell.
She would pretend to be all nice and caring to me whenever my father was at home but once he left for office, she would show all her true colors.
On one occasion, she pushed me hard because I was
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