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Tied to You

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What happens when you hit rock bottom and can’t see a way out? Do you take the handsome stranger’s indecent proposal that seems too good to be true? In a word, yes. Desperation will make you do crazy things, like giving up a year of your life and travelling halfway around the world to marry a gorgeous Aussie winemaker who seems to come with more baggage than he knows what to do with. I know I should keep my distance but there is something about him that just draws me in. Maybe it is the way he always seems to be there for me when I need it most, or that he just seems to know the right thing to say. All I know is that the moment he kisses me on our wedding day, I am in trouble. Wealthy and arrogant, Alex is used to getting whatever he wants and he has set his eyes on Olivia. For months he has watched her as she calls out to every protective instinct he possesses. Waiting for the perfect opportunity to present itself, he is determined to make her his, in any way possible. But Alex is hiding a secret, one that he is determined to protect until, one day, Olivia makes a revelation that sets her on a course of self-discovery. Together they explore Olivia’s submissive side, pushing boundaries and taking her on the wildest ride of her life. However, when Olivia’s past threatens to expose Alex’s secret, the true strength behind Alex and Olivia’s relationship is revealed.

Prologue

He stands at the back of the room watching her, his impassive expression belying the intrigue he feels when he is near her. Olivia Walker is nervously fiddling with the auction brochure turning it over and over in her hands as she waits for the next lot to come up. He can sense the desperation rolling off her; her posture is stooped as if she is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. He runs his eyes over her whole body, taking in the messy brown hair that seems to have a life of its own, the face bare of makeup, the large brown eyes that are the same shade as Oreo cookies and seem to show every emotion she feels. Her petite frame is clad in clothes that have clearly seen better days. Today her eyes are haunted; the usual warmth that he has seen in their depths is entirely absent.

For months now he has watched her patiently, waiting for the opportunity to present itself. And today is the day. His c*ck twitches in his pants and he takes a deep, calming breath, reminding himself that there will be none of that with this girl, this woman. Despite her age, she is clearly more innocent than most, and from the research that he has done on her, he knows that she is definitely not into his kind of lifestyle. He may be attracted to her—sh*t, from the first day he noticed her, something about her has called to him—but he is thinking about the bigger picture, and that means keeping things purely platonic.

In all his life, he has never felt a need like this. He knows that to most people he comes off as a complete control freak, affable and business-like, but cross him and he will be your enemy for life. At heart, he is a family man; his parents and siblings are the only ones, though, who know just how generous, thoughtful and even protective he can be. To anyone looking at the situation, he would appear crazy, stalkerish even, but she calls out to every protective instinct he possesses. Never before has he felt a stirring to take a relationship with a woman beyond s*x, and here he is, stepping into the abyss and doing something he knows is completely bizarre and out of character. Just like the wolf-kid in those vampire movies his niece, Kayla, insisted on making him watch…all he wants is to be there for her, be whomever she needs him to be, do anything for her. She is magnetic, pulling him into her gravitational field, and she doesn’t even know it.

But what she needs most of all is a friend, he thinks to himself. Through his observations of her, he has noticed how independent she is and how there is no one in her life taking care of her. Not a lover, a partner, or even a best friend. She truly is all alone. Working three different jobs just to make ends meet, at night she returns to a shitty little flat in the worst part of Stratford, just so that she can support her mother. All he wants to do is wrap his arms around her and tell her everything is going to be okay. And that scares the f*ck*ng life out of him; he doesn’t do feelings and that other sh*t with anyone other than his family.

So today he is going to make his move, and he is going to have to do it in a way that she thinks she is making the decision in all of this. She will be his, in whatever way she finds acceptable, and he will be fine with that. He has to be because there's no way she would ever understand the darkness that resides in him. He knows that he shouldn't make assumptions, but he has studied her enough that if she was in any way alternative, she wouldn't be able to hide it.

The auction is about to start, so with a deep breath, he steps forward, taking his place off to the side of Olivia. He knows that after today, nothing will ever be the same but he refuses to doubt himself, or his plan.

Chapter One

The pace of the auction is fast and furious, as I surreptitiously check out my main competition. The bids start to slow, but we remain engaged in a battle of wills; this is a fight I cannot afford to lose. Charles Ridings made it abundantly clear that my job was on the line if I did not deliver.

I have no idea why this particular 12th-Century manuscript is so important to him, but this is the first time since I started working for Charles twelve months ago that money has been no object. When I first applied for the position, the job description was particularly vague, and the only thing that stood out was the need for a background in rare books. Well, that fits me to a tee. I had just spent the last ten years working as a curator of rare books at the London Museum and, well, circumstances meant that I needed the money this new role was offering. It broke my heart to think about leaving my little cubicle and all the colleagues I had made over the last decade, but the opportunit

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