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Contracted marriage with the Alpha Prince

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"I don't think you can pay off your family's debt, even if you work day and night, for the next ten years, Ms. Lane." "What do you suggest, Mr. Anderson? I'm not following." "Marry me, Mellisa Lane." He leaned in close. His hand lifted my chin, so my eyes looked straight onto his.

The casual slaps.

So there I was, standing in the middle of a chaotic scene that felt like it had been ripped straight out of a telenovela. I rubbed my face, which was now emitting more heat than a jalapeño on a summer day. Why? Oh, just because someone decided to give me a warm welcome in the form of a well-executed slap. You know, just another day in the glamorous life of Melissa, the slap magnet.

I took a step back, assessing the situation with the grace of a clumsy cat on roller skates. The woman in front of me, Denise Parker, stared back with a mixture of triumph and fury. I resisted the urge to unleash my inner Shakespeare and give her a piece of my mind. Instead, I held back, channeling my inner zen master. 

Do not cry, Lane. Don’t let that b*tch see it. 

I looked around the room, searching for a sign that said, "Congratulations! You've just entered the Twilight Zone." No luck. It seemed I was stuck in this bizarre reality where slaps were the new handshake. I took a deep breath, reminding myself that they were paying me a fortune for this gig.

As I tried to regain my composure, the woman smirked, clearly pleased with her slapathon performance. "Did that hurt, darling?" she purred, the corners of her lips dancing like they had just won a salsa competition.

I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. "Hurt? Nah, it felt like a gentle butterfly kiss from a disgruntled butterfly. But hey, thanks for the free facial treatment?"

She frowned, clearly not expecting my sarcastic gratitude. "You think you're funny, don't you?"

"Sweetheart, I don't think. I know. My mom always said I missed my true calling as a stand-up comedian, but here I am, getting slapped for a living. Dreams do come true."

The tension in the room thickened like day-old oatmeal as she glared at me. I could almost hear the imaginary drumroll.

"Consider it hazard pay," she said with a sly grin.

“Hazard pay?” 

She leaned in, her eyes narrowing. "Use your imagination."

She produced a wad of cash from her pocket, like a magician revealing the final act. "Consider this your bonus round," she sneered, slapping a handful of bills onto my face. Money—my newfound defense against face assaults.

As if that wasn't enough, she proceeded to shower the rest of the cash onto the floor like confetti at a budget party. My eyes widened as the bills fluttered down, forming a bizarre carpet of currency.

"You know," she grinned, "I'm paying extra for these slaps. Just to see if you're as spineless as you look. Pick up the money, darling. Let's test your dignity."

I blinked, a little dumbfounded. "So, I'm getting paid to get slapped, and now I'm getting paid extra to pick up money from the floor? I love this!"

She chuckled, a sound that could make a hyena reconsider its life choices. "Quit stalling and grab the money. Let's see if you have at least that much self-respect left."

With all the grace of a penguin on rollerblades, I sat down amidst the scattered bills. The other people in the room watched with a mix of confusion and mild amusement. I picked up the money one bill at a time, like a diligent janitor cleaning up after a chaotic parade.

The slap-happy benefactor sneered, "Look at you, crawling on the floor for a few bucks. No spine, no pride. You're a real piece of work, Melissa."

I shot her a sideways glance. "Well, if having a spine means not getting paid for slaps, then call me the spineless wonder. Do I get a cape?"

She rolled her eyes, clearly unimpressed by my attempt at humor. "You're a disgrace."

I shrugged, continuing my money-picking mission. "Disgrace is a strong word. I prefer 'unconventional income enthusiast.'"

As I reached for the last bill, she leaned in, her voice dripping with disdain. "You're nothing. No dignity, no self-respect. You're just a puppet dancing for a paycheck."

Dragging myself back to the hotel felt like attempting an Olympic marathon after a particularly intense yoga session – you know, the one where you question your life choices. The film crew had kindly bestowed upon me a room that could be generously described as 'cozy,' but I was too tired to protest. I opened the door, my weariness setting in like an unwelcome roommate.

The room greeted me with the warmth of a popsicle in a freezer. Note to self: request an upgrade to at least 'mildly heated' for the next shoot. I stumbled in, each step like I was wading through a sea of metaphorical molasses.

My tiny haven for the night resembled a matchbox with delusions of grandeur. The bed looked like it had hosted a wrestling match between insomniacs, and the lone window had aspirations of starring in a minimalist art installation. But hey, beggars can't be choosers, and I was too tired to beg.

With the grace of a sleep-deprived sloth, I made my way to the bathroom. Ah, the bathroom – the unsung hero of every travel escapade. A place where one could contemplate life, practice Oscar-worthy acceptance speeches, and, of course, engage in silent battles with stubborn zippers.

I closed the bathroom door behind me, my body sagging against it like a deflating balloon. The harsh overhead light flickered to life, casting a spotlight on a tired reflection that could rival a raccoon's after a particularly wild night.

"So, Melissa," I mumbled to myself, "how's life treating you today? Oh, you know, just got slapped for a living. The usual."

I splashed water on my face, hoping to wash away the day's chaos along with any remnants of on-set makeup that clung to my skin like a desperate ex. The cold water stung, but it was a welcome wake-up call – a splash of reality in a world where slaps came with bonus paychecks.

So, there I was, attempting to adult like a pro. I mean, how hard could it be to transfer money and send a thoughtful, adult-like message to my dear mother? 

I grabbed my phone, my fingers dancing across the screen like caffeinated spiders. "Alright, money transfer time. I got this," I whispered to myself, channeling my inner financial wizard.

After successfully navigating the labyrinthine maze that was my banking app, I transferred a chunk of my hard-earned cash to my mother's account. Ah, the joys of adulting – robbing Peter to pay Paul, or in this case, robbing Melissa to pay Mama.

With the financial sacrifice completed, I decided to add a touch of sentimentality to the occasion. I opened the messaging app and began crafting a message that would make even Shakespeare nod approvingly from his literary grave.

"Dear Mother, I hope this message finds you well. I have, in my infinite wisdom, decided to part ways with a significant portion of my riches to aid you in your quest to conquer the debt dragon. Consider it a gesture of unparalleled filial devotion. With love, Melissa – your benevolent offspring."

I grinned, proud of my linguistic prowess. This was no ordinary message; this was a masterpiece, a poetic symphony of love and financial responsibility. But just as I was about to hit send and bask in the glory of my adulting achievements, a notification popped up.

"Insufficient funds," it declared, mocking me like a technological deity with a twisted sense of humor.

"Oh, come on!" I muttered, my dreams of filial devotion shattered by the cold reality of my bank account. With a heavy sigh, I revised my message.

"Hey, Mom, sent you some money. Pay the debts. Love, Melissa – the broke but well-intentioned child."

The day had been a rollercoaster of absurdity, from financial acrobatics to banter with friends about my newfound benevolence. As I lounged on the couch, contemplating life through the remnants of a potato chip bag, fate decided to toss another curveball my way. The door creaked open, a stark reminder that I had forgotten the sacred ritual of locking it earlier. D*mn it, Melissa, you had one job.

The lights were dim, casting a cinematic glow that turned my humble abode into the set of a B-movie thriller. And then, in walked a vision straight out of my most bizarre dreams – a tall, muscular man, wearing nothing but shorts. His abs were like a Picasso painting, a blur of perfection illuminated by the soft glow of the night light.

The casual sleeping partner.

He strolled in with the grace of a sloth trying to breakdance, his gait swaying as if the ground beneath him was participating in an impromptu salsa. His face was a shade of red that hinted at either a vigorous workout or a disagreement with a bottle of questionable spirits.

I blinked, processing the unexpected intrusion. "Well, hello there, Mr. Shirtless Wonder. Welcome to my humble abode. Do you come bearing gifts, or is this an avant-garde interpretation of 'Nightly Abs Unleashed'?"

He squinted at me, his eyes struggling to focus on my existence. "This isn't... my place."

A stranger with ash-colored pupils that seemed to glow in the low light. He declared, with the theatrical flair of a Shakespearean actor, "I'm very thirsty."

Okay, weird entrance, but hey, maybe he was just a lost poet looking for a metaphorical drink in the desert of life. His eyes locked onto mine, and he started advancing toward me, ste

Heroes

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