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Pretend You're Mine

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Izabella went to Greece with her best friend for a summer job on the runway. She was nevertheless kidnapped by the sole heir to the advertising company on the last day of the photo session; in her attempt to get away while under the influence of drugs, she was engaged in an automobile accident. It was horrible that the other car's driver, the fiancee of the mysterious worldwide business tycoon Aleksander Georgiou, had died. He took her to jail to sue her when she awoke in the hospital. Only if she agrees to marry him fictitiously in return for his betrothed, who died in the collision, can she be set free. He used her secret to coerce her into marrying him, leaving her with little alternative but to submit.

A Mysterious Voice

Izabella's life was serene and pleasant with just her father. She had a background she could not discuss with anyone, not even Shanda, her best friend, besides their house's fence. Her scientist parents were chosen in the government's plan to launch a spacecraft to ascertain the frequency the tracking gadget picked up in the air. The government believed that unusual creatures were at large. And since her mother did not accompany them back on that journey, her father felt she had perished in space.

After two years of missing her mother, her father married his twice-divorced secretary with two children, Camilla and Jerry. Izabella developed a bond with Jerry, the oldest son of her aunt Esmeralda who was seven years her senior. Camilla was also her competition in everything, and her stepmother constantly supported her biological daughter.

Izabella looked for her father in the area because the stadium was chaotic after the graduation ceremony.

Izabella...!

She swiftly spun around when she heard a man's baritone reverberate through the big stadium. But nobody was glancing her way.

Ah, I heard that voice again...

She regrettably realized that she had heard the voice once more. She had previously listened to that voice, which generally occurred at night when everything was calm, particularly in bed. She thought that was one of her strange moments. She figured that since her parents had brought her along on their final galactic mission, she was accustomed to the mysterious things that no one knew for fear that people would conclude she was mentally ill.

She suddenly heard that voice beckoning her again. Upon seeing them, she grinned.

"Iza, please accept my congratulations on receiving the Magna C*m Laude Award."

"Thank you, Shanda, and congratulations on becoming C*m Laude. I also congratulate your friend, who appears to be tongue-tied."

"Hey, Robert!" yelled Shanda. "You'll melt my pal with your eyes, so speak up and quit drooling."

Izabella noticed how he elbowed her friend's arm and said, "Congratulations, Robert. You're wonderful... You've earned the greatest honor."

"I just inherited a little from you," Robert chuckled. "You might have become summa c*m laude had you come in earlier."

"Oh, you've still got that humble impact," she said.

"Anyway, my friend," Shanda chimed in. "Robert would like to invite you to their event."

"Oh, that's doubtful because our family is also hosting a party," she replied

"Yeah. I thought about telling you because you'll have the same thing going on."

"But once I have an excellent job, I'll treat you well because you always treat Shanda and me well.

Again, the man laughed.

"Perhaps another time, "she offered.

"Okay. Catch you later," Robert nodded at her.

Shanda gave her a quick wink before turning to go with Robert.

Izabella shook her head Because she was aware that her best friend liked him, which was a one-sided feeling. She felt sorry for her friend.

In addition to being the only child of a wealthy family, Robert was also gorgeous, six feet tall, graceful, and had an incredible physique build. The hardness of his fists made it appear as though he was usually in the gym.

She appreciated his odd eyes, which were yellow-orange and resembled tiger eyes. Even with his shoulder-length wavy hair, his black eyebrows were dense.

He liked her, but she could not feel the same way about him. She once visited her family's sizable ranch but refrained from going out with them when he attempted to kiss her. Although there were multiple occasions when he insisted on bringing Shanda along, she was unable to object.

Izabella turned around when she heard someone calling her name.

The sweet smile on Izabella's lips evaporated when she saw her father waving to her with her stepmother and stepsister. As usual, Jerry couldn't show up because he must be busy with his birth father's business where he lives and only visited his mother and sister mainly on a special occasion.

"I'm so glad you made it, my dear daughter," Dr. Jansen told his college-educated daughter. "You did an excellent study," he added while holding his daughter.

"But then, I'm sorry... I did not receive the top honor, dad. Though I don't have any complaints since my buddy Robert received it," she said, looking up at her father with remorse.

"Oh, don't worry about that. I'm happy with what you have, Iza. While you missed it, you are still the leader in my book. Please remember I'm honored to be your father."

"I'm happy to hear that, Dad. I'm so grateful," she laughed and gave him another hug.

"That's my child." With laughter, Dr. Jansen ejaculated.

The smile Izabella had on her face before giving her father a bear hug disappeared as she turned to face the companion beside him. She immediately observed Camilla's nondescript appearance, which was her stepsister. She was able to see the rage in her eyes. She knew her stepsister had been hurt by what her father had said.

Age-wise, she and Camilla were two months apart. Ever since their parents' marriage, they had never been close.

"Hello, Aunt Esme," she murmured, hugging her stepmother the same way she had her father. "Thank you for making an effort to attend my graduation."

Her stepmother just nodded. She was over a decade younger than her father, approaching his sixties at forty-eight.

In addition to spending time with their biological father, she and her brother Jerry also had a mysterious stepbrother from their mother's first marriage that she had never met and about whom no one wanted to talk. She was away when his elusive brother visited, Jerry told her.

"Esme, what did I tell you?" her father said, looking at the woman beside him. "My daughter will receive the distinction, and I was right."

Her stepmother appeared disinterested in what his father had stated as she only nodded.

"If possible, I want to accompany you, so please let me know later which school you plan to enroll in."

"She should have selected a short and introductory course, like culinary, to serve her future spouse better if all she ends up becoming is a simple wife."

Izabella creased her forehead. It was not the first time her stepmother mentioned that idea. Remembering what her stepmother had told her about finding a wealthy spouse to aid her father in recouping the money he had spent on her.

"Quit saying that. I have never accepted your suggestion, with your ridiculous idea that Iza ought to wed Judas right away, whoever he may be. I'm not selling my daughter's life for money, Esme. You might be right. But please don't make me sad, especially now."

She said gently, "Dad, Aunt Esme is right. Most people who finished college merely became simple housewives. In front of her stepmother, she learned to always stand by her in front of her father to avoid conflict. She didn't want to be attacked when she was by herself because verbal abuse was often the result of attacks like this. She learned how to deal with her stepmother diplomatically.

"Your daughter is intelligent enough to get my argument," she continued.

"Argh. Mom, Iza is only sucking on you, "Camilla interjected. "She constantly pretended to be on your side, but you still believe what she says."

Izabella merely regarded the daughter of her stepmother. That was how Camilla always acted in that situation. She wanted to destroy her, so she managed to gain her father's approval despite having a strained relationship with her father's second wife.

Mrs. Jansen warned in a tone that caused Camilla to pout, "Don't get in the way. Keep quiet if you don't want Uncle Theo to reprimand you both. Be kind to your sister and be appreciative of her. She deserves it."

Izabella curtailed her smile as soon as it started to form. She was aware that her stepmother was engaging in a similar activity she was practicing, being an *ss-kisser in front of her father as a technique. She hoped that her father was intelligent enough to understand what was happening behind his back in addition to being a scientist at his lab or in his furniture business. Until they were able to enter the vehicle, Camilla was subtly muttering. She took the driver's seat while Izabella occupied the back seat beside her father in the middle, with his wife on the right side. Izabella scanned the view from the window while she considered her plan. After clipping any job listings that caught her attention from the classified ads, she had already decided, so she was preoccupied with arranging what she would do the following day.

Would she land an excellent job? A thought that occasionally appeared to dance in her head. She knew she could easily support herself if she went back into modeling, which had been a part of her life for three months straight the summer before but had failed spectacularly. That summer's incident stood out since she almost didn't finish her first semester. Nevertheless, she was able to enroll with the help of medical certifications, and even though she applied more than two months late, her academic record supported her acceptance. It would have been a failure to graduate with the class.

Craving Independence

As soon as the car came to a stop beneath a large tree, she stopped putting things off. The hotel's parking lot was crowded, with several vehicles occupying the nearest spots.

The hotel room where the celebration was taking place was far too crowded. She excused herself while her stepmother was preoccupied with giving their order to the waiter and writing it down.

She was headed to the women's restroom when two hands suddenly covered her eyes as she walked toward the bathroom.

"Shanda?"

She could hear the hint of disappointment in that voice.

"How quickly can you recognize that it's my hands, Iza?"

"Are you nuts? "She asked. " You're the only person who has ever played the covering my eyes game," she jokingly remarked, and there was a round of laughter.

"Yes, yeah," she remarked as she tapped her forehead. " What's the status? Do you still intend to hunt for a jo

Heroes

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