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A Bride for Christmas: Brother's Best Friend Romance by Charlotte Grace (1)

Chapter One

Saylor

It turned into a day of gains and losses.

Luck giveth, misfortune taketh away.

A date with my destiny, at midday. Not something in a schedule, more a surprise.

“This is the building,” I said to the Uber driver as we approached the piercing BWF tower block where my fiancé, Rex, occupied the top floor, doing important things with other people’s money for his family’s long-established business, Brentwood Wilmington Funds. I tucked my little round mirror back into my purse, satisfied my lips were perfectly painted.

“I hope you’re wearing something warm under that coat,” the driver remarked as I opened the door and let a blast of cold air into the heated car.

Not warm. Hot. A burning need in my heart and my pussy.

“I am,” I assured him. A gust caught the door, slamming it closed before I had the chance to do it myself. The bitter Chicago wind blasted its way through my coat and found my bare skin, peppering it with goosebumps. This had better be worth it.

I rode the elevator to the 37th floor knowing the only way I’d defrost was with Rex’s warm skin pressed against mine. I couldn’t recall when we last had sex. I’d been planning our opulent wedding, and Rex had been working—hard, late, and always when I wanted a decision or a discussion regarding something to do with our “big day”.

“Wedding planning is your job, sweetcakes,” he’d said. “Tell me what time to arrive and I’ll be there, with a ring.” That’s about the closest Rex got to making a joke. But I was okay with that. I had girlfriends to joke around with. Marriage is serious, and I was serious about becoming Mrs. Rex Brentwood Wilmington III in one month’s time, on Christmas Day.

The elevator pinged and out I stepped. Stockings, fuck-me heels and, beneath the heavy coat, a matched set of lingerie in sapphire, mauve and silver that arrived from La Perla the day before for me to feature on my Instagram. I was doing a freelance writing gig for The Big Day, the most influential wedding magazine in the country. It was an attempt to see if an ordinary person with moderate social media skills could fund her wedding by becoming an Instagram Influencer.

Rex found the whole idea irksome.

“We don’t need help paying for the wedding, Saylor.”

“It’s my job. If I do this well, it could turn into a permanent position at Platinum Publishing.”

“You don’t need a job.”

I did. Rex didn’t understand that no matter how much I loved him, his world would swallow me up and make me disappear if I didn’t hold on to my career.

@RandSTieTheKnot was my account where I uploaded carefully curated settings artfully photographed not by me, but by the professional photographer the magazine assigned me. The image I presented wasn’t my life, not really. But it soon would be. My upbringing was ordinary. Rex was the one with privilege. His parents weren’t so pleased with the social status of his future wife, but his father, Gerard, liked my looks.

Saylor’s hot. My future father-in-law, in fact, said that to Rex after giving me a long appraising leer the first time we were introduced. And since then, whenever we met, his hand always found somewhere almost inappropriate when he leaned in to kiss my cheek. Creep.

The BWF top-floor receptionist smiled, waved me through, and I felt the moment when her gaze hit my shoes and ran up the dark seams of my stockings. Good. I hoped they’d have an even more profound effect on Rex because for the past few weeks I could have dyed my hair blue and worn a clown mask and I doubt he’d have noticed me.

The desk where Amber, his PA, sat was abandoned, just as I’d planned. She should be on her lunch break. Outside Rex’s closed door I made one last site sweep of the area to be sure I was alone, then slipped free the buttons on my coat. I could hardly hold back my grin. Rex sure was going to be surprised.

I went over the choreography one more time. Fling open the door. Step inside. Close the door and flick the lock with one hand while the other threw open my coat to reveal the ball-bursting sexy lingerie I wore. Rex would gape, eyes hungry, tongue bothering his bottom lip the way it did—or used to do—when he saw me naked. Let the coat slide to the floor as I sauntered toward him, around to his side of the desk. Perch my butt on it, open my legs and tell him lunch is served.

If that didn’t make him notice me, the man was dead.

My pussy ached. It hadn’t felt any action in so long that anything slightly intimate in my immediate world put me on high alert like I was an athlete waiting for the starter gun to fire. Eight seconds of humping on a TV show. A sexy advertisement. The couple I passed making out in the park the previous day. A beautiful song. Sitting in my brother Matt’s office last week while he video-chatted with his best friend and business partner, Hunter, who was currently working out of their London office.

All these things made my pussy beg to be touched.

My lifelong crush on Hunter was finally quashed by Rex. But my body forgot about Rex when Hunter asked me to step in front of the computer and say hello. Rex had been ignoring me and when I saw Hunter, my pussy retaliated by ignoring my heart. The confusion tilted my axis, and within a minute, I had to leave Matt’s office and pull myself together.

It was nothing. I knew that. Hunter was gorgeous and what I experienced was just a visceral reaction to Rex’s neglect. It made me more determined to get Rex’s wholehearted attention as soon as I could.

The last button on my coat slipped free of the buttonhole. Show time had arrived. The door handle felt enormous, important, in my grip as I counted down. Not because of nerves, but because what was about to happen needed a defining starting point.

Three-two-one… Go!

The door flew open. Rex’s head jerked up in my direction. He was sitting sideways to his desk. Time slowed. His mouth opened, then twisted in grotesque surprise. His hands flailed below the level of the desk as my coat dropped to the floor.

It took two steps before my victory march across the carpet came to a halt. In front of me, the crown of a blonde head rose above the desk like the sun breaking over the horizon on an unwanted dawn.

“Saylor. Leave. Wait for me outside,” Rex snapped.

I couldn’t move. I was stuck to the carpet like a pillar of salt. Amber rose to her feet and ran the back of her hand across her mouth. Her blouse undone, one tit in full view, the nipple pinched and angry. Rex’s hips jerked as he tugged his pants over his still-hard dick and carefully raised the zipper.

Although she should have been embarrassed, mortified even, Amber looked triumphant. Without bothering to adjust her clothing, she stood behind Rex’s chair, placing a possessive hand on his shoulder.

Behind every successful man, there stands a woman…ready to suck his cock.

My mind was a void but my heart was black with rage. I wanted to say something clever and cutting but if I opened my mouth all that would come out would be a fuck you, and I was better than that. Worth more. As my future crashed around me, my body no longer felt like something I was familiar with. At some point, I tugged the engagement ring from my finger. My fist around it was tight, and it cut into the palm of my hand.

The room stayed eerily silent, everyone aware that the first person to speak would unleash chaos. In the corner of the office was another door which led to a private bathroom. Cheating eyes followed me as I stepped past the shameless couple and entered the bathroom. It was small, a vanity sink, shower and toilet. I avoided the mirror working fast, wrapping the ring in a wad of toilet tissue, dropping it into the bowl and quickly flushing. The water swirled, the ring spun within the vortex and was gone.

It was a fitting metaphor for my present state.

Back in the office, Rex and Amber were still positioned as though waiting for a photographer to show up to take their portrait.

“Are you okay?” Rex sounded angry. Not contrite. Not guilty, but angry that I’d caught him in this tacky, sleazy, compromising position.

I slipped on my coat and buttoned it, staring pointedly at Amber’s open blouse.

“Say something, Saylor,” Rex demanded.

There was the pattern I’d missed until now. Rex wanted me to open up, to attack, to accuse, so that instead of apologizing, he could twist my words and turn everything back on to me. He played his hand close to his chest. Usually. But I’d caught him cheating, counting the cards, trying to stack odds in his favor so that life was a win-win for Rex. This was a glimpse of my future if I chose to stay and become his obedient wife.

“I’m relieved, and you’re a sad cliché.” My voice, like my body, was foreign. It cracked, the way everything inside me cracked and fell in on itself. When I marched from his office I left the door wide open. One final invitation for Rex to stand up and be a man. My stocking seams, my heels, my lingerie all mocked me as I passed the receptionist, alone, to the bank of elevators.

“Have a nice day,” she called.

You’d have thought Rex would have come after me, but I guess he’d chosen to let me calm down before tackling this “little situation” as he’d call it. Like father, like son.

Yeah. No, thank you.

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