Their Virgin Concubine

By: Shayla Black and Lexi Blake

She glanced at the calendar, her stomach taking a dive. Well, at least she wasn’t hungry anymore. Tomorrow was supposed to have been her first wedding anniversary, if she’d managed to get down the aisle. She could still feel the white satin on her skin as she tried on her wedding gown. She’d looked at herself in the mirror and, just for a moment, she’d been a princess.

Tears filled her eyes. Turned out, her prince preferred strippers to nice girls he’d met at church. She’d been left at the altar with a note and the judgmental stares of everyone in her small town. And she’d still had her sister to put through school since Mindy’s scholarship had mysteriously dried up the minute Piper was no longer connected to the mayor’s family.

Piper took a deep breath. She couldn’t go back there. She was here now. Granted, she had a job that paid next to nothing and an office she could barely move in, but this was her kingdom. It wouldn’t be forever; it would grow. Until then, she would make it work.

With a deep breath, she put aside thoughts of shattered romances and beautiful men with sun-kissed skin. Piper reached for the stack of papers in front of her. She had a job to do.

Chapter Two

Rafe fidgeted. The plush chair he sat in was comfortable, but his brain wasn’t on the supple leather and masculine elegance of Dex’s office. His knee bounced—a sure giveaway that he was deeply impatient. Kade gave him a wry smile, reminding Rafe why he refused to play poker with his clever younger brother. He didn’t have Kade’s poker face. Dex would likely see right through him, but hell, he wanted to go find Piper and take her away.

That’s what his ancestors would have done. His own mother had been the latest in a long line of beautiful captive brides, each selected, abducted, and blissfully married after a whirlwind courtship designed to sweep her up and make her fall madly in love forever. Rafe wasn’t unaware that they had a big task in front of them. Oh, they could romance Piper. They might even be able to get the innocent little thing into bed. But finding the right path to ensnare her heart would be more difficult. That was, of course, if Talib still wished to proceed after hearing whatever Dex James had to say and meeting Piper himself. The way he felt about her now, Rafe would be hard pressed not to kick in his older brother’s teeth if he didn’t.

“Are you two insane? She’s not your type.” Dex closed the door behind him with a resounding thud.

Rafe was curious. “Why would you say that, friend?”

Dex raked a hand through his hair and frowned, as though putting off the moment when he had to speak. “She’s a very sweet girl.”

Kade’s lips flattened to a hard line. “And you think we do not like sweet girls?”

“You might like them, but you should damn well stay away from them, especially Piper.” Dex didn’t hesitate now, clearly in full-on big brother mode. “That girl is one of the nicest women I’ve ever met. She’s smart and funny, and okay, a complete klutz, but on her it’s endearing. She’s Hannah’s friend. They came from the same small town. When she was looking for work, she called Hannah, and we gave her a job. I would have given her a better one, but she insisted on this research position even though it’s entry level. She wants to be involved with this project and learn everything from the ground up.”

Because she had a core of integrity. Rafe had already discerned that. He had been following her up the hallway before she’d accidentally run into the very plastic Amanda. He’d stopped to get a drink from the water fountain when she’d walked by, all curves and hips. In an instant, his thirst had changed.

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