Claimed As His (Mail Order Brides, 2)

By: Jenika Snow & Sam Crescent


Lucy still didn’t know what the future held, but she was excited to see how it all played out.

Expect for right now. Right now she was still scared shitless.

Thinking about her relationship with Ian, a semblance of calm settled over her. She was starting to fall for the man she was married to, the one who was melting the wall that he erected around himself for so long.

He shifted in the driver’s side seat to stare at her. “Listen,” he said and glanced down at their hands, which were interconnected.

For long seconds he didn’t say anything, and she started feeling a little nervous, wondering what was on his mind. When he lifted his head and looked back at her she felt the air leave her lungs, not realizing she’d been holding her breath.

His expression was … raw, bared.

“I know this marriage started out as me getting back at my family, proving something to them, but things have changed.” He gave her hand another squeeze. “I felt myself changing because of you. I want to try and make this work, not because I want to rub anything in my mother’s face, but because I like being around you. I love it, in fact. You make me feel like a better man, like I can be a better person.”

Her breath caught, her throat tightening. She could hear the sincerity in his words, could feel how genuine he was being.

“I’m scared,” she finally whispered, glancing at the front doors again. “I’m scared of how this will all play out. I’m nervous about what your family will think, what they will say.” She looked at him again. “But what I’m most afraid of is what will happen between you and me.” And she was frightened. She’d grown to care for him, saw the changes in him. It hadn’t taken long, but there definitely was a shift in the way he held himself, and the way he acted. Would that change once he was with his family? Would he treat her with the respect that she deserved, that he’d been giving her since they’d been on their own?

She swallowed a thick lump in her throat and gave his hand a squeeze this time. “But there’s no point in worrying about what may or may not happen, right?”

He gave her smile and leaned in to kiss her softly. “Right,” he said against her lips. He gave her one more kiss, sweet and gentle. When he pulled back he cupped her cheek and stroked his thumb along her skin. “I can admit I’ve been a shitty person for the majority of my life, taking things for granted, wanting everything handed to me.” He stared into her eyes. “But these few short weeks with you have made me see things differently, have made me feel differently.” He smiled again softly. “I will fuck up more times than not, I can admit that, but I’m trying.” He kissed her again. “I’m not going to let them make you feel less than what you are. I know your worth, you know your worth, and no one’s going to put you down, least of all my family.”

God, in this moment she could have fallen in love with Ian.





11





For most of his adult life, all Ian had wanted to do was throw it in his parents’ fucking faces, every single thing that he’d accomplished. They couldn’t take anything away, and there had been many times that he’d seen the annoyance and anger they felt for him because he refused to conform to their way of life. He’d not done what they wanted or married who they’d picked out.

When he’d married Lucy, he’d done so to spite them, and now he felt a little sick to his stomach as that final reveal was about to happen.

Lucy wasn’t the kind of woman his parents would be happy for him to marry. She didn’t have connections, or a family, or anything that set her apart from anyone else.

Her entire life was meaningless and useless to them.

They wouldn’t see the kindness inside her or the love, or anything else. They only saw a waste of space. She couldn’t bring them anything.

Even knowing that he was happy wouldn’t be enough to draw them to her.

They found fault with absolutely everything, no matter what he tried to do.

“You’re nervous,” Lucy said.

“I’m not nervous.” When I arranged this marriage I didn’t give a fucking shit about you. Now I’m about to take you into the lion’s den, and I don’t want to hurt you. “We’ll go in and have some dinner, but I want you to promise me something.”

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