Book: Tough and Tender (Bad Boy Romance Box Set)

Previous: Chapter Nine
Next: Chapter Eleven

Chapter Ten


Keyonna didn’t know a month could go so fast. One moment she’d been trying to extricate herself from a fizzled relationship, only to find herself bound into a marriage contract that was going to cost one year of her life. For the next twelve months, her time would be subjected to the will of another, and she had no one else to blame but herself.

The wedding took place just three days before Nick’s thirtieth birthday. Keyonna had as little to do with the preparations as possible – her choice. It was bad enough that she was being made to go through with the ceremony; she didn’t want to have to partake in the planning too. This was in no way how she’d wished her wedding to go; it was meant to be a dream match between two people in love and ready to spend the future together. In this case, love had nothing to do with it. Just cold, hard billions.

But then, Keyonna couldn’t deny that as the days had passed, things had felt less cold and less hard between her and Nick. She wasn’t sure when it started to happen, but she knew in her heart that she wasn’t as unmoved by Nick as she made out to be. She found herself looking forward to seeing him, or hearing his voice. The only thing she’d allowed herself to have a say in was the wedding dress, an ivory creation that flowed over her body like a dream. At night, Keyonna dreamed of herself floating down the aisle in the beautiful gown, to find her groom waiting with love and admiration glowing in his dark, brown eyes.

To her chagrin, the face in the dream was always Nick. Keyonna thought of how much he’d rounded up his many business dealings to make time for the wedding as well as the honeymoon billed to last several weeks. Nick had picked the ultimate romantic getaway for them in Santorini, Greece.

Keyonna thought of spending endless hours with Nick enjoying the old-world beauty of the sandy beaches, craggy rock faces and white-washed churches of the Greek island and couldn’t imagine not falling deeper into his spell. It wasn’t enough that he’d broken down her walls and given her the insight into what it felt like to be pleasured by a man who knew what he was doing.

This gave her a promise of things to come but only if she was ready to give in completely. And Keyonna felt she had already given too much. Wouldn’t she be crazy to let Nick break through the last barrier?

Finally, the fateful hour arrived and Keyonna was dressed in her elegantly cut wedding gown. Knowing that her family was there with her, and many of her friends were also present gave her the courage to finally go through with the last hurdle of taking the vows and becoming Nick Vitale’s wife.

It was no surprise that the Press were making a meal of the whole occasion. It was far more quiet than the elaborate, high-society event that Rachel had undoubtedly had planned, but Keyonna couldn’t help noticing that no cost had been spared to ensure that every detail of the wedding had been carefully laid out, from the smallest bouquet to the massive, angelic-looking trellis which made a perfect backdrop to it all.

Keyonna clutched hard on her father’s arm as she walked with him down the aisle and for a moment, Keyonna closed her eyes and imagined this was her fairytale wedding. The beautiful cathedral was the perfect backdrop and it wasn’t hard at all to tell herself that this could all be real. Could be – but it wasn’t.

Nick wasn’t looking for a true romance and neither was she. This was just a contract based on terms that were clear-cut and simple. Marriage for a year, and then they could go their separate ways.

And yet, when she finally came to stand next to her handsome groom and looked into his warm eyes, Keyonna felt her chest constrict at unconcealed admiration she found there. He smiled as he took her hand, and Keyonna let out a hidden gasp as she realized just how deeply she’d fallen. She didn’t even know when, or how. But somewhere along the line, she’d lost her heart to Nick Vitale and now there was no escape; no going back.

Previous: Chapter Nine
Next: Chapter Eleven