'Til Death: Volume One Page 1

Author: Bella Jewel

Series: 'Til Death #1

Genres: Romance

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PROLOGUE

Katia

Let me tell you a story. It’s one of those stories that will make you hate with a passion that will scorch your soul. It might even make you hate me. After all, I married him.

Marcus, that is.

The man who came into my life like a hurricane and flipped my world on its axis. The man who I love so deeply, he’ll scar me in a way that’s irreversible. He’s the man who destroys lives, yet makes them beautiful all at the same time. My Marcus will change your world, too. If you let him.

And you will let him, because that’s just his way.

I love him in a way that’s toxic. I know it because no matter how much my heart screams at me that something isn’t right, I can’t stay away. Marcus is hard, he’s broody, he’s not soft and he’s not gentle but when he’s inside me, deep inside, I feel him. I feel everything he refuses to let me see. And it’s amazing. It’s also how he got under my skin and stayed there.

What started as a one-night stand quickly turned into my world. I can’t tell you how it happened, or even why, I just knew I couldn’t get enough of him. It didn’t matter what he did. Before I knew it we were married. A week later I moved in with him. Everyone in my life was happy for me. Except maybe Marcus. He just remained as he was, impassive and deep, so deep I couldn’t get in.

They say your body tells you when something becomes dangerous — that it hums with awareness. They would be right. I felt it; I felt the shift, and I knew the moment I entered Marcus’s world that he was going to take my soul and likely crush it. I fell for a man who most women wouldn’t fall for, because he reeks heartbreak. He isn’t the hearts-and-flowers kind of guy, he doesn’t hold you, or call you sweet names, or make you feel like you’re the only reason he breathes.

In accepting this, I became the girl they all talk about — you know the one. The girl you shake your head at, wondering why she stays, wondering why she’s there. How come she’s so stupid? What could she possibly see in a jerk like that? That’s me. Though at first, I didn’t realize it. I fell in love with the devil. I didn’t know it at the time; even if I did, I can’t promise I would have done things differently. It took time for me to see what Marcus was; to see my love was one-sided.

But that’s what it was, you see. Love. Deep, binding love I couldn’t let go of.

He consumed me. He took my heart in his hands and he’s holding it there.

There’s no way I can turn away from him.

The Katia I am now, she’ll disappear into a world of hurt and lies. She will no longer be. He’ll take me and he’ll twist my world until it’s no longer beautiful, but ugly. So ugly it’ll bury me deep. There’s a good chance I’ll never come out of it unscathed.

But I’m getting too far ahead. I have to start you from the beginning.

CHAPTER 1

THEN

Marcus

My fingers drum against the dark pine desk as I stare over at the balding, sour-faced lawyer who is humming as he reads over my grandfather’s will. A will I’ve been called in to hear out. The old bastard hated me, but clearly he decided I’m good enough to be included in his precious will, a will that has the family in tithers. Everyone wants a piece.

“Mr. Tandem, thank you for coming today.”

Nothing in my expression changes as the lawyer speaks, his voice low and professional. He looks up at me when I don’t answer, his lips pursing as he lets his gaze run over me.

“Can we get on with this?” I ask, shifting. “I’ve got things to do.”

He clears his throat. “Of course. I imagine you’ve figured out why you’re here.”

“Actually,” I say coolly, crossing my arms, “I have no idea.”

“Well, as you’re fully aware, your grandfather recently passed. I understand you’ve been helping run his business for the past ten years.”

“Alone,” I point out. “That old piece of shit did nothing but sit on his sorry ass and let everyone else do the work for him. Now he’s dead and the only thing they all care about is gettin’ a piece of what he may, or may not have left behind.”

“Either way, he’s left strict instructions for his business in the event of his passing. It’s why I’ve called you here.”

“Get on with it,” I snap, giving him a narrow-eyed glare.

“Very well. Your grandfather has stated that he’d like his business to be handed down to you. You’re the only one left in his direct family line since the passing of your father, and therefore the one he wishes to take on his business.”

Well, the old man was good for something after all. Not that I thought he wouldn’t push something onto me, I’ve been involved in it for a long time. My stepbrothers are meaningless to the old man, I’m it.

“Fine. I’m already running it as it is.”

“There’s something else,” he says, pulling at the tie around his throat as if it’s suddenly too tight. “He’s stated very clearly that there is one term that comes with his request. You won’t become the head of the business, with everything being signed under your name that is, until you’re . . .”

“I’m what?” I bark.

“Married, sir.”

Say what?

I stare at him, waiting for him to laugh and tell me he’s joking, but his expression remains impassive.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” I scoff. “You’ve got it wrong.”

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