Love plus Other Lies Read Online Donna Alam

Categories Genre: Contemporary Tags Authors:
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Total pages in book: 163
Estimated words: 157491 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 787(@200wpm)___ 630(@250wpm)___ 525(@300wpm)
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“Until death do us part, darling. This is my solemn vow.”

Niko Vanyin.
Mogul. Dirty talker extraordinaire. Crime boss? And my brother’s best friend.
He broke my heart fifteen years ago,
I thought that was the end of our story,
But he's been playing the long game.

Recently divorced and raising my sons,
He was supposed to be an ego boost—a fun rebound.
What I got was a dance with the devil … all the way to the altar.

He has more secrets than the Medicis,
And I'm pretty sure I should be terrified by him.
Because he’ll scorch the earth to protect me,
Ruin those who get in his way,
But when he looks at me with those cool blue eyes, the world just melts away.

Ours is a story of three parts.
Before. Now. And what comes after I'm forced to marry him.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************

Prologue

They say you’ll always remember your first love. What they don’t tell you is why. It’s not for the love you shared, the memories, or the things you learned about yourself. Learned about love. It’s the heartache.

I fell in love with my brother’s best friend. He warned me not to, but I did it anyway. But that’s just the beginning of my story. There’s also a middle and an end.

A story of three parts.

Before. Now. And what comes after I’m forced to marry him.

1

Isla

THE MIDDLE – PRESENT

The wedding

“So how do you two know each other?” Kennedy, the bride’s sister, lifts her glass in an attempt to hide her smile. She obviously thinks something is going on between Van and me because she caught us earlier bickering in the gardens like an old married couple. She’s so wrong. We’re more like old adversaries than friends.

Old adversaries who sometimes have sex.

“Van is my brother’s best friend,” I answer with a tight smile.

At the same moment, he utters his own version in that infuriating drawl of his,

“I’ve been a devotee of this woman since she begged me to peel her out of her pants fourteen years ago.” And if that wasn’t mortifying enough, he adds, “Isn’t that right, Peanut?”

“They were stuck,” I reason instantly, resisting the urge to elbow him in the ribs. “The zipper was stuck, and I desperately needed to use the ladies’ room.” That’s why he (annoyingly) calls me Peanut. Pee-nut. That it infuriates me is just a bonus to him. “Also, it was fifteen years ago.” I want to swallow the admission immediately—inhale it, press reverse.

I might as well announce it with a neon light above my head: I STILL THINK ABOUT YOU.

“The passage of time hasn’t dimmed the image of you in those very, very tight pants.” His gaze flicks over me in that way of his, my skin prickling as though experiencing the physical brush of it. I also prickle outwardly. Bristle, in fact, unhappy that all these years later, he still has this effect.

“So old friends, then?” Kennedy’s eyes dart between us like she’s watching a match on center court at Wimbledon.

“Pfft, no!” I scoff.

At the very same time, he replies, “The very best kind.” A smile tugs at his lips like his own neon sign. His would probably read: I KNOW WHAT ISLA TASTES LIKE.

He’s infuriating. And infuriatingly handsome. He’s all harsh lines and dramatic angles, softened by that damn mouth of his. I swallow a sigh. He really does have a lovely mouth. His lips are soft and pillowy, and that tongue… all need to be wrapped in duct tape right now. Because his looks are nothing more than a testament to the unfair nature of this world. Because his personality? He’s like the human equivalent of nettle rash. Hot and incredibly annoying. An itch I can’t help but scratch.

“Isla, my God, you are amazing.” My cheek is the sudden and happy recipient of a smacking kiss as Holly, my brother’s bride, wraps me in a one-armed hug. A girl needs a free hand for her champagne. “How can I ever thank you for today?” she says with such misty-eyed happiness. “It’s been so magical.”

“It was my pleasure.” The tears glistening in her eyes are a precursor to mine. My brother deserves to be happy, and if Holly’s the one to make him so, then I’m glad to have had a hand in their day. Even if he did steal my nanny in the process. Even if he and I both know that love is, at best, unreliable. At its worst, well, it’s hell.

“Honestly,” Holly says, turning to her sister, “Isla makes it all look so easy. Organization, arrangements, and all that stuff. And this dress!” We all stare at the creation I had a hand in designing. She really does look like a modern-day fairy-tale princess. “I’ll never be able to run this castle the way you do,” she says, her earnest gaze rising from the tulle. And that’s castle as in my family’s Scottish ancestral home. “The castle, the kids, and running your own business. I’d be a mess, yet you’re so cool and composed and so freakin’ competent.”

I open my mouth to answer but find I’m not sure what to say. It’s all smoke and mirrors because my life is a mess. I have two beautiful sons who are learning to adjust to life post-divorce, an ex-husband I’d sometimes like to strangle, a business with a cashflow problem, and a mortgage I can barely afford on a house that’s falling down around my ears. I haven’t had a haircut in over a year, and I’m avoiding the hors d’oeuvres not because I’m on a diet but because the very lovely gown I’m wearing is a rental and needs to be returned on Monday.


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