The Stolen Bride by Abby Green - Romance>Contemporary
Sebastian... Sharp. Cool. Controlled.
Ruthless in business and revered by many, Sebastian is at the top of his game professionally. Emotionally, he keeps himself alone, aloof and almost untouchable. Some say his heart is made of stone.
Escaping her sham of a wedding, Bollywood star Aneesa Adani takes one look at ice-cool Sebastian and is hooked! Now he's harboring this stolen bride in his penthouse, and the passionate Aneesa is the biggest risk Sebastian has ever faced. Letting her close could ignite the fire that melts even the hardest of hearts...
Aneesa Adani was stuck in a waking nightmare. She battled a surge of panic as her younger sister and aunts led her forward towards the place where her fiancé waited to make her his wife.
The elaborate wedding sari she wore constricted her movements, adding to the sense of cloying claustrophobia. Heavy jewels literally dripped from her head, ears, throat, arms and hands, weighing her down.
Fighting an overwhelming urge to break free and escape she told herself once again that she only had herself to blame for her predicament. If she hadn't been so blinkered, so unforgivably naive...so impossibly complacent, then she might not be here right now. she was propelled forward again and suddenly her fiancé and her parents saw her arrival. A hush descended over the crowd in the huge and beautiful inner courtyard, lit with the seductive glow of hundreds of lanterns. This courtyard was the centrepiece in one of the most exclusive hotels in Mumbai--the jewel in the hotel's crown. The sheer opulence of it all terrified her now, the reality of what she was doing hitting her anew.
With an awful sick feeling of impending doom and fatality Aneesa reluctantly moved forward, but just then a small movement caught her eye from the side. she glanced around and, for a moment, was blinded by the icy blue gaze of a man. He was slightly obscured, in the shadows, but even that couldn't hide the fact that he was so tall and good--looking he momentarily distracted her from her surroundings.
As she registered the darkly handsome foreigner who had no doubt snuck in to ogle the most prestigious wedding of the year, reality slammed back into her again, heightened now by seeing him--as if he represented some kind of escape or freedom to her. And she knew in that moment that she hadn't been able to disguise the fear or turmoil in her eyes. He'd seen it all and she could only be thankful that he was a complete stranger. Tearing her eyes away, she mentally steeled herself and walked forward to meet her fate...
Sebastian Wolfe still reeled slightly from the searing glance he'd shared with the bride as she'd arrived. She'd looked around only briefly and yet had honed in on his gaze as if she'd felt the weight of it.
He shrugged off the prickling sensation. He had to admit that he didn't think he'd ever seen a more beautiful bride. He smiled cynically--not that he ever had any intention of watching one walk down an aisle towards him. Coming from a large family of mainly half--siblings, having been born to a man who'd married three times, had numerous affairs and begat eight children, to say that Sebastian had a jaundiced view of the holy sanctity of marriage was a huge understatement.
With an iron will, he concentrated once more on his surroundings and not the potential minefield of his family, who had dispersed from their ancestral home, Wolfe Manor, as soon as they'd been able to escape.
In the huge and ornately decorated inner courtyard a stunning marquee covered in silken swathes of material took up the centre space under a dusky evening sky. The bride, while being of average height, stood with a regal and graceful bearing that made her appear taller.
Her face was a smooth mask of intent concentration, and given the elaborate ritual of the traditional Indian wedding, he couldn't blame her. It seemed to him to consist of a dizzying array of minutely observed events, each as important as the last and all following a strict code. It had been going on for days now, culminating in this ceremony here tonight. Incense was burning, ladening the warm air around him with a rich and luxuriant smell.
A short while before,...