book cover of Bartered Bride

Bartered Bride

(The third book in the Billionaire's Wife series)
A Novella by

Now that Felicia has signed the contract with Anton, she feels as though her life is running away from her. But when she dares to try to regain control, she crosses a line she didn't even know was there...

This 8,400 word short story is the third installment of The Billionaire's Wife.


“What is wrong?” he asked me.

I looked at him. He seemed genuinely concerned. So. Maybe he didn't like tears. I'd have to file that away, maybe, but right now I didn't want him to see my weakness.

“Nothing. I just...” My throat closed.

So much for not showing weakness. Record time from resolution to collapse.

I swallowed. “I just thought a wedding dress like this would be great. And it's not. I've always wanted to wear one and look like a princess, but...” I shrugged helplessly. “Whatever. It's not important.”

He was quiet for a moment. “I think I understand,” he said. “Perhaps it could be altered?”

I shook my head. I didn't want to dwell on it. “No, it doesn't matter.” I started twisting and turning, trying to get at the zipper.

“You've wanted to wear a dress like that since you were a little girl,” he said, like he wasn't willing to just let it go.

I forced myself to laugh. “Yeah, but I'm not a little girl any more, even though I kind of look like one.”

He spread his hands and appeared to think for a moment. “I am sorry. The gap between fantasy and reality grows larger with time,” he told me, which was some serious Buddha shit that I was not at all prepared to be all zen about. I just wanted him to shut up.

“Whatever,” I said. Tears blurring my vision, I turned away and twisted, reaching around behind me to unfasten the dress. This wasn't what I wanted. I didn't want to wear his dumb elegant dress. I didn't want to do this without my mom and my girlfriends. And I definitely didn't want to marry Anton Waters.

“Felicia,” he said. My name. The first time he had said it. For a moment, I caught genuine concern in his voice.

A large, warm hand alighted on my shoulder. I wanted to shrug him off, but some pathetic need stopped me. Everything was so wrong. I just wanted someone to make it right again. Why wasn't I shopping for wedding dresses with my mother and Sadie? Why wasn't I getting married to a man I loved? Why did it have to be this way?

The comforting hand on my shoulder tensed. I felt him begin to pull away.

I reached up and grabbed his hand.

I didn't really know what to do with it when I had caught it, so I stayed there, struggling to maintain my composure.

I felt Anton's hesitance behind me. Then his fingers tightened, and again that incredible electric charge between us sparked.

“You look beautiful in white,” he whispered, and then he tugged his hand away and was undoing the dress, unhooking the fastenings and slowly, tortuously tugging the zipper down. Bit by bit, my back was bared to him, and he covered every inch revealed with a heated kiss...

Kindle Editions

September 2012 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: Bartered Bride: The Billionaire's Wife, Part 3 (A BDSM Erotic Romance)
Author(s): Ava Lore
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU