Page 62 of Buying the Bride

“You were with Andrew Xellum in there.”

I look away from the sky, blinking as a tall brunette saunters towards me. “Yes, I was.”

Her expression turns to one of disgust. “Looks like he finally found model that he thought was good enough to fuck him. Don’t worry though, you’re not special. He’ll drop you as soon as he’s bored and move onto his next ‘muse.’”

I take a step back, her words hitting like knives. “I’m sorry, who are you?”

“It doesn’t matter who I am. But you should know that you’ve made a huge mistake.”

“I don’t think I have.”

A tiny smile appears on her mouth, and it makes my stomach crawl. “You’ll see if you feel the same way tomorrow.”


And then she turns and walks away, disappearing around the corner just as Andrew pulls around with the car. I realize that my mouth is open in shock, and I feel a little numb as I get in the car. “Are you all right?” he asks.

“I don’t think so.” I tell him what just happened as he drives, and I watch his expression harden. “Do you know who it was?”

He shakes his head. “No. Like you said before—and it’s an accurate criticism—I don’t hire many blondes. As much as I try to treat all my employees well, there are always some conflicts. I’ve been doing this long enough that I have a few people who are less than friendly towards me.”

The rest of the drive is silent. I’m not sure what to say and I can see from the look on Andrew’s face that he doesn’t want to talk about it. I’d be upset to if the reverse had happened. We’re still silent as he passes the car off to the same young man, but he takes my hand as we walk into his apartment building, and once we’re inside he pulls me closer, and he makes me forget her entirely.

12

This morning it’s not the sunlight that wakes me, it’s my phone. I didn’t set an alarm, so it’s a text. I click the button to acknowledge it without opening my eyes. Then there’s another sound. And another. And another. I groan, and I feel Andrew shift behind me. He rolls over and tucks his arm around my waist, and I can feel the hard length of his cock against my ass. “Good morning,” he whispers.

“Bad morning,” I say. “I’m going to kill whoever is texting me.” Pulling my phone off the nightstand, I glance at the screen. All the texts are from Fleece. She knows I’m with Andrew. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many exclamation points in a single text message when I told her what happened yesterday.

Have you seen this??

What the fuck is going on?

Delia, if you’re sleeping WAKE. UP.

It’s only on the one website now but it will be everywhere in a few hours.

I rub my eyes and try to ignore the way Andrew is kissing my neck while I click on the link she sent in her first text. If it’s another story about me and my racy moments, I’m fine. It’s probably just a news story about me and Andrew having dinner last night. But as the screen loads, my stomach drops. A giant black headline.

ANDREW XELLUM DROVE ME INSANE: THE DESIGNER’S FORMER MUSE TELLS ALL

I sit straight up in bed. Right below the headline is a picture of the woman from last night. “What the fuck,” I say.

“What is it?”

I pass him the phone. Now I know what she meant by seeing how I felt today. She knew that story was coming out. “Shit,” Andrew says, grabbing his phone and dialing.

He’s on the phone with May in seconds, who’s already heard the news. I pick my phone back up and read the article. I want to know what she’s saying. I know immediately that none of this is true. She’s saying that Andrew pushed her to her breaking point. That he never let her eat because he wanted her to be thinner for his shows, that he was controlling of her and her life and appearance to the point of abuse. That he kept her locked up in a house so that no one could see her unless he allowed it. The woman—Maya Hart—is someone I recognize now. She used to do what I do for Andrew in terms of modeling, and I always thought her work was brilliant. Not only that, but she has some of the world’s biggest campaigns right now. I’m surprised that I didn’t recognize her last night, but I chalk it up to the fact that I was too shocked by what she was saying.

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