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R. K. Lilley


  Title Page

  The Word




  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  Chapter Thirty

  Chapter Thirty-One

  Chapter Thirty-Two

  Chapter Thirty-Three

  Chapter Thirty-Four

  Chapter Thirty-Five

  Chapter Thirty-Six

  Chapter Thirty-Seven

  Chapter Thirty-Eight




  “I didn’t read this book, I devoured it. Arranged marriage is one of my favorite tropes and RK Lilley completely blew it out of the water. Arranged is angsty, sexy, and heartbreaking. Immediately adding it to my future re-read list. Banks is my new favorite alpha bully.” Claire Contreras, New York Times Bestselling Author

  "Fatally beautiful. Gut-tightening intensity. Off the charts sexual chemistry and a love story unlike any other. You will devour this tale by RK Lilley and only want more." Audrey Carlan, #1 NYT Bestselling Author

  "Classic RK Lilley with all the angst, steam, and edginess she does so damn well. I loved it!" Kylie Scott, NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author

  “Some books are simply better than others. This is one of those books. Calder Banks Castelo is a jerk of epic proportions. Jerk-a-licious perfection. Banks and Noura together light the pages on fire. Sensual, angsty, exquisite. Don’t miss it.” Jana Aston, New York Times Bestselling Author

  There were rules in the cash-for-beauty game. The money held the power. The beauty followed the rules and jumped through the hoops.


  I knew what everyone would think if they knew the truth about my marriage.

  They'd be shocked and appalled. And rightly so.

  I was a young, modern, independent woman, and I'd done the unthinkable.

  I'd sold my virginity to a spoiled, rich boy. To a stranger who didn’t love me.

  And yes, I'd done it all for money.


  My bride was as gorgeous as she was unwelcome.

  As desirable as she was unwanted.

  I wanted nothing to do with her, but that didn’t seem to matter exactly the second she got close enough to touch.

  I wanted her to hate me more than she loved the millions she’d sold herself for.

  I wanted to spurn her, but unfortunately, I wanted to fuck her more.

  ARRANGED is a standalone erotic romance.

  Copyright © 2019 R.K. Lilley

  All rights reserved.

  ISBN-13: 978-1-62878-052-9

  ISBN-10: 1-62878-052-5

  All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of events to real life, or of characters to actual persons, is purely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction.

  This one’s dedicated to all the people who didn’t take the opportunity to kick me while I was down and are still here after all this time. I am unspeakably grateful for your support. Especially you, Chris. Always. I’m positive I wouldn’t have finished another book without your inexplicable encouragement of my every random whim, and your willingness to go with me absolutely anywhere at the drop of a hat.




  I’d memorized exhaustive details about the man standing beside me at the altar, and yet I didn’t know him at all.

  My groom was a stranger.

  His name was Calder Banks Castelo. He was a beautiful spoiled, rich boy, and I’d just handed him the unmitigated power to make my life hell.

  I stole a glance at him. He cut an imposing figure in his black tux. He was tall, slim hipped, broad shouldered, and he held himself with a stiff, proud posture. He was carelessly handsome, and he struck me as just the kind of man who was cruel and calculated enough to use that very thing against me.

  Our gazes clashed with a direct hit. His eyes were a striking, stormy gray and remarkably dispassionate.

  I hadn’t had much time to judge him face to face, but so far he was beyond hard to read. He was utterly stoic. Unemotional. Cold. And if I had to guess at reading him just then, I’d say he was disinterested to the point of bored.

  I wished I was bored. I wished my lips and the tips of my fingers would stop trembling.

  I looked away first.

  This is worth it, I told myself firmly. This is what I want. Wealth beyond my wildest dreams.

  I made myself repeat the words in my head all throughout our stilted ceremony.

  I knew what everyone would think if they knew the truth about this marriage.

  They’d be shocked and appalled. And rightly so.

  I was a young, modern, independent woman, and I’d done the unthinkable.

  I’d sold my virginity to a spoiled rich boy.

  And yes, I’d done it all for money.

  Because let’s be real. Money is no small thing. It’s a lot of things. Comfort. Stability. Security.

  And the amount of wealth I’d just tied myself to was a whole hell of a lot more than a paltry bit of cash. It was—potentially, if I lasted long enough—the keys to an empire.

  I was deep in my thoughts, but I didn’t miss a beat when I heard my cue. “I do.” The words left my lips with no hesitation. Not so much as a catch in my breath. Nerves of steel. Or at least the right kind of nerves to fake it all, and by that point, what was the difference?

  I’d been modeling full-time since I was fourteen, which gave me just the right skillset for something like this. I could pose. I could act. I could smile on command. I could fake just about any damn thing.

  My hands never stopped trembling but I didn’t hesitate, and my voice was strong and steady as I sealed my fate.

  His I do was indolent to the point of defiant.

  I stole a glance at his face. He was looking at me. His eyelids were at half-mast over his stormy eyes. As I watched, the boredom on his face turned to belligerence.

  I looked away.

  Even now, when our lives were being bound together—till death do us part—I felt like I couldn’t stare. Every glimpse I got today was as furtive as all of the past ones I’d stolen during our two neat, obligatory, sterile ten minute meetings.

  Roughly twenty minutes together before we met at an altar in front of seven hundred and fifty wedding guests, but I’d gathered plenty of intel during those meetings; none of it good.

  To say my groom was not happy about this wedding was a bit of an understatement. He had to hide it from our wedding guests and the world, but I doubted he’d ever bother to hide it from me. Somehow or someway, his father was forcing him into his.

  I wasn’t sure what leverage was being used against him, but I had
a few ideas, all of them involving his potential inheritance or the lack thereof.

  Knowing all this, I didn’t assume he’d be any kind of a decent husband to me, and I’d already made my peace with it.

  I, on the other hand, had agreed via prenup to be an exemplary trophy wife.

  You can get away with more weird shit in a prenup than in any other legally binding contract. Ah, marriage. What a stellar institution. They had slipped some real fun stuff into ours. Including six months of training.

  Yes. Training. I’d been remade for this man. Groomed, tutored. Schooled and instructed. I was well aware of what I should expect and how I should perform.

  My duties consisted of:

  1. Maintaining an impeccable appearance as the perfect trophy wife at all times—I was not allowed to miss a gym or grooming appointment without a very convincing and pressing excuse.

  2. Keeping a team of my father-in-law’s choosing on hand for purposes of security, tutoring, training, and general behavioral policing. They were there to keep me in check and keep on polishing me until I shined.

  3. Making intelligent and appropriate conversation with his friends and business associates—I’d become well versed in social niceties and business talk. I spoke three languages conversationally, and I was to use this skill whenever it was necessary or requested.

  4. Attending any functions: galas, balls, parties, soirees, anything he required me to. What good was a trophy wife if you couldn’t show her off?

  5. Spreading my legs and/or sucking my husband’s cock whenever he needed a release—I’d been advised that this could happen multiple times a day when he was at home or if/when I was traveling with him.

  I was informed (quite firmly) not to ask or speculate about where he put that dick when it wasn’t being shoved somewhere inside of me.

  There were rules in the cash-for-beauty game. The money held the power. The beauty followed the rules and jumped through the hoops.

  I’d been vetted in every imaginable way. IQ and personality tests. Physical exams. Psych eval upon psych eval.

  Over the past six months I’d been forged into the perfect combination of untouched and knowledgeable. Chaste but polished.

  I’d been made into a jaded, skilled virgin, and from today forward, I existed for my husband’s pleasure.

  I was jolted out of my fatalistic musings when the officiator pronounced us man and wife.

  I turned to kiss my groom. I had to tilt my head back to look at his face. He was very tall.

  He bent to me, the corner of his mouth twisting down just the tiniest bit. His lips looked soft and lush, but his eyes were hard.

  I closed mine, tilting my head up to seal the deal with my very first kiss.

  It was the briefest moment, the barest press of lips, but it signaled the beginning of my new life.

  I was his now. I belonged to Calder Banks Castelo.

  He owned me but he didn’t love me.

  He never would.

  I blinked my eyes open, seeking his indifferent gaze, but he didn’t look at me again. His eyes were on the cheering crowd. For them he smiled. They were all his. No one had come for me. Everyone I knew I’d left out of this.

  He held out his arm, and I took it dutifully, bestowing my own practiced, demure smile on the crowd of his friends, family, and business associates. He walked me out of the church with a confident stride. I had to hustle with my elaborate train and needle point stilettos to keep up.

  Hours of photo ops followed. It was one of the more comfortable parts of the long day. Just the kind of thing I’d been doing for years. Modeling. Today I was selling the perfect wedding day of a pretty, rich boy and his innocent eighteen-year-old bride.

  It wasn’t much different than a day at the job except for my trembling hands and what was to occur after.

  Still, I sold it like it was an average day at work, and I was getting paid top dollar.

  It was simple if I looked at it like that. Fake smiles, staged touches, choreographed embraces, and counterfeit laughs.

  It was a particularly warm March this year in Portugal. It was a sunny, idyllic day for a beautiful wedding. If it was happening to someone else, someone who wasn’t living a lie, I’d have found it charming.

  I made a big show of pretending that I was close with his parents, which had been planned beforehand. They were in on the act. In fact, his father had written the play. And both of my new in-laws were good at playing this game. They were used to being spectacles. Used to playing happy for the cameras. They had decades of experience.

  His mother, Diana Castelo, was somewhere in her fifties, but no one would have ever guessed it. Science and good genes had her aging like the supermodel she was. She was dark-haired and gray-eyed like her son. She had an ageless beauty and a smile so warm I almost believed it.

  She’d been a model, who’d had a brief career in film, which was where she’d caught his father’s eye. Their courtship had been high profile and was widely considered to be a romantic fairytale.

  His father, Pasco Castelo, had been a lone son born into a billion dollar empire. Looks-wise, he was much like his son. Large, austere, formal, intimidating, and quite handsome. He had black hair, black eyes, and a swarthy complexion. I didn’t think he liked me, but I wouldn’t be marrying his son if he didn’t approve. I’d been told by my handlers that he was quite conservative and traditional, and the fact that I was a virgin and had attended Catholic school had gone a long way toward earning that approval.

  Next was the receiving line. It was beyond tedious and seemingly endless. It felt like a test. I passed. I appeared happy and remembered all of the pertinent names.

  The reception itself was less tedious than what preceded it, mostly because of my first taste of champagne.

  “Drink up,” my groom told me quietly. “You’re going to need it.”

  I’d been ordered by my handlers to drink as little alcohol as possible, and never to overindulge, but it was my husband that handed me the flutes of champagne, and his wishes overruled all of my instructions, always, so I wound up consuming more than was perhaps wise.

  “How’s the champagne?” my husband asked me, his cold eyes watching me as I tried my first taste.

  I wasn’t sure what to think of it, but I told him I liked it because it seemed the appropriate thing to say.

  “Have you had it before?” he asked, his eyes becoming more intent.


  “Have you tried any alcohol before?”


  He was clearly annoyed. “Well, that’s not helpful. You’ll be expected to drink at most social gatherings. You have to build up at least a token tolerance.”

  “I’m too young to drink in the states,” I pointed out. We were at his family’s estates in Portugal for the wedding, but we’d be living in New York.

  His eyes on me were disdainful. “We aren’t in the states now, and the types of functions you’ll be attending will not require you to show proof of age, so there’s no need for you to point it out.”

  “I apologize,” I said, and finished off the glass.

  He went from looking annoyed to stiff and almost angry. “Slowly. Don’t choke on it.”

  I hated that I almost apologized for apologizing, but held the words back. Barely.

  In spite of that less than encouraging interaction, he nabbed me another flute almost immediately and told me to drink it.

  I wasn’t sure who’d planned our wedding or reception, but it was obviously someone with luxurious, expensive tastes. The ceremony had been beautiful, as was the gathering that accompanied it. The theme of the day seemed to be white flowers of every kind, threaded through grand crystal chandeliers, strewn across tables, even decorating the walls until it felt like the large room was boxed in with tall hedges of pure blossoms. It must have cost a fortune. Someone had wanted our wedding to impress.

  I complimented my husband on his choices.

  “You worked with the wedding planner
to pick everything out,” he said tersely, voice pitched low. “You’ve been tirelessly planning this for six months. It’s all your doing. Your taste is impeccable.” It was impossible to mistake the biting sarcasm in his words.

  “Of course. Thank you,” I said, following along with the charade. That was what my life was going to be, after all. One big, pretty, elaborate lie.

  Dinner was a lavish seven course meal, and I made a point to take a few neat bites of every dish. I was sure it was all up to snuff, of course it was, but I didn’t taste anything except the champagne, which became more crisp and delicious with each sip.

  My husband handed me another glass after I drained the second one.

  My head already felt a bit fuzzy, but in a pleasant way, like the day suddenly had a softer filter on it.

  “Do you like to dance?” my husband asked.

  I glanced at him. He wasn’t looking at me, his eyes trained straight ahead.

  Instead of answering the question, which was irrelevant, I listed off all of the dance training I’d been through. It was extensive. I was a well-trained bride, and I wouldn’t embarrass myself on the dance floor.

  He sighed, knocking back another glass of the dark amber liquid he’d been consuming since we sat down. It was immediately replaced with a new one by a diligent server. I didn’t know what he was drinking and I didn’t ask. Do not ask him questions or pry in any way, no matter how innocuous the subject. That rule was clearly imprinted in my brain.

  “I’ll take that as a no,” he finally remarked, his voice deep with something I couldn’t name. “So if you don’t care to dance, are you ready to retire?” He met my eyes squarely with that question, and I felt a jolt of something move through me.

  I couldn’t take his eyes.

  I looked away. “Whatever you prefer.”

  He thrust his glass at me suddenly.

  I shook my head, taking the glass because it seemed to be what he wanted.