The Unwanted Wife

By: Natasha Anders

Her family had founded one of the first banks in the country in the 1800s and had always been leaders in the rarefied reaches of society. Jackson Noble maintained that someone of Theresa’s “breeding and background” shouldn’t be allowed to mingle with just anybody, which had left Theresa’s options for companionship severely limited. She had grown up playing by herself, with Lisa, or—when her father wasn’t around to see—with the housekeeper’s children. The loneliness and isolation had carried over into her adulthood and even now, she spent most of her free time with Rick and Lisa or learning new recipes from Phumsile, her housekeeper. She spent more time chatting with Phumsile than she did speaking with Sandro. The loneliness was a cycle that Theresa didn’t know how to break.

Now she found herself contemplating all the things she could do with this unexpected time and, deciding to stick with the trend of the day, opted for the most out-of-character thing she could think of: going to the movies. It was the purest form of escapism, and if there was anything that Theresa desperately wanted, it was to escape from her life. So she spent her day going from one cinema to the next—laughing, crying, cringing, or jumping, depending on the plot. It was the most unproductive day she had ever spent in her life and she loved it.

By the time the last show of the day finished it was after midnight and she had a throbbing headache from sitting in darkness and the flickering light of the projector all day and a slightly upset stomach from a diet of soda and popcorn. As she headed back to her car, the sudden reality of her situation sank in and she started trembling. She didn’t know what to expect from Sandro. She had never seen him display anything other than icy control, even in bed, but it was the first time she had ever done anything like this. She always strove to be the perfect wife and perfect daughter, always putting Sandro or her father’s wishes first, and something as innocent as going to the movies without telling Sandro seemed beyond reckless. While she knew he would never physically hurt her, his potential to hurt her emotionally was unlimited.

 The house was ablaze with light when she got back, and the dread made her stomach heave. She swallowed down her nausea before parking her car and heading toward the front door, which was wrenched open before she even had the chance to get her keys out.

She gulped slightly at the intimidating form of her husband looming in the doorway and stifled a yelp when he grabbed her arm and yanked her inside. He slammed the door shut, gripping both her shoulders in his huge hands and backed her up until she was leaning against the door. It took her a few seconds to get over her disorientation and grasp that he wasn’t hurting her. His eyes feverishly raked up and down her trembling body, until he was apparently satisfied that everything was in relatively good condition, and then he raised his eyes to meet hers full on.

His eyes, which she’d had so little opportunity to actually look into of late, were heartbreakingly beautiful. They were chocolate brown and set between incredibly thick, blue-black lashes and beneath sweeping brows, and right now they were smoldering with something that, in a less controlled man, might have been described as fury. His hands released her shoulders and crept up to her face. She flinched slightly at the contact, but they remained gentle, moving to cup her jaw, his large thumbs brushing over her cheeks. Her breathing became ragged when he leaned toward her, dipping his head closer to hers. He was so near she could feel his clean, warm breath on her face. He tilted her jaw slightly and she groaned, aching for his lips on hers, wanting it so desperately her legs had just about turned to jelly, and the only thing that kept her from falling to a puddle at his feet was his solidly muscled body braced against hers. She could feel his erection throbbing against her stomach and knew he wanted her as desperately as she wanted him. His lush mouth was centimeters away from hers, and when he spoke, his lips brushed against her mouth.

“You pull a stunt like this again, tesoro mia, and I swear to God, you’ll regret it!”

She flinched as reality brought her back down to earth with a thump. He let her go and she slid down the door to land at his feet. He raked a contemptuous glance over her, the ice back and the fire gone.

“Where have you been?” he asked calmly. She staggered to her feet, humiliated that she had allowed him to affect her to such an extent that she would fall at his feet. She tilted her head back defiantly and refused to answer him. “Theresa, I’m warning you…”

“Warn away,” she taunted shakily. “You want to stay married? Fine. But I refuse to let you walk all over me anymore. It’s time you start showing me some respect!”

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