Authors: Ana E Ross
Tags: #romantic suspense, #contemporary romance, #multicultural romance, #african american romance, #alpha males, #ana e ross, #billionaire brides of granite falls
THE TYCOON’S TEMPORARY BRIDE
Ana E Ross
2012 by Ana E Ross
All rights reserved. Except for brief quotes used in
reviews, no portion of this story may be used or reproduced in any
form by any electronic, mechanical, or any other device now known
or invented hereafter without the written permission of the author.
These forms include, but are not limited to xerography,
photocopying, scanning, recording, distributing via Internet means,
informational storage or retrieval system.
This story is a work of fiction. All names,
characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s
imagination and are used fictitiously. Similarities to actual
events, locales, business establishments, or persons living or
dead, are purely coincidental
To learn more about Ana E Ross visit her at:
Cover Design by
To my lovely daughter, Nicoya, who tells me she’s
proud of me more often than I deserve.
To my beta readers: Melissa, Tamika, Diana, and
Debbie, but especially Tamika whose insightfulness, detailed
comments, and suggestions, made this story rock.
And last, but not least, to you my loyal and
extremely patient fans, without you, I would still be
I love you all! Blessings!
Tashi Holland took a deep breath of the
summer air as she exited one of her favorite shops at Stone Crest
Shopping Mall Outlets. Bags in hand, she strolled along the
walkway, wheeling her way through the throng of residents and
tourists who frequented this delightful small town nestled in the
foothills of the White Mountain National Forest of New
She headed for one of the many gazebos in the
plaza and, setting her bags on a stone bench, she pulled her camera
from her backpack and began clicking away at the breathtaking views
of the shimmering waters of Crystal Lake and the green majestic
mountains in the background.
Granite Falls was a long way from New York
City, the place she’d gone to study photography, and even farther
from Ohio—the place where she was born and raised, but never felt
any real connection to. Granite Falls wasn’t a bad town for
settling down and starting over, but it was remote and lonely.
Lonelier, because she hadn’t made any friends and had spent the
last few months trying to make sense of the events that had changed
her life a year and a half ago.
Sometimes it felt like yesterday, and other
times it felt like a lifetime. And then there were times when it
felt as if it never even happened. She’d listened to the news and
searched the Internet day and night for weeks, then months, trying
to find evidence that her nightmares weren’t just some figment of
But there was nothing. Never anything—except
for one fact.
Tashi sighed and, putting her camera away,
she sat on the bench and folded her arms across the stone tabletop
and indulged in her favorite pastime. Watching people mulling about
and speculating about their lives had helped to keep her mind off
her own lifeless existence.
Who was she, anyway? She was a girl with a
name, and only a name. One she couldn’t use. She couldn’t open a
bank account or use her credit cards. Her driver’s license was
useless since she couldn’t rent or purchase a car, or even book a
hotel room for a night.
She had the cell phone the FBI agent who’d
rescued her had given her—her only communication to the world
beyond Granite Falls’ border—but she had no one to call, except the
closest pizza parlor and Mountainview Café for occasional
deliveries during the past cold winter nights. She kept her phone
charged and protected like it was an infant, hoping and praying
each day would be the one she would receive
she lived for—the call that would give her back her life.
Maybe she would never get her life back.
Maybe they thought she’d died during the shootout in that house in
New York City, fifteen months ago.
But then again, who were
She had no family. She’d never met her
father. Her mother died when she was four, and then her uncle who’d
raised her suddenly and unexpectedly lost his life to pancreatic
cancer almost two years ago. She’d been alone and scared in the
craziest city in the world until Scottie showed up. He’d seemed
real and charming and had treated her like a princess until…
Tashi covered her face with her hands as
visions of that night stormed into the forefront of her mind. Those
visions never surfaced gently. They always came at her like a
silent freight train speeding around a bend. She only knew it was
there after it hit her.
What if Scottie was real, but the man who’d
claimed he’d come to rescue her along with the others who were
posing as guards and parents were just actors his real parents had
hired to get rid of her? After all, she was a nobody, and Scottie
was the heir to some multi-million-dollar corporation. Maybe they
thought she wasn’t good enough for their son. Tashi had watched
enough movies to know that rich people could get away with almost
anything. What if they were all fakes? Except…
She wrapped her arms around her middle as the
pain seared through her. The one thing about that night that wasn’t
fake was the fact that she’d killed a man. She’d climbed undetected
into the back seat, pointed a gun at the back of his head and
pulled the trigger.
Then she’d watched, numb from
head to toe, as he slumped against the steering wheel. It was the
blare of the horn that had propelled her into action. She’d pushed
the dead man out of the car, and driven off.
His death was the only event that had made
the news. It was described as a drug deal gone wrong. He’d left
behind a wife and three young children. There were no suspects and
last she’d read, the case had been closed.
What if killing the driver was the only real
event about that night? What if Scottie’s parents were using that
incriminating fact as a means to keep her away from him? If the man
who’d claimed to be an FBI agent had made it out alive, where was
he? He’d promised to find her and explain everything to her. What
was ‘everything’? What did he need to explain?
Tashi didn’t know what to believe anymore.
And here she was in a strange town where the agent had sent her in
search of a man who was supposed to protect her. A man without a
face and a name. Tashi scanned the crowds as she’d done countless
times in the past months, hoping beyond hope that her
would see her, recognize her, and help her.
He could be anybody, even that giant of a man
with his arm around the petite woman as they pushed a set of twins
in a double stroller. He reminded her of the FBI agent—large, dark,
and handsome. The couple nodded and smiled at her as they walked
Tashi smiled back. She felt as if she’s seen
them somewhere before, but then she quickly averted her eyes as the
woman said something to the man, and he turned and gave her another
“She said you’re very beautiful, and I
agreed,” the man said over his shoulder.
“Thank you. And so is she.” Tashi’s smile
deepened, as the couple disappeared into the crowd.
One thing she could say about this town was
that the majority of people were nice and friendly. They probably
didn’t think the same of her since she never made any attempts to
engage in conversation, nor did she respond to personal questions
about herself—legitimate questions people ask when they were
interested in someone.
Not knowing whom she could trust, she trusted
no one, not even Mindy, her garrulous neighbor, whose kids she’d
babysat on a few occasions.
Tashi gathered her bags and left the gazebo.
It was laundry day, and she didn’t have a washer and dryer in her
one-bedroom apartment—an apartment in the not-so-nice side of town.
But it was the only place where the landlord would allow her to pay
cash—no questions asked.
The FBI agent had given her a bag of cash and
she’d carved out a hole in the back wall of her bedroom closet and
hidden the bag inside it. It wasn’t like she could take the money
down to the local bank and make a deposit. Her closet was the
safest place she could think of to hide it. She’d bought a piece of
plywood, painted it white and leaned it up against the wall to hide
the hole. Every time she left her apartment, Tashi worried about
someone breaking in. But so far so good.
The car she’d driven to Granite Falls, and
the gun with which she’d killed the man had become real estate for
fish in the deepest parts of the Hudson and Aiken Rivers,
respectively. She had enough money to last her a decade, if she
spent it wisely. Hopefully, before it ran out, she’d have some
answers to her past and be able to live a normal life.
Her stomach rumbled, reminding her that she’d
had a light breakfast. Tashi smiled at the idea of enjoying a
juicy, smoked ham sandwich from Mountainview Café, just two blocks
over from the outlets. She would grocery shop tomorrow after her
kickboxing class. On that thought, Tashi headed for the café.