The Marriage Agreement (Prologue)


My best friend’s sister has been on a crusade all day to seduce me. After fifteen tries, I have to admit, it’s starting to work. Ivy Hawthorne’s attempts were pathetic at first, if not downright embarrassing. It is her father’s birthday party. Important people are here. Everyone from industry leaders to movie stars. Athletes and politicians are present. One would think the daughter would be on her best behavior. Not Ivy, though. While her antics are embarrassing, they’re somewhat amusing. 

I didn’t even want to come to this awful party. Nolan Senior’s not-so-subtle implication that I won’t get promoted if I didn’t attend, is the reason I came here. My preferred way of wasting the weekend is to spend time alone with a book. Instead, I have to fend off a horny, barely legal teenager who has never heard the word no. 

I started noticing it in the afternoon. Ivy tried to get my attention by ‘accidentally’ falling into my arms many times. She did this whenever someone ‘brushed’ against her. If people weren’t bumping into her, she would caress my arm. We were in a small circle of friends that included her brother, me, a couple of people at work, and her. None of them noticed any of it, including her brother. When I remained aloof to her schemes, she moved to the next stage. Getting me alone with her. Twice when I was on my way to the restroom, she cornered me and led me to a guest room for a ‘talk.’ But that had worked against her. The first time, a middle-aged tech billionaire who was having sex with his assistant already occupied the room. The other time, the room was locked.

I have to admit; she made the tedious garden party interesting even though I pretended not to notice. The last thing I want to do is to give her a firm rejection that would only boomerang into me being out of a promotion, and maybe a job. But fucking hell, is she relentless.

And to add to my irritation, Ivy wasn’t the only one trying to get my attention. A few of the women who are on the younger side of forty have either slipped a note into my pocket or sent me bold text messages. The brazen ones actually asked me out outright. One is married, and her husband is here. None of them held a candle to Ivy’s tenacity. By evening, I gave in and entertained one woman to get Ivy off my back.

Bree, an interior designer about the same age as me, twenty-seven, is an acceptable choice. She is cute, has a pixie cut that suits few people but on her it looks charming. Chatty and outgoing, she makes the party a little less miserable. I can simply listen to her talk and not say much in response while I nurse my drink. Like Ivy, she’s a beautiful old-money heiress who sees work as an optional hobby. Unlike Ivy, she’s not nineteen.

“Can I ask you something?” Bree says over the music and party chatter. “What’s going on between you two?” She gestures her drink towards Ivy. She has now given up her pursuit and is hanging out with her friends. Good, I think. Stay away. You don’t want someone like me tainting you. Ivy notices us looking at her and stares back. She looks mad. Angry even. 

I turn my attention back to Bree. “Nothing.”

“It’s not nothing. That girl has been trying to get your attention the whole night.” Try the whole day. “And yet you have ignored her. Where you two ever…”

“She’s my friend’s sister.” I take a sip of my drink and find the rum less potent than before.

“Makes it even more plausible.”

“She’s in college. There’s an eight-year age difference between us.” I glance again at Ivy. I haven’t seen her while. She’s only been back from college a few days and boy, has she changed? She’s more beautiful—stop. Don’t go there. If Nolan, if both Nolans were to know what I was thinking, they would drag me out of their party by the ear and toss me into the nearby ocean. 

Bree rolls her eyes. “That doesn’t stop the CEO of Delphi tech from fucking his twenty-something assistant.”

I’m surprised to learn she knows about that sordid affair. “You saw them?”

“Not at this party, no. But they were extremely brazen on Yuri’s yacht last weekend. But back to you and Ivy.”

“There’s no me and Ivy.”

“Why is she so into you?”

I cast my gaze back at Ivy again. She is now alone, standing under a tree decorated by rope lights made to look like fireflies. The combination of her short white sundress and blonde hair waving in the breeze gives the impression of a wood nymph. She’s ethereal and innocent, while sexy and deviously tempting. A dark part of me, a part I have been repressing the whole day, wants to defile her. I’m so mesmerized by her beauty that I permit my thoughts to go where I didn’t want them to for the first time today. 

Everyone suddenly disappears, and it’s just Ivy and I. I’m tossing the glass away. It tumbles onto the grass as I march over to her, take her in my arms and kiss her against the tree. She eagerly accepts my tongue and scrambles to open my pants while I rip her panties off her and thrust into her — I close my eyes to wipe away the intrusive daydream. Ivy is still glaring at us, but now she looks less mad and more… conniving. What is she cooking up in that little head of hers? I ignore her and turn to Bree. “I don’t know. Ask her.”

Bree chuckles. “So you’re saying you’re unattached. I would hate to step on someone else’s territory.”

Bree is beautiful and fun. She’s the one I should fantasize about and not Ivy. “This territory is unclaimed.”

A twinkle sparks in Bree’s eyes. The corner of her lips curves upwards and she leans in to whisper, “I heard there’s another garden on this property. Mind showing it to me?”

“Sure,” I reply.

My gaze goes back to Ivy, who’s still watching us. My cock hardens and for a moment, I’m not sure if it’s because of Bree or Ivy. I turn my gaze back to Bree just as Ivy marches away. Good. Go away as far away from me and my devilish thoughts. Bree brushes my shirt, leaning into me, and unlike all the times Ivy brushed against me, I feel nothing. 

Just as we’re about to leave the garden, we’re interrupted by a girl with a phone in her hand. “I’m sorry Bree, they said it’s urgent.”

Bree sizes her up and down. The poor girl, who I assume is Bree’s assistant, looks like she’d rather be anywhere than here. “Tell them I’m busy.”

The girl gulps and whispers something in Bree’s ear. Bree sighs and swears under her breath. “Looks like I’m going to have to take this,” she says to me.

“Interior decorating emergency?”

“Some clients act like everything revolves around them.” She gives me a small smile and adds, “Wait for me?”

I nod and watch her walk into the house, her assistant in tow. I stroll around the party and my body cools a bit as I watch the guests. Most are now mildly inebriated and less guarded. The party is in full force and its only threat is the clouds. They have been gathering all day, threatening to rain on the birthday party. But even Nolan Hawthorne, the third, has the power to ward off rain. 

Nolan Senior seems to enjoy the attention. For a man hitting seventy, he’s acting like this is his fifth birthday. I scoff. Looking at him now as he slaps one of his friends on the back and doubles down in laughter, one would think, he’s a kind, affable man. They would be wrong. The man is ruthless not only towards his enemies but his family as well. Except for the youngest daughter, according to Nolan Junior. Nolan junior is always talking about how their father spoils Ivy. It’s no secret she’s the favorite. Even my mother, who had the unfortunate job of being Nolan’s senior’s assistant, would tell me all about the little blonde kid he likes to spoil. 

“Mr. Sinclair?” Someone says behind me. I turn around to see Farlow, the butler, standing straight in his well-tailored suit. He passes a note in my hand. “A lady said to give this to you,” he adds. I frown and take the note, but before I can ask who, he’s gone just as quickly as he appeared. 

I’m at the center of the Maze. Come find me. – Bree

Beneath the words is a crude diagram of the labyrinth, with directions to the center. I pocket the note, wondering how Bree knows about it. Even though I am loosely connected to this family, this is the second time I’ve been to their famed Hamptons estate, and I’ve never been in the hedge maze. But don’t all these rich pricks socialize together often? They do it so much that they probably know every detail of each other’s ten homes. There’s a table with a champagne tower close by. I grab two glasses and follow the directions.

The maze is lit up with lamps tucked into the hedge at each corner, making it easy to see but also dark enough to not make faces that recognizable. The center isn’t that hard to reach, and after a few twists and turns, I’m there. There’s a large fountain at the center and two stone benches on each side and at the fountain is Bree’s standing with her back facing me. No, that’s not Bree. Bree has a red dress and a blonde pixie haircut. This woman is wearing white and has long hair. “Ivy?”

She turns to face me, her dress swishing and her hair flowing in the breeze. She looks more ethereal now than before. The low light of the lamps stresses her otherworldly features, taking my breath away. I’m dumbstruck for a moment as I stare at the woman in front of me. It’s only now that I’m realizing that she’s no longer the little girl that would bother my friend. My gaze scans her face, noting the famous Hawthorne cheekbones that make everyone in her family a beauty, but on Ivy, they make her a goddess. Her big emerald eyes have an oval shape that would have looked catty on anyone. They are mesmerizing on her. I gulp as my gaze caresses her body. Her breasts have grown a lot in the past year. A late bloomer. What am I doing? I shouldn’t be lusting after her, for fuck’s sake.

“You’re not Bree.” My voice is curt and she flinches.

“No,” she takes a couple of steps forward. I take a step back. She stops. She grips the sides of her dress and looks down. “I just wanted to talk to you, but you kept ignoring me.”

I lift the paper in my hand. “So you thought deception would work? Goodbye Ivy.” I turn to walk away.

“No, wait.” Ivy grabs the hand that’s holding the two champagne glasses. “Please, don’t go.” I turn around. Damn. She’s even more beautiful up close. Her green eyes are glazy with… tears? Was she crying? A sudden compulsion to learn whoever caused her to cry and bust them up comes over me. It makes me pause.

Confident that I won’t leave, she lets go of my hand, takes one glass, and downs half of the contents. “You were ignoring me the entire night. Why?”

“Come on Ivy, you know why.”

“Oh.” Her hair falls, creating a curtain around her face. She steps back to the fountain and takes a seat on the edge. “You must think I’m embarrassing throwing myself at you like that.”

I sigh. And walk over to stand in front of her. The ledge she’s sitting on brings us to the same height. “I’ve never been embarrassed to be with you, Ivy.”


“You and I together would be inappropriate. I’m older than you. You’re my best friend’s sister. My boss’s daughter. I’m playing with fire just standing here talking to you.”

Her eyes widen. “But you’re interested in me? Y-you find me attractive?” Fuck. I should have led with I don’t like you. But it would be a lie. I am interested in her. Dirty thoughts have occupied my mind the entire day today. She smiles as if I’ve confirmed a long-held belief of hers. “You do.”

“You’re nineteen.”

“Twenty actually.”

I grab her glass. “Not old enough to drink that.”

She rolls her eyes and takes the champagne flute back. “I’m old enough for a lot of things.”

The meaning behind her words is clear. My nostrils flare as I wonder what is beneath that fucking dress of hers. I grip the stem of the champagne glass just so I don’t flip her dress and skim her thighs.

“I am not some little boy you can play around with, Ivy.”

She leans back and parts her thighs. She’s practically whispering when she says, “You think I don’t know that?” I step closer to listen, I tell myself, but that’s another fucking lie. “They call you Damien the devil. Because of your devilish skills in bed.”

“No.” My voice goes down a register, “Because of the ruthless way I discard them after.”

She shivers and leans forward. “As long as I discard you first, it doesn’t matter.” Our lips are only an inch apart. Lavender wafts into my nostrils and I dip my head to follow the scent on her neck. It feels like the most natural thing to brush my lips against her neck. She tastes of earthy wood, lavender, and vanilla. A heady combination. Her moan makes me hard.

“I’m a bad guy,” I say. It’s my last warning to her, but she doesn’t heed it. Instead, she draws me into her by pinning her legs around my waist. That’s the last straw. I hear the shatter of glass as I let go of my wine and I hold her face in my hands, clasping my lips against hers. The kiss is unlike anything I’ve ever felt. There’s shyness about her I didn’t expect from someone so forward. It makes me want to kiss her even deeper so she can come out of her shell. I hear another shatter of glass as she lets go of her wine and pulls me into her embrace. Our bodies fit perfectly together and the sensation of my cock pressing into her pussy drives us both wild. The clothes that separate our bodies feel oppressive. I want to rip them all off.

My hand goes to her shoulder and I flip the spaghetti strap off her to reveal her left breast. She’s not wearing a bra. I can’t help it. I latch onto her nipple and bite. She screams. We hear voices. We both go still. Clarity comes back, but only a little. My gaze is on her white breast and I’m partially fascinated by how pink her nipple looks.

“We can’t do this here,” I say. It’s insane. It’s wrong, but I want her. She’s mine. 

“We can,” she says. “The center is hard to find.”

“We’ll be caught.”

“We won’t.”

“I don’t have any protection.”

She takes hold of my head, pulls me down, and kisses me. “I’m on the pill.” Her hands fall to my shoulders and she takes off my jacket. It falls to the ground. They slide down to my waist. To my belt buckle. This is it. I should—I moan as her small hand rubs the pre-cum around the head of my cock. I look down and watch under the blueish-yellow light of the moon and the lamps as she plays with my cock. The act is mesmerizing, as it is arousing. I remove the other strap of her dress and claim her other breast as my hands travel down her dress and flip it up to reveal her pussy.

“You’re bare,” I say against her neck. “Were you walking around without underwear the entire day?”

“I wanted you to take me so many times, but you were ignoring me.” My left hand clasps her center while my right teases her nipple. She’s drenched.

“You’re a fucking slut.”

“Only for you.”

We play with each other as we kiss. But that’s not all I want from her. I remove my hand, hers from my cock, and in one smooth stroke, I enter her.

“Fuck you’re so tight.”

She moans in my ear. “I saved myself for you.”

“Liar,” I grunt, as my hands land on the ledge of the fountain to steady myself and her.

“You’re the first man to enter my pussy. I used a dildo—oh,” she screamed as I thrust into her, “to prepare myself. But I saved my pussy for you.”

“Fuck Ivy.” I stop.

She grinds herself on my cock and I steady her by holding her thighs. “Are you serious?”

She nods, her shyness returning. “I did some things with other people, but I never let anyone, you know.”

“I’m not worth it. You deserve someone who,” I look around us. We’re in her father’s garden in the middle of a goddamn maze under a cloudy sky. “Who doesn’t fuck you against a fountain.”

“Anywhere with you is perfect.”

My cock twitches inside her. No one has ever said that to me. And for it to come from Ivy. My hands weaken and she moves again. I groan. Taking it as encouragement, she kisses me, and whatever voice at the back of my mind is telling me to stop goes quiet as I sink into her sweetness. I can’t have her like this. Not her first time.

I lift her, make sure she’s straddling me tight and I stumble towards a bench close by. My cock thrusts into her at an angle when I sit, driving both of us mad. I adjust our position so that she’s sitting right on my cock and hold her arms.

I thrust up slowly. Agonizingly so. “How have you been practicing? Did you put your dildo on the floor and straddle it?”

Her eyes widen as she nods.

“Good. Show me.” I place her hands on my shoulders and mine go to her waist. She raises her hips and then goes down. A little unsure at first until she gets into a rhythm she is comfortable with. I watch as she rides my cock, her breasts swaying, her hair falling to her face. I brush it away and kiss her cheek. Then kiss each nipple. Her movements getting faster, but not fast enough. I don’t want to rush her, though. I want her to come on my cock. If I can give her a decent first, the least I can give her is an orgasm. 

It doesn’t take long for her to come. Her pussy clenches my cock and then she’s quaking in my arms as the wave of ecstasy carries her. It takes me as well soon after. I hold her tight. I fear I’ll mark her skin, but I want to do so all the same. She’s mine, I think as I spill my cum inside her.

We stay silent, listening to the night. It’s wrong, but it feels right. Like we’re meant to be. But that can’t be it. I think of all the reasons this shouldn’t have happened. My best friend’s sister, my boss’s daughter, I’m older and should know better. But all of that seems trivial to what I’ve just experienced with her. And part of me, the dark part of me, is unashamed. She saved herself for me. It has to count for something. Suddenly I want to make this right. Do it the right way.

“How was it?” I ask her. “Your first time?”

She sighs against my shoulder. “Magical.”

A drop of water falls on my head. The gathering clouds are now producing water. “It’s going to rain soon.” And as if I have willed it like a rainmaker, it pours. I lift Ivy off of me, and we both moan as our bodies separate, and we gather our clothes. She only has to right her dress, and I only took off my jacket. I’m a fucking brute. I grab my jacket from where Ivy threw it when she was kissing me.

The rain is now a heavy downpour. When I turn to face Ivy, I see that her dress is now righted, but the heavy downpour has soaked it through and made it practically transparent. Her nipples are erect, very visible, and so outlines her pussy. Going back to the party like this is not an option for her. “Can we find shelter from the rain?” I shout above the downpour. She nods and takes my hand. My stomach wobbles. I clamp down on the wayward emotion.

Ivy takes me to a cottage on the premises, and we enter inside. It’s styled like a lighthouse. It’s colored in white and blue with round windows that overlook the ocean. The interior carries the same sailor theme, if not upscale. Thankfully, it’s warm inside.

“There’s a bathroom over there,” she points to the door beyond the tiny living room-cum-bedroom we’re in.

“You go first,” I say. She goes into the bathroom while I sit on the chair and take my phone out. The battery’s dead. My phone was hanging on three percent the whole night and I should have done something about it earlier, but I didn’t. I look around for a charger. There isn’t one.

“Phone’s dead,” I say to Ivy when she gets back. She has removed the soaked dress and has a towel wrapped around her body. My nostrils flare at the sight of her shapely legs. I feel my cock harden.

We’ve had sex and I still want more.

“I don’t think there are chargers here.” She looks around in the same areas I searched and shrugs when she finds nothing. “Don’t you want to get into something dry?” Ivy adds. “You could catch a cold.”

I glance down at my soaked clothes. Not only are they making me colder, they’re making a mess and dripping everywhere. I nod. “Right.” As I’m making my way to the bathroom, she says, “But there’s no set of clothes. Only towels.”


A few minutes later, Ivy and I were sitting on the bed bundled in towels as we listened to the rain pouring outside. Once it started, it hasn’t subsided. We had said nothing for half an hour and it was feeling awkward. What do you say after having sex with someone you’ve been avoiding all day, only to find out you enjoyed it and they were a virgin? “Do you have your phone?”

Ivy shakes her head. “I left it at home.” She turns her gaze to the window streaked with rainwater. “I don’t think the rain will end anytime soon.”


“We might have to spend the rest of the night here.”

The implication of her words is obvious. I’ve been avoiding earnestly looking at her, but now my gaze travels down her body. The towel she has on has been loosening for a while now and any slight movement on both our parts and it’s going down. I want to see her again. I want to touch her soft curves again. And this time, I want to do it right.

“Is that what you want?” My voice is gruff and lower than I intended.

“Is that what you want?”

There’s only one way to answer her. Gently, I tug her towel and with that slight action; it pools to her waist. Her breasts look magnificent under the dim light of the cabin. They’re not too big, nor are they small. I take one in my hand. They are perfect. She’s perfect. “I shouldn’t have taken you like that,” I say as I play with her nipple. 

Ivy gasps. “I told you. That’s what I wanted.”

“You deserve to be worshipped like the goddess you are. Not taken against a fountain.” 

I lay her down on the bed and draw the towel off her, then I untangle mine and drag her feet to the edge of the bed. I kneel before her glistening pussy. It’s pink and wet and looks so inviting. She squirms when she feels my tongue on her. I hold her legs still and give her the worship that was long due. She moans, whimpers, and writhes as I feast on her. Her responsiveness to my ministrations encourages me to thrust my tongue deeper inside her. To flick her clit with my finger. To lap every juice. Her orgasm comes in waves. A tiny quiver followed by intense writhing, throbbing, and shaking.

“God, you’re so sweet,” I say as I come up to lie beside her, only to frown when I see tears on her cheek.

“What’s wrong?”

“That was so…” she searches for a word and after a while she says, “earth-shattering,” and draws me to her to give me one of the sweetest kisses I’ve ever shared with anyone. “I love you.”

The words are a bare whisper against my lips. If we weren’t so close, I would not have heard them, but I did. And instead of the familiar revulsion, I usually feel whenever one of my girlfriends says the same thing after sex, the feeling doesn’t come. Instead, my heart warms. Nonsensical. It’s the wine, I tell myself, but I haven’t been drunk for a long time. She’s only saying it because I’ve just given her an orgasm. Telling her that, however, might break her heart. Instead, I kiss her lips. We both fall asleep soon after.

A knock wakes me up. Light is streaming inside the cabin, glaring into my face as I open my eyes. The knock comes again. Ivy is in my arms and she moans at the sound. My dick goes to attention.

“Ivy,” I whisper, waking her up. She stretches her body, her breast popping out of the sheets. A nice dose of morning sex would be great just about now, but that knock on the door tells me that’s now impossible.

The knock grows louder the third time, followed by “Ivy!”

Fuck. That voice could only be—

The door crashes open, bringing in the sweet scent of morning dew and the last two people I would want to see now. The two Nolans. Ivy’s brother and father. 

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