Twenty-One

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Chapter Twenty-One| Leona
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I release a shaky breath and look at Dario through my watery eyes. I glance back down at the piece of paper that rests in my shaky hands.

"What is this?" My voice cracks as I question the man in front of me. He stares at me and bites his lip. "Dario!"

"I'll tell you what it is, Leona. It's blackmail." Christian speaks up and I furrow my eyebrows.

I look back at Dario and he rubs his face in frustration.

"You take pride in your business, Miss Goodwin?" Christian questions and I nod my head. "You'd hate to see it burn to the ground because of him?" He points to Dario and I gulp.

"What do you want?" I grit my teeth, the tears beginning to fall. Christian smirks. "What the fuck have you got me into?!" I storm over to Dario and push the picture of us naked together in bed, against his chest.

The picture was taken in Dubai.

His eyes water but he stays silent.

"You're going to sign half of your business to Dario, Leona because if you don't you will have nothing left." I stagger back, running my fingers through my hair. "You think he just came here to add an extra firm to his business?" Christian chuckles darkly and I feel like I'm going to be sick.

"I thought-"

"He manipulated you, Miss Goodwin. Seduced you into bed, gained your trust and now he's going to watch you and your business crumble. He's money hungry, that's all he cares about and that's all he ever will care about." A whimper escapes my lips at his words.

"Baby, no." Dario whispers, reaching out for me so I step back.

I cover my mouth in shock and take a deep breath.

"I should have trusted my instinct, I knew you were bad news, I fucking knew it!" I yell at him. The lack of words coming out of his mouth tells me it's true. 

"He did his research, he knew you were a strong woman. Why do you think you got that invite to that business party? He didn't care about anyone else, his soul focus was you, Miss Goodwin. You and you're successful business." As Christian continues to speak I continue to stare at Dario.

"If I don't sign?" I wipe my tears and turn to face Christian.

"I have a journalist ready to publish that picture and a very interesting story to go with it that won't make you look the best, so take my advice and sign half of your business over to him." I bite my nails and look away from him.

I'm ruined.

"Who are you?" I whisper.

"That doesn't matter, Miss Goodwin. However I  do have proposition that you might prefer." I sigh tiredly and nod my head, ready for him to continue. "You marry him." My eyes widen.

"What?!" I exclaim. "You think I'm going to marry that after what he's done to me!" I point to Dario and I watch as he looks at me with so much hurt I almost feel bad.

Almost.

"He's taking half of my business, as business I've worked my whole life for. Why would I need to marry him?!" I can feel myself starting to get more angry.

"Read the contract." He looks down at the other piece of paper in my hand and I begin to read the words that have been typed onto it.

It states that I am to marry Dario and stay in the marriage for a minimum of twenty-four months. During those two years half of my business will still be signed over to him and when those two years come to an end and only if Dario has made enough profit from my business, I can leave.

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