Defying Our Forever (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #3) by Claudia Burgoa

Leyla’s Prologue

We are taught at an early age that love stories should be long. In most cases, they are eternal. They should always contain a happily ever after. But sometimes love isn’t endless. The stories are shorter than we believed they were going to be. There’s a period mid-sentence and not a semi-colon. When you turn the page, the end appears instead of the next chapter.

Sometimes, we have to accept it and leave when there’s nothing moving forward.

My story is quite complicated. From beginning to end it has been out of the ordinary, and there were moments where it could qualify as extraordinary. I still remember how we first met. Everything was passion, wild adventures, and ferocious love.

But somewhere along the way we lost that. I felt searing pain when the period appeared mid-sentence in our relationship. It nearly killed me. It definitely broke my heart.

Leaving was never out of the question. I just had to delay long enough to jump into the next chapter of my life.

The problem with stalling is that sometimes we’re so distracted trying to plan our next move that we find ourselves tangled in a much bigger problem than what we had at the beginning.

At least that’s how I see it. I could give you a quick recount of my love life.

It’s a modern tale of the prince and the fake pauper. A not so typical boy meets girl, girl falls for the boy, they make a rash decision. When she figures out they are different from how they seemed, her heart breaks into a trillion little pieces.

If my life was a fairy tale, I’d say that someone cast a spell on the prince, and he lost his heart. That I had to run away before his disdain killed me.

I was in a safe place until his father, the evil king, cursed his sons. They were sent into the old kingdom hidden in the Wicked Woods of Mt. Hood to live in exile for eternity—or eighteen months. This spell reached everyone who had been in close proximity to these brothers. Including me.

That’s how Mom used to transform our lives into stories. She altered horrifying moments into bearable situations by narrating it like a sweet fairy tale. If the Grimm brothers’ stories are read to children as magical tales, why not our gritty lives?

Fair warning, I don’t live in a castle, although the Aldridge mansion is almost as big. William Aldridge wasn’t a king—but he was definitely evil. He thought he owned the world. There’s no curse, but when the man died leaving a twisted testament, he pretty much screwed his sons.

Pierce Aldridge isn’t a literary knight or a prince, but he pretended to be one when we met. He held me like no one had before. Like I was all he had. I couldn’t help but fall in love with him—until I realized we were just an illusion. A fleeting infatuation.

We’re not living in the Wicked Woods of Mt. Hood, but Baker’s Creek is pretty close to it. Unlike Snow White and Cinderella, I don’t speak to animals, but I love all critters, big and small. I dedicate my life to saving them.

So, I’m stuck in the nine circles of purgatory with six damn demons who swear they are princes. They aren’t. They are quite the opposite. These men are maddening, infuriating…and devilishly handsome too.

Henry (the hot business guy) Ragey

Hayes (the hot doctor) Finicky

Pierce (the hot lawyer and my almost ex-husband) Assholey

Mills (the hockey player and single dad) Sporty

Vance (the hot former special forces) Broody

Beacon (the heartthrob rock star) Pranky

With one signature I can be free. But everything is a lot more complicated than it seems.

Pierce’s Prologue

It’s a well-known fact that families are complicated. Not one person can say they have the perfect family.

When it comes to dysfunctional families, mine is the worst, or is it the best?

To understand a person, we need to understand their past. My father was a purebred asshole. My mother’s family isn’t much different. Mix the two and, well, here I am trying to pretend I understand society when, in actuality, I don’t do well with people.

If given a choice, I’d rather spend my life with animals. I was raised on a ranch and spent most of my free time among horses, dogs, cows, and chickens.

Animals are noble, loving, and they don’t ask for much.

There’s too little I remember about my father. He came to visit us whenever his business allowed it. When he was home, he’d take me on horse rides around my grandparents’ ranch. I liked those days when he stayed with us. Mom forgot about her family and paid attention only to us. It wasn’t often, but that memory of seeing my mother happy because Dad was in town and not having to deal with her family, is one of the best I carry with me.