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  A beautiful young woman in a white custom bridal gown was standing beside the french window, looking outside in a state of stupor. Her eyes were empty, devoid of hope. She just got married to the young master of Grantham, the most handsome and tyrannical president of the multi-billionaire business empire of Bey city. She should be happy, right? But her perfectly symmetrical oval face was pale and clouded by sorrow. Her red lips were tightly pressed together as though she was suppressing her emotions. Many women envied her, but she knew this marriage was nothing but a joke. He didn’t love her. He thought she manipulated his grandfather into marrying the Grantham family. He hated her because of this.

  His hateful remarks still resonate in her ears, “You are nothing but a contract bride. Don’t expect anything from me. Just stay as a good wife for two years and then get lost from my life…”

  Flashback…

  “His condition is getting worse. He needs a heart transplant. Otherwise, he can’t survive.”

  Zara’s face turned pale, as though all the blood drained out of her body. The doctor’s words were like a thunderbolt that struck her heart. Her hands under the table were shaking uncontrollably. She wanted to ask something, but her voice didn’t come out of her mouth.

  “Did you apply for the heart?”

  Zara only nodded feebly in response. It was almost a year she had applied for the heart transplant, but her brother’s number was still after a hundred patients.

  She had no idea how long it would take to get the heart. Even if his number came, she couldn’t afford the bills of the surgery. In either case, she couldn’t see any way to save her dear brother. This thought brought tears to her eyes. It took her whole to send the tears back.

  She sniffed and lifted her chin. Looking straight into the doctor’s eyes, she mustered her courage to ask, “Is there no other treatment but a transplant?”

  “Brian was born with congenital heart disease. It is a miracle that he survived till 19 years without the transplant. But his heart is getting weaker day by day. It can’t pump the blood his body needs. He needs the transplant soon. I know someone who can arrange the heart immediately. If you want, I can get through to him. But it is a bit costly.” The doctor peered at her cautiously.

  Zara bit her bottom lip and looked down at her hands on her lap, contemplating the doctor’s words.

  When the doctor saw her hesitation, he sighed deeply and said again, “Anyway, I am not forcing you to do that. I will try my best to keep his condition stable until he receives the heart. But I am telling you again, he can’t wait long.”

  “How much?”

  Zara’s voice was low and faltering. She was holding hard not to break down in front of the doctor.

  Her question stunned the doctor for a few seconds. He didn’t expect her to ask this.

  “Well, normally it takes a few hundreds of thousands for the transplant, but he will charge a million.”

  “A million?”

  She raised her head to look at the doctor and repeated the word in a frenzy. Her jaw dropped in shock.

  “I know this is costly for you, but if you can arrange it, he will survive.”

  Zara felt like the sky had fallen upon her head. Arranging a few hundred thousand was difficult for her, but a million was an astronomical figure for her. From where could she arrange so much money? She felt as if her surroundings were spinning.

  She didn’t know how she came out of the doctor’s chamber. Her mind was in a mess. She didn’t go back to the ward. At that moment, she could face neither her brother nor her mother. She walked out of the hospital and went to the nearby park. Sitting on a cemented chair, she broke down into tears, covering her face with her palms. Her shoulder was shaking continuously. A low sob could be audible from time to time.

  “Hello, Miss Morris.”

  A deep, crisp voice came from the top of her head. Zara stopped crying instantaneously and raised her eyes to the source of the voice, only to see a middle-aged man standing tall next to her. His expression was unreadable, and his gaze was indifferent while staring at her.

  She recognized him. He was the butler of the Grantham’s. But his appearance stunned her. She wondered why he came looking for her.

  She wiped her tears and opened her mouth to ask something, but before that, the middle-aged man said with the same crisp voice,

  “Sir wants to talk to you. He is in the car.”

  He pointed his finger outside the park. Zara turned her head to look in the direction where he was pointing and saw a limousine opposite the park. She was even more perplexed, thinking why the older master of Grantham’s wanted to meet her.

  She took a few deep breaths, collected herself, and stood up, “Alright.”

  Then she walked out of the park, following the butler. He opened the door of the limousine for her, and she went inside. An elderly man in his eighties was sitting inside the limousine like a king, holding his lion-headed walking stick. He wore a grey custom suit. His thin grey hair combed back meticulously.

  His light blue eyes under the thick black-rimmed glasses were sharp and firmly focused on Zara. Despite his old appearance, he was emitting an aura of dominance.

  Zara mustered a smile, “Good morning, Sir. How can I help you?”

  “Come and sit here.” He patted the seat beside him.

  Zara was palpitating. It was not that she was not familiar with him. She knew this old man since childhood. Her father served him as his bodyguard. Many times, she saw him with her father, and this old man used to love her. She still remembered how he used to give her chocolates whenever she met him. But ever since her father had died, she didn’t see him. It was more than a decade she last saw him. She was kind of uncomfortable approaching him. After taking a deep breath, she sat on the seat next to him.

  “You have grown up into a pretty woman.” Solomon Grantham cracked a smile.

  Zara blushed at his compliment and looked down at her hands on her lap, “Thank you.”

  The old man scrutinized her with his sharp eyes. The more he looked at her, the more he liked her. She was even more beautiful in person than in the photo.

  “I know you are having trouble arranging the money for your brother’s surgery. I can help you.”

  Zara lifted her eyelids and looked at him in disbelief. Had she heard it wrong? She couldn’t believe her ears and pinched her palm secretly. It was painful. So, she was not dreaming, right? She kept staring at him dumbly, wondering why he said that.

  Solomon tore off his gaze from her and looked ahead, “I can pay his medical bills and even arrange the surgery he needed. But…”

  He went silent, and she knew she wouldn’t get his favor without a price. Now she was eager to know what he wanted from her. Her expression changed from incredulity to indifference.

  “You have to marry my grandson Nicholas.”

  Zara’s eyes grew wide in shock. She forgot how to breathe.

  ‘Nicholas Grantham…’ She murmured the name under her breath in a state of stupor.

  Who didn’t know this womanizer?

  He was famous for his connections with many women. He changed women like clothes. She felt sick to hear his name. It infuriated her. What did this old man think of her? She needed the money, but it didn’t mean that she would marry a playboy like Nicholas Grantham. They may have been rich and powerful, but she was a dignified woman. Nobody could coerce her against her will. She wouldn’t agree to such an arrangement.

  The change in her expression didn’t go unnoticed by his sharp eyes. He knew she was not happy, but he was persistent. He spoke again, “I know what you are thinking. But before you reply, consider my proposal. You need money to treat your brother, and I need a bride for my grandson who can teach him the morals and

  values of the family. You are perfect for him. Your father sacrificed his life to save me. I owe him a life. I want to help you. I could have helped you without asking you for a favor in return, but I became greedy to see how beautiful and competent you have become. Zara, I requested no one in this life. But I am requesting you. Consider my proposal. You will not be at a loss.”

  Zara was listening to him attentively, staring at him incredulously. His offer was indeed alluring, but could she accept it? She dreamed of marrying a man who would love her. Somehow, she was certain in her heart that marrying Nicholas would be the greatest mistake of her life. She would never be happy with him. But thinking of Brian suffering in pain, she became weak. Could she compromise her happiness for saving her brother? At that nick of time, she couldn’t decide.

  Noticing her hesitation, Solomon Grantham said again, “You don’t have to reply to me right now. Take your time and think about it carefully.”

  He wrote down a string of numbers on a writing pad and tore the page. He passed the piece of paper to her, “This is my number. Call me any time. I hope you will accept my proposal. It will benefit both of us.”

  Zara stared at the number written on the paper in a trance. She folded the paper and stuffed it in her purse.

  “I will think about it.” She mustered a smile and looked at him. “Thank you for your generosity. If you don’t have anything, can I take my leave?”

  Solomon Grantham nodded and sighed.

  Zara didn’t delay getting out of the limousine. Just as she was about to open the door, he spoke again, “I hope you won’t take a long time.”

  “I will call you soon.”

  She glanced at him across her shoulder before going out.

  A/N: Hello dear readers. This is another new story of mine on this platform. I hope you will like it. Keep reading and share your review of this book in the comment section. Thank you.

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