Once upon a time, in the high mountain range known today as the Cascade Mountains, lived a powerful and wealthy man. His name was Lord Gruffydd and was known the area wide as a kind, loving lord, beloved by his people. The day came when he was to take a wife, and loving his people as he did, decided to choose his bride from among them.
For months, fathers paraded their daughters before him. Some were beautiful, others were kind, but they all seemed to have something that gave Gruffydd second thoughts about his decision to choose among them. He wanted a wife with a kind heart and who would be good to his people. Unfortunately, all he saw from the women brought before him was greed and lust for power. However, he had proclaimed his bride would come from among his people, and was thus stuck with his decision.
Gruffydd became more and more disheartened by his prospects. There were none among his people who was worthy of the title of his lady. Then, one day, a young woman was brought before him. She was beautiful, intelligent, and seemed to have a kind heart. She was easy to talk to and had a joyful disposition. Her name was Ella and it wasn’t long before the town crier was heralding the news a wedding would soon be held.
Gruffydd took Ella for his wife, but she was not the woman he thought her to be. Her beauty diminished in light of her real personality. She was petty to be sure, but spoiled with a truly dark soul. Gruffydd became frightened she would one day kill him as he slept. Her only goal was his wealth and the lover she had taken on their wedding night. Gruffydd was so angered by her duplicity he banished her from his land. He banned all of her kin from his borders, but held her father in the dungeon for his part in the duplicity.
As the years passed, Gruffydd’s heart became bitter and cold. He no longer ruled his people with love and kindness. He no longer believed they were honest and good. He became so harsh and mean, his metaphysical state began to change turning him from a handsome, powerful man into a raging, strong beast.
The people of the land became frightened of their lord. They avoided him every chance they had for fear of what new dreadful task they would be required to perform or new tax they would be forced to pay. Those that could escape did, but many did not have the means to leave and were at the mercy of Gruffydd’s violent and unfair mood swings. Before long he was known only as the Beast.
As time passed, Gruffydd continued to live in his hatred and anger, earning his title of Beast. His new metaphysical state kept him young and healthy, and soon he realized he would not die a mortal death. Knowing he could possibly live forever, he created an empire, building his wealth beyond imagining.
As things changed and technology was born, Gruffydd had to go through a series of name changes to hide his immortality. Today he is known as David Griffith and is the owner of an international corporation that buys businesses and sells them off in pieces, displacing workers and destroying lives. The corporation was an extension of the man he had become; dark and unfeeling. It was said if you looked at him you would only see a beastly, unattractive, cold man.
David sat at his desk in his office of steel and glass. The views of Puget Sound clear from his windows. Not that he took the time to see the beauty. His mind was on his latest target. A medium sized corporation that had faltered a little in the waning economy. From what he was seeing in the news and his spreadsheets, the company was ripe for the taking. He could easily make the owner believe he would help them through this slump, and right when things were getting better, he would be in perfect position to pull the rug out from under him and sell it off piece by piece for a nice profit.
As was his way, he studied his target. Watching the financials closely and learning all there was to know about the business and its owner. However, with Sanders Consulting, he was having a little difficulty finding out anything about the owner. Garret Sanders was reclusive and kept his family out of the limelight. Not that this would deter David. He saw a potential for a gold mine in selling the company off.
The phone on his desk buzzed. “Mr. Griffith, Mr. Sanders is here for your meeting.”
“Send him in.” David didn’t often meet with his targets before the initial takeover, but there was something about Sanders Consulting that niggled at his mind. He needed more information about the company and the man behind it before he set things in motion.
“Remember what I said, Ella. They say his features are more beast than man, but don’t insult him. Please.”
“Stop worrying, father. We have too many people relying on us to save the company for me to do anything that will ruin this deal.” She straightened her jacket before looping her long strapped briefcase over her shoulder. “I only want to save the company all those jobs.”
“I hate that you are going to do this.”
“It’s the only way.”
“This way, please. Mr. Griffith will see you now.”
Ella walked behind her father into the inner sanctum of the most ruthless man in business. She was prepared for a gnarled, old, man. When her father introduced her, and her eyes went to Mr. Griffith’s, she gasped. It wasn’t an old, gnarled, beastly look man staring at her.
David was stunned at the beauty before him. Her sable black hair was tied up in braided twist that defied engineering. Her blue eyes sparkled with life but also resentment. The brief smile she flashed him had long forgotten memories rushing to the fore.
It was Ella.
But not his wife at all. Ella, his wife, had green eyes that had a joyful spark. This Ella had no compunction in shooting daggers at him with her sparkling blue eyes. Her lips were a little fuller, as were her hips. He couldn’t tell if her breasts were larger from the professional jacket she wore. And Ella, his wife, had light brown hair, not the sable black of this young woman. Even though there were differences, the resemblance was uncanny.
“Please, have a seat. I wasn’t aware you were bringing anyone with you today, Garret.”
“My daughter, Ella. She is the head of Sanders Consulting HR.”
“Your reputation precedes you, Mr. Griffith. I’m only here to see if we cannot come to terms and save jobs, rather than you ripping the livelihood from those who have made Sanders the wonderful place it is today.”
“Wonderful, you say? What is wonderful about being within a hair’s breadth from closing the doors?”
“We are not that close to closing the doors.”
“Ella, you promised.”
She had, but there was something about David Griffith that stripped all the nice out of her. The man was cold and mean. He was handsome as the day is long; gorgeous, if she was to tell the truth, but his eyes were mean, cold, and calculating. She had not missed the way he had sized her up, or his lingering look at her hips and breasts.
She couldn’t understand why people said he was beastly looking. He didn’t have an animalistic face. No fangs she could see. Certainly no horns or a tail. But his eyes were harsh, as was the set of his mouth. She gave herself a mental shake. She wasn’t here for a date. She wanted to save her father’s company.
David was drawn to her fiery temper. The way she didn’t bow down to him. He liked she was not fawning all over him, trying to seduce him, or promising him wild things if he would only leave her father’s company alone. Oh, there had been a few men through the years who were willing to give anything, wives and daughters and even one granddaughter, to him if he would not destroy their company.
He’d taken a few to his bed, and one into his boardroom, but in the end he always took the company apart. Leaving the man who’d owned in the ashes of both buildings and whatever female relative they’d thrown at him. He had to admit, taking this Ella to his bed could be great sport, and the fact that she was nearly the spitting image of the witch who had damned his soul would make it all the more worthwhile.
He listened as Garret and Ella laid out their plans to turn the business around. He liked some of the ideas. Thought a few might even work, but he couldn’t tear his mind off the thought of having Ella. He waited for the inevitable and was prepared when it happened.
“I’ll do anything to save my company, Mr. Griffith.”
David leaned forward in his chair, placing his arms on his desk. “I’m sure you would, Garret, but my terms might be steeper than you are prepared for.”
“I want your daughter.”
Ella sat straighter. “What do you mean, you want me?”
“Just as I said. You will come work for me. Live in my home. Be at my beck and call twenty-four-seven.”
“And, if I do this, you will not destroy my father’s company?”
“Ella! What are you doing?”
“It’ll be okay, father.”
“No. No, it won’t. I won’t whore my daughter out to save Sanders Consulting. I won’t do it.”
David sat back. This was different. Most men would sell their souls to save their life’s work, their business, while their female relative usually squabbled and squawked about not being a whore. Had he miss read the little she-devil? Was she more like the Ella he’d been tricked into marrying than he’d thought?
“I’ll do it, but on one condition.”
That piqued his curiosity. “What is your condition?”
“I want it in writing, something legal, that states you will not destroy or sell any part of Sanders Consulting, and that you promise to help us get back on top.”
David’s brow rose. “You want me to sign something that states that I won’t tear your company apart and help you through this rough patch?”
“Yes, and no. I want you to state, in writing, that you will never go after my father and will always protect him and Sanders Consulting from another vulture like you.”
David laughed. He couldn’t help it.
His mind whirled. Sanders Consulting was a potential gold mine, not an actual one. He really didn’t need the wealth selling it off would net. Then there was Ella, the young, beautiful, spirited girl who obviously was not interested in getting on his good side. He really wanted to know more about this woman.
Could there be a connection with his wife, Ella? Could he get back at the witch who had damned him through this girl? He had to find out. He had to know who Ella Sanders really was.
“Come back tomorrow, and I’ll have the papers ready.”
Ella and Garret stood.
“But, be prepared to leave with me, Miss Sanders. Once the papers are signed, I will own you.”
Ella shot him her best derisive smirk. “Only on paper, Mr. Griffith. Only on paper. I own myself.”
David gave a short nod at her challenge. “Until tomorrow then.”
“Tomorrow.” Ella stated as she directed her father from the office.
“What have you done, Ella?”
“I’ve saved us.”
“No. I can’t let you do this.”
“Did you not see him, father?”
“Yes. He is as grotesque as everyone who has seen him says.”
Ella looked at her father quizzically. “Did you not recognize him?”
“What are you talking about?”
“I was named after one of my great grandmother’s, yes?”
“The one who had let greed, envy, and darkness take over her soul.”
“I remember the story.”
“Until she was cast out of her home, away from her husband and the life she wanted. She never could understand why she did the things she did to him, but as soon as she was away from him she knew she had made the worst mistake of her life in betraying him. Remember?”
“Of course. The story has been passed down through the generations. A cautionary tale of what greed and evilness can cost you.”
“I swear, father, Mr. Griffith is actually Gruffydd or he is a descendant of the man. He looks exactly like the painting hanging in your study at home.”
“No. No, he didn’t.”
Ella wasn’t surprised he didn’t see the man behind the glamour. She was willing to do anything to save her father’s company, but there was more to it than just a business. She was willing to do anything to save the Gruffydd and Sanders families. Even if it meant giving herself to the beast.
“Welcome to your new home, Ella.”
She remained quite as she entered the opulent condo. She pulled her suitcase behind her as she made her way into the main living room. The condo took up the entire top floor of David Griffith’s office building. It was decorated in steel and glass with the outer walls being windows, giving a 360 degree view of Seattle. It was beautiful, but cold. Impersonal. It was exactly what she had expected.
David smirked. “This way.”
She followed him down the long hall to the master bedroom. Again, she wasn’t surprised she would be sleeping in his room.
“You can put your things in the closet, and I’ve cleared a few drawers in the dresser for you as well. However, your bed is over there.”
Ella’s eyes followed where he pointed. She had to chuckle. This she hadn’t expected, but it wasn’t all that surprising.
Ella had researched David Griffith. What she found confirmed her suspicions. Her great-great-whatever grandmother had indeed made Gruffydd immortal. David Griffith was the same Gruffydd who had married the first Ella. His immortality was tied to his bitter anger over her betrayal. Once he let go of that betrayal and learned to be kind and loving again he would start to age and eventually die a mortal death. It was now up to Ella to see he healed. She was not all together sure how to do that when the man was such an ass and wanting her to sleep on a dog bed.
“Do I get a blanket, or is the faux lamb’s wool suppose to keep me warm?”
David cocked his head to the side watching her. He was sure he would get a rise out of her when he showed her where she would be sleeping. The fact that she hadn’t even batted an eyelash surprised him. No anger. No screeching or yelling. Only a request for a blanket. Who was this woman?
“I can give you a blanket, but you’ll have to earn it.”
“I wouldn’t expect anything else.”
David spun on his heel, “Put your things away. I’ll be in the main room waiting for you.”
Ella waited until he closed the door to breathe a sigh of relief. As she put her clothes away she gave herself a pep talk. She could do this. She could mend his damaged soul and in the process remove the curse from her own family for her great grandmother’s deeds. It wouldn’t be so terribly bad. If she was successful, David would be a nice guy and once he was healed he would give her her freedom and all would be well.
“Right?” she asked the empty room. Once the curse was lifted David could find someone to love, and Ella would be free to move on as well. That’s what the legend said. The curse on her family would be lifted and Gruffydd would live a happy and loved life.
“But what if I fail?” She shook her head. She couldn’t think like that. Failure in this was not an option. If she failed she would be doomed to live a life of pain and heartache at the hands of her great grandmother’s victim.
She entered the main living area and immediately spotted him in his large comfortable chair. Not sure what to do with herself, she stood in the doorway waiting for the first of what would no doubt be an endless string of commands.
“Sit down, Ella. We need to talk.”
She went to the couch and sat on the edge of the cushion.
“You know, don’t you?”
“Know? Know what?”
“Who I am. Who you are to me?”
“I am nothing to you, except a servant.”
“You are a descendant of Ella Sandensen, my wife.”
Ella blinked. “You still claim her as wife?”
“It keeps the betrayal fresh and prevents me from being sucked in by another pretty face.”
“It also keeps your heart cold and soul black, but hey, if that makes you happy.” She wanted to slap her hand over her mouth. What was it about him that made her forget what she was here to do? She was supposed to be kind and nice to him. Make him see not everyone was out to get him, or betray him.
“Happiness is for fools, Ella. I’m not looking for happiness.”
“Then what are you looking for, Mr. Griffith?”
“Call me David. I’m looking for a little retribution.”
“But, the one who betrayed you is dead. How will you get retribution on her if she is not here?”
“Ah, I see. Visit the sins of the great, great, whatever on her granddaughter.”
“I’ll settle for destroying her family line.”
“Thanks for the heads up.”
David chuckled. “You’re as much a witch as she was, but rather than using guile and sweetness you are going with the opposite.”
“I’m not doing anything, Mr. Griffith. I’m simply trying to protect my father’s life work and the 2,500 people who work for him. If I can ease your suffering in the process and get you to stop being such a mean prick to everyone, all’s the better.”
David let the dig at his personality slide. He liked her best when she was real and speaking her mind. “I need to make certain you realize the agreement you signed was to meet all of my needs: personal, professional, and sexual.”
“I read the agreement. And, since you wrote it, you will remember you have agreed to protect my father and his company.”
David nodded. He still wasn’t sure why he’d put that in the contract so explicitly. He’d have to hire a team of lawyers to find a loophole when this ended.
“Then we are on the same page.” She folded her hands over her knee. “Was there anything more we needed to discuss regarding the contract?”
“Other than the fact that an indentured servant contract won’t hold up in court? I guess not.”
“I’m well aware that the contract isn’t legally binding, Mr. Griffith.”
“Then why have me write one up and sign it?”
Ella stood. As she walked to the door she spoke, “Because, Mr. Griffith, at the heart of you is a decent, honorable man. As long as I uphold my end of the deal, you will do the same.”
“I didn’t dismiss you.”
“It’s getting late. You’ll want dinner soon. It won’t cook itself and I want a blanket to cover up with tonight. I tend to get cold at night.” She turned to face him when she reached the door. “I thought I would start earning it by making us dinner.”
David sat stunned as she walked out of the room. “The kitchen is to the left.”
He shook his head. She was nothing like her grandmother. The first Ella was pampered, spoiled even. She really hadn’t been all that kind unless he was watching her. He’d had centuries to reflect on every moment with her. He knew now he had been blinded to her true nature by her beauty. This Ella wasn’t trying to win his favor. She spoke her mind, and apparently did as she wished. The only problem with that was he had no idea what her true goal was. There had to be more than saving her father’s company. No self-respecting person would sign up to be a personal slave to him for only that reason.
He decided he wouldn’t take her to bed until he discovered her true agenda. It wouldn’t take long before he figured her out. Since his wife’s betrayal he’d learned to read people quickly. He wasn’t going to be a sucker again, for anyone.
David walked into his bedroom. His eyes immediately fell to the curled body of Ella as she slept on the damn dog bed. She’d been with him a month now. She never complained. Never tried to renegotiate terms or trick him into letting her go, or even sleep somewhere else. She went to the office every day of the week and worked tirelessly to make his employee’s lives better. At home, she cooked and cleaned, and perfect company. If he wanted to talk she was there to listen or converse with him. If he wanted peace and quiet she read or wrote in her journal. She never sought to be out of his sight. She called her father once a week, but other than that never contacted anyone else.
She was as much a mystery as she had been the first day he met her.
He watched as she curled tighter on her bed, pulling the thin blanket up closer to her chin. She hadn’t lied about how she got cold at night. He’d twice heard her teeth chattering in the night, but his cold heart had turned his mind away from her suffering as he fell to sleep listening to her.
Tonight he didn’t have it in him to make her suffer. Actually, every day she’d been with him only made him want to be closer to her. He also noticed how he had begun to do little things to make her stay with him better. At night he’d placed another blanket on her. During the day, he’d take her out to lunch wanting to make certain she took a break from her work. Just this morning, he made sure he was up before her and made the coffee.
Every day it felt that a little of the ice around his heart was melting. Was it her? Or, had he finally had enough of hating the first Ellla and was ready to live again? He enjoyed her company. He liked the way his home smelled with her in it. He enjoyed waking in the mornings knowing she would be there.
He shook his head. A voice in his head told him to not fall for her tricks. But, his heart had warmed to her a little and kept asking what tricks had she played?
It was confusing, to be sure. But, he couldn’t take another night of her chattering teeth. Bending down next to her silly dog bed, he lifted her into his arms and carried her to his king sized bed. Tucking her in under the thick down comforter and fresh sheets, he brushed a long strand of hair from her pretty oval face.
“If you turn out to be like your grandmother, I will just kill you.”
He saw the slight smile curve her lips right before she turned on her side, snuggling into the warmth of his bed. He was confident, even in her sleep, she had heard him. He didn’t know what to make of that.
He gave a moment’s thought to sleeping in another room, but decided against it. He didn’t want to examine why he wanted to be away from her. Why he hadn’t put her in another bed in one of his other bedrooms. Why it had been important for her to sleep next to him, in his bed.
He stripped out of his clothes and crawled into the other side. As his eyes began to close he heard a soft feminine voice call out to him. Turning his head, he realized it wasn’t Ella. She was sound asleep.
“She isn’t me, Gruffydd. She will not betray you.”
David closed his ears to the voice. He did not want to hear what his ex-wife had to say. The Ella sleeping beside him was a direct descendant of her, which had to mean she had the capacity to betray just as her ancestor did.
Angered the first Ella would choose now to come to him, distrusting the woman sleeping beside him, David turned on to his side facing her, determined to go to sleep. As he closed his eyes, he heard another voice.
“Go away, Ella. You have done enough damage to this great man. I won’t let you harm him again.”
David’s eyes opened to find blue eyes angrily glaring at him. When he moved, he realized Ella’s eyes were not focused on him but rather seeing into a different realm. Had it been this Ella warning her great grandmother away from him? He started to ask her, then decided he needed to just get away from her. When all of a sudden she reached out and gently took his hand in hers.
As soon as Ella’s hand touched his, her eyes closed and she once more drifted off into a peaceful sleep. David was confused by the exchange. Uncertain of why, in her sleep, Ella felt the need to touch him. She had not reached out to him once in the month she had been here. He was also unsettled by the fact that his long dead wife chose this night to speak to him. She had to know he would find anything she said suspect.
David fell asleep with the questions buzzing in his mind. He didn’t rest well. His sleep disturbed by images of the first Ella, of the pain she had caused with her betrayal. Suddenly, he felt a cool hand rest on his chest, as a supple, soft feminine body snuggled closer to him. His first instinct was to push her away, but on second thought he raised his arm, wrapping it around her, drawing her closer.
Ella’s head rested on his chest as her arm wrapped around his torso. A soft sigh released from her as her body aligned with his. Her smooth legs touched his, her pelvis pressed against his hip, and the softness of her breasts with their hard nipples grazed his side.
He felt his body harden. Desire raced through his blood, as need for her gripped him. He rolled to his side, one hand crushing her closer to him as the other fisted her hair and yanked her head back. Sleepy blue eyes glimmered in the low light from the windows.
“What are you doing, Ella?”
“I haven’t taken what you signed over to me, but that doesn’t mean I won’t if tempted.” She closed her eyes and he wished with his immortality came the ability to read minds.
When her eyelids lifted what he saw was better than reading her mind. He felt her delicate hand lift and touch his face. There was no reserve in her touch. She did not hesitate or shy away. The desire in her eyes matched the blaze coursing through his body.
“What do you see when you look at me? Do you not see the beast? Does this face not scare you even a little?”
Ella smiled softly. “I’ve only ever seen the man, never the beast. I only see you, David.”
At her words he crushed his mouth to hers. Taking the kiss he’d wanted for weeks now. His hand glided along the curves of her body to the fullness of her breast. The thin nightgown she wore was a disappointment. He wanted to feel her skin in his palm. He needed to touch her.
In a deft move, he ripped the gown down the front; laying the tattered edges aside before taking her full breast in his large hand. His fingers toyed with her hardened nipple as his mouth consumed hers. He broke the kiss, showering her with small kisses as he made his way down to that hardened tip. Gently, he licked the tip of her breast, before covering the nipple with his mouth and sucking on her tenderly.
All of his plans to treat her rough vanished. He wanted to make love to her. Show her tenderness.
The lighter his touch, the softer his kisses were, and the gentle tug with his mouth on her breast had her pelvis grinding into him as her toned leg ran up his looping over his hip. The beast of lore was no more. Ella no longer saw the glamour, only the man.
She wanted him as she’d never wanted another. Her need to feel him deep inside her was a living, breathing hunger. She pressed on his shoulder and as he rolled on to his back she followed, straddling him.
David let her take over. Even in this position he knew he could stop her if he needed to. But, Ella seemed to be in a heightened sense of desire. Her mouth brushed his lips as she trailed soft kisses down his neck to his chest. She spent a long time kissing his chest. Her soft, warm tongue licked at the flat disk of his nipples before she softly sucked at him.
His cock grew thick and hard, weeping from the tip as her mouth made love to him. She left his chest, traveling down his body. She kissed his abs, running her tongue along the defined muscles there, before continuing on her path to his ready cock.
Her hot mouth covered the tip, sucking on him gently before sliding down the length of him. His body shook as she took him deep inside her mouth, using her tongue to graze the pulsating vein up and down the length of him. He was close to spilling in her mouth when she suddenly rose above him seating her wet pussy over him and sliding down.
Her satisfied moan was all he needed. In a swift move, he rolled them over to where he was on top. His large hands pushed her dark hair from her face as he pumped his length deep inside her. Ella’s legs slid up his sides allowing him to go deeper still.
He marveled at how she never closed her eyes. She kept her eyes locked on him, confirming that she only saw David the man, not the beast he had allowed himself to become. He kissed her hard on the mouth then made his way down her body. He slid from her tight pussy, quickly replacing his cock with his mouth. Running his tongue through the swollen folds to the tight bundle of nerves of her clit, he sucked gently, using his tongue until she came.
As her body convulsed, he rose above her again and drove himself deep inside her, pumping his cock in and out of her in a hard rhythm that brought them both over the edge. Panting from his release, her collapsed on his forearms so as not to crush her smaller frame. As he did, he felt more of the ice encasing his soul melt.
His body stiffened for a fraction of a second when he felt her arms wrap around him. He made himself relax as she pulled him closer, but stayed ready to pull away from her if needs be. Her breath brushed his ear a moment before her words penetrated his mind.
“She was evil. I will not let her harm you again. Perhaps you had to live this long in order to wait for me to be born.”
Her words tormented David for weeks. He could not forget what she said. Was it true? Had she been born too late for his mortal lifetime? Was he tormented for centuries just so he could have her? But, more to the point was she worth the torture he had endured in the waiting?
Looking back on it all now, he would have to say yes, she was. Their nights were filled with the hottest sex he could have ever imagined. Their days were filled with hard work and laughter. She was the best friend he had ever had. Everything she did was for the betterment of both his and her father’s companies. She worked tirelessly to make everyone around her happy and safe.
Ella Sanders never put on airs. She spoke her mind, bluntly. She didn’t shine people on to make them like her, they just did. She was honest, and, if you could get past her blunt smart mouth, was sweet, caring, and loved life. She was everything her ancestor tried to portray and failed.
After six months of living and working with her, David sat down at his desk to find an envelope waiting for him. He opened it up and dumped the contents on his desk. It was the contract they had signed that started all of this. It was torn into pieces. Lying among the destroyed contract was a note. It simply stated, “I release you from your contract. I know you will do the right thing.”
He jumped from his desk and ran to her office. Pain lanced his heart at what he thought he would find. Had she left him? Was she to turn out to be like her ancestor after all?
He rushed to Human Resources, past her assistant and into her personal office. When the door crashed against the wall behind it, Ella jumped in her seat as she raised her head to see what the commotion was.
“David? Are you alright?”
“Why did you put that envelope on my desk?”
She looked puzzled for a moment, then smiled. “Because I didn’t think we needed contracts anymore.”
“You aren’t leaving?”
She laughed, but rushed around her desk hurrying into his arms. “Of course not, silly. I’m with for as long as I can be.”
He crushed her close to him, taking her mouth in a searing kiss. “You should know better than to tease an old man.”
Ella laughed as she snuggled closer to him still. “I happen to love my old man, and I wasn’t teasing you.”
“Then you’ll stay with me? Without the contract?”
“That’s what I was trying to say by tearing it up and giving it back to you.”
David felt the last of the ice melt from his soul. He finally had his Ella, after waiting so long for her. “Marry me, Ella.”
She went on her tiptoes, kissing his chin. “Name the date, mi’lord.”
He chuckled. It had been a long time since he’d been called a lord. He kissed her again, this time softer. “How about today?”
In the outer office, Ella’s assistant watched the two of them. She’d seen Mr. Griffith many time throughout the years of working for him. He’d always been beastly in his appearance, as if he were part lion or bear. Something horrifying and scary. But seeing him now, with Ella in his arms, she noticed he was a handsome man with noble features.
She chuckled to herself. “Beauty and the Beast.” She shook her head. “And they lived happily ever after.”