Alveus (ABC's Inc. Romance #1)



An ABC’s Inc. Romance







Betrayed and sold to the highest bidder

What were the odds he’d be someone from her past?









© 2016 Lara Earlman All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the
reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any
electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented,
including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage
or retrieval system, is forbidden without the written permission of the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either
the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events
or locales is entirely coincidental.





hollow, cavity, empty
Proditio -



– beer

– please

– thank you

Ein bisschen
– little bit / little one



– Mrs.

– young lady

Guten Tag
– good day

– Mister


– child

– sweetheart

Mein liebes
– my love



– grandmother

– grandfather

– dizzy dog

– sit!


Chapter One



naked under intense scrutiny, she pulled her chin up high refusing to give in
to humiliation. It seems pride still remained in her emotional cache; God
knows, the rest of what had once been Lexi Alberton began its evacuation a long
time ago. She tried not to grimace when a hand slapped her buttocks. The woman
had been pacing around her, touching and inspecting Lexi as if she held the
place of honor on a used car lot.

men, Lexi’s
, stood on either side of her, neither bothering to
tame their outward lust; in fact, one of them appeared to be having a difficult
time standing still. His eyes darted from Lexi’s nude body, to the woman
standing in front of her.

boy,” the woman teased, amused at his eagerness to try out the new plaything.
“Spread her legs apart,” she commanded.

eager associate complied by pulling Lexi’s arms behind her and using his feet
to widen her stance. The boss lady pulled a latex glove over her hand,
approached Lexi, and in an inconceivably brazen move, shoved her fingers into
her crotch. Lexi felt herself stiffen, unable to control a sharp intake at the

woman’s smile twisted with greed as she peeled off the glove.

she announced. “Boys, I think we’ve got us a virgin.” She clapped her hands and
rubbed them together. “This one’s gonna set us up on easy street.” Glaring at
them she warned, “You keep your hands off,” a small cackle escaped her lips, “and
that goes for any other parts of your body, as well! You ruin my little
treasure, and I’ll see to it that you never touch another woman – understand?”

too old to be a virgin, Cass. What is she, close to thirty? No way,” the voracious
one argued. The woman placed her hands on her ample hips; her stance said she
meant business, but the glint in her eyes revealed satisfaction at his desire
for their new acquisition. Even if she isn’t a virgin, as Cass believed, she’d still
pull in a hefty profit. Despite her resolve the girl had an innocent,
vulnerable look about her.

Bert,” she contradicted her cohort, “I was told that she led a sheltered life.
She may be in her late twenties, but my informant claims that she’s never gone
out with any man, other than her father.” Cass blasted out a nasty laugh. “The
pampered little princess was deemed too good for anyone. Well, her hoity-toity
upbringing will make it possible for me to sell her to a high class of
clientele. I’m talkin’ set for life, boys!”

whether it was pride or the upper class breeding her captor so blatantly
belittled, Lexi kept her head held high; but she couldn’t restrain the one
small tear which escaped down her cheek.


alone in the small room her kidnappers had assigned her, Lexi took a shower in
the adjoining bathroom, taking satisfaction in washing off their paw prints
before donning her clothes. She determined that the room was part of a hotel
suite. It had been stripped down to the necessities; a full-sized bed, a small
table and chair, and a bureau. The window looked out into an alley, with a solid
brick side of the building next door concealing further evidence of Lexi’s
location. The television had been removed from the room, along with the phone,
and her purse was missing as well – no cell phone. Who would she call, anyway?
Alexiah (Lexi) Alberton was alone in the world. She had no recollection of how
she had gotten there – wherever there is. The last thing she remembered was
entering her uncle’s office. A hand had grabbed her from behind, and a foul rag
placed over her nose and mouth.




Wellesley threw back another shot, chasing it down with several large gulps of
the local bier. Spotting his friend walking through the tavern door, he caught
the eye of a barmaid and held up two fingers.

take it your Oma’s health has not improved,” Keith stated, as he made himself
comfortable at his inebriated friend’s table.

has her stubbornness,” Dane replied, finishing off his ale. A pretty little
frollein gave him a seductive wink as she
placed the
beverages on the table. Just to be sure he understood the invitation, she gave
him a close-up view of her cleavage as she reached across the table to retrieve
the empty glasses. He smiled, allowing his eyes to trail over the rest of her
assets. She would certainly take an edge off the stress, he reflected as he
watched her curvy backside sway deliciously on her way back to the bar. But,
for how long? Oma’s sweet disapproving face would be added to the already
building anxiety. How can one elderly woman have such power over him?

Dane’s German
grandmother had raised him, and there was no one on earth as dear to him as his
Oma. He would do anything for her – and therein lay the core of his distress.
He had moved his business to Frankfurt, Germany in order to facilitate frequent
visits to his grandmother’s home in Oberstein. Bedridden with a debilitating
illness, she had but one request of her only grandchild before she left this
life behind her. The one thing he couldn’t give to her.

Dane’s British
grandfather had fallen in love with the beautiful frollein at his first glimpse.
She came from an affluent family so he set out to win her father’s approval.
With the help of close friends, Henry Brighton made his name known in the
business world and in the process won the hand of Marta Gottlieb. Their only
child, a daughter named Cara, married her college sweetheart and produced a
son. With no desire to be a mother, she dumped him on her parent’s doorstep and
plunged into the high society social life. When Dane’s father gambled away
their money, Henry Brighton stepped in to bail them out, making a place for his
son-in-law at Brighton Industries.

It was soon
apparent that John Wellesley was incapable of making an honest living. Tired of
his father-in-law’s controlling, he left his wife and son and disappeared into
the proverbial night. His body was later found; a victim of the illegal life he
had chosen. Dane’s mother Cara left no regrets behind her as she flitted from
one marriage to another, each husband a step higher on the social ladder.

Dane rarely missed
his parents. He had a happy childhood and loved taking part in the family
dealings. After his grandfather’s demise, Dane proved that he’d inherited his Opa’s
business savvy by expanding Brighton Industries into a worldwide name.

“She wants you to
move into the estate, doesn’t she,” Keith proposed. “I told you that there
would be no problem with you working out of Oberstein. If it’s your privacy
you’re worried about…” he followed Dane’s gaze, still planted on the curvy
server. “There are plenty of nice hotels here.”

“That’s not it,”
Dane said.

“Well, you’re the
one who asked me here to commiserate, so give me some help.”

Dane gave a sigh
and finished off another bier. He waited until the next round was delivered
before he dropped the bomb.

“She wants to see
me married before she dies.”


“Shhhh,” Dane
quieted him. “I don’t want a line of eligible women to form at our table, do I?”

Dane’s finances
were not the only assets women were attracted to. He’d never had a problem
acquiring female company. Business necessitated his attendance at a variety of
social functions and he was known to escort a different woman to each event.
The paparazzi made a game out of attempting to get a picture of him with the
same woman twice. So far they’d failed.

His friend was
laughing. Keith had known him since college and now worked with him as the head
of Brighton Industries’ legal division.

“Oh, heartless
one,” he taunted, “you are about to break the heart of the only woman you have
ever cared about.”

“You have plenty
of female friends; can’t you get one to do me a favor?” Dane asked, “How about
a sister or a cousin, or something?”

“Like I’d trust my
sister with you?” Keith shook his head. “Besides, she’d have to be special in
order to put one over on your Oma. That old woman’s eyes burn laser daggers
into my soul. Give me some time; I’ll have to think about this one. Are you
sure you don’t have feelings for any of the girls you’ve dated?”

Dane glared at
him. “I don’t date.”

“Right, don’t let
any woman get closer than skin deep. You’ve got problems, man.”

“Look, are you
here to help me or psychoanalyze me?”

Keith put his
hands out to stop his anger. “Easy, Dane; I’m your friend as well as your
lawyer. I said I’d think of something. Does she at least believe you’re dating
someone, or are you going to spring a wife on her out of the blue?”

“I told her that
there was a woman I cared about, but she was shy about making a commitment. Of
course now she wants to meet her, probably to convince her of my good
intentions.” Dane gave a bitter laugh at the thought. “Just make sure you write
up an ironclad contract for her to sign. I don’t care what kind of price you
have to pay, but it’s a onetime agreement. If we marry, it ends with Oma. No
ties of any kind. Make that clear!”

“And her wifely

“She should make
herself available, sure; the marriage contract will be legal.”




rattle of a key in the door woke Lexi from a drug-induced sleep. Of course…
they’d drugged her meals. Bert came in carrying a plate of food and Cass
followed with a clothes bag. Lexi took notice of her surroundings and realized
that she’d been moved to a different room.

yourself up and put these on,” Cass said. “Make yourself pretty – you’re going
to meet your new family today!” Bert put the plate down on the table. “Don’t
forget to eat,” Cass continued.  “We can’t have those pretty eyes fogged over from
drugs now can we?” The woman appeared to be in an exceptionally good mood, Lexi
noted. Not that it would bode well for her. Of course she’d thought of
bargaining for her freedom, but her attempts had been met with laughter,
leaving Lexi wondering what kind of hold her uncle had over the callous
abductor. Knowing him, she was probably payment for a debt owed. Left alone
again, Lexi picked up the plate of food. The meal looked foreign – brochen and
bratwurst? Her ears perked up to listen to the television playing in the next
room. They were speaking German! Lexi was sure of it; she spoke several
languages fluently – German being one of them.


female boss of this little human trafficking operation had gotten the correct information
about Lexi. Up until now, she’d lived a privileged life in the affluent
Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. Both of her parents had worked hard and
put in long hours building their company into a success. Alberton Technologies
was sought out by all of the world’s leading industries. Lexi had grown up
learning the value of hard work and, being an only child, had been honed to
take over the family legacy. In the process she’d joined her parents traveling
the world. That is, until about a decade ago. Lexi was seventeen when her
mother showed the first signs of dementia.
Alicia and Alexander
Alberton had been in their forties when they gave birth to their “miracle baby,”
putting them in their sixties when Lexi was a teen. Alicia became a recluse
when she was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Certain that it
would harm the reputation of Alberton Technologies, Lexi’s parents came out
with a public confession that Alicia had cancer. As a brilliant scientist, Lexi’s
mother would not tolerate the world thinking that she had lost her mind.

it was her idea or her parents, Lexi cancelled her plans to go away to college
and instead stayed home to care for her mother. Alicia and Alex were wonderful
parents and Lexi never thought twice about putting her life on hold for them.
Her father eventually turned his home office into the headquarters of his
business and Lexi worked as his assistant. The family had successfully closed
themselves off from the world, with the exception of business obligations. Through
caring for her mother, assisting her father, and taking college courses over
the internet, Lexi had no time for friends. They all slowly drifted away, except
for her closest friend, Fani. Actually her name is Stefani, but with a twin
brother named Stefan it became a bit confusing, so her family shortened it. Eventually
even Fani’s calls, texts, and emails had disappeared.

Alberton doted on his wife, and when she passed away he drew inside himself
with grief. Shortly after his wife’s passing, Lexi’s father joined his beloved,
leaving their daughter alone. The only family left was her father’s younger
brother, Richard. At her parents’ private funeral Uncle Richard pulled Lexi
into his arms and promised to be there for her. Lexi leaned on him, releasing
her pent up grief.

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