Home > Runaway (The Magnussons, #2)

Runaway (The Magnussons, #2)
Author: Noelle Adams

 

About Runaway

 


MY RELATIONSHIP WITH Elias Magnusson happened in a blaze of fiery passion. We met and fell in love and got engaged in just a few weeks. He might be heir to a fortune and act as cool as ice, but I believed I saw the real man beneath the surface. And that was a man I loved.

But on our wedding day, I suddenly realize that I’m about to marry a stranger. A stranger with endless resources and more power than I’ve ever known. We might be great in bed together, but a marriage needs a lot more. Needs a lot deeper. So I run. I run away from the wedding and leave Elias without a word.

It’s a terrible thing to have to do, but I’m sure it’s for the best. I’ll become a runaway bride even though it’s the last thing I want. I assume Elias will never forgive me for such a betrayal. Never once do I dream that he’ll come after me and try to convince me that our wild whirlwind romance is real.

 

 

Prologue

 


AT EIGHT-THIRTY ON a Saturday morning, a phone call wakes me up.

I blink as I try to orient myself about where I am and whose phone is ringing. Then I fumble at the nightstand when I realize it’s mine. The screen flashes Mira Cohen.

“Who’s calling?” a male voice mumbles from the other side of the bed.

“My foster parents.”

“The good ones?”

“Yeah.”

The good foster parents are the couple who took me on when I was fifteen. I lived with them until I turned eighteen, and it was the longest I’d stayed with any family since my mother died when I was ten. They still call me at least once a month, and I’m always happy to hear from them.

Eight-thirty on a Saturday morning isn’t particularly early for them, but Elias and I had quite an active night in the bedroom and didn’t go to sleep until after two.

“I’m going to text her that I’ll call back in a few minutes, and then I’ll go somewhere else to talk so I don’t bother you.” I glance over my shoulder at Elias, who’s blinking up at me groggily. His hair is wildly disordered on the pillow because he got sweaty having sex and splashed a bunch of water all over his face afterward, so his hair dried in a variety of clashing directions. He needs to shave, and his lids are heavy over his blue eyes.

He looks handsome and sexy and sleepy, and the sight of him tugs at my heart.

“You don’t have to leave,” he tells me. “Won’t bother me.”

He says that because he’s always polite, but it would be annoying to anyone to have to listen to a long phone conversation when they’d rather be sleeping. So I lean over to give him a quick kiss after I send the text and then I pull on a bathrobe and walk out of the bedroom.

Elias’s family lives in Green Valley, a wealthy community about forty-five minutes away, but they keep a condo here in Charlotte. That’s where we usually spend nights together in the city because it’s a lot nicer than my little apartment. The condo is big and expensive with excellent soundproofing. I’m out of earshot by the time I get to the living room. I make myself a cup of coffee and take it onto the terrace, however. It’s a little chilly, but the terrace feels more private than inside.

My foster mom answers on the first ring. “Hi, Jenna. Did we wake you up?”

“Not really,” I lie, not wanting them to feel bad. “I was still in bed but already waking up.”

“Okay, good. We’re heading to the lake today, but we wanted to call you first to see how you’re doing. It’s been a while.”

“Yeah, I know. I’ve been really busy, but it’s great to hear from you. How are y’all doing? How’s your hip, Mike?”

They always put the phone on speaker during our conversations so they both can talk to me at the same time.

“It’s hanging in,” he says. “They still got me going to physical therapy.”

“That’s good, I guess. Do you think it’s helping?”

His grumbling response makes it clear that it is helping but he’s not happy about admitting it.

As always, the conversation quickly shifts to me. Mira asks, “What about you, Jenna? How have you been? Is it work that’s keeping you so busy?”

I work in the finance department of a growing corporation here in Charlotte, and it does keep me busy, but that’s not why I’ve been more occupied than usual lately. “Partly,” I explain. “But I’ve also got a new boyfriend.”

“You do? That’s great. Tell us all about him.” The Cohens are kind people, and they were the only ones I was genuinely able to depend on during my childhood. But they aren’t particularly effusive or emotional, and their phone conversations are always matter-of-fact, like they’re going through a checklist for the discussion.

“His name is Elias Magnusson. He’s really great. I met him about a month ago.”

“What does he do?”

“He’s a corporate consultant.”

“What is that?”

“He’s part of a business that goes around consulting other businesses—helping them make plans for the future or when they run into problems. He’s partners with a friend from his hometown. Green Valley.”

“Oh,” Mike says. “Where all the rich people live.”

“Yeah. His family has a lot of money. But he doesn’t lounge around living on a trust fund. He works really hard. Just as hard as I do. He’s really thoughtful and considerate and treats me great.”

“That’s good,” Mira says. “I’m sure he’s all those things. Just be careful. Rich people are different than we are. And it isn’t easy to pair up with someone from a totally different world.”

“I know. It’s taken some getting used to.” I glance around at the beautifully furnished and decorated terrace—for a condo that only occasionally gets used—and the vast view of the city. “But things are going great. I don’t know why exactly he’s interested in me, but I’m not going to complain.”

“He’s interested in you because you’re smart and beautiful and strong and good. Just be careful. Go slow.”

“I will,” I tell them. Part of me wants to argue. Resist what they’re saying. Because I know Elias, and they don’t, and he’s nothing like they’re implying, no matter how much money his family has. But not for anything would I snap at the Cohens or even argue with them. They were the only ones who didn’t reject me. Even my mother wasn’t all that excited about me—since I mostly just got in the way of the good time she wanted to have. “We’ve just been dating for a month. We’ve got plenty of time. But I’m having a great time with him, and I like him more than anyone I’ve ever dated.”

“That’s good then. As long as you’re happy and you’re with someone who respects you.”

“He does. I promise.”

Mira’s voice softens, although it’s still more practical than gentle. “And don’t just go along with whatever he wants. You do that sometimes. Because you still want people to like you and not send you away. Make sure you stand up for yourself.”

“I will. But there’s no reason for you to get worried. I’m really happy, and it’s only been a month. We’ve got plenty of time to work everything out.”

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