Dear Mr. Fortenberry,
After careful consideration of your requests and needs, the Diamond Bridal Agency is pleased to inform you that a bride has been located who matches your special requirements. All communications have been kept private, as is our policy. Communications from the agency will cease after this missive and we request, for the security of our other clients, that you destroy this message after reading it.
Your satisfaction is guaranteed. To comply with your request for haste and privacy, your bride will arrive on the 5th day of August, via private jet to the private landing strip on your ranch. Please do not hesitate to contact me should there be any issue with your bride. Her name is Janine Hamilton and she understands the stipulations of the contract as you set forth.
Mrs. Alveda Creed, Diamond Bridal Agency.
Alex stared at the letter in his hand and growled. He wondered how they’d managed to find someone willing to live out here, in the middle of nowhere Wyoming with little to no social interaction so quickly. He also wished he didn’t feel forced into something like this, but his brother’s threats still rang in his ears. If he didn’t get out more, start meeting people and even dating, then Dave would start fixing him up with blind dates. And going along to make sure Alex didn’t back out. Alex hated anything that made him go out and be seen, Dave knew that. But that hadn’t stopped him. His brother had made enough threats, and serious ones, that Alex had found a way around him. He’d done enough hacking around on the internet that he’d heard about the elite bridal agency, despite their attempts at secrecy, so once he made the decision, he’d contacted them. Not that they had an Internet presence. That had intrigued him. For a company that charged as much as they did, they were surprisingly difficult to find anything out about. Even for him.
He knew firsthand about the security, or lack thereof, of anything on the web, and when he’d discovered they didn’t do business electronically, even via email, he’d been intrigued. He was willing to put up with a stranger in his house, hell the house was big enough they’d never have to see each other if that’s what they wanted. He almost never saw most of the staff because they knew that’s what he wanted. But the one thing he couldn’t do was have his brother find out how he’d met his new wife. If Dave found out he’d gotten a mail-order-bride, he would never let Alex have any peace. And that’s all Alex wanted, to be left alone.
Dave swore Alex needed to interact with others more, that one day Dave was going to show up and find Alex had done himself in weeks earlier and no one had noticed because Alex didn’t let anyone in to see him. Alex knew better. While he chose not to see most of them often, he had a full staff. Mrs. Barrett would notice if she didn’t hear from him every couple days and he had people he spoke to almost daily. Some online, some over the phone, even a couple in person, like Mike, his ranch manager. Alex had no doubt that someone would notice if he disappeared. It was part of why he hadn’t done it a few years ago. Instead he’d buried himself in his work. Then he’d lived in a small apartment on the outskirts of Cheyenne, only answering the door for delivery people while wearing a hoodie that kept people from seeing his face.
He’d gotten a little better since then. But not by much. He didn’t cover himself like he used to, but he still didn’t like to be seen. He stood, pushing the wheeled chair away from the desk facing the bank of computer screens that nearly covered a wall. Most of the time this room was his sanctuary, but at the moment it made him claustrophobic. Needing more space, he got up, stalked out the door and down the short walk way to the living room. He stood in front of one of two huge windows staring out at the mountains that were closer than they looked. He’d been there, he knew. Damn these four walls, even as big as this place was, felt like they were closing in on him. Time to get out. At least for a while.