Confessions Of A Pregnant CinderellaBy: Abby Green
(Rival Spanish Brothers, Book 1)
LAZARO SANCHEZ SURVEYED the glittering ballroom of one of Madrid’s most exclusive hotels. A hotel that he owned. Satisfaction and anticipation coursed through his veins. This moment…was huge. His whole life had been building to this, to standing here in front of his peers.
But they hadn’t always been his peers. These people wouldn’t have recognised him as the semi-feral teenager who’d roamed and lived on the streets. Hustling to make a few euros by washing car windows at traffic lights; showing tourists how to beat the queues into museums and galleries; eating out of bins when he couldn’t afford to buy food.
The familiar burn of injustice and rage burned low in his gut when he recalled those desperate days. He’d run away from his last foster home when the father had cornered Lazaro in the bedroom and started taking his trousers down.
Lazaro had jumped out of the first-floor window.
From the age of thirteen he’d fended for himself.
The cruel irony of it all was that Lazaro hadn’t been orphaned, or abused by his parents so badly that he’d been removed from their care, like other kids who’d ended up in the foster homes. He’d been abandoned into the system by his parents. And, actually, his father was in this very room right now. Not that he would ever look him in the eye. Or admit he was his father—even under duress.
As for his mother, he’d only ever seen her a handful of times in his life, from a distance.
The reason for that was because Lazaro Sanchez was the illegitimate result of an affair between two members of two of Spain’s oldest and most respected and revered families. The closest you could get to royalty without being royal.
The only way he’d found out about his parentage had been through a mixture of fluke and happenstance. A careless social worker had left his file unattended one day and he’d seen his birth certificate and memorised his parents’ names. When he’d investigated them afterwards nothing had come up. They were fake names.
Then, while changing foster homes at the age of about twelve, he’d been dozing in the back of the car as two social workers had driven him to the new home. He could still remember seeing one of them glance behind, to check if he was sleeping, and then, as if she hadn’t been able to sit on the information any longer, whisper to the other social worker the rumour about who his real parents were.
Lazaro had clamped his eyes shut completely and frozen solid in the back of the car. Even at that age he’d heard of the Torres family and the Salvadors. They were two of Spain’s most important and wealthy dynasties, with lineages stretching back to medieval times.
When he’d had a chance he’d looked them up for more information. And even though it had been just a rumour he’d known as soon as he’d seen a picture of his father when he’d been Lazaro’s age. They were mirror images. And he’d inherited his mother’s unusual green eyes.
He’d taken to stalking the palatial properties belonging to the Torres family and the Salvadors in an exclusive suburb of Madrid. Watching them come and go. Seeing his half-siblings. One in particular was an older boy on his father’s side—Gabriel Torres. For some reason, Lazaro had fixated on him…perhaps because they were relatively close in age.
One day he’d seen them all sitting in a restaurant in the centre of Madrid, celebrating his half-brother Gabriel’s birthday.
Lazaro had waited outside, and when they’d emerged—the women wearing designer dresses and dripping in diamonds, the men in bespoke suits—Lazaro had darted forward and planted himself in front of his father and Gabriel.
‘I’m your son!’ he’d announced, shaking with adrenalin as he’d looked up at the towering man, aware of his half-brother beside him, looking at him as if he was an alien.
It had all happened so fast. Men had appeared from nowhere and Lazaro had found himself face-down in the dirt in an alleyway beside the restaurant. His father had hauled him up by the hair and spat into his face.
‘You are no son of mine—and if you ever come near me or my family again you will pay for it.’
That was when Lazaro’s ambition had been born. The ambition to one day be in a position where he was literally touching shoulders with them. Where they would have to look him in the eye. Where he would taunt them with his presence—with the knowledge that he had thrived and survived in spite of their attempts to excise him from their family histories.