Book cover of “Trace of You“ by Menot

Trace of You

  • Genre: Romance
  • Age: 18+
  • Status: Completed
  • Language: English
  • Author: Menot
Leo is forced to marry a girl picked by his sneaky stepmom, Rose. But Alana, the seemingly innocent bride-to-be, isn't what Leo expected. She's not the quiet type – she's bold and challenges him at every turn. Leo's convinced she's working for his stepmom, but her persistence starts to break down his walls. And soon, Leo will learn there's more to ... 

Chapter 1

Leo stared intensely at the woman sitting in front of him, her head bowed, unwilling to lift it as if the man before her might pounce the moment their eyes met. More than ten minutes of silence hung between them, and neither wanted to utter a single word. The woman nervously squeezed her fingers on her lap, which grew increasingly sweaty.

"Different," Leo spoke, causing the woman to finally raise her head and meet the piercing gaze. However, just a few seconds later, she lowered it again, pondering the words the man had spoken.

Different? What's different? the woman wondered.

"It seems the sorceress is getting smarter," Leo said, then smirked. "Turns out she changed her tactics after her plan failed by throwing a cunning wench at me. This time, it's a housebound wench she's thrown at me. Clever."

Leo continued, making the woman in front of him grip her fingers tightly, her body trembling, and her eyes welling up. Her heart raced painfully. For the first time, someone called her that, and worse, it was her own prospective husband calling her a wench.

"Lift your head!" Leo said in his flat and cold tone, making the woman struggle to swallow her own saliva and slowly raise her head.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"Alana," she answered softly as if whispering.

"So, what mission did she give you?" Leo inquired.

Mission? Alana furrowed her brow, not understanding.

"Is your mission to kill me?" Leo guessed, causing the furrow on Alana's forehead to disappear, replaced by widened eyes and a vigorous shake of her head.

"I didn't..." Alana was cut off.

"Then, what task did she assign you?" Leo interrupted.

"Aunt Rose just said she would arrange a marriage with her son," Alana explained, still speaking as quietly as possible.

"Who did she say her son is?" Leo asked.

Alana bit her lower lip before responding to Leo's question.

"Someone named Leo Smith," Alana answered, prompting a cynical laugh from Leo.

"I," Leo said, pointing to himself. "She’s not my mother, just so you know," Leo continued, his cold expression returning.

"Yes, I know deep down, Alana. 'So, you better ask that woman again who the son she meant is,'" Leo said.

"I know you're not Aunt Rose's biological son, but she clearly mentioned your name," Alana replied, gathering courage despite her rapidly beating heart.

"So, do I have to accept you as my wife?" Leo asked, staring intently at Alana, making her more fearful and nervously nod her head.

"Stand up," Leo commanded, and Alana immediately straightened her posture, standing upright in front of Leo.

Leo scrutinized Alana from head to toe. Leo knew that Alana's appearance was different from the previous women Rose sent as potential wives. Most of them were beautiful and voluptuous, adorned with all the luxuries attached to them. Whereas Alana, she had an innocent face with simple and unassuming clothing. Leo admitted, Alana was somewhat charming.

"Why should I accept you? What advantages do you have?" Leo asked, making Alana furrow her brow again.

It's like I'm applying for a job, Alana thought. "I will take care of you well."

"In that case, just be my maid," Leo quickly replied, making Alana widen her eyes, but only for a moment.

"M-maid?" stammered Alana.

"Yes, isn't the one you mentioned earlier capable of being a maid?" Leo replied, causing Alana to grip the sides of her simple white dress.

Silence lingered for a moment, and Leo could see the fear and increasing confusion on Alana's face. However, Leo's next words furrowed her brow even more.

"Never mind, just tell the sorceress to set the wedding date," Leo said, immediately getting protests from his secretary and friend Pedro.

"But sir—”

"Just take me back to my office, Pedro," Leo cut him off, making Pedro grumble and reluctantly comply with his boss's wishes. Annoyed, Pedro pushed Leo's wheelchair back to his workspace.


"How was your meeting? Enjoyable?" Rose asked as Alana dropped her body onto the sofa and immediately massaged the bridge of her nose. Rose sat beside Alana, waiting for her niece's answer.

"Hey, answer, Aunt is waiting," Rose said, shaking Alana's shoulder. Alana instantly turned her head towards Rose with a disheveled expression.

"Don't you see my disheveled face?"


"Oh, come on, Aunt just threw me into the lion's den. I almost died standing there just from his gaze," Alana complained because that was exactly how she felt. "And you know, my fear increased when he agreed to this arranged marriage," Alana continued, massaging the bridge of her nose again, but unlike Rose, she didn't wear a happy expression.

"Really? Are you teasing me, dear? Come on, Alana, it's not April Fools."

"Do you think I'm in the mood for jokes right now?" After Alana finished her sentence, Rose suddenly screamed right next to Alana's ear while hugging her.

"Kyaaaa, finally, he's willing to get married," Rose shouted joyfully while shaking Alana's petite body.

"Aunt, stop shaking me," Alana grumbled while trying to release herself from her aunt's hug.

"So, when are you two getting married?" Rose asked.

"He leaves it to you!" Alana lazily replied.

"Is that so? Then, you'll get married next week."

"What?!" Alana shouted in disbelief.


"Is Aunt joking?"

"Do you think Aunt is in the mood for jokes right now?" Rose replied, turning Alana's previous words around, causing Alana to squint her eyes at Rose.

"What is Aunt planning, actually?" Alana asked, now with a serious tone.

"What is it? Aunt just wants you to be his wife."

"Come on, Aunt, don't pretend in front of me. Even he accused me of having a mission to kill him. How bad is your relationship?"

Of course, because two weeks ago, Rose suddenly visited her family, which hadn't met for more than ten years. Suddenly, Rose asked permission from Alana's father, who is also Rose's cousin, to marry Alana to her stepson. That's the only story Alana knew from her father. Somehow, her father agreed immediately and let Rose take her away. Ah, did she burden her father and brother's lives so much that they easily sent her to Rose?

"There's no mission at all. You just need to be a good wife to him and serve him wholeheartedly," Rose answered, dispelling Alana's momentary reverie.

"But he..."

"He's flawed," Rose interrupted.


"No, he sees me like prey ready to be pounced on anytime."

"That's because you appear weak in front of him. Be yourself and conquer his heart," Rose said.

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