“You mean Alexis.” I raised my eyebrows at him.

“Yes. Alexis.” He looked pained for a brief moment, the look devastatingly perfect on his strong face.

“We’re not getting married for another nine months. Why transfer it now?”

“The process is not one that happens overnight. And I want to fly up there before the wedding. I’d rather do that with your ownership taken care of.” He smiled at me, dropping his crossed arms and stepping forward to gently kiss my neck. As he straightened, he paused at my ear, the next words hot on my skin. “Sign the papers.”

I shot him a disgruntled look, not appreciating the display of affection in front of my boss. “I’ll need some time to review them. Mr. Burge, do you mind if I take a few minutes in my office to look them over?”

The man looked relieved. “Not at all. Just return them to me once they have your signature on them. Certain spots need a notary, so please have Sheila help with that.”

I smiled at him, glanced at Brad, and then left, moving quickly to my office. Brad followed, slipping inside and settling into a chair across from my desk. I closed the door tightly.

Brad watched me walk to my chair and open the folder, silence falling over us for a brief moment. “For someone who’s receiving a present, you show your gratitude in an odd fashion.”

I looked up from the deed I was reviewing. “I’ll cover you with kisses once I find the hidden agenda.”

He looked wounded. “Because I’m not naturally generous?”

“You are generous with your time, your money, and your cock. This is a business you’ve spent six years building. I’m your girlfriend.”

“Wife.”

I shook my head and started to reread the paragraph I’d spent the last two minutes trying to get through. “Not right now. Right now I am your current f**k.”

“The sixty grand on your finger says otherwise.”

I winced. “Please don’t say that. I’m going to hope and pray that is not the case.” My eyes caught the diamond, and it sparkled spectacularly.

“You are my fiancée. Don’t dismiss it as nothing. What was all the irritation for?”

“What do you mean?” I asked absently as I underlined a sentence in pencil.

“When you came in and saw me with Burge. You seemed irritated at the inconvenience of having to sign something.”

I laughed softly. “I thought I was signing a prenup.”

Brad leaned forward, interested. “And that irritated you?”

“I wasn’t irritated by the prenup, but rather Burge’s involvement in the process. I feel that agreement should be something that is kept private, between the two of us.”

He nodded thoughtfully and leaned back, playing with his mouth with one hand. “And what terms do you feel acceptable for a prenup?”

I sat back, spinning slightly in my seat to face him fully. “You’re the divorce attorney. I assumed that you have some boilerplate contract you’ve perfected for your personal use.”

He stood, walking over to me and leaning over my chair, a hand on each arm, he stared deeply into my eyes. “We’re not getting divorced.”

I shifted uncomfortably. “Well, not now, obviously. But in the future ...”

“No. Never.”

“Never?” I squeaked out, the concept so foreign coming from his lips.

“Never,” he said, leaning even closer and sealing the promise with his mouth, strong confident movements. He released me, straightening and looking down at me. “There will be no prenup.” He tapped on the papers, then turned to leave, the fit of expensive fabric making his exit devastatingly handsome. He paused in the doorway and caught my eyes briefly. “Sign them. You can thank me tonight.”

Then he was gone, and I clenched my thighs, hating the traitorous moisture there.

The damn man was ... ugh. I took a deep breath and tried to concentrate on the papers before me.

♥♥♥

Thirty minutes later, I signed the documents, my pen moving slowly through the letters, wondering how many more times I would sign my name before Julia Campbell disappeared, kicked to the curb carelessly and taken over by Julia De Luca. I felt as if a part of my life faded with every signature on the documents, a slight dissipation of the broke, ramen-noodle-eating, unpaid parking tickets Julia. With these documents, I became, in my mind, a wealthy woman. I read every line, every addendum, of the documents. They were irrevocable. Despite Brad and my future, Saffire was now seventy percent mine. It was stressful, empowering, and utterly undeserving.

Chapter 17

THANKSGIVING DAY

Days until wedding: 256

The meal was to be held at Maria’s house. A relief, since she was, apparently, the least violent of Brad’s siblings. As Brad’s car found its way out of the city and headed to suburbia, I took a deep breath and tried to relax.

I was, in ways, a different woman than three months earlier. While I had stubbornly maintained my crappy dwelling—my clothing, beauty products, and car had all been substantially upgraded. A BMW X5 now adorned my broken driveway, designer clothes weighted down my plywood shelves, and I now enjoyed weekly massages and facials at Le Blanc Spa. I had quickly become accustomed and appreciative of my future life as Mrs. Brad De Luca.

While I didn’t necessarily feel ready to be Brad’s wife, I at least looked, and, for the most part, played the role reasonably well. The BMW turned, rolled along a dirt road, and stopped. We had arrived. Shit.

The yard was packed with cars—a sea of mostly black vehicles parked haphazardly across perfect grass. People were everywhere, threading through cars, gathered on the home’s porches, or chasing kids across the lawn. It seemed harmless and normal, if not overly crowded. Who had this many family members? I shrugged into my jacket and trudged out of the car.

We made it halfway to the house before we were stopped. There was a loud squeal, a blur of black hair, and Brad was practically tackled to the ground. The tackler was one hundred and thirty pounds of curly hair and loud energy. Maria. She finished her hug and turned to me with an ear-splitting grin.

“You must be Julia, the woman who finally tamed my brother.” She engulfed me in a hug before I could respond, a strong grip that came with a wave of lilac scent. I laughed, returning the hug and relaxing as she released me. “Now, don’t believe all of the awful things you’ve heard about the boys—only eighty percent of them are true.” She laughed, linking her arm through mine and pulling us toward the house. “We’re putting the food on now, so let’s get you two a plate!”

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