Page 14 of Buying the Bride

“You’ve really thought this through.” Of course he did. He’s very good at details. It’s obvious from the folder he’s given me.

“I should get back to work,” he says.

“Do you need me to drive you back?”

“I’ll call for a car.”

I swallow hard. “I don’t suppose you’d want to stay and hang out with me for a while.”

He looks curiously at me. I continue. “We could watch TV, binge-watch something on Netflix.”

His curiosity turns to amusement. “You want to spend time with me?”


“Yes.”

“Why?”

“I want to hear more about your family. I’m nervous about meeting them.”

“You’re nervous? Aren’t you used to this sort of thing since it’s your job?”

I shake my head. “This isn’t my normal job. I’m just filling in for my best friend. She needed my help at the last minute and I needed the money, so I said yes.”

He gives me the strangest look, a mixture of surprise and understanding. Suddenly, his whole body language changes and his stiff demeanor crumbles.

“It all makes sense now. You don’t seem like the type to do this sort of thing. And you don’t look anything like the way my friend said you would.”

“Disappointed?”

“Not at all. Elated, actually. I was worried someone might recognize you from one of your other jobs.”

“Not unless that job was the cashier at Burger Hut.”

“I’m fairly certain I don’t know anyone who eats at Burger Hut.”

“Didn’t think so,” I say.

I press my hands together and give him a pleading look. “So you’ll stay?”

“For a little while.” He sits on the couch. I sit next to him.

“You look so uncomfortable in all those stiff clothes,” I say.

He looks down at his buttoned jacked. “This particular suit isn’t made for comfort.”

“I can tell, but it looks sexy as hell on you, so I guess that makes it worth it.”

He gives me a sideways smile and takes his jacket off.

“This needs to go too.” I lean toward him and take off his tie and unbutton the top button of his shirt to let his neck breathe. He pulls in a breath. When I look at him to see why, I realize my tank top is gaping and he can see everything. I pretend like I don’t notice, and let him get an eyeful. He doesn’t say anything, and doesn’t try to avert his gaze.

“You smell amazing,” I blurt out. I was thinking it, but hadn’t meant to say it out loud. Too late now. “What’s that scent?”

“Dolce and Gabbana.”

His brilliant blue eyes finally leave my breasts and now they seem to search my face. They leave a sizzling trail from my eyes to my lips.

Please don’t stare at me like that. I can’t think straight when you stare at me like that.

My breathing is erratic. I can hear it. I know he can hear it too. I try to slow it down, to take even breaths, but it’s not working.

Our eyes meet and though I know I should look away, neither of us seem to be willing, or even able to. Before I realize it, I have four of his shirt buttons undone. A small patch of hair on his chest shows through. I want to touch it so bad. He touches my arm and I jump a little. His fingers trace a line along the skin of my arm, down to my fingertips. His fingers weave together with mine and now he’s holding my hand.

“There’s nothing to be nervous about when it comes to my family. If they do or say anything to make you feel bad, you let me know and I’ll put them in their place.”

I look down at his hand holding mine and bring it up to my lips. His breathing changes too. I kiss each tip of his fingers, my lips lingering on the last one. His hands smell like soap.

“Is this part of our story?” he asks in a voice that seems off kilter.

I nod. “The more we bond, the more convincing our relationship will seem. Don’t you think? Then I won’t have to be nervous about meeting them and trying to make them believe we’re a couple.”

He nods. “Yes, that’s a good strategy.” He hesitates. “But maybe it’s not a good idea.”

“Why not?”

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