Heath didn’t bother looking up from his phone. “That woman filmed the whole exchange between you and her little girl. Trust me, she got what she came for and then some.”
There was no arguing with her father. He was not one to admit he was wrong. Ever. Not that Piper tested those waters very often.
“Lana, next time we’re in town, let’s make sure not to leak the hotel online. I think we’re past the need for all that. Incognito is the way to go,” Heath said, slipping his phone into his breast pocket and fixing his tie.
Lana added that to the list she’d made on her phone. “Are we still tweeting where she eats dinner tonight?”
“Of course, we want everyone to see the happy couple. Hopefully Sawyer will learn how to smile by the time they go eat. Otherwise, the media is going to think he’s a miserable piece of garbage who somehow got lucky enough to be with my daughter.”
“Wow, Heath. Here I thought you and I were finally becoming buddies.”
“Dad, please don’t start. We all need to appear like a happy soon-to-be family this afternoon.” Piper spun the diamond she had picked out to play the part of her engagement ring around her finger. There was no turning back now. Once they made the engagement public, the pregnancy would be next. Hopefully both pieces of news would be well received by the fans.
The ride to the Burbank studio was short. Inside, they were greeted by Whitney’s assistant, whose badge identified her as Casey. Casey was tall, slender and impeccably dressed. She gushed and couldn’t thank Piper enough for coming.
“Thank you for having me,” Piper replied. “I love Whitney.”
“Well, she loves you, too. Let’s get you settled backstage in your dressing room.”
Casey left them alone, and Piper paced around the tiny room. She was about to lie to millions of people on national television.
“What are you so nervous about? You’ve been on this show before,” her father said.
Before Piper could answer, there was a knock on the door and Whitney Hansen popped her curly-haired head in. “Hi, everyone!”
Whitney was one of America’s most beloved talk show hosts. She had been a child star through her teens before disappearing from Hollywood for a while. When she tried to make a comeback about ten years ago, she’d struggled to find work on another sitcom, so instead of acting, she went into the talk show business. Her humor and charisma had won viewers over immediately.
“I am so excited to hear your new song today. I’ve been waiting for the new Piper Starling album to come out ever since the last one was released!”
“That’s what we like to hear,” Heath said.
Piper introduced Whitney to everyone in the room, saving Sawyer for last.
“Sawyer Stratton? Why do I feel like this confirms the rumors are true?”
“Rumors? What rumors have you been hearing?” Piper purposely held up her left hand to show off her ring.
“Oh my goodness! Is that what I think it is?” Whitney grabbed her hand and gave the ring a closer look. “Are you—you are! Can we tell everyone?”
“I was hoping you’d be okay with me making a small announcement on your show today.”
Whitney grabbed her tight brown curls with both hands. “Oh my, oh my! This is amazing! I am so honored that you want to do this on my show. We have to bring you out, Sawyer. I want the world to see this happy couple.”
Sawyer seemed extremely displeased with that idea. Piper knew it was because it meant they would really have to sell the romance. Everyone was already watching them to see how they acted around each other.
“Do I have to? My hair is not really TV ready.” He took off his hat to prove his point.
“Oh, come on. The ladies love a guy in a baseball hat. We’ll mention you’re here and maybe have you standing stage left. I can invite you to join us, and you two can play it cool for a little bit before you tell the world the truth!”
The truth. Yeah, that was not happening. Piper gave Sawyer a pointed look. He needed to do this.
“Sounds perfect, Whitney,” he said, probably cringing inside. “Can’t wait.”
* * *
SAWYER HAD GONE along with this plan to announce their engagement on the Whitney Hansen Show, but he hadn’t banked on having to help do the announcing.