“You’re not one either, Zep.” She rolled her eyes and then turned her attention back to me. As her son, she was going to have the most opinions about me and the bigger expectations.

“We just went to the club and met some ladies.” I had defended my right to pussy more times than I cared to in my life.

“Those strippers were not ladies,” she barked.

“They were waitresses,” said Zep as if it would help.

Patricia shook her head. “Now, I let you get away with acting like a scoundrel after your father’s death. I knew that it was a way for you to release your emotions, but now it’s time to settle down and preferably with someone who isn’t wearing a name tag.”

“Heaven forbid I end up with someone beneath my status and income. Like I’ll find another billionaire in the world who wants to settle down.” She was always riding me about my kind of friends.

“I’m not going to sit around while one of these common gutter trash skanks moves in on you for your money. You know plenty of good girls from fine, wealthy families who are not looking to be gold diggers or suck off the Prince family tit.” Zep laughed at the word and then I gave him a nudge.

“Sorry, I wasn’t aware there was a tit,” he mumbled. I shook my head as my mother rambled on about how things were going to change.

“I’ve decided to host another gala. It’s been a while, and I’d like to focus more on the younger generation, so I’ll be sending out invites accordingly.” My blood boiled. Mother had been known for hosting lavish events before my father’s death, and they were usually a way for her to find a new lover, which is what the tabloids had all said over the years. I wouldn’t have held much stock in those sources if I hadn’t known it to be true, but aside from that, it seemed like a terrible time and a huge waste of money. I didn’t need her using me as an excuse to do her trolling.

“Is it really appropriate for a ritzy event? It hasn’t even been a full two years. Don’t you think you could give it more time?” I kept my tone clipped, but she wasn’t having it.

“You dare talk to me about what is appropriate when you’ve been bringing in women like this guest house has a revolving door? I’ll decide what’s appropriate.”

With that I met her eyes, mine still narrowed with anger and hers equally as fierce. “You always have, Patricia.” Calling her by her first name instead of some maternal endearment was like throwing ice water in her face, but then she stood a bit taller and squared her shoulders.

“We’re having the gala. I suggest you be prepared to use the event to find a nice girl and settle your ways before you impregnate some gutter trash waitress and spoil the family name.”

“I don’t know, Patricia, your gutter trash reputation didn’t spoil it.”

Zep stiffened beside me and mother’s shoulders drooped for a moment before she held her head high. She’d had a troubled life and spent her teen years rebelling again an abusive mother only to claw her way up in the music business as a producer.

“I want better for you, and with the opportunity you have, that I didn’t have, that I had to beat a path to, you will have better.” She turned and stormed away, her heels clicking against the floor like a soldier’s march until she was gone.

“Wow, that was a little brutal, don’t you think?” It was a bad thing when even Zep thought I was being too hard on Patricia. As a master at insults, I’d have thought he’d be proud, but then again, he’d always had soft spot for my mother. She had taken him in when his father had been killed in a plane crash along with the rest of his band, when he was just a kid. He’d never known his mother, and Patricia had filled that role long enough to earn his respect.

“You’re always taking her side.” I turned and went to the couch where I plopped down, covering my temples with my fingertips.

“It’s a party. Even you know the Galas always attract the ladies, and this one is for you. Hey, I know, let’s talk her into making it one of those masquerade things, then you can hire a body double and slip out.” He poured himself a drink at the bar as I sat straight up.

Tags: Amy Brent Billionaire Romance
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