Billie burst into laughter, and the sound warmed Tilly’s heart, just enough that it didn’t hurt so much to leave her younger sister to lock up behind her as she took a cab back to the Hodges’ gated community.
It was already half past two in the morning by the time she came back, and despite her best tiptoeing attempts, she still ended up waking Billie the moment she entered their bedroom.
“Is that you, Tilly?” the younger girl mumbled sleepily from her side of the bed.
“It’s me,” she whispered. “Sorry I woke you up.” She quickly changed into her pajamas, and as she slipped under the covers, she heard Billie mumble about her giving something a try.
“Sorry, what was that?”
“Do…same thing…Caryn…did.” Billie let out a yawn. “Find a rich old guy to fall in love with…and then all of our problems are solved.”
“Billie…” She turned on her side to face the younger girl, but her sister was already fast asleep. Tillie flipped to her back with a sigh and stared sightlessly at their ceiling.
Find a rich old guy to fall in love with?
Her pride balked at the very idea, but then she thought about how fast time flew, and how at any moment Billie’s medical condition, a complication caused by their mother’s drinking habits during her pregnancy, could suffer a turn for the worse. If that happened, and they were still a long way from getting to the top of the recipient list for kidney transplants…what then?
Tilly bit her lip.
She didn’t think she could ever marry for money alone, but what if…what if she found someone who would at least need her, someone who would respect her, and she could care for him in return?
“So…let me see if I got everything right.” The female CEO of Heart’s Match eyed the billionaire’s
list of requirements for his mail-order bride. “You want someone you can trust to raise your nephew, someone who’s guaranteed to see to all of his emotional needs and ensure that he doesn’t grow up a spoiled, useless millennial like all other trust fund babies seem to be.”
“You also want someone who understands that you’re used to a certain way of living and appreciate that it’s this very busy lifestyle of yours that is able to afford you, your future wife, and nephew everything that money can buy.”
“Your fidelity is guaranteed provided you two are sexually compatible. If not, you promise to seek satisfaction through other means very discreetly while she will be additionally compensated to remain celibate until your nephew reaches eighteen years of age.”
“Perfect,” Logan said approvingly. “When can I expect to meet your candidate?”
“You mean ‘paragon’ right? Or maybe ‘martyr’ is a more accurate term?”
“Charlotte.” His tone held a note of warning.
“But to answer your question, let me check my contacts in Heaven first. I’ll need to see if they have an angel or saint to spare, since no one else is likely to agree to something so one-sided.”
Logan didn’t even crack a smile. “My nephew will be with me in six weeks.”
“I know that, okay? And as much as I want to help you…” What you’re asking for is something only a selfish, heartless asshole would demand. That was what Charlotte was dying to say, but because Logan was both her childhood friend and her late husband’s, she managed to hold her tongue and finish with something more tactful. “It’s going to be difficult.”
“But not impossible.”
Grrr. It was just so like Logan to interpret her words in the way that would benefit him. “I’ll be level with you since you’re my friend. With what you’re asking, there can only be two kinds of women likely to agree to what you’re asking.”
Logan’s gaze narrowed. “Go on.”
“We’ll either end up with a cold-blooded gold digger…”
The billionaire’s upper lip curled in distaste.
“Or someone who comes with a lot of baggage.”
Logan frowned. “Exactly what kind of baggage are we talking about?”
“No college degree, work history strictly in the domestic employment front, and she may come with a thirteen-year-old dependent who urgently needs to undergo kidney transplant surgery.”
Since the things Charlotte mentioned were too specific to be random, Logan had a feeling his friend already had someone in mind. Someone she knew he would only consider if he were desperate enough…
“As long as she fits the mold,” Logan said finally, “you can send her my way.”
It was already a few minutes past one in the morning when Hardwall Industries’ corporate jet touched down at San Antonio International Airport, but a number of officials still insisted on waiting at the airfield, wanting to curry favor by welcoming Logan Hardwall in person.
They bowed and scraped as soon as he appeared, and the billionaire was showered with even more attention as he strode inside the airport. Female ground attendants giggled upon first sight of him, and as soon as he walked past them cellphones were up in the air, the women doing their best to capture the elusive bachelor in the background of their selfies.