“I know, right?” Sarah was pleased as punch at the compliment since Pippa’s mom was an incredible beauty. “Oh, and Frankie—-”
“Olivier’s secretary? I didn’t realize they were here already.” At her nod, Acheron said with a smile, “Then I’ll have to beg to be excused. I try to sneak in as much work as possible while the wife’s not looking.”
While watching her former boss stride off, Sarah couldn’t help commenting, “It’s true, you know. When I was working for them, the other employees told me about how Acheron used to be a workaholic, and he only started taking days off when he married Pippa.”
“I promise to be the same,” Damian murmured, “when we marry.”
“You don’t want to?”
The billionaire chuckled. “That’s not exactly a no, love.”
She knew that, but since to say yes would be sheer stupidity while to say no would be another pathetic lie—-
And then she hurried past him to welcome the next set of guests. Part of her expected the billionaire to follow her, but he didn’t, and Sarah resolutely told herself she wasn’t disappointed. She was actually happy and—-
Several anxious-looking staff members suddenly ran past her, and Sarah called out to one of them in concern. “What’s happening?”
Mr. Fox…Mr. Moore…
The other girl was barely coherent, but the little she understood was enough for Sarah to break into a run. A crowd of onlookers had gathered at the lodge’s parking lot, and Sarah couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw Damian about to take a swing at Colton.
“Oh my God, stop!”
Colton usually had a carefree air about him, but this time the younger man looked grim and strung up at the same time, like someone running purely on adrenaline for the past few hours.
“I got your email,” Colton said shortly. And boy, what a fucking thing to wake up to. Sarah’s stepbrother had somehow dredged out what not even the media and Colton’s most obsessed fans had a clue about, with the email containing nothing but a series of photos showing him and Beth together.
Colton took a deep breath, knowing he needed to play this just right. Until Beth graduated from college, he needed to keep his girlfriend out of the limelight and free from all the toxic hate that came with dating someone like him. And since the billionaire appeared to be waiting for him to speak first, he said warily, “This is about Sarah, isn’t it?”
Damian surveyed the younger man’s tension with dislike. “Does Sarah know about her?”
“Of course—-” Fuck. Too late, Colton realized he shouldn’t have said that, and as swift as his reflexes were, they just weren’t as swift as Damian’s, and the sudden punch to his stomach had him bending over with a groan of pain.
Grabbing Colton by the collar, Damian hauled him back up and snarled, “Don’t fucking lie to me again. You really think I’d believe Sarah’s fine with you having another girl on the side?”
That much was true, and that was why Colton had realized he had said the wrong thing. And when he saw the fury mounting in the billionaire’s gaze, he threw his hands up and burst out with the first excuse that came to his mind. “You got it all wrong, dammit.” I’m sorry, Sarah Bear. But a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do to save his ass and his girlfriend’s. And he heard himself say, “I’m saying she knows because it’s mutual—-” Seeing Damian raise his fist again, Colton started to babble. “Sarah knows the real score between us, and she doesn’t mind that I have Beth because she, ah, has someone else, too—-” Damian suddenly released his hold on Colton’s shirt, and he crashed to the ground.
“Who is it then?” the billionaire bit out.
Picking himself up, Colton said lamely, “Someone she knew you won’t approve.” A stupid excuse, but hopefully the billionaire would be satisfied with it—-
“Why would Sarah think we wouldn’t approve of this man?” Damian demanded.
Shit. Colton hadn’t thought that far ahead, and stuck for something to say, he once again rashly blurted out the first thing that came to his mind. “He’s…married?”
Which turned out to be another mistake, with Damian pulling his fist back.
“Oh my God, stop!”
Relief washed over Colton at hearing Sarah’s voice, the sound of which was apparently enough for Damian to check his violent impulses, and Colton started breathing more easily as the billionaire took a step back.
“Colton, are you alright?”
Damian, seeing Sarah about to reach for the younger man’s bruised face, grabbed her hand and pushed it back down, saying brusquely, “He’s still alive, isn’t he?”
Colton, seeing the glint in Damian’s eyes, quickly nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine. We just had things to…thrash out,” he finished awkwardly.
“Are you really okay?” Sarah asked anxiously.
Furious at the way Sarah kept fussing over the boy, Damian didn’t wait for Colton to give his answer. “Forget about him, dammit. We’re leaving.”