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Home > Shopping for a Billionaire's Fiancee (Shopping for a Billionaire #6)(15)

Shopping for a Billionaire's Fiancee (Shopping for a Billionaire #6)(15)
Author: Julia Kent

His biggest commitment is his international cell phone plan.

Dad laughs, the sound dismissive. “What you’re telling me is don’t hold my breath on a wedding for Terry.”

I give him a tight smile. Dad shakes his head slowly, eyes on the ring I’m still holding in my palm. It feels hot, as if the metal were pulsating from within.

“I suppose if neither of your brothers is anywhere close to marriage I might as well give it to you,” he says in a gruff voice.

“Congratulations, Declan,” I say with great affect. “Let me shake your hand and give you best wishes for your pending wedding.” I clap a hard hand on his shoulder. “There’s your script, Dad.”

He snorts. “Shannon’s perfectly fine in all the right ways except one, Son. I’m not going to bullshit you on that. You know I think you’re in for a world of hurt if you choose a woman with the same medical condition as your mother.”

“And I don’t give a sh -- ” He perks up as a cocktail waitress with an upside-down, heart-shaped backside that makes Nicki Minaj’s ass look like a flattened balloon appears with Scotch in hand. We both watch her walk away. It’s so...mesmerizing.

“You can’t tap that once you give Shannon that ring,” Dad says with a chuckle, grasping the drink like it’s a lifeline.

“Don’t want to tap that.”

Dad sucks down his drink. That’s his third since I arrived an hour ago.

“Good. Because if I get enough liquid courage in me, I think I’ll give it a try.”

I do a double-take. “If she’s thirty I’ll be surprised.”

“If she’s thirty I’ll be disappointed.” Dad shoots me a leer that’s meant to be shared, a sexual conspirator’s smile. I keep my face neutral on purpose. Shannon made a troubling comment a long time ago about my dad dating women her age, and it’s stuck. She was right. They call him The Silver Wolf. Not fox. There’s a difference.

Dad’s the stereotype of the uber-rich old dude sticking it in anything born after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

And he’s proud of it.

Shannon’s theory is a pretty wretched one: after my mom died, Dad couldn’t deal with his emotions and funneled them into rage at me. He’s angry with me for not saving mom when she and Andrew were stung and we had only one EpiPen. I was the person who literally had to choose which one lived. Dad can’t process his grief for Mom without sublimating it into anger.

And I’m the convenient target.

I think Shannon’s been watching a little too much Dr. Phil.

Dad’s dealt with those feelings with overachieving pushes toward Andrew to become CEO, and abandonment of Terry, who’s always been the black sheep of the family.

Dipping his wick in women under thirty became a way of keeping his emotional distance, too.

I think the truth is much simpler:

He’s just a sexist asshole.

Or just an asshole. Period.

But he’s my father, and my boss, so I roll with it. It’s none of my business who he chooses to bed. Until he declares he’s marrying again and the will’s being changed, his private life is none of my business.

My sex life, on the other hand, is about to go public.

Again.

Because once you propose to a woman, you’re pretty much declaring to the world your intention to fuck her. A lot.

Impregnate her, even.

The thought of Shannon pregnant, belly swollen, body glowing with new life makes me lose focus. A warm feeling of protectiveness and gratitude fills me. Either that, or my second scotch is kicking in. No, it’s not alcohol. It’s a feeling only Shannon can bring out in me.

“You’ve got it all planned out? The perfect proposal?” Dad asks with a smile. He’s sincere. No sarcasm. That’s a surprise. Maybe it’s the alcohol.

“I do.” Those two words have new meaning.

“And you’re not telling anyone a damn thing.”

“No.” Dad juts his chin up and waves to someone in the distance. Andrew walks into the lounge like he owns the place. Technically, Dad does, but who’s keeping track?

Technically, Dad is...

The server looks up and gives Andrew a suggestive smile. Dad scowls.

“You know her?” Dad asks Andrew, competition flaring in his eyes. Dad’s got that whole Most Interesting Man in the World schtick going for him, with the greying hair, attractive features, and the billionaire mystique, but Andrew’s got youth on his side. Some women want George Clooney.

Others want Jamie Dornan.

And Dad hates that.

“I’ve known her. Biblically,” Andrew says in an undertone.

Dad just sighs. Being the old lion must be tough. Even Clooney just got married.

Andrew turns to me and taps my arm. “Speaking of knowing people biblically, you’re about to propose. Got the ring?”

“Yep.” Andrew doesn’t know Dad gave me Mom’s ring. I’m going to keep it that way until it’s on Shannon’s finger.

Competition works in a lot of different ways in our family.

“And the proposal’s planned?” The server brings our drinks over, obviously memorizing Andrew’s preference. Dad gives her a dazzling smile and she returns a polite one. Give it up, Dad.

“Yep,” I say, impatient now. The testosterone level at the table has reached Titanic drowning levels. I need a door to hang on to. Talking about proposing to my sweet, warm, loving girlfriend while drowning in the toxic wasteland of my brother and dad’s masculine oneupmanship feels like I am stuck with one foot each on two tectonic plates that are shifting. Fast.

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