Billionaire's Contract Engagement(10)

By: Maya Banks

“Okay, Tanya. First of all, who the hell is ’she’ and where is Vickie?”

It wasn’t like Vickie not to meet him as he got off the elevator. His longtime assistant traveled with him everywhere. She had an apartment here and in Seattle. She had an uncanny knack for knowing precisely when he’d show up, and as a result she was always there, ready to pelt him with the day’s obligations.

Tanya’s face fell. “Oh, sir, did you not get your message? I left you two. Vickie’s granddaughter was rushed to the hospital early this morning. They suspect appendicitis. She’s in surgery now.”

Evan frowned. “No, I didn’t get any such message. Keep me updated. I want to know the minute she’s out of surgery. Send flowers and make sure Vickie has everything she might need. On second thought, send over food for the family. Hospital food is terrible. And arrange for a hospitality suite. If there is a hotel close to the hospital, have a block of rooms set aside for any of the family members.”

Tanya blinked then hurriedly picked up a notepad and began scribbling.

Evan waited a moment then sighed. “Tanya?”

She looked up, blinking, as if surprised to still see him standing there.

“Who is the ’she’ waiting in my office?”

Tanya’s nose curled in distaste. “It’s Miss Hammond, sir. I couldn’t stop her. She was quite imperious. Told me she’d wait for you.”

It was all Evan could do not to look heavenward and ask “why me?” He glanced down the hall and briefly considered leaving. He had no patience for Bettina today, and after his mother had extracted his promise to attend this weekend’s debacle, he couldn’t imagine anything Bettina could have to say to him.

“Keep me posted on Vickie’s granddaughter,” he said as he turned to go down to his office.

He opened the door and swept in, his gaze immediately finding Bettina. She was sitting on one of the sofas lining the window that overlooked the outdoor cafés lining the sidewalk below.

“Bettina,” he said as he tossed his briefcase onto his desk. “What brings you here?”

Bettina rose, her hands going down to smooth her dress. The motion directed attention to her legs—her self-admitted favorite personal attribute. The dress stopped almost at mid-thigh, which meant quite a lot of those legs were on display.

Evan wouldn’t lie. He’d enjoyed those legs. It was just too bad they were attached to the rest of her.

Her expression creased into one of fake pain. She crossed the room, holding her hands dramatically in front of her to grasp his.

“I wanted to thank you for agreeing to come to the wedding. It means the world to Mitchell and your mom and dad. I know how painful it must be. I can’t imagine how difficult it was for you to agree to go after I broke your heart.”

Evan just stared at her. Part of him wanted to ask her what planet she existed on, but he already knew the answer to that. It was planet Bettina, where everything revolved around her. Did she honestly believe he was still pining for her?

“Cut the theatrics, Bettina. Why are you really here? You don’t care if I show up or not, so why pretend otherwise? In fact, I’d be willing to admit you hoped I wouldn’t.”

She blinked, and for a moment he saw bitterness in her eyes.

“Lucy said you were bringing a … date. It was clever of you, really. But you don’t fool me, Evan. Everyone knows you haven’t been serious about anyone since me. Who is she? Someone you’ve met socially? Do you know anything about her? Does she know she’s going as an accessory? God knows that’s all I ever was to you.”

“You can’t have it both ways, Bettina. Either I was serious about you or you were an accessory,” he drawled. “Which is it?”

She flushed angrily. “I only meant that you haven’t dated any woman more than once since I broke things off with you.”

He made an exaggerated expression of surprise. “You flatter me. I had no idea you were so interested in who I date. I would have thought my brother kept you too occupied to monitor my love life.”

“Bring your date, Evan. But you know and I know she isn’t me. She’ll never be me. Don’t think you’ll take anything away from my wedding day.”

With that she stalked out of his office, leaving Evan to shake his head. He really ought to call his brother and thank him profusely.

He sank into his chair and opened his day planner. Vickie kept meticulous records of all appointments for just such rare occasions that she was out of pocket. He frowned when he saw his calendar was full. Except for one forty-five-minute window for lunch.

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