Right Billionaire, Wrong Wedding(9)

By: Victoria Davies



How does she do that?

He meant to speak of the dozens of wedding planners they could call. He should have talked about the alternative options that had been running through his mind.

Instead a very different phrase left his lips. “It’s Jenny.”

He watched the irritation vanish from her expression as if it’d never been there. Instead those soulful eyes of hers filled with an understanding he couldn’t look away from.

“I know,” she said, her fingers squeezing his arm.

“This has to be perfect.” After the hell his sister had gone through growing up, he owed her at least as perfect a wedding as he could create.

She sighed. “I know,” she repeated. “Corporate takeovers you can handle in your sleep, but when it comes to family…”

Everything was different.

Staring up at the descending numbers above the door, he confessed, “She’s moving. Again.” His fists clenched despite himself.

“Ah,” she murmured. “This isn’t your last chance to take care of her, Darian.”

A smile twisted his lips, and he didn’t need a mirror to know it wasn’t pleasant. “It might be. I have to get this right.”

She took his clenched hand in hers, gently running her thumb along his tense knuckles. Under her touch, some of the tension in his body started to drain away. He watched her, uneasy about his reaction.

“So what do you want to do?” she asked. “The wedding planner wasn’t wrong. Any of them would have similar problems working in this timeframe.”

He sighed. “I know. I just—” He stopped, his eyes going to hers.

“What?”

A slow grin curved his lips, and in response, her shoulders stiffened.

“I know that look. What are you thinking?” she demanded, pulling away from him.

The distance she put between them rankled him, but he refused to dwell on it.

“A wedding planner might compromise. They have to do what’s best for their business, after all,” he said.

She shrugged. “Probably.”

“But I know a woman just as driven and determined as I am. One who does the impossible on a daily basis.”

Her eyes widened as she caught on to his train of thought. “Don’t even think it.”

“You can’t deny we’re a killer team.”

“In the office.”

He reached out to cup her arms. “Come on.”

She shook her head. “Nope. Not doing it, and no bonus will make me.”

Catching her hand, he pressed it against his chest, gratified to see her eyes widen. Ali off balance was far easier to convince than when she was on her guard.

“Darian,” she hissed, trying to pull her hand back. “You always do this. Come up with elaborate schemes that I have to find a way to make work. I’m not doing it again.”

“I know there’s a romantic lurking somewhere underneath all those suits of yours,” he said. “Allison Reed, will you plan a wedding with me?”

“Give me my hand back.”

“Not until you give me the answer I want.”

A smile tugged at her mouth, but he watched her choke it back, as if refusing to encourage him.

“Almost the ground floor,” he said. “I’m not going anywhere until you agree. We’ll ride this elevator till we’re old and gray.” His fingers tightened on her hand. “Please,” he said, a word that rarely entered his vocabulary. “I need you, Ali. Help me.”

Those deep brown eyes met his again for a brief moment before she looked away.

“Okay. Fine. You win. I’ll help you. But I’m not doing this alone. You have to be there every step of the way, too.”

The smile that stretched his lips was unfeigned. “Oh, I intend to be,” he said. “You and me, Ali. Together, there’s no way we can fail.”

The doors opened and he dropped her hand, but not before he saw the shadow of some dark emotion flash across her face. When she exited beside him, however, her expression was once again calm.

It’s just your imagination.

Ali had always been an open book. She’d never keep secrets.

Not from him.





Chapter Three


“Honey, I’m home.”

Allison closed the door behind her as she stepped into the blissful quiet of her apartment. A wry smile twisted her lips, her greeting falling on absent ears. What would it be like to come home to the sounds someone else in her apartment, maybe even the smell of dinner in the oven?

Her briefcase joined her discarded pumps before she made a beeline for the kitchen. There had to be something edible in the fridge, though for the life of her she couldn’t remember the last time she’d managed something as mundane as a grocery run.

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