His Forever Family(2)

By: Sarah M. Anderson

She nodded. “Such as?”

“Marketing and wearables. Let’s get back to the Rock City Watch people with requests to see their marketing mock-ups. I also want to set up a meeting to discuss a hybrid device—a luxury watch that can slot wearable tech into the band.”

They reached the fountain and she stopped, her head down and her hands on her knees as she took in great gulps of air.

“What else?” he asked.

“You have to make a decision about attending the Hanson wedding,” she said in between gasps.

Marcus groaned. “Do I have to?”

“You’re the one who decided you should go to this wedding,” she told him flatly. “You’re the one who decided you should take a date. And you’re the one who decided to kill two birds with one stone by scheduling the meeting with the producers of Feeding Frenzy the day after the wedding.”

Marcus allowed himself to scowl at his assistant. Her lack of sympathy was not comforting. Attending the Hanson-Spears wedding in Los Angeles had not, in fact, been his idea. Who the hell wanted to watch his former fiancée get married to the man she’d cheated on him with? Not him.

But his mother had decreed that Marcus would attend the wedding with a date and put on a happy face so they could “put this unfortunate event behind them.” Of course, if his mother had had her way, Marcus would have married Lillibeth Hanson anyway because what was a little affair in the grand scheme of things? Lillibeth came from old money. Marcus came from old money and made new money. Together, his parents had reasoned, they could apparently rule the world.

Marcus didn’t see the point. He’d refused to reconcile with Lillibeth and he’d thought his parents had accepted that decision. But then the wedding invitation came.

And the hell of it was, his parents were not entirely wrong about the effects the scandal had had on Marcus’s business. To some, his inability to see the truth about Lillibeth until it was too late might also indicate an inability to make good investment choices. So his parents had strongly suggested he attend the wedding to show that everyone was on good terms. And they strongly suggested he take a date because it would be an admission of defeat to show up at your ex’s wedding alone.

All Marcus had to do was pick a woman.

He looked at Liberty. “What are my options, again?”

“Rosetta Naylor.”

Marcus cringed at the celebutante’s name. “Too shallow.”

“Katerine Nabakov.”

“Too Russian Mafia.”

Liberty sighed heavily. “Emma Green?”

Marcus scowled harder. He had actually gone out with Emma several times. “Really?”

“She’s a known quantity,” Liberty explained. “No surprises.”

“Wrong. People would think that us dating again is a sure sign of wedding bells.” Specifically, his parents.

Marcus had done many things to keep the peace with his mother and father. Hell, he’d come damn close to getting married to Lillibeth Hanson, all because they thought that was best.

He wasn’t going to risk that kind of trap again.

“The options are limited and time is running short, Mr. Warren,” Liberty said in exasperation. She jammed her hands on her hips. “The wedding is in two weeks. If you insist on attending with a date, you need to actually ask someone to go with you.”

“Fine. I’ll just take you.”

The effect of this statement was immediate. Liberty’s eyes went wide and her mouth dropped open and, in a fraction of a second, her gaze dropped over his body. Something that looked a hell of a lot like want flashed over her face.

What? Did she actually want him?

Then it was gone. She straightened up and did her best to look imperial. “Mr. Warren, be serious.”

“I am serious. I trust you.” He took a step toward her. “Sometimes I think...you’re the only person who’s honest with me. You wouldn’t try to sell all the details of a date to the gossip rags.” Which had been a huge part of the scandal with Lillibeth. She had capitalized on her affair, painting Marcus as a lousy boyfriend both in and out of the bedroom.

Liberty bit at her lower lip. “Honestly? I don’t think you should go at all. Why would you give her the chance to hurt you again?” Her voice had dropped and she didn’t sound imperious at all. Instead, she sounded...as if she wanted to protect him.

It was a fair question. He didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to give Lillibeth the chance to cut him down again. But he’d promised his parents that he’d put a good face on it and make sure the Warren name still meant power and money.

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