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Home > Wife by Wednesday (The Weekday Brides #1)(14)

Wife by Wednesday (The Weekday Brides #1)(14)
Author: Catherine Bybee

“Are you okay? They aren’t harassing you are they?” Worry etched his voice.

“No, I’m—”

“I wish you’d stay at my house.”

“We’ve gone over this. I’m fine here. People will buy a slow turnover in my life.” She heard a PA talking about flights. “How does this sound… Mr. and Mrs. Harrison would like you to respect their privacy while they adjust to their rapidly changing lives. Their courtship and subsequent wedding was as unexpected to these two as it will be to the world. A pending reception is being planned where details of their love match will be revealed.”

“Love match?” It was the only thing Blake questioned.

“That does sound hokey. I’ll think of something else.”

Blake laughed. “The only other thing you need to change is our names.”

“What?”

His voice was cutting out.

“Yeah, it needs to read, Lord and Lady Harrison, the Duke and Duchess of Albany. Listen, I’ve got to go. I’ll call in the morning. Call Carter or Neil if you need anything.” Then the line went dead.

A shiver of dread fell on her like a curtain falling on a stage. “Oh. My. God.”

“What?” Eliza stopped shoveling popcorn in her mouth and stared at Samantha with wide eyes.

“I’m in over my head.” Duchess! She truly was a duchess. The weight of the title choked out all other thoughts.

****

“You haven’t used the credit cards.” These were the first words out of Blake’s mouth three days later.

Samantha was jogging on the beach with a Bluetooth snug in her ear. The media had lightened up at the front door, but the calls kept coming. She decided to give Eliza some much-deserved time off and escaped her townhouse as often as possible.

“Hello to you, too.” She slowed her pace so she could manage a conversation.

“You sound out of breath, what are you doing?”

“Jogging.”

“Oh.” He sounded surprised. “What’s that noise?”

“The wind. I’m at the beach.” She dodged a few rocks and continued her run.

“Is that safe? Is someone with you?”

She laughed. “Yes, it’s safe, Detective Dan, and no, no one is with me.” Although she teased him, she enjoyed his concern. Sam couldn’t remember a time when someone cared if she walked alone. “I’m sure you didn’t call for details about my exercise routine. What’s up?”

“I wanted to make sure you’d filled out the forms for your passport.”

“Spent six hours at the social security office on Tuesday. Name change, passport, the whole deal. I asked them to rush, but they said it would take a minimum of ten business days.”

The cool morning air and fog wet the edges of her hair and plastered it to her face as she ran. She loved this time of day. The beach had a splattering of joggers and a dozen surfers at the point. She made it to the beach at least once a week to run. At other times, she took a neighborhood route. Admittedly, the blocks she jogged on were becoming more and more questionable and Samantha opted to drive to a safer trail or park. She couldn’t help but wonder how the beach by Blake’s home would compare.

“Ten days isn’t going to work. I’ll put a call in and get it faster.”

“The rush I paid for took it from a month to ten days. They said I couldn’t get it any faster.” Her breath came in heated pants but she kept moving.

“I’ll take care of it.” His take-charge attitude struck her as funny.

“Does anyone ever deny the great and powerful Blake Harrison?” she teased.

“Only you. Why aren’t you out shopping? I told you to indulge.” He wasn’t happy about something; she could hear it in his voice.

“Let me guess, you saw a tabloid picture of me in an old shirt and jeans.”

He hesitated.

“That’s it, isn’t it?” She laughed now and had to stop running to catch her breath. “Oh, Blake, let it go.”

“Go shopping, Samantha. Our reception is going to bring out dignitaries and several influential families. We’ll be attending the theater, polo matches… you name it.”

“My cut offs aren’t going to work?” Tears stung her eyes.

“Even I saw Pretty Woman. Go shopping!”

The thought of him enduring a chick-flick brought on more laugher. “I hope the woman was worth it.”

“What woman?”

“The one who dragged you to the cinema.”

He laughed now; the sound filled her head with pictures of his handsome face and grey eyes. “It was my sister.”

“That explains it.”

“She won a bet. I had to take her or lose her respect.” His voice eased as the conversation continued. Seemed it always did after a few minutes on the phone. Sam found herself looking forward to his calls. “Did you stop running?” he asked.

Samantha glanced down the deserted beach and placed a hand on her hip. “Yeah,” she said, her breath hissed.

Blake groaned.

“What is it?”

“You want an honest answer?”

“Always.” She turned to the breeze and forced her breath to slow.

“Between the heavy breathing and that voice of yours, I’m having a hard time sitting still.”

Her heart gave a hard kick in her chest. She sucked in her lower lip. “Well then, I won’t describe what I’m wearing or how I look and ruin your fantasy.”

He chuckled. “I’m sure the paparazzi are there somewhere and a picture will be on my desk in the morning.”

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