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Home > Wife by Wednesday (The Weekday Brides #1)(3)

Wife by Wednesday (The Weekday Brides #1)(3)
Author: Catherine Bybee

She glanced up through long lashes. “Five minutes.”

He sat forward, thoroughly intrigued with what she was going to determine about him in that amount of time.

“Have you ever been arrested?”

His record was clear, but that wasn’t the question.

He knew if he lied to Sam, she’d pack up her things and walk out the door. “I was seventeen and the kid I punched was hitting on my sister. The record was buried.” As all records of kids from his station in life were.

“Have you ever hit a woman?”

His jaw tightened. “Never.”

“Ever wanted to?” She watched him now, eyes sharp.

“No.” Violence didn’t play into his personality.

“I need the name of your closest friend.”

“Carter Billings.”

She scribbled the name down.

“Worst enemy?”

He didn’t see that question coming. “I’m not sure how to answer that.”

“Let me rephrase it, then. Who in your life would like to see you come to harm?”

His first thoughts scanned his list of business associates who might have felt slighted over the years. None would be better off if he were gone at this point. There was only one person who might see things differently.

“Whose image are you thinking of, Mr. Harrison?”

Blake took a drink of his coffee and felt it hit the bottom of his stomach with a thump. “Only one.”

Samantha lifted her eyes to his, waiting.

“My cousin, Howard Walker.”

A tiny slack in her jaw, a slump in her shoulders, these were the only things that indicated the impact of his words. Much to Blake’s surprise, Samantha Elliot wrote down the information and didn’t question further.

She removed the top sheet of her papers and handed him the others. “I’m going to need you to fill these out. You can fax them to me at the number on the bottom of page eight.”

“Did I pass your test, Ms. Elliot?”

“Honesty needs to be maintained throughout this process. So far, everything is working for me.”

It was Blake’s turn to smile. “I could have lied about the assault charge.”

Samantha started to pack up her things as she spoke. “His name was Drew Falsworth. You were two months past your seventeenth birthday when you broke his nose at a polo match at the prep school you both attended. Drew had a reputation for dating girls long enough to get them into bed before dumping and moving onto the next. Your sister was smart to stay away and if you hadn’t hit the bastard to protect your sister, and I’d found out about it, this interview would have been over before you even sat down.”

“How the hell—”

“I have a very extensive list of contacts. Most of which I’m sure you’ll know about before this day is out.”

Damn right. He’d be on the phone with his assistant before he reached the car.

“What’s this going to cost me, Ms. Elliot?”

“Consider me an agent. When your lawyer draws up the prenuptial agreement bear in mind that twenty percent of what you offer your future wife will be paid to me up front.”

“And if I only offer her a small stipend?”

“The women I work with have a minimum spelled out in that stack of papers.”

“And if the woman doesn’t hold to her end of the deal? If she fights the contract after a year?”

Samantha stood, giving Blake no choice but to stand beside her.

“She won’t.”

“You sound so certain.”

“The predetermined amount of money, her share, goes into an account. If the woman fights for more, that money pays your attorneys to squelch her. Anything left over is yours to keep. The only time this would change is if a child was brought into the picture and paternity tests proved it was yours. Family courts with kids aren’t something I agree to deal with. It will be up to you to keep it in your pants, Mr. Harrison. That is of course if you intend to end the marriage after the agreed upon year. If not, then enjoy your happily ever after and name your child after me.”

She’d thought of everything. To say he was impressed was an understatement.

“I need those papers by three this afternoon. I’ll be in touch by five with a list of prospective women. We’ll set up meetings as soon as tomorrow if your schedule allows.”

Blake reached down, lifted her bag, and handed it to her.

She shoved a lock of unruly hair from her eyes and swung the handle over her shoulder. “Do you have any more questions for me, Mr. Harrison? Or should I be calling you, Your Grace?”

The slow way she rolled his title off her tongue with her hypnotic voice was something he could get used to. He wouldn’t mind hearing it again, over the phone… “How about Blake?”

****

As soon as Sam knew she wasn’t being watched, she slid behind the wheel of her car and allowed the Cheshire cat grin she’d been feeling deep inside her to spread over her face. An undignified Snoopy dance had her wiggling her butt in the soft leather. “About friggin’ time,” she whispered to herself.

The dashing Duke was her ticket to the big leagues. From the inception of Alliance, she’d pictured clients like Blake Harrison lining up for her services, rich men in need of finding a wife to check off their bucket list. She’d found wives for men who didn’t have time, or the desire to go through the dating game. They weren’t looking for love, but companionship. Some men wanted to claim a wife so that their lovers would stop bugging them for a ring. To date, she’d kept a steady income and personal referrals that built her business to sustain her.

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