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Home > Wife by Wednesday (The Weekday Brides #1)(5)

Wife by Wednesday (The Weekday Brides #1)(5)
Author: Catherine Bybee

Candidate one, Candice… no last name. According to the portfolio, she was a second year law student with typical educational loans. She loved the arts and spent her off time running marathons. Blake glanced at her picture again. Her resemblance to Jacqueline was scary. Samantha thought of everything, she’d even put the ladies’ measurements and weight at the bottom of the page. In captions, Sam wrote a note about how dating services often use old, photo-shopped high school pictures but Alliance updated their photos every six months.

Candidate two, Rita… again, no last name. A physician’s assistant taking classes for pre-med. She loved boating and spending time in exotic locations. She’d done her share of traveling, but Sam’s papers didn’t say how she afforded her hobby.

Candidate three, Karen… Blake didn’t bother looking for a last name, he knew it wouldn’t be there. Karen should have been a model. Stunning blue eyes and snow blonde hair knocked a man’s breath out of his lungs. Karen wasn’t in school and didn’t have any student loans. She managed some type of nursing home and mentored kids at a boys’ and girls’ club.

The women were perfect, so why did Blake have a sinking feeling that they were all wrong?

Blake pushed forward in his chair and picked up his phone. When his assistant picked up, Blake said, “Well, Mitch?”

“I still have a couple of calls unanswered, but I’ve found some interesting things about Miss Elliot.”

“Great, bring them over.”

Blake walked over to the floor-to-ceiling windows of his office and looked down at the city below. Running his shipping business from four points on the globe gave him the upper hand over his competitors. He’d built the business from a meager beginning, despite his father’s disapproval. Blake’s desire to prove to his father that he didn’t need the man’s money, or his title, fueled his drive. However, the Harrison name had opened many doors over the years and pissing away the bulk of his inheritance wasn’t something he was willing to do, especially since the old man was long dead.

Mitch knocked on the door to his office before he let himself in.

Turning on his heel, Blake nodded to the coffee table in the corner of his office where he could view the files Mitch had in his hand. “Let’s do this over here.”

Mitch sat and wasted little time spreading papers out for Blake to see.

“Samantha Elliot, twenty seven years old, born in Connecticut to Harris and Martha Elliot.”

Blake took his seat. “Why do those names sound familiar?”

“They should, Harris was center stage in the media several years back when he was charged with tax evasion and embezzlement. He and his family lived in a twenty million dollar mansion, with vacation homes in France and Hawaii… the whole big piece of the American Pie.”

Blake remembered it now. Big New York businessman who had funneled his funds through glorified ponzi schemes. He’d given out insurance policies for homes, land, business, and property to unsuspecting victims, with no intention of paying them off. If memory served him right, Blake recalled the Feds having a hard time nailing him for corruption and instead managed to imprison him for not paying his taxes. His accounts and property were frozen and his family fell apart.

“Martha, the wife, couldn’t handle the drop in status, took a bottle of pills with a pint of gin, and never woke up.” Mitch relayed the details of Samantha Elliot’s family life as if it were a soap opera.

“According to the media, Samantha’s sister, Jordan, tried to follow her mother’s example, but ended up with a lack of brain function. I’m still waiting on the details as to where the girl is now. Samantha survived the ordeal, but ended up picking up the family pieces. She dropped out of college, where she was studying business, and socked the small amount of money the government didn’t take into her sister’s care.” Mitch took a breath and handed Blake a list of names.

“What’s this?”

“These are people Miss Elliot has connections to. Growing up among the rich and connected resulted in some lasting friendships. The adults severed all ties to the Elliot family when they went down, but Samantha’s friends didn’t. There’s a senator’s daughter on that list and two rapidly progressing lawyers. I’m still not sure how she found out about your prior, but I have a call in back home.”

Blake shifted through the papers and found a photo of the Elliot family during happy times. The small family stood aboard a yacht. Martha was pencil thin, and her daughters stood beside her in one-piece bathing suits. Samantha’s hair was tied back in a ponytail but it still had managed to blow into her face when the picture was taken. Jordan, much younger than Sam, had her mother’s dark hair and tiny frame. Harris, a good fifty pounds overweight, rested a hand on his wife’s shoulder and smiled for the camera.

Pictures were deceiving. His mind drifted to a similar family portrait of his. Blake’s father stood behind his mother with a hand on her shoulder. His mother’s white knuckles tensed on the armrest of the chair in which she sat. Blake remembered the day the picture was taken. He and his father had argued about Blake taking a summer internship to better his college applications. Edmund refused to discuss Blake working for anyone, especially for free. Edmund believed an education was necessary for bragging to one’s friends. Work, however, was a four-letter word. One no Harrison would touch so long as he had a say in their lives.

“I thought my family was dysfunctional,” Blake whispered.

“I think Miss Elliot wins the prize.”

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