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Home > Wife by Wednesday (The Weekday Brides #1)(6)

Wife by Wednesday (The Weekday Brides #1)(6)
Author: Catherine Bybee

Funny, Blake didn’t think the prize was worth winning. “Where does Samantha live?”

“She rents a townhome in Tarzana.”

“Roommates?”

“Hard to say.”

Then, without knowing why he asked, he said, “Boyfriend?”

Mitch’s eyes rounded to him. “I didn’t look, but I will.” Just then, the phone in Mitch’s pocket rang. He removed it and glanced at the number. “This is about the sister,” he explained before he answered the call.

Mitch spoke into the line while Blake studied the names on the paper in his hand. Samantha had a lot of friends. He wondered if any of them helped her out financially.

Mitch made a whistling noise into the phone, grabbing Blake’s attention.

“Okay, thanks,” Mitch said before he disconnected the call.

“What is it?”

“Miss Elliot truly needs your business.”

“Really, why?”

“Her sister is a patient of Moonlight Villas. Nice name for a fancy home for adults in her condition. The place racks up a six figure bill every year.”

Blake felt his eyes pinch together. “And no one is helping Miss Elliot with it?”

Mitch shook his head. “None that I’ve found. Her friends might give her advice, but there isn’t a steady stream of money coming from anywhere but her business.”

A business that Blake had already researched and knew all about.

“Interesting.”

“So, what’s she like?”

It was the first personal question Mitch had asked.

Blake pictured her alabaster skin and the determined set of her jaw. And that voice. Damn, just thinking about it made him want to talk to her again.

“She’s all business,” Blake told his assistant. “You’d like her.”

****

Being in control was her gig. So when Blake Harrison insisted on a dinner meeting to go over the potential wife candidates, Samantha started working out scenarios as to what Harrison was going to talk about.

Perhaps he’d recognized one of the women, or placed a last name to a face. She purposely left off the surnames of the women so her male clients had to rate the merits of the women on their attributes, not their families. Sam knew all too well how people judged her by her parents’ actions. After her parents fall, she’d considered changing her name and even her hair color. She settled for moving to the west coast and avoiding the media. The tabloid attention was short lived. Once the newest scandal burst onto the scene, hers was forgotten. Living close to Hollywood constantly put the light on someone else. Her face hadn’t been in the paper since her mother’s funeral.

Maybe if Samantha had been a beauty and a media whore, the papers would have followed her. Dodging reporters proved easy when Sam started dressing like a wallflower.

So what did Harrison want to discuss? Maybe he’d already talked with his lawyer and needed details her papers hadn’t covered. She’d thought of every conceivable loophole when she started her business. Her taxes were always paid, thank you, dad, and her contacts always kept close to the chest. Nothing she’d ever done by way of background checks or private investigators was illegal. The primary gender she turned to for information was women. Sam wasn’t naive enough to believe that women weren’t capable of illegal acts, but she had a hard time with trust and men. There weren’t many in her life that hadn’t let her down. In truth, she couldn’t think of any.

The sun was still shining as she pulled her car into the parking lot of the most expensive beachfront restaurant in Malibu. Unable to avoid the valet to park her car, Sam left her compact American-made sedan running as she stepped out of it. She thanked the attendant and watched him take the wheel only to park it a few feet away. Her GMC looked completely out of place parked among all the Lexus, Mercedes, and Cadillacs.

Samantha stepped into the cool interior of the restaurant and let the mouth-watering smell of garlic and herbs wash over her senses. The last time she’d dined in a five star restaurant was with one of her happily married female clients last year. Sam had given up fine dining and opulent living long ago. Some things she missed, and eating something other than pop-in-the-microwave dinners and take out was up there on her wish list.

Before Samantha had a chance to step up to the hostess, a man approached her. “Miss Elliot?”

Strange, he didn’t seem to be wearing the required uniform of the staff. Maybe he was a manager.

“Yes?”

“Mr. Harrison is waiting for you.”

Must be the manager. Samantha followed the well-dressed man deeper into the restaurant until he led her to a secluded booth with a full view of the Pacific. Blake Harrison saw her and stood as she approached.

Like before, his chiseled features and the way he filled out his designer suit brought a wave of awareness over her skin. He dominated the space by simply being there.

His eyes scanned her frame and a small smile lifted to the corner of his lips. She’d changed into a simple dress, not too casual, but certainly nothing fit for the Oscars. The expression on Blake’s face said he approved. Not that she dressed to meet his approval, but she didn’t want to appear out of place sitting beside him. She met his eyes and felt a hot current zip up her spine.

“You’re late,” he said, his voice teasing.

She opened her mouth doing her best guppy impersonation, and then closed it. “Touché.”

He smiled. “I took the liberty of ordering a bottle of wine. I hope you don’t mind.” Blake waited until she slid into the booth before reaching for the wine sitting in an ice bucket beside him.

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